SAS Group sold (03-May-2013) 80% of its shares in Widerøe to an investor group including Torghatten ASA, Fjord1 AS and Nordland Fylkeskommune. SAS Group will retain a 20% share in Widerøe but plans to transfer full ownership of Widerøe to the investor group in 2016. The sale comes as part of SAS Group's restructuring programme with approximately SEK2 billion to be received for the divestment of Widerøe, and up to SEK2.3 billion in total proceeds if the remaining 20% is transferred in 2013. The proceeds will be used to reduce SAS Group's net debt by the same amount. SAS Group president and CEO Rickard Gustafsson said, "This divestment is in line with the 4Excellence Next Generation strategy to build a long-term financially strong SAS. We are pleased to have developed Widerøe into a successful airline under SAS' ownership and we look forward to continue strengthening Widerøe's position as the leading regional airline in Norway together with the new owners." The transaction is subjet to clearance from Norwegian competition authorities and is expected to be completed in Sep-2013. Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Trond Giske, as quoted by Boarding.no, said the sale was good for both SAS and Widerøe and is a good long-term solution. [more - original PR] [more - original PR II]
SAS Group sells 80% of Widerøe to investor group
You may also be interested in the following articles...
SAS' new foreign bases in London & Spain show rare innovative thinking for a legacy airline
On 01-Feb-2017 SAS announced that it is to establish a new AOC in Ireland, with operational bases in London and Spain. It has yet to specify the airports that will become its first bases outside its three Scandinavian home countries. SAS is following a course established by Norwegian, apparently forgetting its previous objections to its LCC rival's approach.
Indeed, it seems that SAS' move is a pragmatic response to intense competition from LCCs, particularly from Norwegian. According to SAS' 2016 Annual Report, 65% of its ASKs compete with LCCs. Scandinavia's high labour costs are a significant handicap in competing with airlines that have bases outside the region.
Spain and UK are its two biggest markets outside Scandinavia, with London Heathrow its biggest non home airport. After years of cost reduction programmes – also years of initiatives aimed at enhancing the appeal of SAS' product and brand to its core target market of Scandinavia's frequent flyers – a bolder step is needed. SAS will be a very rare example of a European legacy airline with bases outside its home market, more than 20 years after market liberalisation presented the opportunity.
Airport pairs: Western Europe-US shows the value of open skies as routes and new entry proliferate
For Western Europe there is no bigger long haul market than North America. In terms of the number of airport pairs between the countries of Western Europe and long haul destination countries, connectivity to the United States dominates. There are more direct routes between Western Europe and the US than there are between Western Europe and the whole of Asia Pacific.
This report presents high level data on the numbers of airport pairs between each Western European country and the US and how these number have changed. EU-US liberalisation in 2008 has stimulated growth in the number of direct connections, although the global economic downturn impeded this for a while. However, the additional routes have not been spread evenly across Western European countries.
Since 2010, additional route numbers from Western Europe to the US have been greatest from the largest markets – the UK and the US – and from the smaller countries, particularly Ireland, Iceland and Norway. Countries in between, including France, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands, have hardly added any new US routes at all.