Tags: EU | Sweden | SAS

Swedish Government Looks to Cut Stake in SAS

Thursday, 18 Feb 2010 09:26 AM

The Swedish government said Thursday it wants to reduce its stake in struggling airline operator SAS AB as part of a wider privatization effort.

The center-right government said it has evaluated its ownership in SAS and proposed to Parliament that it should cut its stake "at a suitable time."

The Swedish government is the biggest shareholder in SAS with a 21.4 percent stake while the Danish and Norwegian governments own 14.3 percent each. The government said it has informed the other shareholders of its plans.

"We have previously said that we should reduce ownership in companies that operate in competitive markets and where there are no special reasons for continued ownership," Enterprise Minister Maud Olofsson said in a statement. "SAS is one such company."

Olofsson added that a sale wasn't imminent, "but in the long run we don't see any intrinsic value in owning shares in an airline."

The government said it would participate in a rights offering that SAS hopes will raise 5 billion kronor ($670 million) to help repair its battered finances. The company posted a loss of 1.3 billion kronor in the fourth quarter and said it would cut up to 700 jobs in a ramped-up savings program.

The Swedish government launched a major privatization effort after taking office in 2006. It has already sold Absolut Vodka maker Vin & Sprit, real estate group Vasakronan and stakes in telecom operator TeliaSonera and Nordic bourse operator OMX.

SAS shares fell 0.4 percent to 2.42 kronor ($0.34) in Stockholm trading after the announcement.

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The Swedish government said Thursday it wants to reduce its stake in struggling airline operator SAS AB as part of a wider privatization effort.The center-right government said it has evaluated its ownership in SAS and proposed to Parliament that it should cut its stake "at...
EU,Sweden,SAS
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2010-26-18
 

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