Lufthansa plans SAS acquisition: report

Lufthansa plans SAS acquisition: report
German airline Lufthansa could take over Scandinavian carrier SAS as early as the first half of 2011, with talks pending, according to Bloomberg News.

Talks are pending with the governments of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, which together own half of the airline’s stock, Bloomberg reports, citing a person with inside knowledge of the discussions.

Lufthansa would strengthen its central European dominance and cut flight times on some transatlantic routes, according to the source, although the plans have not been made public.

Lufthansa spokesperson Andreas Bartels declined to comments on the Bloomberg report.

Beleaguered Scandinavian airline SAS posted deep losses for the third quarter, with results weighed down by legal fees and a €70 million fine (629.42 million kronor, $96.38 million) for being part of a global cargo cartel.

The airline, which has been hard-hit by the rise of low-cost airline Norwegian and by plunging passenger traffic numbers in the wake of the global economic crisis, launched a major restructuring plan, Core SAS, last year, aimed at saving nearly 8 billion kronor ($1.17 billion), entailing more than 5,000 layoffs.

The renewed speculation surrounding Lufthansa interest in SAS, had a positive impact on the firm’s stock on Thursday morning, with a climb of 10 percent by 10.30am local time.

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