SAS shares jump on bidding war rumours

Shares in Scandinavian airline SAS soared Monday after a report said carriers Air France-KLM, Lufthansa and British Airways would be ready to enter a bidding war for the beleaguered company.

SAS shares jump on bidding war rumours

At 1445 GMT, shares in SAS — in which Denmark, Norway and Sweden together own 50 percent — were up more than 10 percent on a Stockholm stock exchange up 1.83 percent.

When the market closed at 1630 GMT, SAS shares had gained 11.11 percent to 25 kronor ($3.70) on a market up 1.84 percent.

The gains came the first trading day after a report in Danish business daily Boersen said three major European airlines — Air France-KLM, Lufthansa and British Airways would be ready to enter a “bidding war” to buy SAS.

The newspaper quoted an unnamed source as saying “when the process starts, I think all the major aviation players will be interested,” referring to when the Scandinavian governments will be ready to sell their stake in the airline.

The Swedish government is the single largest shareholder in SAS with a 21.4-percent-stake, while Denmark and Norway each hold 14.3 percent. The rest is privately owned.

In February 2010, the Swedish government said it was interested in reducing its holding in SAS at an “opportune moment” and Denmark and Norway followed suit.

SAS 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.

Rumours of a sell-off have been circulating since 2008, with Lufthansa seen as the most probable buyer.

Late last month, SAS shares soared on rumours that Lufthansa, already an SAS partner on some routes, could make an offer for the Scandinavian company as early as the first quarter of 2011.

An SAS spokesman reached Monday said the company would not comment on market rumours.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


‘We agree to disagree’: Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

By lunchtime on Friday, talks between the Scandinavian airline SAS and unions representing striking pilots were still stuck on "difficult issues".

'We agree to disagree': Still no progress in marathon SAS strike talks

“We agree that we disagree,” Roger Klokset, from the Norwegian pilots’ union, said at lunchtime outside the headquarters of the Confederation of Swedish Enterprise in Stockholm, where talks are taking place. “We are still working to find a solution, and so long as there is still some point in continuing negotiations, we will do that.” 

Mats Ruland, a mediator for the Norwegian government, said that there were “still several difficult issues which need to be solved”. 

At 1pm on Friday, the two sides took a short break from the talks for lunch, after starting at 9am. On Thursday, they negotiated for 15 hours, breaking off at 1am on Friday morning. 

READ ALSO: What’s the latest on the SAS plane strike?

Marianne Hernæs, SAS’s negotiator on Friday told journalists she was tired after sitting at the negotiating table long into the night. 

“We need to find a model where we can meet in the middle and which can ensure that we pull in the income that we are dependent on,” she said. 

Klokset said that there was “a good atmosphere” in the talks, and that the unions were sticking together to represent their members.

“I think we’ve been extremely flexible so far. It’s ‘out of this world’,’ said Henrik Thyregod, with the Danish pilots’ union. 

“This could have been solved back in December if SAS had not made unreasonable demands on the pilots,” Klokset added. 

The strike, which is now in its 12th day, has cost SAS up to 130m kronor a day, with 2,550 flights cancelled by Thursday, affecting 270,000 passengers.