The Norwegian state sells out of SAS completely
The Norwegian State’s remaining 37.8 million shares in SAS were put up for sale on Tuesday. Denmark is a potential buyer, according to air traffic analyst.
Denmark has for a long time been interested in strengthening its ownership in SAS, says air traffic analyst Hans Jørgen Elnæs to NTB.
– This is due to the fact that the Danish state controls most of Copenhagen Airport Kastrup. I think they are interested in getting a hold on SAS to ensure that the airline stays a long-term and major player at Kastrup, says Elnæs.
He was a little surprised when the news about the sale was announced on Tuesday evening.
-I was a little surprised by the timing. But it may be that there is a buyer in the market now. SAS has come a long way in getting things straight. The interest from investors can therefore be increasing, says Elnæs.
The Scandinavian Airlines Systems (SAS) share was traded at NOK 16.45 when the Oslo Stock Exchange ended trade on Tuesday. The state’s stake, which corresponds to 9.88 per cent of all shares in SAS, is worth just over NOK 620 million at today’s price. The stock price has fallen since October last year, when it was at just over NOK 26 per share.
Press Officer for SAS in Norway, Knut Morten Johansen, is however not surprised.
– This is in accordance with what we have been informed about earlier, says Johansen, who does not want to make any further comments.
Power of attorney in several rounds
– The Government has for a long time been clear about that the state is not to be owner of SAS over time. The Norwegian Parliament has on several occasions provided the Government with the power of attorney to sell out of the company. That Carte Blanche we are now planning to use, Minister of Industry, Torbjørn Røe Isaksen (Conservatives), writes in an email to NTB.
He does not want to say anything about the reason behind why the state wants to sell their shares right now.
– Because the process is happening just now, we can not comment on the matter beyond what is stated in the stock exchange announcement, says the Minister for Industry. In a press release, the Ministry emphasizes that the ownership of SAS only has been related to business.
For the last time
Norway has also previously sold shares in SAS and will no longer hold any stakes in the airline after this sale is completed. The Swedish Government has also sold shares in the company previously.
At several occasions, the last in 2010, the Scandinavian countries inject billions into SAS to keep the company afloat.
– Then it was made crystal clear that it was for the last time, says Elnæs.
According to the ministry, the minimum order is set to the number of shares corresponding to a total purchase price equaling € 100,000. Salget vil bli rettet mot institusjonelle investorer.
The state has engaged Nordea, Pareto and UBS as facilitators for the sale.
© NTB scanpix / #Norway Today