The 70-year-old SAS has now “got up from its knees” financially. But it will probably not make enough money for the owners to manage to get rid of the company in the near future.
Last year SAS surprised the market with a billion surplus and the best result for a long time. This year the financial situation hasn’t been quite as bright, but CEO Rickard Gustafson believes the company is on the right course.
– SAS is on a big journey of change. This had been the case the case for the recent years, andwill continue to be the case, Gustafson, who has headed the company since 2011, says.
He dismisses critics who believe that companies have a vague strategy, saying that SAS has its niche and that Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm will remain hubs.
– We are a Scandinavian company, we have been so for 70 years, and we’re going to continue being that for the next 70 years, says Gustafson.
But whether it will be owned by Scandinavian governments for 70 more years , is an open question. None of the three state owners have long term strategic ownership goals. They no longer place a great importance of owning half of the shares in the company, and would not mind selling their shares if the right buyer should come along.
– I find that there is a bipartisan consensus that it’s not particulary important that the state should own shares in an airline, economics minister Monica Mæland (H) says.
Since 2011, the government have been allowed to sell its shares in SAS, but neither Mæland or her predecessor Trond Giske (Ap) has ended up in a situation where selling has been the “right thing” to do .
– Our basis is that we will not rush to sell SAS. We should do things because it is right, on behalf of the community. It is about getting the right price at the right time. There is no problem that the state owns the company. We have a long history as owners of the company. But if something happens that is right for us and the company, we will do it, she says.
Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today