Danish government announces plan to increase share in airline SAS

Ritzau/The Local
Ritzau/The Local - [email protected]
Danish government announces plan to increase share in airline SAS
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) Airbus A320 planes parked at Copenhagen Airport in March 2020. File photo: Tt News Agency/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The Danish government has an agreement with a parliamentary majority to retain and potentially increase the share of airline SAS owned by the Danish state.


The government and other parties envisage a share of between 22 and 30 percent in the financially struggling airline, Finance Minister Nicolai Wammen said at a press briefing on Friday.

“SAS is in a difficult situation. We have had to address how we react to it in Denmark,” Wammen said.

“The company is important to Danish society,” he said.


Wammen’s comments come after Sweden, which also owns part of SAS, said on Tuesday that Stockholm will not bail out the company amid its ongoing debt struggles, adding that the Swedish state will be reducing its stake in the airline.

The crisis-hit carrier also faces potential strikes by as many as 1,000 pilots by the end of June after negotiations with trade unions broke down.  

READ ALSO: Over 1,000 SAS pilots could go on strike by late June

Denmark currently owns 21.8 percent of SAS, the same share as Sweden.

The government is prepared to convert debt owed to it by SAS, worth 3.5 billion kroner, into shares.

The Norwegian government, which sold its share in the company in 2018, was reported earlier this week to be considering a similar move.

Wammen meanwhile stated that SAS cannot expect a cash injection from the Danish state immediately. Other investors must first be secured before Copenhagen is prepared to increase its financial backing.

“Our basis for exactly where we place ourselves on ownership share will be that we get a share that is suitably robust so that we could make a new agreement, with a new major shareholder in SAS, that protects Danish interests,” he said.

If SAS is unable to convince the market that it has a viable future, the company will receive no investment, either from the market or the Danish state, Conservative financial spokesperson Rasmus Jarlov said during the briefing.

“Of course we don’t want to pour money into a company that isn’t profitable,” Jarlov said.

The government is backed by a mixture of right- and left-wing parties in its tentative plans to back SAS. Those parties are the Liberal (Venstre), Conservative, Social Liberal, Socialist People’s and Danish People’s parties.


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