Sweden, Norway: SAS better in private hands

Governments reduce stakes in their state-owned airline
Sweden and Norway have reduced their stakes in SAS, saying the airline would perform better in private hands. But Denmark says it will not be selling any of its shares, for now.
SAS has so far not been involved in the ongoing consolidation taking place in the European airline sector, but rumours have persisted that Lufthansa, for example, could buy a stake.
The Swedish government has cut its stake to 17.1% from 21.3%, selling to institutional investors, while the Norwegian government cut its shareholding to 11.5% from 14.2%. Denmark retains a 14.2% stake.
Mikael Damberg, Sweden’s enterprise and innovation minister, said that “the sale is the first step in a gradual and responsible disposal of the Swedish and the Norwegian state’s ownership.”
“There are no good reasons why the state should own an airline,” Norway’s economy minister Monica Maeland added. “The government has been clear that the company will benefit other owners than the Norwegian government and the transaction contributes to this.”
SAS has suffered in recent years from fierce competition from low-cost carriers, though it swung back to profit last year through lower fuel prices and cost cuts.
The Wall Street Journal