Denmark could sell stake in SAS

The Danish government on Thursday said it was prepared to sell its 14.3 percent stake in Scandinavian Airlines Systems (SAS) if Sweden opted to sell its share in the business.

Sweden’s centre-right opposition has signalled it plans to sell the Swedish state’s holdings in a number of companies, including its 21.4 percent stake in SAS, if it wins the country’s legislative elections on September 17.

SAS is half-owned by the three Scandinavian states. The Danish and Norwegian governments each hold 14.3 percent of SAS, while Sweden holds 21.4 percent. The remaining 50 percent is listed on the Copenhagen, Oslo and Stockholm stock exchanges.

“If the next Swedish administration agrees with the Norwegian government to sell (their shares), I will work actively to sell off Denmark’s stake,” Danish Finance Minister Thor Pedersen told the financial daily Boersen.

“The (Danish) state has no immediate interest in owning SAS shares,” Pedersen added.

According to Boersen, the Danish and Norwegian governments have kept their stakes in the airline to prevent Sweden from buying them and thereby concentrating SAS to Stockholm.

The Danish stake is valued at around 1.5 billion kroner (201 million euros, 258 million dollars), based on the current share price.


‘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.