SAS ‘not a target’ for Lufthansa

Lufthansa is not in talks with Sweden's newly elected government over the state's minority stake in SAS AB, and would in general only be interested buying controlling stakes in rivals, said the German airline's CEO Wolfgang Mayrhuber.

Mayrhuber was quoted as saying by Norwegian daily Finansvisen that the German carrier is keen to expand into new markets.

Asked by the newspaper if Lufthansa would be interested in buying the Swedish stake in SAS, he replied: “No, we are not interested in gathering shares in other airlines. Lufthansa will conquer new markets either on its own or by buying controlling stakes in other airlines.”

The newspaper added that Lufthansa would be interested in buying control of SAS, though it did not directly substantiate that comment.

The new centre-right Swedish government has pledged to substantially reduce the government’s stakes in many of the region’s leading companies.

Together, Sweden, Norway and Denmark control 50 pct of SAS, and while Denmark is thought by analysts to be considering the possibility of selling its stake, Norwegian authorities have recently dismissed the likelihood of a similar move.