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'SAS looking for a buyer': CEO

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'SAS looking for a buyer': CEO
11:12 CET+01:00
SAS Scandinavian Airlines would be better off sold or merged with another airline, the company's CEO, Mats Jansson, said on Tuesday.

"In my opinion, after we have gotten through this very difficult crisis, SAS should enter into a structural deal," he told the Dagens Nyheter daily on Tuesday.

Jansson has in the past been sceptical of selling the airline, but in Tuesday's interview he said he had "become older and wiser."

"Making it on our own is not a goal in itself ... I have reached the insight that (a sale) is definitely the best solution for all parties," he said.

SAS is majority owned by the governments of Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The Swedish government confirmed in February that it planned to seek parliamentary approval to sell its 21.4 percent stake.

Germany's leading airline Lufthansa has long been mentioned as a possible rescuer for SAS, but Jansson said it was too early to speculate on who might buy the Scandinavian company.

"First we need a capital injection from our shareholders and then we need to get our cashflow going so we can make SAS interesting again," he said, adding that "if we don't do our homework there will be no interest on the market for us."

Last month, SAS reported a worse-than-expected fourth quarter net loss of 1.3 billion kronor (£176 million) and said it would cut 650 jobs.

It also went cap in hand to its shareholders, begging for a cash injection of around €500 million ($700 million), less than a year after requesting that its owners stump up more than €600 million.

"2010 will be a very difficult year, but starting in 2011 we will show positive figures on our balance sheet," Jansson said.

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