SAS to sell stake in Bmi

3 Feb 2009 by Mark Caswell

Scandinavian Airlines
has announced it is to sell its stakes in Bmi and other carriers, as well as plans
to lay off 3,000 staff and streamline its network.

The airline’s “Core
SAS” strategy aims to “create an SAS that generates
long-term value for shareholders and pro-actively addresses the current
industry dynamics, internal challenges and the global recessionary environment”.

Part of this
strategy includes the divesting of “companies that are not directly included in
core operations”. The airline had already announced its plans to sell stakes in
Spanair and Air Baltic, but has now added to that list its holdings in Bmi,
Estonian Air, Skyways, Cubic and Trust.

SAS announced a net loss of €592m (SEK6.3bn) for 2008, and says it will make 3,000 employees
redundant, in addition to the 5,600 staff which will leave the group “as part
of operations that will be divested or outsourced”.

The airline also
says it plans to streamline its network, focus on its Nordic home market and on
“the needs of business travellers”, and downsize its short-haul fleet by around
10 per cent, with the long-haul fleet seeing a cut of around 18 per cent.

The carrier has
not revealed which routes are to be cut, but its long-haul fleet will be
reduced by two aircraft from 11 to nine, and “unprofitable routes will be

SAS currently
holds a 20 per cent stake in Bmi, while Lufthansa recently acquired Sir Michael
Bishop’s 50 per cent holding in the airline, taking its stake in Bmi to 80 per

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