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article imageSAS, Finnair merger rumored, denied

By Martin Laine     Jun 24, 2013 in Business
Rumors of a possible merger between two Scandinavian airlines circulated today, even as the EU Commission began investigating a financial restructuring deal involving SAS and the governments of Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.
The Copenhagen Post today reported that “attempts at a merger between Finnair and SAS to create a joint Nordic airline is being given good chances of succeeding by both experts and the management of both companies.”
The cause for the optimism was based on comments to another Danish paper made by Finnair’s new CEO Pekka Vauramo.
“I see potential in a merger. Our largest shareholder is thinking along those lines,” Vauramo is reported to have said in an interview in Borsen, as reported in the Post.
However, the Finnish broadcasting network Yle reported today that a Finnair spokeswoman denied that a merger was being considered, and said Vauramo’s remark was taken “out of context.”
Yle also reported that neither SAS nor Finnair would comment further on the matter.
The Finnish government is Finnair’s largest shareholder with 57% of the stock, while Denmark, Sweden, and Norway are the majority shareholders of SAS.
The idea of merging the two airlines into a single Nordic carrier is not a new one, but it has never advanced beyond the talking stage.
Airline industry analyst Jacob Peterson called the idea “captivating” and said both airlines, which have been struggling in recent years, would benefit from a merger.
“Joining together would create a strong company with a network that could cover the entire Nordic market,” Peterson said. He cautioned that he did not expect anything to happen anytime soon.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported last week that EU regulators wanted to look into a new revolving credit deal involving the governments of Sweden, Denmark and Norway, to make sure it complies with EU state aid regulations.
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