Struggling SAS in talks to dispose of Wideroe and ground handling unit

Scandinavian airline SAS AB (STO:SAS) has kicked off talks with investors interested in the sale of its ground handling business and Norwegian airline Wideroe’s Flyveselskap AS the company’s CEO Rickard Gustafson revealed today.

SAS has shortlisted the parties seeking to become the new owners of SAS Ground Handling, Gustafson told news agency Reuters, but added that given the complexity of the negotiations, there was no certainty about when a deal would be agreed.

SAS agreed to dispose of the ground handling unit in November after talks with trade unions as part of its measures to remain afloat.

As to the sale of Wideroe, Gustafson said it was yet to make a shortlist of the candidates for the airline despite interest seen from several parties.

SAS has been experiencing tough competition from sector player Norwegian Air and Ryanair (LON:RYA) and a spike in costs that made the airline resort to asset sales under a rescue plan announced last month. The company expects to generate some SEK3bn (USD453m/EUR348m) in proceeds from divestments, it said in November.

Over the past 12 years, SAS has disposes of assets worth some SEK100bn, but has been in the red since 2007.