News Column

SAS Airline Group Delays Release of Q3 Results

Nov. 8, 2012

The SAS Group, operator of troubled joint carrier Scandinavian Airlines, postponed Thursday's scheduled release of its third-quarter results, citing ongoing talks with creditors and a yet-to-be finalized cost-cutting plan.

The loss-making group is facing stiff competition from low-cost carriers such as Norwegian Air Shuttle, amid high fuel costs and overcapacity in the Scandinavian region. It also needs to invest in newer planes.

Last week, the group reported pre-tax profits of 568 million kronor (85 million dollars) for the third quarter, releasing some results a week earlier than scheduled.

The quarterly result compared with a second quarter pre-tax profit of 371 million kronor. A year ago, Q3 pre-tax profit was 276 million kronor.

SAS said it was still working on a cost-cutting programme aimed at achieving savings of 3 billion kronor before tax. The company also plans to sell non-core assets worth 3 billion kronor, but details are still pending.

In a statement Thursday, SAS said both the negotiations with creditors and its cost-cutting plan were "expected to be finalized within a few days," with full Q3 results and a report on the outcome of negotations due "no later than on November 12."

Financial daily Dagens Industri reported that five of six banks - including Swedbank, DNB and Royal Bank of Scotland - have agreed to extend loans totalling 4.7 billion kronor that expire in June, but in return wanted SAS to present a cost-cutting plan.

The group is 50-per-cent-owned by the governments of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, who have also urged belt-tightening measures.

Analysts have mentioned the regional carrier Wideroe in Norway and the SAS Eurobonus programme as potential assets that could be sold.

Source: Copyright 2012 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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