STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The Swedish government is seeking buyers for its holding in airline SAS (SAS.ST), business magazine Affarsvarlden reported on Wednesday, citing unidentified sources.
Nordic bank Nordea was trying to line up buyers and a consortium of private investors was eyeing the stake in the airline but had so far struggled to secure funding for a deal, the magazine reported.
“At least two investors are on board, but they need an additional few partners to nail down the funding to take over the entire stake,” the magazine quoted an unidentified source as saying.
A government official at the enterprise ministry said in an emailed statement that the government had nothing to add beyond repeating that it did not consider itself a long-term owner of the Scandinavian airline.
“We have no knowledge of the information regarding Nordea in the media,” State Secretary Eva Lindstrom said.
The Swedish government owns a 17 percent stake in SAS but has a parliamentary mandate to sell the shares in the airline which has struggled in recent years in the face of fierce competition and a high cost base.
Sweden and Norway last year sold 23 million shares in SAS in a first step toward the governments exiting their long-standing holdings in the carrier.
SAS shares were down 1.6 percent at 1052 GMT, underperforming a 1.0 percent rise in the Stockholm bourse's broad all share index .OMXSPI.
Reporting by Johan Ahlander; editing by Niklas Pollard and Elaine Hardcastle