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European airline SAS tanks 95% after restructuring deal

Scandinavian airline SAS aircraft of the type Airbus A321 and A320 Neo are parked at Kastrup airport.

Johan Nilsson | Afp | Getty Images

Shares in Scandinavian airline SAS plunged by 95% as markets opened on Wednesday, after the company announced a restructuring deal late on Tuesday that will see it delisted from exchanges.

Losses have since pared back, with shares last down by around 83% at 7:26 a.m. ET.

The share dive comes after the airline on Tuesday said that U.S. investment firm Castlelake and fellow aviation company Air France-KLM will become the new major shareholders of SAS and hold around 32% and 20% of the company, respectively. The Danish government is expected to own roughly 26% of SAS, whilst Danish investment firm Lind Invest will have a 8.6% stake, according to SAS.

“All of SAS AB’s common shares and listed commercial hybrid bonds are expected to be cancelled, redeemed and delisted,” SAS said in a statement on Tuesday, adding that this process is expected to take place in the second quarter of 2024.

The development follows years of financial difficulties for SAS. The airline filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. in July 2022 amid mounting pressures from pilot strikes and low demand in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Air France-KLM becoming a SAS shareholder will change dynamics amongst airlines, analyst says

SAS also said it would eventually leave airline group Star Alliance, of which it is a founding member, and become part of the Sky Team Alliance, which is associated with Air France-KLM.

The move could impact the airline industry and especially the dynamic between Sky Team and Star Alliance, Jacob Pedersen, head of equity research at Sydbank told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Wednesday.

“It shifts strength towards Sky Team, not least in the Nordic region, where some Star Alliance airlines might have to reconsider their presence or at least change strategy because they will now lose SAS as an alliance partner in this space,” he said.

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