SAS Shares Rise On Takeover Speculation

January 10, 2012

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Shares in Scandinavian airline SAS rose on Tuesday as a Norwegian paper said Qatar Airways might be interested in buying the company.

Norwegian paper Dagens Naringsliv quoted Travelbroker CEO Ole Kirchert Christensen saying the two airlines were a perfect fit.

"I think it is in the area of pure speculation," says Jacob Pedersen, analyst at Sydbank. "It's possible, but then everything is possible. Lufthansa could do the same and other companies are also a good fit with SAS."

He says that SAS has been surrounded by take-over speculation for years without anything happening.

"I really don't think anything is going to happen short-term either," Pedersen says.

Loss-making SAS has been struggling against overcapacity, cut-price rivals and an aged fleet of planes for years.

The airline, half-owned by Sweden, Denmark and Norway, has not made a full-year profit since 2007 and has only been in the black three times in the last 10 years. It expects a slight profit for 2011.

(Reuters)