BBN: SAS pressures government into selling its shares in Estonian Air

 SAS Group that owns 49 percent of Estonian Air is ready to inject more capital into the airline only if it gets the Estonian government’s 34 percent holding.

Äripäev has obtained a copy of a letter signed by Mats Jansson, President and CEO, where SAS Group says that it could participate in a new capital injection in Estonian Air only if the government of Estonia simultaneously sells its shares in the company to SAS.

Jansson said in his letter that he found recent statements made by the Minister of Economic Affairs Juhan Parts about Estonian Air irresponsible and unwise. “In SAS opinion it is very unwise and not consistent with a responsible transportation policy to make statement such as those that have been reported in the media allegedly made by the Minister of Economic Affairs and Communication last Thursday where the word bankruptcy was cited as being used in connection with Estonian Air.

SAS said that Estonian Air was having liquidity problems that need to be solved by the end of this month at the latest.

Estonian Minister of Economic Affairs Juhan Parts told Äripäev that in his opinion the proposal of SAS is not serious. “We are definitely not selling. But I should say something only we have formed an opinion and made a decision,” said Parts.

The government has no plans to discuss the situation of Estonian Air in its today’s session.

Äripäev has received information that the government has discussed the proposal that was made in the letter dated November 17. No outcome is in sight, however, since both Finance Minister Ivari Padar refuses to discuss injecting EEK 300 mln in the airline and Minister of Economic Affairs Juhan Parts says that sale of Estonian Air would be the end of domestic aviation and the time for such a sale is the worst possible.

By some reports, Estonian Air could end this year with a loss of EEK 100 million. It needs 300 million kroons to buy three Bombardier aircrafts.

Source: BBN

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