Catalan investors buy SAS' Spanair

SAS Scandinavian Airlines sold 80.1 per cent of it’s Spanair operation to a group of Catalan investors for a nominal 1 euro.

Following the transaction, SAS will remain as a 19.9% minority shareholder in Spanair, and act as its industrial partner to assist in the implementation of a strategic plan, which aims at further strengthening Spanair’s position in Spain and as the leading carrier in the Barcelona region.

The catalan group of investors is a private equity group made up of some of Spain’s largest banks and builders, regional tourism authorities, a Barcelona exhibition centre and local businessmen.

Mats Jansson, SAS’ CEO adds: “We are confident that we have now secured a platform for Spanair as a Spanish based company with Spanish majority owners. Due to unprecedented market conditions, the transaction will have a significant negative impact on the Q4 earnings of the SAS Group, but we believe that the new owners will secure the future of Spanair and develop the company to the benefit of Barcelona and the Barcelona region. We will retain an interest in Spanair as a minority shareholder to support its strategic plan”.

Jordi Hereu, Barcelona’s mayor has announced that the purchase of Spainair by catalan investors is a “strategic” operation for the future El Prat airport as well as for the interests of Barcelona, Catalunya and Spain as a whole.

Spanair’s headquarters under SAS ownership has been in Palma de Mallorca. New Catalan ownership will most probably move these headquarters to Barcelona.

The swiss bank UBS has acted as financial adviser to SAS in this transaction.

Image by davidelnomo under Creative Commons.