Airline SAS assesses final bids for its bail-out from bankruptcy

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) -Scandinavian airline SAS said on Tuesday it was evaluating final bids in an equity fundraising that closed a day earlier, and which is part of an ongoing bankruptcy protection process.

The Sweden-listed company, which has been under U.S. “chapter 11” bankruptcy protection since July 2022, has since June extended the deadline for final bids twice, at the request of bidders.

“SAS will announce the winning bidder or bidders as soon as the evaluation process has been completed,” it said in a statement.

Denmark, the airline’s biggest owner alongside Sweden, has said it is willing to invest more in SAS if other investors were to take a majority stake.

Reuters reported in May that U.S. asset manager Apollo Global Management Inc planned to apply for approval from Swedish and Danish regulators to take a majority stake in SAS as part of its rescue plan.

The long-struggling carrier reported earlier a net loss of 4.41 billion Swedish crowns ($398 million) for the November through August period.

In its fiscal third quarter through July, it made its first quarterly pretax profit since late 2019, aided by lower fuel costs, higher ticket prices and strong demand.

SAS originally aimed to complete its restructuring by July, but the target has slipped to the end of the year.

Shares in the group were down 2% in mid-morning trade, taking a year-to-date fall to 36%.

($1 = 11.0744 Swedish crowns)

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom, editing by Essi Lehto and Miral Fahmy)