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SAS avoids bankruptcy after unions approve plan

Associated Press Published: November 19, 2012

The restructuring plan, presented last week, aims to cut costs by $3 billion kronor ($440 million) annually. It proposes slashing 800 administrative positions and eventually reducing staff numbers from 15,000 to 9,000 as thousands of jobs will be outsourced.

The savings plan also includes new union agreements for personnel, centralizing corporate headquarters in Stockholm, and selling assets.

While welcoming the deal, analysts were cautious given that SAS has been through several austerity programs before.

"SAS is creating for itself a platform that can bring the company out of crisis, but it is not certain they will succeed," said Jacob Pedersen, an analyst at Denmark's Sydbank. "SAS has been through saving schemes over the past 10 years, and they are still losing money. So there is a need for more than just a plan before I start clapping my hands."

SAS shares were up more than 24 percent at 6.95 kronor in Stockholm, where the group is headquartered.