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Finnair to open up to foreign investment


State ownership clause likely to be abolished

A change in the law in Finland allowing the government to further reduce its stake in Finnair is likely to be made in the next few months. A vote in the Finnish parliament will be held that abolishes a clause keeping the airline in state hands, opening the way for alliances and M&A deals. Heidi Hautala, international development minister, told journalists she would speed up plans to open the airline to foreign investment, cutting the state’s stake from the current 55.8% to below 50%.
As previously reported, Finnair is expected to have had a profitable year in 2012 – its earnings are due on February 8 – but it faces tough competition from low-cost carriers. It is also going through leadership changes.
“I think this is exactly the right time to move on with this issue so that the new board and upcoming CEO would have a chance to consider different options,” Hautala said. “It is clear that its chances to ally with others are smaller if the state’s proportion remains as big as it is now.”
[pictured: Finnair Airbus A340; courtesy Finnair]


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