The Norwegian government has sold its remaining stake in Scandinavian Airlines (SAS).

The country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries disposed of the state’s remaining 37.8 million shares, representing 9.88% of the airline’s ordinary shares.

Reuters reported that the stake was sold for SEK652 million ($72.4 million).

The government had previously made it clear that it did not regard itself as a long-term continuing stakeholder in the tri-national airline; the Swedish and Danish governments remain the largest shareholders in the company.

The Norwegian parliament had renewed authorization for the government to sell its shares several times, most recently in the 2018 national budget.

The government has been gradually reducing its shareholding in the carrier for some time. In a statement announcing the share sale, it said that its ownership stake had been “purely commercial.” It added that the airline would not make any strategic or operational changes following the divestment.

The Norwegian state appointed Nordea, Pareto and UBS as joint global coordinators and bookrunners for the transaction. Swedbank and Wiersholm acted as independent financial advisor and legal counsel respectively to the Norwegian state.

An SAS spokeswoman confirmed the sale to institutional investors, but said the company was unable to give any further comment on the matter.

Alan Dron