Max Kingsley-Jones/LONDON

BRAATHENS SAFE is to take a 50% stake in the scheduled arm of Transwede. The Swedish carrier could become a wholly owned subsidiary by the end of 1997. The move represents the first foreign foray for Braathens, Norway's leading private airline.

A letter of intent has been signed with Transwede Airways' holding company, which should see the deal go through by September once due diligence has been completed. Braathens then has the option to acquire the remaining 50% by the end of 1997.

The two shareholders will equally fund an SKr70 million ($10.3 million) loan to help bolster Transwede Airways finances. A year ago, the Transwede group began a radical restructuring in an attempt to reverse mounting losses. As part of the move, the scheduled Transwede Airways operations were separated out, with the charter business formed into a new Transwede Leisure division unaffected by the Braathens acquisition.

Per Odegaard, Braathens executive vice-president, will be president of Transwede Airways. A new chairman will also be named soon.

Transwede Airways operates five leased Fokker 100s and employs 300 people. It carried 800,000 passengers in 1995.

Source: Flight International