Norwegian Air’s finances have been bolstered by $245 million ahead of the seasonally-slower winter-flying season.
Europe’s third largest budget carrier yesterday agreed to sell its 17.5% stake in Norwegian Finans Holding (NOFI), owner of Bank Norwegian, a credit card company that it previously owned outright.
The deal with buyout firm Nordic Capital and Finnish insurer Sampo comes ahead of a €250 million bond repayment due in December.
The disposal of the credit card business stake means that Norwegian can “strengthen our core airline operations and focus on the transition from growth to profitability,” according to acting chief executive Geir Karlsen.
“The co-operation between the airline and the bank has been a great success in the Nordic region for many years and will continue without the airline holding any shares in NOFI,” he added.
The move follows the airline scrapping transatlantic flights from Ireland in September due to the grounding of the Boeing 737 Max.
The airline, which runs a network of low-fare long-haul routes from Gatwick, has been seeking to rein in capacity growth this year in a bid to return to profitability.
Norwegian’s founder and former chief executive Bjorn Kjos stepped down last month, leaving chief financial officer and deputy chief executive Karlsen to run the airline with chairman Niels Smedegaard, who joined in April, while seeking a new chief.