Date
15 December 2018
HNA Group is said to have turned to a state-owned bad debt manager as it seeks to offload more assets in order to cut its debt. Photo: Bloomberg
HNA Group is said to have turned to a state-owned bad debt manager as it seeks to offload more assets in order to cut its debt. Photo: Bloomberg

HNA Group in talks with Cinda over asset disposals: report

China’s HNA Group has turned to state-owned bad debt manager Cinda Asset Management for advice on asset disposals, Reuters reports, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

HNA Group’s vice president, Dennis Chen, the nephew of its chairman Chen Feng, met with Cinda President Chen Xiaozhou on Tuesday to discuss cooperation, sources were quoted as saying.

It was not immediately clear what role Beijing-based Cinda is playing in HNA’s asset disposals, but at the meeting, Cinda told HNA it stands ready to help, the report said.

“Cinda will continue to support HNA’s strategic transformation and its asset disposals in core and auxiliary businesses,” Cinda’s president was quoted as saying in an internal memo sent to HNA staff.

“Especially when HNA is in a relatively difficult time, there is all the more reason for us to increase our support,” the president said in the memo which was accessed by Reuters.

HNA has attracted much scrutiny for its US$50 billion worth of deals in recent years that included hotels in the United States and left it the largest shareholder in Deutsche Bank.

Faced with soaring debts and China’s crackdown on aggressive deal-making firms, the airlines-to-finance conglomerate has been pushing ahead with a series of asset sales, Reuters noted.

Disposals so far included real estate and stakes in hotel groups. This week, unit Hainan Airlines announced the sale of a 40 percent stake in Urumqi Air to a local government entity for an undisclosed amount.

HNA has also offloaded a 25 percent holding in asset manager BrightSphere, worth about US$343 million, to US hedge fund manager John Paulson.

Last week, Chairman Chen told Chinese business magazine Caijing that HNA had sold almost 300 billion yuan (US$43 billion) in assets this year and that it would continue the disposals.

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RC

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