China poised for HNA Group takeover as debts mount

HNA Group is on the point of being taken over by the Chinese government and dismantled according to reports.

The coronavirus outbreak in the country has hit the conglomerate’s ability to meet financial obligations, leaving it vulnerable to default.

According to Bloomberg the government of Hainan, the southern province where HNA is based, is in talks to take control of the company.

HNA directly controls or holds stakes in a number of local carriers, including its flagship Hainan Airlines.

The airlines are among the assets expected to be sold.

At one-point HNA Group was among most aggressive deal making firms, spending $50 billion to build an empire that once spread from Deutsche Bank to Hilton Worldwide.

It began unwinding those bets two years ago to shift the focus to its core airlines and tourism businesses, after drawing scrutiny from Beijing and other overseas regulators.

The company has in recent weeks come under pressure from the new coronavirus outbreak in China which has forced airlines to cancel thousands of flights.

Hainan Airlines and other airlines have tried to cut their losses by putting foreign pilots on unpaid leave, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Hong Kong Airlines, also part-owned by HNA, said on Friday that it will cut 400 jobs.

There have been hundreds of thousands of flight cancellations in China in recent weeks, with IATA arguing the coronavirus outbreak could cost carriers US$30 billion.

Source : Breakingtravelnews