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NOVEMBER 2018

Week 44

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HNA selling Lucky Air to China Eastern?

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November 2nd 2018

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Cash-strapped HNA Group is in the process of selling one of its most prized assets, low-cost carrier Lucky Air, the Financial Times reported this week. Read More » It said HNA hoped to sell a 60% shareholding in Lucky Air to China Eastern Airlines. The remaining 40% equity would be absorbed by Yunnan Sasac, Yunnan’s state-owned asset regulator, the newspaper said, citing former owners of Lucky Air who oppose the sale.

No sale price has been disclosed. Lucky Air is saddled with debt exceeding CNY4.5 billion, of which approximately a third will mature in the next six months.

HNA Group’s financial woes must be worse than initially expected. Until recently, the conglomerate had insisted its aviation and tourism-related assets would come last in an asset sell-off. Lucky Air is the second such entity to be offered for sale after it emerged last month that HNA was looking for a buyer for Swissport, acquired by HNA for US$2.8 billion in 2015. Toronto-based Brookfield Asset Management Inc. has emerged as one of the bidders for the air service provider.

Following a multi-year acquisition spree, HNA Group has debt exceeding US$78 billion. The Haikou-headquartered conglomerate has has sold approximately US$18 billion in assets this year, including a US$6.5 billion shareholding in Hilton Worldwide.

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