Hainan Airlines chairman Feng Chen is joining China’s delegation of 150 business representatives in Chinese president Xi Jinping’s state visit to Great Britain this month.
As HNA Group is in negotiations with Manchester Airport for the acquisition of a major stake in the airport, speculation is rife that Mr. Chen’s participation in the delegation could be a sign that the two parties are close to reaching a deal.
HNA Group’s European shopping spree
Hainan Airlines is probably the most adventurous of China’s carriers and is boldly attempting to achieve its dream of globalization through a series of acquisitions. Since 2010，it has been actively seeking acquisition targets and the intensity of its acquisition activity in Europe over the past six months has taken observers by surprise.
The 40 million euro offer to acquire FRAM Group
HNA Group and French shareholder Selectour Afat announced that they presented FRAM Group with a firm acquisition offer, which was reported to be up to 40 million euros, on October 12.
Acquisition of Spanish football club
HNA Group will likely acquire a 51% stake in Spanish La Liga team Reial Club Deportiu Espanyol de Barcelona, according to local media reports. This would make HNA Group the club’s largest shareholder and with full liabilities of the club.
Acquisition of the Thompson Reuter London headquarters
HNA Group’s acquisition of Thompson Reuter London headquarters in August 28 became the city’s largest acquisition of the year. HNA Group said London is the largest financial center in Europe and is a springboard for multinational companies to enter the European market. It made the acquisition to lay a solid foundation for the development pf its European operations and to raise the group’s international profile.
Acquisition of Swissport
HNA Group acquired Swiss-based airport ground service provider Swissport from PAI Partners for 2.73 billion Swiss francs. Zurich Ground Services Group said Swissport will come under the HNA banner and will complement HNA Group’s operations including aviation, airport management, logistics and travel. The acquisition is pending approved by the Swiss Competition Commission and is expected to be completed by year end.
Acquisition of Irish aircraft leasing company Avolon
On September 7, HNA Group’s subsidiary Bohai Leasing announced it had signed an agreement to fully acquire Avolon. Dublin-based Avolon has an estimated value of US$7.6 billion and owns or manages 152 aircraft. It had also ordered over 100 more aircraft as of June this year.(Translation by David)