HNA Group Co., Ltd., is a Chineseconglomerate headquartered in Haikou, Hainan, China. Founded in 2000, it is involved in numerous industries including aviation, real estate, financial services, tourism, logistics, and more. It is a part owner of Grand China Air, and owns 25% of Hilton Worldwide. In July 2017, HNA Group ranked No. 170 in 2017 Fortune Global 500 list with a revenue of $53.335 billion. It is one of the most active investment companies in the world, acquiring numerous assets under its name. In 2021, the corporation declared bankruptcy after debt restructuring efforts failed.
In 1993, Chen Feng and Wang Jian created Hainan Airlines, with approval by the Hainan Provincial Government. Following a restructuring of the airline in 1997, they founded HNA Group Co. Ltd. in January 2000. Since then, the Group has undergone great diversification, entering multiple industries such as tourism and logistics. It also significantly expanded its involvement with both national and international companies. These include several airlines, NH Hotel Group,Uber, and an office tower and a hotel in New York City. HNA Group has spent more than US$3 billion on foreign acquisitions. It intends to be one of the top 50 companies in the world by 2030.
In October 2005, Soros Quantum Fund invested $25 million stake in HNA Group.
On February 18, 2016, HNA reached an agreement to acquire Ingram Micro Inc, a California-based technology distributor, for $6 billion, in the largest Chinese takeover of a US information technology company. HNA Group was then advised by China International Capital Corporation in the transaction.
In July 2017, HNA was targeted by the Central Government in a set of new measures that prohibit state-owned banks from lending money to Chinese private companies to curb their foreign investment activities and also over concerns about HNA's debt levels. Several banks associated with HNA's foreign investments halted new loans since, though some had already suspended their grants before the measures were signed into effect.
A year out after investing, HNA Group was in talks to sell some or all of its 25% share in Hilton Grand Vacations, a timeshare business which had spun off from Hilton Worldwide Holdings the year before.
Overall debt in 2017 is said to have reached $94 billion at a borrowing cost of $5 billion for the full year. To ease the burden, the company disposed of assets worth $13 billion. The liquidity shortage also led the non-delivery of up to six Airbus A330 aircraft to be delivered to the group.
On 29 January 2021, HNA Group declared bankruptcy after debt restructuring efforts failed. The Hainan High Court criticized the company's corporate governance structure regarding management of its affiliates in the ruling. Hainan Airlines confirmed that it was operating as normal. Creditors were demanding the equivalent of US$ 187 billion in liabilities from the company. It is expected for the restructuring to take one year to complete. As part of the restructuring, most of the shares of HNA Group will be transferred to its creditors.
The total number of employees in the Group is over 410,000 and the number of overseas employees is nearly 290,000, owning RMB330 billion in overseas assets since its major acquisitions began in 2010.
On 18 January 2016, HNA Aviation formed the world's first alliance of low-cost carriers, U-FLY Alliance. While the founding members of the alliance--HK Express, Lucky Air, Urumqi Air, and West Air--are all affiliated with HNA Aviation, the alliance is also open to airlines not within HNA Group.
On 27 March 2019, HNA Aviation sold full stake of HK Express to Cathay Pacific for HK$4.93 billion. The transaction was expected to be completed by 31 December 2019, and by that time HK Express would become Cathay Pacific's wholly owned subsidiary.
In 2015, the HNA Group purchased a failing hotel in Kerhonkson, New York in upstate New York. The Hudson Valley Resort & Spa was featured on an October 2017 Planet Money podcast exploring why a Chinese multinational company would invest in a remote hotel in the United States
Deutsche Bank (previously 9.90% as the largest shareholder as of April 2017, jointly owned by subsidiaries BL Capital Holdings and HNA Innovation Finance Group via C-QUADRAT Special Situations Dedicated Fund; stake reduced to 8.8% as of February 16, 2018)
In January 2015, affiliate Bohai Leasing purchased the Bermuda-based container leasing group, Cronos Limited, for EUR2.18 billion.
In June 2015, HNA purchased a 6.2% interest in the South African airline, Comair.
In June 2015, HNA Group bought a 15 percent stake in Red Lion Hotels Corporation from Columbia Pacific Advisors.
In July 2015, HNA Group purchased airport ground handler Swissport International Ltd. from PAI Partners SAS for 2.73 billion Swiss francs (US$2.8 billion).
In November 2015, the HNA Group announced it would invest US$450 million in low-cost carrier Azul Brazilian Airlines, becoming its single largest shareholder, with a 23.7% interest.
In November 2015, HNA Group announced it would make a 10% investment in French hotelier Pierre & Vacances.
In late 2015, HNA Group acquired the US-based start-up travel portal Travana with an investment of US$27.5 million.
In January 2016, the HNA Group via its Bohai Leasing affiliate, purchased Irish aircraft leasing company Avolon. When combined with HNA's existing aircraft leasing business, the new entity with over 500 aircraft will become the world's fourth largest aircraft leasing business by asset value.
In February 2016, the HNA Group agreed to purchase technology distributor, Ingram Micro for $6.0 billion, via its controlled affiliate, Tianjin Tianhai Investment Co Ltd.
In April 2016, the HNA Group purchased gategroup, the 2nd largest airline-catering company in the world, for $1.5 billion.
In May 2016, the HNA Group purchased 49.99% of Air France's catering and cleaning subsidiary, Servair, with the option to increase its stake to 80% if certain conditions are met. When combined with previously purchased Gategroup, HNA will own and operate the world's largest airline catering company.
In May 2016, the HNA Group purchased a 7% interest in private consortium Atlantic Gateway, the owner of 50% of TAP Airlines, as well as convertible shares, which if exercised, would increase its stake in Atlantic to 40% and its indirect ownership of TAP to 20%.
In July 2016, the HNA Group purchased an 80% stake in the Zurich-based aircraft maintenance organization SR Technics from Abu Dhabi's state investment company Mubadala.
In January 2017, HNA Group announced the purchase of asset finance firm UDC Finance Limited, New Zealand's largest non-bank lender, for NZL $660 million (US$460 million) by its Tip Trailer Services affiliate in Europe. The sale was still pending as of October 2017 due to regulatory issues.
In February 2017, HNA Group's HNA Capital arm purchased a 3.04% stake in Deutsche Bank. Their stake was soon after increased to 4.76% and then to 9.9% in May 2017, becoming their single largest shareholder.
In March 2017, HNA Group announced that it would purchase an 82.5% equity interest in Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, a former US military airbase which is popular with budget and cargo carriers (though 120 km from Frankfurt). This is the HNA Group's first acquisition of a non-Chinese airport.
In March 2017, affiliates of the HNA Group purchased a 25 percent interest in Old Mutual's U.S. asset management business for US$446 million.
In March 2017, affiliates of the HNA Group purchased an aggregate 400,000 square feet of land at the former site of the Kai Tak Airport in Hong Kong for US$1.135 billion. HNA plans to develop the land into a "world-class integrated residential complex."
In April 2017, HNA Group affiliate, Avolon, completed the purchase of CIT Group's aircraft leasing business for US$10.38 billion making HNA the 3rd largest aircraft leasing company in the world with a fleet of 868 aircraft.
In April 2017, HNA Group purchased a 16.8% stake in Swiss-based travel retailer Dufry. Their stake was increased to 20.92% in August 2017; the value of their interest is $1.4 billion.
In March 2019, HNA agreed to sell its 69.54% interest in Hong Kong International Construction Management Group to the Blackstone Group for $894 million.
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The shares of HNA Group were owned by two companies directly: Hainan Jiaoguan Holding (Chinese: ; pinyin: H?inán ji?ogu?n kòngg?; lit. 'Hainan Traffic Administration Holding') for 70% and Yangpu Jianyun Investments (Chinese: ) for 30%. Two companies originally were incorporated by Chinese state-owned enterprises, such as Haikou Meilan International Airport.
Hainan Traffic Administration Holding was 50% owned by Tang Dynasty Development (Yangpu) (Chinese: ?()), 25% by Yangpu Hengsheng Chuangye (Chinese: ) and 18.21% by Yangpu Zhongxin Airlines Holding (Chinese: ) and 6.78% by Hainan Xinhuading Trading (Chinese: ?) as of March 2017.
Yangpu Hengsheng Chuangye was owned by HK incorporated company Headstreams Investment (simplified Chinese: ; traditional Chinese: ), which was 98% owned by Bharat Bhisé and 2% by R.J. Conrads in 2004. As in 2015 Bhisé still owned 98% of Headstreams Investment, while the 2% stake of Headstreams was owned by Caymans-incorporated HAC (RAC), Limited as in 2011. In 2016, Bhisé also transferred the stake of Headstreams to Jun Guan.
Yangpu Jianyun Investments and Yangpu Zhongxin Airlines Holding were owned by The Committee of Hainan Airlines Trade Union (Chinese: ). However, all the stake owned by the union, were transferred in 2016. According to the record in the National Credit Information Publicity System, part of the stake (6.78%) of Hainan Traffic Administration Holding held by Zhongxin Airlines Holding was transferred to newly established company Xinhuading. While Jianyun Investments was now owned by HNA Group directors Chen Feng (Chinese: , 35.05%), Wang Jian (Chinese: , 35.05%), Chen Wenli (Chinese: , 9.23%), Tan Xiangdong (Chinese: , 6.89%), Li Jing (Chinese: , 6.89%) and Li Xianhua (Chinese: , 6.89%). For Zhongxin Airlines Holding, the owners also became the 6 shareholders of Jianyun Investments with the same ratio; for newly established Xinhuading, the shareholders were 4 more HNA Group directors Lu Ying (Chinese: ), Zhang Ling (Chinese: ) Huang Gan (Chinese: ) and Huang Qijun (Chinese: ).
After much speculation on his identity, Guan Jun, by-then the indirect second largest shareholder of HNA Group (who acquired the stake from Bharat Bhisé), donated the stake to a US-registered private foundation Hainan Cihang Charity Foundation, Inc. in 2017.
Reuters also interviewed Bharat Bhisé, who had served as a director of several subsidiaries of HNA Group, as well as a business partner in acquisition via Bhisé's owned Bravia Capital as well as a dealmaker, say he hold the shares of HNA Group indirectly, was "an 'accommodation' to the company and received no compensation for doing so". HNA Group also sued in exile Chinese billionaire Guo Wengui for defamation in June 2017, which Guo was spreading the rumour on the identity of the true owner of the group.
In 2017, the Swiss Takeover Board ruled that HNA Group provided false information regarding Bhisé and Guan on the takeover of Gategroup. In September 2019, the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority announced that it would lodge a criminal complaint against HNA Group for repeatedly filing false disclosures of its shareholding structure.