The financial situation of the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group is continuing to be questioned. Following the initial reports on missed lease payments by the HNA-owned airlines, the suspicion is raised further as a Citic Bank executive claims one of the group’s units is experiencing payment ‘difficulties’.

At the beginning of December 2017, Reuters reported that airlines owned by HNA Group are skipping payments on leased aircraft. The publication quoted Fred Browne, the CEO of aircraft leasing firm Aergo Capital, saying that the Chinese conglomerate stopped paying for the past two to three months. Other lessors in the industry are also owned for more than one aircraft, according to Browne.

More recently, on December 15, 2017, a publication by Financial Times quoted an executive of Hong Kong-based Citic Bank, stating that one of HNA’s units is having temporary liquidity issues. The bank noted that it is working on a solution with the Chinese conglomerate on its “difficulty” in payment, as the leases and debts of various HNA overseas investments are coming due.

“Recently, because loans and debt due each financial institution are all coming due at the same time, HNA Group is experiencing temporary liquidity difficulties, including difficulty repaying a commercial acceptance bill issued by Hainan Airlines to this bank,” the publication quoted an emailed statement by an unnamed executive at Citic Bank.

The HNA Group denies having financial issues. Bloomberg quotes the statement made by HNA Group director Zhao Quan at the beginning of December 2017, claiming the company has “a healthy and stable debt structure”. HNA Group’s cooperation with Citic Bank remains normal and there’s no delayed payment, according to the company’s response to Bloomberg.

HNA Group is a Chinese conglomerate based in Hainan province. The group has stakes and control in various Chinese and overseas airlines, including Hainan Airlines, HK Express, Brazilian Azul Airlines, Aigle Azur, etc. The group is also known for its aggressive investment fueled by debt in overseas companies. Over the past three years it has invested over $40 billion in international companies including Deutsche Bank and Hilton Holdings.