Hainan Airlines continues stable operations, may attract new investors

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Hainan Airlines, a subsidiary of HNA Group, could attract new investors, as its operations continue to be stable.

The recent financial troubles of HNA Group, which led it to file for bankruptcy and revealed alleged money embezzlement by the group’s shareholders, might not prevent China’s fourth-biggest airline to attract strategic investors, according to the Chinese conglomerate. 

HNA Group subsidiaries, including Hainan Airlines, would spend this year negotiating to bring in strategic investors, an HNA Group executive told Reuters.

On February 1, 2021, HNA Group said that the operations of its flagship air carrier Hainan Airlines were stable. “The operation of the main aviation company is stable and normal, and the rights and interests of passengers, such as products purchased, members, and points, will not be affected,” read the HNA Group statement. Despite the announcement, the airline’s stocks fell by 10% as of February 2, 2021. 

On January 29, 2021, HNA Group applied for bankruptcy and reorganization after a long period of financial struggles. The move to file for bankruptcy came after a Chinese government-led group finalized due-diligence at HNA Group and laid out risk disposal plans on January 22, 2021.

HNA Group once attracted global attention for its aggressive spending, including stakes in hotel giant Hilton and Deutsche Bank. However, the Group’s liquidity issues emerged in 2017.

In February 2020, Chinese authorities stepped in to run what is one of the largest conglomerates in China, as it struggled to overcome the debt crisis made worse by the COVID-19 crisis. The move was made at HNA’s request.

The latest financial report published, covering the first half of 2019, showed that the company had 706.7 billion yuan ($109 billion) of debt.

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