(Yicai Global) June 23 -- Chinese conglomerate Fangda Group Industrial has also expressed its interest in buying troubled HNA Group's aviation assets after the two other potential bidders of Juneyao Air and Yuyuan Tourist Mart Group, according to insiders.
Liaoning province-based Fangda recently set up a company named Hainan Fangda Aviation Development with CNY30 billion (USD4.6 billion) in registered capital, according to corporate data platform Tianyancha. The new firm's business scope is public air transport and asset management services.
Fangda Aviation is the steel and chemicals maker's project company to acquire HNA Group's aviation assets, multiple insiders familiar with the matter told Yicai Global.
The Hainan High People’s Court declared Haikou-based HNA bankrupt in March and ordered it to begin restructuring. An overaggressive diversification drive saw the aviation-to-financial services group run up debts of USD94 billion by 2017.
Four potential investors have offered to negotiate with HNA about its aviation assets, Yicai Global learned at Hainan Airlines' first creditor meeting. They were hoping to finish choosing the final group of investors by this month.
In April, Shanghai-based airline Juneyao Air said it plans to stump up CNY5 billion (USD771.5 million) for a consortium that is said to be interested in the assets which include Hainan Airlines, China’s fourth-largest carrier.
In May, Shanghai-based Yuyuan Tourist, a unit of Chinese conglomerate Fosun International, said it was setting up a CNY40 billion fund which is also said to target HNA’s aviation assets.
In comparison to the other potential bidders, Fangda lacks experience in aviation but it could have an edge in airplane materials manufacturing. The units that formed Fangda Aviation are unlisted steel producers.
Fangda does, however, have some experience in successful acquisitions. After purchasing Nanchang Iron and Steel, as well as Pingxiang Steel and Iron, the two units have been performing great, insiders in the steel and iron industry said to Yicai Global.
HNA has nearly 670 commercial planes, and operates more than 1,500 routes. It holds 12 domestic and two overseas passenger carrier licenses, as well as four cargo permits. It employed 64,000 people in its airline business as of last year.
Editor: Emmi Laine, Xiao Yi