HNA Group buys 8.3% equity stake in NH Hotel Group of Spain

Updated: 2014-11-19 10:13

By Wang Wen(China Daily)

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HNA Group buys 8.3% equity stake in NH Hotel Group of Spain

A Hainan Airlines aircraft on the runway at the Meilan International Airport in Haikou, capital of Hainan province. The carrier has maintained high capacity growth to cope with the increase in travelers. [Photo / Provided to China Daily]

The HNA Group, parent company of Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines, on Tuesday acquired an additional 8.3 percent equity stake in Spanish hotel management company NH Hotel Group from Intesa San Paolo, an Italian bank.

With this the Chinese company now holds a 29.5 percent equity stake in NH Hotel, including the 20 percent it acquired in April 2013.

In January, HNA Group increased its holding and became the largest shareholder of NH Hotel then.

"Following the deal, the HNA Group will have an additional representative on the NH board and further expand its influence on the company," the group said in a statement.

NH Hotel is the third-largest hotel management company in Europe operating more than 380 hotels with almost 60,000 rooms in 26 countries and regions.

With the global aviation industry passing through a turbulent phase, the HNA Group's expansion into other businesses may help boost overall profits, said analysts.

The acquisition of NH Hotel's stake is just one step in HNA Group's globalization strategy and the group plans to be on the lookout for other acquisitions.

"We are interested only if there are good opportunities," said Chen Feng, chairman of HNA Group.

The group also plans to focus more on building up its core business to achieve the goal of being a world-class airline brand.

Hainan Airlines is ranked 32 on Fortune magazine's list of most-admired Chinese companies in 2014 and is the only Chinese carrier on the list. It has figured in the list every year since 2011.

From last year's 38th position, Hainan Airline moved up the ladder this year, which shows the huge potential of local carriers in China.

With an enlarged fleet and improved services, Hainan Airlines is now looking to expand in the global market.

It has added several new international routes this year, including Beijing-Boston and Hangzhou-Xi'an-Paris routes. Currently, the carrier has 25 international routes covering 17 destinations in 12 countries.

In order to further improve its services in the international market, the carrier recently organized road shows in Boston and Seattle to recruit flight attendants. The carrier also advertised at the prestigious Times Square in New York in October.

"The advertisement had played an important role in improving Hainan Airlines' name and reputation in the Western and other global markets," the carrier said.

As a local company in Hainan province, Hainan Airlines has benefited from the national strategy of building an international tourism island in the province during the past five years.

The growth in overnight travelers for the carrier in Hainan Island was more than 60 percent from 2009 to 2014.

The airline has maintained a high capacity growth to cope with the growth in travelers. Its daily capacity inside the island increased by 43 percent in the first quarter of this year comparing to the same period of 2010.

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