HNA adds to stake in airport retailer Dufry

Updated: 2017-08-22 09:16

Chinese conglomerate HNA Group has completed the acquisition of a 16.2 percent stake in Swiss airport retailer Dufry AG from Singaporean sovereign funds GIC and Temasek, Dufry and HNA said on Monday.

No value for the deal was given, but considering that Dufry's current market capitalization of $8.5 billion, the stake would be worth about $1.4 billion. HNA's total stake in the Swiss group will rise to 20.92 percent, the firms said.

HNA, one of China's most acquisitive conglomerates, now spans its business across aviation, finance, real estate, logistics, hospitality, tourism and ecological technology, and it is adding news media to its portfolio.

HNA said the Dufry shares purchase was in line with China's Belt and Road policies, as Dufry's businesses cover many countries and regions on the Belt and Road map.

Dufry runs more than 2,200 duty-free and duty-paid shops across five continents. Dufry said the two companies have started to look at possible areas of collaboration, with a view to getting more business from domestic and international Chinese travelers.

HNA said its acquisition of Dufry shares was funded entirely by offshore capital. HNA is now Dufry's largest shareholder, a person familiar with HNA said.

Separately, HNA said on Monday that it is progressing with its proposed $1 billion purchase of Singapore-listed logistics firm CWT Ltd.

HNA, which has been in exclusive talks with CWT for more than a year, said one of its fully owned subsidiaries will hold a meeting in September to seek approval from shareholders for a transaction. It expected a notice of the general meeting to be sent to shareholders on Monday.

HNA said in April that its subsidiary, HNA Belt and Road Investments (Singapore) Pte. Ltd, would offer to buy CWT for nearly $1 billion.

"One of the reasons that the government proposed the Belt and Road Initiative is to find partners for domestic enterprises. As a critical point of the route, Singapore has its advantages and deserves attention," said Li Xiaojin, a professor of aviation economics at the Civil Aviation University of China in Tianjin.

"As a diversified enterprise, logistics is one of the largest sectors at HNA Group. Singaporean logistics firms are very competitive, as they integrate the advantages of the Western markets, such as international experiences and advanced regulations, and the advantages of oriental culture, which makes it easy for Chinese companies."

Reuters and China Daily

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