MIAMI — Chinese carrier Hainan Airlines has sold the remaining stake it had on Brazilian carrier, Azul, for $306.25 million to a group of American investors.
In 2016, the Chinese group paid $450 million for a 23.7% stake in the Brazilian carrier as part of a $50 billion acquisition spree that included stakes in Aigle Azur, Comair, MyCargo Airlines, TAP Portugal, Virgin Australia, and leasing company Avolon, among others.
Today, the HNA Group said that it sold 19.3 American Depositary Shares it had on Azul at $16.15 per unit.
Two Months On Sale
Back in June, the HNA group began to sell all of the shares it held over Azul, which, at the moment, represented a $320 million trade based on current market rates.
The HNA Group has been dealing with losses of around $94 billion. The conglomerate initiated a lot of asset sell-offs and IPOs to raise liquidity in order to manage their debts.
“The offering is part of Hainan’s strategic plan, which includes capital raising initiatives, selected divestments, as well as investments in airlines and in the aviation services sector,” explained Azul in a public statement in June.
The Chinese group, which owned about 17% of the Brazilian carrier, had decided to release its shares following an increase in its outstanding debt.
After releasing the value of the transaction, the HNA Group lost approximately $143 million in value over Azul’s shares.
Currently, the Chinese conglomerate is affiliated with a myriad of Chinese airlines, including Beijing Capital Airlines, Fuzhou Airlines, Hainan Airlines, HK Express, Hong Kong Airlines, Tianjin Airlines, and Urumqui Air, among others.
HK Airlines released in an internal memo that it will delay the delivery of “several aircraft” over the next few years.
“While we won’t receive any additional Airbus A330s in 2018, we will still receive two additional A350s in the fall. Other aircraft that were planned for 2018 and early 2019 will now be delayed until 2019,” said the airline.
Last month, the group wasn’t able to pay for some Airbus A330s that were supposed to be delivered.
Azul Continues Growing
Meanwhile, in Brazil, Azul continues its spectacular growth, confirming its status as the country’s second-largest carrier.
Last month, during the Farnborough International Air Show, the airline placed an order for 21 Embraer E195-E2, of which it is the launch customer.
The airline boasts a strong fleet of 126 airliners, of which 17 are Airbus A320neos, seven Airbus A330s, 38 ATR 42/72 turboprops, and 64 Embraer E1 family jets.
Moreover, the carrier is expected to receive the first of five Airbus A330-900neos during the last quarter of this year. Azul ordered the new engine option A330 in September 2017, which will come under a leasing agreement with Avolon.
The carrier continues to expand its network in Brazil and South America with latest-generation airliners.