November 28, 2017 / 6:02 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-HNA considers listing Gategroup shares on Swiss exchange

(Adds advisory banks)

By John Miller

ZURICH, Nov 28 (Reuters) - Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, which is disposing of assets after a debt-fuelled buying spree, is now considering a public listing for its Swiss airline caterer Gategroup Holding, the subsidiary said on Tuesday.

Gategroup, purchased by HNA last year for $1.5 billion, said in a statement that the SIX Swiss Exchange in Zurich was being considered as a potential listing location.

“The structure and timing of any offering or listing are yet to be determined,” Gategroup said in a statement.

HNA is expected to work with UBS and Credit Suisse on the planned initial public offering, people close to the matter said.

HNA and the banks were not immediately available for comment.

HNA Group Chairman Adam Tan’s plans for Gategroup, which was listed in Switzerland before HNA bought it, come as he unloads some investments and real estate to improve liquidity and to conform with Chinese policies after making deals valued at more than $50 billion over two years.

Those transactions, which included stakes in Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc and Deutsche Bank, have prompted increased scrutiny from regulators and bankers due to announced changes to HNA’s shareholding structure and its use of leverage.

Last week, Swiss regulators separately announced they were evaluating what they called “untrue” or “incomplete” information given by the Chinese group during its takeover of Gategroup in 2016.

The Swiss Takeover Board has enlisted Ernst & Young to examine whether the controlling group complied with minimum price rules and best price regulations in the deal, with HNA responding “the decision ... does not have any impact on the validity of the takeover.”

HNA has said it is cooperating with the Swiss board’s officials. (Reporting by John Miller, additional reporting by Arno Schuetze; Editing by Greg Mahlich/Andrew Heavens/Alexander Smith)

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