February 26, 2009 / 7:47 AM / 11 years ago

China Eastern shareholders approve $1 bln placement

SHANGHAI, Feb 26 (Reuters) - China Eastern Airlines (0670.HK) (600115.SS) won shareholders’ approval on Thursday for a share placement plan that will bring it a capital injection of 7 billion yuan ($1.02 billion) from the government.

China Eastern, one of the country’s three big carriers, will issue 1.44 billion new Shanghai-listed A shares at 3.87 yuan each to its state parent, which had earlier received the aid.

It will also issue 1.44 billion Hong Kong-listed H shares at 1.00 yuan each, the carrier said late last year.

The funds will be used to improve the airline’s balance sheet and strengthen its ability to continue operations, it said.

After years of robust growth on the back of a soaring domestic economy, China’s airlines are facing falling passenger demand, intensifying competition and more cost pressures as the world’s third-largest economy slows with the global recession.

China Eastern and its peers Air China (601111.SS) (0753.HK) and China Southern Airlines (600029.SS) (1055.HK) all predicted losses for 2008, spurring steps by Beijing to revive the once-booming sector.

China Southern also announced a share placement to its parent in exchange for a 3 billion yuan cash injection from the government in late 2008. ($1=6.835 Yuan) (Reporting by Fang Yan; Editing by Edmund Klamann)

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