May 6, 2016 / 8:40 AM / 3 years ago

China's HNA in talks to acquire Singapore's CWT for $1 billion: sources

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, which has been aggressively snapping up global assets, is in talks buy a controlling stake in Singapore-listed logistics firm CWT Ltd CWTD.SI in a deal worth around $1 billion, two people familiar with the deal said.

A deal could be announced as early as next week, one of the sources said on Friday. The sources did not want to be identified as the information was not public.

CWT did not immediately respond to a Reuters query while a spokeswoman at HNA Group declined to comment.

CWT’s controlling shareholder flagged a potential sale of the business last year. It had attracted interest from major private equity firms, Reuters reported in August, quoting sources.

Under the stewardship of co-founder and Chairman Chen Feng, HNA has grown into a group with nearly $100 billion in assets. It operates more than a dozen airlines including flagship Hainan Airlines Co (600221.SS) and has launched at least $8 billion of overseas M&As so far this year.

CWT insiders, including the chairman and his family, own nearly 65 percent of the company, Thomson Reuters data shows. Shares in CWT rose 5 percent on Friday. The Singapore Exchange issued a trading query to the firm.

CWT has expanded over the past decade by growing its logistics business globally and snapping up a metals trading unit set up by Glencore’s (GLEN.L) founder Marc Rich in 2011.

Last month, a division of HNA agreed to buy the owner of the Radisson hotel chain.

Chinese companies have been splurging on foreign acquisitions to sidestep slowing domestic growth. The total value of Chinese outbound acquisitions topped $100 billion for the first time last year.

Reporting by Anshuman Daga and Saeed Azhar; Additional reporting by Mattew Miller; Editing by Stephen Coates and Ryan Woo

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