China's HNA Group would like to hike Deutsche Bank stake: sources

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese conglomerate HNA Group 0521.HK would like to increase its stake of 3 percent in Germany's Deutsche Bank DBKGn.DE, two sources with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The head quarters of Germany's Deutsche Bank are photographed early evening in Frankfurt, Germany, January 31, 2017. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

However, the Chinese company would have to resolve some issues before it could complete any deal, said one of the sources, who has direct knowledge of the matter, without elaborating.

Representatives of HNA and Deutsche Bank declined to comment.

HNA purchased a 3.04 percent stake in the German lender last month, making it the bank's third-biggest shareholder after Qatar, which has close to 10 percent of stock, and BlackRock BLK.N, which owns 6.1 percent.

Deutsche Bank’s top three investors are likely to back its latest capital hike, which will see the bank attempt to raise 8 billion euros ($8.5 billion) to back another revamp, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Although HNA said last month the investment in Deutsche Bank was passive, the desire to boost its holding suggests HNA may have strategic ambitions.

The Chinese group has been on a acquisition spree that has seen it expand from its traditional business of aviation and logistics into financial services, betting on asset managers and consumer finance for growth at home and overseas.

With more than $100 billion in assets, HNA’s other financial investments this year have included a hedge fund platform and a New Zealand lender. The group is also bidding for UK-listed insurer Old Mutual’s $900 million controlling stake in its U.S. asset management business, sources have said.

The moves reflect a broader push by China into financial services globally as Beijing encourages its corporate sector to expand overseas, although it faces increased regulatory scrutiny in the United States and Europe.

A person familiar with HNA strategy said the group saw financial services - particularly asset management - as an attractive strategic sector as the Chinese continue to grow in wealth and their demand for investment opportunities increases, Reuters reported on Friday.

Reporting by Julie Zhu; Additional reporting by Matt Miller in Beijing and the Frankfurt Newsroom; Writing by Michelle Price; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Muralikumar Anantharaman