Hainan Airlines sells remaining stake in Brazil's Azul for $306 million

An employee of Azul Brazilian Airlines checks the Embraer 190 plane at International Airport in Guarulhos, Brazil July 11, 2018. REUTERS/Leonardo Benassatto

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - China's Hainan Airlines 600221.SS said on Friday it had sold its remaining stake in Brazilian airline Azul SA AZUL.N in a deal that netted it $306.25 million after deducting underwriting fees.

The carrier, part of financially troubled Chinese conglomerate HNA [HNAIRC.UL], said in a statement that it had sold 19.38 million American Depositary Shares at $16.15 per unit, equivalent to 58.14 million preference shares, and no longer held any shares in the Brazilian carrier after the deal.

The buyers were a number of U.S. institutional investors who were not connected to Hainan Airlines, it said, adding that the sale would help it optimize its asset structure, maintain good liquidity of assets, and focus on its core business.

The company had in April sold part of its stake in Azul to a subsidiary of United Airlines' parent United Continental Holdings UAL.N for $138.3 million. In June, it said it planned to sell its remaining shareholding.

Hainan Airlines paid $450 million for a 23.7 percent stake in Azul in 2016.

HNA has been selling overseas real estate and some of its biggest financial and strategic investments following a $50 billion acquisition spree over the past two years.

Sao Paolo-based Azul is Brazil's third-largest airline after LATAM Airlines Group SA's LTM.SN Brazilian unit and Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes SA GOLL4.SA.

(This story corrects paragraph 2 to say Hainan sold 19.38 mln ADS which was equivalent to 58.14 million preference shares, not sold 19.38 ADS and 58.14 mln preference shares)

Reporting by Brenda Goh; Editing by Gopakumar Warrier