China's HNA targets $16 billion in asset sales in first half: Bloomberg

BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s HNA Group told creditors it would seek to sell about 100 billion yuan ($16 billion) of assets during the first half of the year, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

FILE PHOTO: Illustration photo of the HNA logo December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration/File Photo

HNA proposed raising 20 billion yuan in the first quarter and about 80 billion yuan in the second, the report said.

HNA was not immediately available for comment.

The aviation-to-financial services conglomerate has faced a cash crunch since the end of last year, after signing deals worth more than $50 billion over a two-year period, including leading stakes in Hilton Worldwide Holdings HLT.N and Deutsche Bank AG DBKGn.DE.

HNA has told creditors it faces a potential cash shortfall of at least 15 billion yuan in the first quarter.

To reduce leverage, HNA has in recent weeks moved to raise funds by selling assets, raising strategic stakes in some of its projects and by listing overseas companies.

The $191 billion conglomerate has said it reached a deal to sell a building in Sydney for A$205 million to Blackstone Group BX.N, earning A$88 million from the deal.

It has hired JP Morgan and Benedetto, Gartland and Company to look for buyers for its 29.5 percent stake in Spain's NH Hotel Group NHH.MC. The stake is valued at about 632 million euros ($786 million) at current prices.

HNA has also said it was planning to list airport ground services operator Swissport, which sources say could raise at least 2.7 billion Swiss francs ($3 billion).

Zhao Quan, head of HNA’s tourism division and a board director, told Reuters last month the group would sell 1180 6th Avenue in New York, while reviewing its portfolio of other overseas assets.

Zhao said the company was not selling its holdings “blindly”, while characterizing the Hilton and Deutsche Bank stakes as “successful” financial investments.

HNA borrowing, including bank loans and bonds, surged by more than a third over the first 11 months of last year to 637.5 billion yuan, according to a China bond market filing by HNA.

HNA’s assets amounted to 1.2 trillion yuan at the end of June, according to a separate bond market filing.

($1 = 6.2900 Chinese yuan renminbi)

($1 = 0.9319 Swiss francs)

($1 = 0.8037 euros)

Reporting by Beijing Monitoring Desk and Matthew Miller; Editing by Himani Sarkar