September 1, 2016 / 6:05 PM / 3 years ago

Spain's NH Hotels faces lawsuit from Chinese shareholder HNA

The logo of Spanish NH Hoteles chain is seen on the roof of one of its hotel in central Madrid October 28, 2009. REUTERS/Sergio Perez

MADRID (Reuters) - Spain’s NH Hotels said on Thursday it had received a lawsuit from its largest shareholder, China’s HNA Group, against a motion approved by other shareholders in June to oust HNA-appointed board members.

Almost 60 percent of NH’s shareholders had backed the motion at its annual meeting to force out its co-chairman and three other board members over what they said was a conflict of interest from the Chinese conglomerate’s takeover of a rival hotel group.

NH said in a statement to Spain’s market regulator that HNA’s Spanish subsidiary Tangla Spain, which owns 29.5 percent of the NH hotel group, had filed the lawsuit with a Madrid court and demanded the four decisions be reversed.

The lawsuit also contests that HNA has a conflict of interest, NH said.

HNA, whose portfolio encompasses the aviation, finance and tourism sectors, said at the time it had been “disenfranchised” by the decision and expected the new board to act in the interest of all shareholders.

The motion approved in June, proposed by British fund Oceanwood Capital, stated that HNA’s purchase in April of the Carlston-Rezidor hotel group was a conflict of interest because the acquired business competes with NH in European markets such as Germany and Belgium.

Shareholders agreed to replace Co-Chairman Charles Mobus, a U.S. banker, with Paul Daniel Johnson, and three Chinese board members with Spaniards.

Reporting by Angus Berwick; Editing by Ruth Pitchford

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