September 7, 2019 / 6:52 AM / 12 days ago

RRJ Capital exits from investment in unit linked to Avolon's parent -source

SINGAPORE, Sept 7 (Reuters) - Asian private equity firm RRJ Capital has exited from its $750 million investment in a subsidiary of China’s HNA Group-controlled Bohai Leasing , majority owner of aircraft lessor Avolon, a source with knowledge of the matter said.

In early 2018, RRJ bought preference shares that could be converted into minority stakes in a special purpose vehicle (SPV) of Bohai Leasing as the buyout firm saw an opportunity to participate in conglomerate HNA’s debt-restructuring.

RRJ exited after the equity-linked instrument it invested in was redeemed a couple of weeks ago, said the source, who did not wish to be identified as the transaction is private.

The source said the investment has been paid off. Reuters was not able to determine the returns RRJ got on the investment.

The redeeming of RRJ’s investment suggests an improvement in the financial position of Bohai Leasing, a unit of HNA.

Avolon, the world’s third largest lessor, declined comment while there was no response from HNA. RRJ did not immediately respond to a Reuters query sent outside regular business hours.

RRJ is also in the midst of teaming up with a consortium to invest $4 billion in Ingram Micro Inc, another HNA unit, Reuters reported last month. RRJ became a co-investor in Swiss-based airline caterer Gategroup last year.

RRJ is co-founded by brothers Richard and Charles Ong. Richard is a former Goldman Sachs dealmaker, while Charles is a former chief investment officer of Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings. It runs operations based out of offices in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Over the past two years, HNA has cut debt and sold a number of assets after China’s government increased scrutiny of overseas deal-making by Chinese groups.

In November 2018, Japanese financial services group ORIX Corp completed a $2.2 billion deal to buy a 30 percent stake in Avolon, a transaction aimed at boosting Avolon’s financial position.

This year, Avolon gained investment grade credit rating from Fitch, Moody’s and S&P. (Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Editing by Michael Perry)

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