April 17, 2019 / 11:03 AM / 2 days ago

Hong Kong Airlines faces more uncertainty as board change disputed

HONG KONG, April 17 (Reuters) - Hong Kong Airlines, partially owned by China’s HNA Group, was thrown into deeper uncertainty on Wednesday after Hou Wei disputed a board meeting that removed him as chairman and said he was still in charge of the struggling carrier.

Former Hong Kong Airlines director Zhong Guosong announced on Tuesday he had been appointed chairman after a shareholder meeting where he and Chinese private equity firm Frontier Investment Partner, who control together about 61 percent of the shares, voted in additional board members, including Zhong as chairman.

But the decision was challenged by Hou on Wednesday, who referred to himself as chairman of the airline. In an internal letter sent to employees and provided to Reuters by Hong Kong Airlines, Hou said the change to the airline’s board resulted from a shareholders’ dispute and does not impact the company’s operations in any way.

Frontier, which holds a stake of about 34 percent, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed request for comment. Zhong could not be immediately reached for comment.

HNA did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Jennifer Hughes, Kane Wu and Julie Zhu; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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