April 10, 2018 / 12:46 PM / a year ago

HNA Group scraps another Swiss IPO as Swissport pulls listing

FILE PHOTO: A HNA Group logo is seen on the building of HNA Plaza in Beijing, China February 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

ZURICH (Reuters) - HNA Group’s Swiss ground services and cargo handling unit Swissport Group pulled plans to float shares on the SIX Swiss Exchange, it said on Tuesday, dealing another blow to the debt-saddled Chinese conglomerate’s bid to reduce its leverage.

HNA Group [HNAIRC.UL] had been expected to list Swissport by summer, hoping to secure a valuation of at least 2.7 billion Swiss francs ($2.83 billion) for the company, the price it paid in 2015, people close to the transaction have said.

Views on the valuation of Swissport differed too much between HNA and potential investors, people close to the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.

“The deal is on hold,” one of the sources said, adding it was unlikely that plans could be revived later this year.

Swissport in a statement blamed “current market conditions” for the decision to defer its IPO ambitions.

HNA last month also scrapped its planned listing of Swiss-based airline caterer Gategroup at the 11th hour.

As HNA pulls back, however, other companies have successfully floated shares on the SIX Swiss Exchange, including sensors maker Sensirion (SENSI.S) and medical devices maker Medartis (MEDA.S) last month.

Transport firm Ceva Logistics and drugmaker Polyphor announced flotation plans on Monday.

HNA, battling a liquidity crunch, has started to divest assets following a $50 billion acquisition spree over the past two years, which has sparked scrutiny of the firm’s opaque ownership and use of leverage.

Additional reporting by John Miller, Editing by Michael Shields

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