April 11, 2018 / 12:56 PM / 3 months ago

Temasek considers buying into aviation-related HNA assets: sources

SINGAPORE/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Singapore state investor Temasek Holding is considering buying stakes in aviation infrastructure and logistics businesses of debt-saddled Chinese group HNA, two people familiar with the matter said.

Illustration photo of the HNA logo December 21, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas White/Illustration

HNA, the aviation-to-financial services conglomerate, has been selling selling overseas real estate and some of its biggest financial and strategic investments following a $50 billion acquisition spree over the past two years.

Since the start of the year, the group has agreed to sell more than $10 billion in prime real estate in Australia, New York and Hong Kong, along with shares in Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE) and hotel properties in the United States.

Temasek and HNA have signed a memorandum of understanding to explore business partnerships in aviation and logistics, they said in a statement on Tuesday, but did not give any specific timeframe or details of the partnerships.

One of the sources, who declined to be identified, told Reuters on Wednesday that neither party had reached any decision on specific investments and valuations of the assets that could possibly be acquired by the Singapore state fund.

HNA and Temasek declined to expand on what had been said in Tuesday’s statement.

Citing sources, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Temasek is studying potential investments in Swissport Group and Gategroup Holding, two of the Chinese conglomerate’s overseas aviation infrastructure units.

The statement on Tuesday had come hours before HNA’s Swiss ground services and cargo handling unit Swissport Group pulled plans to float shares on the SIX Swiss Exchange, dealing another blow to the Chinese conglomerate’s bid to reduce its leverage.

HNA had been expected to list Swissport by the summer and hoped to secure a valuation of at least 2.7 billion Swiss francs ($2.8 billion) for the company, the price it paid in 2015, people close to the transaction have said.

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

Reporting by Anshuman Daga in SINGAPORE and Kane Wu in HONG kong; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee, David Goodman and Keith Weir

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