Chinese conglomerate HNA announced today in a statement to the Shanghai stock exchange, the sale of the 9% stake it held in TAP through the Atlantic Gateway for 55 million US dollars (48.6 million euros).
More than half of this indirect stake in TAP was sold to Global Aviation Ventures LLC, a US $ 30 million venture capital fund specializing in the aviation industry. The remainder passed into the hands of the Brazilian air carrier Azul S.A. in exchange for 25 million dollars, according to a statement sent to the Chinese stock exchange.
The HNA group explains that the deal involved the sale of a subsidiary called Hainan Airlines Civil Aviation, whose only assets are a 20% stake in Atlantic Gateway, a consortium that holds 45% of TAP. The Portuguese State owns 50% of TAP, with the remaining 5% of capital held by workers.
Azul was created by Brazilian entrepreneur David Neeleman, who owns 40% of Atlantic Gateway. The HNA group also became Blue's shareholder, but sold that stake in August last year to US institutional investors.
HNA had less than a month ago increased its stake in the Atlantic Gateway from 12% to 20% at a time when it was already experiencing liquidity problems. The Chinese group has been divesting investments and canceling business, including in the aviation industry, which is the core business of the company.
One of the subsidiaries of HNA, Capital Airlines, inaugurated the first direct flight between China and Portugal in July 2017. However, shortly after celebrating the first anniversary of the flight, the company announced its suspension.
HNA, which holds major holdings in firms such as Hilton Hotels, Swissport or Deutsche Bank, is already under the supervision of a group of creditors, led by the China Development Bank.