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HNA to Pay $16 Million for Controlling Stake in Brazil Airport

By Huang Rong and Han Wei
An HNA subsidiary agreed to pay 108 million yuan for a stake in Rio de Janeiro international airport. Photo: Visual China
An HNA subsidiary agreed to pay 108 million yuan for a stake in Rio de Janeiro international airport. Photo: Visual China

(Beijing) — Hainan HNA Infrastructure Investment Group Co., a subsidiary of Chinese aviation and tourism conglomerate HNA Group, agreed to pay 108 million yuan ($15.9 million) for a controlling stake in the operator of Rio de Janeiro international airport.

HNA Infrastructure signed an agreement to buy Brazilian engineering group Odebrecht SA’s 51% stake in Rio De Janeiro Aeroportos S.A. (RJA). The remaining stake in RJA is held by Singapore's Changi Airport Group, according to HNA Infrastructure’s filing with the Shanghai Stock Exchange late Thursday.

HNA Infrastructure will also invest 2.16 billion yuan in RJA to pay for the airport’s licensing rights, according to the statement. The transaction will need approval from industry and anti-trust regulatory bodies in China and Brazil.

The purchase follows HNA Group’s acquisition of an 82.5% stake in Frankfurt-Hahn Airport in March for an undisclosed amount. Over the past three years, HNA Group has announced more than $40 billion in offshore acquisitions and investments, making it one of the most aggressive Chinese dealmakers going after global assets.

Known as RIOGaleão, Rio de Janeiro international airport is Brazil's second-busiest international airport with 17 million passengers last year. But the airport’s business has suffered in recent years. In 2016, RJA reported revenue of 1.2 billion Brazilian real ($374 million), with a net loss of 351 million real.

Shanghai-listed HNA Infrastructure currently operates seven airports in China, including Sanya Phoenix International Airport and Yichang Sanxia Airport.

HNA Group owns Hainan Airlines, one of China’s oldest private carriers. Its traditional base on the resort-oriented Hainan Island led to its focus on the travel and tourism sector. The company also owns duty-free shops in Haikou airport and several property projects in Hainan Province.

HNA last year offered $6.5 billion for 25% of U.S. hotel giant Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., and in 2015 it purchased aircraft leasing specialist Avolon Holdings Ltd. for $2.5 billion. The most recent major deals include its April purchase of 16.8% of Dufry Group, the world’s largest travel retailer, and the $994 million acquisition of Singaporean logistics company CWT Ltd.

Contact reporter Han Wei (weihan@caixin.com)

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