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April 27, 2017

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China’s HNA agrees to buy stake in Rio airport

CHINESE conglomerate HNA has agreed to buy a stake in Rio de Janeiro’s airport from the corruption-tainted Brazilian firm Odebrecht.

HNA will take over from Odebrecht as the joint holder of a controlling stake in Tom Jobim airport, Brazil’s second-busiest air hub with some 17 million passengers a year.

“The Odebrecht-HNA deal is closed. Only the paperwork remains,” Tarcisio de Freitas, a senior economy official in the government, said on Tuesday.

HNA runs airlines, airports and hotels among other operations.

It will hold a US$8 billion stake in the airport as one half of a consortium along with Singaporean firm Changi Airports International.

Odebrecht is caught up in a sprawling corruption scandal rocking Brazilian politics, targeted by an investigation dubbed Lava Jato, or Operation Car Wash.

Former executives of the company have admitted paying bribes to secure contracts and have pointed the finger at numerous politicians in the hope of getting lighter sentences.

“A company involved in Lava Jato that has no rating and credit is leaving” the airport consortium, de Freitas said.

“The operation of the service continues and HNA is coming in.”

HNA and Changi will jointly hold 51 percent in the airport in a consortium dubbed RioGaleao, with 49 percent held by the Brazilian state.


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