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May 4, 2017

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HNA now top stake holder in Deutsche

CHINA’S HNA Group has become the largest shareholder in Germany’s biggest lender Deutsche Bank after raising its stake to nearly 10 percent, a regulatory filing said.

HNA, an aviation and shipping group, leapfrogged US management giant BlackRock after its holding in Deutsche Bank reached 9.92 percent, worth 3.4 billion euros (US$3.7 billion), according to a filing by investment entity C-Quadrat, which manages HNA’s stake in Deutsche Bank.

BlackRock held a stake of 5.88 percent in the European banking giant as of April.

Deutsche was hit with heavy fines last year, as well as battling headwinds from low interest rates, tougher banking regulation and a massive restructuring plan that will see the bank withdraw from some business areas.

The bank suffered a 1.4-billion-euro loss in 2016, but it reported strong first-quarter results last week.

HNA invested in the firm as it believes the shares of the bank are “substantially undervalued and are an attractive investment,” the filing said.

HNA has been on a buying spree of overseas assets.

HNA just last month agreed to buy an US$8 billion stake in Rio de Janeiro’s airport from the corruption-tainted Brazilian firm Odebrecht.

It also said in October that it would acquire a 25 percent stake in international hotel operator Hilton Worldwide Holdings, not long after announcing it would buy the aircraft leasing business of US-based CIT Group Inc for US$10 billion.

HNA bought Brazil’s third-largest airline Azul in August, a deal that followed a July notice that it had made a successful US$1.5 billion offer for Swiss airline catering firm Gategroup.

In May last year, HNA bought a 13 percent stake in Virgin Australia airline and also acquired a share of Portuguese national airline TAP.


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