June 8, 2018 / 4:53 PM / 5 months ago

Hainan Airlines plans to buy aviation assets worth $1.6 billion via share issue

A Hainan Airlines Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner aircraft sits on the tarmac at the airport in Beijing, China May 13, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Hainan Airlines (600221.SS) (900945.SS), China’s fourth-biggest carrier, plans to acquire aviation assets valued at 10.48 billion yuan (1.2 billion pounds) in five firms to boost its route network and competitive edge, it said on Friday.

The carrier, affiliated with embattled HNA Group [HNAIRC.UL], said it would issue shares to up to 10 investors, including Singapore’s Temasek Fullerton Alpha Pte Ltd, to raise up to 7 billion yuan to fund aircraft purchases and six other projects, such as engine maintenance and pilot training.

Hainan Airlines hopes to upgrade its flight network and develop its aviation expertise with the acquisitions.

“With the acquisitions, the airline will be able to expand the routes, strengthen development in aviation maintenance, flight training and other services,” the airline said in a filing to the Shanghai stock exchange.

Hainan Airlines said the acquisition would result in an ownership change in the company, which is now controlled by a Chinese provincial regulator.

Hainan’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC) controls the carrier through SASAC’s stake in Grand China Air Co Ltd.

It said after the transaction, its owner will become Hainan Province Cihang Foundation, which is connected to HNA Group.

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

In a separate announcement, Hainan Airlines said it would scrap an A-share convertible bond issue announced in May due to changes in capital market conditions.

Reporting by Meg Shen in Hong Kong, Lee Chyen Yee in Singapore; Editing by Edmund Blair

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