March 1, 2018 / 2:40 AM / 2 years ago

Chinese conglomerate HNA plans significant job cuts - REDD

FILE PHOTO: A HNA Group logo is seen on the building of HNA Plaza in Beijing, China February 9, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File Photo

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, faced with liquidity concerns after recent debt-fuelled acquisitions, plans “significant cuts” in its workforce this year, Risk Event-Driven and Distressed Intelligence (REDD) reported, citing five unnamed sources.

The job cuts would be part of the group’s “weight-loss” programme for this year, the news and analytics provider reported.

The downsizing also would include staff reductions from the aviation-to-financial services conglomerate’s units, whose controlling stakes would be sold to a third party, REDD reported, without identifying those units.

A person familiar with HNA Group’s restructuring process said no such job cuts were planned. HNA Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In recent months, HNA has been racing to alleviate severe financial strain on it following a $50 billion acquisition spree over the past two years, which has sparked scrutiny of its opaque ownership and use of leverage.

The group has amassed an estimated $476 million (346 million pounds) bill with a state-run aviation fuel company, Reuters reported on Wednesday, underscoring how a deepening cash crunch is plaguing core operations at the conglomerate.

HNA is also seeking to restructure its far-flung operations, while raising cash by selling equity and prime real estate assets. Among its recent divestments are a Sydney office tower and two plots of land in Hong Kong.

REDD reported that as part of the workforce restructuring about 100,000 jobs could be cut this year, a quarter of the group’s more than 400,000 staff. HNA had informed its Hainan-based staff about the cuts, two of the five people told REDD.

Writing by Sumeet Chatterjee; Additional reporting by Matthew Miller; Editing by Stephen Coates

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