Cathay makes overtures to Hong Kong Express and Hong Kong Airlines

Business | 27 Feb 2019 7:15 pm

Cathay Pacific Airways, is studying a bid for stakes in two smaller Hong Kong airlines backed by embattled Chinese conglomerate HNA Group Co., people with knowledge of the matter said, Bloomberg reports.

Cathay Pacific has held preliminary talks with HNA about acquiring minority stakes in Hong Kong Express Airways and Hong Kong Airlines, according to the people. A couple of local tycoons have also been considering investments in Hong Kong Airlines, one of the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is private.

HNA has already trimmed one of the country’s biggest debt piles by selling off dozens of assets from hotels to stakes in aircraft leasing companies. Its plan to sell almost a third of its stake in Hong Kong Airlines was held up last year after the sudden death of HNA co-Chairman Wang Jian, Bloomberg News reported in August.

Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong Express would be attractive because of the routes they have the rights to fly, the people said. The suitors’ discussions with HNA have been progressing slowly, and there is no certainty they will result in a transaction, according to the people.

HNA referred queries to the Hong Kong carriers. A representative for Cathay Pacific declined to comment. A representative for Hong Kong Express could not immediately comment, while Hong Kong Airlines did not immediately respond to emailed queries.

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