Three listed units of China's HNA disclose embezzlements of nearly $10 bln

Three listed units of China's HNA disclose embezzlements of nearly $10 bln

In a notice on its corporate WeChat account on Friday, the company which was once paying above market rates for trophy buildings in London and NY, said that it had been informed by the high court in Hainan province, where it is based, that it had been sued by its creditors due to failure to pay overdue debts.

HNA, once one of China's most high-flying firms, said late on Friday its creditors had applied to a Hainan court for the company to be placed in bankruptcy and restructured.

Gu reassured the company's staff that HNA's "debt, equity, and management will be reorganized and re-engineered in accordance with the principles of "rule of law, market forces, and operability" to protect the interests of all parties as much as possible", according to the company statement.

HNA Group said it will cooperate with the court for judicial review, carry forward the debt disposal, and support the court's protection of the legal rights of its creditors so as to ensure the smooth operations of the company. The group's listed companies will maintain their status on stock exchanges, it said.

Shares of Hainan Airlines Holding, HNA Innovation, CCOOP Group, HNA Technology Bohai Leasing and HNA Infrastructure Investment Group fell between 4.7% and 9.8%.

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Embattled Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, which has been struggling to resolve a drawn-out cash crisis, announced Friday it faces bankruptcy, in one of the biggest corporate downfalls in the country's history. By the end of 2017, HNA's assets topped 1.2 trillion yuan ($186 billion).

In a statement on HNA's WeChat account on Monday, the company said that risk disposal work is gradually being carried out, but the "severity of risks" must be given high attention.

Regulators in China have approved a restructuring plan for the group, people familiar with the matter earlier told Bloomberg News.

Founded as an airline in the 1990s by entrepreneur Chen Feng with seed money from George Soros, the company emerged from near obscurity to mount a buying binge that saw it become the top shareholder of Deutsche Bank and Hilton Worldwide Holdings.

It also owns Hong Kong Airlines, which laid off hundreds of staff past year amid a steep drop in tourism due to impact of the 2019 protests and later the coronavirus pandemic. HNA agreed to sell Ingram Micro for about US$7.2 billion in December. On Jan 27, a key Communist Party-led committee overseeing HNA left Chen off a list of members, raising doubts over his future at the group he founded and brought to the world stage.

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