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HNA executives buy stock in Avolon parent to help boost confidence


Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters

Photo: Reuters

Executives at HNA Group, the Chinese conglomerate that owns Irish-founded aircraft lessor Avolon, are planning to buy more shares in Avolon's immediate parent.

HNA co-chairmen Chen Feng and Wang Jian are planning to increase their stakes in Bohai Capital after the Shenzhen-listed leasing unit's stock reached 30pc less than its 2017 peak.

Twenty-four officials at HNA and its subsidiaries plan to buy 87 million yuan (€11.2m) of Bohai Capital shares from the market within three months, according to statements filed to the Shenzhen stock exchange on Wednesday. The purchases are meant to reflect confidence in the leasing unit, according to the statement.

The move comes amid mounting concerns about HNA's debts - jitters that prompted the company last week to go on a round of media interviews to say its finances are under control.

Bohai Capital shares were nearing a three-year low after the company scrapped a bond offering, citing "big fluctuations in the market".

"It looks like they are buying shares in Bohai Capital to shore up confidence," said Anne Zhang, executive director for fixed income, currencies and commodities at JPMorgan Private Bank in Asia.

"The group has been under pressure from recent headlines and is escalating efforts to calm down investor concerns."

A representative at Bohai Capital didn't provide further details about the purchases beyond what the statements said but said they had nothing to do with the cancelled bond.

Bohai's flagship assets are Avolon and Seaco - a container-leasing business.

"Bohai Capital has scale and diversification with one of the youngest owned fleets in both aircraft and container leasing as well as strong, long-term contracted cash flows in both businesses," the company said in a statement.

Avolon recently sought to emphasise its financial independence from HNA.

Chief financial officer Andy Cronin said Avolon was unlikely to make further loans to its immediate parent and HNA unit, Bohai. He also highlighted other safeguards about Avolon's relationship with the debt-laden Chinese conglomerate when speaking at a Goldman Sachs aircraft-leasing conference, according to a note from the bank. "Avolon downplayed HNA's influence and stressed protections in place, which may calm some concerns temporarily," Goldman Sachs analysts wrote.


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