HNA Group, the Chinese conglomerate which owns Hainan Airlines, has agreed to buy a majority stake in Frankfurt-Hahn Airport in Germany for €15 million (US$, as part of its drive to expand its transportation portfolio.
It has signed what parties are both calling a definitive agreement with the Rheinland-Palatinate Ministerial Council to acquire an 82.5 per cent equity interest in Frankfurt-Hahn Airport, according to a statement issued by HNA Airport Group GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary of HNA Airport, another subsidiary of the group.
The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2017, subject to certain regulatory approvals, it said.
“Adding a world-class asset and major European cargo hub like Frankfurt-Hahn Airport to our transportation portfolio is consistent with HNA Group’s strategy of enhancing our leading global platform.”
The proposed deal marks the latest in a string of overseas acquisitions by the ambitious privately run Chinese conglomerate which, under the stewardship of chairman Chen Feng, has grown into a group with more than 600 billion yuan (HK$677.9 billion) in assets, as of September last year.
The deal, if it goes ahead, will help take the owner of Hainan Airlines a step closer to becoming one of the world’s top 100 companies.
The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate had previously agreed to sell the loss-making Hahn airport, a former military base now used mainly by Ryanair.
Hahn is around 120 kilometres from Frankfurt, Germany’s largest airport, but unlike Frankfurt, it has a 24-hour operating licence, making it attractive for freight flights.
Hainan-based HNA Airport is a global leader in the airport service operation business, specialising in airport investment, construction, and operations management. HNA Airport has already established management operations and relationships with 13 airports worldwide.
HNA Group, which owns hotels and golf courses in addition to its control of Hainan Airlines, recently spent HK$19.77 billion for three parcels of residential land in Hong Kong’s Kai Tak, the city’s former airport.