Chinese conglomerate HNA Group faces bankruptcy, restructuring

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HNA Group, China's largest private aviation conglomerate, is facing bankruptcy and restructuring

Embattled Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, which has been struggling to resolve a drawn-out cash crisis, faces bankruptcy and restructuring to manage its debts, the company announced on Friday.

The group, which owns one of China's biggest airlines -- Hainan Airlines -- and is China's largest private aviation conglomerate, said in a statement that its creditors had applied to a court for bankruptcy and reorganisation.

Once an aggressive dealmaker, HNA previously held stakes in the Hilton hotel group and Deutsche Bank, and had investments spanning the aviation, tourism, real estate and financial services sectors as part of an acquisition binge.

In 2017, the Chinese government cracked down on HNA's aggressive global expansion, forcing it to slim down its assets to focus on its airline and tourism businesses.

Weighed down by billions of dollars of debt, the struggling conglomerate has since been trying to dispose of its assets.

On Friday, HNA said it received a notice from the Hainan Provincial Higher People's Court, saying that "creditors have applied to the court for bankruptcy and restructuring of (the) group as it could not pay off due debts".

HNA added that it would cooperate with the court in conducting a judicial review, push forth with debt disposal work, and support the court in protecting creditors' rights.

The announcement came about a week after HNA said a local government-led working group had laid out risk disposal plans.

HNA added that risk disposal was "progressing smoothly" and was about to enter a "critical period".

The group has stakes in several Chinese and international airlines.

It also owns Hong Kong Airlines, which laid off hundreds of staff last year amid a steep drop in tourism due to impact of the 2019 protests and later the coronavirus pandemic.

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