GOOD EVENING FROM LONDON
Nikkei Asia provides an interesting update on the problems affecting the bankrupt Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, one of the country’s most prominent buyers of international assets. Co-founder Chen Geng + CEO Tan Xiangdong were taken away by police, according to a statement issued by the company on Friday.
HNA grew from its flagship airline business into one of China’s most acquisitive conglomerates buying up assets such as the Radisson hotel chain, aviation services company Swissport Group and stakes in Deutsche Bank and airlines and airports, in countries as far-flung as Brazil, Australia, Ghana, Turkey and South Africa.
The group has been under the control of bankruptcy administrators since the People’s High Court of Hainan Province appointed them in February 2021. Gu Gang, who heads the court-appointed working group and the most important Communist Party cell at HNA Group, effectively leads the organization at this point.
On Sept 18, the company said in a statement on WeChat that the group would be broken up into four independent entities comprising airline, airport, finance, and commercial and other areas. According to Gu, who made the announcement in front of 2,000 employees during an internal conference that day, the potential new entities would “each be led by new controlling shareholders and be completely independent” from one another. Gu also confirmed that the previous shareholders would be excluded from the post-bankruptcy ownership structure and management. The latest creditors’ meeting involving the group is set to be held next week.
The West is learning about China – but needs to know more about its internal dynamic, tensions and challenges. People in the West view China through the prism of cold war rhetoric. China is the Enemy, they wrongly believe. This prism obstructs the process by which Westerners come to understand the very important social, economic and financial policy.