HNA exec: We have “nothing to hide”

Chief investment officer pledges firm will be more transparent
September 08, 2017 09:30AM

HNA’s Chen Feng

HNA Group’s chief investment officer said the company has “nothing to hide” when asked about the firm’s complex ownership structure.

At a conference in Hong Kong Friday hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce, HNA executive James Wang said the company is private and has no obligation to disclose shareholder information, but nonetheless plans to be “even more transparent” in the future, the Wall Street Journal reported.

HNA purchased trophy office tower 245 Park Avenue from Brookfield Property Partners for $2.2 billion earlier this year.

In July, amid tightening scrutiny from U.S. regulators, HNA revealed that the company is majority controlled by a pair of charities based in New York. The unusual structure has raised questions about how the company will comply with U.S. tax laws.

Investment banks like Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Merrill Lynch recently stopped working on some HNA deals over concerns about the firm’s ownership.

Wang downplayed the issue, and said institutions like JPMorgan, Credit Suisse and UBS Group continue to do business with the company. He said HNA is in its “best financial situation” after making moves to lower its debt ratio while Chinese regulators look into leverage levels at some of the country’s biggest companies.

The conglomerate’s U.S. affiliate is close to selling 1180 Sixth Avenue for about $320 million, The Real Deal reported Thursday. [WSJ]Rich Bockmann