The Real Deal New York

As Chen Feng’s grip on HNA tightens, the firm is selling its Deutsche stake

Indebted conglomerate has been told by the Chinese government to offload offshore acquisitions
September 19, 2018 10:30AM

HNA founder Chen Feng and 245 Park Avenue (Credit: Wikipedia and 245parkave)

Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, the largest shareholder in Deutsche Bank, is reportedly selling its stake in the German bank. The move comes as chairman Chen Fang increases his control over the company with the appointment of relatives to key company positions.

The Chinese firm, which spent $40 billion on overseas acquisitions and has carried as much as $90 billion in debt, has been told by the Chinese government to offload all assets except its core airline business, according to Bloomberg.

HNA holds 7.64 percent of Deutsche Bank’s shares and it is expected to withdraw from the company slowly, which could start as early as the first quarter of 2019.

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The Chinese government has reportedly sought to rein in spending of the country’s largest firms amid fears of increasing debt pressure.

In New York City, it was reported in June that SL Green Realty agreed to buy HNA’s stake in 245 Park Avenue, the building HNA bought last year for $2.2 billion. HNA also sold 1180 Sixth Avenue to Northwood Investors earlier this year.

Following the sudden death of co-founder Wang Jian in July, chairman Chen Feng has also consolidated power at the firm. Chen’s son Daniel on Tuesday was elected to the HNA Group board of directors and his nephew Dennis was named a vice president. Chen Feng’s son serves as president of HNA North America, according to the Financial Times. [Bloomberg] — David Jeans