HNA offers airline vouchers to repay investors instead of cash

HONG KONG • A financing platform under HNA Group Co Ltd is offering investors air tickets rather than cash as repayment, the latest sign of the financial stress the Chinese conglomerate is under despite a slew of asset sales.

Shenzhen-based Qianhai Air & Shipping Exchange Co Ltd, that sells wealth management products to retail investors online, is offering tickets from Hainan Airlines or Grand China Air to repay what it owes, it said in a statement. The flights can be for both domestic and overseas travel and are valid for five years.

The offer highlights the continuing pressure HNA Group faces as it struggles to reduce one of China’s biggest piles of debt. It has agreed to sell more than US$22 billion (RM92.4 billion) in properties and shares this year to stay in business.

“HNA is fully committed to meeting its obligations and we will actively oversee the repayment to all investors as detailed in Qianhai Air’s public filing,” said HNA.

The flight packages are worth 5,000 yuan (RM3,020) for investors meant as repayment for their investments. Last week, a pork producer came up with an innovative way to repay its debt. Chuying Agro-Pastoral Group Co Ltd said holders of 271 million yuan of its debt agreed to take ham or pork gift packages instead of interest payments.

“Issuers are certainly trying innovative ways to resolve their tight liquidity situation,” said an expert. “Kudos to their goodwill, although creditors would still appreciate financial means.” — Bloomberg