HNA weighs RM4b sale of Swiss firm SR Technics

HONG KONG • HNA Group Co, the embattled Chinese conglomerate, is exploring options for Swiss aircraft-maintenance firm SR Technics Switzerland AG including a potential sale, people familiar with the matter said.

The Chinese group, which grew out of an airline on tropical Hainan island, is working with an advisor on the potential disposal, the people said. HNA’s 80% stake in SR Technics could be valued at US$700 million to US$1 billion (RM4.08 billion), said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

Though HNA began its selling spree with sales of property and other peripheral businesses, the Chinese conglomerate has started unloading assets close to its core aviation operations. As it seeks to trim one of China’s biggest debt piles, HNA is aiming to sell airport-cargo handler Swissport International Ltd, as well as container-leasing business Seaco Srl, Bloomberg News has reported.

SR Technics’ business could be hurt as the airlines it services face increasing pressure, according to one of the people. Air Berlin plc, one of SR Technics’s customers, filed for insolvency last year amid fierce competition and volatile oil prices.

No final decision has been made, and HNA could still decide to pursue other options for SR Technics or retain its ownership of the company, the people said. Representatives for HNA and SR Technics declined to comment. — Bloomberg