Singapore’s Temasek expresses interest in buying HNA’s Hong Kong airlines stake

FILE PHOTO - HK Express Chief Executive Officer Andrew Cowen poses in his office at Hong Kong Airport in Hong Kong, China September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings has expressed interest in buying into Chinese conglomerate HNA’s Hong Kong-based carriers, Hong Kong Airlines and Hong Kong Express Airways, according to a source familiar with the matter.

However, an investment in the unlisted Hong Kong carriers by Temasek remains subject to a due diligence process that has yet to begin, said the source on condition of anonymity.

The Singaporean investor would likely emerge as only a minority holder in the Hong Kong airlines, which control valuable slots at Hong Kong’s capacity-constrained airport, if a deal is completed, the source said.

Temasek and the debt-laden HNA, an aviation-to-financial services conglomerate, last week signed a memorandum of understanding to explore business partnerships in aviation and logistics.

A second source familiar with the matter said HNA is looking to raise funds for the Hong Kong airlines and Temasek is a potential investor.

Buying into the Hong Kong airlines would help Temasek get an aviation foothold closer to mainland China, in a market dominated by Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd.

Temasek is the majority shareholder in Singapore Airlines Ltd, which sources said was not associated with the potential investment in the Hong Kong airlines.

Temasek, HNA and Singapore Airlines declined to comment.

Hong Kong Airlines and HK Express representatives said their respective airlines would not comment on “market rumours”.

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Reuters

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.