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HNA's airlines miss lease payments

12/06/2017| 9:59:10 AM|

Airlines owned by Chinese conglomerate HNA Group have missed payments due on leased aircraft, the chief executive of lessor Aergo Capital has told industry publication FlightGlobal.

HNA had “stopped paying – via their owned airline subsidiaries – some lessors for leased jets for the past two to three months,” Aergo CEO Fred Browne was quoted as saying.

“We only have one aircraft exposed, but I know others have a lot more,” Browne told FlightGlobal. “If those lessors turn around and say ‘no more’ and pull those aircraft out, that could truly shake the market.”

HNA did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment. Browne did not immediately return a call to his office seeking further comment.

Pressure is growing on the HNA conglomerate after a debt-fuelled USD 50 billion acquisition spree including New York properties, Californian golf courses, U.S. electronics wholesaler Ingram Micro and stakes in Deutsche Bank and hotelier Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.

Its financing costs have risen as repayments come due, and ratings agency Standard & Poor’s last week downgraded its credit assessment due to its “aggressive financial policy” and tightening liquidity.

“We value our relationships with lessors and we are committed to meeting our obligations to them,” a spokesman for HNA Group said.

The rating agency cut the rating of Swiss airport services group Swissport on Tuesday due to the weakening outlook for parent HNA.

The conglomerate’s Chief Executive Adam Tan told a conference in Beijing last week that the company was considering asset sales.

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