is driving forward with its global acquisition spree as competitors homing in on Chinese tourists fall silent.
The company, which is based in China’s tropical island province of Hainan and has interests in airlines, infrastructure and hospitality, said yesterday that it had agreed to buy Carlson Hotels, owner of the Radisson
hotel chain, for an undisclosed amount.
That will mark HNA’s second cross-border transaction this month and, including the $6bn buyout of Ingram Micro in January, its fourth since the start of the year, according to data
One mergers and acquisitions banker who works in Asia said that HNA’s buying spree has made its offices a popular stop for advisers looking to pitch a range of deals.
“We try not to be too prescriptive. HNA is buying everything under the sun. It’s a diversification move,” the banker said, adding that its tourism deals appeared to be aimed at capitalising on growing enthusiasm for overseas travel among China’s middle class.
The group, which owns two airlines and holds controlling stakes in 10 listed companies, has struck an average of nearly one deal a month over the past
It was also a bidder for London City Airport earlier this year but lost out to Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan.
HNA is one of the top drivers of cross-border Chinese M&A this year. Several of the price tags on its buyouts have not been disclosed.
Chinese tourists are expected to make 200m outbound trips by 2020, according to CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets.
HNA is not the only conglomerate betting on that business with a stream of overseas acquisitions of hotels. But two of its main competitors in that space have gone quiet recently.
Chinese conglomerate Fosun International, which bought Club Med and a stake in Cirque du Soleil last year, has announced a similar strategy but has made few moves in the international market after its chairman Guo Guangchang disappeared for several days in December in connection with a police investigation.
Anbang Insurance has also sought to tap China’s global tourism market by buying hotels in the US, most notably the Waldorf Astoria for $2bn in 2014.
It too has disappeared from cross-border dealmaking after its $14bn bid for Starwood Hotels & Resorts came crashing down at the end of March.
In the first three months of the year, Chinese companies spent $106bn on outbound deals, nearly shattering the full-year record of $109bn set last year. ChemChina’s $44bn buyout of Swiss agrochemical group Syngenta in February made up nearly half of the total.
People who have dealt with Chen Feng, HNA Group chairman, said he and his acquisition team come to negotiations with a strong focus on the group’s plan for building a global tourism and transportation enterprise.
The strategy, they said, was to control the airports, airlines and aircraft leasing companies that will add value to
its expanding portfolio of hotels and tourism assets.
“They have a very clear view of what they are interested in,” said one person close to a recent deal.
Earlier this month, HNA bought Switzerland’s Gategroup Holding, an airline catering business, for $1.5bn. Last July, it bought baggage handler Swissport International for $2.8bn as well as New York-listed aircraft leasing group Avolon for $2.5bn.
The technology acquired in the Ingram Micro buyout will help build
out HNA’s logistics business, the company has said.
该集团今年早些时候还曾竞标收购伦敦城市机场(London City Airport)，但最终不敌安大略省教师养老金计划(Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan)。
里昂证券亚太市场(CLSA Asia Pacific Markets)预计，到2020年，中国出境游客规模将达到每年2亿人次。
去年收购地中海俱乐部(Club Med)、并入股太阳马戏团(Cirque du Soleil)的中国企业集团复星国际(Fosun International)，曾宣布类似的战略，但自其董事长郭广昌去年12月失联数日配合警方调查以来，在国际市场上几乎没有什么动作。
安邦保险(Anbang Insurance)也试图通过收购美国的酒店来挖掘中国的全球旅游市场，最引人注目的是在2014年斥资20亿美元收购纽约华尔道夫酒店(Waldorf Astoria hotel)。
自安邦以140亿美元收购喜达屋酒店及度假村集团(Starwood Hotels & Resorts)的努力在3月底以失败告终后，该集团也从跨境交易的舞台上消失。