HNA Completes Investment in Azul with a US$450 Million Strategic Investment by Hainan Airlines in Azul for 23.7% Economic Stake and Become the Single Largest Shareholder
Hainan Airlines Co., Ltd. (“Hainan Airlines”), a subsidiary of HNA Group Co., Ltd. (“HNA”), announces that it has completed its US $450 million strategic investment in Azul S.A. (“Azul”) to acquire a 23.7% economic stake in Brazil’s third largest airline, becoming the single largest shareholder of Azul in terms of economic interest, and is appointing three new members to the board of directors. The investment has paved the way for the two air airlines to cooperate through the development of global networking synergy, code sharing, new route development, frequent flyer program, marketing programs and cargo cooperation, as well as other strategic initiatives in the region. Moreover, both parties will benefit from the substantial passenger traffic between two very strong global trade partners – China and Brazil.
HNA, the mother group of Hainan Airlines, is a Fortune 500 multinational enterprise and the largest private operator of airlines in China. Hainan Airline together with HNA’s member airlines fly over 77 million passengers annually on nearly 700 routes to more than 200 destinations in China and around the world. HNA also has strategic investments in other aviation supply chain businesses, including aircraft leasing (Avolon), cargo, ground handling services (Swissport), catering (gategroup), hotels and travel agency chains. Azul is the largest airline in Brazil by number of cities served, offering more than 800 daily flights to over 100 destinations. With a fleet of 136 aircraft, Azul operates approximately one third of the daily departures of the Brazilian aviation market. This investment signals a significant step for both carriers in the growth and expansion of their international route networks.
Bravia Capital Partners, a leading global transportation, logistics, infrastructure and financial services investment firm, and UBS Investment Bank both supported Hainan Airlines throughout the transaction. Seabury Securities LLC, Seabury Group’s investment banking unit, served as financial advisor to Azul.
Adam Tan, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors and CEO of HNA Group, said “In addition to bringing more choice and convenience to Hainan Airlines’ customers traveling to and from Brazil, we view Azul as a strong and lasting partner for HNA to explore further expansion and capital investment in Latin America. We look forward to working together to create a seamless travel experience between Latin America and China and to deliver further choice, value and excellence to worldwide travelers through our future cooperation.”
David Neeleman, Founder and CEO of Azul, said “This US$450 million investment, demonstrates that we have a winning business model and that Hainan Airlines, as a large investor, has absolute confidence in Azul’s team. We are pleased to have Hainan as a partner as we strive to expand our award winning services throughout the region”
Bharat Bhise, CEO of Bravia Capital Partners, said “Bravia is pleased to have brought to Hainan Airlines an opportunity for strategic expansion into the largest economy in Latin America. We view Azul as a strong and lasting competitor in the Brazil market. Even in today’s macroeconomic climate, we see great potential for Hainan Airlines in Brazil and throughout Latin America.”