The Portuguese Government has authorised Chinese airline Hainan Airlines (HNA) become a shareholder of TAP – Air Portugal through private consortium Atlantic Gateway, Portuguese weekly newspaper Expresso reported.
The government’s commitment is expressed in a memorandum recently signed with the consortium formed by US entrepreneurs David Neeleman and Portugal’s Humberto Pedrosa, under which the Portuguese state holds a 50 percent stake in the TAP Group and the consortium 45 percent and its respective management.
“The Portuguese State authorises as of now a stake to be taken in Atlantic Gateway by HNA, at a percentage to be agreed between the shareholders of the Atlantic Gateway and HNA,” the memo said.
The document adds, “financing of 120 million euros to the company is expected, of which 30 million by the state and 90 million by the private consortium, the Portuguese State may also authorise HNA to subscribe directly part of the bonds, as the rights that in this MoU that refer to Azul will (also) refer to HNA.”
Expresso said that the HNA may take a stake of 10 percent to 13 percent of TAP and added that the agreement with the Chinese “was made after Neeleman formalised in November a strategic partnership in Brazil and after the Portuguese government had sent a team to Beijing at the end of January.”
In November 2015 HNA applied 1.7 billion reais (about US$424 million) in Azul. This investment was described by financial news agency Bloomberg as “a lifeline for the Brazilian airline.” (macauhub/BR/CN)