HNA Group’s stake in Portuguese airline TAP depends on European regulations

10 March 2016

Chinese group HNA, which owns Hainan Airlines, taking a stake in airline TAP – Portugal depends on approval by the National Civil Aviation Authority (ANAC), according to the Portuguese press.

The group holds a 23.7 percent in Brazilian airline Azul, the airline that is part of the Atlantic Gateway consortium,which under a memorandum signed in February with the Portuguese government holds a 45 percent stake in TAP. The Portuguese stake owns 50 percent and TAP’s workers have 5 percent.

The Chinese group is, for now, only indirectly financing TAP,by issuing convertible bonds worth 90 million euros approved Tuesday. In addition to this amount another 30 million euros of bonds will be subscribed by state holding company Parpública.

By injecting capital of 90 million euros the consortium increases TAP’s funding to 210 million euros since the privatisation went ahead in November 2015.

The commitment made as part of this process outlined that Atlantic Gateway would inject 338 million euros into the airline, of which 30 million will now be assumed by Parpública under the memorandum of understanding signed between the government of António Costa and the consortium represented by US businessman David Neeleman and Portuguese businessman Humberto Pedrosa.

The President of ANAC, Luis Ribeiro, told Portuguese weekly newspaper Expresso that “the conversion of this block of 90 million euros into shares, when it comes under consideration will have to be examined under Regulation 1008, which applies to the European civil aviation sector.”

“ANAC must be notified by Azul and its shareholders about the intention to convert these bonds into shares and only then will compliance with the terms of the Regulation 1008 be assessed, or rather, it will not be an automatic process and will be subject to compliance with a set of rules that the regulator will have to consider at that time,” said Luis Ribeiro. (macauhub/BR/CN/EN)