Chinese government near takeover of HNA Group on virus slump - report

Author: Adam Button | Category: News

That's a fast downfall

This is one of the kinds of stories that show how quickly it can all fall apart. The virus itself isn't always the story, it's that a crisis can expose weaknesses elsewhere.

China has been paralyzed for a month but any decent company should be able to weather that. Yet here we have a company that had revenue close to $60 billion as one of the largest investment funds in the world.

The airline asset is a big part of the problem and the government of Hainan is said to be ready to take over the conglomerate.

This isn't a huge surprise because it has a high debt load and has teetered recently. Still, over-indebtedness in China is a major systemic risk and the downfall points to risks elsewhere. There are separate reports that companies are struggling to pay workers in China. The government has instructed banks to keep lending and not call in loans, but loans eventually need to be paid, or it's the banks that will go bust.

It will also be interesting to see how related assets hold up. The company has a large real estate portfolio and owns 25% of Hilton hotels.



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