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Report: HNA to receive Chinese government support in tackling US$93B debt

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Report: HNA to receive Chinese government support in tackling US$93B debt

High-level Chinese government officials resolved to help HNA Group Co. Ltd. as it struggles to repay more than US$93 billion of debt, Bloomberg News reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The officials determined that HNA is in liquidity territory and needs state support, the report noted. The leaders also reportedly said HNA is unlike Anbang Insurance Group Co. Ltd., which has been taken over by the government, and Tomorrow Group, two conglomerates which have top executives facing legal issues.

At a June 12 meeting, according to the unnamed sources, a senior official at the People's Bank of China led a meeting that was attended by representatives of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, National Association of Financial Market Institutional Investors, State Administration of Foreign Exchange, China Development Bank, the Hainan provincial government, HNA Co-Chairman Chen Feng and the group's biggest creditor.

The official reportedly instructed attendees to support future bond issuances of HNA. How the support will be extended was unspecified, but the June 15 report noted that it could be through buying the bonds or arranging the sale. HNA creditors, meanwhile, will deal with banks at a headquarters level and China Development Bank will take charge of future creditor meetings.

Along with the relief, the once acquisitive property-to-aviation conglomerate was also mandated to stop diversifying through acquisitions and to instead focus on its main business of travel, Bloomberg reported.

The media outlet noted that People's Bank of China, China Banking and Insurance and the Hainan government did not immediately report to faxed requests for comment; a China Development Bank representative did not answer calls; and HNA declined to comment.

Year-to-May, the group sold roughly US$15 billion of assets to tackle its debt. Among the assets it divested are shareholdings in Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., Park Hotels & Resorts Inc., Hilton Grand Vacations Inc. and Deutsche Bank AG.