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Report: Ping An Insurance advances to 2nd-round bid for CIT's plane leasing assets

Ping AnInsurance (Group) Co. of China Ltd. has advanced to the secondround of bidding forCIT Group Inc.'saircraft leasing assets, Reuters reported July 7, citing "people familiarwith the situation."

Ping An Insurance joins other potential buyers, includingChina's HNA Group and CenturyTokyo Leasing Corp., the people said. Hong Kong tycoon LiKa-shing's Accipiter Holdings, which has partnered with U.S.-based ApolloAviation Group to bid on the assets, has also proceeded to the next round ofbidding.

The sources said that HNA Group is the leading contender forthe aircraft leasing assets.

CIT Group's aircraft leasing unit, with its 331 aircraft, isan attractive prospect for Chinese firms given the rapid growth of Chinese airtravel.

The deadline for the second round of bids is in August, thesources said.

Representatives for HNA Group, Ping An Insurance and CenturyTokyo Leasing declined to comment on the matter, while Apollo Aviation and CKHutchison, Accipiter's parent company, did not respond to requests for comment,the news outlet reported.