May 8, 2017

Secretive Chinese conglomerate needs more scrutiny from the FIRB

HNA Group has made an eye-watering number of acquisitions at breakneck speed in a bewildering number of sectors. Australia should keep its eye on this secretive company.

Michael Sainsbury — Freelance correspondent in Asia and <em>Little Red Blog</em> Editor

Michael Sainsbury

Freelance correspondent in Asia and Little Red Blog Editor

HNA China

Chinese conglomerate HNA Group has stunned global markets by announcing it has quietly moved to raise its stake in one of the world’s largest investment banks, Germany’s Deutsche Bank, from 3% to 10%. Deutsche, of course, has long had considerable operations in Australia, but that is just the tip of the HNA investment iceberg.

It was just the latest move -- many of them surprising, and some, like this one, stunning -- from one of China’s most acquisitive companies offshore. Over the past 10 years HNA Group has shoveled out a whopping US$42.54 billion for assets. Australia, too, has been squarely in its sights, particularly over the past 12 months since it nabbed 13% of Virgin Australia. And there have been multiple property deals, including a proposed $1 billion property trust with Singapore group AEP with nary a peep.

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