HNA se­cures 96% of Swiss Gate­group

China Daily (USA) - - BUSINESS - By ZHONGNAN zhongnan@chi­nadaily.com.cn

HNA Group, China’s fourth­biggest air­line, an­nounced on Wed­nes­day it had se­cured ac­cep­tances for 96.1 per­cent of the shares in its bid for Gate­groupHold­ing AG, the Switzer­land-based in-flight cater­ing provider.

Gate­group said in a state­ment that pay­ment for the shares was ex­pected to be made to­wards the end of the third quar­ter or be­gin­ning of the fourth quar­ter.

After the set­tle­ment of the of­fer, HNA in­tends to sub­mit an ap­pli­ca­tion for the delist­ing of the Gate­group shares and for an ex­emp­tion from cer­tain dis­clo­sure and pub­lic­ity obli­ga­tions in ac­cor­dance with the list­ing rules of SIX Swiss Ex­change, the prin­ci­pal stock ex­change in Switzer­land.

Zurich-head­quar­tered Gate­group is an in­de­pen­dent provider of prod­ucts, ser­vices and so­lu­tions re­lat­ing to pas­sen­ger’s on­board ser­vice. It spe­cial­izes in cater­ing and hos­pi­tal­ity, pro­vi­sion­ing and lo­gis­tics, on­board prod­ucts and ser­vices to com­pa­nies that serve peo­ple on the move.

The Swiss com­pany posted $3.2 bil­lion of rev­enue in 2015. With more than 28,000 em­ploy­ees, it has 160 ser­vice points in 33 coun­tries and re­gions.

Tan Xiang­dong, vice-chair­man of HNA Group, said the ac­qui­si­tion of Gate­group not only added to his com­pany’s in­vest­ment port­fo­lio in air­line cater­ing, but also com­ple­mented HNA’s ex­ist­ing ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing avi­a­tion, air­port man­age­ment, lo­gis­tics and tourism.

The Chi­nese com­pany said it would now make moves to ac­quire the stakes held by mi­nor­ity share­hold­ers.

Xavier Rossinyol, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Gate­group, said the trans­ac­tion would al­low it to de­velop. He said it would al­low it to flour­ish as it ac­cel­er­ated its “Gate­way 2020” strat­egy and fur­ther ex­pand its global reach with HNA’s pres­ence in the fast-grow­ing Asian mar­ket.

Un­der the deal, Gate­group will con­tinue to op­er­ate as an in­de­pen­dently-man­aged com­pany un­der HNA’s busi­ness guid­ance.

“HNA Group has op­er­ated a num­ber of cater­ing com­pa­nies for many years and it has ac­cu­mu­lated ma­ture man­age­ment ex­pe­ri­ence and mar­ket re­sources in the in-flight cater­ing in­dus­try,” said LiXiao­jin, a pro­fes­sor at the Civil Avi­a­tion Univer­sity.

“It (the ac­qui­si­tion) will also bring ben­e­fits to Gate­group, which would like to be in­volved more in the Asian mar­ket,” he added.

The lat­est ac­qui­si­tion comes in the wake of a string of takeovers by the Chi­nese air­line in re­cent years.

“The group will be able to pro­vide cater­ing ser­vices to more world lo­ca­tions after this deal is com­pleted,” Li said.

CFP

HNA Group air­crew leave a plane after it landed in Zhubi Reef, Hainan prov­ince.

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