HNA Group Co., owner of China’s fourth-largest airline, is said to be in talks to acquire ground handler Swissport International Ltd., according to a Bloomberg report quoting unnamed sources.
The report said Swissport’s private-equity owner PAI Partners SAS is seeking about US$3 billion from a sale, but negotiations have dragged on for several months, held up by disagreement over the price, according to the sources.
Swissport provides ground services for around 229 million passengers and 4.1 million tonnes of cargo a year on behalf of some 700 aviation clients, generating an operating revenue of about CHF 3 billion (US$3.1 billion).
The HNA Group has rapidly become a major player in Chinese aviation with HNA Aviation operating a fleet of over 520 aircraft, serving 640 domestic and international routes covering 250 cities. The airlines in its portfolio consist of carriers such as Yangtze River Express, Hainan Airlines, Tianjin Airlines and Lucky Air. Additionally the group manages ten airports within China, including Haikou International and Sanya Phoenix International.