HNA, Li Ka-shing firm
short-listed for CIT plane leasing unit sale: sources
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[July 07, 2016]
By Anshuman Daga
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - China's HNA Group
and a firm backed by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing are among suitors
advancing to a second round of bidding for CIT Group's aircraft
leasing assets valued at between $3 billion and $4 billion, people
familiar with the situation said.
CIT's commercial air unit is one of the world's top 10 lessors with
331 aircraft - an attractive target particularly for Chinese firms
whose enthusiasm for the $228 billion global aircraft leasing market
has climbed in tandem with rapid growth in Chinese air travel.
The people said HNA is the leading contender for the U.S. lender's
assets. Bohai Capital, HNA's leasing arm, has said it is planning to
add 300 to 400 planes to the 500-plus it has on order and in
Others advancing to the next round include Ping An Insurance
<601318.SS>, which has an aircraft leasing arm, and Century Tokyo
Leasing <8439.T>, which has joint ventures with CIT, the people
said, declining to be identified as they were not authorized to
speak to the media.
Li's Accipiter Holdings, is a Dublin-based unit of his flagship
company CK Hutchison Holdings <0001.HK> and has partnered with
U.S.-based Apollo Aviation Group for its bid.
CK Hutchison, a ports-to-telecoms conglomerate, entered the aircraft
leasing business in 2014, seeking to diversify its earnings.
"This fits well with their ambition to build a sizeable global
leasing business," said one person with knowledge of the group's
Representatives for HNA Group, Ping An Insurance and Century Tokyo
Leasing declined to comment. CK Hutchison and Apollo Aviation did
not respond to Reuters' requests for comment.
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The headquarters of CIT Group in seen in New York October 31, 2009.
REUTERS/Natalie Behring/File Photo
A spokesman for CIT noted that in a filing to the Securities and Exchange
Commission last week, the company said it was still pursuing a dual track
process which would either involve spinning off the business or an outright
sale. He declined further comment.
CIT, which has more than 100 customers such as Delta Air Lines <DAL.N>, kicked
off the sale process earlier this year inviting bids from more than a dozen
entities, sources have said.
The second round of bids is due in August, the people said, adding that a
meeting with short-listed suitors would be held in New York in the coming weeks.
(Reporting by Anshuman Daga; Additional reporting by Taiga Uranaka in TOKYO;
Editing by Denny Thomas and Edwina Gibbs)
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