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China's Hainan Air Eyes U.S. Airline Acquisition

Fri Apr 26, 2002 7:18 pm

SHANGHAI, April 26 (Reuters) - Hainan Airlines, one of China's most aggressively expanding carriers, hopes to take over an airline in the United States to boost its global standing, a Hainan Air official said on Friday.

The regional Chinese carrier, which reported a sharp 39 percent drop in net profit last year mainly due to an acquisition spree, has approached a few U.S. airliners though it has made no concrete plans, the official said.

[snip snap]

"We are considering to buy a U.S. airline because the (U.S.) aviation industry is not doing quite well now, which might be a good time for an acquisition," the Hainan Air official told Reuters.

"But this is only something very preliminary and nothing has been fixed at all," said the official who declined to be identified.

[snip snap]

Hainan Air has announced a plan to expand its fleet by 21 planes this year and list American Depositary Receipts in New York to help fund expansion.

The China Business Times said on Friday Hainan Air planned to set up a private fund in the United States to help its development over the next 10 years. It gave no details.

Hainan Air has been keenly scouring for acquisitions to build its network after the small regional player was left out in the cold by the aviation regulator's plan to merge 10 other carriers into three giant, internationally competitive groups.

The airline, based in the tropical southern island of Hainan, was also among a slew of small carriers that would be squeezed out of lucrative flying routes between Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou this year, analysts said.

Hainan Air has said it was forming a new Cambodian flag carrier with the Phnom Penh government, a move analysts saw as aimed at tapping the potentially lucrative Southeast Asian regional air travel market.

Who is the likely one? Anyone able to split those 21 deliveries planned for this year?

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RE: China's Hainan Air Eyes U.S. Airline Acquisition

Fri Apr 26, 2002 8:12 pm

Cool idea...and what exactly would they hope to acieve by buying a regional carrier in the US, that carries people around about 10,000 miles away from Hainan home markets??
Nothing, except another sharp drop in earnings resulting from immense losses on the investment, and a very hard time integrating a US carrier into a regional Chinese management network.
Nice to see, that people are not ready to learn from other people's mistakes!!

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Someone Else
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RE: China's Hainan Air Eyes U.S. Airline Acquisition

Fri Apr 26, 2002 11:12 pm

Maybe it'll be called FOBair?
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Joined: Thu Jun 29, 2000 10:36 am

RE: China's Hainan Air Eyes U.S. Airline Acquisition

Sat Apr 27, 2002 12:47 am

They can eye an acquisition all they want, but that's the extent of it. Federal law caps foreign control of a U.S. airline at 25%. I believe non-controlling/non-voting ownership can go above that, as was the case w/ KLM and NW, but someone would have to check me there. And, IMHO, considering the state of Sino - US relations right now, it would be a cold day in hades before congress voted to change the ownership laws.

"The two most common elements in the universe are Hydrogen and stupidity"