Shares in China Eastern Airlines Corp yesterday traded below the price Singapore Airlines had offered for a stake in the mainland carrier, a deal that was voted down in January. China Eastern's stock dropped to as low as HK$3.75 in the morning session, 5 HK cents below SIA's offer in its bid to acquire 24 per cent of the Shanghai-based carrier. SIA and Temasek Holdings' proposal for a strategic partnership was rejected by China Eastern's minority shareholders, who considered the price too low. The shares closed at HK$3.91 after a market rebound in the afternoon. The stock declined 2.25 per cent from a day earlier. China Eastern last month rejected a bid by China National Aviation Corp, which proposed to acquire a stake of not more than 30 per cent for at least HK$5 a share. China Eastern said it still preferred to co-operate with the Singapore carrier but did not set a timetable for a renewed offer. 'It is not a good time to say when to resubmit the proposal to the shareholders,' Luo Zhuping, China Eastern's company secretary, said yesterday. 'The tussle is still playing out,' said Damien Horth, an analyst for UBS Investment Research. 'The government is finding it hard to make a decision. On the one hand, it risks creating a monopoly [to combine Air China and China Eastern] but, on the other, a stronger [carrier] is better to help compete with foreign airlines.' A reorganisation among agencies in the government could affect consolidation in the airline business. The General Administration of Civil Aviation (CAAC) would be combined with the new Ministry of Communications, which will be in charge of all forms of transport, Xinhua reported yesterday. 'The impact of Li Jiaxiang, the acting head of CAAC, will be diluted if CAAC is under the administration of the Ministry of Communication,' said Martin Wong of Guotai Junan Securities. 'Li Jiaxiang pressed hard to put forward the consolidation of CNAC and China Eastern before he left as chairman of CNAC and joined the regulator.'