China Minsheng Investment, one of China’s largest private investment funds, plans to spin off a helicopter leasing business for an initial public offering this year, the South China Morning Post has learned. China Minsheng Investment chairman Dong Wenbiao told The Post during an exclusive interview that the spin-off will include Yalian Tongyong Hangkong (YTH), a company which is primarily involved in helicopter leasing. Dong did not specify whether other aviation units would be bundled into YTH for the new listing, nor did he reveal the valuation of the company, or the ultimate destination for the IPO, saying investment banks “are discussing the issue.” CMI controls a separate aviation charter business, which ranks No 2 globally in terms of fleet size behind rival Netjet, controlled by US billionaire Warren Buffett. It was not immediately clear whether YTH is held within the organisational structure of the larger aircraft-leasing entity. Dong stressed that the helicopter business had been “very successful.” Established in 2014, China Minsheng Investment has raised more than 30 billion yuan (HK$35.8 billion) in investment capital from more than 50 domestic private enterprises. The company oversees assets worth 150 billion yuan globally, Dong said. Dong is the former chairman of China Minsheng Bank, China’s first privately-owned lender. CMI recorded a profit of 5 to 6 billion yuan last year, driven by investments in sectors that include property management and aviation, Dong said. CMI plans to return 20 per cent of its profits to shareholders in the form of dividends, Dong said, noting an interim dividend payment was recently completed and preparations are underway for a second dividend in March or April. Dong said about 30 per cent of the investments he oversaw last year went towards overseas acquisitions. He described his investment strategy as combining long-term projects with others that develop returns more quickly. Last year, CMI partnered with Hong Kong-based Sung Hung Kai Group and Thailand based CP Group in setting up an investment fund worth US$3 billion in Singapore. CMI took a 60 per cent stake in the fund. The fund has since acquired a piece of land covering 3500 hectares near Jakarta, which it is now developing into an industrial park that aims to accommodate 200 to 300 Chinese enterprises. In Hong Kong, CMI controls three listed companies. Dong said CMI plans to set up a new financial holding company this year in Hong Kong to better integrate the businesses. In terms of overseas acquisitions last year, CMI bought US reinsurer Sirius International for US$2.2 billion. The takeover is expected to be completed later this month. In terms of future endeavours, Dong said CMI plans to establish a US$3 billion property fund in the UK. Still, a project currently underway in the UK, in which CMI has a significant stake, has hit a few road bumps. CMI is reportedly behind in its financial commitments to a £1.7 billion integrated development in east London. In February, CMI announced it had teamed up with ABP (Global), a private Chinese developer, to transform Royal Albert Dock into what was described as a third financial centre for the British capital.