HNA Group says it has ‘sufficient capital’ to finance Kai Tak residential projects

HNA sees no problem getting loans to finance its Kai Tak property project, says top executive

PUBLISHED : Monday, 18 September, 2017, 7:03am
UPDATED : Monday, 18 September, 2017, 7:02am

HNA Group, the Chinese conglomerate that spent HK$27.2 billion (US$3.5 billion) for a stake in Hong Kong’s residential land market, said the group’s financial health is sound and its sees no problem getting loans to fund its mega property project in Kai Tak.

“Our lending banks show strong support to us. We have sufficient capital to finance the project,” said Liu Junchun, vice chairman of the conglomerate’s private unit HNA Holding International Investment Group.

“We have arranged four syndicated loans for the property development, while some other banks also have expressed interest in providing the company with financing,” said Liu, who is also vice chairman of HNA’s listed unit, Hong Kong International Construction Investment Management Group.

Last week, media reports said at least four out of eight banks known to have provided a combined US$1.5 billion worth of short-term financing for the land purchases decided not to renew that credit and do not intend to extend fresh loans to fund construction costs.

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“Such reports are groundless. The project goes ahead as planned,” said Liu. But he declined to reveal the group’s total cash on hand and did not disclose if the two companies involved in the land purchases have short terms loans that will expire soon.

HNA Holding and Hong Kong International Construction each bought two parcels of land at Kai Tak, the former site of Hong Kong’s airport, for a total of HK$27.2 billion during a four-month period starting November last year.

The two companies plan to turn the four adjacent sites into one residential development that will

yield a total gross floor area of 2.02 million square feet. The average land cost of the four parcels of land is HK$13,416 per sq ft.

Tony Lau, president of the real estate development division of Hong Kong International Construction, said foundation work on the project would begin by the end of this month or early next month.

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Lau expects the first batch of units would be offered for pre-sale in the third or fourth quarter of 2019.

The group said it will offer its local and international employees the opportunity to buy the Kai Tak units at cost price.

HNA Group, which chairman Chen Feng founded in 1993 in Hainan, has grown into a global conglomerate with 290,000 employees, 6,000 of them in Hong Kong.

Last year alone, the firm spent US$26 billion on global acquisitions, according to Dealogic, including the purchase of Ingram Micro for US$6 billion. It also bought 25 per cent of Hilton Worldwide Holdings for US$6.5 billion and recently took a 9.9 per cent stake in Deutsche Bank, making it the single largest shareholder.