(Yicai Global) April 23 -- HNA Group Co. has given up its position as the largest shareholder of Europe’s largest investment bank Deutsche Bank AG, as part of efforts to recover from financial distress caused by its overseas shopping sprees in recent years.
HNA Group has reduced its stake in Germany’s biggest lender from 8.8% to 7.9% due to a failure to pay a transaction, an HNA spokesperson disclosed via e-mail. The Qatari royal family has become the largest owner of the European bank, following the reduction in HNA's position. The move came after another selloff of shares in February, when the Haikou-based firm reduced its ownership from 10% to 8.8%, cashing out about EUR300 million, while sparking reports of its liquidity tensions.
The firm has also recently sold a CNY5.7 billion (USD905 million) property project in Haikou to Guangzhou R&F Properties Co., reportedly without much gain as two of the buildings were close to sales. A subsidiary of HNA Group also cleared its H-shares in Guangzhou Rural Commercial Bank last week, cashing out about HKD1.5 billion, according to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Regardless of these measures, HNA is still under a state of financial affliction. The company's plans to sell its shares in Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. emerged last month, as Bloomberg reported. The Chinese company spent USD6.5 billion to increase its stake in Hilton Worldwide to 26.1% this becoming its largest shareholder of Hilton Worldwide a mere 18 months ago.
Editors: Emmi Laine, William Clegg