The writing has been on the wall for some time for HNA Group’s ownership of Radisson Hotel Group. As HNA continues to struggle to keep up with debt repayments—and stay on Beijing’s good side—Radisson has looked like the natural next divestment as the Chinese conglomerate is forced to more-or-less withdraw from the international arena. What that would mean for Radisson has been less clear, with Radisson largely in the dark over HNA’s plans. That may be about to change as it’s now rumored that Chinese state-owned hotel group Jin Jiang International is vying to acquire Radisson from HNA.
Radisson has been largely left in the dark over its future within HNA’s tottering business empire, but it has seemed likely that the hotel group would be sold
In a report, Bloomberg quotes people with knowledge of the matter as saying that Jin Jiang is weighing a bid for the hotel group which could net HNA as much as $2 billion. Neither HNA Group, Jin Jiang International, nor Radisson Hotel Group has publicly commented on the rumor as of this report.
It wouldn’t be the first international foray for China’s Jin Jiang International. The company is perhaps best known outside China as the owner of France’s Louvre Hotels Group and a major investor in AccorHotels. However, unlike other Chinese companies that did major international acquisitions and investments during that period—such as HNA Group—Jin Jiang remains unscathed by curbs on outbound capital flows and ebbing access to capital from Chinese banks.
State-owned Jin Jiang already owns Louvre Hotel Group and is looking to further expand its international hotels portfolio
Of course, unlike HNA, Anbang, Dalian Wanda, and other troubled companies embroiled in China’s still unfolding debt crunch, Jin Jiang International is a state-owned enterprise—something that likely mitigates such concerns.
In other words, even though the whole HNA saga may have left Radisson staff with a bad taste of Chinese ownership, it’s much less likely that Jin Jiang would be subject to similar problems to those of HNA anytime soon.
For HNA, meanwhile, the potential deal with Jin Jiang would prove a more than welcome cash injection as the company is struggling to meet even the most basic payments to stay operational. Ideally for HNA, making the deal over Radisson with an arm of China’s government may also curry some favor with a Beijing that has been viewing HNA and its overseas deal making with intense scrutiny.