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HNA Group
Conglomerate Nears A Deal in Logistics

Chinese conglomerate HNA Group is in advanced discussions to take control of CWT Ltd. in a deal that could value the Singapore-listed logistics company at about $1 billion, according to people familiar with the situation.

Chinese buyers have splurged on overseas deals this year, agreeing to about US$107 billion of foreign takeovers, according to Dealogic. HNA has been one of China’s most aggressive buyers, looking to expand its travel-to-property empire beyond the country’s borders.

In February, HNA made one of the biggest acquisitions yet by a Chinese company abroad when it agreed to buy U.S. technology distributor Ingram Micro Inc. for about US$6 billion.

Last month, it cut a deal to buy the owner of the Radisson hotel chain and reached a separate $1.5 billion agreement for Swiss air-travel logistics company Gategroup Holding AG.

The latest deal by HNA is closer to home and part of a push by Chinese companies to snap up assets in Southeast Asia. HNA is near a deal with CWT’s controlling shareholders to buy their stake in the company, which would trigger an offer to all shareholders and values the company at nearly US$1 billion.

— —P.R. Venkat
Regulator Punishes CITIC-Related Fund

China’s funds regulator punished an asset manager tied to finance conglomerate CITIC Group for illegal fund pooling operations in its latest move to tighten oversight of the industry.

CITIC-CP Asset Management was suspended from operating new funds for six months, according to a notice posted Thursday on the website of Asset Management Association of China, a self-regulatory body that oversees private funds.

“The illegal fund-pooling business violates the nature of assets management, and can easily lead to investor expectation of bailout in case of default, and slip toward Ponzi schemes,” AMAC said in the statement. It also urged fund managers to refrain from sacrificing long-term development for immediate interests.

The regulator issued new management rules for private equity-funds in mid-April.

CITIC-CP Asset Management is a joint venture set up in April 2013 by CITIC Trust and CITIC-Prudential Fund Management Co., according to the company’s website.

—Yifan Xie
Firm’s Board Accepts CEO’s Resignation

Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. , the Philippine lender tied to the illegal transfer of $81 million from the Bangladeshi central bank’s account at the Federal Reserve in New York, said Chief Executive Lorenzo V. Tan has resigned.

The board of RCBC, as the bank is better known, said in a statement that it has accepted the resignation of Mr. Tan, who is also stepping down from the post of president, effective May 6. RCBC Chairwoman Helen Dee will oversee the bank’s operations as president and CEO.

RCBC said its internal investigation into the alleged money laundering had cleared Mr. Tan of any breach of bank rules and policies.

“He resigned to give the board a free hand in directing the course of the bank’s future,” RCBC said.

Mr. Tan said in a statement that even though he has been “cleared of any wrongdoing, as president and CEO of RCBC, I take full moral responsibility for this sad incident in the history of the bank.”

The manager of the RCBC branch that received the stolen money alleged in her testimony in the Senate hearings on the heist that Mr. Tan knew of the transactions.

“As shown by RCBC’s own investigation, the allegations of my involvement in the current money-laundering issue are unfounded and baseless,” Mr. Tan said.

—Cris Larano
Developer Turns To U.S. Court

Chinese property developer Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. has filed for bankruptcy protection in a U.S. court to keep safe a debt- repayment deal made with lenders after more than a year of negotiations.

Lawyers who put Kaisa Group Holdings into bankruptcy proceedings on Thursday in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan told a federal judge the developer has already begun the restructuring process in a Hong Kong court, located near the “nerve center” for its operations, according to court papers.

The developer’s troubles, which caused it to default on $2.5 billion of bonds last year, have triggered dozens of legal disputes. Filing for Chapter 15 protection—the type of bankruptcy used by foreign companies that are working through their financial problems elsewhere—would prevent new lawsuits from being filed in a U.S. court.

The financial problems for Kaisa Group Holdings, whose subsidiaries develop commercial and residential properties in 30 Chinese cities, trace to 2014 when Chinese government officials “seriously disrupt[ed]” several of its projects, according to bankruptcy-court documents. Specifically, Chinese officials restricted property-rights transfers at its projects and refused to accept routine license and permitting applications, blocking sales of units in 11 Kaisa Group Holdings projects, according to court papers. Government officials later partially lifted the sale restrictions on the company’s property units.

The restrictions hurt the developer’s cash flow, triggering dozens of legal disputes and leading some of the developer’s lenders to freeze assets. Kaisa Group Holdings estimated its assets were worth $16.1 billion as of September 2015.

After more than a year of negotiations, Kaisa Group Holdings officials have come up with a restructuring proposal that has the approval of the holders of at least 96.25% of the aggregate value of affected offshore obligations, court papers said. “The restructuring of Kaisa has been a lengthy but collaborative process,” Kaisa Group Holdings lawyers said in bankruptcy court papers.

Courtesy : wsj.com



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