Sunday, January 22, 2017

China's HNA Group Co. Is This a Scam?

This is the company that bought Skybridge Capital from President Trump's advisor, Anthony Scaramucci.
A couple weeks before that announcement Gadfly had taken a quick look at the company which got my "something's not right" antennae twitching. I don't have anything concrete to base that instinct on other than the remarkable growth so see what you think.
From Bloomberg Gadfly, December 29, 2016:

HNA's Chen Feng Flies Close to the Sun
There's an old joke: How do you build a $100 million airline? Start off with a $1 billion airline.

Under founding Chairman Chen Feng, HNA Group Co. appears to have gone in the opposite direction. From its first flight in 1993, through a $25 million investment from George Soros in 1995 and a 2000 restructuring, the former Hainan Airlines has never stopped growing.

In December last year, gross assets of the aviation-focused conglomerate already amounted to 468.7 billion yuan ($67 billion) -- more than any U.S. carrier, and greater than the combined assets of Europe's market leaders Deutsche Lufthansa AG and International Consolidated Airlines Group SA. Then in 2016, things really got going.

On Jan. 8, it completed its then-biggest acquisition, the $2.5 billion takeover of Irish aircraft lessor Avolon Holdings Ltd. . A month later, it paid $6 billion for Ingram Micro Inc., the world's biggest electronics distributor, and completed the $2.8 billion purchase of ground cargo handling company Swissport Group. In October, HNA paid $10 billion for another lessor, CIT Commercial Air, and spent $6.5 billion on a quarter of the Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. hotel chain.

Big Deal
HNA and its associates announced or completed more than $34 billion in acquisitions in 2016... 
...Throw in smaller deals and the tally for 2016 should put gross asset value easily over $100 billion. That would be enough, were the closely held HNA listed, to make it one of the world's 100 biggest non-financial companies -- larger than Boeing Co., Walt Disney Co. or Coca-Cola Co.