HNA buys fourth site near old Hong Kong airport for mega-project

SYDNEY (BLOOMBERG) - Chinese conglomerate HNA Group beat 14 bidders to buy a fourth plot of land near Hong Kong's former airport.

HNA-controlled Hong Kong International Construction Investment Management Group unit Milway bid HK$7.44 billion (S$1.35 billion) for the 9,482 sq m (102,000 sq ft) plot, the company said in a stock exchange filing late Wednesday (March 15). The four sites will be combined into a single residential project totaling almost 400,000 square feet.

HNA outbid Hong Kong developers Sun Hung Kai Properties and Wheelock Properties was well as mainland bidders including China Overseas Land & Investment, according to a Lands Department statement.

The purchase is the latest overseas foray for Hainan, China-based HNA, which announced more than US$30 billion in deals last year. The company in November won a HK$8.84 billion bid for the first site in the Kai Tak area, the most paid for a piece of government land in three-and-a-half years. All in, it has spent HK$27.2 billion on the four plots.

Hong Kong International Construction shares surged 15 per cent in early trading in Hong Kong, and were up 6.7 per cent at 9:49 am.

HNA, led by aviation tycoon Chen Feng, operates airlines, hotels and tourism businesses and is pursuing an aggressive expansion to capitalize on an anticipated surge in Chinese outbound traffic. The company in October said it will buy a stake in Hilton Worldwide Holdings and earlier that month agreed to buy the plane leasing business from CIT Group.