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The Incredible Shrinking Conglomerate: China’s HNA Group May Dump Its Huge Stake in Deutsche Bank

September 7, 2018, 10:32 AM UTC

China’s HNA Group conglomerate plans to offload its 7.6% stake in Deutsche Bank (DB) in the next 18 months, as well as much of its other overseas investments, the Wall Street Journal reports.

HNA Group amassed more than $40 billion in businesses and stakes in companies in an aggressive global acquisition spree from 2015 to 2017. But it is now exiting some international investments under renewed pressure from Chinese regulators and its creditors to shrink its balance sheet and focus on its core business of airlines, sources told WSJ.

HNA may also sell Ingram Micro, a California technology distributor it bought for $6 billion two years ago, and Swissport International, a cargo handler it bought for $2.8 billion in 2015. It also plans to offload stakes in dozens of Chinese banks, trusts and insurance companies, sources told WSJ.

HNA has been under increasing pressure from Chinese authorities to divest from industries that aren’t state-supported, but Deutsche Bank had seemed a safe bet. The assets HNA wants to shed are valued at more than $10 billion, according to calculations by the Wall Street Journal, and follow announced or completed asset sales totaling roughly $20 billion.

The divestment plans were already in the works before co-founder Wang Jian fell to his death during a trip to France in July, the sources said, and co-founder Chen Feng, who is now chairman, is continuing the strategy.