HNA Group to make USD $450 million strategic investment in Azul for 23.7% stake

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–HNA Group Company Limited (“HNA Group”) and Azul Brazilian Airlines (“Azul”) today announced a new strategic partnership. HNA Group will acquire a 23.7% stake in Azul, Brazil’s third largest airline, aiming to benefit from substantial passenger traffic between China and Brazil, which are strong global trade partners. HNA Group will assume the role of single largest shareholder of Azul, and will appoint new members to the board of directors.

Through the partnership, the companies will cooperate in the development of code sharing, new route development, and expand the loyalty participation programs.

This global partnership joins together two of the largest players in two of the fastest-growing aviation markets in the world. Azul is the largest airline in Brazil by number of cities served, offering more than 900 daily flights to more than 100 destinations. With a fleet of 145 aircraft Azul operates approximately one-third of the daily departures of the Brazilian aviation market. HNA Group owns the fourth largest airline group in terms of fleet size in the People’s Republic of China and operates a fleet of 561 aircrafts. It operates scheduled domestic and international service on more than 630 routes from locations throughout the People’s Republic of China and internationally.

Bravia Capital, a leading global transportation and infrastructure investment and advisory firm, and UBS Investment Bank served as financial advisor to HNA Group. Seabury Securities LLC, Seabury Group’s investment banking unit, served as financial advisor to Azul.

“HNA Group is committed to expanding in the airline industry through strategic investments in companies with strong market positions and excellent management teams. We are pleased to partner with Azul in order to bring more choice and convenience to our customers traveling to and from Brazil. We eagerly look forward to working with Azul founder David Neeleman and his team for the mutual benefit of both airlines,” said Adam Tan, President of HNA Group.

David Neeleman, CEO of Azul, said “HNA Group sees in Azul a solid investment with high growth potential. The USD $450 million investment, considering Brazil’s current macroeconomic situation, demonstrates that we have a winning business model and that the HNA Group, as a large investor, has absolute confidence in Azul’s team. Moreover, this investment makes Azul the airline with the highest valuation in the Brazilian market, at more than R$ 7.0 billion.”

Bharat Bhise, CEO of Bravia Capital, said “China and Brazil are important trading partners, and Azul and HNA Group each have very strong positions as passenger carriers in their respective markets. Bravia is pleased to bring to HNA Group an opportunity for strategic expansion into the largest economy in Latin America.”

About HNA Group

HNA Group is a Fortune Global 500 company and a leading enterprise group headquartered in Haikou, China with core businesses spanning across aviation, holdings, tourism, capital and logistics. The Group achieved annual revenues of approximately USD21 billion and had total assets of approximately USD76 billion with around 110,000 employees for the year ended 31 December 2014. With its internationalization strategy, HNA Group has established an international presence through various merger and acquisition projects in the past several years. For more information, please visit www.hnagroup.com.

About Azul Brazilian Airlines

Azul, the largest airline in Brazil by number of cities served, offers more than 900 daily flights to 101 destinations. With a fleet of 140 aircraft and more than 10,000 crewmembers, the company currently has a 32% share of departures of the Brazilian aviation market. Among other awards, Azul was named best low cost carrier in South America for the fifth consecutive time by Skytrax in 2015 and best low cost carrier in the world by CAPA in 2012. The airline also had best on-time performance in Brazil in 2014 and was recognized by FlightStats as having the best on-time performance in South America in 2012. For more information visit www.voeazul.com.br

About Bravia Capital

Bravia Capital is a Hong Kong based investment and advisory firm with a primary focus on transportation, logistics, infrastructure and financial service investments worldwide. Bravia have recently completed several key transportation sector acquisitions on behalf of itself and its partners: Cronos Group (2015), Thotakã Tecknologies India (2014), Energy Asia Transportation (2014), TIP Trailer Services Group (2013), Africa World Airlines in Ghana (2012), Seaco (2011), MyCargo Airlines (2011), MyTECHNIC (2010), and Hong Kong Aviation Capital (2010). For more information please go to the company’s web site: www.braviacapital.com.

About Seabury Group

Seabury Group LLC (“Seabury”) is a global advisory firm with professionals on five continents in more than 15 countries serving Aviation, Aerospace & Defense, Financial Services, Government Services, Logistics, Maritime, Transportation, and related industries. Since 1995, Seabury has partnered with more than 300 clients in more than 50 countries on more than 1,200 engagements to solve complex challenges requiring consulting, investment banking, restructuring, and information technology solutions. Seabury also owns and operates a number of specialty finance companies providing innovative cross-border financing and electronic trading solutions. In addition, Seabury delivers enterprise solutions to airlines and aerospace companies through its software companies. www.seaburygroup.com.

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YeaJin Lee, 212-798-9554
yeajin.lee@cohnwolfe.com