15 AUGUST 2016
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In another Chinese investment coup, China's largest non-state aviation company, Hainan Airlines, has completed the purchase of a 23.7% stake in Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras.
This is the company run by David Neeleman that, along with Portuguese road-transport magnate Humberto Pedrosa, last year took a controlling stake in Portugal's national airline, TAP.
Portugal's government has since moved to ensure the state is to retain a 50% stake in TAP.
The Hainan deal, at US$450m (€403m), makes the Chinese company Azul's largest shareholder, according to a statement released by Hainan.
"We see Azul as a strong partner in the long-term for [Hainan] HNA to expand and invest in Latin America," the statement quoted Adam Tan, the company's chief executive, as saying.
Last year, Hainan paid €30m for 25% of TAP's convertible bonds. In the same month, it announced the acquisition for US$1.5bn of Switzerland-based Gategroup Holding, the world's second largest aviation catering business.
Hainan is cooperating with Azul on code-sharing, opening new routes, marketing and transport tariffs, according to the statement.
China's central government has encouraged companies to invest abroad, as a way of securing raw materials and reliable returns on investment.
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