Dufry said that it has been notified by HNA Group that it has exceeded the threshold of 15% due to an agreement with third parties to purchase 16.79% of the shares of Dufry AG. The closing of the transaction is subject to certain conditions, said the statement.
In March, the Wall Street Journal and other publications had first reported HNA Group was seeking to buy a stake in Dufry. The Swiss airport retailer is currently valued at about US$7.6 billion.
HNA Group, which is a global Fortune 500 company whose tourism business includes market-leading positions in aviation, hotels and travel services, reportedly approached existing Dufry shareholders, including Singapore state-investment company Temasek Holdings and Singapore sovereign-wealth fund GIC, said the WSJ report.
According to Dufry’s annual report, Temasek owns a 8.55% stake and GIC has a 7.79% interest in the Swiss company. Qatar Holdings, owned by Qatar Investment Authority, holds a 6.92% stake.
HNA operates and invests in nearly 2,000 hotels with over 300,000 rooms across major markets, and has 1,250 aircraft carrying over 90 million passengers to 260 cities worldwide.
It has spent billions of dollars to buy assets such as airport caterers, travel agencies and high-end hotel chains overseas.
Last year, HNA acquired a stake in Brazil’s Azul airline, spent nearly US$4.3 billion to buy air cargo handler Swissport International and Swiss air-travel logistics company Gategroup Holdings. In March, it completed the US$6.5 billion purchase of a 25% stake in Hilton Worldwide Holdings from Blackstone Group LP.
As of press time, Dufry stock had reached a high of CHF 163.30 for the day, up about 2.6%.