China’s HNA Group has further expanded its influence in Asian aviation by agreeing to invest in Asiana Airlines’ parent Kumho Holdings.
Kumho sold HNA 160 billion won ($140 million) in bonds with a warrant to buy shares, the Korean company said in a regulatory filing. The proceeds of the sale will be used to refinance maturing debt and for operational purposes.
The pair have agreed to look for “strategic synergy” between the Kumho Asiana Group and the HNA Group. This will encompass business areas such as aircraft ground handling, maintenance and catering, as well as hotels and resorts.
The companies already cooperate on inflight catering, as Asiana has partnered with HNA subsidiary Gate Gourmet Switzerland in the Gate Gourmet Korea joint venture. Kumho said they will expand their partnership into other areas.
Asiana has been struggling financially in recent years, and has sought to improve its performance through a restructuring program and by selling stakes in businesses such as a bus company and real estate ventures.
HNA owns a stable of airlines in China, and has been progressively buying stakes in other carriers and aviation-related businesses in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond--including myTechnic.