São Paulo, November 24th, 2015 – Countering the headwinds of the current Brazilian crisis, Azul Brazilian Airlines announces today an important milestone that positions it as an even stronger and more competitive airline. The Chinese international conglomerate HNA Group has selected Azul as its primary strategic investment in Latin America.
In one of the largest equity investments in a Brazilian company this year, Azul received a firm commitment from HNA Group, subject to completion of certain conditions precedent, for the investment of US$ 450 million in exchange for an economic stake of 23.7%. As a result, HNA Group will be Azul’s newest shareholder and board member. With this equity raise, Azul will have one of the strongest balance sheets in Latin America.
Over the past 20 years, HNA Group has successfully transformed itself from a traditional aviation company to a global conglomerate spanning the aviation, real estate, finance, tourism, and logistics sectors, with revenues of US$ 21 billion and over 110 thousand employees.
HNA Group has a solid experience with aircraft lessors and has recently invested in Swissport, a renowned global aviation handling company. Within its aviation group, HNA owns 14 airlines with a total fleet of 561 aircraft.
According to David Neeleman, CEO of Azul, the Chinese group saw in Azul a solid investment with high growth potential. “The investment of US$ 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 US$ 1.9 billion”.
“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.
This investment will bring significant benefits to Azul including a stronger cash position, support for its fleet plan, product and service improvements. Moreover, the partnership between Azul and HNA Group will result in commercial agreements, joint negotiation efforts, and adjustments in aircraft allocation. Finally, it also enables the company’s entry into the Asian market.
Seabury Securities LLC, Seabury Capital’s investment banking unit, served as financial advisor to Azul.
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 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 Seabury Capital
Seabury Capital 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