HNA chairman Wang Jian dies in accident

05 July, 2018, 07:55 | Author: Billie Castillo
  • Chinese billionaire businessman 57 dies in fall during trip to France

The co-chairman of the Chinese conglomerate that owns Australian assets, including a 20 per cent stake in Virgin Australia, has died during a business trip to France, apparently falling from a wall while posing for a photograph.

More recently, HNA has been selling some assets as Chinese regulators tighten lending controls and press companies to rein in debt.

HNA Group, in which Wang held a 15 percent stake, has confirmed the death of its chairman and switched its official website to monochrome in his honor.

HNA is best known as the owner of Hainan Airlines Co and for holding stakes in Deutsche Bank AG and Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc.

Wang's sudden death comes as HNA, one of China's most indebted companies, is undertaking an urgent restructuring.

"Wang's passing will mark the end of an era of aggressive expansion by HNA", said Corrine Png, chief executive officer at Crucial Perspective Pte., a Singapore-based research firm focused on transportation.

"Witness accounts point to a likely accident", Lt-Col Meriaux said, adding that an autopsy would be carried out to determine the cause of death.

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In a letter internally distributed at HNA earlier this year, Wang blamed the company's hardships on "major conspiracy" against the ruling Communist Party and Chinese President, Xi Jinping, by foreign and domestic "reactionary forces", Reuters said. In 1990, he helped establish Hainan Provincial Airlines Co. and was one of the founders of the group.

Police in the Vaucluse area of Provence told CNN that Wang fell 10 to 15 meters (33 to 49 feet) after climbing on a wall for a photo.

Wang began his career in civil aviation planning in 1983.

"Together, we mourn the loss of an exceptionally gifted leader and role model, whose vision and values will continue to be a beacon for all who had the good fortune to know him", HNA stated.

HNA Group's logistics service unit CWT International Ltd dropped 5.5 percent to the lowest since April past year, Hong Kong International Construction Investment Management Group slid 3.7 percent, and HNA Technology was down 2.4 percent.

Following its now-infamous acquisition spree, the group's financial struggles began to emerge in the middle of previous year, when the Chinese government began scrutinizing high-profile acquirers such as HNA, Dalian Wanda Group Co. and Anbang Insurance Group Co.

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