HNA Pays $1.1 Billion for Former Hong Kong Airport Site

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  • Beats 19 other bidders in government land tender for Kai Tak
  • Most paid for government land in three-and-a-half years

A unit of HNA Group Co. outbid Hong Kong developers including Cheung Kong Property Holdings Ltd. with an HK$8.84 billion ($1.1 billion) offer for government land in the former Kai Tak airport area, the highest price tag in three-and-a-half years.

It was the most hotly contested land tender this year, as a rebound in home prices is underway, attracting 20 bidders including Hong Kong’s Henderson Land Development Company Ltd. and Wheelock Properties Ltd., and mainland buyers such as China Overseas Land & Investment and China Vanke Co., according to a Lands Department announcement on Wednesday. The Kai Tak purchase works out to about HK$13,490 per square foot, according to Bloomberg calculations based on government data.

It’s the most that a piece of land has fetched in a government sale since March 2013, when Kerry Properties Ltd. paid HK$11.7 billion for a parcel in the Ho Man Tin district of Kowloon.

The deal is the latest overseas foray for HNA, which has been on a $34 billion dealmaking spree over the past year. The company, led by aviation tycoon Chen Feng, operates airlines, hotels and tourism businesses and is pursuing an aggressive expansion to capitalize on the surge in Chinese outbound traffic which will reach 200 million annually by 2020.

Last month Blackstone said it was selling about one-quarter of Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. to HNA for about $6.5 billion. In April, HNA agreed to buy Minneapolis-based Carlson Hotels Inc. and its majority stake in Rezidor Hotel Group AB, owner of the Radisson brand.

Hong Kong’s residential prices have rebounded from a six-month slump amid demand from local as well as mainland Chinese buyers. Residential prices are just 2 percent below their all-time high reached in September of last year.