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Hainan Airlines sells one-fifth of its Azul stake to United

Hainan Airlines has sold a just over 4% stake in Brazilian carrier Azul to United Continental’s subsidiary Calfinco.

The deal is valued at $138 million, and will leave Hainan Airlines with a 17.9% stake in Azul. The deal in turn lifts United's stake in the Brazilian carrier from 3.7% to 8%.

The Chinese carrier says the sale will help optimise its asset structure, maintain asset liquidity, and have a positive impact on its annual profit. It expects that the transaction will generate a profit of $42 million.

In 2016, Hainan Airlines paid $450 million for a 23.7% stake in Azul, making it the Brazilian carrier’s largest single shareholder.

Hainan Airlines’ parent HNA has however been in a liquidity crunch and has been selling a number of real estate and assets as it seeks to raise cash to service its debt-fuelled acquisition binge in recent years.

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