Abu Dhabi’s investment fund Mubadala had been trying to sell SR Technics for years. And when a deal was finally disclosed, the buyer’s identity came as no surprise either. China’s HNA Group has closed in on shareholdings in a host of airlines and aviation service businesses, including Swissport and GateGroup.

The deal marks an end to Mubadala’s ambition to set up an international MRO group with facilities in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America. The firm’s aerospace and engineering services chief Homaid Al Shimmari once described SR Technics as the “crown jewel” of its MRO interests. But perhaps establishing a global maintenance group was too challenging without having a large parent airline providing a base workload to deliver efficiencies of scale and – crucially – negotiating power with manufacturers to access repair know-how for new-generation equipment.

SR Technics has arguably suffered from having no parent fleet since its separation from Swissair amid that carrier’s collapse in 2002. HNA could provide access to its airline subsidiaries and growth markets in Asia. Big questions must still be answered, such as how SR Technics should expand its presence in Asia, and which services will be provided from its Zurich headquarters. But those needed answering before its new owner emerged.

At least the committed backing of a corporate giant now makes tough tasks a little easier to face.

Click here for our analysis of the HNA-SR Technics deal

Source: Flight International