HNA eyes $43 billion Thai economic zone

Update: 2017-12-07

HNA Group is poised to invest in Thailand’s biggest infrastructure development project, as the airline-to-hotels conglomerate switches its offshore acquisitions to align closer to Chinese state policy, eight months after its global shopping spree landed it under a regulatory spotlight.

HNA Innovation Finance, a unit of Chen Feng’s privately held HNA Group, will establish a fund with CT Bright, the investment unit of Thailand’s largest conglomerate CP Pokphand, to invest in the Southeast Asian nation’s USD 43 billion Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) project, according to a source familiar with the project.

HNA Innovation and CT Bright will contribute equally to 20 per cent of the fund, raising the remainder of the capital from Chinese and Thai investors for a war chest of USD 5 billion in the next three to five years, for investing in the EEC, the source said, speaking to the South China Morning Post on condition of anonymity.

The Thai government is aiming to turn the provinces of Rayong, Chonburi and Chachoengsao in the country’s east, with a combined area of 13,285 square kilometres – about five times the size of Hong Kong – into an economic zone for technological, manufacturing and services. The project could be a reality by 2021, according to government plans, with capital to be raised from state coffers, foreign investment and partnerships between the public and private sectors.

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