Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Chinese tycoon dies in freak holiday fall in France

A HNA Group logo is seen on the building of HNA Plaza in Beijing Chinese tycoon dies in freak holiday fall in France
Russell Knight | 05 July, 2018, 00:02

The co-founder and chairman of giant Chinese conglomerate, HNA Group, has died in a fall in southern France, his company has confirmed. HNA said a year ago that its executives plan to donate all their shares to the Cihang charities that own a majority of HNA should they resign or die. "He fell over the top and dropped 10 metres".

Wang Jian, chairman of Chinese conglomerate HNA dies in accident during French business trip.

However, the company's expansion was derailed by the Chinese government's decision to curb overseas investment by private conglomerates on order to cut financial risks.

In a separate statement written in English, the company's board and management team, led by co-founder Chen Feng and chief executive Adam Tan, said: "HNA Group extends deepest condolences to Mr Wang's family and many friends".

"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", his firm said in a statement issued in China.

Launched in 1993 on the southern island of Hainan, HNA expanded into finance, hotels, logistics and other businesses in a multibillion-dollar global acquisition spree.

The conglomerate has started selling parts of its empire to pay down its loans, including its Hilton and Deutsche Bank shares, and Wang's death was seen as likely to complicate the unwinding process.

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Wang owned about 15 per cent of the Chinese group, making him one of the group's biggest shareholders, Bloomberg reported.

Wang Jian fell from a wall when he was having his pictures taken in Provence, France.

Wang held a 15 percent stake in HNA.

Earlier this week, HNA was also forced to terminate a $400 million deal with Australia's Automative Holdings Group for their refrigerated logistics and trucking arm, with AHG citing HNAs cashflow options as the cause of the breakdown.

Wang obtained an undergraduate degree in Aviation Management from Civil Aviation University of China in 1983, and a master's degree in business administration from Maastricht School of Management in 1995, according to HNA.

The financial concerns have been easing in the last few months after a flurry of asset sales, including its US$6 billion sale of Hilton Worldwide shares, helping many of HNA's bonds rebound from record lows.

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