HNA-backed Swissport plans $1.8B debt refinancing

Swissport International, the airport-cargo handler owned by Chinese troubled conglomerate HNA Group Co., said it plans to refinance some of its outstanding debt amid stable earnings growth.

The announcement confirmed an earlier Bloomberg News report. According to Swissport’s statement on Monday, its 1.6 billion-euro ($1.8 billion) refinancing comprises of:

  • A new 75 million-euro revolving credit facility
  • A new 50 million-euro delayed draw loan facility
  • An aggregate principal amount of 1.23 billion euros across a new term loan B facility and an offering of euro-denominated senior secured notes
  • An offering of 280 million euros of new euro-denominated senior notes

The company plans to use about 712 million euros of proceeds to fully repay existing term loan facilities, it said. It will deploy about 628 million euros to fully redeem outstanding existing notes of Swissport Financing issued in 2017. Swissport reported a 3% growth in revenue for the three months ended June 30, while its earnings were largely unchanged.

HNA, which bought Swissport for 2.73 billion Swiss francs ($2.8 billion) in 2015, had previously held talks to sell the division to potential bidders including Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and Cerberus Capital Management, people familiar with the matter said as recently as in October. The Chinese firm is working to sell billions of dollars in assets after an acquisition spree left it with one of the highest levels of corporate debt in China.

While the company’s debt refinancing is the main focus, a potential sale of the company has not been ruled out, people familiar with the matter have said. A spokesman for HNA declined to comment.

Swissport, which also offers ticketing, cabin cleaning and aircraft maintenance, had previously been slated for an initial public offering before the sale consideration. The conglomerate decided to postpone the share sale last year, citing a volatile market.

Other businesses that HNA has considered selling include its majority stake in oil storage and logistics business HG Storage International Ltd. as well as container-leasing business Seaco, tech outsourcing arm Pactera Technology International Ltd. and aircraft-maintenance firm SR Technics, Bloomberg News has reported.

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