New Zealand Blocks China's HNA Due to Ownership Doubts

New Zealand has blocked HNA Group’s $460 million purchase of a vehicle finance firm owned by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group in the latest in a series of setbacks around the world for the acquisitive Chinese conglomerate, Reuters reported. The proposed sale of UDC, New Zealand’s largest non-bank lender, was agreed with ANZ nearly a year ago and the bank had counted on the proceeds to boost its capital. But New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Office (OIO) cited uncertainty over HNA’s ownership structure for the rejection, reflecting mounting international concerns about the aviation-to-shipping group’s transparency and governance. HNA, which has announced acquisitions worth more than $50 billion in the past two years, has faced increased questions about its governance since a July announcement outlining its ownership showed two shareholders were proxies for founding executives.