Ingram's Chinese owner buys Virgin Australia stake

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Ingram's Chinese owner buys Virgin Australia stake

Ingram Micro's parent company, HNA Group, has acquired a stake in Virgin Australia.

The Australian airline announced Tuesday night that HNA had bought shares worth 13 percent of the company, in a deal worth $159 million.

The Chinese conglomerate purchased Ingram Micro in a US$6 billion global deal in February, but its roots are in aviation. It claims the mantle of largest private operator of airlines in China, with its brands flying more than 77 million passengers every year to more than 200 locations internationally.

Virgin Australia also shook hands with HNA Group on a commercial co-operative agreement that covers code sharing, frequent flyer programs, lounge access and the start of direct flights between China and Australia.

“We are pleased to welcome HNA as a new shareholder and strategic alliance partner. The alliance will see us leverage the opportunities offered by China as well as the synergies of HNA’s comprehensive aviation supply chain,” Virgin Australia chief executive John Borghetti said.

The deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals in both Australia and China, will see HNA Group nominate one director to sit on the board of Virgin Australia.

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