Chinaâ€™s HNA Group will invest $450 million in Brazilâ€™s Azul for a 23.7% stake, in a partnership that will enable the Latin American carrier to enter Asia.
The two airlines say the investment will lead to commercial agreements and co-operation in aircraft allocation.
â€œIt also enables the companyâ€™s entry into the Asian market,â€ says Azul, which currently operates in only North and South America. It adds that the investment by HNA Group is subject to certain conditions, without elaborating.
â€œThe investment of $450 million, considering Brazilâ€™s current macroeconomic situation, demonstrates that we have a winning business model and that the HNA Group, as a large investor, has absolute confidence in Azulâ€™s team,â€ says Azul founder David Neeleman.
HNAâ€™s investment will boost Azulâ€™s valuation to $1.9 billion, the highest in the Brazilian market, he adds.
HNA Groupâ€™s president Adam Tan says: â€œWe are pleased to partner with Azul in order to bring more choice and convenience to our customers traveling to and from Brazil. We eagerly look forward to working with Azul founder David Neeleman and his team for the mutual benefit of both airlines.â€
HNA Group will also hold a seat on Azulâ€™s board. The group owns more than a dozen airlines, including Hainan Airlines.