China crackdown: Who could be next?

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Airlines, football clubs, five-star hotels and film studios.

China, most big conglomerates have been snapping up companies across the world, including some that are pretty sexy sectors.

Despite the progress of so great and borrowing so much, they were considered untouchables because of their political connections.

That was, until the middle of last year when, after seemingly unbridled growth, Beijing suddenly turned the heat on some of these giants.

And then, last week, of the action. Beijing cracked down on one of these companies – the takeover of the insurance and financial giant Anbang, and the pursuit of the business of the head.

This, analysts suggest, could indicate that more intervention is on the way.

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Who could be next?

The movement against Anbang has been called a “warning shot” by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

But this is just one of the companies that became known as “grey rhinos” – large, visible problems in an economy that are often ignored, until they begin to move quickly and stomping everything in their path.

And next to Beijing, in the collimator, the analysts predict, is likely to be HNA, which has been described as the biggest company you’ve probably never heard of.

An investment estimated at $40 billion (£28.7 billion) during the past three years, it differs from Anbang having mainly bought in “real businesses” rather than be built mainly around complex financial structures.

He is the owner of the China Hainan Airlines, the airport services business Swissport, the airline’s caterer, Gate Gourmet, holds a significant stake in Deutsche Bank, a participation of 25% in the Hilton hotel group, and is the owner of Carlson Hotels, which runs the Radisson chain.

While there is no suggestion it is in financial difficulties, expect Beijing to focus on HNA to get rid of “most, if not all, of its financial sector holdings,” said Michael Hirson analysts of the Eurasia Group.

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Earlier this month, HNA said it had reduced its participation in the Deutsche Bank, from 9.9% to 9.2%.

While most of the Anbang investors put money in things such as insurance policies, HNA donors are mainly institutions.

On the one hand, this would mean its collapse would be much less politically sensitive. The common man or woman on the street rarely sheds tears when the financial giants to get their fingers burnt.

But the Eurasia Group says that we should not wait too a repressive approach of the government.

“Beijing is reluctant to impose heavy losses on bondholders, which would make it more expensive for many other Chinese companies to obtain external financing,” Mr. Hirson said.

Of major bankruptcies would also carry political risks.

HNA has not commented. But speaking last year to the BBC, the chief executive Adam Tan was upbeat about the plans of Beijing to strengthen the restrictions on Chinese companies from spending money overseas.

He predicted that HNA would still get the support of Chinese banks, and has been able to rely on international banks as well because of its large presence outside of China.

It seems unlikely that he will feel so secure today.

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That is Dalian Wanda?

Of all Chinese enterprises in the face of a wave of repression, Dalian Wanda has the highest profile internationally, in part because of the kind of investments made.

Headed by Wang Jianlin, among the country’s richest men, he grew up in one of the largest real estate developers.

And it has invested abroad, most noticeably in Hollywood – the control of the AMC chain of cinemas as well as Legendary Entertainment, co-producer of successful films such as Godzilla and The Dark Knight Rises.

But Mr Wang, once considered a Beijing favorite, fell foul of the establishment, with donors told to get out of their support.

And after warnings, he was quick to offload businesses, including theme parks and hotels in one of China’s biggest property deals as he is focused on the heart of the shopping centre, and cinema companies. A subsequent redesign of the case just added to the chaos.

Earlier, he had pulled out of a $ 1 billion bid for Dick Clark Productions, the owner of the Golden Globe TV and film awards – with China, the crackdown on foreign investment by the respondent.

Michael Hirson of the Eurasia Group described the asset sales as “aggressive moves” to “risk”.

They were, he added, “a painful decision for Wang, but that now seems to be very clever”.

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Who else is in the spotlight?

The other big player put on the watch list in mid-2017 has been Fosun.

It has invested in the English football club Wolverhampton Wanderers, leisure group Club Med, travel firm Thomas Cook and business entertainment of Cirque du Soleil.

And unlike the others, is yet of buying abroad.

Just last week, he said that it had completed an agreement to become the majority shareholder in Lanvin, France’s oldest label of couture. Although by its standards, the investment of nearly $ 120 million is quite small.

Wanda and Fosun “seem to be more solid political ground”, according to Mr Hirson.What this means for Chinese overseas investment?

The repression is very aimed at the large conglomerates of the purchase of a wide range of sectors.

Most other companies are able to continue to invest.

But there has been a fall since the peak years of 2015 and 2016.

The number of Chinese acquisitions in the united states and in Europe has dropped by nearly 25% in 2017 from the previous year, Dealogic said.

And the rhetoric against Chinese investment in the US to the Advantage of the administration – as we see in the collapse of some major contracts – means that this trend should continue.

Just this week, Germany said that it would be to watch closely after Geely snapped up almost 10% of the Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler. Why was Anbang targeted?

To summarize the last week, Anbang firm was known for its aggressive international acquisitions, including New York city, the Waldorf Astoria hotel.

But the Chinese authorities have been cracking down on the financial sector to guard against excessive borrowing and risk.

The office of the chief Wu Xiaohui, who was already detained by the authorities in June last year, is to face prosecution for “economic crimes”.

Analysts at Eurasia Group describes as “both on the ground and a rescue plan”.

“Beijing’s approach reveals President Xi Jinping approach to crack down on the conglomerates – punish the evil deeds by the leadership, while sending a reassuring message to the markets,” said Eurasia Group Michael Hirson.

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China could have nationalized Anbang to the place (such as, for example, happened during the united KINGDOM and the banking crisis in 2008 with the Royal Bank of Scotland).

Or it may have forced its sale to another company (the united KINGDOM analogy, look at how HBOS was sold to Lloyds Banking Group).

Instead, put it under the management of the China of the regulator of the insurance for one year.

This, notes Mr Hirson was “relatively transparent and investor-friendly”, enabling the regulator to sell Anbang asset and make money while keeping it out of the property of the state.