Chinese Distress (Short Transparency, Long Process Risk)

There's been a lot of news surrounding HNA Holding Group Co. of late. The company is a large shareholder of Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. ($HLT) and Deutsche Bank AG. Now (a) the US government is seeking more information (video), (b) the ECB is considering a review, (c) ratings agencies are downgrading certain segments of the conglomerate, (d) a bankrupt company is suing HNA, and (e) bond prices are decreasing. The company - maybe best known for its proposed acquisition of Anthony Scarramucci's fund of funds - has made more than $40b of acquisitions since 2016. While it is unclear to what degree the capital structure is in trouble, the company is divesting assets, such as a Sydney building to Blackstone Group for $161mm. 

The company also serves as a warning signal to distressed investors with an eye towards China. This past week, Bill Bishop of Sinocism highlighted that the Chinese media has been told to tone down coverage of the firm's travails. They're concerned that market forces will further compound the company's issues. While we don't endorse opacity ever, we surely appreciate - given the recent trends with Toys R Us - why this might be. Per Bloomberg, the company faces some heavy bond maturities from Q3 2018 through Q3 2019. With pressure on the bonds, there very well could be a distressed opportunity here. Provided, that is, you can get your arms wrapped around all kinds of categories of risk. Including, of course, a government-imposed lack of information. 

Speaking of risk, it appears - thanks, of course, to a lot more transparency - that Chinese investors are comfortable with investing in stressed US-based companies (like Community Health Systems ($CYH)).