China ponders airline sale and merger

The Chinese government is considering merging and privatising two of its largest state-owned airlines, Air China and China Southern, according to reports by Bloomberg. The news agency adds that potential investors could include Chinese freight forwarder Sinotrans, Cathay Pacific Airways and Chines delivery firm YTO Express.
The report also speculates that Air China and China Southern might be drafting proposals to spin-off their cargo operations as separate companies.
China’s National Development & Reform Commission is reportedly pursuing the idea of “mixed-ownership” reforms for its state-owned behemoths. China Eastern Airlines has in fact already divested its China Cargo Airlines and Eastern Air Logistics arms to a separate holding company which is expected to go public later this year.
Now, the State-owned Assets Supervision Administration is preparing for a further round of the process, including China Southern and Air China.
Both carriers, along with China Cargo Airlines operate extensive 777Fs and 747-400Fs fleets, along with bellyhold capacity on passenger planes.

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