HNA and Accipiter move into second round of bidding for CIT's aircraft leasing assets

China's HNA Group and Accipiter Holdings, a firm backed by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing, are among the suitors that are in the second round of bidding for CIT Group Inc's aircraft leasing assets valued at between $3 billion and $4 billion, Reuters yesterday reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

Others who have advanced to the next round of bidding that is due in August include Ping An Insurance, which has an aircraft leasing arm, and Century Tokyo Leasing, which has joint ventures with CIT, the report said.

Li's Accipiter Holdings is a Dublin-based subsidiary of CK Hutchison Holdings. It has partnered with US-based Apollo Aviation Group for its bid.

CIT Group had in May launched the sale of its aircraft leasing assets by inviting more than a dozen companies to bid.

The companies included HNA Group, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China's ICBC Leasing, and Japan's Orix Corp.

CIT Commercial Air owns, finances and manages a fleet of more than 350 commercial aircraft serving approximately 100 customers in 50 countries.

Its fleet includes aircrafts from Airbus, Boeing, Embraer and Bombardier.

CIT Commercial Air has assets valued at around $11 billion and about 100 customers including Delta Air Lines and China Eastern Airlines.

Founded in 1908, New Jersey-based CIT Group is a financial holding company with more than $65 billion in assets.

Its principal bank subsidiary, CIT Bank, N.A., has more than $30 billion of deposits and more than $40 billion of assets.

It provides financing, leasing and advisory services principally to middle market companies across a wide variety of industries primarily in North America, and equipment financing and leasing solutions to the transportation sector.