By Jenny Strasburg
Chinese conglomerate HNA Group holds a 3.04% stake in shares of Deutsche Bank AG through a European asset manager, according to securities filings.
HNA Group holds the stake through C-Quadrat Asset Management (UK) LLP, the U.K. subsidiary of C-Quadrat Investment AG, founded by Austrian investor Alexander Schütz.
A Frankfurt-based spokesman for HNA Group and C-Quadrat said Friday that HNA purchased the shares through a special-purpose vehicle. It wasn't clear how much HNA Group paid for its stake, which crossed the 3% threshold this week, triggering public disclosure. The buyer's spokesman, Thomas Katzensteiner, wouldn't comment on when the shares were purchased or at what price.
At Friday's share price, the 41 million-share stake was worth about EUR755 million ($805 million). Deutsche Bank shares were down 2.7% in Friday trading as of midafternoon, at EUR18.02. Over the past year, they have ranged from EUR9.90 to EUR19.95.
The Chinese investors "do not rule out" increasing their stake, but their intentions are to "stay below 10%" of outstanding Deutsche Bank shares, Mr. Katzensteiner said.
He added: "They're seeing Deutsche Bank as an attractive investment in the financial sector. They want to support the bank and the management."
Mr. Katzensteiner said neither C-Quadrat nor HNA would comment Friday about Deutsche Bank's strategy. Asked whether either firm has suggested any changes at the bank or shared opinions with Deutsche Bank about its businesses or management, he said: "They trust fully in the current management," and declined further comment.
A Deutsche Bank spokesman said Friday that the lender "welcomed in principle any investor with a long-term view."
HNA Group, controlled by Chinese tycoon Chen Feng, owns domestic assets including airline and shipping firms and hotel chains. The conglomerate has been expanding globally of late. In October 2016, HNA bought a 25% stake in Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. from Blackstone Group LP for $6.5 billion.
HNA's Deutsche Bank stake makes it the lender's third-largest shareholder, behind members of Qatar's royal family and giant U.S. money manager BlackRock Inc., according to public filings.
The German lender's shares are up 4.4% this year after hitting multiyear lows in 2016, when investors were shaken by concerns about legal-settlement costs, flagging profits and a potential move by the lender to raise capital by selling new shares.
Deutsche Bank executives have said they meet capital requirements and want to avoid issuing shares.
Write to Jenny Strasburg at [email protected]