We have now heard from two separate sources that the grounding of Shenzhen-based all-cargo carrier Jade Cargo International is about to be made permanent, with an announcement expected this week. Cargo Facts’ Asia editor Sam Chambers offers his take on the matter:
Jade Cargo risks liquidation, Cargo Facts can exclusively reveal, as restructuring falters. The 2004-founded Shenzhen carrier, in which Lufthansa Cargo was a joint-venture partner along with Shenzhen Airlines, suspended operations last December as volumes dwindled. Restructuring negotiations were started quickly, and on 29 February Jade’s investors (which now included Air China, following that carrier’s acquisition of Shenzhen Airlines) signed a Letter of Intent with privately-held logistics firm Uni-top Group, outlining a Uni-top takeover.
Uni-top owns Wuhan-based all-cargo carrier Uni-top Airlines, and Jade was seen as an ideal expansion platform. However, according to a well placed source involved in the restructuring, after more than three months of asset investigation and negotiations, the deal is near collapse. “The dominant party of this restructure is Bank of China, which is also the biggest creditor of Jade Cargo,” the source revealed, adding: “Currently the total assets of Jade Cargo is around RMB3.4 billion (US$534 million), but the total liability is now standing at RMB4.5 billion (US$707 million). The restructuring cost is out of control, and if there is no good solution, Uni-top may give up on the deal.”
Jade’s fleet includes six 747-400ERFs, of which three are owned, and three are leased (two from Amentum, one from AWAS). Five of the six are parked at Shanghai Hongqaio Airport, while the sixth is parked at Shenzhen. No public announcement has been made about their fate in the event of a Jade liquidation, but We note that one of them (35171, the AWAS-owned unit), is in the process of being re-registered as N558CL — an American registration.