SINGAPORE (Mar 19): A share swap that would have made Sapphire Corp an associate of China’s HNA Group has fallen through barely four months after it was announced. However, Sapphire’s newly appointed group CEO Wang Heng remains upbeat and sees the company capturing a bigger piece of China’s sprawling infrastructure development pie.

On Oct 18, two of Sapphire’s shareholders — Ou Rui and Best Feast — announced a plan to swap their holdings for shares in Hong Kong International Construction Investment Management Group (HKICIM). The latter is a Hong Kong-listed subsidiary of HNA, which has reportedly spent US$40 billion ($52.4 billion) to snap up stakes in the likes of Deutsche Bank, Hilton Worldwide Holdings and the recently delisted local logistics firm CWT.

The deal with HKICIM valued Sapphire shares at 51 cents — a 70% premium over its last traded price of 30 cents before the deal was announced. Sapphire shares surged 10% the following day on prospects that the company, which specialises in designing and constructing railway infrastructure, would benefit from the association with one of China’s large conglomerates.

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