Hainan Jiaxin Investment Management Co (Jiaxin), Hainan Airlines' fourth largest shareholder, has cut its stake in the carrier by 2.25% to 1.61%, which is a signal of the Grand China Air's listing, local newspaper reported on Monday citing an insider with Hainan Airlines.

As of July 10, Jiaxin had sold nearly 80 million shares it preciously held in Hainan Airlines, making about 80% profit on the deal, as it sold the shares at around 5.63 yuan (0.$824) a share but had bought them at only 2 yuan ($0.293) a share two years ago when the airline issued new shares, the carrier said.

Jiaxin, which is owned by employees of HNA Group, the parent firm of Hainan Airlines, now holds about 57 million of its negotiable shares, according to Guangzhou Daily.

It was the second time Jiaxin had cut its stake in the airline. In October 2007, it sold nearly 49 million shares in Hainan Airlines and earned about 450 million yuan ($65.86 million).

The sale may signal Grand China Air's listing in the near future, Guangzhou Daily reported, citing an insider with Hainan Airlines.

The person said it showed HNA employees may have wanted to sell their shares in Hainan Airlines for cash through Jiaxin and subscribe for Grand China Air's shares.

Grand China Air (GCA) was formed on Nov 29, 2007 under the initiative of Hainan Airlines to merge its operations with HNA Group's subsidiaries Shanxi Airlines, Chang'an Airlines and China Xinhua Airlines. It is the country's fourth largest airline, following Air China, China Southern and China Eastern.

GCA seeks to be listed in Hong Kong but the plan has been put off several times.

(1 yuan = $0.146355)