Monday 18 December 2017

Aircraft lessor AWAS lined up for sale or IPO

Domhnal Slattery, chief executive officer of Avolon
Domhnal Slattery, chief executive officer of Avolon
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

DUBLIN-based aircraft leasing firm AWAS is the latest in the sector to explore a sale or stockmarket flotation in a move that could value it at up to $4bn (€2.9bn).

The company, which is majority owned by private equity firm Terra Firma, has hired financial advisers to explore its options, AWAS chief executive Ray Sisson told news agency Bloomberg.

The two banks hired by AWAS are thought to be Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank.

"There may be a move to exit by our shareholder in one form or another; it's in the analysis phase now," he said. "You could sell the company, or you could IPO it. Or you could make two leasing companies out of it."

Based in the capital, AWAS has 280 aircraft on its books and it's reckoned the firm could be worth between $3bn and $4bn.

Terra Firma paid Morgan Stanley $2.5bn for AWAS in 2006. In 2007, it paid $5.2bn for another company, Pegasus, and merged it with AWAS.

A potential sale or flotation of AWAS comes amid significant activity in the sector. Avolon, the Dublin-based aircraft leasing firm that was founded and is headed by Clare entrepreneur Domhnal Slattery, has hired JPMorgan Chase and Morgan Stanley to explore a possible market listing or sale.

The company is owned by private equity firms including Oak Hill Capital Partners, Cinven and CVC Capital Partners. The Government of Singapore Investment Corporation is also an investor in the lessor. It's been estimated that Avolon could be valued at $2bn.

Dublin is one of the world's leading centres for the global aircraft leasing business.

Irish Independent

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