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Dublin jet lessor SMBC defers order for 68 Max aircraft 

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SMBC chief executive Peter Barrett

SMBC chief executive Peter Barrett

SMBC chief executive Peter Barrett

THE coronavirus pandemic will have a "significant and potentially prolonged impact on the aviation industry", according to Peter Barrett, the CEO of Dublin-based jet lessor SMBC Aviation Capital.

The company - one of the world's largest aircraft lessors - reported a pre-tax profit of $364.5m (€325m) for the year to the end of March, up 5.8pc, while its lease assets were valued at $10.6bn.

It has deferred an order for 68 Boeing 737 Max aircraft, it confirmed.

They will now be delivered to the company between 2025 and 2027.

They had been due for delivery between 2020 and 2021, but the jets hadn't entered production yet.

It has a total of 89 Max jets currently on order.

"The pandemic will have a significant and potentially prolonged impact on the aviation industry," said Mr Barrett.

"However, this period has also demonstrated the importance of air travel to the global economy and we believe that the sector will work together to address the current challenges to support economic recovery," he added.

The aviation chief said that being owned by a "substantive and supportive Japanese financial institution" combined with what he said was SMBC's "disciplined asset investment strategy positions", will enable the company to meet challenges in the current environment and take advantage of opportunities.

The lessor is owned by Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui banking group.

SMBC said that it had $6.3bn of available liquidity at the end of March, and $10.6bn of support from its owners, including $2.9bn of equity and $7.7bn of debt financing.

"SMBC Aviation Capital came into this crisis in a very strong financial position, with a business model built to perform through the cycle, not just the favourable market conditions seen in recent years," said Mr Barrett.

"We have a strong management team, who have navigated through many crises, which provides us with confidence that as a business we are well positioned to manage current challenges and emerge stronger as a result," he said.

SMBC Aviation Capital has 85 airline customers in 37 countries.

At the end of the financial year it had an owned, managed and on-order fleet of 726 aircraft.

It generated ebitda of $1.1bn in the last financial year. 

Irish Independent