Friday 15 December 2017

Ex-Ryanair CFO Millar plots $5bn aircraft play

Former Ryanair chief financial officer Howard Millar
Former Ryanair chief financial officer Howard Millar
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Former Ryanair chief financial officer Howard Millar has been appointed chief operating officer of aviation management services and finance group Stellwagen.

Mr Millar will also become chief executive of its newly formed finance arm, Stellwagen Capital.

Stellwagen Capital aims to raise $1bn (€886m) by the final quarter of 2016 that will be used to provide finance to airlines buying aircraft. It plans to raise $5bn over the next three years.

Stellwagen Finance, whose ceo is Doug Brennan, is a holding company whose divisions include Dublin-based Aviation Finance Company. That unit was among the bidders for Stobart Air, the Dublin carrier that operates the Aer Lingus Regional franchise.

Stellwagen's units also include Seraph Aviation Management.

As ceo of Stellwagen Capital, Mr Millar will raise capital from both debt markets and large institutional investors, primarily in Europe and the United States. This will enable the group to provide secured aircraft financing to airlines across the globe.

Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Millar claimed the financing model being pursued by Stellwagen for aircraft buyers would be the "operating lease killer".

Stellwagen will provide debt finance to airlines that, unlike leases, allows them to eventually take ownership of the aircraft.

Mr Millar said Stellwagen will raise the money as a 10-year loan note that will be listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. Investors will be paid a coupon likely to end up between 4.5pc and 5pc on average. Investor roadshows are likely to start in September.

Insurance companies in the United States have already expressed an interest, as has the Middle Eastern market.

Mr Millar remains a non-executive director of Ryanair, and is on the advisory board of Irelandia Aviation, the investment arm of the Ryan family. He is chairman of accountancy firm BDO and a board member of Dublin-based air operator ASL Aviation.

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