Business Irish

Tuesday 18 December 2018

Former Ryanair CFO Millar puts aviation leasing IPO on hold

Sirius Aircraft Leasing Fund flotation deadline is extended until new year to allow 'additional investors' come on board

Aviation: Howard Millar is a former Ryanair CFO
Aviation: Howard Millar is a former Ryanair CFO
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

Former Ryanair chief financial officer Howard Millar has postponed the planned $250m stock market flotation of his aircraft leasing fund until next year.

Sirius Aircraft Leasing Fund, co-founded by Mr Millar, had originally intended to float on the London Stock Exchange last month. That initial deadline was recently postponed until December 5 due to market volatility.

But yesterday Sirius said a flotation has now been postponed until early in 2019.

Sirius had intended to raise between $250m and $300m (€220m and €264m), which would have been matched with debt, giving the vehicle the ability to buy between 20 and 25 single-aisle, second-hand jets. Sirius hopes to have $1.5bn (€1.3bn) in funds within the next three years.

"The company's investment strategy of acquiring aircraft with leases attached is capital-intensive," said Sirius in a statement to the stock market yesterday in relation to the postponed initial public offering (IPO).

"Although the company has received a positive response to its IPO despite the current market volatility, with significant commitments received from high-quality institutions, there are additional investors who are unable to meet the existing timetable," it said.

It added: "It has therefore been decided to postpone the IPO until early in 2019 to ensure the company is well-positioned following admission."

Sirius is being advised by Liberum Capital and Davy.

Market turmoil in the past number of weeks has hit IPO plans by other companies.

A planned £10bn (€11.2bn) flotation of mobile operator O2 was put on hold until after Brexit, with the UK due to leave the EU next March.

Irish homebuilder DRes, a partnership between Durkan Residential's Patrick Durkan and US equity giant Lone Star, has also postponed its €300m-plus stock market flotation until next year due to market turmoil. However, Brexit isn't a significant factor for the aircraft leasing industry, or vehicles such as Sirius. That's due to the continuing demand for air travel around the world. The International Air Transport Association has predicted that the annual global number of air passengers could double to 8.2 billion by 2037.

Mr Millar, who is still a non-executive director with Ryanair, has established Sirius with aviation executives Ed Coughlan and Ed Hansom.

The trio worked together at aviation management and finance firm Stellwagen until last year.

That firm later took legal action against the executives in an effort to prevent them from allegedly planning to use "highly confidential material", to compete with Stellwagen.

The three executives have denied Stellwagen's claims.

Irish Independent

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