Saturday 21 September 2019

Tony Ryan to pocket $47m as former GPA sold off

THE aircraft leasing company that emerged from the ashes of the former GPA Group was yesterday sold for $750m in cash. AerFi was sold to AirFinance, the aircraft leasing division of the Daimler Chrysler Group. The sale makes multimillionaires of AerFi's directors and shareholders, including GPA founder Tony Ryan.

Mr Ryan makes $47m from the sale of the 12m shares he retained in the company after it was rescued by GE Capital in 1993 on terms which Mr Ryan famously described as ``rape''.

The sale of AerFi has also made a multimillionare of AerFi chief executive Patrick Blaney and a number of other AerFi directors who held stakes in the company.

Mr Blaney, who first joined GPA in 1986 and is credited with spearheading the turnaround in the company's fortunes following its failed stockmarket flotation in 1993, will make about $20m from the deal.

Former GPA executive Maurice Foley makes about $5m, while former AIB banker Gerry Scanlan makes about $3.5m. TPG Advisers, which is a substantial shareholder in AerFi, stands to make $290m from the deal.

TPG is a US partnership where Ryanair chairman David Bonderman is a director. GE Capital, which came to the rescue of GPA in 1993, stands to make about $140m.

Others AerFi directors to benefit include Lord Stevenson, a former chairman of the Tate Gallery in London ($7m), BA director Michael Davies ($5m), and AerFi company secretary John Redmond ($2m).


AirFinance said yesterday it was paying $3.90 per share for each AerFi share. The directors' stakes are disclosed in company filings. AirFinance said yesterday it will become the third largest aircraft leasing company in the world following the acquisition of AerFi.

AerFi's fleet consists of 124 owned and managed commercial aircraft. The enlarged group increases the size of the AirFinance portfolio to $5bn and a total of 224 owned and managed aircraft.

AirFinance ceo Frank Haspel will continue to head the enlarged group, while Mr Blaney will be managing director of the Irish operations and a member of the supervisory board.

Mr Blaney said he would be staying with the enlarged company for not less than 24 months to preside over the integration of AerFi with AirFinance.

Commenting on the turnaround in the value of Mr Ryan's shares, Mr Blaney said: ``He put them in the bottom drawer and it paid off.''

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