GIC Private Limited, formerly known as the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation, has taken a significant minority stake in Denmark-based regional aircraft lessor Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC). The financial terms of the investment were not disclosed.
In a statement, NAC said it is the world's largest regional aircraft lessor and the fourth-largest commercial aircraft leasing company with a fleet of 468 regional aircraft and a total asset base
of US$8 billion. NAC's fleet mainly comprises ATR, Embraer and Bombardier aircraft.
The company is currently owned by Swedish private equity fund EQT VI, alongside founder and chairman Martin Møller who has retained a significant shareholding.
“The transaction will comprise a partial sale by the existing shareholders and new capital to further strengthen NAC’s balance sheet. EQT VI will remain the largest shareholder,” NAC said in a statement.
Broad customer base
The statement added that "GIC brings further financial strength and commercial capabilities that will allow us to take advantage of expansion opportunities as they arise.”
NAC is regarded as the industry’s leading regional aircraft lessor serving over 73 airline customers in 49 countries. The company provides aircraft to well-established carriers such as British Airways, Air Canada, LOT, Azul, Lufthansa, Alitalia, Garuda, Flybe, Aeroméxico and airBaltic as well as major regional carriers including Air Nostrum and Widerøe.
GIC becomes global player in aircraft leasing
“NAC has a strong track record of growth and market leadership in a segment with secular growth drivers. As a long-term investor, we look forward to partnering with Martin Møller and EQT and supporting the future growth of the company", said Choo Yong Cheen, Chief Investment Officer of Private Equity at GIC.
GIC has investments in over 40 countries and employs over 1,500 people across 10 offices, spanning the world’s major financial centres.
In a related development, GIC last year bought a 30% stake in San Francisco-based BBAM, which is the world’s largest manager of investments in leased commercial jets and manages more than 450 commercial aircraft.
Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund was also one of four international investors which committed a total of US$1.4 billion in 2010 to set up Irish aircraft lessor Avolon. GIC invested US$300million in the venture, which in 2015 was sold to Bohai Leasing, a unit of Chinese aviation and shipping conglomerate HNA Group.
In August this year, GIC reportedly expressed interest in acquiring GECAS, the aircraft leasing unit of General Electric Co., which has a fleet of almost 2,000 aircraft valued at about $40 billion. No deal between GIC and GE has been announced.
Nol van Fenema