Aircraft Lessor Takeover: SMBC Eyes Goshawk For $6.7 Billion

Dublin-based aircraft lessor Goshawk Aviation announced today that it has approved a takeover by its larger rival, SMBC Aviation Capital, for $6.7 billion. SMBC Aviation Capital will now be the world’s second-largest aircraft lessor.

SMBC Aviation Capital to acquire Goshawk Aviation

Goshawk Aviation’s shareholders approved a deal that will see the Irish aircraft lessor become a part of its larger rival, SMBC Aviation Capital. The deal is worth $6.7 billion.

SMBC will take over all of Goshawk’s commercial aircraft leasing business, excluding any aircraft that are on lease to Russian airlines. Six Goshawk-owned aircraft are located in Russia and cannot be brought back due to EU sanctions.


Aside from these six, Goshawk’s fleet amounts to 176 owned and managed aircraft. Thus, the new portfolio size of SMBC will be 709 aircraft after the acquisition.

Ruth Kelly, Goshawk’s CEO, said:

“I am so proud of the commitment and extraordinary achievements of the Goshawk team who created a world-class leasing company, delivering innovative solutions to our customers and value to our stakeholders since 2013. I am confident that this marks the beginning of an exciting chapter as market trends point to growth in aircraft leasing with great opportunities for people involved in aviation.”

Six aircraft remain in Russia and they are not part of this deal. Photo: Getty Images.

Meanwhile, Eric Ma, CEO and Executive Director of NWS, one of the shareholders of Goshawk, said:

“We are extremely proud of what the Goshawk team has accomplished since its foundation in 2013 and, more recently, having successfully navigated the depths of the global COVID-19 pandemic as well as the current uncertain geopolitical environment. The ability to achieve an attractive valuation reflects what Goshawk has accomplished under both the team’s and shareholders’ stewardship.”

Finally, Patrick Tsang, the CEO of the other shareholder, Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited, said:

“We are extremely grateful for the partnership, dedication, and commitment from every member of Goshawk throughout the years, especially through the recent challenging times the industry has been facing. At the same time, we are very excited for Goshawk’s next chapter with SMBC AC as they combine to become one of the top global aircraft leasing platforms.”

Yet another major acquisition

Once completed, the acquisition will create a company with $38.45 billion in assets, according to Reuters. The news comes just six months after AerCap Holdings NV, also an Irish lessor, acquired General Electric’s leasing business. That takeover created the largest aircraft lessor in the world.

However, because SMBC still has another 261 Boeing and Airbus aircraft on order, its fleet size will eventually be the largest in the world.

Two acquisitions were announced within the last year. Photo: Getty Images

When is the acquisition expected?

Subject to applicable regulatory approvals and customary completion requirements, the acquisition is expected to close in the second half of this year.

Citi, the American investment bank, acted as the lead financial advisor for the acquisition, which also saw British bank HSBC and London-based law firm Clifford Chance as advisors.

What do you think of the two recent takeovers in the aircraft leasing business? Let us know what you think of AerCap’s takeover of General Electric’s leasing division and SMBC’s takeover of Goshawk? Let us know in the comments below.

Source: Reuters

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