DAE completes AWAS acquisition

DAE completes AWAS acquisition

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) is now one of the largest lessors in the world after completing its acquisition of Irish lessor AWAS yesterday.

The move will bring the Dubai lessor’s total fleet to 400 aircraft, valued at more than $14 billion. Its operations have also been greatly extended, increasing its customer base to 117 airlines across 57 countries.

Goldman Sachs acted as advisor for AWAS and Milbank acted as legal advisor on the sale.

DAE chief executive officer Firoz Tarapore said: “This acquisition of the best-in-class AWAS platform provides DAE with an enhanced market position. This combined with our capital strength and our committed long-term ownership will allow us to provide a more comprehensive range of aviation fleet and financing solutions to our clients across the globe.

“The senior management team, representing the best of AWAS and DAE, is now in place and focusing on the seamless integration of the businesses.”

The acquisition was announced in May. DAE signed the agreement to purchase AWAS from private equity firm Terra Firma.

DAE had a fleet of 103 aircraft before the acquisition. It operated a majority ATR 71-600 fleet, according to its website figures. AWAS’ fleet of more than 240 aircraft was a draw for the Dubai lessor. DAE says the acquisition will “propel it into the top tier of global aircraft lessors”.

End of an era

A lot of companies want to buy lessors. Aviation news source FlightGlobal initially reported that there were 17 bidders on the AWAS acquisition. The shortlist comprised Dubai Aerospace Enterprise and a joint bid from Macquarie AirFinance and Ping An Leasing.

Morgan Stanley bought AWAS in 2000, securitised it and bought back bonds to sell it off. It sold it off to Terra Firma for $2.5 billion, with a write-down of $1 billion, in 2006. The firm and other AWAS investors originally planned to sell AWAS by 2010.

Now the deal has closed seven years later, it’s the end of an era. AWAS has been fully assimilated into DAE, with its website now redirecting visitors to a DAE web page. Whilst the process is still underway, the lessor is now officially calling itself Dubai Aviation Enterprise.

Alex Baldwin
By Alex Baldwin August 21, 2017 13:55