AWAS deal anchors DAE among 10 largest leasing companies globally

The Dubai government-owned firm now has 400 aircraft in its fleet

A DAE ATR72-600 aircraft. The lessor's fleet is now around 400 strong. Courtesy Dubai Aerospace Enterprise
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Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), the Middle East’s biggest plane-leasing company, became one of the ten largest aircraft leasing companies globally, following the closure of its acquisition of Dublin-based AWAS.

The completion of the deal gives DAE, which is controlled by Dubai’s government, ownership of around 400 aircraft, triple the former number on its books.

The company’s new combined fleet has a value of over $14 billion (Dh51.4bn), and a customer base of 116 airlines spread across 57 countries. The deal also gives DAE a foothold in Ireland, the world's largest hub for aircraft leasing.


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DAE, which will now trade under the DAE Capital brand, originally announced the deal to acquire AWAS from UK-based private equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board in April. Financial details were not disclosed.

AWAS was originally valued at around $7bn including debt when it was put up for sale by its owners in December 2016.

The acquisition has been partly funded by a $2.3bn bond issue announced by DAE in July, together with cash on the Dubai-based leasing and maintenance company’s books.

“This acquisition of the best-in-class AWAS platform provides DAE with an enhanced market position, said DAE’s chief executive Firoz Tarapore.

“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.”

DAE posted a net profit of $199 million for 2016, down from $610.4m in 2015, the year it booked a profit from its sale of engineering services provider StandardAero. Revenues increased 22 per cent year on year.

The Dubai government owns an 81 per cent stake in DAE via sovereign wealth fund Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), which also owns Emirates Airline.