Dubai's DAE records $167.3 million net profit in first nine months

Plane lessor signed agreements to acquire 31 aircraft for approximately $1.1bn during the third quarter of this year

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), the Middle East’s biggest plane lessor, posted a $167.3 million (Dh614m) net profit in the first nine months of the year as it continued to expand its business despite pandemic-driven headwinds for the aviation industry.

Net income for the first nine months fell from $260.5m recorded for the same period in 2019. Revenue for the nine-month period dropped to $984.1m, from $1.09bn a year earlier, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

The Dubai-based company signed agreements to acquire 31 aircraft with a total value of approximately $1.1 billion, of which $200m was booked in the third quarter of this year, DAE said. The remainder will be booked in the last quarter of 2020 and next year.

“The third quarter of 2020 was characterised by excellent new business origination, strong capitalisation, robust liquidity and continuing efforts to assist our clients in this difficult operating environment,” DAE’s chief executive, Firoz Tarapore, said.

The aviation industry is facing its worst crisis ever after the Covid-19 pandemic upended global demand for air travel, forcing airlines to ground planes to save costs. The second wave of Covid-19 in Europe and parts of Asia and Americas has forced some major European economies into lockdown, stoking fears of a deeper financial crunch for cash-strapped airlines and a longer time horizon for their recovery.

DAE said it is working with its customers and provided relief packages to 21 companies worth $155m.

“We continue to work with our customers on a case-by-case basis to provide a range of solutions that create value for both our clients and for DAE,” Mr Tarapore said.

The company also entered into several lease amendments, principally involving near-term relief in exchange for lease extensions and other lease value enhancements with a further 12 customers, with a total value of $84m.

“During Q3, our cash collection rate increased to 77 per cent from 69 per cent in Q2 2020,” Mr Tarapore said. “For the nine months … our cash collection rate is 80 per cent.”

The company, which has leasing and engineering divisions, achieved fleet utilisation of 98.3 per cent at the end of September, compared with 100 per cent recorded at the end of 2019.

DAE throughout the third quarter maintained “robust liquidity” and ended the reporting period with available liquidity of $2.1bn after it repaid a $430m bond in August.

DAE, which is 100 per cent owned by Investment Corporation of Dubai, ended the quarter with strong capital levels – net debt-to-equity ratio of below 2.5 times.

“Our strong financial condition and our disciplined risk management practices facilitated confirmation of our investment grade ratings, the company said.

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