Plane lessor DAE buys back $100m of common shares

Transaction will not have any material impact on company's capital adequacy, CEO says

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE), the Middle East’s biggest plane lessor, said it has bought back outstanding common shares worth $100 million.

The transaction is not expected to have any material impact on the company's capital adequacy ratios either at the end of 2020 or 2021, chief executive Firoz Tarapore said in a statement on Thursday.

"The strength of our franchise, capital position and liquidity profile provides us the flexibility to accurately calibrate the capital we need to support the current and future needs of our growing business with maintaining appropriate margins and returns," Mr Tarapore said.

The Dubai-based company, owned by the Investment Corporation of Dubai, posted a $167.3m net profit in the first nine months of 2020, down from $260.5m in the same period last year. Revenue for the nine-month period dropped to $984.1m, from $1.09 billion a year earlier.

The global aviation industry is facing the worst crisis in its history as the Covid-19 pandemic devastated air travel demand.

The fast-spreading new strain of the virus, said to be up to 70 per cent more transmissible, has stoked fears of widespread travel bans, with many countries suspending flights from the UK ahead of the peak holiday season.

Earlier this month, the state-backed plane lessor said it delivered the first of 18 Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft to American Airlines as part of a purchase and leaseback agreement signed in the third quarter of 2020. Delivery of the remaining aircraft is expected to be completed in the coming months. Brazil's Gol Linhas Aereas Inteligentes was the first major airline to resume passenger services using the 737 Max earlier this month.

On December 29, Boeing's 737 Max returned to US skies for the first time since regulators lifted a 20-month safety ban on the jet. The journey was completed as American Airlines Flight 718 landed at New York’s LaGuardia Airport after departing from Miami.