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Hong Kong’s CK Asset to Sell Aircraft Leasing Units for $4.28bn

Hong Kong property developer exits the sector during the coronavirus pandemic, selling to commercial aviation investment and servicing arm of The Carlyle Group

Beyond the full-service airlines, low-cost carriers are also expanding their routes. Photo: Reuters.


CK Asset Holdings said on Friday it had agreed to sell its aircraft-leasing businesses for an aggregate $4.28 billion, as it exits the sector during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Hong Kong property developer said it had agreed to sell Accipiter Finance and Manchester Aviation Finance to Maverick Aviation Holdings.

The buyer is managed by Carlyle Aviation Partners, the commercial aviation investment and servicing arm of The Carlyle Group.

CK Asset said an aggregate profit of $170 million is estimated from the disposals. “Covid-19 has caused a paradigm shift in the aircraft leasing sector,” CK Asset said in a filing to the Hong Kong exchange.

“The risk and return dynamics has become volatile and unpredictable, and the industry has undergone increased consolidation, mergers and acquisitions activities to mitigate such volatility,” it added.

However, industry leaders say the longer-term future for aviation leasing is upbeat, especially in developing markets such as China.

“Despite the current disruption in global aviation brought by Covid-19, there is no doubt China’s aviation market will continue to gain momentum and domestic demand will grow in the decade to follow,” Johnny Lau, chief consultant at PwC in Hong Kong, said.

According to the Aviation Industry Development Research Centre of China forecast, a total fleet of 7,576 passenger aircraft will need to be replenished by the domestic market by 2039.

Globally, the sector is positioning for a robust recovery, said Dómhnal Slattery, chief executive of Avolon, one of the largest leasing companies.

“Over the past three months we have met with airline CEOs on every continent. Avolon is well placed to support our airline partners in this recovery with an attractive skyline of available aircraft in the 2023-2025 timeframe.”


  • George Russell




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George Russell

George Russell is a freelance writer and editor based in Hong Kong who has lived in Asia since 1996. His work has been published in the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, New York Post, Variety, Forbes and the South China Morning Post.


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