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Cheng’s jewelry-to-property empire boosting aviation business
Initial public offering for jet leasing unit is in the cards
Hong Kong billionaire Henry Cheng’s jewelry-to-property business empire will acquire Dublin-based Sky Leasing for about $2.8 billion, including debt, to bolster the group’s aviation business.
Goshawk said June 21 that it agreed to buy the unit of Sky Aviation Leasing International LP from the Public Sector Pension Investment Board, one of Canada’s largest pension investment managers, and private-equity firm ATL Partners.
The transaction, subject to approvals, will add 51 aircraft to its fleet of about 130, according to Goshawk’s website. Goshawk is in the process of getting a credit rating to help access cheaper funds, after which an initial public offering would be the next step, Cheng said.
Leased airplanes account for about 42 percent of the world’s fleet, according to Flight Ascend Consultancy. Europe and Asia Pacific each hold about 30 percent of the world’s leased fleet.
Sky Leasing’s young and much sought-after narrow-body aircraft is the segment the group is focusing on, said Cheng. After the deal, the average fleet age of the combined portfolio would be three years, compared with the average remaining lease term of close to eight years.
Cheng’s father ranks as Hong Kong’s fourth-richest man, with a net worth of $15.7 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Hong Kong-listed NWS is a subsidiary of New World Development Co., the family’s main property, hotels and infrastructure company. NWS’s Fortland Ventures is the largest single shareholder of Hong Kong-listed Beijing Capital International Airport Co., according to data compiled by Bloomberg.