Troubled insurer, the American International Group Inc., has reached an agreement for sale of its plane-leasing arm International Lease Finance Corp. to a group of investors and the unit's management. The sale is likely to be concluded by early next year, according to its chief executive officer, Steven Udvar-Hazy.
"We're in the process of selling ILFC to a group of investors including management that will take back the company from AIG," he said. Udvar-Hazy is not only the chief executive, but also the founder of the leasing arm. He was speaking at an aviation conference in Cancun, Mexico.
"Early next year, we will consummate the closing," he said in a subsequent interview.
The ILFC is one of the biggest buyers of commercial jets from both Boeing Co. and Airbus SAS.
AIG was recently bailed out by the US government which injected $85 billion of capital to prevent the insurer from going under. It also decided to sell all units unrelated to the insurance business.
ILFC was founded by Udvar-Hazy in 1973 and listed 10 years later. AIG bought the airline-leasing company in 1990 for $1.3 billion.
News of the pending deal boosted AIG share price 16 cents, or 11 per cent, to $1.60 on 21 November on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares have dropped 97 per cent this year.
Comments made by Udvar-Hazy imply that AIG's market capitalization, not counting the stake of almost 80 per cent owned by the government, is less than $5 billion or "a little more than half of ILFC's value."
Industry experts responded positively to the news pointing out that ILFC's strong position was being dragged down by the negativity surrounding AIG.
ILFC is expected to report revenue this year of about $5 billion, with net income for the first nine months of the current fiscal at $913 million. This will be up 39 per cent from the same period last year.