UPDATE 1-AIG aims for Q4 decision on sale or IPO of aircraft leasing unit-CEO
NEW YORK Nov 1 (Reuters) - Insurer American International Group hopes to make a decision on the sale or initial public offering of its aircraft leasing unit in the fourth quarter, the company's chief executive said on Friday.
AIG chief Robert Benmosche said on a post-earnings conference call that while a consortium of buyers is making progress on the purchase of International Lease Finance Corp (ILFC), the company is considering whether it can close the transaction this quarter or should instead commit to an IPO.
"That is a decision we hope to make in this fourth quarter," he said.
AIG said in December 2012 that it had reached an agreement to sell a stake of up to 90 percent of California-based ILFC to a consortium of investors, based mainly in China, for $4.7 billion.
But the Chinese consortium has missed earlier deadlines in the sale process, which is still ongoing.
AIG reported third-quarter earnings on Thursday, edging just slightly above Wall Street expectations but analysts said results were helped by factors outside the company's control, including a favorable tax rate.
The company said on Thursday night that the ILFC sale could still be terminated.
"We continue to consider ILFC as a non-core business and we are continuing to pursue other options including an alternative sale or an initial public offering," AIG said in a filing.
Founded by aircraft leasing legend Steven Udvar-Hazy, who sold the company to AIG and eventually formed his own group, ILFC is one of the world's largest leasing companies and among the world's biggest owners of passenger jets.
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