December 16, 2013 / 5:06 PM / in 4 years

UPDATE 3-AIG sells aircraft leasing wing to focus on insurance

(Adds details about deal, analyst comment, bylines; updates share prices)
    By Avik Das and Jessica Toonkel
    Dec 16 (Reuters) - Insurer American International Group Inc said on
Monday it will sell its aircraft-leasing business to AerCap Holdings NV 
for $5.4 billion, after four years of trying to divest its biggest non-insurance
business in fits and starts.
    The insurer, which was nearly wiped out by derivative bets during the
financial crisis, put International Lease Finance Corp on the block after
receiving a $182 billion government bailout package in 2008. AIG repaid the rest
of the money owed to the U.S. Treasury in March, but still wanted sell ILFC as
part of its efforts to focus on insurance.
    As part of the cash and stock deal, AIG will end up holding a nearly 46
percent stake in AerCap for at least nine months after the deal closes. But the
move nevertheless rids AIG's balance sheet of ILFC's debt and aircraft purchase
commitments, and allows the insurer to focus on its property-casualty and life
insurance operations.
    The deal will give AerCap, a Netherlands-based lessor, a fleet of 1,329
aircraft - the second largest after General Electric's aircraft leasing
division GECAS, which owns and services 1,630 aircraft.
    The deal will result in annual operational cash flow of $3 billion and
savings of about $100 million a year by the end of 2015, AerCap Chief Executive
Angus Kelly said in a call with analysts.
    AerCap's shares rose more than 35 percent following news of the deal and
were up 30.5 percent at $32.53 late Monday afternoon. AIG shares edged up 1
percent to $50.23 on the New York Stock Exchange.  
    "It's a good transaction for AIG," said Clifford Gallant, an analyst with
Nomura Equity Research, a division of Nomura Co Ltd. "It gets to retain
46 percent, so they get a future earnings stream from the company. ... It
simplifies AIG's balance sheet, enabling them to do things like buy back stock
or have more capital flexibility."
    The deal comes almost exactly a year after AIG announced it was selling a 90
percent stake of ILFC to a group of investors based mainly in China for $4.7
billion. That deal valued ILFC at about $5.3 billion.    
    But last spring, the consortium was late with a payment for the business,
raising concerns about whether the deal would close. 
    By late summer, AerCap began lining up financing to strike a deal to buy
ILFC, according to three people familiar with the situation who are not
authorized to speak to the media.
    Under the terms of the deal, AIG will get $3 billion in cash and 97.56
million new common shares of AerCap, giving the deal a value of $5.4 billion
based on AerCap's closing share price on Friday.
    The insurer can begin selling its stake in AerCap in stages over a nine- to
15-month period after the deal closes. The deal is expected to close in the
second quarter.
    But while AIG will retain a stake in AerCap for some time, the deal enables
the insurer to wipe $21 billion in debt associated with the business off its
balance sheet. Net cash proceeds to AIG at closing are expected to be around
$2.4 billion.
    UBS was the financial adviser to AerCap while Goldman Sachs 
was the financial adviser to AerCap's board.
    Citigroup was the lead financial adviser to AIG, and Morgan Stanley
 and JPMorgan Chase & Co also advised on the deal, an AIG
spokesman said. 

 (Reporting by Avik Das in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and
Richard Chang)

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