February 19, 2018 / 3:46 PM / 3 months ago

EQT puts Nordic Aviation Capital up for sale

SINGAPORE/COPENHAGEN, Feb 19 (Reuters) - Private equity firm EQT has put Denmark-based Nordic Aviation Capital (NAC), the world’s largest regional aircraft lessor, up for sale just 2-1/2 years after buying a majority stake in the company, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Swedish private equity firm EQT acquired a 54 percent stake in NAC in August 2015. NAC’s fleet of more than 350 aircraft is valued at $5.3 billion, according to the company’s website. The sources said Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs were assisting EQT on the sale. The sources declined to be identified as they were not authorised to speak to the media.

An EQT spokeswoman declined to comment.

The $140-billion a year global aircraft financing industry has been flooded with new money in the last five years, especially from China.

NAC is likely to appeal to U.S. investors and Canadian pension funds, one financial source said.

Also, China has earmarked this sector as one it wants to expand into, which could make the company attractive to Chinese lessors, the source added.

NAC founder and chairman Martin Moller and Kirkbi Invest, a Danish investment company owned by the Kirk Kristiansen family, which also owns Lego Group, both hold minority stakes in the company.

It was unclear if the minority shareholders had intention to sell. A NAC spokeswoman said the company does not comment on market rumours. Kirkbi declined to comment. (Reporting by Anshuman Daga in Singapore and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen in Copenhagen, editing by Louise Heavens and Jane Merriman)

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