February 13, 2019 / 4:21 PM / 6 days ago

Avolon targets investment-grade rating before year-end

DUBLIN, Feb 13 (Reuters) - Irish aircraft lessor Avolon, the world’s third largest, plans to issue up to $4 billion of unsecured debt this year to achieve its “absolute focus” of securing an investment grade rating, chief executive Domhnal Slattery said on Wednesday.

The Irish lessor on Wednesday was upgraded by Fitch Ratings from BB to BB+ with a positive outlook after it reported profit of $717 million for its 2018 financial year.

Avolon believes the final step to secure investment grade is to cut its ratio of secured to unsecured debt from 42 percent to 30 percent, which will require the issuance of between $3.5 billion and $4 billion in unsecured debt, Slattery said.

“Our expectation and our plan is that we will try to achieve that this year,” Slattery told Reuters in an interview. “If the markets were to stay in their current state, I’d be feeling good about our ability to issue that amount of unsecured debt.” (Reporting by Conor Humphries; editing by David Evans)

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