Dubai Aerospace completes AWAS acquisition, jets into top tier

DUBAI (Reuters) - Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) has become one of the world’s largest aircraft lessors after announcing on Sunday it had completed the acquisition of Dublin-based AWAS [AWASA.UL], the industry’s tenth biggest firm.

The deal triples the Dubai government-controlled aircraft leasing and maintenance company’s portfolio of owned, managed and committed fleet to about 400 aircraft worth more than $14 billion.

That makes DAE one of the world's top aircraft lessors behind the likes of General Electric GE.N and AerCap AER.N.

DAE will use the brand name ‘DAE Capital’ to conduct its aircraft leasing business, the company said in a statement announcing the deal had finalised.

DAE said last month it had raised $2.3 billion to finance the acquisition from private equity firm Terra Firma Capital Partners [TERA.UL] and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB).

DAE announced the acquisition in April, and later said it expected the deal to close in the early part of the third quarter.

“This acquisition of the best-in-class AWAS platform provides DAE with an enhanced market position,” DAE Chief Executive Firoz Tarapore said in the statement.

“This combined with our capital strength and our committed long-term ownership will allow us to provide a more comprehensive range of aviation fleet and financing solutions to our clients across the globe.”

The deal increases DAE’s number of aircraft leasing customers to include 117 airlines in 57 countries.

Tarapore told Reuters in June the company would consider a jet order of more than 20 aircraft once the deal closed, and that he was interested in Airbus AIR.PA, Boeing BA.N and ATR LDOF.MI aircraft.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Andrew Bolton