Dec. 10, 2018, © Leeham News: In the world of commercial aviation, GECAS, Avolon, AerCap, Air Lease Corp and BOC Aviation are among the most recognizable names of lessors.
These companies make headlines with large orders of Airbus and Boeing aircraft. Air Lease is headed by Steven Udvar-Hazy and John Plueger, giants of the aircraft leasing business.
But one lessor quietly, below the radar, has become one of the largest lessors in terms of aircraft count pursuing regional aircraft, a product mostly shunned by the biggest lessors.
Nordic Aviation Capital last year ranked tied for fifth with asset manager BBAM, each with 404 airplanes in their portfolios, according to an Airfinance Journal 2017 survey. GECAS, AerCap, Avolon and SMBC Aviation Capital were bigger.
DAE Capital of Dubai, BOC Aviation, Air Lease Corp and Aviation Capital Group rounded out the top 10.
Nordic currently has 457 aircraft owned and 11 under management, according to its website, which is slightly out of date. Airfinance Journal’s Fleet Tracker data base shows 502 aircraft; a company official says recent acquisitions from Air Canada and JetBlue boosted the portfolio to “more than” 500 airplanes.
According to the website, Nordic—which acquires used aircraft, undertakes purchase-and-leasebacks and has placed new orders—shows 154 ATR72s in the portfolio. The Embraer E190/195 accounts for 134. There are 90 Bombardier Q400s, 43 ATR42s, 26 E170/175s, 23 CRJ900/1000s, and seven Airbus A220s.
Airfinance Journal’s 2018 lessor rankings won’t be out for several months. But based on websites, Nordic will displace 2017’s #4 lessor, SMBC, which has 419 owned and managed airplanes. (When it comes to owned airplanes, SMBC only has 254 to Nordic’s 457.)
However, SMBC has orders for 246 aircraft, mostly Airbus A320neos and Boeing 737 MAXes.
When it comes to asset valuations, Nordic ranked #15 in 2017 in Airfinance Journal’s listing. Given the vast differences in values between mainline single- and twin-aisle aircraft vs regional aircraft, this ranking isn’t surprising.
Nordic came in at $6.1bn in 2017. In Fiscal 2018, ended June 30, the asset valuation increased to $7.8bn, according to its annual report.
Mega-lessor AerCap, with 1,121 airplanes, ranked first at $35.1bn in valuation. GECAS, with more aircraft (1,271) than AerCap but with an older portfolio, ranked second at $28.3bn. Avolon was #3 in aircraft (572) and valuation ($21.3bn).
Nordic was founded in 1990. It’s been profitable for 22 consecutive years. Revenue in FY2018 was US$735.4m. Business Performance was $160.2m and net profit was $130.9m. “Business Performance” may be equated to non-GAAP financial results. In this case, Nordic is subject to IFRS accounting standards.