ICBC Leasing plans major fleet expansion

Updated: 2011-09-21 07:48

By Wang Wen (China Daily)

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ICBC Leasing plans major fleet expansion

An ICBC Financial Leasing Co Ltd booth at an exhibition in Beijing. The leasing arm of China's largest bank by market capitalization plans to expand its aircraft fleet aggressively. [Photo/China Daily]

BEIJING - ICBC Financial Leasing Co Ltd (ICBC Leasing) will more than triple its fleet in the next two years to compete with market leaders in a fast-expanding industry, a company executive said on Sept 20.

ICBC Leasing, a subsidiary of Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd (ICBC), the world's largest bank by the market value, will expand its fleet of aircraft from the current 68 to 250 by 2013, thanks to the robust air traffic demand, said Jiang Bo, managing director of ICBC Leasing.

Aircraft leasing contributes one-fourth of the revenue of the company, which also leases to shipping and other large-scale outfits, Jiang said.

He did not reveal the company's revenue.

The company, which competes with larger rivals such as BOC Aviation, intends to buy a number of C919s, China's first homegrown jumbo jets, and a letter of intent might be signed next month for the purchase, Jiang said on Tuesday.

Single-aisle aircraft, including Airbus A320s and Boeing 737s will be high on the company's shopping list.

"By 2014, single-aisle aircraft will account for 75 percent of our fleet and the other 25 percent will be twin-aisle aircraft," Jiang told China Daily.

This echoes the international trend.

According to a market outlook released by Airbus in London on Sept 20, a total of 19,200 single-aisle aircraft will be delivered in the next 20 years. In addition, 6,900 twin-aisle aircraft will be delivered during the period.

ICBC Leasing will issue bonds in both renminbi and US dollars to finance its expansion.

Its parent company ICBC will also inject about 5 billion yuan ($783 million) to the leasing company by the end of 2011, Jiang said.

Other leasing companies in China also plan to expand fast in the next few years.

BOC Aviation - owned by China's largest foreign currency lender, Bank of China Ltd - said it has ordered 64 aircraft to join its fleet of more than 150.

Smaller rival Dragon Aviation Leasing will expand its fleet from 15 aircraft to 40 by the end of 2014.

Analysts said Chinese lessors' expansion of their fleets comes amid the increased demand in China and the international market.

Scott Thompson, US aerospace and defense leader of PricewaterhouseCoopers, said the global demand for aircraft is growing and it is an opportunity for leasing companies to expand.

"As the global demand is growing, leased aircraft also are expected to grow 25 percent by 2015, especially in Asia," Thompson said.

The global aircraft market will increase by 26,900 passenger planes and 900 cargo aircraft from this year to 2030, Airbus said. The Asia-Pacific region will lead the growth and will account for 33 percent of the market share of global air passengers by 2013.

In another development, AVIC Capital Co Ltd, the leasing arm of China's biggest aerospace company Aviation Industry Corp, expects to complete a domestic listing this year, Meng Xiangtai, general manager of AVIC Capital, said on Sept 20.

AVIC Capital is in talks to purchase a European aviation parts supplier, Meng said. But he refused to tell further details about the purchase.

The company expects its total assets to be more than 30 billion yuan by the end of 2014, Meng said.