Business / Companies

Chinese firms in race to buy Dublin-based AWAS Aviation Capital

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-09-26 10:09

Two Chinese suitors have expressed interest in buying Dublin-based AWAS Aviation Capital Ltd, which is to be sold by 75 percent stakeholder Terra Firma Capital Partners, people familiar with the matter said.

The auction for AWAS could generate more than $5 billion, they said.

ICBC Financial Leasing Co and Aviation Industry Corp of China are exploring a takeover of AWAS, they said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are still private.

Terra Firma is working with Deutsche Bank AG and Goldman Sachs Group Inc to sell AWAS, they said.

AWAS would be a good pick for any Chinese company as domestic aviation is projected to overtake the United States as the world's largest market. And given the yuan's recent depreciation against the US dollar, AWAS is a tempting target for Chinese companies that are seeking to invest outside of the country, they said.

AWAS has more than 250 commercial planes under its portfolio, with more than 100 airline customers in 49 countries, according to its website.

ICBC Financial Leasing is China's biggest aircraft lessor, while the finance unit of State-owned AVIC said in 2011 it was interested in acquiring foreign leasing companies to expand.

ICBC Financial Leasing did not immediately respond to calls and an e-mail seeking comment, while AVIC spokesmen could not be reached on their mobile phones.

Representatives of Terra Firma did not respond to e-mailed messages, while Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs declined to comment.

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