Japan's Sumitomo buys RBS aircraft leasing arm for $7.3 bn

The state-rescued Royal Bank of Scotland announced Monday it has agreed to sell its aircraft leasing division to Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. for $7.3 billion (6.2 billion euros).

"Reaching agreement on a deal of this scale in such a volatile market is a significant success for our non-core division and a credit to SMBC," said RBS Group Finance Director Bruce Van Saun in a statement.

"This transaction further evidences our progress in reducing our non-core portfolio and returning the group to a position of strength."

The Dublin-based RBS Aviation Capital was set up in 2001 and has become the fourth largest aircraft lessor in the world, according to RBS.

Managed by a staff of 69, it has a fleet of 206 jets which are leased to 65 airlines in 24 countries. It has commitments to buy another 87 aircraft by 2015, worth $3.7 billion, which will transfer with the business.

The sale is expected by the end of the third quarter of 2012.

RBS decided to sell the unit as part of a divestment strategy begun following the bank's bailout by the British government at the height of the financial crisis. British taxpayers now own 83 percent of the bank.

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. has agreed the deal on behalf of a consortium comprising its parent company, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, and Sumitomo Corp.

"As a result of the sale, the consortium will acquire RBS Aviation Capital for an approximate consideration of $7.3 billion, (£4.7 billion), subject to certain post-closing adjustments," the RBS statement said.

by Sami Zubeiri © 2012 AFP

Source: AFP
Date: Jan 16, 2012