Dubai Aerospace Enterprise repays loan

22 July 2015

Aircraft leaser returns to expansion plans

  • Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) repays a $705m debt facility
  • Proceeds from the sale of major subsidiary, US-based StandardAero, to pay creditors
  • DAE now plans to double its aircraft leasing portfolio

The aeroplane leasing company Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) has repaid a $705m syndicated loan, becoming the lastest in a series of government-related entities that have paid down debt over recent months, increasing optimsim about the emirate’s recovery from its 2009 debt crisis.

The synicated loan was provided to DAE by Qatar’s Barwa Bank, Germany’s Deutsche Bank, as well as UAE-based Emirates NBD and Noor Bank.

In July 2011, lenders agreed to refinance $800m of DAE’s debt with a four-year credit facility, allowing the company to avoid defaulting on its loans.

DAE built up significant debts between 2007 and 2009 funding ambitous expansion plans, which it was forced to abandon due to the global economic downturn.

DAE’s publically disclosed debt reached $2.7bn in 2011.

The $705m syndicated loan was repaid using the proceeds from the sale of its US-based subsidiary StandardAero to New York’s Veritas Capital in May 2015, according to a statement released by DAE on 21 July.

StandardAero is the largest independent aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul company in the world, with more than 3,500 employees.

The sale of StandardAero has been estimated to be worth an estimated $1.8bn, although the terms of the sale were not made public.

US-based Moody’s Investors Service upgraded DAE’s rating to B2 in January 2015 citing improving revenues, liquidity and credit metrics. This meant the rating on $840m of DAE debt due in 2018 and 2019 also improved.

Now the company is hoping to return to expansion, with profits rising 43 per cent in 2014 to $112m.

“Paying down the corporate facility coupled with the gain on sale of StandardAero significantly strengthens our balance sheet,” said Firoz Tarapore, CEO of DAE. “Today, DAE is one of the most strongly capitalised aircraft leasing companies in the world. This balance sheet strength enhances our ability to provide large, custom-tailored leasing solutions to our airline clients on a global basis. Our current target is to double the book value of our aircraft leasing portfolio in an accelerated time frame.”

DAE had an aircraft leasing portfolio worth $3.7bn in May 2015. In 2014, it placed an order for 40 new 70-seat ATR 72-600 and has made commitments to acquire 33 other aircraft.

DAE is owned by the government througn the Investment Corporation of Dubai, Dubai International Capital, and Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority. UAE-based Emaar Properties is also a stakeholder.

Other government related entities that have made moves to deal with the legacy of the debt crisis over recent months include Drydocks World, a subsidiary of the state-owned conglomerate Dubai World.

In March, it appointed the US-based lender, Citibank, to advise on the restructuring of $2.3bn of debt.

The property developer Limitless, another business unit of Dubai World, announced in June that it would repay $564m to creditors.

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