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This Irish company has gone public in New York and it's already worth a cool $1.6 billion

Avolon sold 13.6 million shares yesterday. Get ready for takeoff…
Dec 12th 2014, 5:57 PM 23,766 30

Updated at 5.57pm

IRISH AIRCRAFT-LEASING FIRM Avolon launched on the New York stock market today after being valued at $1.6 billion (€1.28 billion).

The company, which was founded in 2010, yesterday sold 13.6 million shares for a total of $272 million (€218 million) in its initial public offering.

The shares initially sold for $20 apiece – slightly below the $21-$23 it had previously quoted investors – ahead of the company’s trading début.

However by lunch in New York the price had dropped about 7% and was sitting below $19 after what, over the past 4 years, had been the biggest capital-raising exercise by any Irish company since before the recession.

Avolon1 Avolon on the NYSE Source: Yahoo! Finance

The Dublin-headquartered company already owns or has committed to buy 236 aircraft, including 73 of Boeing’s next-generation 737-800s and 35 of Airbus’s latest, fuel-efficient A320s and A330s.

As of March this year, the company owned 105 planes worth $4.4 billion. Its customers include Ryanair and American Airlines, and it currently operates offices in China, Dubai, Singapore and the US.

Avolon Source: Avolon

A lucrative trade

Avolon was founded by Clare-born leasing entrepreneur Dómhnal Slattery, now the company’s chief executive, and it has has raised over $7.5 billion from investors since 2010. Yesterday’s share sale came from stockholders which include the Singapore government.

The company previously knocked back a bid from Chinese state investors which came after the company first applied for its New York listing in June.

johnc-domhnal-and-ray-3 Avolon founder Dómhnal Slattery, centre Source: Avolon

Aircraft leasing has become an increasingly lucrative business with the rise of fast-growing budget airlines like Ryanair, which need extra planes but don’t want to invest the billions required to permanently expand their fleets.

About two-fifths of all large planes in commercial use are leased and several of the industry’s major players, including AWAS and AerCap, are also based or have significant operations in Ireland.

READ: This plane could replace 12,000 jets – and it finally took off this week >

READ: Ryanair ordered to pay a LOT of money for breaching French labour law >

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Peter Bodkin


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