US private fund Castlelake to buy AirAsia plane portfolio for $768m

Photo: Reuters

Malaysian budget carrier AirAsia Group Berhad will sell a portfolio of 25 planes to U.S. private investment firm Castlelake LP for $768 million, it said on Monday.

Castlelake will also purchase four new aircraft that will be delivered to AirAsia in 2019, the airline said in a statement.

The 29 planes – Airbus’ A320-200ceo and A320neo – will be leased back to AirAsia.

Citing sources, Reuters reported earlier this month that Castlelake agreed to buy about 30 narrowbody aircraft from AirAsia.

The deal underscores the strong appetite of funds to invest in the aircraft leasing sector, which is seeing rising demand on the back of an increase in low-cost carriers and passenger traffic.

Castlelake, a global fund focused on alternative investments, has been stepping up its exposure to aviation assets. In June last year, it raised $1 billion from investors including family offices, sovereign wealth funds, endowments and pension funds.

For AirAsia, the deal marks another move to monetise its assets as Asia’s biggest budget airline seeks to transform itself into an asset-light, digitally focused firm. The carrier is cashing in on a booming leasing sector after ordering hundreds of Airbus SE planes at bargain prices in recent years to become one of Airbus’ biggest customers.

AirAsia said some of the proceeds from the sale will be used to pay down debt.

Reuters

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.