Investec readies new plane debt fund for take-off within weeks

Marion Dakers
INVESTEC’S aircraft financing unit is planning to launch a $500m (£315m) fund that will invest in debts linked to aircraft within the next few weeks.

The South African bank has signed up institutional investors to the new fund, which it believes is the first of its kind in the world.

One of the bankers working on the new vehicle told City A.M. that the fund is set to close in late September or early October.

Investec owns around 35 planes that it leases out around the world, and has already launched two equity funds allowing long-term investors to put money into planes. The firm hopes to put together additional equity funds later in the year.

Airlines will often bolster their fleets by leasing planes to cover busy periods or new routes. More than a third of the world’s planes are rented.

Investec put together its aircraft finance team in 2002. It is led by Ramki Sundaram, the bank’s head of M&A and the former boss of the now-defunct low cost carrier Air Deccan.

RBS was also in the aircraft leasing business until it sold the unit to Japan’s Sumitomo for $7.3bn last year, while American insurance group AIG has spend the summer trying to sell off its plane leasing arm.