RBS plots sale of aviation unit

ROYAL Bank of Scotland (RBS) has hired Goldman Sachs to find a buyer for RBS Aviation Capital, the aircraft-leasing unit that the bank hopes to dispose of as part of chief executive Stephen Hester&rsquo;s efforts to streamline the firm.<br /><br />The unit has assets worth $8bn (&pound;4.8bn), but would fetch far less due to falling demand for aircraft amid the global recession and the availability for sale of American International Group&rsquo;s own aircraft-leasing operation, ILFC.<br /><br />Sources close to RBS said the bank was not expecting a quick sale of the operation, which leases aircraft to more than 100 airlines around the world.<br /><br />RBS earmarked RBS Aviation for sale after a strategic review of non-core operations concluded by management consultancy McKinsey in February.<br /><br />The disposal would fit in with Hester&rsquo;s efforts to slim down the bank by offloading non-core assets.<br /><br />The bank, which is 70 per cent owned by the government, has already sold the bulk of its business in Asia and is expected to sell the remainder to Standard Chartered within weeks.<br /><br />Goldman Sachs and RBS declined to comment yesterday.