By Anirban Sen and David French
(Reuters) – SMBC Aviation Capital, one of the world’s biggest aircraft lessors, is nearing a deal to acquire smaller rival Goshawk for about $7 billion, including debt, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.
The deal between the two privately held, Dublin, Ireland-based lessors could be announced as soon as next week, the sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity. It would create a global aircraft leasing giant as consolidation sweeps the industry.
Last year, the world’s two largest aircraft leasing companies, Ireland’s AerCap and GE’s leasing arm GECAS, merged in a deal worth more than $30 billion.
SMBC Aviation Capital, which is owned by a consortium including Japan’s Sumitomo Corp and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, has a fleet of more than 750 owned, managed and committed aircraft, mostly Boeing and Airbus short-haul models, according to its website.
Goshawk, which is a 50-50 joint venture between Hong Kong-based conglomerate NWS Holdings Limited and Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited, has an owned, managed and committed fleet that consists of 222 aircraft, its website showed.
A spokesperson for SMBC Aviation Capital declined comment. Goshawk did not immediately respond to a comment request.
The trade publication AirFinance Journal first reported the talks between the two companies in November.
A flurry of deals has reshaped a global air finance industry that has attracted a huge swathe of capital in recent years.
The aviation investment arm of private equity firm Carlyle Group Inc agreed last year to buy aircraft leasing company Fly Leasing Ltd for $2.36 billion, including debt. In December, Carlyle’s aviation arm also agreed to buy Irish leasing firm AMCK Aviation’s portfolio of aircraft.
(Reporting by Anirban Sen in Bengaluru and David French in New York; Editing by Will Dunham)