BOC Aviation profit up 28% in 2009

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Singapore-based aircraft lessor BOC Aviation has posted a 28% growth in net profit to $137 million in 2009.

This is $30 million more than the $107 million net profit it reported in 2008.

Calling 2009 an "unique year", BOC Aviation says "it saw significant capital investment in new aircraft as the culmination of the company's counter-cyclical strategy that had begun with planning for the global downturn in mid-2007".

It was a net seller of aircraft in 2007 but became a net buyer from December 2008 onwards, it adds.

"In addition to our 17 scheduled aircraft deliveries from manufacturers, we supported both new and existing customers in 2009 by taking another 31 aircraft on long-term purchase and leasebacks with leading airlines including Southwest, Alaska, Air France and Cathay Pacific," says BOC Aviation's managing director and CEO Robert Martin.

To support the company's portfolio growth, its parent Bank of China invested an additional $100 million in equity, says BOC Aviation.

As of end-2009, it has a portfolio of 142 aircraft, up 54% from 92 aircraft a year ago. Of the 142, 118 are owned and 24 are managed on behalf of third party investors, says BOC Aviation.

"As a leasing company, whose major costs are the purchase of aircraft and funding, the combination of the portfolio growth achieved at the bottom of the cycle and our low cost base leaves BOC Aviation well positioned for the upturn," says Martin.