Hong Kong conglomerate Cheung Kong is considering the option of establishing an office in Dublin as part of its bid to acquire certain aircraft from operating lessor AWAS, sources indicate.
The opening of a Dublin office would help to facilitate the integration of aircraft should Cheung Kong's bid be successful, one source says.
On 4 August, Cheung Kong confirmed its interest in the AWAS portfolio and submitted a "preliminary non-binding proposal in respect of the possible acquisition of certain aircraft".
The company has stressed, however, that any possible deal is in the early stages, and that there is "no assurance that a definitive agreement will be entered into".
One source says Cheung Kong could be willing to keep AWAS as the servicer of any acquired aircraft.
"It [Cheung Kong] would probably need technical expertise and AWAS would also be keen to keep the relationships with the lessees," he says.
In June, Flightglobal reported that AWAS was looking to take advantage of robust market conditions to potentially offload 100 newer assets.
The portfolio includes mainly Airbus and Boeing narrowbodies that are "one year old or younger, with leases attached", said a source, with the bulk of the aircraft having already been delivered.
Sources also indicated that the Dublin-based lessor was seeking to "sound out the market" with the issue of a "teaser" sales offering – as opposed to a formal request for proposals – to potential buyers.
The proposed sale, valued at roughly $5 billion, would reduce AWAS’s portfolio to 200 aircraft.