CIT to sell more aircraft as its focuses on asset management

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CIT Group's transportation finance division expects additional aircraft sales this year as it focuses on asset management.

"We sold about $125 million of air and rail equipment [in the third quarter] and have moved additional aircraft in held for sale," said CIT Group's chief executive officer John Thain on a third quarter earnings call yesterday. "We continue to actively manage our fleet."

While CIT took delivery of fewer aircraft this quarter, "assets grew both in the operating lease and loan portfolio," says Thain.

CIT Group's transportation finance division, which covers funding for aircraft, locomotives and railcars, reported a 35% increase in pre-tax third quarter earnings to $129.3 million compared with the prior-year quarter.

Equipment utilisation "remained strong" with 99% of commercial air equipment on lease or under a commitment at 30 September, says CIT.

All but two of the 18 aircraft scheduled for delivery in the next 12 months have lease commitments.

New business volume of $563 million includes the addition of six aircraft to the operating lease portfolio.