SMAC closes year with 13 acquisitions

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SMFL Aircraft Capital Corp. (SMAC) and its leasing arm Sumisho Aircraft Asset Management (SAAM) closed 13 new aircraft acquisitions in the 2010/11 fiscal year, ended 31 March.

Through a buoyant second half of the year, SAAM added six new Boeing 737-800s on lease to Ryanair and a couple of new 737-800s on lease to Norwegian Air Shuttle on purchase and leaseback basis.

Talking to CAO, SAAM's CEO Shogo Ishimaru says the lessor had a target of 15 aircraft for the year 2011. "We are two aircraft short of our target, but the quality of the lessees and the assets are extremely good," he comments. During the year, SAAM expanded its market presence with European low-cost carriers. It added easyJet to its portfolio with A319s but also closed transactions with Air Berlin and an undisclosed carrier.

In 2009/10, the operating lessor added 10 aircraft to its portfolio with an emphasis on legacy carriers such as Iberia, Japan Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines System (SAS) and Transavia.

SAAM now owns and manages 87 aircraft. According to Ishimaru, SAAM is looking at expanding its portfolio with 15 aircraft this year.

Takayoshi Yamabe, CEO of SMAC and director of Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Lease says the intent is to enter another 15 aircraft transactions in 2011 and 2012 and to grow the portfolio size to 140 within the next few years.