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Air Lease reports $3.2-million first-quarter profit

L.A. billionaire Steven Udvar-Hazy's aircraft leasing company had revenue of $55.2 million and expenses of $50.3 million in the three-month period ended March 31.

May 17, 2011|By W.J. Hennigan, Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles billionaire Steven Udvar-Hazy's Air Lease Corp. reported a $3.2-million profit in its first quarterly earnings report — just one month after its first day of trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Century City-based aircraft leasing company reported Monday that revenue for the three-month period ended March 31 totaled $55.2 million, compared with total expenses of $50.3 million.

Air Lease announced earnings of 5 cents a share after the stock market closed. The company's stock closed Monday up 3 cents at $29.98 a share. That's up 13% from its initial public offering price of $26.50 on April 19.

During the quarter, Air Lease signed a long-term lease deal with Air Astana, the national airline of Kazakhstan, and made its largest single lease placement to date with China Eastern Airlines for 10 new Airbus A320s and five new Boeing 737s.

The company has said it was focusing on emerging markets such as Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East where fast economic growth is driving an increase in air traffic.

Air Lease now has 56 aircraft, with plans to expand to about 100 planes by the end of the year.

Udvar-Hazy, a Hungarian émigré, made a name for himself pioneering the business of buying planes and leasing them to airlines. He cofounded International Lease Finance Corp., or ILFC, nearly four decades ago.

Udvar-Hazy, 65, became one of the richest men in Los Angeles when he sold ILFC to insurance giant American International Group Inc. in 1990. He stayed on after the deal.

But the relationship soured after AIG needed a federal bailout in September 2008 to stay afloat, giving the government oversight of the company and its units, including ILFC.

He left the company to start Air Lease. Udvar-Hazy raised $3.3 billion from some high-profile investors, including Ares Management and financier Wilbur Ross, and raised another $868 million from Air Lease'sinitial public offering.

Udvar-Hazy has hinted that he's interested in buying ILFC from AIG. But in a securities filing last week, ILFC said it was not for sale.

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