Industry

Published on February 13th, 2019 | by Alan Dwyer

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STAR Capital Partnership to buy ASL Holdings

European fund investment company STAR Capital Partnership LLP has signed an agreement to acquire Dublin based aircraft operator ASL Aviation Holdings. ASL Holdings is a global aviation services provider with operations on six continents. In 2016, it expanded its fleet through the acquisition of TNT’s fleet of aircraft when the express firm was purchased by FedEx. It has also been busy consolidating its various European subsidiaries. The Group’s multiple airlines provide ASL with wide-ranging traffic rights and valuable slots at key airports across Europe, Asia and Africa.

ASL’s airlines operate scheduled and charter flights under their own brand and they also operate passenger and cargo networks on behalf of international customers including freight and passenger. ASL Airlines currently operate the four Boeing 757 aircraft in the Aer Lingus fleet on transatlantic services from Dublin and Shannon.

STAR Capital has reached agreement with ASL Holdings shareholders, Compagnie Maritime Belge (51%) and 3P Air Freighters (49%), to acquire 100% of the shareholding in ASL Aviation Holdings, subject to customary approvals. The terms of this deal has not been made public at this stage.

As the deal was announced, Hugh Flynn, chief executive of ASL Holdings said “a positive and progressive investment that will provide the foundation for future growth and expanded service provision. Our aim is to be the aviation services provider of choice and we will work with STAR Capital to continue to deliver on that by expanding our product offering, developing our geographical compass and focussing on core values including safety, reliability and quality,”

An ASL Airlines Boeing 737-400 freighter which operates in Europe on behalf of DHL.

Also speaking at the announcement was Paul Gough, managing partner of STAR Capital who said: “We are delighted with this proposed acquisition which we see as a perfect fit for our strategy to invest in strong asset-based businesses and support their growth ambitions. We will work with management to innovate and develop ASL’s business with current customers, identify and realise new opportunities and make investments that will secure cash flows and generate value.”

In 2017 ASL Holdings airlines carried 3,283,928 passengers and 564,222 tonnes of freight on flights that totalled 202,080 hours. ASL currently has around 2,500 staff from 47 nationalities and a fleet of about 130 aircraft.

While some of the Group’s airlines were founded more than 50 years ago, ASL Aviation Holdings’ foundation essentially began in 1998 and the Company has been profitable every year since its incorporation. In its latest accounts published, ASL generated revenues of €957.7m in 2017, a near 30pc increase on 2016. It generated a €24.2m operating profit, which was up 55.1pc as it benefited from significantly increased profits from disposals. It made a pre-tax profit of €21.3m.

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