BOC Aviation Pte. Ltd. ("BOC Aviation") is pleased to celebrate 20 years of excellence today, marking two decades of unbroken profitability to become an Asian leader in the global aircraft operating leasing industry. BOC Aviation was established on November 25, 1993 as Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise Pte. Ltd. (S.A.L.E.).
The Company today has a fleet of 233 owned and managed aircraft. The owned fleet has an average age of less than four years, one of the youngest in the industry. During this year, BOC Aviation surpassed an accumulated US$1 billion in net profits under Bank of China ownership and achieved more than US$10 billion in total assets.
BOC Aviation was the first aircraft operating lessor to be based in Singapore, and more than 70 percent of employees are Singaporean or permanent residents, contributing to the growth of aircraft expertise in Singapore. Over the 20 years, BOC Aviation has grown to 116 staff of 14 nationalities in offices in Singapore, Dublin, Ireland and Seattle, U.S..
Mr. Robert Martin, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of BOC Aviation, said, "Our success is a tribute to the visionaries from Singapore Airlines Ltd. and Boullioun Aviation Services 20 years ago, who later brought in Temasek Holdings and GIC as shareholders in November 1997. The foundation work done by the original shareholders has been further enhanced following the acquisition by Bank of China in December 2006. We would like to thank all of our past and present stakeholders, particularly our dedicated team of employees for their support over the last 20 years, and we look forward to embarking on the next stage of our growth with their support."
Since being acquired 100% by Bank of China for an enterprise value of US$3.25 billion in December 2006, BOC Aviation has more than tripled its assets to more than US$10 billion today.
One of the hallmarks of Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise, which was renamed BOC Aviation in 2007, has been its stable management team, first led by John Willingham as Managing Director from its establishment until July 1998, and since then by Robert Martin as Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.
Notably, the management team has steered the Company through the Asian financial crisis of 1997, the aviation crisis following the terror attacks in the U.S. on Sep. 11, 2001, and the Global Financial Crisis that started in 2008. The management has continued to execute on its countercyclical strategy during these challenging times.
In addition, the Company has consistently demonstrated its capability as a leading innovator in the Asian capital markets, first accessing the Singapore bond market in 2000. The meticulous strategy then culminated in the milestone of attaining investment grade corporate credit ratings in June 2012, thus becoming the first Chinese bank subsidiary with this achievement.
With the credit rating in place, BOC Aviation successfully launched its inaugural 5-year benchmark US$500 million issuance in September 2012, followed by 10-year benchmark US$500 million issuance earlier this year. Most recently, the Company set another milestone, by becoming the first global aircraft lessor to access the RMB capital markets to raise 1.5 billion yuanin 5-year bonds.
Mr. Phang Thim Fatt, Deputy Managing Director and Chief Financial Officer, and one of the original members of the project team from Singapore Airlines, commented, "Our growth and our operation in Singapore has been a successful collaboration with the forward-looking policies of the Singapore government, in particular, the Economic Development Board. Having a base in Singapore puts BOC Aviation in close proximity to the world's fastest growing markets in both wealth management and aviation. In addition, BOC Aviation has the support of 47 banks, and extends its appreciation to them for their support in our first 20 years."
Looking forward, BOC Aviation expects to build on its success in drawing the attention of growing Asian wealth to the financing needs of global airline and aircraft industry with their expanding capital requirements.
BOC Aviation has strong sources of both debt and equity to sustain growth through the cycles of the capital-intensive airline industry, and will continue to grow through a combination of orders from manufacturers and providing capital to support airlines with order books.
Deputy Managing Director and Chief Commercial Officer Steven Townend said, "Our shareholder, Bank of China, has a 40-year history in aviation financing, and is China's most international bank. Having such a strong and experienced shareholder enables us to offer a wider product range on a scale that is relevant to all our global customers. Our consistent support to those customers across the cycles is evidenced by recent deals with both China Southern and EVA Air, who were our first customers as S.A.L.E., and we are delighted to have broadened our relationship with both these early customers in the past year."
Today, BOC Aviation is the leading Asia-based global aircraft leasing company with a portfolio of 233 owned and managed aircraft operated by 54 airlines worldwide, and with another 102 aircraft on firm order. In its history, the Company has served 102 airlines as customers in 48 countries.