RBS To Sell Aviation Lease Business

 - January 17, 2012, 4:15 PM

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group has agreed to sell RBS Aviation Capital to Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) for some $7.3 billion, RBS announced today. The final compensation will depend on “certain post closing adjustments,” said RBS in a statement, but future order commitments worth $3.7 billion will transfer with the business. The parties expect to complete the sale by the end of next year’s third quarter.

The sale involves the disposal of the entire issued share capital of RBS Aerospace, RBS Aerospace (UK) and RBS Australia Leasing, together with other assets comprising the RBS Aviation Capital operating-lease business.

RBS Group designated RBS Aviation Capital part of its so-called non-core division in February 2009 following the group’s strategic review, which called for de-leveraging to strengthen its balance sheet and increase “business focus.” Over the past three years the bank has shrunk the value of its non-core division by some $250 billion, to roughly $150 billion.

“Reaching agreement on a deal of this scale in such a volatile market is a significant success for our non-core division and a credit to SMBC,” said RBS Group finance director Bruce Van Saun. “This transaction further evidences our progress in reducing our non-core portfolio and returning the group to a position of strength.”

Established in 2001, Dublin, Ireland-based RBS Aviation Capital stands as the world’s fourth largest aircraft lessor. It now owns 206 aircraft and commitments to buy another 87 by 2015.