EBACE Convention News

Aircraft finance firms striking gold here

 - May 21, 2008, 11:45 AM

Noticing that aircraft finance companies were more prominent here this year, EBACE Convention News did a quick walkabout to see when they first had booths at the show and what their impressions were.

First in line was Credit Suisse (Booth No. 284) which is here with a booth for the second time, according to Roman Zibung, head of leasing/aviation special tasks. “We find it very useful as a show–we don’t have booths at any other aviation shows,” he said.

Bank of America Leasing– Corporate Aircraft Finance (Booth No. 941) was first here with a booth in 2005 and has attended ever since. Tönnies von Limburg, director international sales corporate aviation finance, also described the show as “very useful” but declined to say more without corporate approval.

SG Equipment Finance (Booth No. 975) is here with a booth for the fourth year in a row. “We were the first bank at EBACE [with a booth],” said Markus Kreis, head of business aviation and a member of the Zurich-based company’s executive board. “We don’t go to other aviation shows… it is a tool for us…our concept is to be here for our partners and core customers, and we focus on suppliers. We had a cocktail event on Tuesday which was very well attended.” Kreis added, “There are one or two manufacturers that we are close to,” and that they are exploring “possible partnerships with them, although some want more formal arrangements than others.”

Stefan Müller, CEO of Fortis Lease Switzerland (Booth No. 1175), said that the first time Fortis Lease had a booth was in 2005. “It is useful because really good people are here from the industry. The only problem is finding the time… the show is almost too short.” Dirk van Maasakkers, business development manager, Fortis Executive Aircraft Group, said: “this is our second year here as Fortis, we were here before that as Dreieck Industrie Leasing sharing a booth with Swiss Aviation Service.” Müller professed to being unhappy at being “pushed into a corner for the same price,” after EBAA moved their stand at the last minute.

Citibank had no non-U.S. business aviation clients three years ago, said Mary Schwartz, managing director and global head of aircraft finance (on Booth No. 1441). But now more than half its business aviation clients are international. “I came here for the first time three years ago, and this is the second year we’ve had a booth,” said Schwartz. “We are very impressed with the show–the NBAA has become so enormous and you don’t see the real clients. Also, it’s where our clients are–we are doing so much business in the Middle East, Russia and Asia.”

Key Business Aviation Finance, part of the Cleveland, Ohio-based Key banking group, is here with a booth for the first time (Booth No. 2154). Neil Sims, Key vice president for structured finance, syndications and wholesale programs, said: “It’s very good for networking…we are positively surprised about the traffic at the booth, with a good, very focused target audience. It’s an ideal platform for leveraging our name and service.”

CIT Aerospace Business Aircraft, said that its position (Booth No. 784, right at the far end) was a disappointment. Nevertheless Nicole Johnson, assistant vice president with the Dallas-based company, said: “It’s the first time I’ve been here and the first time CIT has had a booth. We’ll definitely do it again. Traffic is a little slower than at NBAA, but overall the quality of the people is good.”