Monday, March 20, 2017

Aircraft Recycling buys Universal Asset Management



Aircraft Recycling International Ltd. has acquired Universal Asset Management Inc., a Memphis-based aircraft recycling and repair company

The new owner, a Hong Kong-based unit of China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Ltd., named Christina Ng as chairwoman of UAM and said the Memphis firm will continue to be led by chief executive officer Keri Wright and president Shawn Kling. The transaction was announced Monday.

The acquisition comes 3½ years after Wright bought UAM and its wholly owned subsidiary, Universal Air Repair LLC.

Wright is a board member of the Memphis-Shelby County Airport Authority.

UAM operates aircraft disassembly and parts distribution facilities in Tupelo and Verona, Mississippi, and has global sales offices in London and Singapore.

The sale marks the second prominent Memphis company affiliated with Chinese owners. In 2013, Wright Medical Group Inc. sold its OrthoRecon unit to Shanghai-based MicroPort Scientific Corp., which operates the business in suburban Arlington.

Universal's new owner is building a $2 billion aircraft recycling facility in Harbin, China, that the firm says  will be the world's largest. China Aircraft bought 100 percent of the equity in Universal.

“UAM will retain its brand name and continue to operate in the same manner with the same management team, while all staff will remain in place across all its business units,”  the firm said in a statement released Monday.

“While ARI will leverage UAM’s well-established global brand and track record of serving over 1,000 customers in 150 countries to expand into overseas markets, UAM will leverage ARI’s growth capital, and draw upon CALC’s network and resources, to advance changes in the aviation industry through the delivery of technological solutions and the further growth of its portfolio,” the statement says.

Universal was founded in 1992. The firm buys used aircraft and removes and sells the engines and components.

Wright said, “I am pleased that UAM will be working with ARI, and I am very impressed with the commitment it has shown to creating value for shareholders, customers, employees and suppliers. Together, we will draw upon our common vision and aim to help deliver positive and much needed change to the industry.”

With the acquisition, UAM becomes a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary of Aircraft Recycling International, responsible for its aircraft recycling business overseas, and a part of its global disassembly and distribution platform.

Ng said the acquisition will help the company better serve a rapidly growing demand for aircraft maintenance services, components and parts in Asia Pacific and China.

Last month, Hong Kong-based China Aircraft Leasing sold five-year $300 million and seven-year $200 million bonds in Asia and Europe to help finance acquisitions.

China Aircraft Leasing made headlines worldwide in 2015 when chief executive Poon Ho Man, under investigation in a corruption probe, abruptly resigned along with the chief financial officer. Poon reappeared in Hong Kong six months later, the Independent, a British newspaper, reported in an article this month recounting the mysterious disappearances of Chinese billionaires linked to Beijing security agencies. Poon's absence was tied to the investigation of China Southern Airlines, which had leased aircraft from China Aircraft, according to the South China Morning Post, an English-language newspaper.

In  January, China Aircraft Leasing renamed Poon chief executive and said he had resigned temporarily to assist authorities with the investigation,  the trade paper AirFinance Journal reported, saying Poon during his absence from the company also remained busy looking for new business opportunities for China Aircraft.

China Aircraft chairman Chen Shuang added chief executive duties when Poon departed and relinquished the CEO role in January.

In 1998, Poon founded  Friedmann Pacific Asset Management, a major shareholder in China Aircraft.  Poon also founded China Airport Synergy Investment in 2014, which acquired a 49.9-percent stake in Toulouse-Blagnac Airport in France.

China's state-owned China Everbright Group was the largest stakeholder in China Aircraft, controlling 42 percent of the company last year, the South China Morning Post reported.

Poon's wife, Christina Ng, owns 10 percent of Friedmann, which manages $2 billion worth of assets, the South China Morning Post reported.

In 1995, Poon graduated from the University of Hong Kong with an engineering degree. He is a political adviser for China's northeastern Heilongjiang province, home to Harbin, a city of about 5 million people.

Original article can be found here: http://www.commercialappeal.com

No comments: