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Avia Solutions Acquires Chapman Freeborn

FreightWaves

Cyprus-based Avia Solutions Group, a multipurpose aviation holding company, has completed the acquisition of 100% of the shares of U.K.-headquartered Chapman Freeborn Group. The entitles signed the initial acquisition agreement in London on June 14 and have obtained all customary approvals for the transaction.

The consolidated revenues of the two entities reached €800 million ($885 million) for 2018 and are forecast to reach €1 billion in 2019. Avia's 2018 revenues exceeded €420 million. 

The addition of Chapman Freeborn, a provider of aircraft charter solutions, bolsters Avia's current business lines portfolio. Avia has 76 subsidiaries engaged in aircraft maintenance, aircraft leasing, pilot training, ground handling and fueling, logistics, aviation IT and business aviation. Chapman Freeborn's areas of expertise, which include arranging the delivery of time-critical shipments, heavy and outsize equipment, humanitarian goods, and other types of freight, widen Avia's service scope and allow the group to enter new markets and develop new business.

As part of Avia, Chapman Freeborn will maintain its existing product portfolio and continue to operate under the group's existing brands, including subsidiaries Chapman Freeborn Airchartering, Chapman Freeborn OBC, Intradco Cargo Services, Logik Logistics, Magma Aviation and Wings 24. The acquisition expands Avia's ownership to 110 companies in 32 countries.

In the air cargo market, Chapman Freeborn Airchartering specializes in the charter and lease of aircraft for a wide-ranging customer base, including freight forwarders, multinational corporations, governments, humanitarian agencies and other industries. Chapman Freeborn is an air charter broker and is not a direct air carrier or direct foreign air carrier in operational control of aircraft. In addition to freight services, Chapman Freeborn offers specialized passenger services, including private jet charters for executive travel and large aircraft for crew rotations and international group travel. Aircraft leasing subsidiary Lithuania-based AviaAM Leasing reported robust results for full-year 2018, posting €49.3 million in revenues (including net gain on sale of aircraft) and net profit of €29.1 million. Net profit at the lessor grew by 9% as compared to 2017 (€26.8 million).

AviaAM's venture in China expanded the company's fleet and attracted strategic partners. Last year, AviaAM, together with joint venture partner AviaAM Financial Leasing China, itself a joint venture of AviaAM Leasing and Henan Civil Aviation Development and Investment Co., acquired and leased 14 new and midlife aircraft and completed six aircraft sale transactions with leases attached. Among the company's customers were Air Transat, Thomas Cook Airlines, Avion Express, Aeroflot and OK Airways.

Also, AviaAM Financial Leasing China attracted Ping An Insurance (Group) Co. of China as a new strategic partner. In a deal that closed in August 2018, Ping An invested $44 million in the joint venture. The current value of the joint venture's aircraft fleet reached almost $1 billion.

A substantial amount of Asian capital has targeted transport infrastructure. In late April, subsidiary Ping An Global Infrastructure Funds announced closing, with almost $760 million committed, including a commitment from large French private equity firm Ardian as an anchor investor. In addition to transport, the funds focus on telecommunications, power, midstream oil transport, utilities and other infrastructure assets. The funds provide third-party investors with the opportunity to invest alongside Ping An. The funds' investment strategy builds on Ping An's 10-year track record of infrastructure investment in China and elsewhere.

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