Li to enter leasing business?

Will Li Ka-shing be cashing in on the aircraft leasing business?

Hong Kong’s Li Ka-shing, known as “Asia’s richest man,” made some recent moves indicating he wants to invest in the US$200 billion global aircraft leasing business. A Reuters story said that his investment firm, Cheung Kong, is currently discussing a possible joint venture with MC Aviation Partners, the aircraft leasing subsidiary of Japan’s Mitsubishi Corp.

A deal between the two firms, which may be finalized soon, could potentially give Cheung Kong control of 20% of MC Aviation’s fleet of about 100 mostly narrow-body jets, the report said. In early August, Reuters also reported that Cheung Kong had submitted a preliminary non-binding proposal to purchase an undisclosed number of aircraft from lessor AWAS Aviation Capital Ltd. AWAS, owned by private equity company Terra Firma Capital Partners, controls a portfolio of about 100 planes worth an estimated US$5 billion on the current market, the story said.

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