BlackRock has increased its investment in Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings (AAWW). The asset manager — the world’s largest — had already been AAWW’s largest institutional investor and now holds 3,910,892 shares in AAWW, amounting to a 14.2% stake as of Dec. 31, 2020, according to a 13G/A form BlackRock filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Jan. 26.
Atlas Air’s other institutional investors include Vanguard Group, which owned just under 11% at the end of 2019, and Greenlight Capital, which in its Q2 2020 letter to investors in August, revealed it had taken a new equity position in Atlas, citing the airfreight market’s short-term capacity shortage and longer-term prospects.
“While most of the increase in earnings will occur in AAWW’s charter segment, AAWW also has attractive and substantial long-term contractual relationships serving DHL and Amazon, which stand to benefit from the growth in e-commerce and relative steady business supporting the U.S. military,” wrote Greenlight.
Institutional investors are required to file a 13G form — or an amendment to one — within forty-five days of the end of a year if they ended that year owning more than 5% of a publicly-traded company but have no intention of changing or influencing control of that company.
A year ago, in February 2020, BlackRock’s 13G amendment for Atlas Air stated that it had held 3,819,320 shares in AAWW as of Dec. 31, 2019.
BlackRock, which could not be reached for comment, has steadily acquired more AAWW shares yearly since 2014, according to SEC records. In another sign of confidence in the freighter market, BlackRock, through a pooled private equity fund, placed an order for three 737-800SF conversions last May, and has since added orders for two more conversions.
Although the number of shares BlackRock holds in Atlas Air has risen by over 91,000, the stake represented by those shares has dropped slightly from 14.8% to 14.2%, mostly as a result of the issuance by AAWW of almost 1.4 million shares to Amazon in October 2020, after the retail giant exercised part of its warrant.