Dublin-based aircraft lessor SMBC Aviation Capital is spinning off part of its portfolio into a new fund, aimed specifically at Japanese investors.

“The Global Aviation Equipment Leasing Fund (GAEL) is the first aviation equity fund for Japanese institutional investors that SMBC Aviation Capital has launched,” SMBC said in a statement July 18. “GAEL will acquire a portfolio of aircraft, on lease to a diverse group of international airlines, from SMBC Aviation Capital, who will remain as aircraft servicer.”

GAEL is a closed-end fund that has raised equity capital from 17 Japanese institutional investors and secured-debt financing from an unnamed “internationally recognized” bank.

SMBC itself is Japanese-owned. The former-Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) aircraft-leasing unit was acquired for $7.3 billion in 2012 by a consortium including two of Japan’s biggest companies, Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Sumitomo Corp. 

“Aircraft leasing is a very desirable and stable asset class for investors, and GAEL provides a tailored opportunity for a number of Japanese institutional investors to enter into the aircraft leasing market,” SMBC Aviation Capital CEO Peter Barrett said.

As of March 31, SMBC Aviation Capital had a portfolio of 729 owned, managed and committed aircraft, placed with 86 airline customers in 40 countries. 

Victoria Moores victoria.moores@informa.com