Air Lease Corp. (AL) purchases commercial aircraft to lease to airlines around the world. AL currently owns 196 modern aircraft, with 331 new airplanes (worth $23 billion) on order to satisfy U.S. and European carriers’ demand for more fuel-efficient models to replace their aging fleet and emerging markets’ need for more lift. Passenger traffic growth remains strong, up 6.2% (IATA data) through May, consistent with historical trends of outpacing GDP growth. AL’s revenues (+28% in the first quarter of 2014) and earnings per share (+50%) are growing impressively as its fleet builds. An investment grade rating and strengthening credit profile should enable AL to continue to get favorable financing in the capital markets and de-risk its balance sheet with more unsecured, fixed rate debt. AL has approximately 91% of leases placed through 2016 and is well capitalized for a long “runway” of profitable growth. (David Goldsmith)
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