Hong Kong, 5 July 2021 — China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Limited ("CALC" or the “Company”, HKSE stock code: 01848; together with subsidiaries, the “Group”), a full-value-chain aircraft solutions provider for the global aviation industry, is pleased to announce that it has been assigned by Fitch Ratings ("Fitch") for the first time a Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (“IDR”) of ‘BB+’. The Outlook for the Long-Term IDR is Stable. This came after the reception earlier of a Ba1 corporate family rating by Moody's Investor Service Pty Ltd and an AAA corporate rating from Dagong Credit Rating Co., Ltd, and the outlook is stable.
Mr. Zhao Wei, Chairman of China Everbright Limited (“CEL”) and CALC, commented: “CALC has once again received overseas credit ratings, reflecting full recognition on the Company’s integrated competitiveness and highlighting the Company’s persistence in building strengths for its global operating lease businesses, its efforts in diving deep into the markets and persevering in establishing the most competitive aircraft asset management platform in the industry. As the largest shareholder, CEL is confident in CALC’s development prospects. We will continue to render abundant support based on our discreet strategic planning to steer CALC’s journey towards its goal of becoming a world-leading aircraft leasing full-industry-chain service provider and persistently creating value for shareholders and business partners."
Fitch recognizes the importance of CALC’s operations to the “Four-Three-Three” development strategy of China Everbright Group (“CEG”). CEG (including China Everbright Bank Company Limited and other affiliates) has a record of providing funding and liquidity support to CALC, which will be anticipating continuing reception of ordinary support from CEG.
Fitch takes note of CALC’s quality fleet and limited exposure to troubled airlines. CALC has a liquid and young narrow-body aircraft portfolio. CALC’s exposure is mainly to three large domestic airlines and their affiliates. Fitch considers that the Chinese economy has been resilient during the pandemic and the recovery of domestic traffic has been strong, and that 90.5% of CALC’s fleet portfolio belonging to the first-class category. Fitch expects CALC’s liquidity coverage ratio for the next 12 months will remain adequate. CALC’s funding and liquidity will benefit from (1) its large undrawn and uncommitted credit lines; (2) its continued access to capital markets, with its unsecured debt gradually increased to 59% of total debt by end-2020, from 38% at end-2017; (3) persistent support from CEG and affiliates.
Mike Poon, CEO of CALC said: "We are very pleased to be recognized again by another overseas credit rating agency. We believe this will further enhance investors’ confidence in CALC. We will adhere to steady and healthy business strategies, improve our financial flexibility so as to enhance our profitability further, striving to earning another notch of upgrade in the future to become an investment-grade issuer."