- The Company appoints Norman C.T. Liu, seasoned global aviation executive, as its President effective immediately
- Framework of outline terms agreed with the Company’s largest creditor groups contemplates a comprehensive restructuring of the Company’s debt obligations (including the conversion of a substantial amount of the group’s debt to equity) and the provision of $500 million in additional capital, positioning NAC to maximize growth opportunities in the recovering aviation market
- The envisaged injection of capital resulting from the restructuring will result in a strong liquidity position enabling the Company to seamlessly continue global operations
- The Company will continue its leasing operations in the ordinary course, perform aircraft deliveries and capitalize on market opportunities
- Provides 2020/2021 Financial Results update
- The Company reports positive trends over the summer months as recovery unfolds in regional sector
Ireland – 24 September 2021 – Nordic Aviation Capital (“NAC” or the “Company”), the world’s largest regional aircraft lessor, today announced that it has appointed Norman C.T. Liu as its new President, effective immediately. Liu is a highly accomplished global aviation executive, having been President of GE Capital Aviation Services (“GECAS”) between 2009 and 2016, and its Chairman in 2016.
The Company has also made substantial progress in its restructuring with agreement reached on the outline terms of a Framework (the “Framework”) with its largest creditor groups. The Framework envisages a comprehensive restructuring of the Company’s debt obligations (including the conversion of a substantial amount of the group’s debt to equity) and the provision of $500m of additional capital to best position NAC for future growth and success as global economic and industry conditions continue to improve.
Appointment of new President
Today NAC appointed Norman C.T. Liu as its new President, effective immediately. Liu is one of the most senior executives in the global aviation sector. He has been a Senior Advisor to NAC since 2019 after a 22-year tenure in senior executive positions with GECAS, which he helped build into an industry leader, including as President & CEO, and Chairman.
“I look forward to working with NAC’s global team and customer base in these highly challenging times”, said incoming President, Liu. “We have much work to do on restoring the balance sheet and portfolio but I’m confident that we will be well-positioned as the industry recovers from the pandemic."
As President of NAC, Liu will have a full-time, senior leadership role in the running of the business, and will report to NAC’s Board of Directors.
The $500m of additional capital contemplated under the Framework will be provided to NAC in conjunction with its restructuring and be available to support liquidity and pursue growth in purchasing aircraft. This will help NAC retain industry leadership in regional aviation and expand into other narrowbody aircraft types to diversify its product offering and leverage its platform and scale.
In consultation with some of its largest creditors, the Company has engaged an internationally recognized executive search firm to identify potential director candidates for the Company’s post-restructuring Board.
Financial Restructuring Update
The Company has agreed the outline terms of a Framework with its largest creditor groups. This Framework envisages a comprehensive restructuring of its debt obligations (including converting a substantial amount of the group’s debt into equity) and the Company raising $300 million in additional capital through a new equity rights offering, and a new $200 million revolving credit facility. The Framework remains subject to the finalization of detailed terms, the formal approval processes of the various parties and implementation.
“We are pleased that we have reached this milestone with NAC’s largest creditor groups, who whole-heartedly believe in the long-term future of NAC,” said Justin Bickle, Vice Chairman of NAC and Chairman of its Restructuring Committee. “Throughout its 30-year history, NAC has had a fundamentally high performing, profitable business and a strong liquidity position, but like all players in the aviation sector, was not immune to the massive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the prolonged recovery period. We are confident that the restructuring contemplated by the Framework will be the best and most efficient path for NAC to achieve a successful financial restructuring. We look forward to concluding discussions with NAC’s creditors in connection with the Framework and finalizing NAC’s business plan and strategy under our new President, Norman C.T. Liu. We believe that NAC will prosper in the coming years under Norm’s strong leadership.”
The Company today also released full-year financial results for the fiscal year ending 30 June 2021:
2020/2021 Full-Year Results
NAC’s financial performance was significantly affected by the continued impact of COVID-19 on global aviation.
Notable details from NAC’s full-year results for the fiscal year ended 30 June 2021 include:
- NAC entered into agreements for short-term rental deferrals with 25 customers on over 100 leases.
- The Company recognized lease revenue of $642 million, a decline of 15% year on year
- Material impairments of aircraft and other intangible assets combined with the impact of COVID-19 on the business throughout the year led to a loss of $2,364 million. This impairment reflects market conditions which are significantly affected by the pandemic.
- NAC generated cash flow from operations of $225 million and made investments of $98 million for the year; the Company closed the fiscal year with $233 million in unrestricted cash.
Current Year Update and Looking Ahead
The Company also provided a business outlook update:
Throughout the summer months, the Company has reported a strong pick-up in placement activity, including reporting 14 deliveries across all regions, improving on 2019 figures by over 50%. Additionally, NAC lease extensions have increased 45% year-to-date compared to the same period in 2019.
About Norman C.T. Liu
Liu is the recently named President of Nordic Aviation Capital. He also serves as a Senior Advisor to Global Infrastructure Partners and a Board Member of GA Telesis. Liu is former Chairman of GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) and left GECAS at the end of 2016.
Liu’s 40-year career has included 5 years in investment banking and 30 years with GE Capital, of which 22 years were with GECAS. He served as EVP-Commercial for 14 years at GECAS and as Chairman, President and CEO for 8 years. During his long tenure at GECAS, net income and assets grew dramatically and GECAS became a world leader in aviation finance. In addition, he has served as a Senior Advisor to ICBC Leasing for the past 4 years.
Liu graduated from Yale in 1979 and received an MBA from Harvard in 1982. He was also a 2017 Advanced Leadership Fellow at Harvard.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP is acting as the Company’s restructuring counsel, Clifford Chance and William Fry are serving as legal counsel, Rothschild & Co. and Ernst & Young are serving as NAC’s restructuring advisors.
About Nordic Aviation Capital
NAC is the industry’s leading regional aircraft lessor serving almost 70 airlines in approximately 45 countries. NAC’s current fleet of almost 500 aircraft includes ATR 42, ATR 72, De Havilland Dash 8, Mitsubishi CRJ900/1000, Airbus A220 and Embraer E-Jet family aircraft.