O’Brien sells off Aergo stake

Denis O’Brien has sold his controlling stake in Aergo Capital — the aircraft leasing group he co-founded in 1999 — to a US buyer for an undisclosed sum.

The aviation trading arm of leading global alternative investment manager CarVal Investors, which mainly focuses its activity on the purchase of distressed assets and loan books, has acquired a 90% stake in the Dublin company.

The deal will see Fred Browne, who co-founded the company with Mr O’Brien 15 years ago, retain a 10% stake, while Mr O’Brien will cease to be a shareholder in the business.

Although a unit of CarVal Investors — which has bought up loan tranches from the former Anglo Irish Bank and Bank of Scotland (Ireland) in the past — this purchase is via the group’s aviation acquisition wing and is separate to its distressed asset buying policy.

Aergo has been profitable since its inception and has, over its lifespan, traded in excess of 150 aircraft, with a gross value of over $1bn.

Mr Browne, who will remain in his role of managing director and chief executive of Aergo, said the purchase provides the firm the opportunity to grow and expand into newer, more modern aircraft.

“This partnership marks the beginning of the next chapter in Aergo’s success,” he said.

In a statement, Mr O’Brien said: “Aergo has been a very profitable business and I believe this transaction will see Fred Browne and the management team take it to further success in the aviation industry. I wish Aergo continued success in the future.

“The acquisition of Aergo offers a compelling and strategic solution to maximise and monetise value in existing and future aircraft investments from acquisition to disposition,” said Justin Bradburn, managing director for CarVal Investors.

“Aergo allows us to strategically approach what we believe is going to be a dynamic market.”

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