Monday, August 31, 2009

AIG's Financial Crisis and Boeing's Biggest Customer

Boeing and Airbus's biggest commercial customer is not an airline but the fallen insurance giant, AIG (see my earlier  posting "Who's Boeing's and Airbus's Biggest Customer? Would You Believe AIG?") AIG's financial Götterdämmerung forced International Lease Finance Corporation (ILFC),which it owns, onto the Fed's life support system last October.  When AIG lost its investment grade rating, ILFC could no longer access the commercial paper market to roll over its short term debt.

AIG has been intent on paying off the $80 billion federal debt that keeps it in bondage to Washington.  The strategy has been to sell off assets.  The flaw in this strategy has been that you get Filene's Basement prices not Neiman Marcus prices when you dump assets at market bottoms when buyers know you have to sell and the few who have the cash bargain hard.  In the Wall Street Journal, Matthew Karnitschnig and Liam Pleven tell us AIG's new CEO, Robert Benmosche, is reconsidering its asset sales strategy

AIG has been trying to sell ILFC for a year.  Now Peter Sanders and Daniel Michaels also at the Wall Street Journal write that Steven F. Udvar-Hazy, chairman and chief executive of International Lease Finance Corp., is trying to work a deal whereby he and investors carve out a part of ILFC and go it alone.  The investors are supposed to be mostly from the Middle East and China.

The Hungarian born "Mr. Hazy is a co-founder of ILFC, which now owns about 1,000 aircraft, most of which are leased to commercial airlines world-wide. ILFC is the largest customer of Boeing Co.'s upcoming 787 Dreamliner, with 74 planes on order."

It is important to Spirit that a major support for the demand for commercial aircraft have the financing to buy planes and maintain its existing portfolio.  Boeing was more conservative expanding production in 2008 than its general aviation brethren seeking not to repeat the mistakes of the late 1990s.   So far Spirit has done a laudable job maintaining its workforce for the future.  We in Wichita where the unemployment rate is now 9.9 percent hope that continues. 

Steven F. Udvar-Hazy and General John R. "Jack" Dailey at the overlook of the new Center.
Photo by Carolyn Russo, National Air and Space Museum

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Poor news - Syria's 'mutilation mystery' increases...