Private equity firm acquires ASL

Aviation

Star Capital is to acquire ASL Aviation Holdings.

The European fund manager has signed an agreement with ASL’s owners Compagnie Maritime Belge and 3P Air Freighters, which respectively own 51% and 49% of the Irish-headquartered airline group.

Disclosing the deal, ASL cites its “wide-ranging traffic rights and valuable slots at key airports across Europe, Asia and Africa”. It operates flights both under its own brands and on behalf of “major international customers” in both passenger and cargo markets.

It credits Star Capital with “a strong track record in value generation and driving growth”, noting that the private equity firm typically invests in asset-based companies “with enterprise value between €50 million and €1 billion”.

ASL chief executive Hugh Flynn describes the investment as “positive and progressive” and expects it to “provide the foundation for future growth and expanded service provision”.

For his part, Star Capital managing partners Paul Gough states: “We will work with management to innovate and develop ASL’s business with current customers, identify and realise new opportunities and make investments that will secure cash flows and generate value.”

ASL says its airlines carried 3.28 million passengers and 564,000t of freight last year. It has a staff of 2,500 and a fleet of around 130 aircraft. Its website and Flight Fleets Analyzer show that these include 737s and 757s in both passenger and cargo variants, A330 and 747 freighters, and ATR turboprops.

The group has ASL Airlines-branded units in Ireland, Belgium, France and Hungary. Other subsidiaries include Safair, K-Mile Asia, ASL Airlines Services Switzerland and X-air Services.

“While some of the group’s airlines were founded more than 40 and 50 years ago, ASL Aviation Holdings’ foundation essentially began in 1998, and the company has been profitable every year since its incorporation,” it states.

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