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L.A. billionaire Udvar-Hazy's aircraft leasing firm raises $802.5 million in IPO

April 18, 2011 |  5:35 pm


On a gloomy day for the stock market, investors gave a warm welcome Monday to the initial public  offering of Air Lease Corp., the Century City aircraft leasing company founded by Los Angeles billionaire Steven Udvar-Hazy.

Air Lease, or ALC, sold 30.3 million shares at $26.50 each of Class A common stock, raising $802.5 million, according to Reuters data. The company had planned to sell 25 million shares for $25 to $28 each.

The stock will begin trading Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AL.

ALC, which buys planes and rents them to airlines, already has 46 aircraft and anticipates that its fleet will grow to about 100 planes by the end of the year. The company has said it will use the money raised in the IPO to purchase more aircraft.

Alclogo Udvar-Hazy, 65, launched ALC in February 2010, less than two weeks after he left his former business, International Lease Finance Corp., or ILFC.

Udvar-Hazy co-founded ILFC in 1973 and built it to be the world’s largest airliner-renting enterprise. He became a billionaire and one of the richest men in Los Angeles when he sold ILFC to AIG in 1990. AIG allowed him to continue running the company.

But in 2008, AIG was on the brink of collapse and received commitments of up to $182.5 billion in bailout money from the federal government. As part of the bailout, the government began overseeing AIG operations, including that of ILFC, which Udvar-Hazy said hamstrung his ability to manage the company.

Fed up, he left the company to start ALC, tapping contacts made over 40 years in the business. He raised capital from some high-profile investors, including Ares Management and financier Wilbur Ross, and recruited top ILFC executives.

ALC officers and directors own 37% of the stock in the company.


L.A. billionaire Udvar-Hazy's aircraft leasing firm preps IPO 

Steven Udvar-Hazy hopes to set a new course for his jet-leasing firm

-- W.J. Hennigan

Photo: Air Lease Corp. CEO Steven Udvar-Hazy. Credit: Lai Seng Sin / Associated Press