Air Transport World

ILFC: "It's a good business." (International Lease Finance Corp.) (Company Profile)

When it comes to timing the market, you've got to hand it to the people who founded international Lease Finance Corp. (ILFC). When they agreed to sell the company to American International Group (AIG) for $1.3 billion in june, 1990, aircraft asset values were peaking as manufacturers strained to keep pace with a record number of new orders AYT, 8/90).

Two months later, when IIYC officially became a subsidiary of AIG, Kuwait was the 19th Province of Iraq," the price of jet fuel was climbing past $1 per gallon and the airline industry was entering a tailspin from which it has yet to emerge (ATW) 10/90). All things considered, ILFC's controlling stockholders, Leslie and Louis Gonda, and Steven Udvar-Hazy, coidd not have chosen a better time to bail out of the business they started away back in 1973.

Only they didn't. They banked their proceeds from the sale, which amounted to 7.6 million shares of AIG stock, and got back to running one of the biggest aircraft operating-lease companies in the world, now a subsidiary of one of the world's largest insurance companies. And guess what? Despite everything that has happened to the airline industry in the past 17 months, ILFC is growing, making money and looking forward to an everbrighter future. …

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