GE unit said to order 25 Airbus jets as industry prepares to gather in Dubai

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The order list of leasing giant GECAS includes 12 Airbus A330neo aircraft. (AFP)
Updated 09 November 2019

GE unit said to order 25 Airbus jets as industry prepares to gather in Dubai

  • The order includes 12 Airbus A330neo jets

PARIS: Leasing giant GECAS, the aircraft leasing subsidiary of General Electric, has ordered 25 Airbus aircraft including a rare purchase of jets powered by GE’s rival engine maker Rolls-Royce, two people familiar with the matter said.

The order includes 12 Airbus A330neo jets, for which Rolls-Royce is the sole engine supplier, and 13 A321XLR long-distance narrow-body jets. It was included in a new Airbus order tally but the name of the buyer was not immediately disclosed. Airbus and GE  did not comment.

If confirmed, the decision by the world’s second largest aircraft leasing company to invest in the A330neo would be a key endorsement for the A330neo program which has been clawing its way back from a period of weak sales and some cancelations.

GECAS has traditionally
prioritized aircraft powered by engines made by its parent company General Electric.

Planemakers are gearing up for the Dubai Airshow from Nov. 17 which could feature confirmation of demand from leasing companies including GECAS, industry sources said. 

Decisions to invest in rival technology highlight competition to diversify portfolios in the leasing industry, even though GE is perceived as more closely aligned in the wide-body market with Airbus rival Boeing.

The A330neo is a 250-300 seat upgrade of Airbus’s most-sold wide-body aircraft, the A330, which is offered alongside the slightly larger Airbus A350 family. Both aircraft are exclusively powered by engines from Rolls-Royce.

In 2015, GECAS invested in the first A350 by buying the aircraft immediately after its delivery to Qatar Airways and then renting it back to the airline in a sale-and-leaseback deal.

But it remains rare for the GE subsidiary to buy Rolls-Royce-powered aircraft directly from
the manufacturer.

Rolls and GE compete fiercely for engine sales and the A330neo airplane has in turn faced intense competition from the newer Boeing 787, which offers both GE and Rolls-Royce engines.

GECAS is widely seen as a candidate for potential sale as GE overhauls its balance sheet through disposals. It has said it aims to invest in aircraft to keep down the average age of its portfolio to 5.5 years from 6.8 years by 2024.

In a statement with its monthly order update on Thursday, Airbus said an “unidentified customer ordered 13 A321XLRs in a transaction that also included 12 A330-900 highly efficient wide-bodies.”

It is common for aircraft deals to be posted on an anonymous basis before the buyer goes public, often using the publicity surrounding air shows.


Alibaba confirms huge Hong Kong public listing worth at least $13bn

Updated 15 November 2019

Alibaba confirms huge Hong Kong public listing worth at least $13bn

  • Over-allocation options could take the total value to more than $13 billion, making it one of the biggest IPOs in Hong Kong for a decade
  • Alibaba Chief Executive Officer said the group wanted to participate in Hong Kong’s future

HONG KONG: Chinese technology giant Alibaba on Friday confirmed plans to list in Hong Kong in what it called a $13 billion vote of confidence in the turbulent city’s markets and a step forward in its plans to go global.
The enormous IPO, which Hong Kong had lobbied for, will come as a boost for authorities wrestling with pro-democracy protests that have tarnished the financial hub’s image for order and security and hammered its stock market.
Alibaba will offer 500 million shares at a maximum of HK$188 apiece to retail investors, the company said. The number eight is considered auspicious in China.
Over-allocation options could take the total value to more than $13 billion, making it one of the biggest IPOs in Hong Kong for a decade after insurance giant AIA raised $20.5 billion in 2010.
Alibaba had planned to list in the summer but called it off owing to the city’s long-running pro-democracy protests and the China-US trade war. The US and China are now working on sealing a partial trade deal.
Daniel Zhang, Alibaba Chief Executive Officer, said the group wanted to “contribute, in our small way, and participate in the future of Hong Kong.”
“During this time of ongoing change, we continue to believe that the future of Hong Kong remains bright,” he said.
The firm’s shares are already traded in New York. A second listing in Hong Kong is expected to curry favor with Beijing, which has sought to encourage its current and future big tech firms to list nearer to home after the loss of companies such as Baidu to Wall Street.
In the statement, Zhang said that when Alibaba went public in 2014 it “missed out on Hong Kong with regret.”
Mainland authorities have also stepped up moves to attract such listings, including launching a new technology board in Shanghai in July.
The listing comes after the city’s exchange tweaked the rules to allow double listings, while Chief Executive Carrie Lam had also been pushing Alibaba’s billionaire founder Jack Ma to sell shares in the city.
“The listing in Hong Kong will allow more of the company’s users and stakeholders in the Alibaba digital economy across Asia to invest and participate in Alibaba’s growth,” the company said.
It has long been expected to launch a multibillion-dollar stock listing in Hong Kong but appeared to postpone the offering because of political and economic turmoil.
Hong Kong’s key Hang Seng Index rose 0.48 percent in morning trading following the announcement
Chinese shoppers set new records for spending on Monday’s annual 24-hour “Singles’ Day” buying spree, despite an economic slowdown in the country and the worries over the US trade war.
It said consumers spent $38.3 billion on its platforms over that stretch, up 26 percent from the previous all-time high mark set last year.
Alibaba also said it saw record amounts of cross-border sales, underlining its plans to expand globally.
“Globalization is the future of Alibaba Group. We firmly believe the marriage of digital technology and commerce will bring about unprecedented change that will not be limited by borders,” Zhang said.