GPA seeks new source of funds

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GUINNESS Peat Aviation, the Irish aircraft leasing group, yesterday confirmed that it was considering several options for raising new funds and reviewing its dollars 21bn ( pounds 11bn) aircraft order book in the wake of its aborted dollars 1bn stock market flotation, writes Michael Harrison.

Confirmation of the wide-ranging review came as GPA Group announced a 20 per cent decline in first-quarter profits from dollars 61.3m to dollars 49.1m. GPA said that it was clear its growth would be constrained until it was able to raise additional funds.

This might be achieved by means of a private equity placing, a restructuring of its aircraft purchase commitments, asset disposals or a further aircraft securitisation programme.

The group has dollars 12bn worth of aircraft on firm order between now and the end of the decade, and options on a further dollars 9bn worth. 'The option and order book is being reviewed in consultation with our manufacturers,' a spokesman said.

GPA's first-quarter results do not include the costs incurred by abandoning its global share offer earlier this summer, which analysts put at about dollars 20m.

The company said trading was still suffering from difficulties experienced by airlines and predicted that these would continue until at least the end of the current financial year.