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Warburg Pincus launches Aquila Air Capital

Warburg Pincus, a global private equity firm focused on growth investing, has formed Aquila Air Capital, a specialty finance platform focused on commercial aerospace, in partnership with aerospace industry veteran Al Wood and investment firm Kepler Hill Capital.

Aquila Air Capital will have a broad mandate to purchase, finance, and lease, aircraft, engines and other aviation equipment. The company’s vision is to become a trusted partner to all players in the value chain, from buyers and sellers of assets to operators in need of creative and timely solutions for their critical business needs.

Al Wood joins Warburg Pincus as an executive-in-residence to identify and evaluate investment opportunities related to the broader aerospace and defence industry and to help build Aquila Air Capital. Al Wood most recently served as CFO of Boeing Commercial Services, a USD9 billion business unit where he focused on increasing return on invested capital, streamlining the product and services portfolio, and reducing working capital requirements. He previously served as Head of M&A, Boeing Global Services and was the Chief Commercial Officer at AeroTurbine Inc, part of AerCap Inc, the largest commercial aircraft lessor.

“There is a significant market opportunity to build a leading specialty finance franchise in commercial aerospace. By pairing our expertise in special situations and specialty finance with our deep history in aerospace, Aquila Air Capital is well-positioned to build a scaled and diversified platform,” says Eric Friedman, Managing Director, Warburg Pincus. “We have a long-standing history with Al and Kepler Hill Capital, who both have strong records of creating value in the sector. As a long-term investor in aerospace businesses, we are excited about our partnership to create a new market-leader in aerospace specialty financing,” adds Dan Zamlong, Managing Director, Warburg Pincus.

“Aquila Air Capital is looking to capitalise on the current dislocation in the aerospace sector by leveraging the expertise and global resources of Warburg Pincus,” says Keith Whittaker, Managing Partner of Kepler Hill Capital and Senior Advisor to Warburg Pincus. “The company uniquely combines the expertise that customers value including the acquisition of aircraft and engines, with dedicated technical, sales and leasing support.”

“We are in a unique environment where the aerospace industry is experiencing an extended recovery outlook and high levels of cash burn, leaving the industry liquidity and capital constrained. This market outlook provides a strong opportunity to build a leading specialty finance franchise. With the support of Warburg Pincus, a leading investor in the aerospace and defense industry as well as the specialty finance sector, we believe Aquila Air Capital will become an important partner for passenger and cargo operators and the MRO community supporting their aircraft,” says Al Wood.

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