Los Angeles Business Journal

Air Lease Quarter Exceeds Expectations

By Deborah Crowe Friday, March 9, 2012

Air Lease Corp. moved to a better-than-expected profit in the fourth quarter as the company acquired and leased more aircraft to commercial airlines.

The Century City company founded by billionaire Steven Udvar-Hazy reported net income of $24.8 million (24 cents a share), compared with a net loss of $2.7 million (-4 cents) in the same period a year earlier. Revenue rose more than 200 percent to $115 million.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet on average expected the company to report net income of 21 cents per share on revenue of $113 million.

The company said it added 23 aircraft during the quarter to bring its fleet to 102, and entered into lease deals with four customers related to 34 aircraft.

For the full year, Air Lease earned $53.2 million (59 cents) on revenue of nearly $337 million, compared with a loss of $52 million (-$1.32) during 2010 on revenue of $58.4 million. Udvar-Hazy launched the company in the summer of 2010, so year-earlier results do not include a full year.

“As we have grown the fleet, we have also increased our profitability in four successive quarters posting our highest quarterly pre-tax profit margin of 33.6 percent,” said Udvar-Hazy, the company’s chairman and chief executive, in a statement. “It truly took a team effort to achieve these results in less than two full years of operation."

Air Lease also announced Gregory Willis had been named chief financial officer, effective immediately. Willis had been vice president for finance and chief accounting officer. He succeeds James Clarke, who resigned to pursue other interests.

Clarke’s “resignation was not due to any disagreement with the company on any matter relating to the company’s financial condition or financial reporting,” the company said.

Shares were up 77 cents, or 3 percent, to $24.62 in midday trading in the New York Stock Exchange.