Millar to seek €218m from market flotation for aircraft leasing firm

Sirius plans to buy and lease second-hand planes mainly for short-haul flights

Sirius chief executive Howard Millar: was chief financial officer and deputy chief executive of Ryanair until 2014. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

Sirius chief executive Howard Millar: was chief financial officer and deputy chief executive of Ryanair until 2014. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien

 

Former Ryanair finance chief Howard Millar is leading a new aircraft leasing business that plans to raise almost €220 million by floating on the London Stock Exchange.

Mr Millar is chief executive of Sirius Aircraft Leasing Fund, which intends buying secondhand planes and leasing them to airlines seeking to expand their fleets.

Sirius said on Monday that it intends to offer shares in the business for sale on the London Stock Exchange in the coming weeks to raise $250 million (€218 million).

It will publish a prospectus detailing its plans later in October and hopes that its shares can begin trading in London some time in early November.

Sirius intends using the cash to buy second-hand “single-aisle” craft – planes such as the Boeing 737 and Airbus A320, which are popular with budget airlines and used mainly for short-haul flying.

Demand for these craft is strong among airlines. They retain their value and are popular with leasing businesses.

Mr Millar said the company would buy them primarily from other lessors selling older craft in their fleets.

‘Attractive portfolios’

“We are currently assessing a number of attractive portfolios and anticipate that the funds raised will be deployed within six months of admission,” Mr Millar said in a statement.

Former KPMG tax partner Patrick O’Brien will join Sirius as a non-executive director. He advised a number of US aircraft lessors during his career and serves on the boards of Apollo Aviation Management, and Eirtech Aviation Ltd among others. Both businesses are based in Ireland.

Mr Millar served as chief financial officer and deputy chief executive of Ryanair until 2014. He is now a board member of the airline and chairs its remuneration committee.

He was chief operating officer of aircraft financier, Stellwagen, but left a year ago. Stellwagen subsequently went to the High Court seeking an order preventing Mr Millar, and fellow executives Edward Coughlan and Edward Hansom, from disclosing company information to others.

A spokesman for Stellwagen says that the High Court litigation by the company against the three executives remains ongoing.

Mr Coughlan is joining Sirius as chief commercial officer. He is an aircraft maintenance engineer who formerly managed an aviation engine leasing business for industry giant, Aercap.

Mr Hansom is chief investment officer of Sirius. He previously worked for GPA, the former Shannon-based lessor founded by the late Tony Ryan.

Another former Stellwagen executive, Kieran Ryan, is chief financial officer of the new leasing business. He previously worked for Morgan Stanley, Natwest and Santander.

* This article was amended on the 12th October, 2018.