• Reports $212.2 million in 1H profit; $579.2 million sales
  • Shares have declined 9.3% in Hong Kong since June 1 debut

BOC Aviation Ltd., the aircraft leasing unit of Bank of China Ltd., reported a 24 percent increase in profit in the first half of the year as growth in travel boosts demand for planes.

Net income in the six months through June rose to $212.2 million, compared with $171.5 million a year earlier, the company said in a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange Monday. Sales gained about 8 percent to $579.2 million.

BOC Aviation started trading on the Hong Kong stock exchange on June 1 after raising $1.1 billion from a share sale, which attracted 11 cornerstone investors including Boeing Co., sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp. and Temasek Holdings Pte’s Fullerton Fund Management Co. The company is counting on growth in Asia as the region is set to overtake the U.S. as the world’s largest market for aircraft in two decades.

Demand is expanding in Asia Pacific and “that’s where the growth is,” BOC Aviation’s Chief Executive Officer Robert Martin said in an interview after the earnings. “Economies here are still growing faster than other parts of the world.” 

Shares of the lessor have declined 9.3 percent since their debut and traded at HK$38.10 before the earnings announcement on Monday. The Hang Seng Index has gained 9.6 percent in the same period. The company will pay a dividend of HK$0.061.

BOC Aviation’s customers include Vueling Airlines SA, Southwest Airlines Co., Aeroflot PJSC, EVA Airways Corp., Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., Singapore Airlines Ltd.’s Indian affiliate Vistara and WestJet Airlines Ltd., according to the lessor’s website.

The company had a fleet of 265 owned and managed aircraft with 64 customers worldwide at the end of June. It has commitments to acquire 218 planes through 2021.

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