Macquarie Group is eyeing a bid for the aircraft leasing business being sold by the Royal Bank of Scotland, according to sources familiar with the matter, a unit said to be worth more than $6 billion.
The Australian Financial Review said on Tuesday that Macquarie was considering a bid that could be worth at least $6 billion and was eyeing a number of options including making a direct offer for the whole of the business, parts of the business or putting together a consortium to bid for the assets.
The paper added that a successful bid for the plane portfolio would hoist it to the third position in aircraft leasing globally, behind GE and AIG's International Leasing Finance Corp.
The sources who spoke to Reuters said they believed that Macquarie would join the auction with a partner, though it was unclear what companies they planned to team up with.
Financial institutions like Macquarie, Australia's top investment bank, have tacked on aircraft leasing units to their business operations, attracted by steady cash flows and returns.
Macquarie turned a serious player in aircraft leasing only last year when it bought 53 passenger jets from AIG for close to $2 billion.
The aircraft leasing unit of Macquarie is part of its Corporate and Asset Finance group, which managed a portfolio of A$17.3 billion as at March this year.
The RBS Aviation sale comes as U.S. insurer AIG prepares to spin off its much larger ILFC leasing unit. Plans for that IPO, which also follows a government bailout of the parent, had to be postponed earlier due to the financial crisis.
Macquarie, whose shares were down 3.1 percent on Tuesday, declined to comment.
© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.