Natixis Investment Managers, one of the world’s largest asset management firms and the asset management arm of French bank Group BPCE, has acquired a minority stake in specialist aircraft lease and asset management firm Airborne Capital. The stake was acquired for an undisclosed sum from the existing shareholders, comprising Airborne’s founding management team and FEXCO, Ireland’s largest privately owned financial services company.

The deal provides Airborne with access to a worldwide asset management platform which will help to accelerate its plans to grow the business to have aircraft assets under management of over $5bn within the first 5 years of operations. The transaction enables Natixis Investment Managers to continue to expand its expertise in alternative investments, specifically real assets.

Airborne was launched in November 2017 by a management team with over 100 years of combined experience in aviation finance, including with Natixis, one of the leading banks in aviation financing, where Ramki Sundaram, CEO of Airborne Capital, was previously Global Head of Aviation.

The company’s strategy is to assist capital providers looking to invest in an emerging asset class in an environment where the aviation industry is set for rapid growth in fleet size, and traditional sources of bank finance are reducing. Airborne invests in aircraft as an asset class across a number of investment strategies with the aim to generate stable, long-term, non-correlated returns.

The asset class is mobile and global by nature, and the two primary investment themes feature either the pursuit of stable long-term returns with high yield underpinned by contracted cashflows or the pursuit of a higher return strategy based on opportunistic investments driven by market dislocations.

Commenting on the transaction, Ramki Sundaram, CEO of Airborne Capital said: “We are delighted to welcome Natixis Investment Managers as a shareholder in Airborne Capital. It is a strong sign of confidence in our strategy to gain the support of a top international asset manager and will help accelerate our growth plans. We see opportunities to work closely with them on structuring future deals.”

Jean Raby, CEO of Natixis Investment Managers, said: “Airborne Capital combines an experienced management team, a strong track record and a unique model to investing in real assets in the fast growing commercial aviation sector. We look forward to partnering with Airborne as they continue their ambitious growth. As demand for alternative and real asset classes grows, we will continue to invest in the ability to bring our clients the best solutions available.”