PE Giant Warburg Pincus Launched Aquila Air Capital

Posted on 04/20/2021


Warburg Pincus LLC formed Aquila Air Capital, a specialty finance platform focused on commercial aerospace, in partnership with aerospace industry veteran Al Wood and investment firm Kepler Hill Capital. Aquila Air Capital will have a broad mandate to purchase, finance, and lease, aircraft, engines and other aviation equipment. Warburg Pincus has a track record in the aerospace and defense industry. The PE firm has invested over US$ 3 billion in several aerospace & defense platforms covering multiple areas of the value chain including Accelya, Camp Systems, CPP, Extant Aerospace, Inmarsat, Quest Global Services, TransDigm, and Wencor Group.

AL WOOD

Al Wood joins Warburg Pincus as an executive-in-residence to identify and evaluate investment opportunities related to the broader aerospace and defense industry and to help build Aquila Air Capital. Al Wood most recently served as CFO of Boeing Commercial Services, a US$ 9 billion business unit where he focused on increasing return on invested capital, streamlining the product and services portfolio, and reducing working capital requirements. The business unit includes spare parts distribution, MRO, leasing, digital services, training, converted freighters, vendor managed services and engineering services. He previously served as Head of M&A, Boeing Global Services and was the Chief Commercial Officer at AeroTurbine Inc, part of AerCap Inc., the largest commercial aircraft lessor.

“There is a significant market opportunity to build a leading specialty finance franchise in commercial aerospace. By pairing our expertise in special situations and specialty finance with our deep history in aerospace, Aquila Air Capital is well-positioned to build a scaled and diversified platform,” said Eric Friedman, Managing Director, Warburg Pincus. “We have a long-standing history with Al and Kepler Hill Capital, who both have strong records of creating value in the sector. As a long-term investor in aerospace businesses, we are excited about our partnership to create a new market-leader in aerospace specialty financing,” added Dan Zamlong, Managing Director, Warburg Pincus in a press release.

Kepler Hill Capital is a private equity investment firm focused on special situations including asset platforms, turnarounds, and structured equity investments. Kepler Hill and its principals have invested in and built three prior aviation platforms. Keith Whittaker, Managing Partner of Kepler Hill Capital and Senior Advisor to Warburg Pincus, had worked at MHR Fund Management LLC is a New York-based private equity firm. MHR stands for Mark H. Rachesky, the firm’s activist investor founder and protégé of Carl Icahn. Archway Aviation was created by MHR Fund Management.

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