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Singapore Sovereign Wealth Fund Invests In Aircraft-Leasing Venture

By Doug Cameron Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Avolon, the Irish aircraft lessor, Thursday said it has secured $300 million from a Singapore sovereign wealth fund to accelerate expansion and cement its position in Asia's fast-growing aviation market. The equity placement marks a rare foray by a sovereign fund into the closely knit aircraft finance business and highlights efforts to diversify funding sources following a pullback by European banks from the sector in recent months. The commitment from the Government of Singapore Investment Corp. also highlights the city-state's efforts to expand in specialized financial services, which have seen it lure aircraft lessors and financiers with supportive tax and legal moves. Singapore's main investment arm, Temasek Holdings, held a minority stake in Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise before being bought out in 2006 by Bank of China Ltd. (BACHY, 3988.HK, 601988.SH), which renamed the business BOC Aviation. Dublin-based Avolon was launched last year with backing from three private-equity firms, and secured more funding earlier this year from a group of U.S. banks. The company said the latest round boosted its total raised equity capital above $4 billion, which it has used to build a fleet of 88 planes, a portfolio seen rising to 150 by 2014. -By Doug Cameron, Dow Jones Newswires; 312-750-4135; doug.cameron@dowjones.com

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