Aircastle Limited acquires, leases and sells commercial jet aircraft to airlines throughout the world. As of September 30, 2016, we owned and managed on behalf of our joint ventures 186 aircraft leased to 65 lessees located in 35 countries.
· Pursuing a disciplined and differentiated investment strategy. In our view, aircraft values change in different ways over time. As a consequence, we carefully evaluate investments across different aircraft models, ages, lessees and acquisition sources and re-evaluate these choices periodically as market conditions and relative investment values change. We believe the financing flexibility offered through unsecured debt and our team’s experience with a wide range of asset types enables our value oriented strategy and provides us with a competitive advantage for many investment opportunities. We view orders from equipment manufacturers to be part of our investment opportunity set but choose to limit long term capital commitments unless we believe there is an adequate return premium to compensate for risks and opportunity costs.
· Originating investments from many different sources across the globe. Our strategy is to seek out worthwhile investments broadly leveraging our team’s wide range of contacts around the world. We utilize a multi-channel approach to sourcing acquisitions and have purchased aircraft from a large number of airlines, lessors, original equipment manufacturers, lenders and other aircraft owners. Since our formation in 2004, we have acquired aircraft from 80 different sellers.
· Maintaining a conservative capital commitment profile. We choose to limit long term capital commitments unless we believe there to be an adequate return premium to compensate for risks and opportunity costs. This approach sets us apart from most other large aircraft leasing companies.
· Leveraging our strategic relationships. We intend to capture the benefits provided through the extensive global contacts and relationships maintained by Marubeni Corporation, which is our biggest shareholder and one of the largest Japanese trading companies. Marubeni has already enabled better access to Japanese-based financing and helped source and develop our new joint venture with IBJ Leasing. Our joint venture with Teachers’ provides us with an opportunity to pursue larger transactions, manage portfolio concentrations and improve our return on deployed capital.
· Maintaining efficient access to capital from a wide range of sources while targeting an investment grade credit rating. We believe the aircraft investment market is subject to forces related to the business cycle and our strategy is to increase our purchase activity when prices are low and to emphasize asset sales when competition for assets is high. To implement this approach, we believe it is very important to maintain access to a wide variety of financing sources. Our strategy is to improve our corporate credit ratings to an investment grade level by maintaining strong portfolio and capital structure metrics while achieving a critical size through accretive growth. We believe improving our credit rating will not only reduce our borrowing costs but also facilitate more reliable access to both secured and unsecured debt capital throughout the business cycle.
· Selling assets when attractive opportunities arise and for portfolio management purposes. We pursue asset sales, as opportunities arise over the course of the business cycle, with the aim of realizing profits and reinvesting proceeds where more accretive investments are available. We also use asset sales for portfolio management purposes, such as reducing lessee specific concentrations and lowering residual value exposures to certain aircraft types, and as an exit from investments when a sale would provide the greatest expected cash flow for us.
· Capturing the value of our efficient operating platform and strong operating track record. We believe our team’s capabilities in the global aircraft leasing market place us in a favorable position to source and manage new income-generating activities. We intend to continue to focus our efforts in areas where we believe we have competitive advantages, including new direct investments as well as ventures with strategic business partners.
· Intending to pay quarterly dividends to our shareholders based on the Company’s sustainable earnings levels. Aircastle has paid dividends each quarter since our initial public offering in 2006. On August 2, 2016, our Board of Directors declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.24 per common share, or an aggregate of $18.9 million for the three months ended September 30, 2016, which was paid on September 15, 2016 to holders of record on August 26, 2016. These dividends may not be indicative of the amount of any future dividends. Our ability to pay quarterly dividends will depend upon many factors, including those as described in Item 1A. “Risk Factors”, and elsewhere in our 2015 Annual Report on Form 10-K.