Businessmen Launch Aviation-Focused Investment Firm, Hedge Fund

May 19 2011 | 12:53pm ET

Robert Crane, Gary Ran and Gary Weisman have very different professional backgrounds but they’re joining forces to form an investment firm that will focus on the commercial aviation industry—and to launch the first aviation-focused hedge fund.

Crane Aircraft Partners, to be based in California and Michigan, will be led by Crane, who has over 25 years’ experience in commercial aircraft leasing and trading. Ran is the chairman and found of the independent investment firm Telemus Capital Partners and Weisman is the owner of General Worldwide Aviation and a commercial real estate developer.

Crane Aircraft Partners is not their first cooperative venture: in the past five years alone, the firm's partners have been investors in, and lenders on, commercial aviation assets valued at $100 million and have raised approximately $25 million in equity and debt capital.

The firm will use its experience and extensive relationships to raise equity and debt capital from retail and institutional investors.

Said Ran, "In the wake of the global financial crisis, there is a need for both equity and debt capital in the commercial aviation industry. We see a ripe opportunity to earn attractive investment returns. In addition, creating an aviation focused hedge fund allows us to benefit from the knowledge and insight we've gained from being active investors in commercial aviation assets." 

Crane Aircraft Partners expects to begin fundraising for the new firm's first equity and debt funds within the next month.

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