Trafalgar’s Jet Fund Takes Off

Jul 13 2007 | 11:07am ET

U.K.-based hedge fund shop Trafalgar Asset Managers this month launched the Trafalgar Kahala Jet Fund, which will focus on opportunities in the aviation sector, in partnership with aviation leasing specialists First Greenwich Kahala. The new offering began trading with US$20 million and a further $25 million in commitments slated for next month.

First Greenwich was established in late 2003 to acquire and lease used commercial aircraft and related debt securities. FGK’s activity initially centered on purchasing aircrafts in distressed situations and the company’s lessees have included Air Canada, Delta Air Lines, Northwest Airlines, United Airlines and US Air.

Trafalgar is teaming up with FGK to exploit “a niche opportunity set in aircraft acquisition and leasing” by acquiring “specific high yielding mid-life aircraft” and earning “high current yield from monthly rental income,” according to fund documents. The firm is trying to create value in its portfolio through extending existing leases and re-marketing to new operators. In performing its due diligence, the firm is employing specialist engineers to “optimise value in the assets through selective maintenance upgrades and reconfiguration.”

Trafalgar co-founder Theo Phanos is no stranger to the aviation sector, having worked on aerospace deals in emerging markets since the late 1980s. Phanos and Ahmed Hamdani, Trafalgar’s dedicated aviation analyst, are the portfolio managers for the new offering.

The Jet Fund charges 2% for management and 20% for performance, with a US$100,000 minimum investment requirement. Investors allocating to the fund within the first three months will get a 0.5% break on the management fee. There is a two-year lock up provision.

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