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Genesis Lease Could Be a Highflier

During periods of extreme market stress, cases of mistaken corporate identity are rife. Any company in an industry that has the barest similarities with a genuinely out-of-favor sector can find its shares under heavy distribution for no good reason. For my money, a relatively new industry -- the leasing of commercial jet aircraft -- is in that category right now.

For that reason, I want to call your attention to Genesis Lease (GLS), which is based in Ireland. I spoke at length with its chief executive last week, and believe I have a good grasp of the story.

For reasons unknown both to him and to me, the company has been lumped with companies that are in trouble because of the issuance or holding of asset-backed securities. This is surprising, considering that Genesis gathered just over $1 billion in its initial public offering earlier this year, and it also has a $1 billion credit line.

It uses this money to simply buy young, popular planes and then rents them out on long-term contacts to airlines around the world.

It has securitized part of its holdings, but the note is a throwback to bygone days of straightforward banking -- it has no lower, mezzanine or super-senior tranches. So far as I can tell, there is nothing spooky about it whatsoever.

Cleared for Takeoff

Genesis' cash flows are strong and unencumbered, it has the backing of General Electric's (GE) massive aircraft leasing program -- from which it was spun out last year -- and it does not have a high concentration of business in any one region of the world or any one airline.

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