Chris Buchholz joins Minsheng to head aircraft team
Chris Buchholz will next week join Minsheng Financial Leasing Corporation as head of its aviation team. Minsheng is the leading financier of business jets and helicopters in China and has over 100 aircraft on order.
Buchholz leaves Hongkong Jet, where he was CEO for almost two years. He was also CEO of MetroJet for six years and president of Universal Weather Asia Pacific. Before moving into private aviation, he was a banker at Goldman Sachs and UBS.
“I am very excited to have this unique opportunity to combine my business aviation experience with my banking experience,” says Buchholz. “Aircraft leasing is a great business if you can sufficiently lower the costs of funds, manage the risk and have a strong sales team. Minsheng is privately owned with smart people, so can move faster than its competition.”
Buchholz, a fluent Mandarin and Cantonese speaker, is the first non-Chinese person to head a division of an aircraft leasing company.
“My time at Hongkong Jet [which is owned by Chinese company HNA Group] has given me experience of working for a large Chinese company and I am looking forward to working at Minsheng,” says Buchholz.
In 2008, Minsheng Financial Leasing was one of the first leasing companies approved by China’s financial regulator.
It now has ordered over 100 business jets and helicopters which it then leases to its private bank and corporate clients. Minsheng’s approach is different to other banks. It places bulk orders for aircraft and finds customers – who are usually already customers of the bank – to lease them. Although this is common with commercial aircraft leasing companies, few business jet financiers are prepared to take the risk of owning an aircraft without a customer in place.
The other benefit of Minsheng importing the aircraft is that it allows the bank to defer import duty and VAT – up to 22.85% of the aircraft’s value – over the term of the lease making its product attractive to owners.
Minsheng is expected to announce orders for more business jets at the ABACE Convention in Shanghai next week.
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