EnTrustPermal, a global alternative asset manager, today announced the expansion of its private debt opportunities investment platform with the addition of John Morabito, a veteran aviation investor from the CIT Group.  EnTrustPermal’s private debt opportunities capabilities now include direct leasing and financing vehicles in the maritime and aviation industries.

Mr. Morabito joins Svein Engh, another CIT Group veteran with over thirty years of experience in maritime financing, with a focus on the shipping and oil services sectors.  Mr. Engh has raised and managed capital for maritime financing throughout various market and industry cycles, most recently having established the business for CIT Group.

EnTrustPermal’s Chairman and CEO Gregg S. Hymowitz said, “Our core focus has always been to provide a constant flow of relevant and proprietary ideas to our investors who seek new and attractive sources of return.  I am excited our firm will benefit from the specialized knowledge of John and Svein as we continue our efforts to bring differentiated direct strategies to our investors.”

EnTrustPermal previously launched the Blue Ocean Fund, a maritime financing vehicle led by Mr. Engh, in June 2017.  The Blue Ocean Fund which has approximately $300 million dedicated to the strategy, has been actively deploying capital to take advantage of a compelling environment for financing opportunities in the shipping sector.  The Blue Ocean Fund has been making timely quarterly distributions to investors since inception.  EnTrustPermal anticipates, in addition, that approximately $500 million will be deployed to the maritime strategy in 2018.

Mr. Engh said, “The huge void in debt capital funding to the maritime sector as a result of banks pulling back from such activities has created a significant opportunity for us to deliver for EnTrustPermal clients.  Non-bank lenders like the Blue Ocean Fund can drive very appealing pricing and structuring of loans in that market.”

Mr. Morabito said, “I am excited about the access to EnTrustPermal’s various pools of capital which position Blue Sky as a flexible solutions provider within the aviation industry, with an ability to offer both debt and leasing structures to our airline and financial institution counterparties.”

EnTrustPermal will launch a fund focused on aviation financing.  Similar to Blue Ocean, the firm’s aviation strategy – Blue Sky – will be a direct offering.  EnTrustPermal believes that both these private debt and leasing opportunities target a unique, massive addressable market, and an opportunity to capture attractive risk-adjusted returns while benefitting from low volatility and the security of real asset coverage.

John Morabito has nearly 20 years in aviation financing investment.  He was most recently the Head of Financial Institutions at CIT Group, where he played a principal role in building the bank’s successful Commercial Aircraft Leasing and Lending platform.  Messrs. Engh and Morabito previously worked together at CIT Group, both holding leadership positions within the firm’s Transportation Finance division.

Each are supported at EnTrustPermal by experienced analysts and financiers in the maritime and aviation industries.  These teams are expected to play a significant role in the continued growth of the firm’s direct investment platform.