Two Chinese investors have dropped out of a $4.2 billion bid to buy US insurer AIG's aircraft leasing unit, a source close to the situation told AFP on Wednesday.
New China Trust Co., an investment fund, and China Aviation Industrial Fund have withdrawn from the three-party consortium that agreed to buy International Lease Finance Corporation, leaving P3 Investments as the sole potential buyer.
Even so, the source said, "Talks are continuing" with P3 Investments, in hopes of keeping the deal alive.
AIG announced in December that the consortium had signed an agreement to buy 80.1 percent of ILFC for $4.23 billion, with an option to acquire an additional 9.9 percent stake.
At the time, AIG said it expected the sale of Los Angeles-based ILFC, a global leader in the leasing of aircraft to airlines, to be completed in the second quarter of 2013.
Problems in the sale of ILFC emerged in late May when AIG said the consortium had missed a payment deadline.
The payment was made several days later. But AIG president and chief executive Bob Benmosche told analysts in an August 2 conference call that, with the payment not having been made on time, the two parties were working to see if the deal could continue.
AIG, on the comeback trail after a $182 billion bailout by the US government amid the 2008 financial crisis, has aimed at paring off its non-core assets to strengthen its balance sheet and compensate the government.
The New York-based global insurance company has been struggling to find the best way to benefit from ILFC for four years, notably saying in July 2011 it planned an initial public offering of the unit.
That option is still in the running, Benmosche said in the August 2 call.