Our success is based on the strength of our people and the exceptionally close relationship with our shareholders. That mutually beneficial relationship becomes stronger from year to year. On the one hand, SMBC Aviation Capital continues to deliver a strong return on investment to our shareholders while our business also benefits from the capital strength and financial support of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group and Sumitomo Corporation.
Having a global bank as a shareholder means we can engage with the market and raise capital very efficiently and at attractive rates, which differentiates our business and gives us a competitive edge. The backing of our shareholders also supports our strategy as we continue to diversify our funding base.
From a customer perspective, it means we are in a position to offer a full range of aviation finance products. An important part of our business is to work together with our shareholders who promote the business out of Japan, including JOL and JOLCO products. Deals of note during the year include Lufthansa, Copa Airlines, ANA and Emirates.
We are engaged in a global business where the concept of normal business hours does not exist and our success is based on the dedication and commitment of our team.
While we secured and delivered a number of significant deals this year, the period was also marked by some challenges in the industry, in particular the grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX fleet. We continue to work closely with Boeing and our customers as we await the aircraft’s return to service over the coming months.
Overall, the industry fundamentals remain healthy. Anticipated interest rate increases failed to materialise while emerging markets have proven to be quite resilient in the face of some economic turbulence as a result of trade disputes and other issues. Mature markets also continue to grow steadily, albeit at a slower pace.
I wish to express my gratitude to all of our employees who work hard to bring transactions to a successful conclusion. We are engaged in a global business where the concept of normal business hours does not exist and our success is based on the dedication and commitment of our team.
For the future, we may be facing into a more turbulent economic and financial environment, but I am confident that the fundamental strength of our business, the strength of our team and our relationship with our shareholders will see us through these challenges.