The Swedish Cross-Border Lease Market
THE SWEDISH CROSS-BORDER LEASE MARKET shut down after a decision this summer by the Regeringsrätten, or supreme court, that denied Swedish lessors depreciation on aircraft that they had leased cross border. Bjorn Ohde, a tax lawyer with the prestigious firm Mannheimer Swartling Advocatbyra AB, said he and others are working on draft legislation with the aim of reopening the cross-border market sometime next year. Swedish leases offered a relatively low 3 to 4% net present value benefit for lessees, but they remained popular with Asian lessees because of their simplicity and perceived lack of tax aggression. US paper company Willamette Industries reportedly closed on a Swedish lease of paper machinery as recently as December. Lessees under existing leases risk a possible early termination of their leases, according to Ohde, but there should be no other effect. In a typical lease, the lessor takes Swedish tax risk. In some leases, the lessor has a right to terminate the lease for increased costs. The Japanese lease market also shut down in September. This is expected to mean more demand for US lease equity, with higher returns for US lessors.