Maybe Williams-Sonoma should start selling corporate jets…

May 23, 2008

It’s the start of Memorial Day weekend and judging by the various news reports, the $4 a gallon gas is having a major impact on people’s travel plans this weekend. But some folks are still managing to travel and judging by the planes leaving Teterboro right now, Martha’s Vineyard appears to be a top destination.

Indeed, the market for corporate jets has apparently never been better, judging by this 8K which Williams-Sonoma (WSM) filed late yesterday and which a footnoted regular brought to my attention. As the filing notes, the company sold its Bombardier Global Express for $46.8 million last week, netting a pre-tax gain of $16 million, which the company estimates will be 9 cents a share. The big payday, the filing notes, was due to a “robust private aviation market”. The jet was sold to an unidentified and unrelated third party. A quick skim of earlier filings shows that Williams-Sonoma redacted the cost of the plane when it was purchased several years ago, so we have to take their word that it cost just over $30 million.

The second part of the filing notes that “in order to address the company’s ongoing aircraft needs”, Williams-Sonoma entered into an agreement with a company controlled by Chairman and CEO, W. Howard Lester, to lease a Bombardier Global 5000 for $375K a month for the next 36 months. In the filing, the company says that this will save it lots of money and promises to give a fuller accounting of the cost savings when it files its next 10Q.

Enjoy your Memorial Day weekend, no matter where you’re traveling to. I’ll be back on Tuesday with whatever filings are dumped later today.

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