LCI, the aviation leasing arm of Libra Group, has finalised two long-term debt facilities to support over US$200m of incremental fleet growth in Australia.
Westpac Banking Corporation will act as sole lender, security trustee and agent to support LCI’s recent multi-year agreement to lease four new AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters to Australia’s Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.
The helicopters will be delivered in the second half of 2016 and, following fit-out for emergency medical service (EMS) operations, will be deployed in Northern New South Wales on contract to NSW Ambulance, on behalf of NSW Health within the Government of New South Wales.
The high-specification aircraft, including full medical and rescue equipment and winch, have been financed under a tripartite, 10-year arrangement with Westpac Banking Corporation, an existing financier of LCI and long-term naming rights sponsor of the helicopter operator.
LCI also recently concluded an agreement to lease six new AgustaWestland AW139 aircraft to Australian Helicopters Pty Ltd, a member of the Babcock Mission Critical Services Group. The aircraft will be progressively delivered to Australian Helicopters through 2015 and 2016 and, following arrival in Australia, will be modified for EMS operations.
Once deployed, they will be operated on behalf of Air Ambulance Victoria and in due course replace their older aircraft. The aircraft will be financed through an innovative, 10-year facility that LCI has concluded with Westpac Banking Corporation, acting as security trustee, agent, lender and hedge counterparty and National Australia Bank, acting as lender and hedge counterparty.
Jaspal Jandu, Chief Financial Officer of LCI, says: “We are delighted that Westpac and National Australia Bank have underpinned our commitment to provide new, state-of-the-art helicopters to the emergency medical service sector in Australia.
“These long-term, multi-currency financings cover pre-delivery payments, fit-out costs and 10- year term loans, so are both comprehensive and bespoke. Both banks have handled them superbly and we look forward to working together with them in the future.”
Greg Hampton, Global Head, Asset Finance & Leasing at National Australia Bank, says: “We’re delighted to have helped finance the renewal of Air Ambulance Victoria’s fleet, enabling them to improve their operational efficiency with these new, state-of-the-art helicopters. We’re also proud to have played a key role in developing this innovative financing solution for LCI which supports their significant growth ambitions in the Asia Pacific region.”
LCI Helicopters’ total fleet is made up of 90 delivered and ordered helicopters, including the market-leading AgustaWestland AW139, AW169 and AW189 helicopters, and next generation Airbus Helicopters H175 and H225s. LCI is the launch customer for both the AW169 and the H225e. This follows a firm order LCI Helicopters made in early February 2015 for an additional 11 AgustaWestland AW139, AW169 and AW189 aircraft valued at US$125 million.
LCI’s helicopters are currently in operation across four continents – Asia, Australasia, Africa and Europe.