Asset Finance

Our Practice

We have a demonstrable record for innovative, complex and high value deals.

  • financings are delivered through a variety of complex structures, including off-balance sheet operating leases, leveraged leases, export credit finance, asset backed securitisations and project style finance
  • we regularly advise on the largest aviation finance transactions including, in each of the last two years, Jane’s Transport Finance ‘Deal of the Year’
  • we acted for the MoD on the financing of the RAF’s Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA), one of the most innovative and complex aircraft financing deals ever put together and the largest deal of 2008
  • ‘Standout winner’ in the Public Private Partnership category at the FT Innovative Lawyers Awards 2008 for our role advising the UK MoD on the £13bn FSTA project
  • we won awards for 2008’s ECA-supported Barclays Bank PLC financing of several new Airbus aircraft for Aerovias Del Continente Americano S.A. Avianca (“Avianca”), the national airline of Colombia
  • winner in IFLR Europe Awards 2009 for Project Finance 'Deal of the Year'
  • winner in 2009 of the Public Private Finance Awards for Best Legal Advisor
  • winner in 2009 of the Public Private Finance Awards for Best Defence Deal
  • winner in 2008 of the Jane’s Transport Finance Aircraft Finance Law award for the ECA supported financing of two new Airbus A319 aircraft and one new Airbus A320 aircraft for a South American airline.

Experience

General equipment

Abu Dhabi sponsors
  • a US$2.2bn acquisition financing of the Umm Al Nar power and water plant in Abu Dhabi. The transaction included the conventional project financing tranche, and the sale and lease back of the existing assets under an Islamic financing structure.
Vendor finance
  • a major US finance company – a variety of pan-European vendor programs for TMT equipment.
Vendor finance
  • MTN Irancell (TMT sector) – a series of vendor financings for telecoms equipment throughout 2007/8.
Aviation finance
  • AerCap B.V. - on its acquisition of a portfolio of up to 13 aircraft from GECAS
  • Aviation Capital Group - the ECA-backed financing of numerous Airbus aircraft
  • Barclays, BNP Paribas, a Swiss bank - the financing and leasing of business jets, including Dassault Falcons, Citations and Boeing Business Jets
  • Deutsche Bank - the purchase of an aircraft finance portfolio
  • European Export Credit Agencies - the financing of two Airbus A319 and one Airbus A320 for a South American airline
  • Finnair - the lease financing of four EMB170 aircraft
  • Sumitomo Corporation - structured Japanese operating lease (JOL) of one Boeing 737-700
  • Vietnam Airways - acting for Vietnam Airlines (the national airline of Vietnam) on its ECA-supported financing of six new ATR aircraft. 
  • AAD Group - financing and sales of A320 aircraft and the financing of A340 aircraft.
Aircraft sales and operating leasing
  • AerCap B.V. - standard aircraft sale and purchase documentation
  • Mitsubishi Corporation - the lease of an A321 to an African airline; the lease of two A321 aircraft to LTE International Airways of Spain.
Shipping
  • TUI AG - the bank financing for its €1.7bn recommended cash offer for the acquisition of Canadian container shipping company, CP Ships.
Rolling stock
  • Bank of America - a residual value guarantee agreement in connection with the financing of electric locomotives for a French operator
  • Major French bank - the lease financing of tramway sets for the Metrolink network in Melbourne (Australia)
  • Major German public transportation company - the subleasing of its rolling stock fleet.
Defence
  • UK Ministry of Defence - Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft (FSTA) project – PFI project for the replacement of the RAF’s air to air refuelling aircraft, at £13bn the largest ever single UK PFI deal
  • UK Ministry of Defence - UK Military Flight Training System (UKMFTS) project – £6bn project for the training of RAF pilots.

Specialist Expertise

The asset finance group comprises finance, leasing and tax specialists. It operates as an integrated cross-border group across our international network of 20 offices. The team's skills are applied to optimise the tax benefits of financing structures and to obtain, where possible, a beneficial off-balance sheet or tax treatment ranging across the entire spectrum of transactions in this area.

We develop our asset finance and leasing expertise not only through transactional work but also through product development sessions with banks and other financial intermediaries. Our expertise encompasses domestic and cross-border structures and extends to project finance, securitisations, export credit agency lending and equipment based PFI.

The following are some of the areas in which we regularly advise:

Leveraged leasing

  • we structure and document French leveraged leases and we have substantial experience of domestic and cross-border tax lease transactions involving aircraft and rolling stock.

Japanese leases

  • we document and advise on limited recourse structured Japanese operating leases which remain a significant source of cross-border aviation financing.

Private finance initiative

  • we are actively involved in ground breaking financing structures for the largest military equipment procurement programmes.

Securitisation

  • we use our combined expertise in asset finance and capital markets to design innovative structures involving the issuance of asset backed securities.

Export Credit Agencies

  • we have been involved in a wide range of export credit financing, including ECA backed lease financing, US Exim Bank financing and Brazilian export credit programmes. As of 01 April 2008, we were appointed by COFACE, ECGD and Euler Hermes to the panel of five law firms which advise these export credit agencies on the financing of new Airbus aircraft.

Operating leases and trading of aircraft

  • we represent various major operating lessors from the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia Pacific in connection with the leasing and trading of commercial aircraft and aircraft engines.