Limerick, Ireland-based helicopter financier, Waypoint Leasing, has reached an agreement with First Reserve, the largest global private equity and infrastructure investment firm exclusively focused on energy, to acquire a portfolio of 31 in-demand, new technology helicopters.
According to a press release by Waypoint, the portfolio includes 18 AgustaWestland AW139s, 11 Sikorsky S-92s and two Sikorsky S76C++ helicopter models. All helicopters are subject to long-term lease agreements with the CHC Group Ltd. , in support of global oil and gas and search and rescue operations.
In addition to the 31 helicopters acquisition, Waypoint also announced that it secured a $75 million increase in the equity commitment from its primary sponsors – funds affiliated with MSD Capital, L.P., Soros Fund Management LLC, and Cartesian Capital Group. The increase raises the sponsors’ equity commitment to a total of $450 million.
Through this acquisition, Waypoint will increase its current fleet to 80 aircraft, valued at more than $1 billion. The fleet includes aircraft from Finmeccanica – AgustaWestland, Airbus Helicopters, Bell Helicopter and Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation.
The aircraft are on lease and generating revenue through long-term lease contracts, operating in 20 countries around the world in oil & gas, EMS, search & rescue, firefighting, governmental support and other operations. Additionally, Waypoint has firm and option orders with aircraft manufacturers for additional helicopters valued at more than $1 billion at list prices, to be delivered over the next five years.
Ed Washecka, CEO of Waypoint, said, “This is an exciting transaction for Waypoint, acquiring such high quality aircraft that are on lease with a valued partner in CHC. After only 18 months in operation, Waypoint has achieved significant scale, surpassing $1 billion in assets with a growing, broad global customer base, while remaining diversified across all four OEMs. Additionally, we are delighted to receive a further $75 million commitment from our equity sponsors, underpinning our continued growth strategy and reaffirming their conviction in our long-term prospects.”
Alan Jenkins, CFO of Waypoint, added, “As part of the transaction, we will also take on very attractive debt financing to support the funding of the acquisition, enabling Waypoint to continue to diversify our financing sources. Furthermore, the additional equity commitment from our investors will support our continued fleet growth and ability to deliver industry-leading service to our customers.”
The acquisition of the 31 aircraft is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2014.