LCI Concludes First Islamic Finance Heli Deal

LCI, the aviation leasing arm of the Libra Group, has completed the world’s first secured helicopter PDP (“Pre-Delivery Payment”) funding under a unique Islamic finance structure. The innovative multi-year financing arrangement by LCI’s helicopter leasing division, LCI Helicopters, initially covers over US$250 million worth of Airbus Helicopters assets.

Bank of London and the Middle East plc (“BLME”) was the original Islamic facility participant, under a master Murabaha facility agreement. Lloyds Bank Plc was an original lender under a conventional facility agreement and mandated lead arranger, security agent and intercreditor agent for both facilities. The arrangement covers the H175 – Airbus Helicopters’ new-generation medium-sized rotorcraft. This 7-ton class helicopter is certified in accordance with the latest and most demanding regulatory requirements.

It also covers the H225e, for which LCI Helicopters is the launch customer. This aircraft is the latest evolution of the EC225 which brings significant benefits in terms of operating range, payload, avionics and flight management systems.

Jaspal Jandu, Chief Financial Officer of LCI, says: “As a major lessor in the helicopter marketplace, we are continually looking for new and innovative means of financing. This agreement is just that, and is also an excellent template for future financing deals.”

Jean-Michel Cerf, Head of Customer Financing at Airbus Helicopters, says: “LCI is a growing customer of Airbus Helicopters, and we’re delighted to be partnering with them on this innovative financing agreement.”

Simon Lefevre, Director, Leasing at BLME, says: “As the dynamic helicopter leasing marketplace continues to expand rapidly, new sources and types of finance will be essential, and we’re delighted to be debuting this Islamic-structured arrangement with LCI.”

Robert King, Director, Corporate Asset Finance at Lloyds Bank Plc says: “We have been delighted to lead this transaction which has leveraged on our knowledge of the helicopter leasing sector and provides to LCI a flexible and scalable helicopter financing solution.”

Patrick Sherrington, Head of Corporate Asset Finance at Lloyds Bank Plc, says: “The helicopter leasing market is going from strength to strength and we are delighted to have met LCI’s requirements through this innovative solution.”

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 H225e. LCI is the launch customer for both the AW169 and the H225e. LCI’s helicopters are currently in operation across four continents – Asia, Australasia, Africa and Europe.

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