Investec was awarded Middle East & African Business Jet Financier 2012 by Corporate Jet Investor a specialist international website and event organiser. The awards are chosen by a panel of finance specialists at aircraft manufacturers and leading pre-owned aircraft brokerages.
The Investec Derby, Britain’s richest and most famous Classic horse race; The Rugby Tri-Nations in New Zealand; and London’s Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. Although they know Investec, many sports fans do not realise that Investec had anything to do with Africa even though it corporate advertisements feature a zebra.
Now a major international bank and asset manager, Investec started out as a South African leasing company. It is a lot bigger now and internationally diversified, but asset finance continues to be important to the firm.
Over the past five years Investec’s Johannesburg aviation team has financed more than 25 corporate jets worth more than $380 million. That is a significant amount for four full-time specialists covering commercial and corporate aircraft finance – particularly as the figure does not include commercial aircrafts, turboprops, small propeller aircraft and helicopters.
The group has close relationships with manufacturers and operators and is seen as a particularly valuable partner as it is prepared to consider countries that many other banks might not. The South African team has closed deals all over Africa including Nigeria, Ethiopia, Madagascar, Mauritius and the home market of South Africa.
“When you’re looking at the African continent a corporate jet is a business tool, as opposed to a luxury, so we have found that a lot of our clients that have bought jets have been less affected by the Global Financial crisis,” says Melanie Humphries, head of aviation for Africa in Investec’s Capital Markets division.
The team prefers deals worth over $10 million and over and is keen to increase its business jet lending.
The bank’s global aircraft team offers both commercial and corporate aircraft finance and has a reputation for innovative deals. It manages the Investec Global Aircraft Fund, an Australian commercial aircraft fund, and has closed deals that other banks have walked away from. As well as Africa it has been very active in India.
“We are very adaptable,” says Michael Weiss, head of aircraft finance, based in London. “If a deal makes sense we will do it.”