Ex-Im Bank and Airfinance support Sikorsky exports to Mexico with $50 million loan
The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im) has approved a $50 million loan guarantee to support exports of multiple S76-D Sikorsky helicopters to Mexico operator Aeroservicios Especializados (ASESA).
Airfinance Leasing arranged the financing and sponsored the transaction. This is Airfinance’s first deal since it was set up by Kirsten Bartok, formerly vice-president of structured finance at Hawker Beechcraft and Tom Low, president of Cessna Finance Corporation.
Aeroservicios Especializados is the largest helicopter operator in Mexico and the helicopters will be the first Sikorsky S-76Ds to be operated in the country. Each S-76D can carry up to 12 passengers, plus two pilots, and will be used to support offshore platforms owned by Petróleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the Mexican state-owned petroleum company.
The deal is Ex-Im’s first transaction under its Qualified Advisor Program. Ex-Im announced the program at EBACE in May 2012 to increase financing support for business aircraft and helicopters exports through partnerships.
AirFinance Leasing, LLC, the first Qualified Adviser, worked with Aeroservicios Especializados to obtain Ex-Im approval, with Apple Bank providing the $50 million loan. US Ex-Im bank does not provide any cash but guarantees the loan in the event of default.
“Ex-Im Bank is pleased to back the export of Sikorsky helicopters once again, this time to Mexico, one of our nine key markets,” said Chairman Hochberg. “We are also pleased that our Qualified Advisor program has proven helpful in expediting innovative U.S. exports and supporting U.S. jobs.”
Ex-Im Bank believes that the financing will support approximately 450 jobs, according to bank estimates based on Departments of Commerce and Labor data and methodology.
Airfinance’s Bartok added, “The Qualified Advisor Program is a great example of the public private partnership so frequently held up as a model for how the government can partner with the private sector. We are honored to partner with Ex-Im’s experienced aircraft financing team to help Sikorsky expand in Mexico.”
Ex-Im support is rumoured to have been crucial part of Sikorsky winning the sale. “We are very happy Ex-Im bank has approved the financing of S-76D helicopters to ASESA, a decision that will support U.S. jobs. Mexico is an extremely important market for all of our Sikorsky products and we are pleased to welcome ASESA to our family of S-76 fleet operators,” said Adam Schierholz, Sikorsky’s Regional Sales Director for Mexico.
“We are very excited that Ex-Im bank trusts ASESA by approving the first S-76D helicopter financing package. We think this important event will mark the beginning of a long lasting relationship between ASESA and Ex-Im bank for the coming years.” said Humberto Lobo, CEO of Grupo Lomex (parent company of ASESA).
Low, managing partner at Airfinance, added: “This is great first step toward Ex-Im Chairman Hochberg’s goal of providing $1 billion in financing support to general aviation over the next few years. Ex-Im’s continued support is instrumental to increasing business jet and helicopter exports.”