Via Capital – Johannesburg
When Ned Bank acquired the remaining 49% of Imperial Bank it did not own, the specialist finance team and its empowerment partners had the opportunity to buy out part of the business to form Via Capital. Until 2005 Imperial was active in business jet and commercial aircraft finance.
One of the most exciting assets was Imperial Bank’s Eagle Bonds Programme an innovative Ex-Im finance platform. The first Eagle Bond issuance in 2003 was used to finance three 737-800s owned by local lessor Safair which then leased them to South African Airways. It was a breakthrough deal in many ways – it took seven years before anyone else in the world issued ExIm bonds – and the deal was unique in South Africa as the country’s only triple-A rated bond (it was also the first time that Moody’s had ever rated a Rand bond.
Via Capital focuses on structured transportation and trade deals and most of aviation efforts are centred on commercial aircraft. However, it is re-evaluating business jets and Eagle Bonds could easily be adapted to finance business jets or helicopters both in South Africa and other countries.