Etihad reaches financial close for two aircraft

18 January 2017

 French firm acted as lead arranger

The UAE’s national carrier Etihad Airways has completed the sale and leaseback for two 2016 vintage A380 aircraft.

Both aircraft are owned by special purpose companies based in Abu Dhabi Global Market (ADGM) and are leased to Etihad for a 12-year period.

The 12-year operating leases are leveraged with a combination of Islamic and conventional tranches of debt arranged by France-based Natixis, which acted as sole lead arranger, and Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), First Gulf Bank (FGB) and Union National Bank (UNB) as co-arrangers, a joint statement released by Natixis and Etihad said.

“The transaction validates the continued dedication of ADGM to support the aviation sector by establishing a framework that caters to the aviation industry’s financing needs,” James Hogan, Etihad Aviation Group president and CEO, said.

Etihad has been undergoing a restructuring,which the company says will also result in “a measured reduction of headcount in some parts of the business.”

Following this transaction, it is understood that Natixis and ADGM are now in advanced discussions for setting up an aircraft investment platform in ADGM, which will target investors looking for high US dollar yield. “This development reinforces ADGM’s commitment to attract more global aviation financing and leasing businesses to establish their operational presence in ADGM,” the statement said.

Similar to the Dubai International Financial Centre, ADGM is an international financial centre with independent registration authority, financial services regulatory authority and courts.

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