Deals of the Year 2018: Sky Leasing's debut ABS puts young aircraft in the frame
The winning 'Deal of the Year' in the 'Financial Services - Aviation Finance, Aviation ABS' category is Sky Aircraft Leasing International's debut $780.8 million (€628 million) ABS, S-JETS 2017-1 Ltd., in August 2017, which unusually features 21 very young aircraft.
Sky Leasing debut ABS involved the sale of a portfolio of 21 Airbus and Boeing aircraft, worth approximately $1billion, on lease to 16 different airlines to S-JETS 2017-1, a Bermuda incorporated Irish tax resident vehicle.

S-JETS 2017-1 issued three series of notes - $657.8 million Series A Notes (effective yield 4 per cent, initial LTV 66.3 per cent and rated A by S&P and KBRA), $81.0 million of Series B Notes (effective yield 5.75 per cent, initial LTV 74.5 per cent, rated BBB) and $42.0 million of Series C Notes (effective yield 7.125 per cent, initial LTV 78.7 per cent, rated BB).
[L-R] Ken O'Brien, publisher, <i>Finance Dublin<i> and Hilary Marren, partner, McCann FitzGerald.
[L-R] Ken O'Brien, publisher, Finance Dublin and Hilary Marren, partner, McCann FitzGerald.

The portfolio comprises eight different models of young aircraft, just three of which are wide bodies. The weighted average age at issuance was 3.4 years, with a weighted average remaining lease term of 7.5 years.

A recently issued KBRA report on aircraft ABS transactions rated the S-JETS ABS as the second highest of all 2017 ABS transactions in terms of value and the portfolio as being significantly younger than any other ABS launched in 2017. This is at a time when ABS transactions more usually comprise a mix of young to mid-life and older aircraft.

Hilary Marren, partner at McCann FitzGerald, which acted as special Irish counsel for the originator and issuer, said: 'This stand-out $780.8 million deal was Sky Leasing’s debut aircraft backed securitisation transaction. McCann FitzGerald’s Asset Finance team supports our clients through the full range of their most important and complex financing activities.'

Legal Advisers on the deal were McCann FitzGerald as special Irish counsel to the originator (SALI) and the issuer (S-Jets), VedderPrice (special US counsel to SALI and S-Jets); Conyers, Dill & Pearman (special Bermudan counsel to SALI and S-Jets); Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCoy (US counsel to the Initial Noteholders). Deutsche Bank Securities was sole structuring agent and left lead bookrunner, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Credit Agricole Securities joint bookrunners.
This article appeared in the April 2018 edition.