Deals of the Year 2018: Secured funding package extends CDB Aviation's banking relationships
The winning 'Deal of the Year' in the Financial Services - Aviation Finance Aviation Financing' category is CDB Aviation for its $492 million (€413.3 million) secured portfolio financing facility covering 14 Airbus and Boeing narrowbody aircraft.
CDB Aviation Lease Finance DAC is a wholly owned Irish subsidiary of China Development Bank Financial Leasing Co, which in turn is part of the world's largest development finance institution. Last December CDB Aviation successfully closed a secured portfolio financing facility covering 14 recently delivered Airbus and Boeing narrowbody aircraft on lease to five lessees.
[L-R] Rick Macker, Head of Capital Markets and Will Gramolt, CFO, CDB Aviation, pictured at the aircraft lessor's new Irish HQ on Georges Quay, Dublin.
[L-R] Rick Macker, Head of Capital Markets and Will Gramolt, CFO, CDB Aviation, pictured at the aircraft lessor's new Irish HQ on Georges Quay, Dublin.

The facility was extended to CDB Aviation’s wholly-owned Irish subsidiary, CDB Aviation Funding 2017 Ltd, with CDB Aviation acting as lease servicer. The multiple tranche, five-year $492 million facility was provided by a group of five banks - Citi, Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, National Australia Bank Limited, Natixis and Westpac Banking Corporation - each acting as Mandated Lead Arranger.

A newly incorporated Irish wholly owned subsidiary of CDB Aviation, CDB Aviation Funding 2017 Ltd, was incorporated as the borrower. Simultaneous with the drawdown of each tranche, CDB Aviation amended the ownership structure of certain of the aircraft-owning SPVs within the group so that the borrower (CDB Aviation Funding 2017 Ltd) became the sole shareholder in each SPV being refinanced by the facility.

CDB Aviation's Chief Financial Officer, Will Gramolt, said: 'This facility is an important transaction for CDB Aviation, allowing us to advance our objective of diversifying the company’s sources of financing and to deepen our relationships with a number of our banking partners.'

'This deal represented CDB Aviation’s first secured loan in international markets for a number of years and was the first undertaken by our new management team. We expect secured financing will continue to play an important role in our overall financing strategy and we anticipates future issuances in a similar format.

'Today we are focused on the development and maintenance of long-term productive relationships within the industry and we were therefore delighted to have been able to conclude this transaction with very strong and experienced partners both on the lending and advisory sides.'

Stuart Kennedy, partner at Matheson, which advised CDB Aviation on the deal, noted that 'because the refinanced aircraft were on lease to five different lessees operating across the world, a number of cross-border jurisdictional issues also had to be addressed.'
Legal advisers to the borrower were: Matheson on Irish law and Clifford Chance (London and New York) on English and US law; Allen & Overy (London) advised the Mandated Lead Arrangers and lenders on English and US law.
This article appeared in the April 2018 edition.