Helicopter-leasing business Waypoint to triple workforce

November 18, 2013

Source: Irish Times

Limerick, Ireland – November 2013

Chief executive warns sector becoming too crowded

 Waypoint Leasing, a seven-month old Limerick-based helicopter leasing company backed by successful financier George Soros, plans to treble its workforce in Ireland next year as it begins to deploy the $700 million-plus in equity and debt funding that it has raised to date.

 Alan Jenkins, the company’s chief financial officer, told The Irish Times that Waypoint plans to increase its headcount in Limerick from seven currently to 20 by the end of 2014.

 “We’re hiring and it will be broad-based,” Mr Jenkins said, adding that the roles will involve sales and marketing, technology, credit and contracts.

 — Debt facility —

 It emerged last week that Waypoint has secured a debt facility, including a five-year $335 million revolving credit line that can be expanded to $550 million.

 The funds can be drawn down in euro and will be used to purchase assets to expand Waypoint’s helicopter fleet.

 Waypoint also raised $375 million in equity this year from MSD Capital, Cartesian Capital Group and Soros Fund Management. It plans to tap demand for helicopters used in the oil and gas industry.

 Chief executive Ed Washecka said Waypoint plans to become a player of scale. This will involve deploying $1 billion or more in capital initially, possibly rising to $2 billion.

 He said the company would close deals involving $150 million of assets this week, rising to more than $300 million by the year end. This will bring its fleet under management to 21 helicopters. The models, acquired mostly through sale and leaseback agreements, include aircraft from Eurocopter SAS, Finmeccanica’s AgustaWestland unit, and Sikorsky.

 — ‘Dark cloud’ —

 Mr Washecka said a “dark cloud” hangs over the helicopter leasing sector from it becoming too crowded, with the risk of some businesses failing.

 Will Waypoint be one of those left standing?

 “We’ve come out of the blocks strongly. We’ve been cashflow positive since day one,” he said, adding that the company has received strong support from its backers and customers.

 Mr Jenkins said Waypoint chose Ireland for its head office due to the strong pool of talent available here in the aircraft leasing sector. It also has a base in Connecticut, where it employs six staff.