Source: Corporate Jet Investor
Limerick, Ireland – November 2013 – Waypoint Leasing has closed a five-year $335 million revolving credit facility. The funds, which can be drawn down in euros, will be used to purchase assets to expand Waypoint’s helicopter fleet. The facility also has an accordion feature that allows the deal to be upsized to $550 million.
Locking in funding for five years during a time of major growth is key to the leasing company’s overall strategy. “The facility is critical to being a successful and long-term player in this market,” says Ed Washecka, CEO of Waypoint, which like Milestone Aviation, is based in Ireland. “Ultimately, the revolver gives us more efficiency with our capital and our management time. But, more importantly, we’re somewhat protected from the vagaries of the market.”
Washecka will not discuss pricing, but he tells Corporate Jet Investor that it was competitive.
Credit Suisse is joint lead arrangers and joint bookrunners with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey and CIT Finance. The lender group included Goldman Sachs, Union Bank, N.A., Fifth Third Bank and 1st Source Bank.
New lenders have been exploring the helicopter leasing space, particularly as the industry’s visibility has increased with the launch of helicopter leasing at companies like Milestone, Macquarie and LCI.
“We certainly talked to lenders that were new to the helicopter leasing space during this process, and ultimately some of those institutions will end up in our facility,” says Washecka.
The company will have more than 20 aircraft by year-end totaling about $400 million. At the moment, Waypoint’s fleet consists of two S-92s, two AW139s and two S-76C++ helicopters. It will add two additional aircraft by year-end destined for an Australian operator.
“Most of our growth is going to come from sale/leasebacks in the next 12 months,” says Washecka, adding that $2 billion worth of assets would be an ideal portfolio size. Waypoint also has speculative orders with US manufacturer AgustaWestland.
During the past six months Waypoint has expanded its management team, which includes the appointment of Oliver Altoff as managing director of capital markets and treasury. “One of the reasons we brought Oliver on was because we saw the confidence we were getting from the lending community and the interest in our space so this made us think about accelerating the growth of the company faster than what we thought six-months prior,” says Washecka.
Washecka, formerly CEO of Era Group, co-founded Waypoint in May with a $375 million equity check from three investors including backing from both the Soros and Dell private wealth funds.