First Transaction Involving Sikorsky S-76 Helicopters
The board of the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) authorized more than $50 million to guarantee a loan extended by Apple Bank to Aeroservicios Especializados S.A. DE C.V. (ASESA) of Mexico that will finance the export of a fleet of Sikorsky S-76D helicopters to Mexico. Ex-Im Bank’s credit will support approximately 450 U.S. jobs, according to bank estimates derived from Departments of Commerce and Labor data and methodology.
The loan guarantee formally inaugurates Ex-Im Bank's Business Aircraft and Helicopter Qualified Advisor program, which was first announced by Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg at the European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in May of 2012. San Francisco-based AirFinance served as the qualified advisor and facilitated the application and authorization process. Additionally, the transaction is the Bank’s first involving the new Sikorsky S-76D helicopter (pictured in file photo).
“Ex-Im Bank is pleased to back the export of Sikorsky helicopters once again, this time to Mexico, one of our nine key markets,” said Chairman Hochberg. “We are also pleased that our Qualified Advisor program has proven helpful in expediting innovative U.S. exports and supporting U.S. jobs.”
Headquartered in Stratford, CT, Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation manufactures both commercial and military helicopters. Its S-76D model, the latest variant of the S-76, is a medium-lift helicopter designed for offshore oil operations, EMS, executive transport, and search-and-rescue missions. In terms of capabilities, the helicopter provides increased range and a quieter cabin. Upon further certification to come, the helicopter will boast the ability to operate in known icing conditions. “We are very happy Ex-Im Bank has approved the financing of S-76D helicopters to ASESA, a decision that will support U.S. jobs. Mexico is an extremely important market for all of our Sikorsky products and we are pleased to welcome ASESA to our family of S-76 fleet operators,” said Adam Schierholz, Sikorsky’s regional sales director for Mexico. “The S-76 model has a long and successful history serving the offshore oil markets, and the D model is the latest variation of this very popular platform of
aircraft. We are thrilled that ASESA will be introducing it to the Mexican market.”
AirFinance is a global company focused on the financing of general aviation aircraft, including business jets, turboprops, and helicopters, with an emphasis on transactions outside of the United States. It is currently the only approved general aviation qualified advisor for Ex-Im Bank focused on providing greater support to U.S.-made aircraft. “The Qualified Advisor Program is a great example of the public-private partnership so frequently held up as a model for how government can partner with the private sector. We are honored to partner with Ex-Im’s experienced aircraft financing team to help Sikorsky expand in Mexico and to support U.S. jobs,” said Kirsten Bartok, AirFinance managing partner.
ASESA is a leading helicopter-services provider for the oil and gas industry in Mexico and South America. The Monterrey, Mexico-based company was founded in 1977 and has accumulated more than 470,000 flight hours. It plans to employ the Sikorsky helicopters to ferry personnel to and from deep-water drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico.
“We are very excited that Ex-Im bank trusts ASESA by approving the first S-76D helicopter financing package. We think this important event will mark the beginning of a long lasting relationship between ASESA and Ex-Im Bank for the coming years,” said Humberto Lobo, CEO of Grupo Lomex (parent company of ASESA).
As of the end of FY 2011, Ex-Im Bank’s credit exposure in Mexico amounted to $8.3 billion.