LCI, a helicopter lessor and the aviation division of the Libra Group, and Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing Co (SMFL), have agreed to establish and operate a joint venture helicopter leasing business.
The vehicle has launched with the initial acquisition of 19 next-generation helicopters with a value of US$230m. SMFL and LCI are co-investors in the partnership, with LCI also acting as manager.
The young, modern helicopters acquired by the joint venture will be used by operators across the globe on a range of missions including Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Search and Rescue (SAR), and transportation to offshore wind farms.
Jaspal Jandu, chief financial officer of LCI, said: “Our joint venture with this renowned partner highlights the opportunities available in the helicopter leasing marketplace, and demonstrates how these aircraft have now become a proven and attractive asset class.”
Shinichiro Watanabe, managing executive officer of SMFL, said: “We look forward to working with [LCI] and combining our respective financial strengths to jointly and professionally manage a successful and dynamic venture.”
George Logothetis, chairman and chief executive of the Libra Group, said: “This partnership promises sustained and exciting growth for LCI’s rotary-wing business, which has already proved highly resilient during the global pandemic.”
LCI’s fleet comprises approximately US$1bn of assets in service, on order and under management, focused on the latest technology medium and super medium helicopters manufactured by leading helicopter OEMs including Leonardo, Airbus and Sikorsky.
These are in operation across four continents in multiple sectors including emergency medical services, offshore wind, search and rescue, maritime pilot transfer and oil-and-gas transportation.