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Asset Finance

Linklaters’ Asset Finance practice advises on a varied range of loan, lease and portfolio products, working with airlines, shipping and off-shore companies, lessors and financiers alike

Our broad and deep sector experience, coupled with Linklaters’ market-leading expertise in a number of complementary product areas, enables us to deliver for our clients some of the most complex bank lending, corporate, capital markets, investment management and restructuring and insolvency transactions in the Aviation and Maritime sectors.

In Aviation, we advise banks, lessors and airlines on a range of commercial aviation transactions, from senior and mezzanine loan financings, sale and lease-backs and jurisdiction-specific leasing products, to complex loan and aircraft portfolio sales and acquisitions, transactions involving the establishment of joint ventures and other aviation platforms, and corporate investments, acquisitions and reorganisations. In light of the impact of pandemics and geo-political developments on the aviation sector, we have advised on a number of state aid and recapitalisation, liquidity raising, sanctions, insurance and restructuring and insolvency transactions in the sector. In addition to our commercial aviation practice, we have a market-leading practice in business aviation, including sales and purchases, financing and disputes relating to private aircraft.

 

In the Maritime sectors, we advise banks, shipping lines, participants in the LNG and off-shore energy markets, and investors on a range of financing, acquisition and investment transactions. We advised on several of the market-leading maritime company mergers and acquisitions, and have a leading European practice in advising on sales and purchases of shipping loan portfolios, shipping bank restructurings and acquisition financings in respect of shipping portfolios. We regularly work with Linklaters’ project finance specialists on financings and acquisitions of vessels in the context of energy projects, and with the firm’s restructuring and insolvency team on distressed situations in the maritime sectors.

Our recent highlights

Aviation

  • NAC Group: advising a significant creditor group on the US$6bn debt restructuring of Nordic Aviation Capital, the regional jet lessor, through two rounds of restructuring and insolvency processes, including the bespoke security take-up of a fleet of circa 250 aircraft.
  • MUFG Bank: advising the bank on its US$6.3bn acquisition of the aviation finance business of DVB Bank SE.
  • Cathay Pacific: advising the airline on the HK$39bn Covid-19 recapitalisation package, including share issues and a secured aircraft financing.
  • China Aircraft Leasing Group Holdings Limited: advising on the establishment of an aircraft leasing platform, including equity, mezzanine loan and senior loan funding, acquisitions and disposals of aircraft by the leasing platform, and several structural amendments.
  • International Consolidated Airlines Group: advising the sponsors and underwriters on the €2.75bn 3 for 2 rights issue of International Consolidated Airlines Group S.A, listed on the Spanish and London Stock Exchanges.
  • International banks: advising on the impact of the EU and UK sanctions against Russia on their aircraft finance transactions, at both the institutional and employee level, including enforcements and terminations.
  • Government support to airlines: advising several European governments on Covid 19 driven rescue or financial assistance packages for LOT Polish Airlines, KLM and Condor, among others.
  • Individual aircraft financings: advising NatWest Bank PLC, Citi, CDB Aviation, Investec and others on the financing of pools of aircraft (both fixed wing and helicopters).
  • Business jets: advising a leading private wealth bank on the separate financings of over 150 business jets, including several enforcements and disputes, across more than 30 different jurisdictions.
  • LATAM: advising a creditor group on the Chapter 11 insolvency of LATAM as well as acting for other lenders and lessors on the contractual impact of insolvencies of airlines including LATAM, Aeromexica, Avianca, Philippine Airlines, Malaysian Airlines etc.
  • VistaJet and Vista Global Group: advising VistaJet, the business airline, on a number of matters, including pre- and post-delivery aircraft financings, a bond issuance and a complex intragroup reorganisation; as well as various corporate matters for VistaJet and Vista Group.

Maritime

  • Citibank: advising the bank on the financing the acquisition of a portion of the Hamburg Commercial Bank (formerly HSH Nordbank) shipping loan portfolio.
  • Genting: advising the Joint Provisional Liquidators of GHK and DCHL in respect of a “free fall” insolvency filing, immediate group stabilisation initiatives, safe repatriation of customers, critical liquidity preservation measures and various M&A processes (including in relation to the GHK Group’s Dream cruises business, the Crystal ocean and river cruises businesses and the Group’s holdings in a Chinese hotel chain and an Asian gambling resort), as well as various asset disposals.
  • Buy-side consortium: advising a bank, fund and shipping company as a consortium on their acquisition of a portfolio of offshore energy loans and hedging from NIBC Bank N.V. as the remaining part of its originally €1.5bn portfolio.
  • INEOS Olefins Belgium: providing advice in relation to complex and bespoke chartering arrangements for INEOS in connection with the development and €3.5bn financing to support the construction and operation of Project ONE, which is set to be the most environmentally sustainable ethane cracker in Europe.
  • Various shipping companies including Hapag-Lloyd AG and Seacube: advising on multiple Japanese operating lease with call options (JOLCO) and Chinese sale and leaseback structures relating to container vessels or portfolio of containers, including innovative features.
  • HSH Portfolio Management: advising the financial institution in relation to its acquisition of a significant portion of HSH Nordbank’s non-performing shipping loans as well as in relation to several workouts of shipping loans.
  • FPSO experience: advising lending syndicates on the US$1.5bn financing of a floating, production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) for an offshore project in Senegal/Mauritania, which involved the first hybrid convertible instrument to be backed by a senior loan.
  • Coral FLNG S.A.: following our advising Eni, the multinational oil and gas company and its Area 4 partners, CNPC, ENH, GALP and KOGAS on the ECA-backed multi-billion dollar project financing for the US$8 billion Coral South FLNG project in Mozambique, we provided advice in relation to the transportation of a floating LNG unit to be installed offshore Mozambique and flagged in The Bahamas.
  • Arctic LNG: advising lenders on the €522m complex financing of two LNG transhipment vessels to be used as storage terminals for the Artic LNG Project.
  • Banque et Caisse d'Epargne de l'Etat, Luxembourg and Cargolux Airlines International S.A.: advising on the financing of the jack-up installation vessel 'Voltaire', the world's tallest jack-up installation vessels, with a total value of €325m.
  • XiHe Group: advising a lending bank on secured shipping loans as well as associated hedging liabilities extended to 11 members of the XiHe Group in relation to 17 vessels.
  • Deutsche Bank: advising the bank on its financing of the acquisition of a NordLB shipping loan portfolio.
  • Sanctions advice: advising international banks, financial institutional and funds in connection with the impact of the EU, US and UK sanctions against Russia on their ship finance and LNG carrier transactions, including enforcements and terminations.
  • The European Investment Bank: advising on developing an innovative financing product aimed at promoting “green” shipping assets and advising on the first two transactions under this product, with each of Société Générale, ING and ABN AMRO.
  • Yamal LNG: advising financiers on the Yamal LNG project, including in relation to the chartering of an FSU for the project.
  • CGG SA: advising the seismic company, on the financial restructuring of its maritime operations by way of an innovative joint venture structure for a fleet of seven seismic vessels.
  • CA-CIB: advising Credit Agricole (CACIB) on the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Toisa Limited and certain of its affiliates.
  • Zim: advising the senior secured lenders on the complex financial restructuring of Zim, the Israeli container shipping group.
  • CSAV: advising the Chilean container shipping company on its business combination with Hapag-Lloyd AG, including the restructuring of all of its fleet financings to result in a business with combined turnover of over US$9bn.

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“Linklaters has a detail-oriented team with a broad knowledge base, which has helped us navigate a complex situation."

Chambers UK 2024 (Asset Finance: Shipping Finance, UK-wide)

"It's a commercial team that drives transactions forward."

Chambers UK 2024 (Asset Finance: Shipping Finance, UK-wide)

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