New Money: Thora Capital closes first fund and heli transaction

It may seem like an odd time to invest in the helicopter market that is now five years into a downturn, but a new asset management firm Thora Capital has just closed its first fund with a helicopter transaction with medical transport operator Apollo MedFlight.

Matthew Rothschild, CEO of Thora said: “We are extremely grateful for the trust placed in us by our investment partners. The helicopter industry is in a period of elevated demand for creative capital solutions, and Thora is well-positioned to support the sector’s financing needs.”

The funding will be used to acquire four Airbus helicopters worth in excess of $10 million, Airbus’s H145 and H135 helicopters. The acquired aircraft will be leased to Apollo MedFlight on a 72-month term and be used to fly both emergency and non-emergency operations across North Carolina.

Washington-based law firm Veddar Price worked as legal counsel to Thora on the deal and Uniflight Global is the technical servicer – providing collateral monitoring services to the asset manager. JSSI provides the hourly cost-maintenance services.

“We are delighted to be supporting the important work that Apollo does,” said Russell Christopher, Managing Director of Thora Capital.

“This deal demonstrates Thora’s ability to manage all aspects of an aircraft transaction, including acquiring aircraft from multiple sellers, arranging senior debt, and establishing new lease contracts for a first-time lessee.”

Why now?

When Helicopter Investor spoke to Thora Capital in November last year, we asked what prompted the decision to open a dedicated aviation fund now when most investors are steering clear? At the time, Matthew Rothschild, CEO of Thora Capital said:

“Helicopters represent a niche and nascent asset class… Helicopter leasing, in contrast (to commercial aviation), has to date largely been overlooked by the investment community because of the industry’s fragmentation and its less mature nature.

“…Thora was specifically created with the intent of avoiding cyclical investing. We firmly believe that there exists a secular growth opportunity as operating lease adoption for helicopter financing follows a growth curve similar to, if not more rapidly than, commercial jets.”

Thora is tapping into a mix of foundations, endowments, family offices and ultra-high net worth individuals for its funding.

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