HI Uplift: LEVL Leasing launched as ‘capital demand expected to climb’
LEVL Leasing has been launched by Lobo Leasing and EMP Structured Assets to supply lease and capital solutions for helicopter and vertical lift operators, as capital demand is expected to climb. Lobo and EMP each own 50% in the Dublin-based joint-venture company.
“We are anticipating a lot of requirements for capital generally in the helicopter sector and particularly in EMS and firefighting over the next few years,” Dan Roberts, CEO of Lobo Leasing, told Helicopter Investor. “It was therefore the right time to raise a dedicated fund because this allows us to respond quickly to opportunities and offer attractive lease pricing.”
The new joint venture has already secured a €75m ($79m) equity commitment from a fund in Switzerland. LEVL Leasing will invest these funds, together with debt leverage where appropriate, in emergency medical services (EMS) firefighting, search and rescue (SAR) and other ESG (environmental, social, and corporate governance)-compliant transactions.
LEVL Leasing has already completed its first transaction for the fund with the acquisition and lease of two H145 helicopters to Everett Aviation. These helicopters will be deployed onto an EMS contract in Kenya funded by the UK government. “The Everett H145 transaction is the perfect start and represents a great opportunity to embark on our strategy of building a dedicated ESG compliant portfolio,” said Roberts.
Lobo Leasing has been building a relationship with EMP for over a year, he says. “We have been thinking through together how best to approach the helicopter market and developing discussions with investors. Discussions on the specific fund we have raised started late last year, and so was relatively quick to setup.”
Ulf Hüttmeyer, executive vice president of EMP Structured Assets, adds: “Backed by the equity commitment of the fund and enriched by the proven capabilities of Lobo Leasing, we are very enthusiastic to enter into the JV and grow LEVL Leasing.”
Roberts highlights growing demand for offshore helicopters services, as governments re-appraise energy policies, following the Russian invasion of Ukraine. It remained to be seen, over the next decade, whether offshore wind farms would generate sustained long-term for helicopters, he said.
But the growth in demand for fire-fighting aircraft, coupled with sanctions on Russian built equipment and the ageing Kamov equipment, would boost demand for western-made helicopters. “This will be positive for western helicopter designs. There is a social imperative that these [firefighting helicopters] must be replaced.”
Above: Lobo Leasing and EMP Structured Assets have launched LEVL Leasing to supply lease and capital solutions for helicopter and vertical lift operators. Lobo and EMP each own 50% of the company.
Top: LEVL Leasing has completed its first transaction with the acquisition and lease of two H145 helicopters (one of which is pictured above with aircrew) to Everett Aviation. The units will be deployed onto an EMS contract in Kenya.
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