Macquarie Rotorcraft joins the action


The launch of Macquarie Rotorcraft Leasing is not a surprise. Macquarie was the under-bidder for CHC Helicopters and got very close to investing in Waypoint. It was no secret that UBS was raising money for Jeff Pino and Jim Clarke for the last few months.

As the former president of Sikorsky, Pino clearly knows the industry extremely well and Clarke also has a lot of experience in commercial aircraft leasing (including Air Lease Corporation – which recently floated and GPA the aircraft leasing pioneer as well as others). Macquarie is also an extremely experienced asset financier with a strong track record in commercial aircraft leasing. Like Lease Corporation International it has grown frustrated with an overheated commercial aircraft market where lessors (and some would say egos) are competing for market share.

We now have four well-funded large helicopter leasing companies – Milestone, Lease Corporation International, Waypoint and now, Macquarie – that were not around three years ago.

Investors in these companies should not be worried by the competition. All four leasing companies have slightly different strategies and strong management teams (it is worth noting that two of them have moved into the helicopters market because they see it as a more rational one than commercial aircraft leasing). There is enough room for all four of them.

Most importantly this is great news for operators. Running a helicopter operator is a tough business and any help with financing is gratefully received.