Waypoint accelerates growth with $335m revolver


model of an AW139 on the Waypoint Leasing exhibition stand at Helitech 2013

Waypoint Leasing, based in Ireland, secures $335 million of five-year debt.
Waypoint Leasing helicopter on display at Helitech International 2013

Launched in 2013, Waypoint Leasing is part of a new wave of helicopter leasing companies.

Waypoint Leasing has closed a five-year $335 million revolving credit facility. The funds, which can be drawn down in euros, will be used to purchase assets to expand Waypoint’s helicopter fleet. The facility also has an accordion feature that allows the deal to be upsized to $550 million.

Locking in funding for five years during a time of major growth is key to the leasing company’s overall strategy. “The facility is critical to being a successful and long-term player in this market,” says Ed Washecka, CEO of Waypoint, which like Milestone Aviation, has offices in both Ireland and the US.

“Ultimately, the revolver gives us more efficiency with our capital and our management time. But, more importantly, we’re somewhat protected from the vagaries of the market,” he added.

Washecka will not discuss pricing, but he tells Corporate Jet Investor that it was competitive.

Credit Suisse is joint lead arranger and joint bookrunner with SunTrust Robinson Humphrey and CIT Finance. The lender group included Goldman Sachs, Union Bank, N.A., Fifth Third Bank and 1st Source Bank.

New lenders have been exploring the helicopter leasing space, particularly as the industry’s visibility has increased with the launch of helicopter leasing at companies like Milestone, Macquarie and Lease Corporation International.

“We certainly talked to lenders that were new to the helicopter leasing space during this process, and ultimately some of those institutions will end up in our facility,” says Washecka.

The company will have more than 20 aircraft by year-end totaling about $400 million. At the moment, Waypoint’s fleet consists of two S-92s, two AW139s and two S-76C++ helicopters. It will add two additional aircraft by year-end destined for an Australian operator.

“Most of our growth is going to come from sale/leasebacks in the next 12 months,” says Washecka, adding that $2 billion worth of assets would be an ideal portfolio size. Waypoint also has speculative orders with US manufacturer AgustaWestland.

During the past six months Waypoint has expanded its management team and appointed Oliver Altoff as managing director of capital markets and treasury. “One of the reasons we brought Oliver on was because we saw the confidence we were getting from the lending community and the interest in our space so this made us think about accelerating the growth of the company faster than what we thought six-months prior,” says Washecka.

Washecka, formerly CEO of Era Group, co-founded Waypoint in May with $375 million in equity from three investors including backing from both the Soros and Dell private wealth funds.


Related: For more on helicopter deals, see a list of helicopter debt transactions from 2012.