Milestone closes largest helicopter debt deal


Milestone will fund Sikorsky, Eurocopter and AgustaWestland equipment with debt from European commercial banks.

Milestone Aviation Group has closed a $300 million credit facility to finance equipment to be leased to Bristow Group. The aircraft consist of Sikorsky S-92’s, Eurocopter EC225’s and AgustaWestland AW189 and AW139 aircraft. 

This is the largest-ever helicopter financing for a lessor.

Lloyds Bank was mandated lead arranger and facility agent while Lombard and Barclays were original lenders for the financing.

Richard Santulli, chairman and CEO of Milestone says the deal was innovative. “We structured this transaction with Bristow and worked together to bring it to completion. The proceeds will allow us to continue to support Bristow and grow this important relationship while diversifying our sources of capital,” he says.

Since launching three years ago, Milestone has acquired more than 100 aircraft valued at over $1.5 billion and has an order book worth about $2.2 billion 

The lessor continues to diversify its sources of funding. In early June the company closed a $187 million export credit bond guaranteed by US Ex-Im Bank – this was the Milestone’s first ever Ex-Im deal.

Dublin-based Milestone, which has a $500 million equity investment from two firms, Jordan Company and Nautic Partners, has raised $1.8 billion of debt with commercial banks, insurance companies and the US capital markets.