Ex-Im Bank approves financing for US helicopters to Latin America


AgustaWestland AW139

The Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank) has approved the financing for sale of US-built AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters that will be used for leasing and offshore oil and gas operations in Colombia.

The loan guarantee is worth $22.4 million and will support an estimated 200 jobs at the AgustaWestland manufacturing facility in Philadelphia and the company’s supply chain.

The helicopters will be received by North Pole Investments in Panama, with finance coming from Apple Bank for Savings of New York.

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Fred Hochberg, chairman and president of Ex-Im Bank, made the announcement while participating as a member of the US government delegation to the Summit of the Americas conference in Panama City.

Hochberg said: “We are pleased to finance the exports of these quality, American-made helicopters because of the jobs in Philadelphia that will be sustained as a result. This transaction will empower AgustaWestland to continue to grow in Latin America while maintaining good-paying aerospace jobs here at home.”

Ex-Im Bank plans to co-finance this asset-backed transaction with Italy’s export-credit agency, Servizi Assicurativi del Commercio Estero, S.p.A. (SACE), which is anticipated to provide a guarantee for a portion of the financing covering foreign content. The majority of the export is the US content, which consists of manufacturing activities, assembly, customisation, avionics and instrumentation.

North Pole Investments is an aviation lessor headquartered in Panama City. The company leases aircraft mainly to Helistar, a civil charter services operator based in Colombia.

The transaction is Ex-Im Bank’s fourth financing of exports of US-made AgustaWestland helicopters to Latin America.

In August 2009, Ex-Im Bank assisted in financing the export of AW139 helicopters to the government of Trinidad and Tobago for use in search and rescue operations.

In December 2012 and in July 2013, the bank approved loan guarantees financing AW139 helicopters for export to Omni Taxi Aéreo to meet its transportation contracts with the oil and gas industry in Brazil.