Abu Dhabi-based investments holding company Waha Capital announced yesterday the closure of a Dh6.7 billion ($1.8bn) deal for the UAE Armed Forces' purchase of nine military aircraft.
Announcing the closure of the financing deal, Hussein Jassim Al Nowais, Chairman of Waha Capital, said loan terms for the military deal, which was struck during the last edition of Idex, were concluded with eight international banks with good terms and negotiations.
The UAE Armed Forces signed an agreement with Waha Capital mandating it to arrange and manage a financing programme to purchase 16 military aircraft worth Dh11bn during Idex in February last year.
The deal included the procurement of advanced 12 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft from Lockheed Martin and four C17 military transportation jets from Boeing.
"Today's deal will facilitate the purchase of nine of the world's largest and most modern military transportation aircraft for the armed forces, which is the first phase of the purchase agreement," said Al Nowais.
"These include three Airbus A330-200 multi-role and tanker transport aircraft acquired at a cost of Dh4.4bn and six Boeing C-17 A Globemaster III aircraft worth Dh2.3bn."
Al Nowais said Waha Capital worked closely with local and international partners to bring the deal to a closure and facilitate the project's financing.
Financing was acquired from eight international banks on good lending terms. The loans will mature in 15 years.
Al Nowais said the company was already negotiating with local and other international financial institutions for further financing for the remaining aircraft.
"The aircraft are scheduled for delivery over the next three years, with four due for handover in 2011 and the remaining in 2012," he added.
Al Nowais said the company took pride in being able to announce closure of the deal in a short period despite credit constraints resulting from the recent global financial crisis.
"The financial backing we have received from reputed international financial institutions is testimony to the international community's confidence in the strength of the UAE economy and the financial credibility of Abu Dhabi," he observed.
Al Nowais said closing a deal of this size in the current financial circumstances was a challenge that "we have met with strength and which clearly reflects the company's investment strategy."
Al Nowais said the UAE Armed Forces' contract would help to accelerate and sustain the company's growth. It would also boost Waha Capital's financial performance and bring added value to shareholders and investors, he added.
"This deal underlines the commitment of the UAE Government in general and Abu Dhabi in particular to boosting both the local and international economy by providing investment opportunities for partners.
"The deal will enhance employment opportunities, give a fillip to finance and industry and at the same time allow parties to further optimize investment and development across multiple sectors," Al Nowais pointed out.
Waha Capital has significant expertise in the aviation industry through its aircraft leasing business, Waha Leasing.
For over a decade, Waha Leasing has been the UAE's leading big-ticket leasing company, operating in the sectors of aviation, shipping and infrastructure.
Today, Waha Leasing manages and has a financing interest in a Dh16bn ($4.32bn) portfolio of more than 100 commercial aircraft operating across four continents.
On its list of clients are significant industry players such as Etihad Airways, Emirates Airline, Aeroflot, Qatar Airways, Air Canada and Malaysia Airlines.
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