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Precision Air's ATR fleet financing awarded as '2008 leasing deal of the year in Africa
Jane's Transport Finance magazine has awarded the financing of the ATR fleet of the private Tanzanian carrier Precision Air Services as the 2008 Aircraft Leasing Deal of the Year in Africa. The award has been granted to Citi, the mandated lead arranger for the U$ 129 Million structured lease facility and Finland's Finnfund, who arranged a junior loan, thereby allowing the airline to purchase 7 new ATR ‘-500 series' aircraft and spares.
Citi's Managing Director, Global Aviation, Munawar Z. Noorani said: "This transaction and Jane's Transport Finance's recognition are a testimony to East African entrepreneurship and rising appreciation of the highly fuel efficient solution that ATR 500 series aircraft provide across the world. Citi is proud to have supported Precision Air and ATR in finding solutions to raise 98 percent financing for the seven turboprops. We are delighted to have partnered with Finnfund in a momentous transaction that will significantly propel premium tourism in Tanzania."
Mikko Kuuskoski, Senior Investment Manager of Finnfund, said: "We are pleased to be able to support Precision Air in this major investment programme. Tanzania's transport connections are in great need of improvement and a country with such a large geographic area will always need well functioning flight routes. Precision Air, by serving rural areas of Tanzania, supports not only tourism but also many other businesses in these remote areas, which all contribute to the development of Tanzania."
Alfonse Kioko, Managing Director and CEO of Precision Air Services, declared: "We are indeed grateful to Citi, Finnfund and ATR to have supported our fleet modernization programme. For more than 12 years now Precision Air continued to work closely with ATR to find a solution to our business model and the ATR aircraft has served our purpose. It is fuel efficient, environmentally friendly and reliable. The ATR aircraft will continue to serve us even better during this time of economic hardships."
Commenting on this award, Giovanni Tramparulo, ATR Senior Vice-President Finance, stated: "We congratulate Citi and Finnfund for this award, which recognizes a very performing and innovative financing arrangement for the benefit of our customer. We are proud of counting with a very large base of airlines operating ATR worldwide which contributes to maintain a solid performance of residual value of the ATR aircraft, while playing also an important role in the consolidation of the banks' confidence in ATR." And he concluded: "Providing all our assistance to the airlines for getting financing is a fully-embedded part of our sales policy."
Citi, the leading global financial company, has some 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 100 countries, providing consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, and wealth management. Citi's major brand names include Citibank, CitiFinancial, Primerica, Smith Barney, Banamex, and Nikko. Additional information may be found at www.citigroup.com or www.citi.com.
Founded in 1980, Finnish Fund for Industrial Cooperation (Finnfund) is a Finnish development finance institution that provides long-term risk capital for private sector projects in developing countries. Apart from co-investing with Finnish companies Finnfund can finance ventures that use Finnish technology, cooperate with Finnish partners on a long-term basis or generate major positive environmental and social development benefits. Finnfund is owned by the State of Finland at 84,2%, Finnvera at 15,7% and the Confederation of Finnish Industries EK at 0,1%.
About Precision Air Services
Precision Air Services was established in 1993. The airline has since increased its frequencies and capacity significantly with its current fleet of eight aircraft, including four ATR 42-320s and three ATR 72-210s, and one Boeing 737. The fleet expansion has gone hand in hand with an increase in the volumes of passenger uplift. The airline offers the widest connections to all major towns in Tanzania and, regionally, to Kenya, Uganda and soon to Angola and Democratic Republic of Congo. In December 5th 2008, Precision Air Services won an Award as the most respected company in Tanzania in a survey of CEOs about the most respected companies in East Africa.
Toulouse, Southern France-based regional aircraft manufacturer ATR is the world leader in the 50 to 74-seat turboprop market. ATR is an equal partnership between Alenia Aeronautica (a Finmeccanica company) and EADS.
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