Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy and Vedder Price are playing the lead roles on Southeast Asian budget airline AirAsia Bhd.’s $1.2 billion sale of its aircraft leasing operations to San Francisco-based commercial jet manager BBAM L.P.
As part of the deal, AirAsia is selling, through subsidiary Asia Aviation Capital Ltd., a portfolio of 84 Airbus aircraft and 14 engines to three BBAM affiliates: FLY Leasing Ltd., Incline B Aviation L.P. and Nomura Babcock and Brown. With the sale, it is getting out of the airplane leasing business entirely. AirAsia will then lease back the engines and 79 aircraft from BBAM.
The deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2018, will help Malaysia-listed AirAsia decrease financial leverage and cut debt.
Milbank’s Singapore-based Asia aviation and asset finance leader Paul Ng is leading the firm’s representation for AirAsia. Kuala Lumpur-based Zaid Ibrahim & Co is local counsel to AirAsia.
Vedder Price shareholders Geoffrey Kass and Adam Beringer in Chicago, Raviv Surpin in Los Angeles, and Ji Woon Kim in Singapore are acting for BBAM.
BBAM currently manages over 400 aircraft globally. In September 2017, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC acquired a 30 percent stake in BBAM for an undisclosed sum.