Pillsbury had another impressive showing at Airfinance Journal’s annual Deals of the Year Awards ceremony. The firm was involved in four of this year’s winning transactions, including major roles in the magazine’s Innovative and Editor’s Deals of the Year. Winners were honored at a special ceremony in New York on May 17.

The award-winning 2016 deals on which Pillsbury advised are:

  • Editor’s Deal of the Year: Labrador ABS

Mizuho Securities, in its role as sole structuring agent and sole bookrunner for GECAS’ $709 million Labrador Aviation Finance asset-backed security, was represented by Pillsbury. The transaction was the first ABS deal with equity placed in South Korea and the best priced aircraft ABS transaction on a spread basis in 2016. It is also expected to accelerate the growth of the Korean aircraft finance market. The principal lawyers involved were partners Mark Lessard, Jonathan Goldstein, David Baxter and Harsha Reddy, counsel Melissa Jones-Prus, special counsel Jason Greenberg, senior associate Matthew Kane, and associates William DeCotiis, David Flickinger, John Hunt and Issac Lee.

  • Innovative Deal of the Year: Emirates $750m Structured Sale and Leaseback

Emirates’ $750 million structured sale and leaseback transaction—covering the financing for two Boeing 777s and one Airbus A380—was handled by a Pillsbury team. The deal featured a senior loan from Germany’s DekaBank, junior notes and subordinated equity notes, first priority and second priority notes for three aircraft, all on sale and leaseback deals with the airline. It also attracted investors that had not financed aircraft before, including real estate investors and ultra-high net worth individuals. The principal lawyers involved were partner Graham Tyler, senior associate Rakhi Savjani and associate Chris Knight.

  • ECA Deal of the Year: SunExpress Five 737-800 Financing

Pillsbury advised Turkish Airlines on what is the first tax lease structure for SunExpress. This transaction is also the first French lease combined with fixed rate euro-denominated debt supported by Ex-Im Bank and marked the only Ex-Im backed French lease in 2016. The transaction required a firm commitment in June 2015 from the investor and the lenders one year before the actual deliveries. The principal lawyers involved were partners Charlotta Otterbeck and Dan Richards and senior associate Maria Cho.

  • Capital Markets Deal of the Year: Blackbird ABS

Pillsbury served as counsel to Kroll Bond Rating Agency on this landmark asset-backed securities offering that represents the first aircraft ABS deal to achieve an AA rating since the financial crisis; the tightest A-rated tranche pricing (2.5%); and the youngest average aircraft age for an ABS (3.3 years). The deal successfully brought in more than 40 investors, including a number from Asia. The principal lawyers involved were Mark Lessard, counsel Richard Evans and special counsel Jason Greenberg.

The magazine’s annual awards program seeks to acknowledge the individuals and companies behind the year’s largest and most complex aviation finance transactions. Pillsbury’s impressive 2016 results follow an equally strong performance last year in which the firm took home seven Airfinance Journal awards.

Pillsbury’s Aviation Finance team serves as a trusted adviser to the most established names in aviation as well as emerging players around the world, including manufacturers, airlines, lessors, financial institutions, corporations, individuals and other investors. Over the last five years alone, the group has helped a diverse range of market participants get or keep more than 1,600 commercial and business aircraft flying, reflecting an aggregate asset value of more than $75 billion.