ATLANTA (July 12, 2021) – Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP (SGR) is pleased to announce the firm acted as legal counsel in connection with two transactions that were recently awarded Deals of the Year for 2020 by Airfinance Journal, the leading commercial aviation industry publication. SGR represented Aviation Capital Group (ACG) as part of a Virgin Atlantic transaction which was awarded Europe Deal of the Year for 2020, and in a Pegasus Airlines transaction which was awarded Tax Lease Deal of the Year for 2020.
The Europe Deal of the Year accolade recognizes Virgin Atlantic’s £1.2bn ($1.66 billion) recapitalization plan. This restructuring plan involved multiple classes of creditors who voted on the plan, including traditional lenders, lessors, and trade creditors. SGR client Aviation Capital Group restructured a related finance lease transaction and was part of the finance lease creditors credit class. Virgin Atlantic was the first airline to use the new UK restructuring plan to implement its recapitalization, making use of Part 26A of the Companies Act 2006.
The Tax Lease Deal of the Year accolade recognizes Pegasus Airlines’ €55m ($65 million) JOLCO financing for one Airbus A321neo. SGR client Aviation Capital Group provided a guarantee of the debt in the finance lease structure. The A321neo delivery was innovative in terms of the structure of the transaction as the first JOLCO transaction with ACG supported debt, as well as the fact that it was the first aircraft ever delivered fully remotely from a manufacturer’s production line.
The Airfinance Journal Global Awards, announced during the June 23 virtual awards ceremony, recognize excellence among market participants on deals across the airline and lessor financings in all regions around the world. They celebrate the pivotal role played by companies participating in the most outstanding air finance transactions that reached financial close and funded in the 2020 calendar year. The 2020 Global Awards are judged by an external, expert judging panel from a shortlist determined by the publication’s editorial team.
SGR Partner Joshua Gentner, a member of the Global Transport Practice in New York and Chicago, served as legal counsel in these award-winning transactions.
For more information on the Airfinance Journal Awards 2020 and the winners, visit www.airfinancejournal.com/articles/3583787/airfinance-journal-awards-2020-winners.
About Airfinance Journal
Airfinance Journal is a market leading financial publication of the global aircraft and aviation business. Published continually since 1979, it has been at the forefront of supporting and informing aviation professionals. The Journal includes the latest news, analysis and data relating to the financing of airlines, aircraft leasing companies and manufacturers. For more information, please visit www.airfinancejournal.com.
About Smith, Gambrell & Russell, LLP
SGR is a full service, international law firm that advises regional, national and global businesses on a wide range of legal matters. The firm’s 250 attorneys provide legal counsel in more than 45 specialized practice areas, including corporate transactions, litigation, intellectual property, aviation, banking, real estate, construction, employment law, and employee benefits and executive compensation. Founded in 1893, SGR has offices in Atlanta, Austin, Jacksonville, London, Los Angeles, Miami, Munich, New York, Southampton, and Washington, D.C.