Asset finance in Ireland

A&L Goodbody LLP

A&L Goodbody LLP's 'strong' practice is renowned for its expertise in aviation finance, with significant experience in asset-backed securitisations (ABS), as well as aircraft portfolio sales and acquisitions, leasing transactions and high-profile restructurings. The team acts for varied clients including banks, private equity firms and major aircraft leasing companies, and offers a placement scheme for Chinese lawyers, led by practice head Marie O’Brien, which has allowed it to expand its Chinese client base. The sizeable team also includes Catherine Duffy, Séamus Ó Cróinín and David Berkery, who has extensive experience in the US market.

Practice head(s):

Marie O’Brien

Other key lawyers:

Catherine Duffy; Séamus Ó Cróinín; David Berkery; Maria McElhinney

Testimonials

‘They have a strong team of partners and a good quality team of associates. They are remarkably efficient and organised and so inspire great confidence that they are on top of the relevant issues at all times.’

‘David Berkery is a fantastic lawyer, extremely knowledgeable and very pragmatic. He is particularly good at providing the detailed Irish law advice required whilst being aware of the broader context of the transaction and therefore helping to navigate potential issues. He is a go-to option for complicated financings with an Irish element.’

‘Marie O’Brien is very hands on and makes herself available to provide partner support.’

‘The A&L Goodbody asset finance team is top-notch. They are particularly effective on cutting-edge, novel transactions.’

‘Catherine Duffy is the dean of Irish aviation lawyers. She is well respected globally.’

‘Séamus Ó Cróinín is extremely good at problem solving. He is a superb lawyer who comes up with excellent solutions to complex issues.’

‘A&L Goodbody has by far the strongest bench and deepest expertise in asset finance in Ireland. They are involved in some of the largest asset finance transactions with an Irish connection, including ABS offerings, warehouses, and portfolio sales and purchases.’

‘Standout individuals in this practice include Séamus Ó Cróinín, Marie O’Brien and recent addition David Berkery. David is extremely proactive in deal execution and represents the next generation to lead A&L Goodbody’s asset finance practice. Séamus and Marie are two of the most respected asset finance lawyers in Ireland. Their knowledge of the aviation finance client base and deal structures, coupled with their hands-on approach, are without compare.’

Key clients

Macquarie AirFinance

MAPS 2019-1 Ltd and MAPS 2019-1 LLC

NCB Capital

InterGlobe Aviation

China Leasing International Corporation DAC

Aero Capital Solutions, Inc

Carlyle Aviation Management

Castlelake, L.P

GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS)

Sky Leasing LLC

Stellwagen Finance

Wings Capital Partners

Thunderbolt III Aircraft Lease Limited

Irish Continental Group, plc

PK AirFinance

Milestone Aviation Group

ING Capital LLC

Sichuan Development Holding

Merx Aviation Finance

ICBC Financing Leasing Company

China Aircraft Leasing Company

Minsheng Financial Leasing

AVIC International Leasing Company

Aergo Capital

ASL Aviation

Chorus Aviation Capital

Airbus

Aircastle

MC Aviation Partners

AerGen

Merlin Aviation

Ping An

Morgan Stanley

Deutsche Bank

Citibank, N.A.

Credit Agricole

Air Lease Corporation

Sculptor Capital Management

Virgo Investment Group / Zephyrus Aviation Capital

Asahi Aviation

Work highlights

  • Acted as Irish legal counsel to an ad hoc committee of secured lenders in connection with the scheme of arrangement of Nordic Aviation Capital DAC.
  • Advised NCB Capital (DIFC) Limited on the shari’a financing of a portfolio of 19 aircraft purchased from AerCap.
  • Advised China Leasing International Corporation DAC on a joint venture entered into with Norwegian Air to finance, own and lease aircraft that Norwegian has on order.

Matheson

The 'well-established and respected' team at Matheson advises on the financing of all asset classes, with particularly significant expertise in aviation finance, and its broad client base includes major banks, aircraft lessors and airlines. With four dedicated asset finance partners in Rory McPhillips, Stuart KennedyYvonne McWeeney and Stephen Gardiner, who was promoted from senior associate in February 2021, the team has a wide range of experience. It has been highly active in sale and leasebacks and restructurings, as well as advising on ABS transactions, portfolio sales and acquisitions, and the establishment of joint venture aircraft leasing platforms.

Practice head(s):

Rory McPhillips; Stuart Kennedy

Other key lawyers:

Yvonne McWeeney; Stephen Gardiner

Testimonials

‘Matheson always respond in a timely manner and think everything through ahead of the clients.’

‘Rory McPhillips is professional and patient when explaining the legal issues and always provides us with several paths to solve the problems.’

‘Good grasp of the requirements for inward investment and set up and doing international business from Ireland, and of the aircraft leasing business.’

‘A lot of reactivity, high quality of advice when it comes to structuring and legal risks, a strong degree of flexibility for the pricing, strong experience in cross-border transactions.’

‘Yvonne McWeeney has exceptional availability, a great capacity to adapt to various situations, jurisdictions and interlocutors, and a very practical approach. She is a dealmaker.’

‘Rory McPhillips has great experience and the ability to find solutions.’

‘We would like to highlight Stuart Kennedy. He is very easy to work with, has in-depth knowledge about the aviation industry, and is commercial and delivers very quickly. A rising star in this team is Stephen Gardiner, who is a very good lawyer.’

‘A can-do, solutions-driven culture across the team. Significant depth in the team where cover and handover is seamless.’

Key clients

SkyHawk Aviation Limited

Deutsche Bank

Aviareto Limited

Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA

Norwegian Air International Limited

Export Development Canada

CDB Aviation

Castlelake, L.P.

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE)

Arctic Aviation Assets DAC

Engine Lease Finance Corporation

CCB Leasing

Work highlights

  • Advised on the establishment of SkyHawk Aviation Limited, a joint venture commercial aircraft leasing platform in Ireland between Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA and China Construction Bank Corporation.
  • Acted as Irish transaction counsel for Aviation Capital Group LLC on a $477m ABS secured on a portfolio of 24 aircraft.
  • Advised AerDragon Aviation Partners Limited on a $220m senior secured commercial loan to refinance ten aircraft which are owned and leased by separate Irish incorporated subsidiary companies within the client’s group of companies.

McCann FitzGerald

McCann FitzGerald stands out for its ability to act as lead counsel on complex aviation finance transactions, with a particular focus on advising major global aircraft lessors. Areas of strength for the team include ABS transactions, portfolio trades and the establishment of joint ventures in the aviation industry, as well as major restructuring deals stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic (in which Joe Fay has played a key role) and sale and leaseback transactions. Noted for its 'extraordinary strength in depth', the team also includes Catherine Deane, Hilary Marren, Georgina O’Riordan and senior associate Ian Payne.

Practice head(s):

Catherine Deane; Joe Fay; Hilary Marren; Georgina O’Riordan; Richard Gill; Colm Fanning

Other key lawyers:

Ian Payne; Laura Deignan

Testimonials

‘They are extremely strong at all levels across the full spectrum of work in the aviation sphere, including portfolio sales and acquisitions, and all manners of financing, advisory, regulatory, litigation, restructuring and corporate work.’

‘Very strong capability at all levels of qualification – the consistency of work product is very, very impressive.’

‘Joe Fay is a huge asset to have in your corner. Very bright, technically astute, excellent at identifying key risks and issues in a deal, pragmatic, creative – all round an excellent practitioner.’

‘Hilary Marren has a vast array of experience across all manner of asset finance work. ’

‘Catherine Deane has a tremendous ability to build rapport and trust with all stakeholders in a transaction, coupled with an experience that facilitates discussions and problem solving on those aspects that are genuinely important to getting a deal closed. ’

‘Extraordinary strength in depth and show a real passion for their work. Extremely proactive and great at anticipating and solving problems before they become an issue.’

‘Catherine Deane is second to none and unparalleled in the aviation field.’

‘Ian Payne and Laura Deignan are standout associates.’

Key clients

AerCap

AerDragon Aviation Partners Limited

AerSale Inc.

Aircastle Advisor LLC

Altavair/Guggenheim

Altitude Investors DAC

Apollo Global Management

ASL Aviation

Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi

BBAM Aviation Services Limited

BOC Aviation Leasing

Calliston GmbH & Co. Beteiligungs KG

Challey Limited

CIAF Leasing

CRA Aircraft Holdings LLC

Credit Agricole

Delaware Life Insurance Company

Deutsche Bank AG

Development Bank of Singapore Ltd

DNB Bank ASA

Doric Asset Finance GmbH & Co. KG

DVB Bank SE

Dynam Japan Holding Holdings Co., Ltd

EMP Aviation Ireland Limited

Fexco

FGL Aircraft Ireland (FUYO)

Fly Leasing Limited

FPG Amentum

Genesis Aircraft Services Limited

GTLK Europe DAC

Guardian Holdings Limited

Haitong Financial Leasing

Haitong UniTrust International Leasing

Jackson Square Aviation Ireland Limited

KKR Altitude Holdings L.P.

KLM

Magnetar Capital

MUFG Bank, Ltd

NGF Overseas Aircraft Limited

Nordic Aviation Capital

Odeon International Holding

ORIX Aviation Systems Limited 

Pembroke Capital/Standard Chartered Bank 

Raglan Air Limited 

Rockton AB 

SAIC Holdings Limited 

SAS

SATO Aviation Capital

Sculptor Asset Management 

Security Benefits Life Insurance Company 

Sierra Echo Aircraft Leasing Limited 

Sirius Aviation Capital Holdings Limited 

Skyworks Leasing (Ireland) Limited 

SMBC Aviation Capital

ST Aerospace Resources Pte. Ltd 

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation 

Titan Aviation  

Trustmark National Bank 

Viva Aerobus 

Vueling Airlines, S.A. 

Work highlights

  • Advised Nordic Aviation Capital on its restructuring of around $6bn of secured and unsecured debt using a solvent scheme of arrangement under Irish company law.
  • Acting for AerCap on a series of high-value bond issuances raising a total of $4bn of unsecured debt.
  • Acted as lead counsel to SMBC Aviation Capital Limited on sale and leaseback transactions involving 13 aircraft to various European operators.

Arthur Cox

Loan and lease restructurings have been a significant area of recent activity for the 'flexible, responsive, practical and well-rounded' team at Arthur Cox, which counts aircraft lessors and a number of major airlines among its clients. It also advises on ABS transactions, aircraft portfolio sales and purchases, and the establishment of leasing platforms. Tax expert Caroline Devlin, who heads the firm's Asia-Pacific group and has significant experience advising Asian clients on aviation finance matters, co-chairs the practice with Rob MurphyLaura Cunningham, who has notable international experience, and Ruth Lillis, who was promoted to partner in January 2021, are also noted.

Practice head(s):

Caroline Devlin; Rob Murphy

Other key lawyers:

Laura Cunningham; Ruth Lillis; Kathleen Garrett

Testimonials

‘Very professional, deep understanding of the industry and provide very valuable advice, very hardworking.’

‘Caroline Devlin is very easy to deal with, provides clear, pragmatic legal advice and is one of the few practitioners in Ireland who has a deep understanding of doing business between Ireland and China.’

‘Caroline Devlin is one of the most trustworthy lawyers I have worked with in Ireland, and has helped my company to grow its business in Europe rapidly during the past years.’

‘Flexible, responsive, practical, well rounded.’

‘We had a good experience working with Laura Cunningham.’

‘Ruth Lillis is proactive, diligent, punctual and reliable at every stage of the project.’

‘The team is very professional. Rob Murphy is very highly respected in the industry for good reason and is a sure hand. The other professionals in the team are responsive, well-trained and knowledgeable. Their pricing is competitive.’

‘The Arthur Cox team are exceptional for quality of service, advice, resourcing and delivery of projects on time and within agreed budgets.’

Key clients

Abbey International Finance Limited

Aer Lingus

Arena

Aviation Industry Corporation of China

Aviator

Avic

Bank of Communications Financial Leasing (Bocomm Leasing)

Braathens Regional Airlines

Braganza AS

Bramora Ltd.

British Airways

China Construction Bank (CCB)

China Merchant Bank

DAA

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise

Flexam Invest

GA Telesis LLC

Lufthansa

Ryanair

SDH Wings International Leasing Limited

Vallair

Work highlights

  • Advised a group of unsecured creditors to Nordic Aviation Capital on an Irish scheme of arrangement which included a 12-month standstill and deferral of secured and unsecured debt.
  • Advising Deutsche Lufthansa AG on its €3bn state-guaranteed loan from state bank KfW and a syndicate of other private banks.
  • Advising Waypoint Steering Committee on all Irish law matters across corporate, finance, security, tax and aviation in connection with a Chapter 11 process for an Irish helicopter leasing platform.

Maples Group

'A strong presence for legal services in the aviation market', Maples Group advises leading financial institutions and aircraft lessors on a wide range of matters in the aviation finance space, including ABS and portfolio sale and acquisition transactions. Led by Donna Ager in London and James Kinsley in Singapore, the team is experienced in handling complex, cross-border matters, and clients benefit from the firm's presence in key aviation jurisdictions as well as its corporate services offering. Mary O’Neill, who is particularly experienced in ABS matters, is the key contact in Dublin.

Practice head(s):

Donna Ager; James Kinsley

Other key lawyers:

Mary O’Neill; Eoin O’Leary

Testimonials

‘Very good depth of knowledge in the asset finance Dublin team, particularly on Irish and English law issues.’

‘Donna Ager, Mary O’Neill and James Kinsley stand out.’

‘Recognised as a strong presence for legal services in the aviation market and work closely with their corporate service capabilities. Geographical coverage in areas used by the aviation industry is key.’

‘The Maples asset finance team have coverage in all the relevant markets, ensuring there is truly global reach. Crucially the team is consistent, experienced and can always be relied upon.’

‘Good relationships with numerous clients, especially aircraft lessors, funds and banks. Ability to act in other offshore jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands as well as Ireland, and ability to provide a wide range of corporate services as part of a single package.’

‘Donna Ager knows the market back to front, is highly responsive and very commercial.’

Key clients

Amedeo

Altavair

ABL Aviation

Avolon

Accipiter

Air Asia

Bain Capital

Cross Ocean Partners

Deucalion (MLFG)

Deutsche Bank

Goshawk

Guggenheim

Airbus Financial Services

Avolon Aerospace

Novus Aviation

DVB Bank

Falko

Aeroflot Russian Airlines

Dubai Aerospace Enterprise (DAE) Ltd.

Investec Bank

Infinity Transportation

Elix Aviation Capital

JP Morgan

China Exlm

Santander Bank SA

SMBC Aviation Capital

Societe Generale

Sky Leasing

KKR

PIMCO

Flight Lease

Waterfall Asset Management

Volofin

Work highlights

  • Advised Avolon and the issuer group on all Irish and Cayman law aspects of a $620m ABS, secured on a portfolio of 19 aircraft.
  • Advised Bain Capital Credit on the acquisition of a portfolio of four aircraft, on lease to four different operating lessees.
  • Acted as Irish counsel and Cayman counsel to Sky Leasing in relation to a newly formed aircraft finance and leasing structure for the purpose of the initial acquisition and leasing of 11 new and used aircraft.

Mason Hayes & Curran LLP

Newly appointed firm chair Christine O’Donovan leads the team at Mason Hayes & Curran LLP, which is experienced in advising major commercial airlines, aircraft leasing companies, banks and private equity funders on aviation finance matters, as well as a particularly strong roster of export credit agencies. Key areas of expertise include cross-border leasing and financing transactions, ABS, joint ventures, restructurings, and aircraft sales and portfolio trading. Financial services partner Barry Walsh also assists with secured financing transactions.

Practice head(s):

Christine O’Donovan

Other key lawyers:

Barry Walsh; Joseph Maxwell

Key clients

Airbus Financial Services and affiliates including ATR

Airbus Helicopters

Bpifrance

Euler Hermes

Export Development Canada

US EXIM – Export Import Bank of the USA

J.A. Mitsui (Japan)

KV Aviation Group (UK & Australia)

Montrose Global Aircraft Leasing Limited (UK)

SACE

Willis Lease Finance Corporation

UK Export Finance

Vallair Solutions SARL

Work highlights

  • Advised IAG/Aer Lingus on a Japanese operating lease with call option (JOLCO) structured financing from Commerzbank and SMTB for two A330-300 aircraft.
  • Advised Willis Lease Finance Corporation on a $366m ABS transaction involving a pool of 54 aircraft engines and three airframes.
  • Advised ATLAS 2014-1 Limited / Nordic Aviation Capital on the restructuring and unwinding of an ATLAS 2014-1 Limited ABS transaction.

Walkers

Walkers' 'experienced and service-oriented' team frequently acts on complex cross-border transactions in the aviation finance space, drawing on the support of the firm's offices in key jurisdictions such as the Cayman Islands. The team has significant expertise in ABS deals, syndicated financings of aircraft portfolios, and the establishment of aircraft financing and leasing platforms, and offers professional services teams in Ireland, Cayman and Dubai to assist with financing and leasing structures. David McGovern, who has notable expertise in the Korean market, leads the team. Of counsel Killian McSharry is also noted.

Practice head(s):

David McGovern

Other key lawyers:

Killian McSharry; Matt Hedigan; Caitlín Friel

Testimonials

‘Walkers’ asset finance team in Dublin is experienced and service-oriented with vast experience in international aviation finance transactions and a very decent complementary practice in certain relevant offshore jurisdictions.’

‘David McGovern and his team are very professional, competent, accessible and pleasant. This is an impression from working alongside them and as opposing counsel.’

Key clients

ACG

Airborne Capital Limited

ALC

AMCK

Banco Santander

BNP Paribas

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

CALC

Carlyle Aviation

China Minsheng Investment Group

CIT Bank

Citi Bank

Crédit Agricole

Credit Suisse

Deutsche Bank

Druid Leasing

Dunas Capital

Goshawk Aviation

ICBC Leasing

Investec Bank

KGAL

Lease Corporation International

M&G Investments Limited

Marathon

MCAP

Natixis

Nord LB

Och-Ziff Capital Management

Orix

Sberbank Leasing

Seraph Aviation Management Limited

Shinhan Investments

SMBC Aviation Capital

Standard Chartered

Stratos

Wells Fargo

Work highlights

  • Acted as counsel for China Minsheng Investment Group on the sale of its leasing platform to Castlelake, L.P.
  • Acted on Airborne Capital’s inaugural $637m ABS three note issuance alongside the Cayman office.
  • Acted as Irish and Cayman counsel for M&G Investment Management Limited on its equity investment in Sky Leasing LLC’s first aircraft leasing fund.

William Fry

William Fry's strong client base includes a number of international banks, and the team is particularly well versed in advising lenders on the provision of loan facilities for the financing and refinancing of aircraft portfolios. Other key clients include aircraft leasing companies and the team has experience advising Chinese lessors on the refinancing of their portfolios. David Maughan, who heads the practice, and Mary Ward also advise on the establishment of Irish aircraft leasing platforms and sale and leaseback transactions, and regularly handle cross-border matters.

Practice head(s):

David Maughan

Other key lawyers:

Mary Ward

Key clients

Bank of Communications Co., Ltd.

China Development Bank

Credit Agricole CIB

DVB Bank

Goldman Sachs

Goshawk Aviation Limited

Hines Ireland

HSBC

Investec Bank plc

ING Bank

KfW Bank

Natixis

Clover Aircraft Leasing Company Limited (formerly Ping An International Financial Leasing)

Societe Generale

Santander

The Korea Development Bank

Development Bank of Japan

CMB Financial Leasing Co., Ltd

Landesbank Hessen Thüringen Girozentrale

Agricultural Bank of China (Hong Kong Branch)

Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited

MUFG Ltd Hong Kong Branch

MUFG Ltd Singapore Branch

Deutsche Bank AG, Singapore Branch

Work highlights

  • Advised Credit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank and a syndicate of lenders on its financing of a large facility advanced to a global lessor.
  • Advised Landesbank Hessen Thüringen Girozentrale (Helaba) on its financing of a portfolio of aircraft for a global lessor.
  • Advised DVB Bank SE, Singapore Branch on the upsizing of its existing facilities for a global lessor.