BLP teams with Vedder Price on ELFC aircraft engine acquisition

Berwin Leighton Paisner (BLP) and US firm Vedder Price were the two main legal advisors on Engine Lease Finance Corporation’s (ELFC) acquisition of 47 aircraft engines from Macquarie Bank Limited.

The deal is still subject to relevant consents but upon completion, which is ­expected to be in the fourth quarter of 2011, ELFC will become the largest independent operating lessor of aircraft engines, with 300 of them on lease to more than 80 airlines.

However, the company is still third, behind General Electric and Rolls-Royce, in overall terms.

Vedder Price, which has plans to open a London office later this year after hiring Clyde & Co’s co-head of aviation finance Gavin Hill, advised Macquarie Bank on the financing of the deal. Geoffrey Kass, a partner in Vedder Price’s global transportation finance group, led the firm’s team.

BLP advised ELFC. Asset finance partner Keith ­Wilson led on the deal with partner Adrian Magnus advising on competition issues.

Wilson joined BLP from Ingram Winter Green in April this year. He has advised ELFC, a subsidiaryof Bank of Tokyo-­Mitsubishi, on a number of matters at his previous firms, which include Paul Hastings and Hogan Lovells legacy firm Lovells.

In a statement Wilson said: “The sale of the 47-engine portfolio was a rare opportunity for a lessor to make a significant advance in a single transaction. We’re pleased to have assisted ELFC in winning a competitive bid process and ­quickly reaching a definitive agreement to make that step. This transaction required depth of resource in the aircraft finance and leasing area, which was a main driver for my joining BLP.”

New York law governed the documents in the deal, and after having negotiated and drafted the terms BLP had Fulbright & Jaworski give the final sign off.