Etihad raises some serious cash

They weren’t quite punching the air in celebration, but the wide grins on the faces of Etihad Airways head James Hogan and his CFO James Rigney said it all in London yesterday.

This fast-moving, fast-growing, new wave (their words) carrier has won the support of the US, the UK, France and Germany to help finance their new aircraft deliveries.

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From left to right at the Etihad dinner: James Rigney, Etihad’s CFO; Lester Wynne-Jones, CEO, HSBC Abu Dhabi & Al Ain; James Hogan, Etihad CEO; Dr Matthias Neugebauer, senior vice-president LBBW; and Nigel Addison Smith, finance director of the ECGD.

VIDEO: James Hogan on Etihad’s big finance dash

 

The ins and outs of the story are well explained by the Australian’s Steve Creedy here, but the bottom line for Hogan and Rigney is that their business plan has been validated at the highest level and been found to be gold-plated.

The message is that this move proves Etihad is not a state-subsidised carrier, but a valid business with a robust corporate governance framework and a balance sheet that can withstand the closest scrutiny.

Hogan and his finance team have been grilled in Washington by the US Ex-Im bank and more recently by Europe’s Export Credit Bodies as to why their airline should obtain their guarantees for loans that will finance a lot of Boeing and Airbus airliners.

And they got the green light, which hasn’t always been the case for every carrier from the region of late.

The ability to raise such serious cash in a market that is supposed to be tight is tremendously significant for Etihad.

And it will mean the airline’s borrowing for these aircraft will quite simply be cheaper than if it went purely to the commercial market.

Hogan held a dinner at London’s glitzy Dorchester Hotel to celebrate the announcement of the deal.

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