CIT sees mixed transportation outlook

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Transportation companies linked to commercial aviation continue to deliver strong results, while those tied to defence face additional challenges, according to Chris Cantwell, managing director and group head of CIT Transportation Lending.

“The industry right now is like a tale of two cities,” says Cantwell. “Things tied to the commercial side of the industry are quite strong. We have a very strong outlook and we think our customers are looking at it the same way.”

However, uncertainty around government budgets in the United States and abroad has impacted the defence sector. “Our customers who are more tied to the defence budget tend to be more conservative in terms of their outlook and are careful about managing their existing portfolio rather than focusing so much on growth,” says Cantwell.

Commenting on the most active sectors in the current market, he says: “Right now we’re seeing opportunities on the cash flow side of our business in terms of financing roll-ups of aerospace component manufacturers.”

“On the asset side of the business we’re seeing many opportunities to provide financing for users and owners of commercial helicopters in areas such as oil and gas, emergency medical services, and search and rescue.”

In the current environment, companies are looking for their lenders to be flexible and provide a full “suite” of solutions. “One of the things that’s unique about transportation lending, specifically at CIT, is we’re just as comfortable doing cash flow deals as we are asset-backed deals,” says Cantwell.