NRC to swap Ilyushin Finance stake for Red Wings Tu-204s

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Russia's National Reserve Corporation (NRC) and leasing company Ilyushin Finance have worked out an arrangement with a view to improving the asset base of Tupolev Tu-204 operator Red Wings.

Under the tripartite memorandum of understanding, NRC is to swap its 25.8% shareholding in Ilyushin Finance for eight Tu-204-100s that are on operating lease with Red Wings.

A spokesman for the lessor said ownership rights to these aircraft would be transferred to NRC-owned Red Wings, the result of which should be an increase in its capitalisation.

He added: "The arrangement also provides for restructuring the carrier's debt stemming from its outstanding lease payments for the Tu-204s. In turn, Ilyushin Finance will have an opportunity to offer its shares to a strategic investor."

Vnesheconombank, which owns 21% of Ilyushin Finance, is understood to be seeking control of the company. The lessor's chief Alexander Rubtsov said: "The deal will allow us to consolidate our ownership structure within the framework of the VEB Group."

The agreement stipulates that the participants must follow up its provisions and strike a deal over the next two months. Vnesheconombank's subsidiary investment firm VEB Capital is to act as a financial advisor.

NRC board chairman Alexander Lebedev has confimed its willingness to proceed with the project to launch serial production of modernised Tu-204SM twinjets and support Red Wings as a potential launch customer for the type.