Singapore-based aircraft lessor BOC Aviation has short-listed three parties for the provision of a $400 million Ex-Im loan.

The three contenders are investment banks JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and a joint bid by Goldman Sachs and Calyon, says a BOC Aviation spokeswoman.

The Export-Import Bank of the United States offers financing support to foreign purchasers of new and used US manufactured commercial and general aviation aircraft, including helicopters, under its direct loan, guarantee, and insurance programs.

In April BOC Aviation obtained $1 billion from its parent, Bank of China. It also signed a deal in May with a bank for $440 million, of which it has received 50% of the funds. The spokeswoman declines to name the bank.

BOC Aviation is also in the "very initial" stages of potential bond issue, but has yet to decide the timeframe and the size of the offering.

It, however, says that it has no aircraft purchase plans for now owing to its strong portfolio growth in recent years, with 47 planes to be delivered this year.

Parent company Bank of China said in its annual report that the leasing arm recorded an after-tax profit of $107 million in 2008, up $26 million from the $81 million recorded in 2007.

During 2008, BOC Aviation signed lease contracts involving 32 aircraft with seven airlines globally, and purchased 20 aircraft through purchase and lease-back from airlines including Southwest Airlines. BOC has a portfolio of 92 aircraft and another 71 aircraft orders, a year-on-year increase of 21% and 18% respectively.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news