By Stanley Carvalho
Abu Dhabi-listed Waha Capital agrees a financing deal for nine military aircraft.
Abu Dhabi-listed Waha Capital finalised a $1.8bn financing deal for the UAE Armed Forces to buy Airbus and Boeing military aircraft, the firm said on Tuesday.
The financing deal enables the military to buy three Airbus A-330-200s at a cost of $1.2bn and six Boeing C-17 planes worth $634m, it said in a statement.
Waha, formerly known as Oasis International Leasing Co, changed from a solely leasing company into an investment company in 2008 with four subsidiaries, including real estate, financial services, leasing and maritime.
"The financial backing we have received from reputable international financial institutions is testimony to the confidence of the international community in the strength of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) economy and financial credibility of Abu Dhabi emirate," said Hussain al Nowais, chairman of Waha Capital.
Delivery of the planes will take place over the next three years, Waha said.
Nowais said four international banks had taken part in the structured financing, but he declined to identify the lenders.
"Time is of great essence, the rates were of importance and the terms are very good given the times we are in," Nowais said, declining to give the terms of the deal.
Moody's rates the UAE's foreign and local currency government debt at a high investment grade level of Aa2 with a stable outlook. Abu Dhabi's rating stands at the same level.
The agency said in December it had placed ratings of government-related issuers in the UAE, including from Abu Dhabi, on review for possible downgrade due to continuing uncertainty over the restructuring of conglomerate Dubai World.
Waha Capital said the financing deal was part of a wider financing programme for the UAE Armed Forces worth in total AED11bn ($3bn), which would be finalised during 2010, Nowais said.
In February 2009, the UAE Armed Forces mandated Waha Capital to arrange and manage a financing programme to purchase 12 C-130 J Super Hercules' from Lockheed Martin along with four C-17 military transportation jets from Boeing.
Waha shares closed flat on Tuesday at AED0.91 a share. (Reuters)