Etihad Airways’ finance team has continued its winning streak by landing two key awards – for best treasury team and for securing a unique US$700 million bond agreement – from the Middle East chapter of the Association of Corporate Treasurers (ACT ME).
Last year’s landmark finance transaction for Etihad Airways Partners’ (EAP), a brand that brings together Etihad Airways and partner airlines, was once again recognised with a fourth international award after being named Corporate Finance Deal of the Year.
Seen as the first joint financing deal of its kind in the airline industry, the ground-breaking transaction was aimed at funding EAP’s expansion through capital expenditure, fleet investment and other essential business needs. The five-year bond agreement involved Etihad Airways, its subsidiary Etihad Airport Services and five of the carrier’s strategic equity airline partners – airberlin, Air Serbia, Air Seychelles, Alitalia and Jet Airways – within EAP.
The innovative deal was the fourth success in as many months for EAP. Other awards for the same transaction have been given by leading finance publications around the world – Emerging Europe Middle East and Africa Bond of the Year by International Financing Review (IFR); Debt Financing Deal of the Year Middle East by Global Transport Finance; and Innovative Deal of the Year by Airfinance Journal.
For the second year running, the Best Large Treasury Team of the Year accolade has been presented by ACT Middle East to Etihad Airways for best practice. Over the years, Etihad Airways’ treasury team has implemented and continuously improved its processes, procedures, policies and controls, helping build the airline into one of the largest and most successful corporates in the region with such robust systems in place.
Etihad Airways’ treasury team, led by Ricky Thirion, Group Treasurer (6th left), and James Rigney, Etihad Aviation Group Chief Financial Officer (centre), is pictured after picking up two key accolades at the annual awards of the Middle East of Association of Corporate Treasurers in Dubai.
Most recently, the treasury team struck two major agreements for global transactional banking services that significantly streamlined processes and reduced transactional costs for the global airline. With Etihad Airways having over 70 banking partners worldwide, these were reduced to just two – National Bank of Abu Dhabi as the Middle East partner and Citi selected for other markets globally.
James Hogan, Etihad Aviation Group President and Chief Executive Officer, said the latest awards yet again demonstrated the tremendous hard work at the heart of the group where finance plays a critical role in the success of any organisation.
“We have a clear strategy to build a business model based on organic growth and minority investments in airlines around the world that strengthen our global network and provide greater consumer choice,” he said.
“As part of this growth, it is vital to have robust financial systems to drive efficiency across the group and all credit to our finance team for creating and implementing such systems to benefit Etihad Airways and our partners.”
James Rigney, Etihad Aviation Group Chief Financial Officer, speaking after the awards ceremony in Dubai last night, added: “The awards reflect treasury leadership, treasury best practice and treasury acumen in developing innovative and untested measures in today’s competitive aviation landscape. Our successful bond transaction supported by lead advisor Goldman Sachs and both ADS Securities and Anoa Capital generated a tremendous amount of investor talk internationally that demonstrated the excellent work carried out by our team in concluding the deal.”
ACT Middle East is the region’s only professional treasury body with voting for the annual awards by local, regional and international corporates, banks and institutional investors.