ILFC gets $5.7bn in financing

Mega-lessor International Lease Finance Corp. (ILFC) obtained a $5.7 billion commercial paper financing via the Federal Reserve Bank Commercial Paper Funding Facility.

This just goes to show what government ownership can do for you, after all.

ILFC, of course, is more than a little important to commercial aviation and to Airbus and Boeing in particular. ILFC has ordered more airliners from the Big Two manufacturers than any other customer–747 from Boeing (7-Series airplanes only) and 609 from Airbus. It is Boeing’s largest customer for the 787, with 74 on order.

ILFC is a subsidiary of insurance giant AIG, which narrowly missed filing for bankruptcy when the US government initially committed to loan $85 billion (with another $37 billion coming later). A Chapter 11 filing by AIG would almost certainly have meant a bankruptcy filing for ILFC, even though its financial condition was never in doubt; subsidiaries are routinely put into Chapter 11 if the parent files in order to protect assets from liens and seizures by creditors.

As a result of AIG’s troubles, the commercial paper market dried up for AIG and ILFC. ILFC had to draw down $6.7 billion from its credit lines to repay CP coming due; at the time, ILFC said this would provide enough liquidity “into” the first quarter of 2009, an alarming statement that suggested liquidity problems might arise by then.

With AIG’s troubles, ILFC’s cost of funds had been rising throughout 2008. Its medium term note interest rate in January was under 3.5%; by September, just before the markets and AIG collapsed, ILFC’s interest rate had risen to nearly 8.5%.

The interest rate obtained for the $5.7 billion CP issued by the Federal Reserve to its new government majority-owned partner: 2.78%.

Airbus and Boeing can breath easier: ILFC’s orders are safe.

The financing was revealed in an SEC 8K filed today.

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