British Airways & easyJet: British isles Export Finance’s new variety of point out assist

George T. Taft


  • Historically, most UKEF aid has been to overseas consumers, with direct support to Uk exporters generally for SMEs.
  • The aerospace sector is a main publicity for UKEF, until finally now targeted on supporting overseas airlines to acquire British isles aerospace items and expert services.
  • UKEF is increasing immediate assist for Uk exporters and enabling larger value transactions in response to the coronavirus crisis.
  • BA’s mortgage increases its liquidity, but its guardian IAG designs far more personal debt-boosting.
  • EasyJet will increase its liquidity and refinance some shorter term personal debt.

British Airways and easyJet also experienced loans confirmed by the UK’s Covid Corporate Financing Facility in 2020

The two BA and easyJet benefited from GBP600 million loans guaranteed by the British isles government’s Covid Corporate Funding Facility (CCFF) in the spring of 2020.

As with the CCFF, the Uk governing administration does not give the money for financial loans under the new UKEF plan. Funds will come from a professional financial institution, but the federal government supports the transaction with a condition-backed ensure.

Neither plan is customized to the airline sector, but is obtainable to qualifying Uk businesses.

Most UKEF assistance is to overseas purchasers

UKEF is a United kingdom govt company, which supplies export credit score to guidance British isles exporters.

The company has been doing this for a extensive time, but it is a lot more commonly acknowledged for supporting exporters by way of credit guarantees and direct financial loans to overseas potential buyers, somewhat than the provision of significant amenities immediate to exporters.

In 2019/2020, 67% of the value of solutions issued by UKEF was in the type of buyer credit assures and 17% was direct financial loans to buyers, in accordance to its yearly report.


Immediate assist to Uk exporters was previously for SMEs

Historically, in which it has furnished working capital support immediate to exporters, this has tended to be directed at SMEs and in reasonably small values.

In 2019/2020, 77% of organizations supported by the agency had been SMEs.


UKEF aids overseas airlines to invest in British isles aerospace goods and providers

UKEF has had a very long-standing position in the aviation/aerospace sector. According to its yearly report, its most significant risk concentration is in aerospace, accounting for 27% of its total amount of money at hazard as at 31-Mar-2020.

In 2019/2020 it provided GP665 million of buyer funding help to aid Uk-based manufacturers and MRO suppliers. This was 16% of the full worth of aid provided by the company past calendar year, but this was focused on international airlines.

For case in point, it supported the financing of two Rolls Royce-engined 787 plane for El Al Airways very last 12 months, and has supported a whole of 18 such aircraft deliveries to a assortment of airlines.

Alongside one another with French and German export credit companies, UKEF supported the delivery of six Airbus A380s to Emirates in 2019/2020, and two A330neos to Air Senegal.

In partnership with the US agency Ex-Im bank, UKEF also supported motor overhaul operate carried out by GE in the United kingdom.

UKEF is increasing immediate help for United kingdom exporters…

UKEF’s preparations with BA and easyJet have been presented underneath its Export Enhancement Guarantee (EDG) scheme. This is a relatively new merchandise for the agency, aimed at rising the help readily available to qualifying British isles exporters in reaction to the coronavirus disaster.

As opposed to other UKEF products and solutions aimed instantly at exporters, the EDG is not tied to a precise exporting agreement.

The plan is out there to exporters carrying on business in the Uk, irrespective of whether suppliers or assistance providers, whose export product sales are at the very least 20% of annual turnover in any one particular of the earlier 5 many years, or at least 5% in each of the past 3 several years.

UKEF provides partial assures of up to 80% of the price of the personal loan for a maximum reimbursement time period of five decades.

…enabling larger benefit transactions

Also, it presents bigger sums than are commonly available below other UKEF strategies that immediately assistance exporters.

The company expects the average worth of EDG transactions to be among GBP100 million and GBP500 million. This compares with up to GBP25 million beneath its Typical Export Facility.

As a outcome, EDG will get in larger businesses and help greater financial loans. The very first transaction below this plan was to aid a financial loan to the automobile manufacturer Jaguar Land Rover in 2019. UKEF now options to roll out this product or service a lot more widely.

The loans backed for BA and easyJet are extremely a great deal greater than the vary envisaged for regular values under the plan.

They are also unconventional in getting examples of big export finance assistance to exporters that are not producers and in right funding United kingdom airways (rather than supporting overseas airways getting United kingdom-built tools).

BA’s financial loan improves its liquidity, but guardian IAG designs more financial debt boosting

BA expects to draw down the facility in Jan-2021 and can repay the bank loan at any time. The agreement will come with covenants, which include limits on dividend payments by BA to its guardian IAG.

The bank loan enhances BA’s accessible liquidity and purchases the airline far more time to negotiate its way by frustrated and uncertain desire conditions until finally COVID-19 vaccination programmes can get started to restore some kind of normality.

As a team, IAG had complete readily available liquidity, comprising income and undrawn amenities, of EUR8. billion. In Oct-2020 the group raised EUR2.7 billion as a result of a legal rights concern of new shares, and it has also elevated its borrowings.

It expects to incorporate more to its latest degrees of liquidity by boosting far more credit card debt.

EasyJet will refinance some brief phrase debt…

EasyJet’s facility, when drawn, will be secured on plane in its fleet. In addition to expanding its accessible liquidity, easyJet will use part of the proceeds to refinance GBP400 million of limited term financial debt in the kind of a completely drawn revolving credit score facility.

EasyJet has secured much more than GBP4.5 billion in liquidity given that the start off of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among other funding initiatives, EasyJet has lifted GBP600 million via the UK’s CCFF, GBP416 million as a result of new shares, and extra than GBP1. billion via plane sale and leaseback transactions, in addition to other debt services.

EasyJet will take into consideration further more funding possibilities in accordance to need to have. As of early Nov-2020, soon after its final announcement of aircraft sale and leasebacks, it had 141 fully owned and unencumbered plane, or 41% of its fleet.

…but has limitations on dividend payments

As with BA, the new facility contains limits on dividend payments. This is possibly additional sizeable for easyJet, whose shares are detailed on the stock exchange, but the LCC states that the restrictions are “compatible with easyJet’s present dividend coverage”.

EasyJet’s plan is to pay back 50% of its headline gain following tax as dividends, with no dividend when it helps make a loss. It designed a decline in its past economic year, finished 30-Sep-2020, and is expected to make an additional loss in FY2021 (resource: – S&P World-wide Industry Intelligence).

The dividend restriction could turn into extra awkward if the facility stays in place when easyJet returns to earnings, but that will be a fantastic dilemma to have, from present day standpoint.

BA and easyJet are significant exporters, now thoroughly embraced by UKEF

Some people may perhaps not believe of airways when looking at companies that are main exporters.

Nonetheless, easyJet created GBP3. billion in income from outside the United kingdom in FY2020 (62% of its whole profits). For BA, the determine was GBP6.7 billion in the calendar year to Dec-2019 (51% of the whole). These quantities suggest the two airlines’ significance to the British isles economic climate as exporters.

UKEF states that its mission is to “make certain no feasible British isles export fails for absence of finance or insurance coverage from the private sector”. The COVID-19 disaster has improved the chance to non-public sector financiers in lending to airlines.

Bringing airways immediately into the UKEF’s orbit helps to ensure that personal sector finance is extra forthcoming, as the possibility to financiers is lowered. But the phrases of the loan and the linked covenants are on a business foundation.

BA and easyJet will have to still stay feasible corporations, company the credit card debt and repay it at the close of the expression. This is not an open up-finished determination together the lines of the French govt indicating that it will do whatsoever it can take to ensure the survival of Air France.

Yet, the two largest British isles-primarily based airlines are no doubt relieved to have the new UKEF scheme readily available. 

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