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Emirates can likely make a better return on the investment during the period than it will have to pay off on the loans, so why not go the financing route.
Emirates, the world’s biggest airline by international passenger traffic, is seeking to raise about $2 billion from four loans to fund the purchase of planes, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The Dubai government-owned carrier will pay interest of less than 200 basis points, or two percentage points, above the London interbank offered rate on the 12-year amortising loans, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private.
“Emirates is well positioned to finance all its upcoming aircraft deliveries,” the airline said in an e-mailed response to questions from Bloomberg. “We look at all financing options and it has never been a problem for us to get support from banks or financial institutions.”
The carrier will take delivery of nine Boeing Co.’s 777-300ER planes and 10 Airbus Group NV A380-800 superjumbos during the 2014-15 fiscal year, according to one of the people. Emirates needs to raise $4.5 billion in the financial year beginning in April to pay for new aircraft, it said in August.
Companies in the United Arab Emirates, the second-biggest Arab economy, are increasingly tapping the loan market to raise funds as interest rates decline amid surplus cash at banks. Emirates Integrated Telecommunications Co., the company known as Du, raised $720 million this month from a five-year loan at 120 basis points over Libor, data compiled by Bloomberg shows.
Passenger traffic through Dubai’s airport is surging as the emirate’s tourism industry rebounds and long haul inter- continental traffic through the city grows. Customer numbers at the airport last year jumped 15 percent to 66.4 million, taking it past Paris Charles de Gaulle and Frankfurt.
Emirates had overall borrowing and lease liabilities of $11 billion at the end of March last year, equivalent to 176 percent of its equity, according to its most recent annual report.
With assistance from Deena Kamel Yousef in Dubai. To contact the reporter on this story: Arif Sharif in Dubai at firstname.lastname@example.org To contact the editors responsible for this story: Samuel Potter at email@example.com Claudia Maedler.