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"All human life was in this deal"

Issuer: GPA Amount: $4.05 billion Launched: March 11 Lead manager: Morgan Stanley

Issuer: GPA
Amount: $4.05 billion

Launched: March 11

Lead manager: Morgan Stanley

They managed it, but only just. In early March, GPA sold $4.05 billion of asset-backed global bonds, hauling the company back from the brink just weeks before directors at the Irish-based aircraft leasing company would probably have been forced to apply for receivership.

The issue, one of the largest and most complicated bonds ever sold outside the government sector, capped 18 months of intensive negotiations. Right up to the wire it looked as if the deal could fail, with one creditor refusing to agree to details of the restructuring.

"All human life was in this deal," said John Tierney GPA's chief financial officer. Alongside the securitization, the company had to settle litigation, reschedule aircraft orders, and sell off loss-making subsidiaries. Failure to complete any of these could have scuppered the deal.

Channelled through special purpose vehicle, Airplanes Group, the $4.05 billion bond issue parcelled up cashflow from 229 airplanes owned by GPA in the first-ever securitization of rental income from airplane leases. The proceeds from the issue allowed the company to pay down $2.9 billion of bank and secured debt as well as to raise new money for operating purposes and to pre-fund further debt payments.

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