A group of US financiers has combined to support the export of Gulfstream aircraft to China.

US Exim has issued a guarantee for a US$300mn loan issued by Apple Bank to Minsheng Financial Leasing, of Tianjin, for the purchase of eight business aircraft, with the financing expected to reach close in March.

GTR can exclusively reveal that Apple Bank has also provided pre-deposit payment (PDP) financing worth US$85mn to Menshing for a further six aircraft, all of which are to be delivered over the course of 2014. Menshing will subsequently lease the aircraft domestically.

US Exim will provide a guarantee for the PDP financing once the aircraft have attained their certificates of airworthiness, but Apple Bank has currently assumed all credit risk for this transaction.

Kirsten Bartok, managing partner and CEO of AirFinance Leasing Corp, which as a US Exim qualified advisor helped broker the transaction, tells GTR that this is the first time that a US Exim transaction has been tied with PDP financing for this sector, describing the deal as “monumental“.

The initial US$300mn transaction takes US Exim’s coverage in the business aircraft and helicopter space past the US$1bn mark, with Jon Byron, Apple Bank’s senior vice-president, telling GTR that the bank has been involved in “several hundred million dollars” of that total.

Last week, GTR reported that the main growth areas for aviation finance were expected to be in Asia, with Chinese, Vietnamese and Malaysian carriers making a series of large purchases of late. Philip Lewis of HSBC’s structured asset finance team said that he expected to see a growth in commercial financing.

Byron, however, doesn’t expect the market to be vastly different than in previous years. “This market is increasingly global and export credit is becoming an increasingly important part of it. There’s always been commercial financing for general aviation and corporate jets, that will come and go. You go back a decade ago and most sales were US now they’re overseas, so we use US Exim.”

The sentiment is echoed by Bartok, who says: “I don’t see next year being vastly different to years prior. The US and Western Europe have strong commercial banking markets, but we still work in emerging and it’s incredibly difficult to secure financing. With interest rates rising, which everyone is expecting with the Fed stepping back, especially in EM, there’ll be greater need for both commercial banks and US Exim. We look forward to another strong year.”