Baker & McKenzie (Gaikokuho Joint Enterprise) advised Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing Company, Limited (SMFL) on its acquisition of a 35% stake in LCI Investments Limited (LCI), the world's second-largest helicopter leasing company owned by Libra Group. LCI has become an SMFL affiliate.
In 2020, SMFL and LCI decided to combine SMFL's financial strength, creditworthiness and knowledge and expertise in the transportation business with LCI's expertise in helicopter leasing by establishing a helicopter leasing joint venture, SMFL LCI helicopter Limited (SMFLH). SMFLH has since achieved steady growth and has expanded to over 50 aircraft.
With this investment, SMFL will further strengthen its partnership with LCI to enhance sustainable growth in the helicopter business. SMFL also hopes to take advantage of opportunities in the advanced air mobility (AAM) market to expand its portfolio to include electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. In addition, SMFL Group and Libra Group will continue to work to develop and grow their respective global businesses by deepening their relationship.
The Firm's team was led by Safari Watanabe and Masahiro Inaba, partners in the Tokyo office's Corporate / M&A Group. They were supported by Tokyo office counsel Byron Frost and associate Yuki Todaka and Finance & Projects Group partner Masato Honma and Antitrust & Competition Group partner Michio Suzuki. From the London office, James Heller was lead partner and was assisted by associates Nina Janic, Georgiana Andrews and Kirstie Trup.