Johannesburg, 12 November 2010: Comair Limited, operator of British Airways in South Africa and kulula.com, today announced it has secured the preliminary commitment of US government-backed financing for its new fleet of Boeing 737-800 aircraft. The credit guarantee, which will cover all eight aircraft, was secured via the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank).
Ex-Im Bank is the official export credit agency of the United States federal government.It provides credit guarantees for financing and insuring foreign purchases of United States goods, thereby supporting export companies in that country.
Erik Venter, Joint CEO of Comair, said “We are thrilled to have secured a preliminary commitment from Ex-Im bank to back the financing of our new fleet of Boeing 737-800 aircraft. This provides us with cost-effective financing and increases the attractiveness in the international financing market of funding our fleet acquisition. Ultimately this will ensure that South Africa maintains world class airline services.”
Venter added that the company’s ability to secure this financing was due mainly to its 65-year profit history.
“The new 737-800’s will further enhance our high efficiency, low cost business model and will set the standard for the industry in Southern Africa, while maintaining Comair’s leadership position. While the order will increase our gearing, together with our other efficiency initiatives it will position us for a much stronger profit performance in the future,” added Venter.
Fred P. Hochberg, chairman and president of Ex-Im Bank said in Johannesburg this week that Comair is the third South African company this week that is expected to receive export financing to buy U.S. goods or services with support from Ex-Im Bank. “These transactions are great examples of Ex-Im Bank’s firm commitment to help South Africa meet the country’s infrastructure needs and to support purchases by both small and large companies.”
Hochberg added,”These investments in infrastructure better position South Africa to continue to grow its economy and improve the lives of its citizens. We are excited to be part of these plans that move South Africa forward.”
For further information, please contact:
Heidi Brauer (Executive Manager: Group Marketing)
Tel: 011 981 5877
Cell: 082 557 8376
Annemie Krause (Account Manager)
Tel: 021 461 2117
Cell: 082 825 3262
Comair is a leading South African aviation company that is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange (JSE:COM). Since 1996 the company has operated the local and Southern African regional services of British Airways. Comair also operates Africa’s first low fare airline, kulula.com. This quirky brand has since inception revolutionalised air travel in South Africa by making flying much easier and affordable to customers. Launched in 1946, Comair has made global aviation history by having posted 65 years of operating profit - an aviation record that is held by no other airline. For more information, visit www.comair.co.za
About Ex-Im Bank
Ex-Im Bank, an independent, self-sustaining federal agency, helps create and maintain American jobs by filling gaps in export financing and strengthening U.S. export competitiveness. Overall during the fiscal year, Ex-Im Bank authorized a record high of approximately $24.5 billion in loans, guarantees and insurance, including more than $5 billion in authorizations for small businesses. More information about Ex-Im Bank is available at www.exim.gov.