On February 22, 2022, European Cargo Limited ("ECL") closed a significant minority equity investment by Priority 1 Logistics Holdings LLC, a newly-formed subsidiary of U.S.-based, Priority 1 Holdings LLC ("Priority 1"). Proceeds of the investment will be used to eliminate third-party debt, convert EAL's A340 fleet to full cargo freighters, acquire additional aircraft, complete heavy maintenance checks and for shareholder dividends.
Paul Stoddart, Chairman of ECL commented: "This is a major step forward in the growth of European Cargo. We have positioned our airline to provide our valued freight customers with a reliable air bridge to meet the increasing demand for air freight. The investment by Priority 1 into ECL will help us continue to build a sustainable, successful and profitable business following one of the most difficult periods in aviation history due to the Covid pandemic. This partnership with Priority 1 provides us with additional financial resources as well as deep commercial aviation expertise which will increase our capacity and ensure that we meet our rapidly accelerating customer demands."
Douglas Brennan, Executive Chairman of Priority 1, commented: "Expanding Priority 1's business into the cargo market represents a very exciting opportunity given the outsized demand for reliable air freighters due to strong trends in the marketplace, including the growing importance of e-commerce and reliable delivery of PPE to the world at large. Paul Stoddart and his skilled team at ECL have built enormous aviation capabilities and, together, we will help fuel the growth of ECL to build a powerful global cargo operator."
Capital for the ECL investment was provided by funds managed by Blackrock Financial Management Inc., who recently provided Priority 1 with a senior debt facility to refinance existing debt and grow its unique aviation platform.
NatAlliance Securities, LLC acted as advisor to Priority 1 Logistics Holdings for both the senior debt capital raise and its investment in ECL.