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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        24  May 2011

Viet Nam Airlines to expand fleet

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A consortium of three banks, Citi, DBS and HSBC, signed yesterday an agreement with Viet Nam Airlines to provide loans for the purchase of up to eight Airbus A321-231S aircraft.

The total financing package is valued at US$457 million. It includes an export credit agency (ECA) facility of US$400 million arranged and financed by HSBC and Citi with the support of European Export Credit Agencies fronted by EULER HERMES, the German export credit agency. Another commercial facility of $57 million will be financed by HSBC and DBS.

The transaction is backed by the Vietnamese Sovereign Guarantee.

Viet Nam Airlines signed contracts with French aviation firm Airbus in 2007 and 2009 to purchase a total of 26 Airbus A321-231 for delivery during the 2011-14 period.

The purchases are part of a plan to expand their fleet to 115 and 170 aircrafts by 2015 and 2020, respectively.

"This finance package will enable Viet Nam Airlines to complete its fleet renewal and expansion plan, which aims to enhance our operating efficiency on all routes worldwide," said Pham Ngoc Minh, president and CEO of Viet Nam Airlines.

"Viet Nam Airlines' goal is to be one of the world's carriers of choice, and after joining SkyTeam in June 2010, we are confident that this landmark deal between VNA and HSBC, Citibank and DBS – some of the world's largest financial corporations – will pave the way for fruitful co-operation in the future and ultimately help us realise our global development strategy." Leaders of the consortium said they fully backed the national carrier's aspirations.

Brett Krause, managing director, Citi Country Office Viet Nam, said: "Commuter and cargo transport into and out of Viet Nam has grown exponentially over the years and this financing supports the carrier in her efforts to better meet growing demand for such services."

He said that City looked forward to "continued future collaboration and cooperation with Viet Nam Airlines as the company charts a course to become one of the premier carriers in the Asia Pacific region".

Sumit Dutta, chief executive officer of HSBC Viet Nam, said the finance package "highlights the local and global strengths that HSBC brings to the Vietnamese market and further reflects our commitment to the long-term development of Viet Nam".

Heng Yeow Khing, Viet Nam country manger, DBS Bank, stressed the bank's regional credentials.

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