Michael W. Smith concentrates on aircraft finance, equipment leasing, financial guaranty insurance products and other corporate transactions. His aircraft finance experience includes US Ex-Im Bank and other export credit agency-supported transactions, leveraged finance and operating leases, portfolio acquisitions and finance transactions, vendor finance matters, restructuring and bankruptcy matters, ABS transactions, securitizations, securities offerings and sales of lease receivables.
Mr. Smith has been identified as a leading aviation, transportation and asset finance lawyer in independent publications and surveys from Chambers
, Legal 500
, Euromoney plc, Who's Who Legal
, US News—Best Lawyers
His recent aircraft finance transactions include the representation of Aviation Capital Group, Toronto Dominion, Pegasus Airlines, Virgin Australia, and other airlines, leasing companies and financial institutions in connection with the US Ex-Im Bank-supported financing of Boeing and Gulfstream aircraft and Sikorsky helicopters, including guaranteed loan structures, direct loans, capital markets take-out transactions and direct to capital markets and prefunded transactions.
He has also represented:
- JetBlue Airways in the sale of US$225 million of privately placed Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificates (EETCs) in March 2014;
- JP Morgan Securities as initial purchaser in the issuance of notes guaranteed by US Ex-Im Bank in the capital markets. The notes were issued by an affiliate of GOL to finance engine maintenance services performed by Delta. The transaction was selected as "2012 Latin American Deal of the Year" byAirfinance Journal;
- Foreign and U.S. financial institutions as lead arrangers, lenders and initial purchasers in numerous financing transactions for leading helicopter leasing companies (including secured term loan and revolving credit facilities, bridge financings, PDP financings, unsecured loans and US Ex-Im Bank capital markets transactions). He has also acted for helicopter leasing companies and operators in secured term loan and revolving credit facilities;
- Aviation Capital Group in its US$600 million issuance of senior unsecured notes, the first Rule 144A notes offering by ACG, in a transaction selected as "2010 Deal of the Year: North America" by Airfinance Journal and in subsequent 144A offerings;
- Aircraft leasing companies and lenders in connection with syndicated secured loans, joint ventures and unsecured note offerings;
- An engine manufacturer in connection with various vendor finance matters; and
- Lessees and lenders in French, Italian and Luxembourg lease transactions.
Mr. Smith has worked on financings involving a wide range of assets, including aircraft and engines, helicopters, railroad rolling stock, air traffic control equipment, power plants, telecommunications equipment and semi-conductor production equipment. He also has experience in project finance, joint ventures, shipping, acquisition finance, trade receivables finance, venture capital and leveraged buyout transactions.
He is active in pro bono matters for numerous clients including Acumen, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, Rainforest Alliance and Artstor.
Mr. Smith was previously based in Greece, England, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.