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Airline Economics Names Willis Lease WEST II Securitization "Americas Deal Of The Year" And Global Transport Finance Awards "Engine Finance Deal Of The Year"

NOVATO, Calif., Feb. 19, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Willis Lease Finance Corporation (Nasdaq:WLFC), a leading lessor of commercial jet engines, today announced that two industry leading publications recently provided award recognition to its WEST II asset backed engine securitization transaction completed in September 2012. Airline Economics, a financial magazine focused on the commercial aerospace market, awarded WEST II its "Americas Deal of the Year" and Global Transport Finance named it the "Engine Finance Deal of the Year" for 2012. 

"We are proud to be recognized for our aircraft engine financing expertise, and that our engine securitization was selected for two prestigious honors in the aviation finance industry," said Charles F. Willis, CEO and Chairman. "I am very proud of all of our staff whose contributions helped make this transaction a reality."

Willis Lease Finance, through its wholly owned subsidiary Willis Engine Securitization Trust II (WEST II), completed the sale of $390 million of senior secured notes, and repaid the predecessor ABS notes of WEST I, in September 2012. "Credit Agricole Securities structured the deal and together with Goldman Sachs helped us place this offering in a challenging market," Willis added.

The WEST II ABS securities are a single class of senior notes with a fixed coupon of 5.50%, an expected maturity of 10 years, a weighted average life of 7.3 years and a final maturity of 25 years. The notes are secured by 79 aircraft engines acquired from Willis Lease at a loan to appraised value of approximately 70%. For this transaction, Credit Agricole Securities was the Sole Structuring Agent and a Joint Bookrunner along with Goldman, Sachs & Co. Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP provided legal counsel for WEST II and the Company. Clifford Chance US LLP provided counsel to the underwriters. The WEST II Notes were rated A(sf) by both Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings.

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