Herbert Smith Freehills has recruited four aviation finance partners from Watson Farley Williams’ London and Singapore offices, including head of the firm’s global transport group Rex Rosales.

HSF announced Rosales’ move along with that of fellow London partner Jahnavi Ramachandran and Singapore’s Siva Subramaniam and Samuel Kolehmainen on 18 April.

Rosales’s career began at Clifford Chance which he joined as an associate in 1991, going on to spend time at Ogilvy Renault, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer – where he made partner in 2001 – and Reed Smith before he became global head of WFW’s transport team in 2010.

While in that role, he advised investors Macquarie, SFM Trustees and Elavon Financial on a ground-breaking capital markets transaction for Virgin Atlantic, which allowed the airline to raise US$220 million through the private placement of bonds secured by its arrival and departure slots at Heathrow Airport. He also acted for BNP Paribas on the structuring of a similarly secured bond listing by British Airways.

Rosales took the lead on advising Bank of London and The Middle East and Lloyds on an innovative pre-delivery payment deal for LCI Helicopters involving a combination of traditional and Islamic financing facilities.

Ramachandran joined WFW alongside Rosales in 2010. Her recent engagements include acting for UK Export Finance, TD Bank NA and BNP Paribas Singapore on a six-plane financing for Indian low-cost carrier IndiGo, and advising Erste Group Bank on the financing of Airbus and Boeing aircraft for US aircraft lessor the Automatic Group.

Subramaniam also spent time at Reed Smith and Freshfields before joining WFW, ad focuses his practice on advising airlines, lessors and banks. Previous clients include Singapore’s SilkAir, which he helped lease five aircraft from Pembroke Capital, and a group of financiers in the lease of a Boeing 777 to Air New Zealand.

Kolehmainen joined WFW in 2016 having previously worked at aircraft investment management company Amentum Capital. His work for the firm focused on advising groups of lenders on financings for carriers including KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Philippine Airlines and AirAsia.

HSF’s global head of finance Jason Ricketts said the new arrivals were “leading practitioners” in aviation finance, whose skills he said would compliment the firm’s existing financing firepower in Australia.

“With unprecedented investment levels in aviation and other transport, infrastructure and projects across the globe, strengthening our asset finance practice makes good business sense for us and our clients,” HSF’s global head of finance Jason Ricketts said in a statement. 

A spokesperson for Watson Farley Williams said “Aviation is a core component of our global Transport group’s offering and we remain absolutely committed to the sector as well as the group’s ongoing expansion worldwide.”

The firm has not yet disclosed the name of its new transport head.