Amazon, ATSG expand, extend agreements

AIM Media Midwest

WILMINGTON — Air Transport Services Group, Inc. (ATSG) announced on Friday agreements to:

• Lease and operate 10 additional Boeing 767s for Services, Inc.

• Extend leases for 20 767 aircraft ATSG currently provides to Amazon.

• Extend the operating agreement through which ATSG’s airlines operate those aircraft in the Amazon Air network.

In conjunction with the new and amended commercial arrangements, Amazon will be granted warrant rights which, if exercised, would further expand its potential equity stake in ATSG, according to a news release from ATSG, which is based at the Wilmington Air Park.

The arrangements also provide warrant incentives for Amazon to lease up to 17 additional cargo aircraft from ATSG, not including the 10 767 lease commitments for 2019-20 and the 20 767 aircraft ATSG currently provides to Amazon.

“Our customers love massive selection and fast delivery, and the Amazon Air capacity we are building enables Prime delivery speeds for customers from Seattle, Wash. to Miami, Fla.,” said Dave Clark, senior vice president of worldwide operations at Amazon. “By expanding the Amazon Air network through our partnership with ATSG we’re able to ensure we have the capacity to quickly and efficiently deliver packages to customers for years to come.”

“We’re pleased to expand and extend for several years our support of Amazon’s exceptional ability to provide reliable and fast delivery to its customers,” said Joe Hete, president and CEO of ATSG. “As the world’s leading source of customer-dedicated 767 cargo aircraft, we have the access to aircraft and unmatched operating capabilities to continue to support Amazon Air for many years to come.”

Key features of the new and amended arrangements include:

• Amazon commits to lease 10 additional 767-300 aircraft from Cargo Aircraft Management Inc. (CAM), ATSG’s leasing subsidiary, and place them with an ATSG airline for operation. CAM will deliver five of the 767s in 2019 and the remainder in 2020. All of the leases will be for 10 years, with the possibility to extend them for up to three more years.

• Existing five-year leases of 12 767-200 aircraft to Amazon from CAM that began in 2016 will be extended by two years into 2023, with an option to extend for up to three additional years; and, existing seven-year leases of eight 767-300 aircraft to Amazon from CAM that began in 2016 and 2017 will be extended by three years until 2026 and 2027, with an option to extend for up to three additional years.

• The Air Transportation Services Agreement (ATSA) that began in 2016, through which ATSG’s airline subsidiaries operate and perform certain maintenance services on aircraft leased to Amazon by CAM, will be extended by five years through March 2026, with an option to extend for an additional three years.

• In conjunction with the commitment for 10 additional 767 leases, extensions of 20 existing 767 aircraft leases and the ATSA described above, Amazon will be issued warrants to expand its potential ownership stake in ATSG’s equity to approximately 33.2 percent.

Under terms of the commercial agreements executed in March 2016, Amazon already holds, or has rights to receive, warrants for the purchase of ATSG shares that would represent a 19.9 percent ownership stake in ATSG, if exercised prior to its expiration in March 2021. The new warrants will expire if not exercised within seven years from their issuance date. They have an exercise price of $21.53 per share, based on the volume-weighted average price of ATSG’s shares over the 30 trading days immediately preceding execution of a non-binding term sheet by the parties on Oct.29, 2018.

• Amazon will be able to earn incremental warrant rights, increasing its potential ownership in ATSG’s equity from 33.2 percent up to 39.9 percent of ATSG’s fully diluted common shares currently outstanding, by leasing up to 17 more ATSG cargo aircraft before January 2026.

Warrants potentially issuable under these new agreements with Amazon will require an increase in the number of authorized common shares of ATSG.

Management intends to submit a proposal calling for an appropriate increase in the number of authorized common shares for shareholder consideration at the company’s next annual meeting of shareholders in May 2019.

“We view the prospect of a strong, growing customer like Amazon becoming a significant equity holder as a positive for all ATSG stakeholders,” said Hete. “Our mission is to provide Amazon with exceptional service while creating equity value for all of our shareholders.”

Additional information about these agreements is provided in a Form 8-K that ATSG expected to file with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission on Friday.

AIM Media Midwest