Etihad Airways has been honoured with the 2016Treasury of the Year award by Treasury Management International (TMI) for a string of achievements over the past 12 months. The annual TMI Corporate Recognition Awards, held in London, reflect achievements in treasury and finance policy, practice and innovation.
The Abu Dhabi-based airline’s treasury department was once again recognised for excellence in capital raising and to drive efficiency across the business.
Etihad Airways was commended for securing landmark funding agreements from the international financial community that raised over US$2.7 billion in the debt capital markets, as well as evolving its treasury systems infrastructure and streamlining processes to improve productivity.
In 2016, Etihad Airways drove the issuance of a second Etihad Airways Partners bond transaction of US$500m, together with a debut US$1.5 billion five-year Sukuk issuance, the largest ever non-sovereign Sukuk.
Etihad Airways also implemented leading edge treasury systems technology to drive greater efficiency, and radically reduced the number of suppliers for the bulk of its global transactional banking services to just two following a thorough evaluation of cash management capabilities.
The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) was chosen as the airline’s Middle East strategic partner and Citi was named Etihad Airways’ international cash management bank affiliate in all other global markets.
James Hogan, Etihad aviation group president and chief executive officer, said: “As we continue to look at ways to enhance cost efficiencies, drive more benefits and improve global leverage for the business, our Group Chief Financial Officer James Rigney and his treasury team led by Ricky Thirion have developed a stronger framework of innovative transactions and processes for the business to remain more competitive.
“We have evolved from a small airline in 2003 to a world-leading aviation and tourism group today, meaning our treasury needs and challenges have grown significantly with scale and complexity.”
The treasury team has responsibilities that have extended beyond many group treasury functions. In addition to core treasury activities such as cash, liquidity and risk management, it is responsible for corporate funding and structured finance, insurance, tax, property and infrastructure, payment solutions functions and fraud prevention across the group and in support of the airline’s equity partner airlines.
Helen Saunders, Editor of Treasury Management International, said: “While many treasury functions can deliver a specific project alongside ‘business as usual’ activities, Etihad Airways has driven change and innovation on multiple fronts, despite having a small treasury team.
“These included sourcing unsecured debt for members of Etihad’s equity alliance partners. re-engineering its cash and banking structure across 71 countries to support the company’s ambitious growth plans; promoting centralisation and improving controls by establishing strategic banking partners and best in-class cash management structures, automating processes and improving account visibility.”
Voting for the award was by a TMI-led independent judging panel, based on articles and case studies of the airline’s treasury activities.