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Oak Hill Puts $55M in Southern Air

Oak Hill Capital Partners has put $55 million into Southern Air Holding, the companies announced Friday. Oak Hill Capital has been a majority investor in Southern Air since 2007. The new infusion will help Southern Air with its fleet renewal plans, and will be used for continued growth.

Oak Hill Capital Partners and Southern Air Holdings, Inc. today announced that Oak Hill Capital has made a $55 million strategic investment in Southern Air. The investment by Oak Hill Capital, which has been Southern Air’s majority investor since 2007, will support the completion of Southern Air’s fleet renewal and the company’s continued growth.

Denis J. Nayden, a Managing Partner of Oak Hill Capital, said, “We are very pleased to provide Southern Air with additional capital to support the ongoing transformation of the company. Southern Air’s new management team has done a great job of upgrading the company’s fleet and establishing relationships with some of the world’s outstanding cargo carriers. We are excited to collaborate with Dan McHugh and his team as they work to realize the company’s full potential.”

Daniel J. McHugh, Chief Executive Officer of Southern Air, said, “My colleagues and I are proud of the additional vote of confidence we have received from Oak Hill Capital. We are fortunate to have an owner with exceptional industry experience and a long-term perspective on our business. This new capital will give us the financial strength and flexibility necessary to achieve our strategic objectives, including expanding our fleet of 777Fs and 747-400s for the benefit of our clients.”

Concurrent with this new investment, Southern Air has renegotiated its credit agreements, including extending its long-term debt maturities to 2015.

Southern Air has experienced strong growth and achieved several notable business successes over the past two years. The company has added significant talent to its management team and board of directors and begun a significant fleet enhancement. The company has added two Boeing 777 Freighters to its fleet, with a delivery of two additional 777s expected in 2012, and also will be adding four 747-400s to the fleet by Q1 2012. Further, Southern Air has continued to expand its global reach, including recently opening an office in Germany and signing several new client contracts including DHL Express, Saudi Arabia Airlines and Lufthansa Cargo Charter Agency. The company has also recently increased its entitlement for U.S. military flying.

About Southern Air
Southern Air was founded in 1947 as a high-quality global cargo carrier specializing in the provision of block space and aircraft, crew, maintenance, and insurance (“ACMI”) services. Southern Air’s blue-chip customer base includes some of the world’s largest combination cargo carriers and government agencies. Southern Air currently operates a fleet of 11 Boeing 747-200s and will be adding four 747-400s to the fleet by Q1 2012. Southern Air is the first ACMI operator in the world to operate the new Boeing 777 Freighter and currently operates two such aircraft, with an additional two aircraft slated for delivery in March-April 2012. Southern Air is a portfolio company of Oak Hill Capital Partners, a private equity firm with considerable expertise in aircraft leasing, financing and manufacturing.

About Oak Hill Capital Partners
Oak Hill Capital Partners is a private equity firm with more than $8 billion of committed capital from leading entrepreneurs, endowments, foundations, corporations, pension funds and global financial institutions. Robert M. Bass is the lead investor. Over a period of more than 24 years, the professionals at Oak Hill Capital Partners and its predecessors have invested in more than 70 significant private equity transactions. Oak Hill Capital Partners is one of several Oak Hill partnerships, each of which has a dedicated and independent management team.