Bridger Aerospace Group Holdings, an aerial firefighting company, entered into a joint venture partnership with Marathon Asset Management and Avenue Capital’s Sustainable Solutions Fund. The joint venture expects to formally purchase four Canadair CL-215T Amphibious Aircraft recently awarded in a public tender process from the Government of Spain for €40.3 million ($44.1 million) on Dec. 5.

“Marathon is excited to support Bridger Aerospace’s expansion to the European Union with our transformative transaction. Bridger’s mission critical services in combating wildfires are core to our values at Marathon and we are excited by the Joint Ventures’ upcoming acquisition of four CL-215T Aircraft positioning Bridger to operate the largest privately owned Scooper Fleet in the world,” Bruce Richards, CEO of Marathon, said.

“This financing marks Marathon’s second investment into Bridger, following the company’s inaugural bond issue in July 2022,” Michael Alexander, managing director, corporate credit at Marathon, said. “We have continued to strengthen our relationship with Bridger’s management team, and we are excited to have designed a creative capital solution that enabled Bridger to complete the Spanish Scooper transaction. This result demonstrates Marathon’s ability to move quickly and deploy our flexible capital across the broader landscape of corporate credit. We look forward to continuing to grow our partnership with Bridger in the years ahead.”

The agreement stipulates that Bridger will oversee the refurbishment of the aircraft, which are funded and owned by the partnership. Bridger can choose to purchase each plane as it becomes ready for service, with a plan to acquire them sequentially as they are modified and contracted for service. The initial two Scoopers are anticipated to be operational by Summer 2024 in the European Union, with work on the third and fourth Scooper beginning after Bridger acquires the first pair from the partnership.

“Marathon has a trusted reputation in providing senior, mezzanine, and structured capital solutions across debt and equity, including asset-based facilities that are tailored to our borrower’s needs,” Joseph Thorstenson, managing director, Marathon Aviation Finance, said. “Through Marathon’s asset-based programs, we have acquired and financed over 150 narrow and wide-body aircraft on lease to airlines globally. Our transportation platform is further enhanced by established relationships with aircraft manufacturers and leasing companies, airlines, aviation finance lenders and consultants.”

“Marathon’s dedicated aviation and transportation team believes that an integrated approach across corporate and asset-based Lending in the public and private markets advantages us in sourcing attractive transactions, comprehensively underwriting and structuring investments in a timely basis. Partnership is in our DNA, with a mission to fuel success and forge lasting relationships that create win-win outcomes, while also supporting the critical needs of worldwide transportation” Louis Hanover, chief investment officer of Marathon, said.