GE leasing unit for aircraft for combination with the competing lessor AerCap

General Electric on Wednesday said it will sell its jet leasing business to rivals AerCap On a $ 30 billion deal, that would create a massive lessor as the aviation industry battles its way through the Covid-19 pandemic and GE seeks to reduce its debt burden.

The deal would give GE a 46% stake in the combined company and generate approximately $ 24 billion in cash. GE Capital Aviation Services or Gecas is part of GE Capital that has been scaled back since the financial crisis. GE said it would reduce its debt by approximately $ 30 billion upon completion of the transaction, using the proceeds from the deal and existing cash.

GE shares rose 3.5% in premarket trading after the deal was announced, while AerCaps rose more than 5%.

“”This is the right time to further accelerate our transformation, “said Larry Culp, CEO of GE, in a business announcement. This move will enable us to significantly reduce GE’s risk and continue our journey to become a well-capitalized company.

Both companies are major customers of both Boeing and rival Airbus. A combination of the two factors that analysts are calling the world’s largest aircraft rental company can push for better aircraft prices, just as Boeing and Airbus are trying to gain a foothold in the pandemic.

“You will have a lot of bargaining power,” said Eric Bernardini, co-director of aerospace, defense and aerospace practice at consulting firm AlixPartners.

Gecas is closely tied to GE’s massive aircraft engine business as the leasing company often finances and leases aircraft equipped with GE engines that the company later services.

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Gecas owned, serviced, or ordered over 1,600 aircraft and had assets of $ 35.86 billion at the end of 2020. AerCap owned, managed, or ordered approximately 1,330 aircraft with assets of $ 42 billion as of the end of last year. according to regulatory filings.

GE said $ 34 billion net worth, including engine and helicopter leases, along with purchase commitments and more than 400 employees would be transferred to AerCap. GE may appoint two directors to new seats on AerCap’s board of directors.

Ireland-based AerCap, whose shares are traded on the NYSE, had a market capitalization of nearly $ 7.27 billion as of Tuesday’s close of trading. Stocks are up more than 10% this week since the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday that the two companies were close to a deal.

According to GE’s annual report, the Gecas unit posted a loss of $ 786 million last year, compared with a profit of $ 1.03 billion the previous year. AerCap posted a net loss of nearly $ 299 million last year, after gaining more than $ 1.1 billion in 2019, and posted a fourth quarter profit of $ 28.5 million.

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