AerCap to acquire US lessor GECAS

The world’s largest aircraft leasing company has agreed to purchase 100% of its rival as the aviation industry continues to struggle due to the pandemic 

Irish leasing giant AerCap has announced it has entered into a definitive agreement with General Electric to acquire GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS). 

With this acquisition, AerCap will further increase its presence in all areas of aircraft leasing and will be responsible for over 2,000 owned and managed aircraft, more than 900 engines, 300 helicopters from approximately 300 customers around the world. 

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Aengus Kelly, chief executive officer of AerCap, said: “We are excited about this opportunity to bring together two leaders in aviation leasing. AerCap and GECAS both have industry-leading teams, attractive portfolios, diversified customer bases and order books of the most in-demand new technology assets. This combination will enhance our ability to provide innovative and attractive solutions for our customers and will strengthen our cash flows, earnings and profitability. 

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Lawrence Culp, GE chairman and CEO, added: “AerCap is the right partner for our exceptional GECAS team. Combining these complementary franchises will deliver strategic and financial value for both companies and their stakeholders. Together we’re creating an industry-leading aviation lessor with expertise, scale and reach to better serve customers around the world, while GE gains both cash and upside in the stronger combined company as the aviation industry recovers.” 

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Under the terms of the agreement – which has been unanimously approved by the boards of directors of AerCap and GE – the US firm will receive 111.5 million newly issued AerCap shares, $24 billion of cash and $1 billion of AerCap notes and/or cash. 

Upon completion of the transaction – anticipated in the fourth quarter of this year – GE is expected to own approximately 46% of the combined company and will be entitled to nominate two directors to the AerCap board of directors. 

The Irish company sourced the $24 billion in financing from Citi and Goldman Sachs.