General Electric has agreed to sell the aircraft lease to Irish rival AerCap in a deal worth more than $ 30 billion that brings together two world the largest landlords and marks a further step in dismantling the financial subsidiary of the U.S. industrial group.
GE will receive $ 24 billion in cash, a stake of about 46 percent in the combined company, and $ 1 billion in AerCap banknotes and / or cash when the deal is completed. GE will also have the right to nominate two directors to the AerCap board.
GE plans to reduce its debt by about $ 30 billion after the deal passes, using sales revenue and existing cash resources. That will bring his total debt reduction to more than $ 70 billion by the end of 2018.
The combined dwarf company would be with its closest rivals, prompting the leader of Iate, the trading body of the global aviation industry, to warn that the agreement would add to the “monopolistic situation” facing airlines among their suppliers.
“You have two aircraft manufacturers, you have two or three big ones [equipment manufacturers], monopolistic air traffic control, monopolistic airports, and now we have monopolistic lessors, ”Alexandre de Juniac told the Financial Times. “Wonderful.”
A group of about 2,000 of the company’s planes would make up 7 percent of the world’s commercial fleet, Jefferies analysts say.
One analyst said any antitrust concerns are likely to be allayed by the fact that there are many landlords in the fragmented market, while airlines have other options for financing aircraft purchases.
The deal could spur further consolidation as rivals race to catch up, said Phil Seymour, president of IBA, an aviation advisory firm.
“It’s a little surprise. . . it would almost be like merging Boeing and Airbus, ”he said:“ I can imagine that now the executives of other landlords will look back and think: how do they keep up with the mega landlord? Is there a need for greater consolidation among the other top 10? ”
Leasing companies have helped fund explosive air travel growth over the past 30 years, but have suffered as the effects of the Covid-19 crisis have caused airlines to delay payments, cancel new orders and reduce the size of their fleet.
The continued introduction of the vaccine has raised hopes of overcoming the crisis, and AerCap is among those who bet that airlines will increasingly seek leases of financial flexibility as they seek to renew and reduce loans.