ANKARA

General Electric (GE) agreed Wednesday to merge its aircraft leasing unit with rival AerCap in a $30 billion deal, as the aviation industry continues to struggle with the coronavirus pandemic.

GE said the deal will create an aviation lessor with a broader offering and better ability to serve customers through industry cycles and added that the company wants to focus on its industrial core of power, renewable energy, aviation health care.

The headquartered company in Boston, Massachusetts, also plans to reduce debt by $30 billion after the deal is closed, which would bring its total debt reduction to more than $70 billion since the end of 2018.

“Today marks GE’s transformation to a more focused, simpler, and stronger industrial company,” GE Chairman and CEO H. Lawrence Culp, Jr. said in a statement. “GE gains both cash and a meaningful stake in the stronger combined company, with flexibility to monetize as the aviation industry recovers.”

The deal will give GE a 46% stake in the company and it will generate about $24 billion in cash.

“This combination will enhance our ability to provide innovative and attractive solutions for our customers and will strengthen our cash flows, earnings, and profitability,” AerCap CEO Aengus Kelly said in the statement.

GE shares were up 1.8% in pre-market hours on the New York Stock Exchange with more than $122.7 billion in market value. Ireland-based AerCap stock price was up 3.5% with a market capitalization above $7.2 billion.

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