DUBLIN (AP) ¿ Dutch aircraft leasing firm AerCap Holdings NV announced an agreement Friday to acquire its Irish rival Genesis in a share-swap deal valued at $1.75 billion.

AerCap said the merged operation would supply 358 jets to 116 airlines in 50 nations, making it the world's biggest independent leaser of passenger and cargo aircraft.

Genesis Lease Ltd., based at Shannon Airport in western Ireland, will become a fully owned subsidiary of AerCap. In exchange, Genesis shareholders will receive AerCap stock at a 45 percent premium to the current value of their Genesis stakes.

AerCap said three Genesis directors will join the AerCap board in Amsterdam, and Genesis shareholders will own about 29 percent of the merged company. The deal, which requires shareholder and regulatory approval, is expected to conclude by the end of 2009.

John McMahon, chairman and CEO of Genesis, said the merged company would be more competitive because of "the solid profitability and strong cash flows of Genesis, combined with AerCap's scale and order book." He said he expects "enhanced earnings and business growth."

AerCap CEO Klaus Heinemann said it made sense to combine the two companies' strengths in a time of recession, which has weakened demand for aircraft. He said Genesis had a similar fleet of aircraft and "many new customers not currently in the AerCap portfolio."

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On the Net:

AerCap, http://www.aercap.com

Genesis, http://www.genesislease.com
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