General Electric has announced it is getting out of most of its finance business, slashing back GE Capital and selling $26.5bn worth of real estate.

The US industrial giant said the move could generate as much as $90bn to be returned to investors over the next three years via dividends, share buybacks and a share exchange.

The news helped boost GE shares to their highest since December 2013.

On Wall Street, GE was up almost 8% to $27.69 a share.

The company heralded the move as getting back to its core capabilities in advanced manufacturing technology.

By 2018 more than 90% of the company's earnings will come from its industrial business, compared to 58% currently.

"This is a major step in our strategy to focus GE around its competitive advantages," GE chairman and chief executive Jeff Immelt said. 

"GE today is a premier industrial and technology company with businesses in essential infrastructure industries."