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Bombardier considers potential plane, train sales to Iran

Country is looking to buy 400 aircraft to upgrade an aging fleet.


MONTREAL — Bombardier is looking at opportunities to sell trains and planes to Iran and assemble aircraft in China as the transportation giant tries to grow its presence in the world’s emerging markets.

CEO Pierre Beaudoin said Bombardier is evaluating the market potential in Iran if a permanent deal is reached to lift all sanctions, while removing any possibility for Tehran to develop a nuclear weapon.

“Our role right now is to understand when sanctions could be lifted and how we could take advantage of a market we feel will be important for all of our products,” he said at a news conference after Bombardier’s annual meeting.

Iran’s top aviation official has said the country is looking to buy 400 passengers planes in the next 10 years to upgrade its aging fleet if sanctions imposed by the West over its controversial nuclear program are lifted.

Beaudoin added that Bombardier wants to ensure it’s not at a competitive disadvantage if sanctions are lifted.

In China, Bombardier is in early negotiations about establishing final aircraft assembly to gain further access to sales in the world’s fastest growing economy.

The move would be similar to efforts in Russia that could be threatened if sanctions are imposed over the political crisis in Ukraine.

Bombardier is hoping to reach an agreement this year to establish a joint venture with Rostec, a Russian state corporation, that could lead to some 100 turboprops, valued at US$3.4 billion at list prices, being built for the Russian market.

The final assembly line in Russia would complement Bombardier’s Toronto operations, where final assembly of the 70- to 80-seat turboprop currently takes place.

Bombardier Aerospace president Guy Hachey said the same concept could apply in China.

“We’re not far along in those discussions but you could have the same kind of approach where if you could reach a partnership with someone local you could serve that market from that point and the Q400 could be one of those candidates or other platforms,” he told reporters.

Hachey said there is no need in the short-term to assemble CSeries outside Mirabel, north of Montreal.

Earlier, Bombardier said it’s on track to deliver promised results for the year, despite posting a 22 per cent drop in earnings in the first quarter and near doubling of its use of free cash.

The Montreal-based transportation giant’s net aircraft orders surged to 91 from 28 a year ago, pushing the aerospace division’s backlog to a record US$38.5 billion. It delivered 56 planes during the quarter, three more than the same period a year ago.

Bombardier continued to trail rival Gulfstream in terms of the value of business jets delivered in the quarter, the General Aviation Manufacturers Association said. The industry association noted Bombardier delivered 43 aircraft valued at US$1.57 billion, compared with its US competitor’s 39 planes valued at $2.05 billion.

© 2014 The Canadian Press

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