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Bombardier to report earnings as future hangs in the balance

Possible sale of the plane-and-train maker's Quebec-based business jet unit or its Berlin-based rail subsidiary.


MONTREAL — Bombardier Inc. is set to report earnings today as rumours continue to swirl around the potential sale of one of its two main divisions.

Media have reported negotiations over a possible sale of the plane-and-train maker’s Quebec-based business jet unit or its Berlin-based rail subsidiary as the company scrambles to dig itself out of US$9.3 billion in debt.

That liability has also prompted speculation over the future of Bombardier’s remaining 34 per cent stake in the A220 commercial aircraft program, which it launched as the C Series before selling a majority stake to Europe-based Airbus SE in 2018.

Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon offered up a cryptic teaser Wednesday, telling reporters Bombardier would unveil “positive” news for the province this morning.

Three major rating agencies have voiced concerns this year over the finances of the firm, which said last month it is “actively pursuing strategic options to accelerate deleveraging.”

Bombardier, founded in Valcourt, Que., in 1942 as a snowmobile manufacturer, turned a profit in 2018 for the first time in five years as its business jet unit delivered and despite several train project challenges.

While high-margin jet deliveries continue to ramp up, analysts point to volatility in the luxury market of private planes compared to the relatively stable field of railcar construction, which is fuelled by government infrastructure projects.

The two divisions are Bombardier’s main revenue streams after the Montreal-based company announced last year it would sell its aerostructures business for US$1.2 billion, which followed the sale of its Q400 turboprop business for US$300 million in 2018.

Bombardier shares rose nearly 11 per cent Wednesday to close up 15 cents at $1.57 on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

 

News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2016

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