Bombardier sells three aerospace facilities to Spirit AeroSystems

written by WOFA | November 4, 2019
A 2012 image of the Bombardier facility at Belfast. (Wikimedia Commons/Ardfern)
A 2012 image of the Bombardier facility at Belfast. (Wikimedia Commons/Ardfern)

Bombardier says it has reached an agreement to sell two aerospace manufacturing facilities and a maintenance workshop to Spirit AeroSystems for US$500 million.

The company said on Friday (US time) the deal covered Bombardier’s manufacturing sites in Belfast, Northern Ireland and Casablanca, Morocco, as well as a maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) facility in Dallas, Texas.

The transaction was expected to be finalised in the first half of calendar 2020 and would be subject to regulatory approval.

In addition to a cash consideration of US$500 million, Bombardier said Spirit AeroSystems would also take on “liabilities with a total carrying value in excess of US$700 million”, including government refundable advances and pension obligations.

Further, it said Spirit would continue to supply structural aircraft components and spare parts to support the production and in-service fleet of Bombardier Aviation’s Learjet, Challenger and Global families of aircraft.

Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellemare said the transaction was part of the company’s move to focus on its business aircraft and rail franchises.

“We are confident that Spirit’s acquisition of these aerostructures assets is the best outcome for customers, employees and shareholders,” Bellemare said in a statement.

“We are committed to ensuring a smooth and orderly transition.”

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Bombardier’s manufacturing facility in Belfast, Northern Ireland, makes the wings for the Airbus A220 family of aircraft, which was previously known as the CSeries before Airbus acquired a 50 per cent stake in the program in 2018.

Meanwhile, the Casablanca, Morocco, plant makes aeronautical equipment such as Airbus A320neo nacelle thrust reversers.

Following the sale, Bombardier’s aerostructures activities would be centred around its facilities in Montreal, Canada, Querétaro, Mexico and Texas in the United States.

Spirit AeroSystems said in a statement the sites it was acquiring employed about 4,000 people and that it was excited to be expanding into Northern Ireland and Morocco.

“The Bombardier operations bring world-class engineering expertise to Spirit and add to a strong track record of innovation, especially in advanced composites,” Spirit AeroSystems chief executive Tom Gentile said.

“Belfast has developed an impressive position in business jet fuselage production, in addition to the world-acclaimed fully integrated A220 composite wing.

“This acquisition is in line with our growth strategy of increasing Airbus content, developing low-cost country footprint, and growing our aftermarket business.”

In May 2019, Bombardier announced plans to bring all its aerospace operations into a single business, called Bombardier Aviation, that would focus on its business aircraft operations.

As a consequence, the aerostructures manufacturing factories in Northern Ireland and Morocco were put up for sale.

Since then, the company has also sold its Canadair Regional Jet (CRJ) program to Japanese giant Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) for US$550 million.

The deal, announced on June 25 (Canadian time) covered the maintenance, support, refurbishment, marketing, and sales activities for the CRJ Series aircraft, including the related services and support network located in Montréal, Québec, and Toronto, Ontario, and its service centres located in Bridgeport, West Virginia, and Tucson, Arizona, as well as the type certificates.

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