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Bombardier's aircraft arm posts loss as CEO steps down

By John Mulgrew

Bombardier's commercial aircraft business - much of which is produced in Belfast - has posted a loss in earnings as the aerospace giant's executive chairman announced he was relinquishing that post.

The Canadian firm, which employs around 4,500 workers here, posted revenues of $3.6bn (£2.8bn) during the first quarter of the year.

Its earnings before interest and tax were $128m (£100m).

But the commercial aircraft business suffered a reverse.

The Belfast operation produces part of the fuselage and wings for Bombardier's CSeries passenger jets; the complete centre fuselage, nacelles and wing components for the CRJs, and designs and manufactures wing-mounted flight components for the Q400 turboprop.

The results came as executive chairman Pierre Beaudoin announced he would step aside from the position next month.

But Mr Beaudoin will stay on as chairman.

This week a Canadian pension fund that is a major shareholder in Bombardier announced it was withdrawing support for Mr Beaudoin's re-election as executive chairman.

Mr Beaudoin said: "This change reflects the very successful transition of Bombardier's executive leadership to Alain Bellemare over the past two years.

"As chairman, I look forward to working with the board of directors to provide continuing support to Alain and the leadership team.

"The company is firmly on the right path, with a very strong leadership team now in place to execute its turnaround plan and return Bombardier to long-term, sustainable growth."

Mr Bellemare said: "Our continued margin expansion and improving cash performance demonstrate both the early benefits of our actions and the long-term potential of our company."

Despite receiving a US$1bn (£0.75bn) bailout from the Quebec Government for its struggling CSeries jet and a CAN$375m (£225m) loan from the Canadian Government, the company's top bosses will see their pay and bonuses rise this year to $32.6m (£26m).

The move sparked outrage among staff in Canada following a series of job losses there. The firm also cut 1,080 posts in Northern Ireland.

The company faced protests outside its Montreal headquarters last month and criticism from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau over the executive pay hikes.

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