Belfast Telegraph

Bombardier confirms deal to sell CRJ jet business to Japan's Mitsubishi

The CRJ aircraft series
The CRJ aircraft series
Ryan McAleer

By Ryan McAleer

Bombardier has confirmed that it will sell its regional jet programme to Japanese group Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The central fuselage of the CRJ aircraft series is designed and manufactured in Bombardier's Northern Ireland Aerostructures operation, which it put up for sale along with its Moroccan operation last month.

In a statement, Bombardier said: “Following today’s announcement regarding the definitive agreement for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to acquire the Bombardier CRJ programme, we are reviewing what impact this may have on our sites in Northern Ireland and Morocco as suppliers to the programme, and will evaluate opportunities in other programmes to mitigate any potential impact on our workforce.”

The deal will see Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) pay Bombardier $550m (£432m) in cash and assume liabilities amounting to around $200m (£157m).

The Canadian transport group also said that its interest in the Regional Aircraft Securitization Program (RASPRO), valued at around $180m (£141m) will be transferred to MHI.

The deal is expected to close in the first half of 2020.

Bomardier said its CRJ production facility in Mirabel, Québec will remain within the group. Bombardier will continue to supply components and spare parts and will assemble the current CRJ backlog on behalf of MHI.

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CRJ production is expected to conclude in the second half of 2020, following the delivery of the current backlog of aircraft.

Along with of the sale of its Northern Ireland operation, the offloading of the CRJ programme represents Bombardier's gradual exit from commercial aviation.

US group Spirit Aerosytems, UK-based GKN and Airbus have been linked to the acquisition of Bombardier’s operations in Northern Ireland and Morocco. Around 3,600 are employed by the firm here.

Alain Bellemare, president and chief executive of Bombardier Inc said: “We are confident that MHI’s acquisition of the program is the best solution for airline customers, employees and shareholders. We are committed to ensuring a smooth and orderly transition.

“With our aerospace transformation now behind us, we have a clear path forward and a powerful vision for the future. Our focus is on two strong growth pillars: Bombardier Transportation, our global rail business, and Bombardier Aviation, a world-class business jet franchise with market-defining products and an unmatched customer experience.”

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