Belfast Telegraph

Profits plummet 25% at Bombardier Aerospace

By Margaret Canning

The parent company of Shorts Bombardier in east Belfast has posted a drop in profits of more than 25%.

But industrial giant Bombardier Aerospace, which employs 5,000 people in the city, qualified the loss by saying the aerospace sector was displaying "signs of recovery" with fewer airlines cancelling orders.

Net income at the Montreal-based firm dropped to $148m from $202m a year earlier.

Chief executive Pierre Beaudoin - who visited the company's operations in Belfast this week - said: "During this quarter, transportation has shown a strong level of order activity, benefiting from its wide portfolio of products and its enviable global market position.

"The group improved its profitability while signing $4.3bn of new orders for a book-to-bill ratio of 2, bringing its order backlog to $30.3bn.

"The uncertain economic environment continues to be reflected in Aerospace's financial results."

However, the group is starting to see signs of recovery as shown by the significant reduction in business aircraft order cancellations.

"Overall, our long-term prospects are strong, our new product developments on track and we remain focused on managing our cost structure and improving our cash flow generation."

During his visit Mr Beaudoin said the Northern Ireland base played an integral role in the overall success of the company.

Sales at the aerospace unit fell to $2bn from $2.4bn a year earlier, while revenue at the transportation unit declined to $2.1bn from $2.5bn, Bombardier said. New orders at the transportation unit rose to $4.3bn from $3bn a year earlier, the company said.

Bombardier announced orders of around $1bn at the Farnborough Airshow this summer.

The Belfast operation has been tasked with the design, manufacture and integration of the complete wing for Bombardier's next generation CSeries aircraft.

Nearly 400 engineering and support staff in Belfast have been involved in the research and development of the wings at a purpose-built factory on the company's Queen's Island site.

More than 4,000 tests have already been carried out on the composite demonstrator wing. The first wing will be delivered around the end of next year.

The aircraft will come into service in late 2013 and has attracted 90 firm orders and 90 options.

The CSeries project is Bombardier's biggest ever investment in Northern Ireland.