Belfast Telegraph

Top brass at embattled Bombardier agree to defer 50% of pay

By John Mulgrew

Bombardier says it will defer half of the compensation due to its six top-paid executives amid pressure following its $1bn bailout from the Quebec government.

The Canadian-owned company, which employs around 4,500 staff in Northern Ireland, posted a pre-tax profit of $79.2m (£63.84m) in 2016 at its operations here.

But the firm's top bosses across the business globally were due to see their pay and bonuses increase this year, rising to $32.6m (£26m).

And that comes after the firm let go 1,080 workers in Northern Ireland alone, along with a further 7,000 staff globally last year.

Chief executive Alain Bellemare said: "Over the past 75 years, our fellow citizens have always been by our side.

"It is because of this deep relationship that we are sensitive to the public reaction to our executive compensation practices.

"To address these concerns, I've asked our board of directors to defer the payment of more than 50% of the total planned 2016 executive compensation for our six named executive officers to 2020."

The 2015 launch of the CSeries had been delayed by over two years and was around $2bn over-budget. Orders were also lower than expected, but morale was boosted last April when Delta Airlines placed an order for 125.

In Bombardier's latest accounts for 2016, the company's Northern Ireland business saw turnover fall from $919m (£740m) in 2015 to $871m (£702m) in 2016.

It also said it will continue to shift work away from Northern Ireland to keep cutting costs amid an "extremely challenging year".

The company says that despite this, "excellent progress was made on the CSeries".

The flagship passenger jets are part-made in Belfast, with hundreds of staff working on the wings and part of the fuselage.

But it was hit by slow sales, and given a $1bn bailout by the regional government in Quebec, Canada. That was in return for a 49.5% stake in the business's CSeries programme. The Canadian government this year confirmed a £225m cash injection for the company.

On the CSeries it says it is "ramping up" production. It confirms in its business review that "over 300 firm orders" have been secured for the CS100 and CS300 jets and that "customer feedback on its performance has been very positive".

The company said that non-Bombardier products generated sales of $207m (£167m), down from $303m (£244m) in 2015. "This decrease was primarily driven by a reduction on requirements from Rolls Royce and Airbus, combined with decreased revenue in relation to construction contracts," it added.

The bulk of Bombardier's revenue in 2016 came from Canada and the US - around two-thirds of sales. Its average workforce last year stood at 4,558 staff. That's down from 4,862 a year earlier.

Belfast Telegraph