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Bombardier reveals no-deal prep as PM claims deal is '95%' settled


Impact call: Simon Coveney

Impact call: Simon Coveney

Impact call: Simon Coveney

Aerospace giant Bombardier, which employs around 4,000 people in Northern Ireland, has said it is actively looking at how to mitigate the impact of a no-deal Brexit on business.

Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday told MPs that "95%" of the terms of a deal have been secured but that the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic remains a sticking-point.

A spokeswoman for Bombardier - one of Northern Ireland's biggest employers - said it was making plans for a no-deal.

"We continue to lobby government, both directly and through organisations such as our trade body, ADS, and the CBI, to ensure we leave the EU with minimal disruption. We are also actively looking at ways to mitigate any impact that a 'no deal' scenario could have on our business."

She added: "We are engaging with our supply chain on continuity of delivery and with our transport carriers on contingency plans."

The company has said that stockpiling parts to mitigate the impact of a no deal Brexit could cost it £30m.

In interviews at the weekend, the Republic's Foreign Minister Simon Coveney urged business to speak out on the impact of a no-deal.

But CBI NI director Angela McGowan said businesses here had made their views clear.

"Northern Irish firms have been absolutely clear from the outset that 'no deal' is the worst possible outcome for business and poses a significant threat to the local economy, to jobs and to communities across the region," she added.

"With patience wearing thin, firms are adamant that negotiators must put compromise and pragmatism first and commit to securing a Withdrawal Agreement before December - unlocking the all-important transition period that will allow companies to grow, invest and, crucially, put contingency planning on hold."

Meanwhile, CBI chairman Trevor Lockhart - also the head of Northern Ireland agri food firm Fane Valley, which is based in Moira - has said he would have to make major changes to its business in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Fane Valley's businesses include red meat producers Linden Foods and Kettyle Irish Foods, as well as White's Porridge Oats, which has been milled in Tandragee, Co Armagh for nearly 180 years.

Mr Lockhart told the Financial Times last week that one measure could include shifting its cereals business to the Republic.

While such a move would be an extreme one, he said it could be the only way to get oatmeal and animal feed into the EU at speed.

"We have done the scenario-planning," he told the FT. "We haven't triggered those contingencies because the potential investment would be too significant."