Airbus likely to acquire Bombardier’s A220 stake

Airbus, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year in Toulouse, said it was hoping to reduce the A220’s production costs further. (AFP)
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Updated 08 February 2020

Airbus likely to acquire Bombardier’s A220 stake

  • Airbus, with a 50.6 percent stake in the program, delivered 48 A220 jets in 2019

MONTREAL: Europe’s Airbus is likely to acquire Canadian plane and train maker Bombardier’s remaining stake in the A220 passenger jet program, two industry sources said.

A deal for Airbus to buy the 33.58 percent share in the program was widely expected after Bombardier said in January it was reviewing the stake in the joint venture. Barring surprises, a deal is expected next week ahead of both companies’ earnings reports on Feb. 13, the sources added.

Airbus and Bombardier both declined to comment. The terms of a potential deal that would mark Bombardier’s exit from commercial aviation were unclear.

Bombardier, which is weighing additional asset sales, faced a cash crunch in 2015 due to its high-stakes bet on the technologically advanced narrowbody.

Montreal-based Bombardier ceded control of the program to Airbus in 2018 for a token C$1 as part of broader efforts to improve its finances. It retained a minority stake alongside the Canadian province of Quebec.

Bombardier had warned the program would require additional cash to ramp up production, and could be subject to a writedown, as it faces higher-than-expected costs in its rail division and more than $9 billion of debt.

Since Airbus took over the program, the A220 has seen a sharp pickup in sales to 658 orders as of Jan. 31. But it has not seen the cost declines expected from Airbus applying its greater purchasing power with suppliers, one of the sources said.

A deal would leave Airbus to shoulder additional investments required by the plane program.

“Airbus did not particularly want to do this at this time, but is presented with little choice if Bombardier is pulling back,” the second source said.

Airbus, with a 50.6 percent stake in the program, delivered 48 A220 jets in 2019 and is ramping up production toward its maximum monthly capacity of 10 jets in Mirabel, Quebec, and four planes at a second line in Alabama by mid-decade.

Airbus Chief Commercial Officer Christian Scherer told Reuters in January the company was progressing toward its target of a double-digit percentage reduction in the A220’s production costs.

Quebec, with a 16.36 percent stake in the A220 program, would not invest further. 

Rather, it is trying to protect the program’s estimated 2,700 jobs, along with the province’s $1 billion investment in the program, Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon said on Monday.

“We put $1 billion in it and that’s enough.”


Swiss bank giant UBS posts best Q3 in a decade despite pandemic

Updated 20 October 2020

Swiss bank giant UBS posts best Q3 in a decade despite pandemic

  • The world’s largest wealth manager saw net profit jump 99 percent year-on-year to $2.5 billion

ZURICH: Swiss banking giant UBS said Tuesday it nearly doubled its net profit in its best third quarter in a decade, the latest in a string of global lenders to report better-than-expected results despite the coronavirus pandemic.
The world’s largest wealth manager saw net profit jump 99 percent year-on-year to $2.5 billion, it said in a statement, handily beating analyst expectations for $1.5 billion.
The rise comes after net profit dropped by 11 percent in the second quarter to June as the firm stepped up provisions for bad loans with the global economy in a tailspin due to the pandemic.
UBS’ profits received a one-off, third-quarter boost from the $631 million sale of a majority stake in its fund platform Fondcenter to Clearstream, a subsidiary of the Deutsche Borse group.
Its operating profit increased 26 percent to $8.9 billion, also surpassing analyst expectations.
CEO Sergio Ermotti said he was proud of the third quarter results, his last at the helm, with ex-ING group chief Ralph Hamers taking over as chief executive officer on November 1.
“UBS has all the options open to write another successful chapter of its history under Ralph’s leadership,” Ermotti said in the statement.
But UBS did not give any estimate of its outlook, due to a “high level of uncertainty.”
“Going forward, the pandemic and political uncertainties may lead to periods of higher market volatility and could affect client activity positively or negatively,” it said in the statement.
Other global banking giants to report surging profits this earnings season include Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup.