Business

Bombardier's Northern Ireland division reports £15m loss

Bombardier's Northern Ireland division recorded a £15m loss in 2017
Gareth McKeown

BOMBARDIER's Northern Ireland operation has reported a $20 million (£15m) loss in an "extremely challenging" year for the business.

Short Brothers PLC, the Northern Ireland division of Bombardier has recorded a dramatic swing in the space of 12 months from an operating profit of $133m (£100m) to a significant loss in the year to December 31. The loss before tax stands at $53m (£40m), compared to a $56.4m (£42.3m) profit recorded in 2016 - a $100m reverse.

This is despite a rise in revenue recorded from $871.6m (£653.9m) to $879.3m (£659.6m) in 12 months.

In addition to the slump in profits staff numbers fell from an average of 4,558 in 2016 to 4,071 last year

In accounting for the challenging year the company blamed reduced sales and "continuing cost competitiveness issues".

In the strategic report accompanying the accounts, the directors recognised it was a tough year, as its parent company continues on a cost-cutting programme, which has included jobs cuts across the business.

"2017 marked the third year of Bombardier's four-year global turnaround plan, and was once again an extremely challenging one for our Northern Ireland operations," they said.

Optimism for 2018 however, has been boosted by the successful resolution to the long-running legal dispute with Boeing and Airbus' decision to invest heavily in Bombardier's C-Series aircraft, the wings of which are made in Belfast.

A further agreement in December to develop and manufacture a new engine component for Airbus's A320neo series of aircraft is also cited as a positive, with both deals helping to "create security for the long term future of the Belfast operation," the company has said..

Looking ahead Bombardier has said it will continue to implement its transformation strategy.

"With renewed emphasis on continuous improvement, we will press ahead with driving our turnaround plan across

Bombardier Aerostrcutures and Engineering Services in 2018. Our focus remains on securing our position as a core site for the design, manufacturer and support of complex composite and metallic structures for Bombardier and third-party customers."

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