THE parent firm of Belfast plane-maker Bombardier Shorts reported a 57 per cent rise in its most-watched measure of earnings in 2017, driven by improvement in both sales and margins,
Canadian train and plane maker Bombardier Inc's full-year earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation, grew over the year, from $427 million (£243.2m) to $672 million (£382.8m).
Before special items, that EBITDA measure reached close to $1 billion (£0.57bn), while overall consolidated revenues for the year were $16.2 billion (£9.2bn), in line with guidance.
The company’s overall net loss also more than halved, according to figures released in Montreal, which president and chief executive Alain Bellemare described as "a very strong performance".
"Because of this solid performance, we begin 2018 with great momentum.
"Our operational transformation is in full motion; our growth programs - including the Global 7000 - are on track and we have a clear line of sight to our 2020 objectives."
Bombardier is in the middle of a five-year turnaround plan to cut costs and boost margins, after years of heavy investments in two new aircraft programs pushed it to the brink of bankruptcy in 2015.
The results came as the International Trade Commission, in a 194-page ruling, said it rejected hefty US duties on Bombardier’s CSeries jets, partly because Boeing lost no sales or revenue when Delta Air Lines ordered the aircraft in 2016.
The US Commerce Department had recommended slapping a near 300 per cent duty on sales of Bombardier 110-to-130-seat CSeries jets for five years.
The wings of those planes are made in Belfast, and had that ruling been enforced, it would have led to 1,000 jobs being lost on Queen's Island.
The ITC said the 110-seat CSeries jets ordered by Delta and Boeing Co’s smallest 737 MAX 7 plane do not compete.
It also said Bombardier Inc’s CSeries sale to Delta did not come at Boeing’s expense as the plane-maker did not offer any new aircraft to the second biggest US carrier.
“Boeing lost no sales or revenues,” the ITC said.
“The higher standard seating capacity of the 737-700 and 737 MAX 7 limits competition between those models and the CS100 for some purchasers.”
It is still not yet clear if Boeing will seek to appeal the ITC’s unanimous decision of three weeks ago.
Former ITC chairman Dan Pearson said the cost to appeal the decision would be marginal compared with what Boeing has already spent.
“Boeing has put a whole lot of money into law firms for this case. They’ve got millions of dollars invested,” Pearson was reported as saying.