Bombardier NI reports heavy pre-tax loss for 2019 despite tripling wing production

Bombardier's business in the north has reported pre-tax losses of £56m over 2018 and 2019. Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire.
Ryan McAleer

BOMBARDIER’S business in Northern Ireland reported a pre-tax loss of $30.7 million (£23.8m) in 2019, despite tripling wing production.

The Canadian-owned aerospace operation, which makes wings for the Airbus A220 aircraft, is subject to ongoing takeover negotiations with US-based Spirit Aerosystems.

According to accounts filed by Bombardier’s Belfast operation, which still reports as Short Bros PLC, turnover increased by just under five per cent to $890m (£691m) for the year ending December 31 2019, with the company ramping up production of commercial aircraft wings from 15 to 46.

Yet the accounts show the operation chalked up pre-tax losses of $72.2m (£56m) in the 24 months to December 2019.

The report reveals that Bombardier’s workforce dropped by 317 to 3,482 between 2018 and 2019.

The company announced plans to cut 400 staff and 200 agency workers in June 2020 in reaction to the impact of Covid-19 on the aerospace sector. A further 95 job cuts were announced in August.

The report said the redundancies were required “to address production requirements into 2021”.

It revealed that UK Government’s furlough scheme had prevented a larger number of job losses.

The scheme, which ends on October 31, will be replaced by the Job Support Scheme, which significantly cuts the level of government contribution.

The future of Spirit’s acquisition of Bombardier, worth $630m in cash and $700m in assumed liabilities, was brought into question by a recent regulatory update from Spirit, which said there were “no assurances” all conditions relating to the acquisition would be met by the October 31 2020 deadline.

The report said Bombardier still expects the deal to close in 2020.

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