Bombardier Inc. is looking to consolidate its aerospace business into a single unit. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Bombardier looking to sell aerostructures operations in Belfast and Morocco

MONTREAL — Bombardier Inc. is looking to sell its aerostructures businesses in Belfast and Morocco as part of a consolidation of its aerospace business into a single unit.

The company said Thursday the newly created Bombardier Aviation division will include its business aircraft business as well as its CRJ regional jets.

Some 3,900 employees are expected to wind up in the hands of a prospective buyer.

The would-be sale also means Bombardier would stop building the wings of the A220 jet, formerly known as the C Series and now controlled by Airbus SE.

Alongside its first-quarter results on Thursday, the company announced the creation of Bombardier Aviation, which will combine the business jet unit with the regional CRJ aircraft division. The unit will report to David Coleal, who until now headed the commercial aircraft division.

“This is the right next step in our transformation,” Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellemare said in a statement. “The consolidation of aeronautical activities will simplify our structure. “

Analyst Walter Spracklin of RBC Capital Markets said proceeds from the aerostructures sales and consolidation of aerospace activities suggest further cost reductions down the line.

The corporate shakeup comes as Bombardier, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, reported a first-quarter profit of US$239 million or eight cents per share compared with a profit of $44 million or a penny per share a year ago.

Revenue for the three months ended March 31 fell to $3.52 billion compared with $4.03 billion in the same quarter last year.

On an adjusted basis, Bombardier says it lost $122 million or seven cents per share compared with an adjusted profit of $35 million or a penny per share a year ago.

Analysts on average had expected a loss of a penny per share and revenue of $3.62 billion, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.

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