Bombardier on track to deliver on turnaround goals, CEO says

Bombardier Inc. says it's on track to deliver on its promised five-year turnaround in 2020 as its aerospace and railway divisions are projected to deliver better revenues and profits.

Firm says revenues will grow to between $17 billion US and $17.5 billion next year

Chief executive Alain Bellemare told a New York investor day Thursday that Bombardier has a strong runway for growth now that it is winding down heavy spending to develop the C Series and Global 7000 business jet. (Francois Mori/Canadian Press)

Bombardier Inc. says it's on track to deliver on its promised five-year turnaround in 2020 as its aerospace and railway divisions are projected to deliver better revenues and profits.

Chief executive Alain Bellemare told a New York investor day Thursday that the transportation giant has a strong runway for growth now that it is winding down heavy spending to develop the C Series and Global 7000 business jet.

"The transformation of Bombardier is well underway and with the significant investment cycle coming to an end we have the right foundation in place to drive profitable growth for years to come," he told analysts.

The Montreal-based transportation company said revenues will grow to between $17 billion US and $17.5 billion US next year.

That's up by about $1 billion US from its guidance for 2017 at the mid-point of the range.

However, analysts on average had expected revenue to grow to about $18.4 billion next year, according to Thomson Reuters.

Bombardier said the growth in revenue is expected to be driven by the ramp-up of key projects at Bombardier Transportation and higher C Series aircraft deliveries.

Over the next three years, the company's objective is to grow revenue by $4.0 billion US to reach $20 billion US, which represents a seven per cent compound annual growth rate.

It also aims to improve the free cash flow by about US$1 billion to break even in 2018 and generate $750 million US to $1 billion US of cash in 2020.

Industry analysts said the updated guidance largely met their expectations although revenue forecasts were lighter than they had expected.

"Equity investors own Bombardier for multi-year cash flow improvement and so the unchanged 2020 outlook with good progress in 2018 does not change the investment case and the key from here is execution," said Seth Seifman of J.P. Morgan.

He said business jet deliveries are expected to be unchanged next year at around 135 aircraft but questions linger about the future of the commercial aircraft division given lower than expected CRJ and Q400 deliveries and the proposed sale of the C Series program to Airbus.

Bombardier expects 40 C Series aircraft will be shipped in 2018.

Benoit Poirier of Desjardins Capital Markets said the lower aircraft delivers are largely responsible for lower anticipated revenues next year.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Bombardier's shares fell six cents to close at $3.07 on Thursday.