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Bombardier expects commercial unit will turn profits by 2020

Bombardier's commercial aircraft unit will remain in the red next year but turn a profit in 2020, at which time the company expects to have completed the sale of its Dash 8 turboprop programme, Bombardier says in a financial update.

The Montreal-based airframer also anticipates strong growth in the coming years from both its business jet and aerostructures divisions.

The latest update comes one month after Bombardier announced a plan to sell the Dash 8 programme, which includes the Q400 turboprop, to an affiliate of Vancouver-based Viking Air for $300 million.

That move follows Bombardier's July sale of majority CSeries ownership to Airbus and reflects Bombardier's intention to focus less on commercial aviation, chief executive Alaine Bellemare said in November.

He added that "strategic options" remain open for the CRJ – Bombardier's only other commercial aircraft programme – signaling to some analysts that Bombardier will divest that aircraft next.

Bombardier released its latest financial predictions amid such variables.

It anticipates its commercial aircraft unit will deliver about 35 aircraft in 2019 and generate $1.4 billion in revenue. The unit will still lose about $125 million (before taxes, interest payments and special item expenses) next year, it states.

In 2020, however, the unit will turn profitable, according to the update. Bombardier does not, however, provide specific 2020 revenue or profit figures, citing the planned Dash 8 sale and "the exploration strategic options of the CRJ".

Bombardier has high hopes for its other aerospace divisions.

The company expects its business aircraft unit will deliver 150-155 aircraft in 2019, earn $6.25 billion in revenue and turn a profit margin of 7.5%. The business aircraft division's profit margin will climb to 8-10% in 2020, Bombardier predicts.

The company expects its aerostructures and engineering unit will generate $2 billion of revenue in 2019 and a 9% profit margin, followed in 2020 by at least $2.25 billion in revenue and a 9-11% profit margin, Bombardier says.

“Three years into our turnaround plan and Bombardier is a much stronger company,” Bellemare says in the financial update. “We are confident in achieving our 2020 objectives and see tremendous opportunities beyond 2020."

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