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Bombardier swings to $318m profit in 2018

Bombardier earned a $318 million profit in 2018, reversing a loss in 2017 thanks largely to strong performance of the company's business aircraft and aero-structures divisions, which offset commercial aircraft losses.

The results came in a year of major transition during which Bombardier handed its CSeries (now called the A220) programme to Airbus, signed a deal to sell its Q Series turboprop to a subsidiary of Viking Air and mulled the future of its only remaining commercial aircraft programme, the CRJ line of regional jets.

Bombardier chief executive Alain Bellemare calls 2018 "a year of solid progress", saying the company "retired" programmes of "risk" and completed a cycle of significant business investment.

The commercial aircraft unit lost $755 million before interest and taxes in 2018, reflecting nearly $600 million in special item expenses related to the CSeries transaction with Airbus. That loss nearly doubled the commercial unit's 2017 $389 million loss.

Revenue from commercial aircraft slumped 24% in one year to $1.8 billion in 2018, Bombardier says.

The company delivered 35 commercial aircraft in the year, down from 56 deliveries in 2017. The 2018 deliveries included 15 Q400s, two CRJ700s, 13 CRJ900s and five CRJ1000s, it says.

Bombardier secured orders for 47 commercial aircraft in 2018 and ended the year with a total commercial backlog of 97 aircraft, it says. Bombardier expects to deliver 35 commercial aircraft in 2019.

The business aircraft unit earned a $430 million profit in 2018, up 9% in one year, while revenue inched up 1% to $5 billion.

Bombardier delivered 137 business aircraft last year, including 12 Learjet 70/75s, 60 Challenger 350s, 23 Challenger 650s, 41 Global 5000/6000s and one Global 7500, it says.

Bombardier delivered 138 business jets in 2017 and aims to deliver 150-155 business aircraft in 2019, it says.

The company's aero-structures and engineering unit earned a profit in 2018 of $146 million, up 80% in one year. That unit's revenue increased 21% year-on-year to $2 billion. In the fourth quarter of 2018, Bombardier earned a $55 million profit, reversing a $188 million loss in the same period one year earlier.

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