Bombardier expected to release weak results

MONTREAL - Bombardier ends a difficult fiscal year today when it releases what are expected to be weak financial results that could be overshadowed by layoffs.

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The Montreal-based aircraft maker could be poised to have lost more than US$4 billion in 2015 on lower sales and charges. Adjusted profits, excluding one-time items, are forecast to drop in half in both the fourth quarter and over the full year, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) is forecast to earn US$37.3 million - or two cents per share - in adjusted profits on US$5.48 billion of sales in the quarter, and US$342.2 million - or 17 cents per share - on US$18.78 billion of revenues for the year.

Uncertainty about the company's future has caused deep anxiety among employees, says union representative Dave Chartrand.

"I've rarely seen the membership on the floor, when you walk around, be as concerned and as worried as they are right now," he said in an interview.

A production rate cut for the Q400 turboprop is seen as a possibility, mainly affecting workers in Toronto and Mexico.

"That shouldn't come as a surprise for anyone considering when you look at the order book," said Chris Murray of AltaCorp Capital, adding other aircraft programs have already been hit or are stable enough to avoid cuts.

Industry analysts will be looking for Bombardier to answer questions about the expected demand in 2016 for the plane, along with other commercial and business aircraft.

Walter Spracklin of RBC Capital Markets said Bombardier could announce a one-for-10 reverse stock split that would push the battered stock above the $1 threshold.

He doesn't foresee learning much more about a possible financial aid package from Ottawa.

Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains said that the government continues to evaluate Bombardier's business case.

"We want to make sure we look at the long-term perspective of the sector and the economy as well and that's how we will be making our decisions," he said in Ottawa.


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