UPDATE 4-Bombardier outlook disappoints, new Learjet delayed

Thu Feb 21, 2013 7:02pm EST

* Learjet 85 launch pushed back to summer 2014

* 2013 aerospace EBIT margins expected to be similar to 2012

* Fourth-quarter adjusted EPS $0.10 vs $0.13 year earlier

* Shares tumble 9 percent on Toronto Stock Exchange

* First C-Series flight will take place by end of June (Updates with new comments, details)

By Solarina Ho

TORONTO, Feb 21 (Reuters) - Bombardier Inc reported quarterly results on Thursday that fell short of expectations and issued a lackluster 2013 outlook, sending shares of the Canadian aircraft and train maker down 9 percent.

The company added to investors' disappointment by announcing it was pushing back the first delivery of its Learjet 85 business aircraft to the summer of 2014 from its previous target of late 2013. It was the second time since November it delayed a major aircraft program.

Before Thursday's pullback, Bombardier stock had jumped 37 percent since late November when the company signed a record $7.8 billion deal with Swiss charter operator VistaJet. On Wednesday, it won a deal that could be worth as much as $3.42 billion for its new C-Series large commercial jets.

But the Montreal-based company's fourth-quarter profit tumbled 93 percent, pulled lower by charges for a plant closure and job cuts in its rail division. Margins slumped, partly on lower revenue from China and higher costs per unit sales.

For Bombardier Aerospace, it expects margins on earnings before financing expenses, financing income and income taxes (EBIT) - a closely watched performance measure - to be little changed in 2013 at about 5 percent and rise to about 6 percent in 2014.

"Why was the stock down so strongly? Margin and production guidance at BA was weaker than expected at 5 percent and their deliveries that are essentially flat year over year despite some pretty strong backlogs," said Chris Murray, an analyst at PI Financial Corp. "Their outlook is a little weaker, considering they've recently won a number of fairly large orders."

In its rail unit, it delayed its target for an 8 percent margin to 2014 from 2013. It did not provide a 2013 margin forecast for the rail division.

Bombardier's total order backlog rose to a record $66.6 billion at the end of 2012 from $55.8 billion at the end of 2011. That includes orders for its new C-Series jetliner.

In aerospace, the company plans to deliver about 190 business and 55 commercial planes. The company, the world's No. 4 commercial plane maker, delivered a total of 233 planes last year.

LEARJET LAUNCH DELAY

Bombardier competes with Brazil's Embraer in the smaller passenger-aircraft business. It aims to capture some of the larger end of that market, now dominated by Airbus and Boeing Co, with its 100-149 seat C-series plane.

The company said the revised timetable for the new Learjet reflected technology problems that have been resolved.

In a conference call with analysts on Thursday, it expressed confidence that the first flight of the new C-Series - its ticket into the larger commercial jet market - would take place by the end of June. Last November, it said it was delaying the first flight by six months to June because of unspecified supplier delays.

The shares rose more than 4 percent on Wednesday, after it said it won an order to sell up to 42 of the C-Series jetliners to Russia's Ilyushin Finance Co in a deal that could be worth as much as $3.42 billion.

"Having a customer make a firm commitment at this particular point in the program is a very good indicator that the customer feels like the program is on track," said PI Financial's Murray.

OUTLOOK POTENTIAL

Indeed, Bombardier executives said the company was at a "turning point" and that it was "on the cusp of seeing significant revenue growth."

At least one analyst upgraded his rating on Thursday. Cameron Doerksen at National Bank Financial said the focus will now shift to stronger results in 2014 and beyond, despite the disappointing quarterly results and 2013 guidance.

The company, which reports in U.S. dollars, said net profit in the fourth quarter fell to $14 million from $214 million a year earlier.

Bombardier took a restructuring charge of $119 million related to the roughly 1,200 job cuts in its rail unit and the closure of a freight car plant in Aachen, Germany.

A temporary drop in revenue from China, traditionally a strong market for the company, also held back the results, but executives said revenue had returned to normal and they were expecting a significant increase in business from China in 2013.

On an adjusted basis, net income fell to $188 million, or 10 cents a share, from $227 million, or 13 cents a share, a year earlier.

Fourth-quarter EBIT totaled $175 million, or 3.7 percent of revenues, compared to $293 million, or 6.8 percent, for the same period a year earlier.

Revenue rose nearly 12 percent to $4.8 billion. Revenue in the aerospace unit, which makes business, commercial and amphibious craft, rose 30 percent to $2.6 billion. Revenue in the transportation unit fell 4 percent to $2.2 billion.

Bombardier stock, which fell as much as 11 percent, closed 9.1 percent lower at C$3.89 on the Toronto Stock Exchange in above average trading volume.

($1=$1.02 Canadian) (Additional reporting by Susan Taylor in Toronto and Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Nick Zieminski, Peter Galloway and Tim Dobbyn)

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Comments (1)
Venerability wrote:
And once again, Reuters needs to move its coverage of Bombardier to at least neutral now.

Balanced stories include commentary from both Bulls and Bears. Long side still overwhelming in this stock, as TSX readings on it show. Most core Canadian analysts AND Core US analysts are Bullish to Very Bullish on Bomber now. But Reuters persists in concentrating on comments from the Short side.

Bombardier was actually the second most Short COVERED stock in Canada in the last reporting period as the countdown to C-series launch heats up. And one hopes that more Shorts came out in the high-volume largely artificial takedown yesterday – just one day after another humongous C-series order was confirmed.

Possibly some very good news on the train side dead ahead, too, from various world regions, as recent manufacturing news demonstrates – where are they ADDING jobs and production, in the face of that train side restructuring? hmmmmmm?

And two tidbits: Important Abu Dhabi airshow next weekend. Could well be opportunity for more plane announcements.

Before that – in fact, starting early next week: If Sequestration is expected to occur, it is a hidden boon for passenger rail, and the high speed rail lobby – Yes, there is actually a very organized and vocal one in both the US and Canada – is going to start shouting from the rooftops for the first time in a long time.

As we all know, making sure Bomber is included in high-speed rail projects is one way for the US to mend fences with Canada, which many believe it needs to do now.

Influential Governor Andrew Cuomo is still a strong backer of Bombardier, because it manufactures in New York state. And he is also a very strong backer of the proposed high-speed rail project linking Manhattan and Albany – and maybe Rochester and Buffalo and Niagara Falls – with Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa, and Toronto.

Feb 22, 2013 2:40pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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