Bombardier Inc. fell the most on record after warning of disappointing fourth-quarter sales and revealing that it may exit a joint venture with Airbus SE that makes the A220 jetliner, potentially triggering a major writedown.
A ramp-up in A220 production will require additional cash investment, pushing back the break-even point and generating lower returns across the lifetime of the project, Bombardier said in a statement Thursday. The value of the A220 joint venture is likely to be diminished and the amount of any accounting charge will be disclosed with full 2019 results next month, the company said.
The potential end of Bombardier’s involvement in the A220 program is combining with new stumbles in the company’s rail business to undermine a once-great name in manufacturing — just when investors thought they were poised to reap the rewards of a difficult turnaround effort. Walking away from the A220 would close the book on Bombardier’s involvement in an aircraft program in which the company invested more than US$6 billion.
“The joke continues. Anyone involved with the story has a gun to their head,” said John O’Connell, chief executive officer of Davis Rea Ltd., who doesn’t hold Bombardier shares or bonds. “This company has been a disaster my whole career and I’m almost ready to retire.”
Bombardier plunged 30 per cent to US$1.25 at 12:56 p.m. in Toronto after sliding as much as 39 per cent for the biggest intraday tumble on record. That dragged shares to the lowest level in almost four years.
The company’s 7.85 per cent bonds due 2027 fell 6.2 cents, the most on record, to 96 cents on the dollar, yielding 8.6 per cent, according to Trace data. The US$1.5 billion in notes due 2025 dropped 3.9 cents to 98.1 cents on the dollar to yield 8 per cent, the highest since Oct. 31.
Bombardier, which is refocusing its operations on rail equipment and business jets, said fourth-quarter sales would be US$4.2 billion, trailing the lowest analyst estimate in a survey by Bloomberg
The results were dragged down in part by new challenges in the company’s faltering rail division, which generates about half of sales. The business got a black eye this month when New York removed 300 Bombardier-made subway cars from service because of door glitches. For the fourth quarter, the manufacturer said it would take a US$350 million accounting charge because of problems in London, Switzerland and Germany.
The timing of milestone payments also clipped results late last year, Montreal-based Bombardier said. So did the delay of some deliveries of the Global 7500 business jet into the first quarter of 2020.
Liquidity remains strong, with year-end cash on hand of roughly US$2.6 billion, Bombardier said. But the company is considering alternatives to accelerate debt reduction and strengthen its balance sheet. Full results are scheduled for Feb. 13.
“The final step in our turnaround is to de-lever and solve our capital structure,” Chief Executive Officer Alain Bellemare said in the statement. “We are actively pursuing alternatives that would allow us to accelerate our debt paydown.”
Trouble is, Bombardier may be running out of sizable assets to sell to meet its cash needs, said Bloomberg Intelligence analyst George Ferguson.
“Bombardier needs to get its rail business — the earnings and cash-flow driver — on track, while restructuring its aviation division in a soft business-jet market,” he said in a report.
The potential end of Bombardier’s involvement in the A220 program would cap the company’s broader retreat from commercial-plane manufacturing.
Bombardier ceded control of the A220 last year to Airbus for no upfront cash. The plane — originally known as the C Series — won praise for its fuel-efficient engines, composite wings and large windows. But the program ran more than two years late and about US$2 billion over budget, and Bombardier had trouble finding buyers in an industry dominated by Airbus and Boeing Co.
Airbus said it would continue funding the A220 program “on its way to break-even.” The European aerospace giant owns a 50.01 per cent stake in the regional jet, with Bombardier retaining 31 per cent and state-backed Investissement Quebec holding some 19 per cent.
The jet added 63 orders in 2019, with 105 currently in service and a backlog of close to 500 planes. Airbus will begin producing the A220 on a second assembly line this year at its factory in Mobile, Alabama.
Bombardier agreed last year to sell a plant in Belfast, Northern Ireland, that makes wings for the A220. The buyer, Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc., is seeking to boost its exposure to Airbus programs after suffering as a supplier to Boeing’s grounded 737 Max.
The Canadian company also agreed to sell its regional-jet program to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd.
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Banks moved alleged dirty money despite red flags: Reports – Aljazeera.com
Several global banks moved large sums of allegedly illicit funds over a period of nearly two decades, despite red flags about the origins of the money, BuzzFeed and other media have reported, citing confidential documents submitted by banks to the United States government.
The series of news reports on Sunday was partly based on documents, called suspicious activity reports (SARs), filed by banks and other financial firms with the US Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
The SARs, which the reports said numbered more than 2,100, were obtained by BuzzFeed News and shared with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and other media organisations.
In all, the ICIJ reported that the files contained information about more than $2 trillion worth of transactions between 1999 and 2017, which were flagged by internal compliance departments of financial institutions as suspicious. The SARs are in themselves not necessarily proof of wrongdoing.
The unchecked movement of dirty money may not register as an immediate threat – especially given the coronavirus pandemic and all that 2020 has delivered.
— ICIJ (@ICIJorg) September 20, 2020
Five global banks appeared most often in the documents – HSBC, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, Standard Chartered and Bank of New York Mellon (BNY Mellon), the ICIJ reported.
A bank has a maximum of 60 days to file SARs after the date of the initial detection of a reportable transaction, according to the Treasury Department’s Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.
Delay in reporting
The ICIJ report said that in some cases, the banks failed to report suspect transactions until years after they had processed them.
The SARs also showed that banks often moved funds for companies that were registered in offshore havens, such as the British Virgin Islands, and did not know the ultimate owner of the account, the report said.
Among the types of transactions highlighted by the report: funds processed by JPMorgan for potentially corrupt individuals and companies in Venezuela, Ukraine and Malaysia; money from a Ponzi scheme moving through HSBC; and money linked to a Ukrainian billionaire processed by Deutsche Bank.
In a statement to Reuters news agency, HSBC said “all of the information provided by the ICIJ is historical”.
The bank said that as of 2012, “HSBC embarked on a multi-year journey to overhaul its ability to combat financial crime across more than 60 jurisdictions.”
Standard Chartered said in a statement to Reuters, “We take our responsibility to fight financial crime extremely seriously and have invested substantially in our compliance programmes.”
‘Kleptocracy tour’ highlights London money-laundering
BNY Mellon told Reuters it could not comment on specific SARs.
“We fully comply with all applicable laws and regulations, and assist authorities in the important work they do,” the bank said.
JPMorgan did not immediately respond to a request for comment but said in a statement to BuzzFeed that “thousands of employees and hundreds of millions of dollars are devoted to helping support law enforcement and national security efforts”.
Deutsche Bank said in a statement on Sunday that to the “extent that information referenced by the ICIJ is derived from SARs, it should be noted that this is information that is pro-actively identified and submitted by banks to governments pursuant to the law.”
FinCEN said in a statement on its website on September 1 that it was aware that various media outlets intended to publish a series of articles based on unlawfully disclosed SARs, as well as other documents, and said that the “unauthorized disclosure of SARs is a crime that can impact the national security of the United States”.
Representatives for the US Treasury did not immediately respond to an email for comment on Sunday.
Reuters news agency
Second AstraZeneca volunteer reportedly suffers rare neurological condition, but UK company says it’s not related to vaccine – RT
Two people have fallen ill during the trials of AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine in the UK, the company’s internal papers revealed, and a source said they had both suffered from the same serious neurological disorder.
The company published details of the trials on Saturday, after facing criticism over the lack of transparency surrounding the testing of the much-anticipated vaccine against the virus, which has so far infected more than 30.8 million people and caused over 958,000 fatalities worldwide.
The first participant of the British trials – which are being conducted in conjunction with Oxford University – fell ill after receiving one dose of the experimental vaccine in July.
The female volunteer was later diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a rare inflammatory disease that affects the spinal cord, causing weakness, sensory alterations, and autonomic nervous-system dysfunction. The company’s spokeswoman later told the media the volunteer had undiagnosed multiple sclerosis, and the trials resumed.
The second female recipient of the vaccine suffered complications after the follow-up dose in September. AstraZeneca didn’t confirm her diagnosis, but a source told the New York Times it was also transverse myelitis.
On September 6, trials of the drug were paused again, after the second woman felt ill, but they resumed in Britain, Brazil, India, and South Africa less than a week later. The US hasn’t yet green-lighted the continuation of the test, however.
AstraZeneca, which has administered its vaccine to some 18,000 people worldwide, said in internal documents that the two cases of the illness were “unlikely to be associated with the vaccine, or there was insufficient evidence to say for certain that the illnesses were or were not related to the vaccine.”
Transverse myelitis is a serious and rare disease, and its repeated cases among the participants of the trials may well see AstraZeneca losing its vaccine bid all together.
AstraZeneca’s vaccine uses a monkey adenovirus that shares a gene with the Covid-19 coronavirus. It’s an untested method of vaccine development, according to Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund that bankrolled the Russian vaccine development.
Unlike AstraZeneca’s jab, Russia’s Sputnik V, the world’s first registered vaccine, uses human adenoviruses as a vector – an extensively studied approach.
Earlier this month, respected British medical journal The Lancet published the Russian Ministry of Health’s Sputnik V study, showing the vaccine to be 100 percent effective, producing antibodies in all 76 participants of early-stage trials.
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Tesla Driver Caught Going 100 MPH While Fast Asleep – CarBuzz
“Nobody was looking out the windshield to see where the car was going,” RCMP Sgt. Darrin Turnbull told CBC News. “I’ve been in policing for over 23 years and the majority of that in traffic law enforcement, and I’m speechless. I’ve never, ever seen anything like this before, but of course the technology wasn’t there.”
When the officer tried to pull the Model S driver over, traffic cleared out of its lane, causing the car to automatically accelerate up to 150 kph (93 mph). Needless to say, pulling him over was an uphill battle.
Eventually, though, the officer managed to issue a ticket for speeding and suspend the driver’s license for 24 hours for fatigue. Further investigation led to the driver being charged with dangerous driving and being summoned to court in December.
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