The future of Bombardier Inc. is being called into question after the company said it was actively considering alternatives to reduce its staggering debt.
After exiting the commercial aircraft business, selling its aerostructures unit and unloading a large tract of land in Toronto, the company said it is working to reduce debt and “solve its capital structure.” Bombardier’s long-term debt stood at more than US$9 billion as of Dec. 31, 2018.
“We are actively pursuing alternatives that would allow us to accelerate our debt paydown. The objective is to position the business for long-term success with greater operating and financial flexibility,” it said in a news release Thursday that warned about weaker financial results for 2019.
What that means is unclear, says Walter Spracklin of RBC Capital Markets.
“What exactly this strategic alternative is constitutes the key ‘wild card’ in the Bombardier stock,” he wrote in a report, decreasing his target price by a third to $2.
“The stock reaction reflects the ever-mounting liquidity concerns, with many investors we talked to doubtful as to whether there is a solution.”
The company’s language suggests some urgency that can’t be resolved by just pushing out debt maturities, added Seth Seifman of JP Morgan.
“This suggests to us the potential to pursue strategic options, including a breakup and sale of all or part of the company,” he wrote. “It may include one or both of Bombardier’s two major businesses: bizjets and trains.”
Cameron Doerksen of National Bank Financial says aviation would be the most likely candidate for sale since transportation is a better stand-alone business.
“Our math shows that if Bombardier did sell its aviation segment and used the proceeds to de-lever and reacquire the Caisse de depot’s stake in Transportation, based on where pure-play rail equipment OEMs trade today, Bombardier shares could be worth $3.87,” he wrote. The pension fund manager holds a 30 per cent stake in Bombardier Transportation.
The Caisse declined to indicate if it is interested in purchasing more of the transportation unit, saying only that it supports “the continuing work of Bombardier Transportation’s management team to improve the subsidiary’s operating performance — including the actions taken to address certain legacy projects.”
Bombardier’s shares plunged 31.8 per cent to their lowest level in nearly four years following its release, which pointed to a possible withdrawal from a partnership with Airbus in the commercial aircraft previously called the C Series. The stock closed down 57 cents to $1.22 in heavy trading of 60.2 million shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
The financial miss is mainly due to actions taken to resolve challenging rail projects, the timing of milestone payments and new orders and the delivery of four business jets slipping into the first quarter of 2020, the company said.
It said it is reassessing its ongoing participation in the Airbus partnership about two years after giving up a controlling stake in the program to Europe-based Airbus SE.
Airbus owns 50.06 per cent of the joint venture, Bombardier 33.58 per cent and Quebec 16.36 per cent after injecting US$1 billion in 2016.
While the A220 program is gaining orders as it proves its value, additional cash will be required to support the ramp-up of production, a delay in reaching break-even and lower returns over the life of the program, it said in a preliminary announcement of its fourth-quarter and 2019 results set to be released Feb. 13.
“This may significantly impact the joint venture value,” Bombardier said, adding it will disclose any writedown next month.
Bombardier said it expects consolidated revenue for 2019 to total about US$15.8 billion and consolidated adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of about US$830 million.
The company, which reports in U.S. dollars, had said in October it expected revenue between $16.5 billion and $17 billion for the year and adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization between $1.2 billion and $1.3 billion.
The company said it expects to earn zero adjusted EBITDA in the fourth quarter on about $4.2 billion in revenues with losses in transportation offset by earnings in aviation.
Consolidated free cash flow is expected to be around $1 billion in the fourth quarter, about $650 million lower than anticipated. However, the shortfall is expected to be recovered in 2020.
A total of 58 aircraft were delivered in the fourth quarter and 175 for the full year, including 11 Global 7500s.
Industry analysts called the financial warning negative with some cutting their price target for Bombardier’s shares.
“The key question is how much closer is the company to solving these issues, and what comfort can we get that new issues of similar scope and magnitude will not recur,” added Spracklin.
The operational issues of transportation and update on the A220 are disappointing, said Benoit Poirier of Desjardins Securities.
“Nevertheless, we note that the value of the A220 program is not currently reflected in Bombardier’s stock and therefore management’s decision to review its strategic options for the program should unlock value through deleveraging — even at a depressed valuation,” he wrote.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 16, 2020.
Companies in this story: (TSX:BBD.B)
Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press
Dow Jones sinks nearly 1,200 points amid coronavirus worries, worst 1-day drop since 2011 – Global News
Worldwide markets plummeted again Thursday, deepening a weeklong rout triggered by growing anxiety that the coronavirus will wreak havoc on the global economy. The sweeping selloff gave U.S. stocks their worst one-day drop since 2011.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled nearly 1,200 points. The S&P 500 has now plunged 12% from the all-time high it set just a week ago.
That puts the index in what market watchers call a “correction,” which some analysts have said was long overdue in this bull market, the longest in history.
Stocks are now headed for their worst week since October 2008, during the global financial crisis.
The losses extended a slide that has wiped out the solid gains major indexes posted early this year.
Investors came into 2020 feeling confident that the Federal Reserve would keep interest rates at low levels and the U.S.-China trade war posed less of a threat to company profits after the two sides reached a preliminary agreement in January. Even in the early days of the outbreak, markets took things in stride.
How COVID-19 may impact your pocketbook
But over the past two weeks, a growing list of major companies issued warnings that profits could suffer as factory shutdowns across China disrupt supply chains and consumers there refrain from shopping.
Travel to and from China is severely restricted, and shares of airlines, hotels and cruise operators have been punished in stock markets. As the virus spread beyond China, markets feared the economic issues in China could escalate globally.
One sign of that is the big decline in oil prices, which slumped on expectations that demand will tail off sharply.
“This is a market that’s being driven completely by fear,” said Elaine Stokes, portfolio manager at Loomis Sayles, with market movements following the classic characteristics of a fear trade: Stocks are down. Commodities are down, and bonds are up.
Bond prices soared again Thursday as investors fled to safe investments. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note fell as low as 1.246%, a record low, according to TradeWeb. When yields fall, it’s a sign that investors are feeling less confident about the strength of the economy.
COVID-19: U.S. stocks plunge as global outbreak continues
Stokes said the swoon reminded her of the market’s reaction following the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
“Eventually we’re going to get to a place where this fear, it’s something that we get used to living with, the same way we got used to living with the threat of living with terrorism,” she said. “But right now, people don’t know how or when we’re going to get there, and what people do in that situation is to retrench.”
The virus has now infected more than 82,000 people globally and is worrying governments with its rapid spread beyond the epicenter of China.
Japan will close schools nationwide to help control the spread of the new virus. Saudi Arabia banned foreign pilgrims from entering the kingdom to visit Islam’s holiest sites. Italy has become the center of the outbreak in Europe, with the spread threatening the financial and industrial centers of that nation.
At their heart, stock prices rise and fall with the profits that companies make. And Wall Street’s expectations for profit growth are sliding away. Apple and Microsoft, two of the world’s biggest companies, have already said their sales this quarter will feel the economic effects of the virus.
Goldman Sachs on Thursday said earnings for companies in the S&P 500 index might not grow at all this year, after predicting earlier that they would grow 5.5%. Strategist David Kostin also cut his growth forecast for earnings next year.
Advice to stock market investors: keep your eye on the spread of COVID-19
Besides a sharply weaker Chinese economy in the first quarter of this year, he sees lower demand for U.S. exporters, disruptions to supply chains and general uncertainty eating away at earnings growth.
Such cuts are even more impactful now because stocks are already trading at high levels relative to their earnings, raising the risk. Before the virus worries exploded, investors had been pushing stocks higher on expectations that strong profit growth was set to resume for companies after declining for most of 2019.
The S&P 500 recently traded at its most expensive level, relative to its expected earnings per share, since the dot-com bubble was deflating in 2002, according to FactSet. If profit growth doesn’t ramp up this year, that makes a highly priced stock market even more vulnerable.
Goldman Sach’s Kostin predicted the S&P 500 could fall to 2,900 in the near term, which would be a nearly 7% drop from Wednesday’s close, before rebounding to 3,400 by the end of the year.
Traders are growing increasingly certain that the Federal Reserve will be forced to cut interest rates to protect the economy, and soon. They are pricing in a 96% probability of a cut at the Fed’s next meeting in March. Just a day before, they were calling for only a 33% chance, according to CME Group.
The market’s sharp drop this week partly reflects increasing fears among many economists that the U.S. and global economies could take a bigger hit from the coronavirus than they previously thought.
Coronavirus fears wipe billions of dollars off China’s stock market
Earlier assumptions that the impact would largely be contained in China and would temporarily disrupt manufacturing supply chains have been overtaken by concerns that as the virus spreads, more people in numerous countries will stay home, either voluntarily or under quarantine. Vacations could be canceled, restaurant meals skipped, and fewer shopping trips taken.
“A global recession is likely if COVID-19 becomes a pandemic, and the odds of that are uncomfortably high and rising with infections surging in Italy and Korea,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics.
The market rout will also likely weaken Americans’ confidence in the economy, analysts say, even among those who don’t own shares. Such volatility can worry people about their own companies and job security. In addition, Americans that do own stocks feel less wealthy.
Both of those trends can combine to discourage consumer spending and slow growth.
AP Business Writer Damian J. Troise and Economics Writer Christopher Rugaber contributed to this report.
© 2020 The Canadian Press
TSX halt leaves traders, investors in limbo on one of the busiest trading days of the year – The Globe and Mail
Trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange and other exchanges owned by TMX Group Ltd. came to an abrupt halt on Thursday afternoon, leaving traders and investors in limbo on one of the busiest trading days of the year.
Shortly before 2:00 p.m., TMX ordered a “technical halt” for the TSX, TSX-Venture Exchange and the Alpha Exchange, due to a “problem with order entry.” Derivatives trading on the Montreal Stock Exchange, which is owned by TMX, was also halted.
“Clients are currently unable to enter, modify or cancel open orders,” the exchange said in a statement, shortly after the halt. A TMX spokesperson said the company was investigating the issue, but did not elaborate on what caused the order processing problem that prompted the shutdown.
The spokesperson added that the company did not know whether trading would resume at a regular time on Friday.
Thursday’s stoppage came at a dramatic moment, cutting short a day of intense selling that saw the S&P/TSX Composite Index drop 323 points or 1.9 per cent as concern mounts about the economic impact of coronavirus.
For professional traders, the halt caused disarray as orders remained unfilled and trading positions were left open.
“If you’ve got an order out there on the TMX, and you can’t cancel it, we need to know how the system is going to be brought back to life. Is there a chance of a double fill, by selling too much or by buying too much? These are concerns that people need to be cognizant of,” said Pete Gombocz, managing director of Velocity Trade Capital Ltd.
The TMX Group said in a statement that prior to re-opening the exchange, it will “provide sufficient time in a pre-open state for participants to manage their orders”
As Canada’s largest exchanges shut down, traders began routing their trades through smaller exchanges such as the NEO Exchange, and through alternative trading systems such as Omega and Chi-X. This took some of the pressure off the build-up of un-executed orders. However, far fewer shares trade hands on these smaller exchanges, making access to liquidity a challenge.
“The ability to enter and exit a trade is certainly hampered,” Mr. Gombocz said.
The early shutdown caused additional problems for people trying to manage margin calls, said Anthony George, head trader at INFOR Financial Group Inc. A margin call happens when people have borrowed money to buy stock, and the price of the stock declines, meaning they have to put more money into the trading account to make up for the shortfall.
“There’s capital issues people have. You’re up against margin. And without the access to sell, to liquidity, you’re breaking the rule,” Mr. George said, referring to rules around margin requirements.
“Margin calls come out at 2:15, and the market was halted at 1:54… You can go to those other exchanges and sell 100 shares or 200 shares, but you’re not getting the same liquidity,” he said.
Order processing problems used to be a relatively frequent occurrence on the TSX, said Mr. Gombocz, who worked for the exchange in the 1990s and early 2000s, although things have improved in recent years.
“I think the system and the technology today has been built to withstand a lot more [volume] than they would see on an everyday basis, so those spikes that you would see in trading volumes and order flow, I think those have been factored into how they built their processing,” Mr. Gombocz said.
“It is technology, technology does break, but they’ve had a good track record,” he added.
Husky CEO slams Ottawa for derailing projects with politics – Yahoo Canada Finance
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Speaking on a conference call following the release of the Calgary-based integrated oil producer’s latest financial results, Robert Peabody commented on the increasingly challenging environment for new energy infrastructure in Canada. ” data-reactid=”23″>Speaking on a conference call following the release of the Calgary-based integrated oil producer’s latest financial results, Robert Peabody commented on the increasingly challenging environment for new energy infrastructure in Canada.
“Governments should make every effort to ensure that companies in any industry don’t invest significant dollars in a project, and in project applications, only to be derailed by policy or political uncertainty at the very last moment,” he said on Thursday. “That certainly is a situation that has to be rectified if people want projects to move ahead.”
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="His remarks come in the wake of Teck Resources’ (TECK-B.TO)(TECK) decision last Sunday to pull the plug on plans for a $20 billion oilsands mine in northern Alberta. The company said the full potential of Canada’s energy sector will not be realized until the government reconciles conflicting natural resource development and carbon reduction priorities.” data-reactid=”25″>His remarks come in the wake of Teck Resources’ (TECK-B.TO)(TECK) decision last Sunday to pull the plug on plans for a $20 billion oilsands mine in northern Alberta. The company said the full potential of Canada’s energy sector will not be realized until the government reconciles conflicting natural resource development and carbon reduction priorities.
Teck began the regulatory process for the planned Frontier mine in March 2008. Last July, the Alberta Energy Regulator and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency recommended approval of the project. The federal government was expected to issue its decision by the end of the month.
“All you have to do to frustrate large project investment is make the regulatory process longer than sort of five years,” Peabody said. “What killed Teck, ultimately, was a regulatory process that just went on and on and on.”
While Teck had not deemed the project viable given current commodity prices and the lack of take-away capacity in Canada’s oil patch, the project became a political flashpoint, pitting Ottawa’s commitment to reduce carbon emissions against the need to support Alberta’s long-suffering resource economy.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Teck warned last week that it would face a $1.13 billion impairment charge if the plan did not go ahead.” data-reactid=”29″>Teck warned last week that it would face a $1.13 billion impairment charge if the plan did not go ahead.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The abandoned Frontier mine plan is the latest casualty in a long line of energy projects impacted by regulatory hurdles and environmental opposition, including the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion sold to the government by Kinder Morgan (KMI), and TC Energy Corp’s (TRP.TO)(TRP) Keystone XL pipeline. ” data-reactid=”30″>The abandoned Frontier mine plan is the latest casualty in a long line of energy projects impacted by regulatory hurdles and environmental opposition, including the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion sold to the government by Kinder Morgan (KMI), and TC Energy Corp’s (TRP.TO)(TRP) Keystone XL pipeline.
The latest pressure point has been TC’s Energy Coastal GasLink pipeline in Northern British Columbia. The project aims to transport natural gas 670 kilometres from near Dawson Creek to a facility near Kitimat, where LNG Canada will prepare the gas for export to global markets.
While the project has the approval of all 20 elected Indigenous band councils governing the route, the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have not consented. They insist their authority trumps governance structures created under Canada’s controversial Indian Act.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Nationwide protests in support of the hereditary chiefs have erupted in recent weeks. Demonstrators have blocked trains on key rail arteries, resulting in a range of setbacks for businesses across the country, including temporary layoffs.” data-reactid=”33″>Nationwide protests in support of the hereditary chiefs have erupted in recent weeks. Demonstrators have blocked trains on key rail arteries, resulting in a range of setbacks for businesses across the country, including temporary layoffs.
A new poll by the Angus Reid Institute found 78 per cent of Canadians feel the country’s reputation as a prime destination for investment has taken a hit as a result.
Goldy Hyder, chief executive officer at the Business Council of Canada, said the disconnect between the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their elected counterparts adds another layer of complexity to the already challenging process of building energy projects in Canada.
He said the federal government keeps “moving the goalposts” on project approvals, and his members in the energy sector are getting fed up.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="“‘What else do you want from us?’ That’s what I hear,” Hyder told Yahoo Finance Canada. ” data-reactid=”37″>“‘What else do you want from us?’ That’s what I hear,” Hyder told Yahoo Finance Canada.
His advice for the government: “Don’t politicize regulatory processes. Build the regulations strong enough that you are comfortable that you are getting the policy outcomes that you want.”
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.” data-reactid=”39″>Jeff Lagerquist is a senior reporter at Yahoo Finance Canada. Follow him on Twitter @jefflagerquist.
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Download the Yahoo Finance app, available for Apple and Android.” data-reactid=”40″>Download the Yahoo Finance app, available for Apple and Android.
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