With all the phased cuts and despite winning a battle against Trump’s protectionism, this will come as a shock but not much of a surprise. Sends a chill down the spine though. The local politicians are all running around looking for assurances, but impotent. They can’t even make the ritual promises of “everything will be done that can be done.” Brexit and the Stormont stand off all add to the impression of a difficult environment for new foreign direct investment.
Although Bombardier made no reference to Brexit in its statement, efforts to find a buyer for the plant could be hampered by uncertainty about tariffs and customs arrangements between the UK and the EU. Airbus, which might have been seen as a potential buyer of the site, has voiced grave concern about the impact of Brexit on its investment in the UK. Last month, Bombardier added its signature to an open letter to MPs urging them to take a no-deal Brexit off the table to preserve jobs in Northern Ireland.
What do you say to that Arlene, Nigel, Gavin Robinson and friends?
The planned divestiture in Northern Ireland furthers Bellemare’s 9 CEO Bombardier) aerospace overhaul at Bombardier, which last year handed control of its C Series jetliner to Airbus SE. But uncertainty around Britain’s planned split from the European Union hangs over his plan to sell the advanced composite-wing factory in Belfast.
It still isn’t clear whether barriers will be erected between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain after a divorce. The exit has been postponed until Oct. 31, and a chaotic no-deal scenario that would snarl trade — the worst-case for businesses — also hasn’t entirely been ruled out.
“The government will work with potential buyers to take this successful and ambitious business forward,” U.K. Business Secretary Greg Clark said in a statement about the Belfast plant.
The biggest players in aircraft parts include U.S.-based Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc. and Triumph Group Inc., plus Britain’s GKN, acquired last year by Melrose Industries Plc in a $10 billion hostile takeover. Bombardier’s Belfast factory supplies the C Series, which Airbus renamed the A220.
“Selling Belfast would further distance Bombardier from the A220,” JPMorgan Chase & Co. analyst Seth Seifman said in a note to clients. “This makes it a prized asset and with Airbus still ramping production of a young program, we imagine it will have an opinion about who owns this integral piece of it.”
Spirit said Wednesday that it was looking for acquisitions to diversify away from its dependence on Boeing Co. and the 737 Max, which has been grounded since March after two fatal crashes in five months.
“If Airbus does not want the asset itself, another possibility is Spirit AeroSystems,” Seifman said.
Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London