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Is it Finally Safe to Buy Bombardier Inc.?

Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B) might be Canada’s most hated stock right now, and that’s why some contrarian investors are starting to get bullish on the name.

Let’s take a look at Bombardier to see if you should add the company to your portfolio.

Cash flow concerns

Fears of a cash crunch finally compelled Bombardier to make some tough decisions in February, and existing shareholders really took it on the chin.

The company cancelled its dividend and sold more than $1 billion in new stock. Bombardier also added $2.25 billion in new debt. The move was necessary given the ongoing delays in the CSeries jet program and a US$750 million obligation that is due in January 2016.

The positive takeaway for investors is that the company now has more than $6 billion in cash and credit available to burn through as it tries to get the CSeries planes certified and delivered by early 2016.

CSeries outlook

The CSeries program has been a nightmare. The project is already two years behind schedule and 60% over budget. Orders for the new planes continue to trickle in, but the company is still short of its objectives. This is probably why two senior sales executives left the company in the past year. The latest update confirmed market expectations that the first planes won’t be delivered until 2016.

Management change

Bombardier also announced the hiring of a new CEO, Alain Bellemare. The former head of United Technologies Corp., has been given the reins, but he will probably be kept on a tight leash.

The former CEO (and member of the family empire that controls Bombardier), Pierre Beaudoin, has moved up to the position of executive chairman, which means the old CEO is now the boss of the new CEO.

Investors might be concerned that Bellemare will not be given the freedom to really rattle the cage and make the tough, but essential, changes that are needed to get Bombardier back on the rails.

Train troubles

Bombardier’s world-class transport division is also facing some issues, but that side of the story doesn’t get nearly as much attention as the aerospace unit.

Bombardier has a stronghold on the North American rail transit market, but it recently lost a deal to China CNR, a state-owned rail car and locomotive manufacturer that is aggressively targeting new business in North America.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MBTA) awarded the $567 million contract to China CNR for the supply of new subway cars. Many American cities are struggling with weak balance sheets and the MBTA decision to go with the Chinese firm could be bad news for Bombardier going forward.

Should you buy?

Bombardier will eventually get its CSeries project in order, but a huge debt load still hangs over the company’s head and there is no guarantee that the sales or delivery targets for the CSeries jets will be met. At this point, I would still avoid the stock.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium service or advisor. We’re Motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer, so we sometimes publish articles that may not be in line with recommendations, rankings or other content.

Fool contributor Andrew Walker has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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