Bombardier, Inc. (TSX:BBD.B) might be the most talked about Canadian company in 2015. Unfortunately for its shareholders, most of the discussions have been negative.
A tough 12 months
This time last year Bombardier’s stock traded for roughly double its current price. The market felt good about the company’s prospects for getting its CSeries jets off the ground, and the cash burn issue was largely being ignored.
In fact, the stock had a good tailwind behind it after receiving a new order in September for the troubled jet, and that gave everyone a warm and fuzzy feeling heading into the winter months.
Unfortunately, the market had it wrong, and by early 2015 it was clear the company was in big trouble.
Management shelved the Learjet 85 program and announced further delays in the CSeries. Shortly afterwards, a new CEO parachuted into the cockpit, and Bombardier somehow managed to convince the capital markets to gobble up US$2.25 billion in new debt and pay $2.21 per share for $1 billion worth of new equity.
The stock held its own above the issue price for a few months, and at end of June Bombardier still had US$3.1 billion on the balance sheet, but it quickly became evident to the market that the company was on a burn rate of more than $1.5 billion every six months.
That’s not a good situation when customers are avoiding your flagship product and a crash in energy prices has all but wiped out the new jet’s competitive advantage.
By late August, the stock was below $1.15 per share, and everyone thought bankruptcy was all but assured.
Then things suddenly began to magically change.
Rumours of talks to sell the train unit for as much as US$8 billion to a state-owned Chinese company sent the stock rocketing higher. At one point, it almost hit $2.00 per share before pulling back.
News of possible deals, good and bad, roll out on weekly basis, and that is keeping the stock in a trading range of $1.50 and $1.75 per share.
Failed negotiations to sell the CSeries to Airbus didn’t go over too well, discussions for CSeries orders with U.S. airlines are getting hopes up again, and pledges of bailout money from Quebec, and possibly its pension fund, have investors nervous about how that might play out.
It’s all quite entertaining, as long as you don’t own the stock.
What could cause the shares to double in the next couple of months?
Certification of the new jets would be a good start, but that isn’t going to put cash in the bank. The company has to secure new orders for the CSeries, raise a sizeable amount from the IPO of its rail business, and confirm an earlier-than-expected delivery date for the first CSeries planes.
If all three of these things happen, you could see Bombardier rally back to its levels of a year ago.
At this point though, that looks like unlikely, and investors with some cash to invest should probably look elsewhere.
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.