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Bombardier, Inc.: The Struggles Continue

Bombardier, Inc. (TSX:BBD.B) has enjoyed a nice rally off the 2016 low, but the company’s turnaround is far from complete.

Let’s take a look at the current situation to see if investors should be concerned about this stock.

CSeries challenges

Much of Bombardier’s pain over the past few years can be attributed to the company’s beleaguered CSeries jets.

The program has struggled with costly delays, missed delivery targets, and a lack of buyers.

As a result, Bombardier faced a potential cash flow crisis last year and had to turn to the Quebec government and the province’s pension fund, the CDPQ, for financial aid.

Quebec just handed over the second half of its US$1 billion investment. The CDPQ provided its $US1.5 billion commitment earlier in the year.

In return for the cash injections, Quebec now owns 49.5% of the CSeries program and the CDPQ has a 30% stake in Bombardier Transport, the company’s rail division.

News of the financial support initially gave Bombardier a boost last fall, but by February 2016, investors were ready to throw in the towel as further delays CSeries delays and a lack of interest in the planes had the market worried the company was in serious trouble.

Then things began to turn around.

Bombardier secured new orders from Air Canada, Air Baltic, and Delta Airlines and finally delivered its first jets to Swiss International Airlines.

The stock has more than doubled off its February low, and investors have been feeling better about the company’s prospects.

Ongoing concerns

The CSeries program is looking better than it was at the beginning of the year, but challenges remain.

The company just announced further delivery delays. Bombardier says it will only deliver seven CSeries aircraft in 2016 instead of the previous forecast of 15 planes. The latest setback is blamed on delivery delays from the company’s engine supplier.

Airlines normally pay for planes on delivery, so the extended delay means less revenue is on the way in the near term. Bombardier says it should still hit the lower end of revenue guidance for 2016 and hopes to meet its 2020 production target of 90-120 CSeries planes.

Investors have piled back into the stock on the belief that the CSeries will be cash flow positive by 2020, but there are some warning signs to keep an eye on.

First, the company booked a US$490 million charge in Q2 for the 127 planes it sold in the Delta, Air Canada, and Air Baltic deals. Pundits had speculated the planes were sold at a huge discount, and that appears to have been the case.

Moving forward, there is a concern that Bombardier will have trouble finding new buyers at attractive margins, and that could put the 2020 target at risk.

Train woes

Bombardier Transport is also working its way through some difficult times.

The division is way behind its delivery target on a major streetcar order for Toronto, and while the delay has not impacted additional rail orders from the province of Ontario, the company’s reputation might be taking a hit in other markets.

For example, Bombardier recently lost two key rail deals in the United States. The contracts were awarded to a Chinese competitor, marking the first wins by the Chinese state-owned company in the United States.

Should you buy?

Bombardier is still carrying significant debt and will likely need additional government aid in the next 12-24 months.

Given the ongoing struggles, I think investors who bought the stock for a loonie might want to take some profits. New investors should probably look for other opportunities.

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

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