It was a difficult year for Bombardier, Inc. (TSX:BBD.B) in 2015. Its shares have lost more than 30% in value, mainly due to woes surrounding its CSeries line. In fact, its shares peaked around the $20s level in 2002 and lost more than 90% of the market value based on current share price levels.
It was dubbed as the worthy opponent to Airbus Group SE and Boeing aircraft lines. The selling proposition was simple: it offered a more efficient larger aircraft at cheaper price. However, the CSeries project has been plagued by cost overruns and delays. Accordingly, the result has been difficult for the company.
For the last five years, the company experienced persistent cash burn averaging US$1.8 billion, depleting its cash resources and jeopardizing its existence.
Things are somehow looking different for the company. They have disclosed that they sealed deals with Delta Airlines, Air Canada, and Air Baltic. In June of this year, it finally delivered its first CSeries to Swiss International Airlines.
It may not immediately reverse its cash burn position, as there have been some issues and concerns over the consistency of these deliveries. There are some market opinions that further delays should be expected. It should be noted that it was only this year that the company managed to grow its confirmed orders to 115 compared to 61 confirmed orders in 2014 and none in 2015.
Out of the 358 confirmed orders as of August 2016, only two have been actually delivered. Nonetheless, it was a major milestone considering that the company is actually picking up steam and getting to the negotiating table with airlines. Additionally, management is also aware of the issues with re-kindled focus on cost reduction, optimal capital deployment, and gross margin enhancement.
Too important to fail
Despite naysayers predicting the company’s ultimate demise, the Canadian government’s $1 billion investment reflects its commitment on the aerospace industry and the economy as a whole.
It has a political appeal; there are more than 40,000 people employed in the aerospace industry, where Bombardier is the biggest employer. Moreover, it has a sizable debt of about $9 billion as of June 2016. Unemployment and bank debt write-off would definitely have a trickle-down effect on the overall economy.
There are other share price overhangs the company needs to address. At least, one key major overhang would be getting government support. If the company can keep up with orders and deliveries, maybe it’s time to believe that Bombardier, Inc. is ready for take-off.
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Fool contributor Joe Frenette has no position in any stocks mentioned.