Bombardier bailout

Bombardier reported their financial results on October 29, which were ugly as expected – they bled through about $315 million cash on the operating side and a gross $500 million on the investment side for the 3 month period.

This and the next quarter should be the the worst of it.

There are a few tail-winds now that will make an investment in their preferred shares likely to pay off beyond the receipt of dividend coupons.

I did not mention this in my July 29th post, a strong component of this investment is due to the political factor – the Government of Quebec, and now by extension by virtue of the Liberal Party’s recent victory nationally, the Government of Canada is not going to let Bombardier fail due to the political connections existing between the controlling shareholder and the government apparatus.

In other words, the company will not fail due to liquidity concerns alone – it may fail due to simply being unable to produce a jet, but it won’t be for financial reasons.

Bombardier took a billion dollars from the government of Quebec for a half equity interest in the liabilities of the new jet they are producing. They also issued 200 million warrants to purchase Class B shares at a strike price that is a premium of approximately 50% above the existing market rate – which would dilute shareholders in the event that things went well.

Examining the market reaction (which on net was rather mute), the BBD.PR.C issue, in particular, is trading at an increased yield, presumably due to conversion threat (they can be converted into BBD.B shares at the higher of 95% of market value or $2/share – and at current market prices, this means 12.5 Class B shares per preferred share).

The short end for Bombardier’s bond yield curve also came down – with their new term issue (March 2018) suddenly trading at par from about 94 cents a month earlier.

The new federal government is sworn in on November 4, 2015. It is virtually certain the new government will table an interim budget measure that will announce the easy to implement campaign platforms during the past election campaign – ratcheting down TFSA contribution limits, adjusting marginal tax rates for middle income earners, creating a new tax bracket for high income earners, etc. But one of the early decisions the new government will face is whether they wish to throw some money at Bombardier. I do not believe a federal investment is likely right now (just simply due to transition and the lack of immediate political necessity), but it remains a distinct possibility in the 2016 budget which will probably be tabled around February or March.

The Quebec investment is on the equity side – and preferred shareholders should benefit from this transaction.

I find it very difficult to believe at this juncture that Bombardier will suspend dividends on their preferred shares and they will muddle their way through what has been a financially disastrous investment in the C-Series jet.

The preferred shares continue to be a high risk, very high reward type investment if things proceed to fruition.

One thought on “Bombardier bailout”

  1. In what case could they be allowed to suspend their dividend on the prefs ? Could that happen only if they go bankrupt ?

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