Airbus SE (EPA: AIR) and Bombardier Inc. (TSX: BBD.B) have entered into an agreement pursuant to which Airbus will acquire a 50.01% interest in C Series Aircraft Limited Partnership (CSALP), the entity that manufactures and sells the C Series.
At closing, there will be no cash contribution by any of the partners, nor will CSALP assume any financial debt. Bombardier and Investissement Québec (IQ), currently respectively hold approximately a 62% and a 38% interest, will own approximately a 31% and a 19% interest.
CSALP’s headquarters and primary assembly line and related functions will remain in Québec, with the support of Airbus’ global reach and scale. Airbus’ global industrial footprint will expand with the Final Assembly Line in Canada and additional C Series production at Airbus’ manufacturing site in Alabama, U.S.
“This is a win-win for everybody! The C Series, with its state-of-the-art design and great economics, is a great fit with our existing single-aisle aircraft family and rapidly extends our product offering into a fast growing market sector. I have no doubt that our partnership with Bombardier will boost sales and the value of this programme tremendously,” said Airbus Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders. “Not only will this partnership secure the C Series and its industrial operations in Canada, the U.K. and China, but we also bring new jobs to the U.S. Airbus will benefit from strengthening its product portfolio in the high-volume single-aisle market, offering superior value to our airline customers worldwide.”
“We are very pleased to welcome Airbus to the C Series programme,” said Alain Bellemare, President and Chief Executive Officer of Bombardier Inc. “Airbus is the perfect partner for us, Québec and Canada. Their global scale, strong customer relationships and operational Page 3 of 8 expertise are key ingredients for unleashing the full value of the C Series. This partnership should more than double the value of the C Series programme and ensures our remarkable game-changing aircraft realizes its full potential.”
“The arrival of Airbus as a strategic partner today will ensure the sustainability and growth of the C Series programme, as well as consolidating the entire Québec aerospace cluster. In the current context, the partnership with Airbus is, for us, the best solution to ensure the maintenance and creation of jobs in this strategic sector of the Québec economy,” said Québec’s Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation and Minister responsible for Digital Strategy, Dominique Anglade.
Airbus will enter into commercial agreements relating to (i) sales and marketing support services for the C Series, (ii) management of procurement, which will include leading negotiations to improve CSALP level supplier agreements, and (iii) customer support.
The agreement contemplates that Bombardier will continue with its current funding plan of CSALP and will fund, if required, the cash shortfalls of CSALP during the first year following the closing up to a maximum amount of US$350 million, and during the second and third years following the closing up to a maximum aggregate amount of US$350 million over both years, in consideration for nonvoting participating shares of CSALP with cumulative annual dividends of 2%, with any excess shortfall during such periods to be shared proportionately amongst Class A shareholders.
Airbus will benefit from call rights in respect of all of Bombardier’s interest in CSALP at fair market value, with the amount for non-voting participating shares used by Bombardier capped at the invested amount plus accrued but unpaid dividends, including a call right exercisable no earlier than 7.5 years following the closing, except in the event of certain changes in the control of Bombardier, in which case the right is accelerated.
Bombardier will benefit from a corresponding put right whereby it could require that Airbus acquire its interest at fair market value after the expiry of the same period.
IQ’s interest is redeemable at fair market value by CSALP, under certain conditions, starting in 2023. IQ will also benefit from tag along rights in connection with a sale by Bombardier of its interest in the partnership.
The board of directors of CSALP will initially consist of seven directors, four of whom will be proposed by Airbus, two of whom will be proposed by Bombardier, and one of whom will be proposed by IQ. Airbus will be entitled to name the Chairman of CSALP.
Subject to obtaining the required approval from the Toronto Stock Exchange, the transaction also provides for the issuance to Airbus, upon closing, of warrants exercisable to acquire up to 100,000,000 Class B Shares (subordinate voting) of Bombardier (representing approximately 5% of the aggregate issued and outstanding Class A Shares (multiple voting) and Class B Shares of Bombardier on a fully-diluted basis, and approximately 5% of the aggregate issued and outstanding Class A Shares and Class B Shares on a non-diluted basis), at an exercise price per share equal to the US$ equivalent of C$2.29, which represents the volume-weighted average price of the Class B Shares over the five trading days ending Friday, 13 October 2017.
The warrants will have a five-year term from the date of issue, will not be listed and will provide for market standard adjustment provisions, including in the event of corporate changes, stock splits, non-cash dividends, distributions of rights, options or warrants to all or substantially all shareholders or consolidations.
photo credit: Bombardier
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