Canada done probing Bombardier aid bid, decision due soon-source

Thu Mar 17, 2016 12:01am EDT
 
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By Allison Lampert

MONTREAL, March 17 (Reuters) - The Canadian government has finished studying a request from struggling planemaker Bombardier Inc for $1 billion in aid and is preparing to make an announcement within weeks, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.

Bombardier wants the money to help finance its new CSeries passenger jet, which faces tough competition from majors Airbus Group SE and Boeing Co.

The firm is based in Quebec, which last October invested $1 billion in the CSeries, and now both the company and the province want Ottawa to follow suit to help protect thousands of well-paid aerospace jobs.

"The due diligence is done. The government is preparing to make an announcement in a matter of weeks, not months," said the source, who is familiar with the negotiations.

Bombardier formally asked for federal help on Dec. 11 and the two sides are still talking about what form possible aid could take, the source added.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was quoted last month as saying an announcement on Bombardier aid would be made before the March 22 budget. But Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, who has direct responsibility for the file, on Monday said this was not the case, throwing the timing of the decision into uncertainty.

Asked for comment, Bains spokesman Philip Proulx said talks between the two sides were continuing.

"There has been progress in the discussions but a decision has not been reached," he said.   Continued...