Bombardier profit soars on strong aircraft orders

Thu Apr 3, 2008 1:48pm EDT
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By Robert Melnbardis

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Profit at Bombardier Inc nearly doubled in the fourth quarter, as the result of increased deliveries of business and regional jets and an income tax benefit.

Bombardier, the world's top passenger train maker and No. 3 civil aircraft manufacturer, said on Thursday it earned $218 million, or 12 cents a share, in the quarter ended January 31. That was up from a profit of $112 million, or 6 cents a share, a year earlier and comfortably beat analyst expectations.

Analysts polled by Reuters Estimates had expected the Canadian company to post earnings of 8 cents a share, before exceptional items.

Excluding a $5 million income tax recovery, profit was 9 cents a share, but the results were still stronger than expected, said Fadi Chamoun, an analyst at UBS Investment Research.

"(Bombardier) reported strong fourth-quarter '08, exceeding our numbers on all metrics," he wrote in a research note.

The profit margin in Bombardier's aerospace group rose to 6.7 percent from 4.8 percent a year earlier.

The Montreal-based company said it expects to hit its target of 8 percent in fiscal 2009, a year earlier than planned, though that advance stems largely from an accounting change.

Profit margin in train-making was flat at 4.6 percent.   Continued...