November 24, 2015 / 12:16 PM / 3 years ago

UPDATE 4-Bombardier says lower jet production to hurt revenue in 2016

* Expects liquidity position to be strong in 2016

* EBIT will be hurt in 2016

* Sees $25 bln rev by 2020 (Adds quotes from Bombardier executives, asset manager)

By Allison Lampert and Allison Martell

MONTREAL/NEW YORK Nov 24 (Reuters) - Canada’s Bombardier Inc warned on Tuesday a previously announced business jet production cut will drive down revenue in 2016, but said its long-delayed CSeries program will help sales at the plane and train maker top $25 billion by 2020.

The Montreal-based company, which posted revenue of $20.1 billion last year, said it will have improved liquidity next year because of cash from Quebec’s public pension fund and the provincial government, even as its 2016 earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) take a hit from CSeries ramp-up costs.

But Bombardier sees EBIT margins rising back into the 7 to 8 percent range by 2020 and said it plans to start reducing debt starting in 2019 and 2020.

“This is a long-cycle business,” chief executive Alain Bellemare told analysts and shareholders at the company’s investor day in New York. “Today we might look a bit challenged, but we’re turning this around.”

Bombardier stock, which has lost 70 percent of its value this year as of Monday’s close, dropped about 2 percent in Toronto trading on Tuesday afternoon, as investors questioned Bellemare’s plan.

“How many quarters do investors have to wait?” said one asset manager who listened to the presentation and spoke on condition that his name not be published. “2016 doesn’t sound like a great year.”

Certification for the narrow-body CSeries jets was “very close”, but no new orders were imminent, Reuters reported on Tuesday, even as rival Airbus Group SE’s A320neo received certification from US and European regulators.

Bombardier said last week it had finished flight testing of the aircraft, due to enter service with Lufthansa subsidiary SWISS in the first half of 2016.

Bombardier has long struggled with the delayed CSeries program, which is billions of dollars over budget and has saddled the company with over $9 billion in debt. The planemaker expects the program to turn a profit by around 2020.

Bombardier commercial aircraft president Fred Cromer said the CSeries should win half of the 100 to 150 seat plane market, which numbers 7,000 aircraft.

Quebec agreed to inject $1 billion into the CSeries program last month, while Caisse said last week it would buy a 30 percent stake in Bombardier’s rail business.

Bombardier’s business jets, a key cash flow source, have also been hit by weak demand from China, Latin America and Russia. The company said in May it would cut production of Global 5000 and 6000 jets. (Reporting by Sneha Banerjee in Bengaluru and Euan Rocha in Toronto; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Sayantani Ghosh and Nick Zieminski)

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