Bombardier Belfast has welcomed an announcement from its parent that it has agreed to sell its aerostructures business to Kansas-based Spirit AeroSystems Holding for $275 million (€233 million).

The revised cash deal represents a 45 per cent cut in price as the Covid-19 pandemic weighs on the aerospace sector.

Bombardier said the deal would support its strategic decision to reposition itself as a pure-play business aircraft company. The transaction is set to close on Friday, as all closing conditions have been met.

The certainty around the deal sent Bombardier shares 1.6 per cent higher in morning trading in Toronto.

Under the agreement, Spirit will acquire Bombardier’s aerostructures activities and aftermarket services operations in Belfast and Morocco, as well as its aerostructures maintenance, repair and overhaul facility in Dallas, Texas.

Pension obligations

As well as the $275 million, the deal also includes Spirit’s assumption of liabilities, including government refundable advances and pension obligations, valued at $824 million, as well as certain adjustments to the parties’ trading agreements favourable to Bombardier.

Bombardier Belfast said: “We are delighted with today’s announcement and look forward to becoming part of Spirit AeroSystems on closure of the transaction on Friday. We cannot comment further prior to transaction closure.”

Jackie Pollock, regional secretary of trade union Unite, also welcomed the news .

“Today’s announcement confirms the acquisition of Bombardier aerostructure operations by Spirit AeroSystems, a world leader in first-tier aerostructure manufacturing,” she said.

“This is positive news and will safeguard jobs as well as vital economic output and demand. It represents a vote of confidence in Northern Ireland’s aerospace sector.”

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