A Family Affair: The Dismantling of Bombardier
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June 10, 2019 - by ERIC REGULY for theglobeandmail.com
Not long ago, Bombardier Inc. billed itself as the world's third-largest aerospace company, and it was, proudly so. Its lofty status would make Bombardier Quebec's favourite corporate son and, after the downfall of Nortel Networks and BlackBerry, one of Canada's few remaining national and global champions. It would never be a Boeing or an Airbus, but it was big enough to fire some rounds into the underbellies of the airborne oligopolists.
As Bombardier expanded in aviation, and trains, the company's ruling Bombardier-Beaudoin family, equipped with their supervoting shares, vowed to remain in control. And why not? The company was on the rise and both family and public shareholders were reaping rewards.
The shares peaked at $26.30 in 2000. Since then, they have steadily lost altitude. By 2013, Bombardier was a $5 stock. This week, the shares were a few pennies above $2, giving the company a market value of about $5-billion, an insignificant price for what still is ostensibly Canada's premier high-tech manufacturing company. The reinvented BlackBerry is worth more.
Yet, the Bombardier and Beaudoin families retain an iron grip on their voting shares, their control unassailable even as the company dismantles itself to keep the core alive. Except the core is being dismantled, too...