At the Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholders held today, Laurent Beaudoin, Executive Chairman of the Board, and Paul M. Tellier, President and Chief Executive Officer, expressed their confidence in the future of Bombardier.
Reporting to shareholders on Bombardier's progress on its action plan and highlighting its highly-skilled workforce, leading-edge products and strong backlog, Tellier said about the future of Bombardier: "I know this future will reflect our Corporation's extraordinary past. We are indeed creating a new Bombardier from the very strengths that we have inherited," he continued. "Having weathered difficult times, we are now ready to go forward. I am not minimizing the challenges we are facing but I am confident that a great future lies ahead.
"We are strengthening the Corporation by limiting the risks," stated Tellier. "We have already made significant progress with our action plan presented on April 3, as attested by the successful equity issue and the recently-announced divestitures of Belfast City Airport and the Military Aviation Services unit of Defence Services.
"Just as important is the fact that our majority shareholder has demonstrated its full support of the action plan despite the painful decisions we have made," said Tellier, whose comments were immediately followed by those of Laurent Beaudoin.
In his address to shareholders, Beaudoin reiterated the founding family's commitment to the Corporation and the protection the ownership structure affords all investors. "The majority shareholder is an investor who signs up for the long haul, who looks for good returns over the long term and who looks to ensure the continuity of the Corporation. To do this, the founder's heirs have even accepted - an emotionally difficult decision - that the Corporation divest its recreational products.
"As such, the Bombardier family is and intends to remain the majority shareholder of the Corporation by continuing to hold Class A and Class B shares. We are convinced that the interests of all shareholders will thus be better served and protected," said Beaudoin.
Tellier outlined the five reasons why shareholders should be optimistic. "Bombardier is privileged to have a competent and loyal workforce. Secondly, both in aerospace and rail transportation, Bombardier has developed products that are at the leading edge of technology. Thirdly, Bombardier has carved out niches in both aerospace and transportation, either by creating them from scratch or by leading their expansion. Fourthly, the most important R&D investments in our products have been completed. And finally, Bombardier's backlog totals close to $49 billion."
Tellier told shareholders that these factors "should give you the confidence you've had in the past, the very confidence that has made Bombardier the great Canadian institution it is today."
Bombardier Inc., a diversified manufacturing and services company, is a world-leading manufacturer of business jets, regional aircraft, rail transportation equipment and motorized recreational products. It also provides financial services and asset management in business areas aligned with its core expertise. Headquartered in Montréal, Canada, the Corporation has a workforce of some 75,000 people and manufacturing facilities in 25 countries throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia-Pacific. Its revenues for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, 2003 stood at $23.7 billion Cdn. Bombardier shares are traded on the Toronto, Brussels and Frankfurt stock exchanges (BBD, BOM and BBDd.F).
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