Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. will pay $550 million and assume liabilities estimated at $200 million to acquire the Canadair Regional Jet business of Bombardier Inc. The definitive sale agreement includes Bombardier’s net beneficial interest in the Regional Aircraft Securitization Program (RASPRO), valued at approximately $180 million, as well as the maintenance, support, refurbishment, marketing, and sales activities for the CRJ Series twin-engine regional aircraft, including operations in Montréal and Toronto, and service centers in Bridgeport, W.Va., and Tucson, Ariz., and the aircraft type certificates.
“We are confident that MHI’s acquisition of the program is the best solution for airline customers, employees, and shareholders,” according to Bombardier president and CEO Alain Bellemare.
The sale marks Bombardier’s exit from the commercial aviation sector, having sold the majority stake in its C-Series narrow-body jet platform to Airbus in 2018. It’s now the Airbus A200 family of twin-engine narrow-body aircraft.
The commercial sector also has seen The Boeing Co. acquire 80% of the Embraer commercial aircraft program for $4.2 billion.
“This transaction represents one of the most important steps in our strategic journey to build a strong, global aviation capability,” according to Seiji Izumisawa, president & CEO of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd. “It augments these efforts by securing a world-class and complementary set of aviation-related functions including maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), engineering and customer support.”
The Bombardier CRJ is a twin-engine regional aircraft program with over 1,800 jets delivered to date.
The sale had been expected for several weeks after Bombardier confirmed in a note to its stakeholders a sale of the CRJ aircraft program to Mitsubishi Heavy Industries was in discussion. Earlier this year, Bombardier stated it would explore strategic options for the CRJ series, a twin-engine regional aircraft series.
Mitsubishi is the majority shareholder for Mitsubishi Aircraft — a joint venture with Toyota Motor Corp. and Subaru Corp. that is developing the Mitsubishi Regional Jet, a 90-seat, twin-engine aircraft that Mitsubishi HI will manufacture.
Last fall, Bombardier sued Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp., a U.S. aircraft engineering and consulting business, and some former Bombardier employees, claiming the rival jet builder profited from trade secrets unlawfully passed by the former employees to Mitsubishi. Then, Mitsubishi countersued.
Bombardier’s suit contended that its employees were recruited by Mitsubishi or AeroTEC to provide insight gained from the Bombardier C Series twin-engine jet program. Further, Bombardier contended that the employees provided confidential documents and data concerning the certification of C Series in the U.S. and Canada.
The Bombardier suit has been stayed and will be dropped once the pending transaction is completed, according to recent reports.