Canadian Manufacturing

Caisse de Depot hoping Bombardier, Metrolinx can settle their differences

Ontario mass transit provider Metrolinx is trying to cancel its $770-million contract with Bombardier after a spate of delays and other problems



MONTREAL—The Caisse de depot, which has a 30 per cent stake in Bombardier Transportation, hopes that a public spat with Ontario transportation agency Metrolinx can be resolved through negotiations instead of a drawn-out legal fight.

“We’re very hopeful that that situation is resolved amicably,” CEO Michael Sabia said Friday after the pension fund manager released its 2016 results.

Earlier this month, Bombardier Transportation asked an Ontario court to impose an injunction in response to Metrolinx’s notice to terminate a $770-million contract for light rail vehicles in Toronto. The next court appearance is scheduled for March 21.

Metrolinx didn’t respond directly to Sabia’s comments, but referred to a statement last week by its chairman that called Bombardier’s late delivery of a pilot vehicle as “deeply disappointing.”

Sabia said he doesn’t believe any harm to Bombardier’s reputation will be permanent.

“One of the good things about black eyes is that they heal,” he said.

The Caisse came to Bombardier’s financial rescue last year by purchasing a 30 per cent stake in its railway division for US$1.5 billion. The investment is part of the complaint lodged by Brazil against Canadian subsidies to Bombardier before the World Trade Organization. Bombardier has said the trade challenge is without merit.

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