Bombardier needs to recognize its 'problems': Crisis management expert
Bombardier Inc. needs to admit it’s coping with a “serious problem,” according to communications expert Wojtek Dabrowski, as the company looks to lighten its debt load by selling off major pieces of its business.
“The number-one thing management needs to do but hasn’t done is acknowledge reality,” Dabrowski said in a television interview with BNN Bloomberg Thursday, after Bombardier announced it was exiting the A220 program.
Bombardier divvied up its stake in its former crown jewel, once known as the CSeries, between Airbus and Quebec, the joint-venture’s other partners and will pocket US$591 million in the process. Meanwhile, Bloomberg News is reporting Alstom SA is in advanced talks to acquire Bombardier’s rail business. Earlier this month, The Wall Street Journal reported Bombardier was in talks to potentially sell its business-jet unit to Textron Inc.
“The narrative needs to become more realistic for [Bombardier],” Dabrowski said. “If you’re going to restore trust with everyone from shareholders to employees, you need to acknowledge there’s a serious problem that you’re coping with. You can’t let the analyst community fill that narrative for you.”
Shareholders have been grappling with the current state of the company amid its turnaround efforts and where that leaves Bombardier’s future.
“The company is facing a complete lack of confidence from every one if its major stakeholders,” Dabrowski said.
“If you’re a customer who is looking to buy a plane or train for Bombardier, you’re looking at everything unfold and wondering if there’s going to be a company tomorrow.”
As for the Bombardier’s future, Dabrowski says it depends on how much suitors are willing to pay for its assets.
“It all comes down to how desperate Bombardier is to shore up its balance sheet versus how much the Alstoms of the world, or the Textrons of the world, are willing to pay for these businesses,” he said.
“And I think there’s still a really big gap to be negotiated.”