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Dec 13, 2018

'Put on your big boy pants': Money manager slams Bombardier after Via Rail blow

'Put on your big boy pants': Money manager to Bombardier

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Bombardier Inc.’s disappointment with Via Rail Canada’s decision to award a $1 billion rail contract to Siemens AG is drawing criticism from a Bay Street portfolio manager.

"I would say to Bombardier, put on your big boy pants. This is a competitive bid process and you're not a ward of the state,” Brian Madden, senior vice president and portfolio manager with Toronto-based Goodreid Investment Counsel Inc., told BNN Bloomberg Thursday.

The Montreal-based manufacturer said Wednesday it was “extremely disappointed” with the government-run Via Rail’s decision.

“It is astonishing that a call for tenders for trains which will pass through Canada’s national capital and Quebec’s provincial capital has not been subject to measures which would ensure maximum local benefits and the use of Canadian high technology, in accordance with Canada’s international obligations,” Bombardier said in a statement.

The decision is the latest blow for Bombardier on its home turf following several stumbles on high-profile rail projects. Alain Bellemaire, Bombardier’s chief executive officer, has recently moved the company away from selling commercial aircraft to focus on train equipment and business jets.

In February, the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec selected an Alstom SA-led consortium to make trains for the Réseau express metropolitain rail link in Montreal. Bombardier has also repeatedly missed deadlines in a Toronto light-rail project and was blocked last year from bidding on a New York subway-car contract because of past delays.

“If Siemens builds better trains or can build them on time, they're going to get the contract,” Madden said. “As a Canadian taxpayer, I applaud that and so should everyone else."

With files from Bloomberg

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