Bombardier may be leaving Morocco, but operations at the Casablanca factory will continue, and growth is expected.
Rabat – The Minister of Industry, Investment, Commerce and Digital Economy, Moulay Hafid Elalamy has confirmed that Bombardier’s Casablanca factory operations will continue after Bombardier sells the plant.
Elalamy announced that the buyer will be a sub-contractor of Bombardier and will likely a heavy-weight in the aerospace industry, bringing growth to Morocco’s operations.
Canadian aeronautical giant Bombardier announced on Thursday its plan to sell its assets in Morocco and Northern Ireland as part of a strategy to consolidate its activities.
In a press conference today, Elalamy explained that Bombardier’s decision to sell the plant is due to internal restructuring. Bombardier, like other major players in the industry, wants to subcontract most of its operations. Boeing, for instance, subcontracts 60% of its activities. In line with this, the Casablanca factory will be taken over by a sub-contractor of Bombardier.
“Bombardier is extremely satisfied with its operations here,” Elalamy emphasized.
So in a way, while Bombardier is technically leaving the country, “Bombardier is not really leaving Morocco” Elalamy stated.
The buyer of Bombardier’s operations in Casablanca and Belfast will be announced in less than three weeks.
Potential buyers include Airbus, British company GKN Aerospace, and American company Spirit, all heavy-weights in the aerospace industry, and therefore strategic players for Morocco.
“The aerospace industry is quite unusual because the sub-contractors can actually be the bigger players,” he added.
Elalamy also confirmed that the factory would continue to expand its operations, under a growth plan launched last year.
In late 2018, Bombardier began extension works at the Casablanca site to expand the factory by 14, 500 square meters. Bombardier promised to invest $200 million in Morocco to develop operations and to create 850 news jobs by 2020.
According to Elalamy, the expansion will be finished next spring, and is expected to create a far greater number of jobs than originally promised.
Also, Elalamy hinted at another development project that will be revealed to the public in the coming days.
“Morocco is winning,” he said.
Hamid Benbrahim El-Andaloussi, president of the Group of Moroccan Aerospace and Space Industry (GIMAS) was also présent at the press conference and agreed with Elmady.
“This direction change is positive. We have a real opportunity to bring heavy players to Morocco,” he said.
Bombardier has been in Casablanca since 2014. The factory covers 16, 000 square meters and employs 400 workers, producing aircraft wing, nacelle, and fuselage components.
In its latest financial statement, Bombardier reported a global loss in revenue of 13%. The quarterly report also announced the consolidation of Bombardier’s aero services, and as a result, the divestiture of its aerostructure businesses in Morocco and Belfast.
Withdrawing from Casablanca and Belfast, Bombardier will instead focus on its aerospace operations in Montreal, Mexico, and Texas.
In its press release on Thursday, Bombardier emphasized the Casablanca and Belfast factories are “great businesses with tremendous capabilities,” which Elalamy echoed today.