It appears that the Short’s site in the sights of the Chinese. Jane’s is reporting that AVIC and COMAC are “front runners” to buy the plant.
This is serious for the obvious reason that Airbus might see its wing supplier end up in the hands of a future competitor. Which would not be a good thing. Moreover, one would think the lesson of Boeing buying KLX was not lost on Airbus. As the supply chain starts to consolidate, being able to have some control is crucial. Losing your wing supplier is, well, not smart. Especially if that wing supplier is within your “near abroad” and you are facing some Brexit challenges.
While Airbus and Stelia Aerospace (and even Spirit Aerospace) might all be speaking with Bombardier quietly, in the hopes of doing a deal fast, the price just went up. The Chinese do not have a shortage of capital or patience. Moreover, with the Chinese looking for a deal, Bombardier should also be in no hurry to sell. The longer this goes on, probably, the higher the bidding goes. Which would be a welcome change for Bombardier – sitting on something that several people want. As time passes, the value of the Shorts facility does not decrease. With the Airbus plant in Mobile progressing and the Mirabel plant pushing for faster production, demand for the Belfast-made wings for the A220 will only increase. So, who’s going to blink first?