Bombardier Inc. ’s aerospace division is expanding its global manufacturing reach with a $200-million (U.S.) investment in a facility to be built in low-cost Morocco.
The decision by Bombardier Aerospace to locate a plant in the North African country reflects the growing global nature of the business of making and selling planes as the company physically moves closer to markets where the strongest growth is occurring, said spokeswoman Haley Dunne.
“This is a way of addressing the more global direction that our business is taking,” she said, stressing that the new plant will not result in job cuts at facilities in its higher-cost locations such as Canada and the United States.
There is ongoing investment at plants in the greater Montreal area, for example, as Bombardier ramps up production of its new C Series single-aisle, long-range commercial jet, Ms. Dunne said.
The decision to set up in Morocco follows an earlier move several years ago by Bombardier Aerospace to invest in facilities in low-cost Mexico.
Ms. Dunne said the Morocco plant will initially make sub-assemblies for simple structures. A site has not yet been chosen, but it would likely have to be located close to good transportation infrastructure and educational institutions willing to develop aerospace technology programs, she said.
The facility will be built in stages over an eight-year period, Bombardier said in a news release Wednesday.
Establishing a manufacturing centre in Morocco also aims to take advantage of lower shipping and transportation costs thanks to proximity to the European market, Ms. Dunne said. Morocco has seen the emergence of an aerospace manufacturing cluster over the past few years, she added. Among companies with operations there are EADS and Safran.
The new Moroccan plant, which will employ about 850 workers by 2020, is scheduled to begin production in 2013 but it has not yet been decided what parts it will make, she said.
Added incentive for Bombardier to build in Morocco comes in the form of a commitment from the Moroccan government to help develop the country’s aerospace industry. It was not clear Wednesday if that includes financial aid or other forms of support from the government.
Montreal-based Bombardier is increasingly looking to global markets such as China and India as it seeks out good-growth regions to offset more mature traditional areas like North America.
Besides facilities in Montreal, Toronto, Wichita, Kan. and Mexico, Bombardier also has a plant in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
It is also striking partnerships with foreign manufacturers, for example in China.
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