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Workers apply a Rolls Royce decal to the engine of a Bombardier Global 6500 business jet at the Bombardier booth at the National Business Aviation Association exhibition in Las Vegas on Oct. 21, 2019.

DAVID BECKER/Reuters

Bombardier Inc. is in talks to sell its business-jet unit to the U.S. maker of Cessna jets, Textron Inc., The Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The move will help the struggling Canadian train and plane maker to pare billions of dollars in debt, the report said.

Bombardier’s shares have plunged more than 30 per cent so far this year. On Jan. 16, the company flagged a 2019 profit warning, citing problematic rail contracts, and warned of a potential writedown in the value of a plane partnership with European plane maker Airbus.

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Bombardier declined comment on the WSJ report, but a source familiar with the company’s thinking told Reuters it was holding talks over both rail and aviation assets to keep all its options open.

Acquiring Bombardier’s business jet unit would add the Global series of large-cabin aircraft to Textron’s portfolio, which mostly makes small- and medium-sized corporate planes.

Analysts have said that a deal would expand the U.S. company’s aircraft offerings, allowing it to offer a complete family of jets to a wider range of customers.

Textron declined to comment. Shares of the company rose more than 9 per cent, while those of Bombardier’s were up more than 10 per cent.

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