MONTREAL - Bombardier's fourth-quarter results aren't expected to be stellar, but industry analysts believe the transportation giant is headed for at least two years of improvement primarily from a rebound in its aerospace division.
David Tyerman of Canaccord Genuity says the company will post "much improved operating earnings in 2013 and especially after 2014 from a rebound in aerospace demand."
Montreal-based Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) is expected to cap 2012 by announcing this week that it earned 10 cents per share in adjusted profits on US$5.04 billion of revenue in the final quarter of the fiscal year, according to analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.
That compares to 12 cents per share on US$4.3 billion of revenues in the prior year.
The manufacturer will also issue its 2013 guidance Thursday, likely to include aircraft deliveries, capital expenditures, free-cash flow and details on its pension deficit.
"We believe Bombardier should provide an upbeat outlook message," Tyerman wrote in a report, pointing to stronger results from both divisions driven by increase sales and margins.
The business jet industry is starting to enjoy a cyclical recovery, even though deliveries remain below previous peak levels. Regional airlines are expected to place new orders from increasing the size of their planes or ordering fuel-efficient turboprops.
Bombardier's new CSeries, whose first test flight has been delayed until June, could deliver six planes in 2014, predicts Cameron Doerksen of National Bank Financial.
He sees potential of Bombardier's shares to increase in the second half of this year if the development of the 110 to 149-seat aircraft isn't further delayed and if the first flight triggers additional orders.
The analyst increased his one-year share price target to C$4.25 from C$4 despite lowering his 2013 earnings forecast by nine per cent to 39 cents per share. He also introduced a 45 cents per share profit in 2014.
Benoit Poirier of Desjardins Capital Markets is more bullish, with a $6 price target, including $1.16 per share attributed to the CSeries. He also said Bombardier's shares could potentially rise to $10 in the long-term.
"We continue to believe the stock is attractive at current levels and represents a good long-term buying opportunity," he wrote, adding that the low share price is unwarranted given the record order backlog.
Poirier said the company's financial position is "adequate" after having raised $2 billion to fund its costly development programs, but it has less cushion if further issues arise. He expects free cash flow will take a hit from aerospace spending.
The analyst said he's confident the CSeries will have its first flight before the June deadline, adding that other test planes are being built and the Pratt & Whitney engines should soon be certified by Transport Canada.
The announced merger between American Airlines and U.S. Airways to create the world's largest carrier is good news in the long-term, but potential orders could be delayed by at least two years as they integrate the carriers, he said. Other potential orders include SkyWest, Air Canada (TSX:AC.B) and Qatar Airways.
Poirier also believes the entry of Bombardier's Learjet 85 could be delayed by six to nine months from the second half of 2013.
On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Bombardier's shares gained four cents to $4.11 on Tuesday.