News Archive

Exclusive: Spotify’s valuation turned up to $16 billion in private trades

LONDON/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Private trades in Spotify shares are valuing the music streaming company at about $16 billion, according to people familiar with the deals, raising the prospect of a bumper flotation next year.

That is around $3 billion higher than in similar trades up until June, the people said, adding strong demand for the shares and rising subscription numbers at the Swedish business meant it could be worth at least $20 billion when it goes public.

Spotify declined to comment.

The market for shares prior to their public listing allows employees and founders of big name private companies such as Spotify, Airbnb and Uber to cash in on some of their paper wealth, while letting other investors get a head start on the listing. Early investors tired of waiting for a payout are selling shares too.

While this secondary market was hit by Facebook’s chaotic listing in 2012, it has recently made a comeback.

A $13 billion price tag would value Spotify, the world’s biggest music streaming company with more than 140 million active users, at around four times its 2016 sales.

But investors and sector bankers not involved with the company said Netflix’s valuation of seven times expected 2017 sales was a more appropriate benchmark, supporting speculation of a price tag of at least $20 billion around listing.

Spotify is aiming to file its intention to float with U.S. regulators towards the end of this year in order to list in the first or second quarter next year, one of the sources said.


An investor survey led by technology investment and advisory firm GP Bullhound, which owns shares in Spotify, estimated the company’s valuation could reach $50 billion in a few years.

The investors and venture capitalists polled pointed to Spotify’s position as the “undisputed market leader” in music streaming, and to rapid growth in its paying users from 5 million in 2012 to over 60 million today.

While its net losses doubled last year to $600 million, a more than 50 percent increase in revenues to $3.4 billion has raised hopes it is on the right track to make money.

A bumper equity valuation would give Spotify a currency to help meet the challenge from rivals such as Apple Music and Amazon Music, and potentially fund an expansion into adjacent businesses, such as video, or geographies it has yet to reach.

That could be vital, as Spotify does not have the large, profitable devices and retail businesses that its rivals can respectively draw on for support.

A high market valuation would also bolster Spotify’s position in licensing negotiations with major music labels on which its business model depends.

The trade-off, though, is that it piles the pressure on management to deliver results, and raises the specter of Twitter and Snap – two once white-hot internet players that have disappointed investors as public companies. Snap has lost nearly a quarter of its value since its flotation in March.

“It’s hard to speculate on Spotify’s valuation since we only have historic results prior to the most recent renegotiation with the music majors,” said Louis Citroen, an analyst at Arete Research.

“But a $20 billion valuation sounds punchy as it implies both that Spotify can continue growing customers at a fast pace, and that it might achieve a double-digit margin. We can believe in the customer growth, but are less sure about profitability given high royalty costs and limited differentiation with rivals on content, price or technology”.


Spotify is pursuing a so-called direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), allowing existing investors to sell shares without raising money from new ones, sources have previously told Reuters. The move is also aimed at saving hundreds of millions of underwriting fees from investment banks.

A successful listing could pave the way for others, with France-based rival Deezer saying it could consider going public if Spotify is well received.

Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, the world’s largest recording label, is also considering a listing.

Worldwide, music streaming revenue leapt 60.4 percent in 2016, lifting recorded music sales for the second consecutive year after 15 years of decline during which revenue dropped by nearly 40 percent, according to data compiled by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry.

Editing by Mark Potter

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U.S. core capital goods data underscores economy’s strength

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New orders for U.S.-made capital goods increased more than expected in August and shipments maintained their upward trend, pointing to underlying strength in the economy despite an anticipated drag on growth from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The signs of an acceleration in business spending on equipment bolstered prospects of a December interest rate hike by the Federal Reserve, boosting the dollar and pushing up the yield on the two-year U.S. Treasury note to its highest level since 2008.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday non-defense capital goods orders excluding aircraft, a closely watched proxy for business spending plans, rose 0.9 percent last month after an upwardly revised 1.1 percent gain in July.

“The manufacturing sector appears to be a bright spot in the U.S. economy,” said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York.

Economists had forecast orders of these so-called core capital goods increasing 0.3 percent last month following a previously reported 1.0 percent jump in July. Core capital goods orders surged 3.3 percent year-on-year. Shipments of core capital goods rose 0.7 percent after advancing 1.1 percent in July. Core capital goods shipments are used to calculate equipment spending in the government’s gross domestic product measurement.

The Commerce Department said it was unable to isolate the effects of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma on the data. Harvey, which devastated parts of Texas, has hurt August retail sales, industrial production, homebuilding and home sales.

  • U.S. pending home sales drop 2.6 percent in August

Irma, which struck Florida early this month, is expected to further hold down housing activity. That was flagged by a report on Wednesday from the National Association of Realtors showing that contracts to buy previously owned homes dropped 2.6 percent in August to a 19-month low.

As a result, the storms are expected to cut into third-quarter economic growth. Third-quarter GDP growth estimates are below a 2.5 percent annualized rate. The economy grew at a 3.0 percent pace in the second quarter.

The Federal Reserve last week signaled it expected to raise rates for the third time this year. Most economists expect the rate hike will be in December.

The dollar raced to a more than one-month high against a basket of currencies on the data. Prices for U.S. Treasuries fell, with the yield on the interest-rate sensitive two-year note hitting its highest level since November 2008. U.S. stocks were trading mostly higher.


Business investment on equipment has been buoyed by the energy sector, where oil and gas drilling has rebounded after declining in the wake of a collapse in crude oil prices. Spending could get a further boost from plans by President Donald Trump to slash taxes and overhaul the tax code.

Trump and Republicans in the U.S. Congress are proposing a 20 percent corporate income tax rate, a new 25 percent tax rate for pass-through businesses such as partnerships, and a reduced 35 percent top income tax rate for individual Americans. Trump is expected to unveil the plan later on Wednesday.

Business spending on equipment added almost half-a-percentage point to GDP in the third quarter, the most in nearly two years. That is supporting manufacturing, which accounts for about 12 percent of the U.S. economy.

“Business equipment investment is on track for a big rise in the third quarter,” said Michael Pearce, a U.S. economist at Capital Economics in New York.

Last month, orders for machinery, primary metals, computers and electronic products as well as transportation equipment increased.

Overall orders for durable goods, items ranging from toasters to aircraft meant to last three years or more, rebounded 1.7 percent last month as bookings for transportation equipment jumped 4.9 percent.

Durable goods orders fell 6.8 percent in July.

Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Andrea Ricci

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Uber seeks UK chairman as threats to its business mount

LONDON (Reuters) – Taxi hailing app Uber said on Wednesday it had hired a headhunter to fill a new position of UK chairman, as part of a process which began weeks before London’s transport authority stripped it of its license.

The non-executive position would bolster the taxi app just as it fights to retain its license in the British capital and battles to preserve its business model at an employment tribunal over workers’ rights.

Reporting by Costas Pitas, editing by David Milliken

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Samsung scion Jay Y. Lee set to begin appeal

SEOUL (Reuters) – Samsung Electronics Vice Chairman Jay Y. Lee on Thursday will begin an appeal of his five-year jail term for corruption, in a case highlighting South Korea’s issues with the family-run conglomerates that dominate the economy.

A lower court last month convicted the 49-year-old Lee, heir to the Samsung Group and one of Asia’s largest technology companies, of bribing former president Park Geun-hye to help strengthen Lee’s control of the crown jewel in the conglomerate, Samsung Electronics. Park is also under trial over allegations of abuse of power and bribery.

At Thursday’s hearing, the Seoul High Court will set the order of witnesses and evidence for the appeal trial, which is expected to begin in mid-October.

Since Lee filed for appeal late last month, the appellate court is likely to try to rule by next January, as under Korean law, he can only be kept in detention a maximum of four months while the court considers his appeal.

Whichever side loses is likely to appeal again to the Supreme Court.

Four other Samsung executives were also convicted in the lower court in the bribery case.


Lee’s legal team has added new lawyers for the appeal, including former Seoul Central District Court chief and new lead counsel Lee In-jae.

Earlier this month, the defense team laid out its strategy submitted in hundreds of pages of arguments to the High Court.

The defense is expected to question the lower court’s logic that Lee expected Park’s help in “succession operations,” which the court defined as all actions Samsung affiliates took “to strengthen Lee’s control of Samsung Electronics.”

Lee’s defense has argued there was no such thing as “succession operations” and actions such as a 2015 merger of two Samsung affiliates was taken for the companies’ own perceived profit.

The lower court ruled that while Lee never asked for Park’s help directly, the fact that the merger did help cement Lee’s control over Samsung Electronics “implied” he was asking for the president’s help.


Another defense argument turns on whether there was in fact a bribe as defined under South Korean law, which says only civil servants come under the statute. Lee was found guilty of providing financial support for former president Park’s close friend and confidante, who was not a civil servant.

The lower court found that Samsung provided financial support to entities backed by Park’s friend Choi Soon-sil, including 7.2 billion won ($6.4 million) to sponsor the equestrian career of Choi’s daughter.

The court said this was a straightforward case of bribery as “it can be considered the same as she (Park) herself receiving it.” Lee’s defense is expected to argue no evidence exists to back that assertion.

Lee’s defense counsel at law firm Bae, Kim Lee LLC declined comment.

Lee testified during the trial he had limited knowledge and authority over business decisions in affiliates except Samsung Electronics and related tech affiliates, which took up about 90 percent of his work.

His lower court trial began after Park was impeached, but before her successor, President Moon Jae-in, a liberal critic of the conglomerates known as chaebol, was elected in a special presidential vote in May.

Reporting by Joyce Lee; Editing by Bill Tarrant

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Nasdaq, SEB to test blockchain for mutual funds

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Exchange group Nasdaq Inc and Nordic financial services group SEB have teamed up to test a blockchain-based mutual fund trading platform for the Swedish market in an effort to simplify and make the process faster.

The platform would enable fund companies, distributors and other market participants to record all transactions and changes to mutual trades in real time on a shared digital ledger, Nasdaq and SEB said on Wednesday.

Unlike the equities markets where trades are recorded by a central securities depository, the Swedish fund market does not have a central entity responsible for recording fund holdings.

This makes tracking purchases and sales of fund units a complex administrative process involving various parties. Currently it is mainly handled through a mix of different technologies and is in part still paper-based.

Blockchain, which first emerged as the system underpinning cryptocurrency bitcoin, is a shared ledger of transactions that is maintained by a network of computers on the internet rather than a central authority. Financial institutions have been ramping up their investments in the nascent technology in hopes that it can help reduce the complexity and cost of some of their burdensome back office processes.

“This is a perfect use case for the blockchain,” Magnus Haglind, senior vice president and head of product management, market technology at Nasdaq said in an interview. “It is not about disrupting the industry, it is focused on bringing efficiencies.”

Nasdaq, one of the world’s largest providers of technology for exchanges, has been one of the earliest and most vocal supporters of blockchain in the financial industry. It already uses it to power its market for shares of private companies and is testing a system to run proxy voting on the Tallin Stock Exchange.

Nasdaq and SEB have committed to continue development on their joint effort with the aim of building and testing a working prototype, they said in a joint statement.

“With the help of a blockchain we can create a faster, simpler, more effective and reliable fund market,” Göran Fors, acting head of Investor Services at SEB, said in a statement.

While financial institutions continue to test and invest the technology, critics have warned that its potential may be over-hyped, suggesting that it may take years before it can be implemented at scale.

Reporting by Anna Irrera; editing by Diane Craft

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U.S. slaps steep duties on Bombardier jets after Boeing complaint

MONTREAL/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Commerce Department on Tuesday slapped preliminary anti-subsidy duties on Bombardier Inc’s CSeries jets after rival Boeing Co accused Canada of unfairly subsidizing the aircraft, a move likely to strain trade relations between the neighbors.

The department said it imposed a steep 219.63 percent countervailing duty on Bombardier’s new commercial jets after it made a preliminary finding of subsidization. Boeing has complained the 110-to-130 seat aircraft were dumped below cost in the U.S. market last year while benefiting from unfair subsidies.

An April 2016 order for 75 CSeries jets from Delta Air Lines stemmed from the same harmful sales practices European rival Airbus SE employed to win business in the 1990s, according to Boeing.

The Commerce Department’s penalty against Bombardier will only take effect if the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) rules in Boeing’s favor in a final decision expected in 2018.

“We strongly disagree with the Commerce Department’s preliminary decision,” Bombardier said in a statement, calling the magnitude of the proposed U.S. duty “absurd.”

Commerce’s announcement and accompanying fact sheet on the preliminary duty order did not provide any rationale or methodology for how it calculated the 220 percent duty.

The CSeries starts at $79.5 million, according to list prices, but carriers usually receive discounts of about 50 percent.

If imposed, the duties would more than triple the cost of a CSeries aircraft sold in the U.S. to about $61 million per plane, based on Boeing’s assertion that Delta received the planes for $19 million each. Bombardier has disputed the $19 million sales figure.

There are not that many Commerce countervailing orders that are this high, but it is lower than the 256 percent final duties slapped on Chinese cold-rolled steel last year.

  • British PM May says bitterly disappointed by U.S. Bombardier ruling
  • Northern Ireland’s DUP says will fight to keep Bombardier Belfast open

The timing is awkward because Canada and the United States are in a three-way negotiation involving Mexico to modernize the North American Free Trade Agreement..

A source familiar with the Canadian government’s thinking said the Boeing trade dispute was  “separate” from the NAFTA talks.

“This in no way is part of our conversation” the source said. “People should not read too much into this piece today.”

The spat between Boeing and Bombardier has snowballed into a bigger fight this month when British Prime Minister Theresa May asked President Donald Trump to intervene in the dispute to help protect jobs in Northern Ireland, where Bombardier is the largest manufacturing employer..

The United States has also faced opposition from a handful of American carriers and elected officials over potential U.S. job losses.

Canada’s foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland said Bombardier CSeries components are supplied by American companies that support almost 23,000 jobs in U.S. states, including Connecticut, Florida and New Jersey.

“This is clearly aimed at eliminating Bombardier’s C Series aircraft from the U.S. market,” Freeland said. She added that Canada strongly disagrees with the anti-dumping and countervailing duty investigations.

Boeing said in a statement that the dispute “has everything to do with maintaining a level playing field and ensuring that aerospace companies abide by trade agreements.”

Bombardier’s was unwilling to swallow the extra cost for airlines if the United States slaps duties on its CSeries jet, Reuters reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

“We are confident…no U.S. manufacturer is at risk because neither Boeing nor any other U.S. manufacturer makes any 100-110 seat aircraft that competes with the CS100,” Delta said in a statement.

Duties could chill U.S. sales of the fuel-efficient CSeries, raising concerns over future orders and jobs in Canada and the United Kingdom.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had put his government’s planned purchase of Boeing Super Hornet fighter jets on hold because of the trade dispute, saying it could not “do business with a company that’s busy trying to sue us and put our aerospace workers out of business.”


Boeing has argued that the military sale to the Canadian government and its petition against Bombardier are not linked. But the U.S. jetmaker has said the CSeries would not exist without hundreds of millions of dollars in launch aid from the governments of Canada and Britain, or a $2.5 billion equity infusion from the province of Quebec and its largest pension fund in 2015.

To win its case before the ITC, Boeing must prove it was harmed by Bombardier’s sales practices, despite not using one of its own jets to compete for the Delta order, Dan Pearson, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute think tank in Washington, said before Tuesday’s announcement.

“This (ITC case) cannot be a slam dunk,” said Pearson, a former ITC chairman. “I‘m having a hard time figuring out how Boeing was harmed by this.”

Canada has pushed to settle the dispute. But one industry source said Boeing, which could gain some leverage with the Commerce Department’s initial decision in its favor, sees the possible CSeries dumping as a long-term threat to its civilian airliner business.

Bombardier stock has fallen about 15 percent over the past month on uncertainty around the duties and a rail venture. On Tuesday, Bombardier missed out an opportunity to strike a rail deal with Siemens, when the German company decided to combine its rail operations with French group Alstom.

Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal and Alwyn Scott in New York; Additional reporting by Alana Wise in New York and Tim Hepher in London; Writing by Denny Thomas; Editing by Peter Cooney and Grant McCool

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Asian shares rise ahead of U.S. tax plan; dollar near one-month high

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Shares rose on Wednesday as investors hoped for progress on major tax reform in the United States, while the dollar hovered near one-month highs on growing expectations of a U.S. interest rate increase in December.

European stock futures and Dax futures climbed 0.3 percent each while FTSE futures gained 0.2 percent.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.1 percent, after falling for four straight days to a three-week trough.

The Trump administration and Republicans in Congress are due to outline a tax plan on Wednesday. If passed, it would be the first significant legislative victory for U.S. President Donald Trump since taking office in January.

It would also be a win for Wall Street as corporate tax cuts would potentially boost company profits, while a tax amnesty on offshore cash holdings could fuel share values as well as demand for the dollar.

“We’re now seeing some embryonic prospects of a tax reform in the United States which is a much bigger issue for the markets than the Federal Reserve,” said Ray Attrill, Sydney-based global head of forex strategy at National Australia Bank.

“Our view has been the market had moved from applying a Trump premium from November-December to applying Trump discount due to his inability to pass any major reforms. A meaningful tax reform could serve to reduce some of that discount.”

Analysts said the U.S. tech space will be one to watch as it has mountains of cash that could be repatriated for share buybacks and dividends.

Wall Street ended mostly flat on Tuesday, but the tech sector gained 0.4 percent, with Apple shares rising 1.7 percent after four sessions of declines.

China’s CSI 300 index rose 0.3 percent on Wednesday, while Japan’s Nikkei was off 0.3 percent, with some stocks trading ex-dividend.


In currencies, the dollar index last stood at 93.17 from 93.286 touched on Tuesday, the highest since Aug. 31.

Markets were put on notice by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen who used a Tuesday speech to warn it would be “imprudent” to keep policy on hold until inflation is back to 2 percent. She said the U.S. central bank “should also be wary of moving too gradually” on rates.

Atlanta Fed chair Raphael Bostin also talked up the prospect of a December rate hike.

The dollar also climbed on the yen to loiter near a 2-1/2 month high at 112.48, helped by rising U.S. Treasury yields.

The yield on 2-year Treasury notes, which rises with traders’ expectations of higher Fed fund rates, touched 1.4590 percent, a level not seen since October 2008.

The euro was near more than one-month lows at $1.1777 as investors faced weeks of political horse-trading in Germany before a new government could be formed.

Spot gold was a touch firmer, but still near one-month lows at $1,294.58, while copper hopped 0.8 percent from a six-week trough.

Crude oil prices popped up on Wednesday on supply fears after the weekly API inventory report showed a 761,000 barrel build-up in crude inventories compared to consensus estimate of a 2.52 million barrel in an official report due later in the day, analysts said.

U.S. crude climbed 35 cents to $52.23 per barrel, while Brent added 34 cents to $58.78.

Reporting by Swati Pandey; Editing by Wayne Cole, Shri Navaratnam and Kim Coghill

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Alstom, Siemens to merge rail businesses to counter China’s CRRC

MUNICH/PARIS (Reuters) – German industrial group Siemens AG and French rival Alstom SA agreed to merge their rail operations, creating a European champion to better withstand the international advance of China’s state-owned CRRC Corp Ltd.

Siemens will own 50 percent plus a few shares of the joint venture, to be called Siemens Alstom, while Alstom will supply Henri Poupart-Lafarge as chief executive, helping to counter criticism that France is giving up control of another national industrial icon.

The non-executive chairman will come from Siemens.

The framework deal, which still has to be approved by Alstom shareholders as well as regulators, is a Franco-German industrial breakthrough for French President Emmanuel Macron but is a move that has riled opposition politicians.

Their worries center on France losing control of its TGV high-speed train – a symbol of national pride that has highlighted French engineering skill – and possible job losses.

Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Tuesday that the French government welcomed the planned tie-up, which he said would protect French jobs.

The French state said it would not exercise an option to buy a 20 percent stake in Alstom from industrial group Bouygues SA.

The Siemens and Alstom transport businesses span the iconic French TGV and German ICE high-speed trains as well as signaling and rail technology. They have combined sales of 15.3 billion euros ($18 billion) and earnings before interest and tax of 1.2 billion euros.

“This Franco-German merger of equals sends a strong signal in many ways. We put the European idea to work and together with our friends at Alstom, we are creating a new European champion in the rail industry for the long term,” said Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser.

Alstom’s Poupart-Lafarge said: “Today is a key moment in Alstom’s history, confirming its position as the platform for the rail sector consolidation.”

Analysts at Deutsche Bank kept a “hold” rating on Alstom shares, saying extracting cost savings from the deal could be tricky.

“Politicians will also likely try to ensure some form of jobs protection in France (28 percent of Alstom’s workforce) and Germany (39 percent of Siemens’workforce), making cost synergies difficult to extract,” they wrote in a note.

The deal leaves out in the cold Canadian transportation group Bombardier Inc, which also held talks with Siemens, sources have said, and which faces a separate battle this week to protect jobs in Quebec and Northern Ireland.

China’s CRRC, with annual revenue of about $35 billion, is bigger than Siemens Mobility, the rail and infrastructure division of the German conglomerate, Alstom and Bombardier Transportation combined.

Previously focused on China, it has won projects in Britain and the Czech Republic in the past year, and is eyeing the United Kingdom’s High Speed 2 project, which will connect London with cities in the north of England.


Siemens will receive newly issued shares in the combined company representing 50 percent of Alstom’s share capital and warrants allowing it eventually to acquire another 2 percent of Alstom shares.

However, the deal prevents Siemens from owning more than 50.5 percent of Alstom for four years after closing, and includes “certain governance and organizational and employment protections”, Siemens and Alstom said in their statement.

The deal is unanimously supported by Alstom’s board, Siemens’ supervisory board and Alstom shareholder Bouygues, the companies said.

The French government acquired its option on the Bouygues stake in Alstom in 2014 as part of a deal that helped Alstom snub Siemens as a buyer for its energy business in favor of General Electric Co.

Macron was economy minister at the time.

The global headquarters, rolling stock business and stock-market listing of the new entity will be in Paris and the signaling and technology business in Berlin.

The new company, with 62,300 employees, targets synergies of 470 million euros four years at the latest after closing of the deal, which is expected at the end of 2018.

The companies said their operations were largely complementary, with Alstom present in growth markets in the Middle East and Africa, India, and Central and South America, while Siemens was strong in China, the United States and Russia.

Siemens CEO Kaeser said ahead of the signing of the memorandum of understanding he believed the scale of China’s CRRC left little room for regulators to oppose a deal.

“It always depends, but the facts are that there is a dominant player,” he told Reuters in an interview in New York.

Siemens stands to gain control of Alstom’s main business, since all of Alstom’s divisions deal with the railways and transportation industries.

Existing Alstom shareholders will be paid two special dividends: a control premium of 4 euros per share to be paid shortly after closing of the transaction and an extraordinary dividend of up to 4 euros per share to be paid out of the proceeds of Alstom’s put options for its General Electric joint venture, “subject to the cash position of Alstom”.

Reporting by Alexander Huebner and Cyril Altmeyer; Additional reporting by Georgina Prodhan, Sudip Kar-Gupta, Maya Nikolaeva and Alwyn Scott; Writing by Georgina Prodhan; Editing by Keith Weir, Lisa Shumaker and Muralikumar Anantharaman

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Bombardier in talks for C-Series deals with Chinese carriers: executive

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Planemaker Bombardier Inc aims to close deals with Chinese airlines in upcoming months and is in talks with the country’s three biggest airlines, a senior Bombardier executive said on Tuesday.

Marc Meloche, Bombardier Commercial Aircraft’s head of structured finance, said in an interview the planemaker was also in discussions with leasing businesses on purchasing its C-Series plane. He spoke to Reuters while in China.

Meloche said he hoped the deals could be announced during a visit by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to China next month.

“Prime Minister Trudeau is coming to China next month so there is optimism that Bombardier will be among those able to announce deals on that trip,” he said.

In Ottawa, a Canadian government official said Trudeau would not be going to China in October.

Lu Shaye, China’s ambassador to Canada, told an Ottawa reception on Tuesday evening that Trudeau would visit China “in the near future”, according to a speech posted on China’s Canadian embassy website on Wednesday. Officials familiar with the visit said it was likely to take place in December.

Canadian government officials have previously said Trudeau is expected to attend the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Vietnam on Nov. 11-12.

Asked about the comment by the Canadian government official on Trudeau’s travel, a Bombardier spokesman in Montreal did not offer an immediate comment.

Meloche added that China’s interest is high. “Bombardier is talking to all three big Chinese airlines, as well as many regional (players) and startups. All are very interested in the Bombardier C-Series,” he said.

Bombardier is pushing hard for orders in China, the world’s fastest-growing aviation market, at a time when it faces threats to U.S. sales of the C-Series single-aisle jet because of a trade dispute with U.S. rival Boeing Co.

The U.S. government on Tuesday slapped steep preliminary anti-subsidy duties on sales of C-Series jets over that dispute.

The C-Series competes with some aircraft made by Brazil’s Embraer SA, as well as the smallest planes made by Boeing and Airbus.

Meloche also said that several Chinese lessors, many of which were looking at sale-and-leaseback opportunities, had issued term sheets in support of C-Series deliveries.

New rules requiring Chinese airline startups to operate at least 25 smaller-city hopper jets before graduating to bigger aircraft have also fueled hopes of Chinese demand for C-Series jets.

While current C-Series models accommodate 110 to 130 seats, above China’s 100-seat limit for regional jets, Meloche said Bombardier can make adjustments to meet the requirements.

He also said Bombardier could expand its activities at China’s Shenyang Aircraft Corporation, which already makes part of the fuselage for its C-series and Q-series aircraft.

But unlike Boeing and Airbus, which are expanding production facilities in China, he said Bombardier had not discussed the possibility of a separate aircraft plant in the country.

Additional Reporting by Allison Lampert in Montreal and David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by David Goodman, Matthew Lewis and Muralikumar Anantharaman

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