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Bombardier remained top business jet maker in 2012 despite lower deliveries

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MONTREAL - Bombardier retained its position as the world's largest business jet manufacturer in 2012 despite an 11 per cent drop in the value of its global deliveries in the fourth quarter, an industry association reported Tuesday.

The Montreal-based aerospace company delivered 179 business aircraft valued at US$5.8 billion last year, compared to 182 valued at nearly US$5.9 billion in 2011, said the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.

Overall, industry shipments of business jets decreased by 3.4 per cent to 672 units in 2012. Total airplane shipments, including single piston and turboprops grew 0.6 per cent to 2,133 units. However, the value of the planes decreased slightly to US$18.9 billion.

"While the 2012 shipment and billing data were mixed, the numbers don't reflect the amount of development work in progress in general aviation," stated GAMA chairman Brad Mottier.

"The general aviation segment is poised for resurgence in the next few years as these new technologies certify and enter the market."

The number of Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) business jet deliveries decreased by seven to 60 in the fourth quarter with a value of US$1.9 billion, down from US$2.14 billion a year earlier.

Rival Gulfstream remained the world's second-largest producer of business jets, delivering 37 units worth US$1.3 billion in the quarter and 94 units valued at nearly $4.1 billion for the year. The U.S.-based company bested its Canadian rival in the first quarter in terms of value of planes delivered, even though it shipped fewer aircraft.

Bombardier delivered fewer Challenger 605 planes in the quarter and full year, but its shipments of Challenger 300s increased by 30 per cent to 48 for the year.

North America was once again the leading destination for business jets, but it accounted for slightly less than half of all global deliveries last year. Europe accounted for 20.8 per cent, followed by Asia-Pacific (11.8 per cent), Latin America (11.6 per cent), and Middle East & Africa (6.1 per cent).

The helicopter segment delivered 1,044 aircraft valued at US$3.4 billion in 2012, about a 21 per cent increase from 859 units valued at US$3.8 billion in 2011.

On the Toronto Stock Exchange, Bombardier's shares gained four cents at C$4.13 in midday trading.

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