June 27, 2003
(Industry, Trade and Rural Development)


Government makes further investment in Gander to grow the aerospace industry

Industry, Trade and Rural Development Minister Judy Foote today announced that government will invest $1 million in CHC Composites of Gander to help strengthen the company, create more jobs and facilitate the growth of the aerospace industry over the long term. Minister Foote made the announcement at the company�s manufacturing facility in Gander this morning along with Craig Dobbin, Chairman and CEO of CHC Helicopter Corporation (CHC).

"The strategic investment government made in CHC Composites in1998 is working as intended, generating significant economic and employment benefits in the immediate area and the province as a whole," said Minister Foote. "A new industry has emerged in Gander. Over 115 highly skilled workers are employed directly by CHC Composites. And new companies have started up and expanded around the Composites plant, taking advantage of new business opportunities generated by Composites� presence, each creating new jobs in and of themselves, like Gander Aerospace Manufacturing Incorporated."

CHC Composites was created in 1998 as a partnership between the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador and CHC Helicopter Corporation to establish the Gander area as a centre of excellence for aerospace manufacturing and help diversify the provincial economy. CHC Composites manufactures high precision composite and metal parts for airplanes and helicopters for international clients such as Sikorsky Aircraft Corporation and Bombardier Incorporated.

"Today�s investment will help the company leverage additional resources for new training, technology transfer and capital improvements at the Gander facility so that it can successfully capture new international business opportunities and create more jobs at the plant," said Minister Foote. "In fact, CHC Composites has committed to the creation of an additional 100 person years of employment at the Gander facility over and above the 1,000 person years of employment it committed when government made its initial $9.5 million investment in 1998."

CHC Composites recently secured a $25 million contract with AERO Vodochody, of the Czech Republic, to build parts for the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter. This new contract is in addition to other work the company is undertaking for Sikorsky to make as many as 700 different parts for the U.S. helicopter manufacturer. Composites also has an ongoing contract with Bombardier manufacturing tail cones for its regional jet aircraft.

Mr. Dobbin said, "CHC has invested over $35 million in Composites to date which clearly demonstrates our confidence in the future of this operation."

Government invested $9.5 million in CHC Composites in 1998 toward the construction of the $20.5 million state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Gander. In return, CHC undertook to create 1,000 person years of employment over a six-year period. It has committed to an additional 100 person years of employment with the $1 million investment announced today.

Composite�s parent company, CHC Helicopter Corporation, has also provided a corporate guarantee to government in the event Composites is not successful in creating the additional 100 person years of employment. As a further condition of government�s new investment, Composites also must invest new resources over the short term for training, technology transfer and capital improvements at the Gander facility to enable it to meet the requirements of the Aero Vodochody contract and to pursue other work.

"Government is pleased to join with the company in investing in its future and the future of Gander and the aerospace industry in the province as a whole," said Minister Foote. "The taxpayers� investment is fully protected through the approach we have taken and Composites will have access to the necessary financial resources to help it grow and create new jobs in this evolving industry."

Media contact:

Tansy Mundon, Department of Industry, Trade and Rural Development, (709) 729-4570.
Chris Flanagan, CHC Helicopter Corporation, (709) 570-0749

2003 06 27                                      9:35 a.m.

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