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Bombardier Inc.’s train-equipment arm is looking to build a factory in Morocco if it wins a contract to supply rolling stock to the country’s state-owned railways.
The facility would build railcars and perform engineering and maintenance work, Marc-Andre Lefebvre, a Bombardier spokesman, said in a telephone interview. It would have about 600 employees and could open as soon as 2020, he said, declining to provide a cost estimate.
ONCF, Morocco’s state railway, is in the midst of a drive to modernize and expand its network. Part of the effort involves buying trainsets worth up to 15 billion dirhams ($1.6 billion), Moroccan media reported last year.
“This plant is part of our commercial positioning,” Lefebvre said. “There will probably be a major order awarded in Morocco next year, and we’re making plans in case we win it. We need a local supply chain that will work with us, so we are sounding out possible suppliers.”
Morocco’s national content rules require at least 40 percent of the value of an order to be sourced locally, Lefebvre said. Bombardier would also use the proposed Moroccan factory for export purposes.
“It could be a springboard to Africa,” he said.
Bombardier’s rail unit is currently upgrading signaling systems on the Casablanca-Tangiers line. Other recent work in the country includes a contract to modernize 14 electric trains for the Casablanca-Rabat line.
This wouldn’t be the first time that the Montreal-based company invests in Morocco. Bombardier has been operating an aerospace facility near Casablanca since 2014. The plant, which employs about 300 people, builds components for both business jets and commercial aircraft.
This article first appeared on www.bloomberg.com
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