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CAE gets $100 million loan from Quebec to diversify business

Quebec will contribute a $100 million government loan into a research and development partnership with Canadian aerospace giant CAE .

The Montreal-based firm is expected to chip a further $174 million into the new program meant to diversify its business outside the aerospace and defence industries.

Raymond Bachand, finance and economic development minister, along with CAE president and CEO Robert E. Brown, made the announcement in Montreal on Sunday.

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The combined funds, spread over seven years, will be used to expand CAE's modelling, simulation and training services technologies into the health care, heavy equipment, mining and energy sectors.

"This is a calculated risk," Mr. Bachand told a news conference. "We're convinced we'll get our money back with interest and returns. Especially with new jobs and a company that will become a leader in a new sector."

Mr. Brown estimates the investment may create or maintain some 2,500 jobs locally over the next 15 years.

In May, the company announced it was slashing 700 jobs and imposed cost-cutting measures on its remaining workforce.

Some of the funds will be used to develop education, technology and service products aimed at improving the safety and efficiency for health care workers

The company has already signed contracts in simulation-based health-care training with Toronto's Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences, the Universite de Montreal and the Winnipeg Health Authority.

"Now, our goal is to have these operations represent about a quarter of our business within five to eight years," Mr. Brown said.

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The pilot training provider and flight simulator developer received a $250 repayable investment from the federal government in March for a five-year research and development program that will create or maintain 1,000 jobs. That followed a $329.5 million federal contract for CAE to train Canadian Forces crews on new transport aircraft.

CAE provides simulation and modelling technologies and integrated training solutions for the civil aviation industry and defence forces around the globe.

It has about 6,500 employees and annual revenues exceeding $1.6 billion.

Economic development agency Investissement Quebec will oversee the latest funding and follow-up for the provincial government.

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