Quebec invests $9M to aid MacDonald, Dettwiler expand Ste Anne de Bellevue plant

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by Canadian Press

MONTREAL — Space technology company MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates it getting a $9-million grant from the Quebec government to expand its plant in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue.

Premier Jean Charest said in announcing the funding Monday that the investment would benefit the Quebec economy and future generations.

The money comes on top of a no-interest loan of $9 million and an additional $900,000 to help train employees, bringing the government contribution to close to $19 million.

“It will allow MDA to make investments they would not have done otherwise,” Charest told a news conference, indicating that other regions were also vying for the project.

“We are quite satisfied that the investment we make today will reverberate many times on the economy of Quebec and across generations.”

The project, which has a total value of $42 million, will help enlarge facilities for the assembly and integration of satellite components and is expected to create more than 200 jobs at the company.

The expansion will also allow MDA to serve new markets and work on more than one project at a time.

About 600 people work at the Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue facility.

In the last six months, MDA has snagged contracts worth $600 million for satellites destined for Canada, Russia and Ukraine.

“This development project will create in Quebec a centre of excellence for world-class design and payload (technological components) manufacture for spacecraft,” said Marc Donato, the chief of MDA’s satellite systems division.

The company, best known for the robotic arms aboard U.S. space shuttles and the International Space Station, is currently developing RCM, the third generation of radar satellites among it many projects.

MDA shares were down 34 cents at $50.84 Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

© 2010 The Canadian Press