Brazil's Embraer wins Russian approval after diplomatic visit

SAO PAULO/MOSCOW Thu Dec 13, 2012 2:07pm EST

SAO PAULO/MOSCOW (Reuters) - Brazilian planemaker Embraer SA won regulatory approval for its biggest regional jets to fly in Russia, the company said on Thursday, following a meeting between the countries' leaders.

The certification opens a new frontier for the E-190 and E-195 commercial jets as demand dries up in Western Europe amid the continent's debt woes. It also reinforces the delicate diplomacy surrounding Embraer's drive onto the home turf of Russian rival Sukhoi.

Embraer waited months for the approval from regulators that only came after Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff met with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday. Russia also certified Embraer's ultra-large Lineage 1000 private jet.

Diplomacy has long played a role in the big, cross-border business for aircraft, defense contracts and related deals. And Rousseff's diplomatic trips have coincided with big news for Embraer before. A 2011 visit she paid to China paved the way for Embraer to build planes there, but raised concerns about how much the company's fate depended on Brazilian foreign relations.

Embraer shares fell 2.4 percent in Sao Paulo trading to 13.13 reais on Thursday, while the benchmark Bovespa stock index .BVSP slipped 0.2 percent.

Embraer has booked orders from ten airlines in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, including deals in Azerbaijan and Belarus in recent months, as the company struggles to rebuild its order backlog from a six-year low. (Reporting by Brad Haynes in Sao Paulo and Douglas Busvine in Moscow; Editing by Phil Berlowitz)

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