Saab shares soar on Brazil fighter order

STOCKHOLM Thu Dec 19, 2013 4:31am EST

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STOCKHOLM Dec 19 (Reuters) - Shares in Saab rose by a quarter on Thursday after Brazil said it would buy 36 Gripen fighter jets for around $4.5 billion in a move seen improving the Swedish firm's chances of more export contracts.

Its shares spiked by as much as 30 percent in early trade and were up 24.3 percent at 165.20 crowns at 0928 GMT after Brazil chose a new version of the Gripen over Boeing's F/A-18 Super Hornet and Dassault Aviation's Rafale.

"The success in Brazil will probably be of strategic importance and will provide a door-opener in other contests," Swedbank analyst Mats Liss wrote in a note for investors.

Earlier generations of the Gripen have been sold or leased to South Africa, Thailand, the Czech Republic and Britain as well as being used by Sweden's own air force.

In September, the Swiss parliament approved a purchase of 22 Gripens, although the $3.4-billion deal, to replace ageing Northrop F-5 Tiger fighters, is not yet final.

Saab said in September it believed it could sell a total of 400 to 450 Gripens over the next 15 to 20 years. (Reporting by Stockholm Newsroom; Editing by Alastair Macdonald)

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