Embraer first-quarter profit triples on defense, business jets

SAO PAULO Wed Apr 30, 2014 7:39am EDT

Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer unveils its new regional jet E-175, in Sao Jose dos Campos, north of Sao Paulo March 12, 2014. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker

Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer unveils its new regional jet E-175, in Sao Jose dos Campos, north of Sao Paulo March 12, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Paulo Whitaker

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Embraer SA (EMBR3.SA), the world's third-largest commercial planemaker, said on Wednesday that first-quarter profit more than tripled, beating estimates with surging defense and business jet revenue.

Net income rose to $111 million, well above the $30 million profit a year ago and the average analyst estimate of $48 million in a Reuters poll.

The robust earnings underscored Embraer's effort to diversify beyond its commercial aviation business and develop a lineup of executive aircraft and defense products as it works to upgrade its mainstay regional E-Jet.

Defense revenue jumped 57 percent and business jet sales climbed 53 percent from a year earlier. That offset a 13 percent slide in commercial jet revenue in the weakest quarter for E-Jet deliveries in more than five years.

Brazil's currency also improved the profitability of Embraer's export-focused business, with an 11 percent depreciation in 12 months. Currency variations in the first quarter eased Embraer's tax bill by $48 million.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, also known as cash flow, rose 50 percent to $151 million, beating the average estimate of $133 million.

(Reporting by Brad Haynes and Roberta Vilas Boas)

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