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SAO PAULO, April 30 (Reuters) - Embraer 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; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)