Embraer Defends Its Turf

It's been a good week for Embraer (NYSE: ERJ  ) . Last Friday, the Brazilian jet maker announced healthy increases in sales and profits. Then on Tuesday, Latin American carrier AeroRepublica signed a lease deal for two more E190 jets, upping its commitment to seven of the aircraft. And finally, on Wednesday, Reuters reported that Brazilian carriers Varig and TAM (NYSE: TAM  ) have expressed interest in acquiring new Embraer jets.

All three events have investors cheering; the shares are up nearly 6% since Friday's close. But the homegrown enthusiasm among carriers has me most interested today. Here's why: Embraer hasn't been much of a factor in supplying Brazilian fleets. International foes Boeing (NYSE: BA  ) and Airbus have had much greater success in that regard.

No, really. Thanks to multiple sources on the Web, I was able to confirm that Varig's aging fleet consists of 19 Boeing jets and 4 McDonnell-Douglas aircraft. Meanwhile, similar sources say that TAM's fleet consists of 66 Airbus jets and 22 Fokker aircraft, many of which seem to be failing. Just this week, for example, a Fokker 100 airplane lost a door shortly after take-off, forcing an emergency landing. Thankfully, none of the 79 passengers on board were hurt.

But that's hardly a firm endorsement. The Fokker craft obviously need to be replaced. TAM has said it has plans to upgrade at least that portion of its fleet by 2010. Varig, in the meantime, has been more assertive; it is appealing to Brazil's development bank, known as BNDES, for $2 billion in financing to purchase as many as 50 Embraer jets.

Embraer -- a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation -- didn't comment to Reuters about a prospective deal, but it's worth noting that the jet maker has said in its SEC filings that it depends on friendly credit arrangements through the BNDES to keep demand flowing. In the past, such deals have helped foreign buyers avoid punitive open-market Brazilian interest rates. Now they may be used to help spur demand where Embraer needs it most: on its home turf. It's about time.

Strap yourself in. It's time to taxi toward related Foolishness:

Embraer is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor selection. Ask for us anall-access pass, and you'll get a backstage look at all of the stocks that are helping David and Tom Gardner beat the S&P 500 by more than 39% as of this writing.Go ahead; your pass is free for 30 days, and there's no obligation to buy.

Fool contributor Tim Beyers thinks the home-field advantage matters most in baseball. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. Get an inside peek at all the stocks he owns by checking Tim's Fool profile. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is always on time for departure.


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