Don't Eject From Embraer

Pity Embraer (NYSE: ERJ  ) shareholders. For a stock investor, few things are worse than the earnings report that speaks of lower revenue and poor execution.

That's what greeted investors in the Brazilian aircraft manufacturer last week. Revenue fell roughly 1%. Per-share earnings, meanwhile, declined more than 17%.

For its part, management blamed production problems. Quoting from the press release:

"Due to difficulties with the production ramp-up of the EMBRAER 190 and EMBRAER 195 aircraft, especially those related to their wing assembly and supply chain delays, 37 aircraft were delivered in the last quarter of the year, and totaled 130 aircraft delivered in 2006. In light of the actions taken to solve these problems and the solutions pursued, Embraer revised its delivery forecast from 150 to 165-170 aircraft in 2007." [Emphasis mine.]

How bad is this? Notice the italics. These orders haven't been cancelled; they're just delayed. What's more, Embraer's reported backlog -- a measure of the value of the jets on order with customers like fellow Stock Advisor pick JetBlue (Nasdaq: JBLU  ) and US Airways (NYSE: LCC  ) -- grew to a record $14.8 billion.

That's incredibly impressive, especially since an ever-increasing portion of that total relates a fast-growing executive jet business. During 2006, for example, revenue from the sort of aircraft that birthed the term "jet set" rose 109%, to $582.1 million.

But there's billions more in growth to be had, if researchers are to be believed. Management is keeping the faith by spending to create a direct sales force for the Phenom 100 and 300 and, according to The Associated Press, two new executive jets that will compete with similar models from Bombardier and Textron's (NYSE: TXT  ) Cessna group. Color me enthusiastic.

Were Embraer's results poor? No doubt. But with a massive backlog, a stable balance sheet, good management, and excellent long-term growth prospects, there's no reason to eject from this stock. If anything, now is probably a good time to board.

Taxi towards related Foolishness:

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers, who is ranked 1,411 out of more than 25,000 in our Motley Fool CAPS investor-intelligence database, wonders what it would be like to fly first class on an E190. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article at the time of publication. All of his portfolio holdings can be found at Tim's Fool profile. His thoughts on travel, Foolishness, and investing in general may be found in his blog. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy is always on time for departure.


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