Embraer reports higher 2017 profits amid talks with Boeing


Rio de Janeiro (AFP)

Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer reported net profits of $246.8 million in 2017, 48.58 percent more than the previous year - news that comes amid expectations that it might partner with US aerospace giant Boeing.

Embraer, the world's third-largest aircraft maker, also indicated that its 2017 fourth quarter profits totaled just $35.2 million -- 82 percent less than the prior year's $195.2 million in the same period, and substantially below the previous quarter's $110 million.

Earnings of the full year before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization -- a figure known as EBITDA -- came to $644.7 million in 2017.

As of 1430 GMT the company's shares had tumbled 2.71 percent on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange.

Embraer said "negotiations continue to advance" with the US giant on the possible Boeing merger, but noted "there are no guarantees."

"Given the complexity of the operation, it is natural that we are spending more time in analysis and talks," Embraer president Paulo Cesar de Souza said in a conference call, saying the parties were "committed to finding an alternative."

Boeing and Embraer have been in talks to combine their operations, which would see Boeing holding up to 90 percent of the new company to be based in Chicago, a person familiar with the talks told AFP in February.

Born as a state group in 1969, Embraer was privatized in 1994 and offers a range of civil and military aircraft as well as business jets.

Late last year President Michel Temer said he welcomes "an injection of foreign capital" into the company as well as a "partnership agreement," but emphasized that "we are not considering is the question of transferring."