UPDATE 2-Embraer shares hit five-year high on earnings, sales outlook

Wed Mar 13, 2013 12:39pm EDT
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* CEO sees major U.S. regional jet orders within months

* EBITDA beats forecasts due to currency, payroll tax cut

* 2013 profitability on track to beat guidance -analysts (Updates share performance, adds sales outlook)

By Brad Haynes and Roberta Vilas Boas

SAO PAULO, March 13 (Reuters) - Shares of Embraer SA climbed to a five-year high on Wednesday after the Brazilian planemaker reported strong earnings and an optimistic outlook for orders from major U.S. airlines.

The company's stock rose as much as 3.7 percent in early Sao Paulo trading to 17.74 reais, its highest since February 2008, before limiting gains to about 2 percent as the benchmark Bovespa stock index sank later in the session.

Government support for Brazilian exporters and recovering demand for Embraer's 70- to 120-seat regional jets have boosted the company's outlook even as other local industries struggle.

In the battle with Canadian rival Bombardier Inc to renew the regional fleets of United Continental and merger partners American Airlines and US Airways, Chief Executive Frederico Curado signaled major orders are on the way.

"There's a couple of major campaigns in the United States that may mature relatively soon, within the next few months," Curado told analysts. "We are confident that we are going to take a significant share of those opportunities."   Continued...