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* Net income rises 31 pct in Q2 to 466.9 mln reais
* 12 pct rise in sales, tax rebate help earnings (Adds quote, background)
By Cesar Bianconi and Guillermo Parra-Bernal
SAO PAULO, July 30 (Reuters) - Brazilian aircraft maker Embraer (EMBR3.SA) (ERJ.N), the world's third-largest commercial aircraft manufacturer, posted second-quarter earnings up nearly a third, helped by a mix of lower costs, higher revenue and a tax rebate.
Net income in the quarter ended June 30 rose to 466.9 million reais ($249 million) from 356.5 million in the year ago period, the company said in a regulatory filing.
The results were also boosted by a 12 percent rise in sales to 3.02 billion reais from the year-earlier period as a weaker Brazilian currency increased export revenue and aircraft deliveries rose to 56 from 52 in the same period. A tax rebate worth 162 million reais received in the quarter also added to total income.
Deliveries in the April-June period included 21 units of the Phenom 100 executive jet that seats up to five passengers and has a price tag of about $4 million. Deliveries of the more expensive Embraer 190 fell to 16 in the quarter from 21 a year earlier.
The company books revenue from plane sales only upon delivery.
"Such an improvement reflects changes in the organizational structure undertaken at the end of 2008," the company said in the filing.
Embraer fired more than 4,000 workers in February as demand for new jets tumbled amid the worst global economic downturn since the late 1950s.
Trimming its workforce to cope with the impact of the global recession helped Embraer, short for Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica, reduce operational costs by 12.4 percent to 302.8 million reais. Commercial costs fell 11.8 percent.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, a gauge of cash and operational profitability known as EBITDA, rose to 513.1 million reais in the second quarter from 340.5 million reais a year earlier.
EBITDA margin, or EBITDA as a proportion of revenue, rose to 17 percent from 12.6 percent in the second quarter of 2008.
The company, whose main rival in the regional jet market is Canada's Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO), delivered a record 203 planes in 2008, 20 percent more than in 2007.
Profit according to U.S. accounting principles (GAAP) was nearly halved from the year earlier period, at $67.8 million compared with $134.4 million last year.
Five analysts polled by Reuters forecast, on average, net income of $109.6 million for the three months ended June 30.