Boeing Really, Really Wants Embraer’s Commercial Jet Division

Feb 6, 2018

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Boeing still has its eyes set on Embraer, the third-largest planemaker in the world. Just days after it was reported that Boeing and the Brazilian aircraft maker had agreed to form a commercial jet joint venture, Boeing has now proposed to acquire up to a 90% stake of the venture, which would include Embraer’s entire commercial division.

What Boeing is after is Embraer’s market share in jets up to 150 seats, where the US planemaker does not have a competitive offering. Its smallest jet, the new 737 MAX 7, which rolled out of the factory on Monday, has sold very poorly with only about 50 ordered. Arch-rival Airbus is poised to do well in that segment after buying the C Series jet program, the most modern jet in the 100 to 150 seat market, from Bombardier. Embraer, with decades of expertise building smaller jets, would be a big strategic play for the American company.

As reported by Brazilian business paper Valor Econômico, Boeing has submitted a proposal to the Brazilian government, which, if approved, would allow it to take control over Embraer’s commercial operations via the formation of a new company. In all, the new company could give Boeing a stake between 80% and 90% in Embraer. Under this proposal, Embraer’s defense operations would still be controlled by the Brazilian company, ensuring that the military arm of Embraer — which the government considers vital to national security — remains under state control. The Brazilian government would also maintain its golden share in Embraer. This would allow it to maintain veto power when it comes to certain strategic decisions.

According to Valor, Boeing would pay Embraer in cash when commercial assets are transferred to the new company, with a majority of the proceeds then being distributed to shareholders as dividends.

In order for the deal to go through, it’ll require the government’s approval as well as support from Embraer itself. If it does get the necessary support, the deal could be presented to shareholders as soon as the second quarter. For now, Boeing and the Brazilian government are putting deal talks on hold until after the Carnival holiday, which ends next week.

Featured image by AFP / Staff / Getty Images.

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