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On Jun 18, 2013, the shares of the Brazilian jet maker Embraer SA (ERJ - Analyst Report) hit a 52-week high of $38.82 on the back of record backlog of firm orders that reached the highest level in almost four years in the second quarter of 2013.

With rising demand for regional aircraft, Embraer’s firm order backlog totaled $17.1 billion, reflecting an increase of $3.8 billion from the last reported quarter.  It was the highest since Sep 2009.

Embraer has delivered a total of 51 jets in the second quarter of 2013 ending Jun 30, 2013, which fell short of the 55 deliveries made in the same period last year. Of the total, 22 jets were delivered to the commercial aviation market including 14 of E-190, 6 E-195, 1 E-175 and 1 E-170, while the remaining 29 jets were delivered to executive aviation inclusive of 23 Light and 6 Large jets.

In terms of aircraft breakdown, Embraer’s order backlog comprises 149 E-175, 100 E-175-E2, 90 E-190, 19 E-195 and 8 E-170 jets.

Importantly, during the second quarter, the company announced the launch of the E-Jets E2. The launch of the advanced E-2 commercial aircraft has the potential to steal the show in the commercial 70-130 seat market. These low-cost, fuel efficient and spacious cabins are making the E-Jet commercial aircraft popular.

A large commitment for the E-2 variant came from the world's largest regional airline group SkyWest Inc. The company signed firm orders for 100 E175-E2 aircraft, with another 100 Purchase Rights. The deal will boost Embraer’s commercial aircraft division, which has struggled amid weak global demand. The unit now accounts for only about half of the Brazilian group’s revenue.

The second generation of E-Jets would improve fuel burn and reduce maintenance costs in the double digits. Indeed, E-Jets E2 burns at least 16% less fuel per seat with E-195 specifically burning 23% less fuel.

Embraer S.A. primarily develops, produces and sells jet and turboprop aircrafts for civil and defense aviation markets in Brazil, North America, Latin America, the Asia Pacific and Europe.

Again, during the quarter, United Airlines, the wholly owned subsidiary of United Continental Holdings Inc. (UAL - Analyst Report), has agreed to buy 30 Embraer 175 regional jets. The deal, estimated at about $4 billion, also has the option of 40 additional purchases.

Embraer has a series of contracts and tie-ups with companies for its jets. The continuous demand for E-Jets demonstrates the confidence of its customers in Embraer and of satisfaction with the product.

The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for the second quarter of 2013 is 64 cents, reflecting a year-over-year increase of 113.7%. Estimates for 2013 and 2014 are $2.58 and $3.12, reflecting annual growth of 33.7% and 20.9%, respectively.

The company presently retains a short-term Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Stocks well placed in the industry are The Boeing Company (BA - Analyst Report) and Northrop Grumman Corp. (NOC - Analyst Report). While Boeing carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Northrop Grumman holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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