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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Shark Tank in Brazil

blog post photo
Photo:  Embraer

My girl friend, Lynda Sands, now has completed more than half of an intensive 60-day real estate training course that's run by a up-and-coming commercial real estate investment corporation in Southern California. This is not a lecture series. It's actually a highly competitive apprenticeship regimen that actually involves buying and selling properties. The time pressures are acute and the stakes are high because heady investments are being made. If successful, the student apprentices share in the profits along with the corporation.

The course regularly weeds out under-performers. Now, nearly a third of the class has been dismissed. The remaining people now have been divided into three competitive teams. During last night's session, Lynda's team named themselves the "Sharks". Their meeting place is the shark tank. Their theme song is a parody on the hit by the Brit pop group Queen. "We will, we will, eat you!" This team is hungry and it's actively in the hunt.

This morning, Embraer Executive Jets released its 2010 sales results. How timely, I thought. Embraer claims that it manufactured one in five business jets that were delivered last year.

Evidently, there's another and much larger shark tank in Sao Jose dos Campos that is breeding very hungry, very large pelagic fish. These creatures don't have an appetitive for real estate, but they surely know how to hunt in the business jet market. Embraer delivered 145 aircraft in 2010, up 19 percent from 2009. This, when the pickings in the business jet market have been the leanest in decades.

Phenom 100 led sales with 100 deliveries. Phenom 300 scored 26. There were 11 Legacy 600 / 650 aircraft received by operators and eight Lineage 1000 [aka ERJ190-100 ECJ] jetliner-derivatives were delivered. Most of these successes were at the expense of old-line business jet makers in Wichita. 

But the shark tank in Sao Jose dos Campos has an active breeding program. Next year, Legacy 500 arrives, putting firms in Bordeaux, Montreal and Savannah firms on notice that Embraer is on the hunt in other markets.

Every time I visit Embraer, I'm reminded that its people are skilled, hungry and in the hunt, not unlike many sharks I've seen on dive trips. I've learned to be careful where I swim. Old line business jet companies would be well advised to do the same. Perhaps Embraer also is singing, "We will, we will, eat you!"

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