Brazil arms industry growth draws Boeing

Sept. 29, 2011 at 6:48 AM
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SAO PAULO, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- Brazilian defense industry growth has prompted the Boeing Co., a U.S. company, to expand operations in the South American country.

Boeing has set sights on winning a multibillion-dollar order in Brazil's FX-2 competition which aims to replace the Brazilian air force's aging inventory of fighter aircraft with modern, multipurpose jets capable of performing under challenging conditions in overland and offshore defense duties.

Boeing Brazil, one of the fast expanding units of the Boeing Co. will be headed by former U.S. career diplomat Donna Hrinak as president in an appointment taking effect Oct. 14.

Hrinak will be based in a new Boeing office to be opened in Sao Paulo and will report to Boeing International President Shep Hill, who is also senior vice president of business development and strategy.

Boeing is expanding its presence in Brazil and one of the key aims of the new office in Brazil's business capital will be to strengthen the company's engagement with customers, industry and government stakeholders.

Analysts said Boeing's upgraded presence in Brazil will enable it to seek a greater participation in the South American country's defense regeneration program which already has seen aircraft manufacturer Embraer emerge as a major aircraft manufacturer on the international aviation market.

Embraer is looking into developing a capability to build aircraft that are larger than executive and medium-capacity passenger jets and is looking for new partners. There are plans also to build capacity for military aircraft developed in Brazil through technology transfers with major manufacturers in North America, Europe and East Asia.

"Brazil is one of the fastest growing economies in the world and represents for Boeing a large products and services market and a rich source of current and future collaborations in areas of technology, industry and finance," Hill said.

"Our decision to base a senior executive in-country is specifically focused on expanding our presence and furthering our mutually beneficial collaboration," he said. "Donna has the right combination of business, government, regional and local experience to lead Boeing in this important market."

Prior to her latest appointment, Hrinak worked for PepsiCo and Kraft Foods and before that served as U.S. ambassador to Brazil, Venezuela, Bolivia and the Dominican Republic and as U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for Mexico and the Caribbean.

Boeing's relationship with Brazil dates to 1932 when it delivered 14 F4B-4 fighters to the Brazilian government. Boeing made its first commercial delivery to Brazil in 1960, a 707 for national carrier VARIG.

Boeing has headquarters in Chicago and employs more than 164,000 people in more than 67 countries.

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