Brazil homebuilder PDG sees growth ahead despite headwinds

Reuters

SAO PAULO, Feb 14 (Reuters) - PDG Realty SA, one of Brazil's biggest homebuilders, said project launches should continue to rise in 2014, with the company turning the cash burn of recent quarters into cash generation by the second half of the year.

Speaking to analysts on a Friday conference call to discuss fourth-quarter results, Chief Executive Officer Carlos Piani said the company sees growth picking up despite macroeconomic headwinds.

"About the (real estate) market, yes, we are concerned ... but I see a clear disconnect between (stock prices) and what is happening in the street," Piani said, highlighting opportunities to increase market share with higher quality offerings.

An index of Brazilian real estate stocks has fallen over 30 percent in the past 12 months as investors, concerned over the impact of higher interest rates and slowing economic growth in Latin America's largest economy, dumped shares.

PDG, which has struggled to turn around operations after an aggressive expansion plan led to huge losses and a hefty debt load, saw its shares fall about 46 percent over the past year.

The stock rebounded slightly on Friday, rising about 4 percent after the company posted an unexpected quarterly profit late Thursday following four straight quarters of losses.

The 19-million-reais profit ($7.95 million) was driven by stronger apartment sales and the sale of an office project.

Preliminary launch and sales figures released last month showed a rebound in demand, with cancellations down more than 50 percent from the prior three months.

Still, the company remained among the most indebted of Brazil's major homebuilders. Total debt rose 17 million reais from the third quarter to reach 7.0 billion reais at the end of 2013, the company said, while cost pressure still remained from older vintage projects.

"All in all, this is not the tipping point for PDG," wrote Luiz Mauricio Garcia, an analyst with Bradesco BBI in Sao Paulo.

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