Brazil's Gafisa sees steep drop in home sales, new launches

Mon Oct 8, 2012 8:37pm EDT

* Sales fall 34 pct, new launches plummet 57 pct

* Drop in line with turnaround plan amid weak demand

RIO DE JANEIRO Oct 8 (Reuters) - Brazilian homebuilder Gafisa's sales and project launches plunged in the third quarter, according to a regulatory filing, as the company focuses on a turnaround plan to address weaker demand for new housing.

Sales during the quarter fell to 689.4 million reais ($339.6 million), a 34 percent drop from a year earlier, the company said. New launches dropped to 451.9 million reais ($222.6 million), a 57 percent decline.

Brazil's market for new homes has cooled over the past year as Latin America's biggest economy stagnated, leaving homebuilders to grapple with slowing demand after years of blockbuster growth.

After startling investors early in the year with a sharp and sudden drop in volumes, Gafisa embarked on an overhaul of its troubled Tenda unit, which focuses on low-income housing, and slowed expansion of some of its other businesses.

In Monday's filing with Brazil's stock market regulator the company said the continued reduction in sales and project launches was in line with "the implementation of the turnaround strategy."

($1 = 2.03 Brazilian reais) (Reporting By Juliana Schincariol; Writing by Paulo Prada; Editing by Richard Pullin)

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