Brazil's Gafisa hires five banks for Tenda IPO, source says

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Brazilian homebuilder Gafisa SA has hired five investment banks to oversee the listing of low-income building unit Construtora Tenda SA, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said on Monday.

According to the person, who asked for anonymity because the decision is private, Gafisa hired the investment-banking arms of Banco Bradesco SA, Banco do Brasil SA, Itaú Unibanco Holding SA, Banco Votorantim SA [VOTORT.UL] and Bank of America Corp.

The person did not give a timetable for a formal regulatory request for Tenda’s initial public offering, adding that the formal contract with the banks has yet to be signed formally.

Gafisa and Banco Votorantim declined to comment. The other four banks did not have an immediate comment.

Reuters reported on Aug. 23 that Gafisa was inclined toward listing Tenda on the São Paulo Stock Exchange over selling a stake in the company to an investor.

According to people familiar with Gafisa’s strategy, an IPO would be more effective than a spinoff in helping to cut Gafisa’s debt-to-equity ratio, which is near 80 percent. Newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo reported earlier on Monday that Gafisa hired the five banks for the offering.

The person added that Gafisa expects the offering to help price Tenda’s business between 650 million reais and 900 million reais ($201-$277 million), a value in line with that of rivals in Brazil’s low-income housing market.

Gafisa’s current market value is 926.3 million reais.

($1 = 3.2442 Brazilian reais)

Reporting by Tatiana Bautzer; Editing by Guillermo Parra-Bernal