Gafisa Falls After Surprise Fourth-Quarter Loss: Sao Paulo Mover

Gafisa SA, the homebuilder that is returning its focus to more expensive houses, fell the most in two months after reporting a surprise quarterly loss as the low-income strategy it is abandoning continued to damp earnings.

Shares fell 4.4 percent to 4.09 reais at the close of trading in Sao Paulo, the steepest drop since Jan. 4. It was the biggest decline on the benchmark Bovespa index, which fell 0.6 percent.

Gafisa posted an adjusted net loss of 129.3 million reais ($66.1 million) in the fourth quarter, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. That compares with an average estimate for a profit of 19.7 million reais among four analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. The company has posted net losses in seven of the past nine quarters after it overestimated demand and built inexpensive homes faster than it could sell them.

“Gafisa was overoptimistic,” Sandro Fernandes, a trader at brokerage Corval, said by phone from Sao Paulo. “Market conditions for all homebuilders worsened as the Brazilian economy decelerated.”

Brazil’s gross domestic product growth slowed to 0.9 percent last year from 2.7 percent in 2011.

Gafisa said it expects to finish 13,500 to 17,500 units in 2013 and to have a margin on earnings excluding interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization of 12 percent to 14 percent, according to the filing. Credit Suisse Group AG had estimated deliveries of 24,000 to 27,000 units and an Ebitda margin of 15.5 percent.

“Weak financial results almost across the board coupled to uninspiring 2013 guidance should not bring much support to stock performance in the short term,” Credit Suisse analysts Guilherme Rocha and Lia Carlos wrote in a note to clients today.

Gafisa, Brazil’s fourth-largest homebuilder by revenue, has been turning away from government-sponsored projects aimed at low-income families in favor of higher-end projects. Its shares have dropped 13 percent this year.

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