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SAO PAULO, May 8 (Reuters) - MRV Engenharia e Participações S.A., the largest homebuilder in Latin America, on Wednesday reported its quarterly profit rose by 18 percent and voiced optimism about its pipeline of projects for the rest of the year.
In a securities filing, the company said its first-quarter net income rose to 189 million reais ($48.09 million) despite some instability in funding provided by state lender Caixa Econômica Federal in the period.
"Results marked a record for the period, and historically the second quarter tends to be better than the first," MRV's co-chief executive, Rafael Menin, said in an interview.
Demand is strengthening quarter after quarter and the pipeline of projects to be launched is gaining pace, he said.
MRV valued its pre-construction offerings of new housing developments to buyers at 1.09 billion reais in the first quarter, up 35.9 percent from a year ago. Actual sales to home buyers at any point from the launch phase to completion increased 6 percent to 1.3 billion reais.
As a result, MRV's operational net revenue grew by 23.9 percent to 1.49 billion reais, while general and administrative expenses ticked up 1.3 percent.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization hit 273 million reais, up 19.2 percent year-on-year.
The Brazilian homebuilder said it will pay 492 million reais in dividends this year. Since its initial public offering in 2007, MRV has returned approximately 3.5 billion reais to shareholders, according to Menin.
MRV shares ended up 0.88 percent on Wednesday at 14.93 reais, bringing gains so far this year to almost 21 percent.
($1 = 3.9300 reais) (Reporting by Gabriela Mello Editing by Leslie Adler)