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Brazil listed homebuilder Viver files for bankruptcy protection

| SAO PAULO, Sept 16

SAO PAULO, Sept 16 Viver Incorporadora & Construtora SA filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday, becoming the first listed Brazilian homebuilder ever to seek an in-court reorganization amid a harsh recession, tough refinancing conditions and slumping home prices.

In a securities filing, Viver said management and advisers, led by Alvarez & Marsal Holdings LLC, filed the request in a commercial court in São Paulo.

According to Luis de Lucio, managing director of Alvarez & Marsal Latin America, about a little more than 1 billion reais ($307 million) of Viver's debt will be included in the filing. About 290 million reais of an outstanding credit facility will not be subject to the protection.

The decision underscores the woes facing homebuilders, many of which have been put in line for painful reorganizations in the wake of record delinquencies, sales cancellations and the highest borrowing costs in a decade.

In February, Viver hired Alvarez & Marsal Holdings LLC to lead a turnaround effort that has protected cash and averted an operational halt.

São Paulo-based Viver, which was founded in 1992 as Inpar SA and operates in 14 Brazilian states, declined to comment. Viver was listed in 2007, during a boom of Brazilian real estate listings.

Bank loans make up for most of Viver's liabilities in the plan, de Lucio said, without elaborating.

On Thursday, Viver was been informed of a court decision allowing unnamed creditors to seize a property worth 15 million reais - the second such event in a week.

Still, the Brazilian Corporate Recovery Institute, a group that studies bankruptcy proceedings in Brazil, estimates that turnaround efforts will fail for half of the 1,287 firms that requested court protection last year.

Shares closed 0.4 percent down at 2.35 reais on Friday. The stock has shed about 22 percent this year, compared with a 42 percent gain in an index tracking down real estate firms trading in the São Paulo Stock Exchange.

($1 = 3.2620 Brazilian reais) (Additional reporting by Marcelo Teixeira)

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