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By Gabriela Mello
SAO PAULO, April 10 (Reuters) - Sales by MRV Engenharia e Participações SA, one of Latin America's largest homebuilders, rose sharply in the first quarter, reinforcing expectations of improved earnings in 2018.
Contracted sales rose 13.7 percent from the year before to 1.503 billion reais ($441 million), MRV said in a securities filing on Tuesday.
"There is no doubt that our clients started the year with a better sentiment," MRV Chief Executive Officer Rafael Menin told Reuters. "We are confident that we will reach 50,000 units" in sales and launches this year.
First-quarter sales would have been 90 million reais higher were it not for a new accounting practice to take sales in account only when clients sign off on mortgages, which already extends to 40 percent of MRV's operations, Menin said.
Despite higher sales, launches fell 33.6 percent to 805 million reais, which Menin attributed to bureaucratic issues.
"We obtained licenses to cities where our inventory is large and, unfortunately, saw delays in regions with less supply," he said.
Rising launches in the second quarter are likely to offset the first-quarter decline, Menin said.
$1 = 3.41 reais Reporting by Gabriela Mello Writing by Bruno Federowski Editing by Chris Reese