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                     L A T I N   A M E R I C A

            Thursday, December 17, 2015, Vol. 16, No. 249


                            Headlines



A R G E N T I N A

ARGENTINA: ICSID Ends Debt Action After Fees Went Unpaid


B R A Z I L

PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: Emerging Stronger From Restructuring


C A Y M A N  I S L A N D S

20TH CENTURY: Sole Member Receives Wind-Up Report
ALCAZAR INVESTMENT: Shareholders Receive Wind-Up Report
BASKET INVESTMENTS: Shareholders Receive Wind-Up Report
CIVIC CAPITAL MASTER: Member to Hear Wind-Up Report on Dec. 21
CIVIC CAPITAL OFFSHORE: Member to Hear Wind-Up Report on Dec. 21

EQUITEK CAPITAL: Shareholders Receive Wind-Up Report
EQUITEK GLOBAL: Shareholders Receive Wind-Up Report
INTARCIA FORESITE: Shareholders Receive Wind-Up Report
LIFE COMPANY: Sole Member to Hear Wind-Up Report on Dec. 22
MAKO COMPANY: Sole Member to Hear Wind-Up Report on Dec. 22

PALACE COMPANY: Sole Member to Hear Wind-Up Report on Dec. 22
PRIDE REVELATION: Shareholders Receive Wind-Up Report
SEBAGO DOMINICAN: Shareholder Receives Wind-Up Report


D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: IDB Grants US$1.8 Million to Boost SMEs
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Dominican-Haiti Border's 1st Project Historic


J A M A I C A

JAMAICA: Consumer Prices up by 0.5% in November


P U E R T O    R I C O

PUERTO RICO: Sen. Hatch Blocks Bid to Chapter 9 Bill


V E N E Z U E L A

BANCO EXTERIOR: Fitch Affirms 'CCC' LT Issuer Default Rating
BANCO DEL CARIBE: Fitch Affirms 'CCC' Issuer Default Rating
BANCO NACIONAL: Fitch Affirms 'CCC' LT Issuer Default Rating
BANESCO BANCO: Fitch Affirms 'CCC' Issuer Default Ratings
MERCANTIL CA: Fitch Affirms 'CCC' Long-Term Issuer Default Rating


                            - - - - -


=================
A R G E N T I N A
=================


ARGENTINA: ICSID Ends Debt Action After Fees Went Unpaid
--------------------------------------------------------
Hannah Sheehan at Law360.com reports that the World Bank's
International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes on
Dec. 14 tossed a proceeding brought by 183 Italian investors
against Argentina over refunds for defaulted government bonds
issued in the wake of the country's economic crisis because the
parties failed to pay for expenses.

An ICSID tribunal dismissed the already-stayed action following
its acting secretary-general's move to discontinue the proceeding
in August -- after both parties went almost a year without making
separate outstanding $200,000 advance payments owed to the court,
according to Law360.com.

                          *     *     *

The Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America reported in Nov. 27,
2015, Moody's Investors Service has changed the outlook on
Argentina's Caa1 issuer rating to positive from stable.  The
outlook on Argentina's (P)Caa2 foreign legislation and
restructured local legislation foreign currency obligations is
also changed to positive from stable.  The outlook change is based
on Moody's view that the accession of president-elect Mauricio
Macri of the Cambiemos ("Let's Change") coalition will raise the
probability of credit positive policies being implemented,
including arriving at a resolution with holdout creditors, one of
Argentina's key credit constraints.


On Aug. 1, 2014, reported that Argentina defaulted on some of its
debt late July 30 after expiration of a 30-day grace period on a
US$539 million interest payment.  Earlier that day, talks with a
court- appointed mediator ended without resolving a standoff
between the country and a group of hedge funds seeking full
payment on bonds that the country had defaulted on in 2001.  A
U.S. judge had ruled that the interest payment couldn't be made
unless the hedge funds led by Elliott Management Corp., got the
US$1.5 billion they claimed.  The country hasn't been able to
access international credit markets since its US$95 billion
default 13 years ago.

As a result, reported the TCR-LA on Aug. 1, Standard & Poor's
Ratings Services lowered its unsolicited long-and short-term
foreign currency sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of
Argentina to selective default ('SD') from 'CCC-/C'.

The TCR-LA, on Aug. 4, 2014, also reported that Fitch Ratings
downgraded Argentina's Foreign Currency Issuer Default Rating
(IDR) to 'RD' from 'CC', and its Short-Term Foreign Currency
Issuer Default Rating to 'RD' from 'C'.

Meanwhile, Moody's Investors Service affirmed Argentina's Caa1
issuer rating, which also applies to domestic law bonds, confirmed
the (P)Caa2 rating for its foreign law bonds, and affirmed the Ca
rating on the original defaulted bonds. The long-term issuer
rating was placed on negative outlook, reported the TCR-LA on Aug.
5, 2014.

On Aug. 8, 2014, the TCR-LA reported that Moody's Latin America
Agente de Calificacion de Riesgo affirmed the deposit, debt,
issuer and corporate family ratings on Argentina's banks and
financial institutions, both on the global and national scales.
The outlook on these ratings has been changed to negative from
stable. At the same time, the rating agency has affirmed the
banks' Caa2 foreign-currency deposit ratings and Not-
Prime short-term ratings. The banks' standalone E financial
strength ratings corresponding to caa1 baseline credit assessments
(BCA) have also been affirmed.

The TCR-LA, On Aug. 6, 2014, also reported that DBRS Inc. has
downgraded Argentina's long-term foreign currency issuer rating
from CC to Selective Default (SD).  The short-term foreign
currency rating has been downgraded to Default (D), from R-5.  The
long-term and short-term local currency issuer ratings have been
confirmed at B (low) and R-5, respectively.  The trend on the
long-term local currency rating is Negative, and the trend on the
short-term local currency rating is Stable.

On Nov. 3, 2014, the TCR-LA reported that Fitch Ratings downgraded
Argentina's rating on Par Bonds issued under Foreign Law to 'D'
from 'C' as Argentina has not been able to cure the missed coupon
payments on its par bonds issued under foreign law after the
expiration of the 30-day grace period on Oct. 30.  According to
Fitch's criteria, this constitutes an event of default and Fitch
has downgraded the affected securities to 'D'.  In addition, Fitch
has affirmed:

   -- Foreign Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'RD';
   -- Local Currency IDR at 'CCC';
   -- Short-term Foreign Currency IDR at 'RD';
   -- Country Ceiling at 'CCC'.
   -- Performing Foreign Law Exchanged Securities (Global 17) at
      'C';
   -- Local Currency exchanged bonds under Argentine Law at 'CCC';
   -- Foreign and Local Currency non-exchanged securities under
      Argentine Law at 'CCC';
   -- Discount Bonds issued under Foreign Law at 'D'.

On April 22, 2015, Moody's Investors Service expanded the portion
of Argentina's debt that is rated (P)Caa2. The (P)Caa2 rating
reflects the higher risk of default for both Argentina's
restructured foreign legislation debt (as before) and,
additionally now, its restructured local legislation foreign
currency obligations, as compared with the risk of default on
other debt instruments issued by Argentina.  Argentina's local
currency debt and its non-restructured foreign currency debt are
rated Caa1. The debt that remains in default since Argentina's
2001 default is rated Ca.


===========
B R A Z I L
===========


PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: Emerging Stronger From Restructuring
---------------------------------------------------------
EFE News reports that Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. carried out asset
sales and underwent a restructuring this year in response to a
severe financial crisis, emerging smaller but with a more
profitable and productive future ahead, CEO Aldemir Bendini said.

"In about four years, you can expect a company with a more
positive outlook.  It'll be smaller, much smaller than what it
was, but more profitable and with greater operational
capabilities," the CEO said during a breakfast with reporters who
cover the energy industry, according to EFE News.

The head of the company that accounts for nearly 10 percent of
Brazil's gross domestic product said the $15 billion divestment
plan announced earlier this year would be completed in 2016 with
the sale of additional assets, the report notes.

"The goal was to make this year more about identifying the assets
we were going to sell.  We did not have great expectations about
divestments this year.  The sales will be concentrated in 2016.
But we managed to sell the Gaspetro subsidiary," the report quoted
Mr. Bendini as saying.

In October, the Petrobras board of directors agreed to sell a 49
percent stake in Gaspetro, a subsidiary that held stakes in
several regional natural gas companies, to Japan's Mitsui & Co.
Ltd. for BRL1.9 billion (about $500 million), the report notes.

"When everybody thought that we wouldn't be able to sell it
without transferring control, we achieved a result that the market
was not expecting, nearly double the estimated value," the CEO
said, the report relays.

The report discloses that Mr. Bendini also commented on oil
prices, saying that crude was well below where the company
projected.

"We expected to work with oil at $60 per barrel this year and the
reality was different.  We did a hypothetical exercise on what the
company would face under the worst conditions, with oil at $40 and
the exchange rate at four reais per dollar, and that's what we
ended up dealing with," the CEO said, the report notes.

Petrobras had to implement an emergency business plan to deal with
the new conditions in the oil market and simultaneously generate
investment funds under more difficult conditions, Mr. Bendini
said, the report relays.

Petrobras, which lost access to capital markets financing amid a
massive corruption scandal, has written off nearly $2 billion in
corruption-related losses from the period between 2004 and 2014,
the report discloses.

The wide-ranging scandal centers on allegations that leading
domestic engineering and construction groups overcharged the oil
giant for contracts, splitting the extra money with corrupt
Petrobras officials while setting aside some of the loot to pay
off politicians who provided cover for the graft, the report adds.

                 About Petroleo Brasileiro

Based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. --
Petrobras (Brazilian Petroleum Corporation) -- explores for oil
and gas and it produces, refines, purchases, and transports oil
and gas products.  The Company has proved reserves of about 14.1
billion barrels of oil equivalent and operates 16 refineries, an
extensive pipeline network, and more than 8,000 gas stations.

The Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America reported on Dec. 11,
2015, reported that Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's")
downgraded all ratings for Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. ("Petrobras")
and ratings based on Petrobras' guarantee, including the company's
senior unsecured debt rating, to Ba3 from Ba2. Simultaneously,
Moody's placed the ratings on review for possible further
downgrade. The company's baseline credit assessment (BCA) was
lowered to b3 from b2. The rating and outlook for the unguaranteed
ratings of Petrobras Argentina are unchanged, including the (P)B2
senior unsecured, positive.

TCRLA reported that on March 6, 2015, that the deepening
investigation into the alleged kickback scheme at Petrobras has
triggered concerns for the Brazilian banks with exposures not only
to the state-controlled oil company, but also to its large base of
suppliers, as well as the broader oil and gas (O&G) and
construction industries, says Moody's Investors Service.

On March 12, 2015, the TCR-LA reported that Moody's Investors
Service said the corruption investigation into Petrobras will
negatively affect parts of the public and private sectors, but
government support for the company is likely to help contain the
credit-negative impact.

Moody's Investors Service has downgraded all ratings for
Petrobras, including a downgrade of the company's senior unsecured
debt to Ba2 from Baa3, and assigned a Ba2 Corporate Family Rating
to the company, the TCRLA reported on Feb. 27, 2015.  Its failure
to estimate its losses from the alleged corruption scheme and
produce audited third-quarter results prompted Moody's to cut its
rating to junk, the report said.

Rival agency Standard & Poor's delivered a further blow on March
23 when it revised its outlook on the company from stable to
negative, the TCRLA reported on March 26, 2015.

On Feb. 10, 2015, TCRLA said Fitch Ratings has downgraded the
foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) and
outstanding debt ratings of Petrobras to 'BBB-' from 'BBB'.
Concurrently, Fitch has placed all of Petrobras' international and
national scale ratings on Rating Watch Negative.


==========================
C A Y M A N  I S L A N D S
==========================


20TH CENTURY: Sole Member Receives Wind-Up Report
-------------------------------------------------
The sole member of 20th Century Holdings Limited received on
Dec. 11, 2015, the liquidator's report on the company's wind-up
proceedings and property disposal.

The company's liquidator is:

          Michel Clemence
          c/o 14, rue Charles-Bonnet
          1206 Geneve-Suisse
          Telephone: +41-22-818-6161


ALCAZAR INVESTMENT: Shareholders Receive Wind-Up Report
-------------------------------------------------------
The shareholders of Alcazar Investment Ltd. received on Dec. 7,
2015, the liquidator's report on the company's wind-up proceedings
and property disposal.

The company's liquidator is:

          Morval Bank & Trust Cayman Ltd.
          Telephone: +1 (345) 949-9808
          P.O. Box 30622 Grand Cayman KY1-1203
          Cayman Islands


BASKET INVESTMENTS: Shareholders Receive Wind-Up Report
-------------------------------------------------------
The shareholders of Basket Investments Ltd. received on Dec. 2,
2015, the liquidator's report on the company's wind-up proceedings
and property disposal.

The company's liquidator is:

          Maricorp Services Ltd.
          c/o Steven J. Barrie
          Telephone: 345-949-9710
          P.O. Box 2075 Grand Cayman KY1-1105
          Cayman Islands


CIVIC CAPITAL MASTER: Member to Hear Wind-Up Report on Dec. 21
--------------------------------------------------------------
The member of Civic Capital Currency Master Fund Ltd. will hear on
Dec. 21, 2015, at 10:00 a.m., the liquidator's report on the
company's wind-up proceedings and property disposal.

The company's liquidator is:

          Highwater Limited
          c/o Nicole Gagliano
          Grand Pavilion Commercial Centre, 1st Floor
          802 West Bay Road
          P.O. Box 31855 Grand Cayman KY1-1207
          Cayman Islands
          Telephone: (345) 943 2295
          Facsimile: (345) 943 2294


CIVIC CAPITAL OFFSHORE: Member to Hear Wind-Up Report on Dec. 21
----------------------------------------------------------------
The member of Civic Capital Currency Offshore Fund Ltd. will hear
on Dec. 21, 2015, at 11:00 a.m., the liquidator's report on the
company's wind-up proceedings and property disposal.

The company's liquidator is:

          Highwater Limited
          c/o Nicole Gagliano
          Grand Pavilion Commercial Centre, 1st Floor
          802 West Bay Road
          P.O. Box 31855 Grand Cayman KY1-1207
          Cayman Islands
          Telephone: (345) 943 2295
          Facsimile: (345) 943 2294


EQUITEK CAPITAL: Shareholders Receive Wind-Up Report
----------------------------------------------------
The shareholders of Equitek Capital Limited received on Dec. 4,
2015, the liquidator's report on the company's wind-up proceedings
and property disposal.

The company's liquidator is:

          Jane Fleming
          P.O. Box 30464 Grand Cayman KY1-1202
          Cayman Islands
          Telephone: (345) 945-2187
          Facsimile: (345) 945-2197


EQUITEK GLOBAL: Shareholders Receive Wind-Up Report
---------------------------------------------------
The shareholders of Equitek Global Technology Fund (Cayman)
received on Dec. 4, 2015, the liquidator's report on the company's
wind-up proceedings and property disposal.

The company's liquidator is:

          Jane Fleming
          P.O. Box 30464 Grand Cayman KY1-1202
          Cayman Islands
          Telephone: (345) 945-2187
          Facsimile: (345) 945-2197


INTARCIA FORESITE: Shareholders Receive Wind-Up Report
------------------------------------------------------
The shareholders of Intarcia Foresite CP, Ltd. received on Dec. 2,
2015, the liquidator's report on the company's wind-up proceedings
and property disposal.

The company's liquidator is:

          James B. Tananbaum
          Telephone: +1 (345) 949 8599
          Facsimile: +1 (345) 949 4451
          Harneys Services (Cayman) Limited
          Harbour Place, 4th Floor
          103 South Church Street
          P.O. Box 10240 Grand Cayman KY1-1002
          Cayman Islands


LIFE COMPANY: Sole Member to Hear Wind-Up Report on Dec. 22
-----------------------------------------------------------
The sole member of Life Company Limited will hear on Dec. 22,
2015, at 10:00 a.m., the liquidator's report on the company's
wind-up proceedings and property disposal.

The company's liquidator is:

          Lion International Management Limited
          Craigmuir Chambers
          Road Town
          Tortola VG1110
          British Virgin Islands


MAKO COMPANY: Sole Member to Hear Wind-Up Report on Dec. 22
-----------------------------------------------------------
The sole member of Mako Company Limited will hear on Dec. 22,
2015, at 10:00 a.m., the liquidator's report on the company's
wind-up proceedings and property disposal.

The company's liquidator is:

          Lion International Management Limited
          Craigmuir Chambers
          Road Town Tortola VG1110
          British Virgin Islands


PALACE COMPANY: Sole Member to Hear Wind-Up Report on Dec. 22
-------------------------------------------------------------
The sole member of Palace Company Limited will receive on Dec. 22,
2015, at 10:00 a.m., the liquidator's report on the company's
wind-up proceedings and property disposal.

The company's liquidator is:

          Lion International Management Limited
          Craigmuir Chambers
          Road Town
          Tortola VG1110
          British Virgin Islands


PRIDE REVELATION: Shareholders Receive Wind-Up Report
-----------------------------------------------------
The shareholders of The Pride Revelation Fund received on Dec. 2,
2015, the liquidator's report on the company's wind-up proceedings
and property disposal.

The company's liquidator is:

          Richard Fear
          c/o Ryan Charles
          P.O. Box 2681 Grand Cayman KY1-1111
          Cayman Islands
          Telephone: (345) 814 7364
          Facsimile: (345) 945 3902


SEBAGO DOMINICAN: Shareholder Receives Wind-Up Report
-----------------------------------------------------
The shareholder of Sebago Dominican Limited received on Dec. 8,
2015, the liquidator's report on the company's wind-up proceedings
and property disposal.

The company's liquidators are:

          Brendan M. Gibbons
          Krause Global B.V.
          Beursplein 37, Ruimte 504
          3011AA Rotterdam
          Netherlands
          Telephone: (616)-866-7331
          Facsimile: (616)-866-5625


===================================
D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C
===================================


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: IDB Grants US$1.8 Million to Boost SMEs
-----------------------------------------------------------
Dominican Today reports that the Inter-American Development Bank
(IDB) representative Flora Montealegre and and Santo Domingo
Tourism Cluster consultant Luis Marino Lopez signed an agreement
for a technical cooperation grant to develop the Colonial City's
Commercial and Urban Revitalization Project.

The three-year agreement entails a grant of US$1.8 million of
which US$850,000 are from the IDB Multilateral Investment Fund
(MIF), according to Dominican Today.

The report notes that the YPES project expects to directly impact
more than 180 companies and some 540 people in the Colonial City,
with the cooperation of Tourism Ministry of and the Vice Ministry
for SMEs.

The project aims to bolster public-private partnership in the area
also known as the Colonial Zone, with a focus on boosting micro
and small businesses to take advantage of new opportunities
resulting from government investments, the report relays.

The project will work mostly on strengthening existing companies
to a business model and improve the quality of public investment
and take advantage of the influx of new customers for growth, the
report adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Dec. 3, 2015, Fitch Ratings has affirmed the Dominican Republic's
long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs)
at 'B+'.

The Rating Outlooks on the long-term IDRs are revised to Positive
from Stable. The issue ratings on the Dominican Republic's senior
unsecured foreign and local currency bonds are affirmed at 'B+'.
The Country Ceiling is affirmed at 'BB-' and the short-term
foreign currency IDR at 'B'.


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Dominican-Haiti Border's 1st Project Historic
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Dominican Today reports that the Quisqueya Binational Economic
Council (CEBQ) launched the Zone I Pilot Plan, the first of four
proposed investment funds for the border area to be built at a
cost of US$31.0 million, including real estate projects.

The pilot plan would create 100,000 direct textile area jobs by
2030, said Dominican mogul Juan Vicini of the CEBQ, in the
ceremony headed by Council members Marc Antonine Acra and Jean
Lucien Ligonde, according to Dominican Today.

The report notes that Mr. Vicini said the fund aims to exploit
synergies with renewable energy, transport, logistics, raw
material and labor that would benefit the Haiti border towns of
Ouanaminthe and Fort Liberte, and Dajabon and Manzanillo on the
Dominican side.

"The development of these industrial buildings will create 4,000
industrial jobs and population will actively take part in the
community's development with sustainable urban centers and will
create and promote formal bilateral trade," said Mr. Acra who
called the construction a historic step for Dominican Republic's
and Haiti's economy, the report relays.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Dec. 3, 2015, Fitch Ratings has affirmed the Dominican Republic's
long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs)
at 'B+'.

The Rating Outlooks on the long-term IDRs are revised to Positive
from Stable. The issue ratings on the Dominican Republic's senior
unsecured foreign and local currency bonds are affirmed at 'B+'.
The Country Ceiling is affirmed at 'BB-' and the short-term
foreign currency IDR at 'B'.


=============
J A M A I C A
=============


JAMAICA: Consumer Prices up by 0.5% in November
-----------------------------------------------
RJR News reports that the Statistical Institute of Jamaica
(STATIN) says consumer prices rose by an average 0.5 per cent in
November.

The increases were driven chiefly by higher cost for electricity,
gas and some agricultural produce, according to RJR News.

With November's price increase, inflation in the last 12 months
was 3.1 per cent, the report relays.

                      *     *     *

As reported in Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on July 29,
2015, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned its 'B' issue
rating on Jamaica's up to US$2 billion in bonds issued in two
tranches.  The first tranche is for up to US$1,350 million due in
2028.  The second tranche is for up to US$650 million due in 2045.
The government will use the proceeds to purchase debt that Jamaica
owes to Venezuela as well as to finance the government's 2015/2016
budget.


======================
P U E R T O    R I C O
======================


PUERTO RICO: Sen. Hatch Blocks Bid to Chapter 9 Bill
----------------------------------------------------
Carmen Germaine at Law360.com reports that Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-
Utah blocked a bid by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., to pass by
unanimous consent a bill that would allow Puerto Rico access to
Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code to restructure its $73
billion debt, objecting to passage of the bill.

Sen. Schumer had asked for unanimous consent to take up and pass
S. 1774, the Puerto Rico Chapter 9 Uniformity Act of 2015,
legislation first proposed in July that would allow Puerto Rico to
authorize its municipalities and public utilities to enter Chapter
9. Schumer said that passing the bill is essential as the
territory, which is currently specifically barred from accessing
the bankruptcy lifeline, is facing a humanitarian crisis,
according to Law360.com.

"Congress must intervene before the crisis deepens and widens,"
Sen. Schumer said, according to prepared remarks, the report
notes. "We have the tools to fix this problem. They're sitting in
the toolbox.  The problem is Puerto Rico isn't allowed to use
them," Sen. Schumer added.

While Sen. Schumer expressed thanks to the "senior senator from
the state of Utah" for coming to the floor and for expressing an
interest in working with the Democratic senators sponsoring the
bill, Sen. Hatch ultimately blocked the bill by objecting to
Schumer's request, according to floor updates released by the
Senate Democrats' website, the report discloses.

Sen. Hatch's reasons for objecting to taking up the bill were not
immediately clear, and representatives for Hatch did not respond
to a request for comment.

The report discloses Sen. Hatch has previously expressed doubt
about bailing the territory out with federal funding aid, pointing
out in a September hearing that Puerto Rico's debt has more than
doubled since 2000 "despite the billions of dollars infused into
its coffers from the federal stimulus enacted in 2009 and from
health care funding increases included in the Affordable Care
Act."

The bill has proven controversial with other senators as well, the
report relays.  Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said at a hearing on
Dec. 1 that Puerto Rico issued its bonds realizing Chapter 9
wasn't an option and said the current problems the commonwealth
faces are the result of "fiscal mismanagement," the report
discloses.

Sen. Schumer introduced the bill in July with Sen. Richard
Blumenthal, D-Conn., and 10 other co-sponsors, a week after the
First Circuit ruled Puerto Rico's bid to establish its own
restructuring procedure was unconstitutional, the report relays.

The Supreme Court agreed to take up Puerto Rico's appeal of that
decision, after the territory argued that review was necessary
even while the Senate bill and companion legislation in the House
are pending because passage of the bills is far from certain, the
report says.

"Precisely because the crisis facing Puerto Rico's public
utilities is so acute, it would be irresponsible for the
commonwealth to respond to the vacuum left by the lower courts'
invalidation of the Recovery Act by simply kicking back and
crossing its fingers pending this court's consideration of this
petition," Puerto Rico said, the report discloses.

Puerto Rico has been roiled for months as it grapples with a $73
billion debt load that has sapped its economy, the report recalls.
The commonwealth defaulted on its obligations in August when it
missed a multimillion-dollar bond payment, but made a scheduled
$355 million payment on principal and interest on certain bonds
that came due Dec. 1 to avoid another default.

The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, meanwhile, announced in
November that it had inked a restructuring deal with a group of
municipal bondholders, hedge funds and lenders, including the
Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico, which would provide
it with $1.3 billion in debt relief, the report notes.  But the
utility recently announced that it had amended the terms of the
deal to extend a key deadline after being unable to reach an
agreement with monocline bond insurers, the report notes.

The Obama administration has called for Congress to give Puerto
Rico access to an even broader legal framework than Chapter 9,
saying Chapter 9 would only cover about one-third of Puerto Rico's
total bonded debt, the report adds.

                        *       *       *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Sept. 14, 2015, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered its
ratings on the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico's tax-backed debt to
'CC' from 'CCC-' and removed the ratings from CreditWatch, where
they had been placed with negative implications July 20.  The
outlook is negative.


=================
V E N E Z U E L A
=================


BANCO EXTERIOR: Fitch Affirms 'CCC' LT Issuer Default Rating
------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Banco Exterior, C.A. Banco Universal's
(Exterior) long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'CCC' and its
Viability Rating (VR) at 'ccc', following Fitch's peer review of
Venezuelan Private Sector Banks. No Rating Outlook is assigned at
this rating level. See the full list of rating actions at the end
of this release.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

IDRS, VR, NATIONAL RATINGS

Exterior's ratings are limited by the weak operating environment,
characterized by economic contraction, severe macroeconomic
imbalances and high inflation. The ratings also reflect the bank's
significant mismatch of short-term assets and liabilities given
that the vast majority of its funding consists of demand deposits.
However, Exterior's liquidity remains adequate given the capital
controls in place.

Exterior's loan quality ratios are stable, supported by inflation-
led loan growth. However, in the context of the current economic
crisis, Exterior's significant holdings of public sector
securities and long-term expansion of its consumer loan portfolio
(17.4% of gross loans at September 2015) would be a source of
concern in the event of a forced economic adjustment.

In addition, despite improvement in operating profitability during
2015, a recent tax reform has caused a significant increase in tax
expense (from 3.0% of pre-tax profit during 2014 to 30.7% at
September 2015), pressuring nominal net income. Furthermore, high
inflation, in the context of regulatory caps and floors on
pricing, has had a negative effect on profits in real terms.
Inflation-led asset growth (averaging 64% since 2011) has also put
increasing pressure on capital, as evident throughout the banking
system. A regulatory adjustment to risk weightings in 2014 has
provided temporary scope for further growth.

As with the banking system in general, Exterior's capital has been
under long-term pressure due to nominal asset growth. Tangible
common equity represented 7.5% of tangible assets at September
2015 compared with 7.6% at year-end 2014. However, Exterior's
capital compares favorably with its domestic peers.

Exterior is the ninth largest bank in the country by assets and is
majority owned by the Spanish banking group, Grupo Bancario IF.

RATING SENSITIVITIES

IDRS, VR AND NATIONAL RATINGS

The bank's IDRs, VR and National ratings have limited near-term
upside potential in light of the current economic crisis.
Exterior's ratings are constrained by the sovereign and sensitive
to a change in the sovereign's ratings. In addition, while not
Fitch's base case due to capital controls in place, a persistent
decline in deposits would pressure ratings.

SUPPORT RATING AND SUPPORT RATING FLOOR

The banks' Support Rating (SR) of '5' and Support Rating Floor
(SRF) of 'NF' reflect Fitch's expectation of no support. Support
cannot be relied upon given Venezuela's highly speculative rating
and lack of a consistent policy on bank support.

Venezuela's propensity or ability to provide timely support to
Exterior is not likely to change given the sovereign's very low
speculative-grade ratings. As such, the SR and SRF have no upgrade
potential.

Fitch has affirmed the following ratings:

-- Banco Exterior, C.A. Banco Universal:

-- Long-term foreign and local currency IDRs at 'CCC';
-- Short-term foreign and local currency IDRs at 'C';
-- Viability Rating at 'ccc';
-- Support Rating at '5';
-- Support Rating Floor at 'NF'
-- Long-term national-scale rating at 'A+(ven);
-- Short-term national-scale rating at 'F1(ven)'


BANCO DEL CARIBE: Fitch Affirms 'CCC' Issuer Default Rating
-----------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings affirmed Banco del Caribe, C.A. Banco Universal's
(Bancaribe) Viability Rating (VR) at 'ccc' and its Issuer Default
Ratings (IDRs) at 'CCC'. No Rating Outlook is assigned at this
rating level. Fitch has taken this rating action following
private-sector Venezuelan banks peer review. A full list of rating
actions is at the end of this rating action commentary.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

VR, IDRS AND NATIONAL RATINGS

The operating environment as well as Bancaribe's funding and
liquidity profile highly influence the bank's VR and IDRs. Like
all Venezuelan banks, the sovereign's creditworthiness constrains
Bancaribe's international ratings due to exposure to public sector
(mostly sovereign) securities, as well as vulnerability to the
government's policy choices and the country's economic
performance. Venezuela's IDR is currently rated 'CCC' by Fitch.
High inflation distorts the comparison of financial metrics with
regional peers (Latin American commercial banks with a VR of 'b+'
and below). Bancaribe's national scale ratings consider the same
strengths and weaknesses as its international ratings, but based
on the relative creditworthiness of entities within Venezuela.

Bancaribe's liquidity is similar to that of the private-sector
Venezuelan banks rated by Fitch. Given the bank's high level of
liquid assets, the large negative mismatch between short-term
assets and liabilities typical of Venezuelan banks is manageable
as long as domestic monetary market conditions remain liquid and
any potential liberalization of capital controls is measured.

Bancaribe's impaired loan ratios are in line with its domestic
peers rated by Fitch. However, Bancaribe's higher proportion of
unsecured consumer loans has potential for deterioration in the
current economic crisis. In addition, the bank's cushion to absorb
unexpected losses compares below Venezuelan larger banks.

Bancaribe's equity/assets ratio has relatively remained stable
over the past four years due to a high level of retained earnings.
Bancaribe's regulatory capital ratio has been also stable,
reflecting a higher proportion of public sector securities and
compulsory loans on its balance sheet, which carry lower risk
weights. Fitch believes that capital ratios will remain under
pressure in 2016 due to inflation induced asset growth, though
exchange rate gains from a potential devaluation could offset this
somewhat. Although capitalization is in line with domestic peers,
it lags that of other regional peers domiciled in highly
speculative grade countries.

While the bank's liquidity profile is sufficient for its market, a
high proportion of Bancaribe's liquid holdings are in Venezuelan
public sector instruments. Furthermore, like all Venezuelan banks,
Bancaribe has a large negative mismatch between its short-term
assets and liabilities. However, this position is manageable under
Venezuela's current scheme of foreign exchange controls.

SUPPORT RATING AND SUPPORT RATING FLOOR

Bancaribe' Support Rating (SR) of '5' and Support Rating Floor
(SRF) of 'NF' reflect Fitch's expectation of no support. Despite
the banks' systemic importance, support cannot be relied upon
given Venezuela's very low rating and lack of a consistent policy
on bank support. Government interference in the banking system
could also negatively influence from foreign shareholders support
if required.

RATING SENSITIVITIES

VR, IDRS AND NATIONAL RATINGS

The bank's IDRs and National ratings are sensitive to changes in
the sovereign's IDRs, resulting in a similar action on the IDRs
and VRs of the bank, which are currently capped at the sovereign.
Additional government intervention that pressures the bank's
financial performance could negatively affect the bank's IDRs, VRs
and National ratings. While not Fitch's base case due to capital
controls and liquidity in the domestic market, a persistent
decline in deposits would pressure ratings.

Upside potential to any of the bank's ratings in the near term is
limited in light of the current economic crisis.

SUPPORT RATING AND SUPPORT RATING FLOOR

Venezuela's propensity or ability to provide timely support is not
likely to change given the sovereign's low speculative-grade
ratings. As such, the SR and SRF have no upgrade potential.


Fitch affirmed Bancaribe's ratings as follows:

-- Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings at
    'CCC';
-- Short-term foreign and local currency ratings at 'C';
-- Viability rating at 'ccc';
-- Support at '5';
-- Support floor 'NF';
-- National long-term rating at 'A-(ven)'
-- National short-term rating at 'F2(ven)'.


BANCO NACIONAL: Fitch Affirms 'CCC' LT Issuer Default Rating
------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Banco Nacional de Credito, C.A.'s,
(BNC) foreign and local currency Long-Term Issuer Default Rating
(IDR) at 'CCC' and Viability Rating (VR) at 'ccc' following
Fitch's peer review of Venezuelan Banks. No Rating Outlook is
assigned at this rating level.

KEY RATING DRIVERS - IDRs, VR and NATIONAL RATINGS

The operating environment is the key factor constraining BNC's VR,
which drives its IDR and does not take into account state support.
Like all Venezuelan banks, BNC's VR is strongly linked to the
creditworthiness of the sovereign, given the significant level of
government intervention, high level of exposure to sovereign
securities and its vulnerability to the government's policy
choices and the country's economic performance.

BNC's ratings are also heavily influenced by the bank's liquidity
and funding profile. Although most deposits are available upon
demand, deposits have been stable, in part due to the government's
capital controls. Furthermore, expansive fiscal and monetary
policies continue to drive deposit growth. BNC has a large
negative mismatch between short-term assets and liabilities, and
access to longer-term funding is limited, as is the case across
the Venezuelan banking system.

BNC's loan growth has consistently exceeded that of the system
since 2012, while its exposure to the public sector is among the
highest compared with other Venezuelan universal/commercial banks
rated by Fitch. However, the bank's corporate focus, conservative
lending policies and low-risk products reduced impaired loan
levels, which, combined with rapid nominal loan growth, has
resulted in a consistent improvement in impaired loan ratios.

BNC's reserves for impaired loans grew significantly less than
gross loans during 2015, resulting in a sharp decline in its
reserves for impaired loans/gross loans ratio to a level that is
well below that of the Venezuelan system and its domestic peers.
In light of loan concentration and the fragility of the economic
environment, Fitch views this level as weak.

High nominal loan growth has led to tighter capitalization in
2015, despite stronger profitability, curbs on dividend payments
and fresh capital injections. The bank's tangible common equity to
tangible assets ratio was consistent with its Venezuelan peers at
3Q15. Capital levels are considered weak relative to Latin
American peers in highly speculative countries, particularly in
light of the decline in BNC's overall cushion to absorb unexpected
losses.

BNC's profitability continued to lag that of its Venezuelan peers
in 2015. Despite similar margins, the bank's lower efficiency and
limited cross-selling hinders profitability. When adjusted for
inflation, the bank reported a loss in 2014, though gains from the
inflation adjustment of common equity more than offset the impact
of this loss on equity.

KEY RATING DRIVERS - SUPPORT RATING AND SUPPORT RATING FLOOR

BNC' Support Rating (SR) of '5' and Support Rating Floor (SRF) of
'NF' reflect Fitch's expectation of no support. Support cannot be
relied upon given Venezuela's highly speculative rating and lack
of a consistent policy on bank support.

RATING SENSITIVITIES - IDRs, VR and NATIONAL RATINGS

Should Venezuela's macroeconomic/political woes deepen, as
reflected in its sovereign ratings, BNC's ratings could be
downgraded. This is the main downside risk for BNC and the rest of
Venezuela's banks.

BNC's VR and Long-Term IDRs could be upgraded if the operating
environment improves (more stable economic background, less
intrusive regulation) and the bank reduces its exposure to the
public sector. A sustained improvement of the bank's financial
profile could be positive for the bank's national ratings.

RATING SENSITIVITIES - SUPPORT RATING AND SUPPORT RATING FLOOR

Venezuela's propensity or ability to provide timely support to
these banks is not likely to change given the sovereign's very low
speculative-grade ratings. As such, the SR and SRF have no upgrade
potential.


Fitch has affirmed BNC's ratings as follows:

-- Long-term foreign and local currency IDRs at 'CCC';
-- Short-term foreign and local currency ratings at 'C';
-- Viability rating at 'ccc';
-- Support Rating at '5';
-- Support Rating Floor at 'NF';
-- Long-term national-scale rating at 'BBB-(ven)';
-- Short-term national-scale rating at 'F3(ven)'.


BANESCO BANCO: Fitch Affirms 'CCC' Issuer Default Ratings
---------------------------------------------------------
Following a peer review, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Banesco Banco
Universal, C.A.'s (BBU) foreign and local currency Issuer Default
Ratings (IDRs) at 'CCC'. No Rating Outlook is assigned at this
rating level.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

IDRS, VR AND NATIONAL RATINGS

As with other emerging market commercial banks in highly
speculative rating categories, the operating environment highly
influences BBU's ratings. Like all Venezuelan banks, the
sovereign's creditworthiness constrains BBU's ratings due to
exposure to public sector (mostly sovereign) securities, as well
as vulnerability to the government's policy choices and the
country's economic performance. Venezuela's IDR is currently rated
'CCC' by Fitch. High inflation distorts the comparison of
financial metrics with regional peers (Latin American commercial
banks with a Viability Rating [VR] of 'b+' and below).

BBU's funding and liquidity also highly influences its credit
profile. Given the bank's high level of liquid assets, the large
negative mismatch between short-term assets and liabilities is
manageable as long as domestic monetary market conditions remain
liquid and any potential liberalization of capital controls is
measured. Most liquid assets consist of cash and bank deposits
(94% of total) and covered 27.5% of deposits and short-term
funding as of Sept. 30, 2015. Fitch views a greater proportion of
cash favorably, as public sector securities may be of limited
liquidity in a stress scenario given the shallow domestic debt
market.

Like other Venezuelan banks, BBU's capital ratios have come under
pressure as asset growth has exceeded internal capital generation
since early 2014. Despite this deterioration, capitalization
ratios remained in line with domestic peers as of Sept. 30, 2015.
However, the bank's tangible common equity/tangible assets ratio
of 7.2% as of Sept. 30, 2015, continued to lag that of its
regional peer median of 8.7%.

Higher margins and rapid nominal loan growth compensated for
pressures from increased operating, credit and tax expenses in
2015. As such, BBU remained the most profitable large private
sector bank in Venezuela with an annualized ROAA of 4.14%. As is
the case with other Venezuelan banks, Fitch expects expenditure
pressures to continue over the medium term.

BBU's impaired loans to gross loans ratio has remained below 1%
since 2011, comparing favorably to domestic peers. Credit growth
has been in line with that of the system since 2011. Reserve
coverage of impaired and gross continued to improve in 2015.
Nevertheless, at 2.8% of gross loans as of Sept. 30, 2015, Fitch
views this level as tight, given the current economic crisis and
historical nonperforming loan (NPL) levels following economic
adjustment of previous crises. Although Fitch expects loan quality
ratios to deteriorate in 2015 as the government takes measures to
address macroeconomic imbalances, these ratios should remain in
line with domestic peers.

RATING SENSITIVITIES

IDRS, VR AND NATIONAL RATINGS

A downgrade of the sovereign's IDRs would result in a similar
action on the IDRs and VRs of these banks, which are currently
capped at the sovereign. Additional government intervention that
pressures financial performance could negatively affect the bank's
IDRs, VR and National ratings. While not Fitch's base case due to
capital controls and high domestic market liquidity, a persistent
decline in deposits would pressure ratings.

KEY RATING DRIVERS AND SENSITIVITIES - SUPPORT RATING AND SUPPORT
RATING FLOOR

The banks' Support Rating (SR) of '5' and Support Rating Floor
(SRF) of 'NF' reflect Fitch's expectation of no support. Despite
BBU's systemic importance, support cannot be relied upon given
Venezuela's highly speculative rating and lack of a consistent
policy on bank support.

Venezuela's propensity or ability to provide timely support BBU is
not likely to change given the sovereign's very low speculative-
grade ratings. As such, the SR and SRF have no upgrade potential.

Fitch has affirmed BBU's ratings as follows:

-- Long-term foreign and local currency IDRs at 'CCC';
-- Short-term foreign and local currency ratings at 'C';
-- Viability Rating at 'ccc';
-- Support at '5';
-- Support Floor at 'NF';
-- Long-term national-scale rating at 'A+(ven)';
-- Short-term national-scale rating 'F1+(ven)'.


MERCANTIL CA: Fitch Affirms 'CCC' Long-Term Issuer Default Rating
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Venezuela-based Mercantil, C.A. Banco
Universal's (MB) long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'CCC'
and Viability Rating (VR) at 'ccc', following Fitch's peer review
of Venezuelan Private Sector Banks. No Rating Outlook is assigned
at this rating level. See the full list of rating actions at the
end of this release.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

IDRs, VR AND NATIONAL RATINGS

In Fitch's view, the operating environment is the key factor
constraining MB's VR, which drives its IDR and does not take into
account state support. Like all Venezuelan banks, MB's VR is
strongly linked to the creditworthiness of the sovereign, given
its exposure to public sector bonds and its vulnerability to the
government's policy choices and the country's economic
performance. MB's international ratings also remain constrained by
the sovereign.

MB's ample market share and strong franchise have allowed the bank
to maintain a relatively stable deposit base despite deposit
volatility among domestic banks in past crises. Fitch notes that
MB's exposure to liquidity risk is heightened by a significant
reliance on short-term funding, as is the rest of the market. In
Fitch's opinion, MB's liquidity buffers are sufficient as long as
the domestic monetary market remains liquid and foreign exchange
controls hold.

MB registers good loan quality metrics; however, Fitch notes that
these are not comparable to other markets given the high level of
inflation. In spite of economic volatility and the natural
seasoning process, MB's low non-performing loan (NPL) ratio of
0.21% at end-June 2015 is in line with other local commercial
banks, as inflation induced loan growth has greatly outpaced
impaired loan growth. MB's reserve coverage of gross loans
declined to 3.22% at end-June 2015 from its peak of 4.14% at
YE2011. Though this level is higher than many of MB's local peers,
Fitch believes a stronger level is warranted given past impaired
loan deterioration during other economic crises.

The bank's Return on Average Assets (ROAA) declined to 3.7% at
end-june 2015 from its peak in the last four years of 4.6% at
YE2013. A deceleration in loan growth, inflation-driven increases
in operating costs and the impact of new income tax regulation
have pressured the bank's profitability despite improvements in
its net interest margin (NIM) and lower impairment costs. In
Fitch's opinion, further government intervention in the banking
sector or a sharper than anticipated economic adjustment could
pressure MB's performance. Although the bank will remain
profitable in nominal terms, based on Fitch's forecast for year-
end inflation in Venezuela (2015: 183% and 2016: 165%) it is not
likely to remain profitable in real terms.

Like other Venezuelan banks, MB's capital ratios have been under
pressure due to high nominal asset growth and weaker profitability
(end-june 2015 equity-to-assets: 7.4%), though they remain in line
with the industry average. Fitch expects equity levels to increase
in 2016 given a potential capital injection and devaluation,
though inflation-induced growth will continue to pressure
capitalization ratios.

RATING SENSITIVITIES

IDRS, VR AND NATIONAL RATINGS

[A downgrade of the sovereign's IDRs would result in a similar
action on the IDR and VR of MB, which is capped at the sovereign.
Additional government intervention that pressures financial
performance could negatively affect the bank's IDRs, VR and
National ratings. While this is not Fitch's base case, due to
capital controls and high domestic market liquidity, a persistent
decline in deposits would pressure ratings.

Upside potential to any of the banks' ratings in the near term is
limited in light of the current economic crisis.]

SUPPORT RATING AND SUPPORT RATING FLOOR

[The bank's Support Rating (SR) of '5' and Support Rating Floor
(SRF) of 'NF' reflect Fitch's expectation of no support. Despite
MB's systemic importance, support cannot be relied upon given
Venezuela's highly speculative rating and lack of a consistent
policy on bank support.

Venezuela's propensity or ability to provide timely support to MB
is not likely to change given the sovereign's very low
speculative-grade ratings. As such, the SR and SRF have no upgrade
potential.

Fitch has affirmed MB's ratings as follows:

-- Long-term foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings
    (IDR) at 'CCC';
-- Short-term foreign and local currency ratings at 'C';
-- Viability rating at 'ccc';
-- Support at '5';
-- Support floor 'NF';
-- Long-term national-scale rating at 'AA-(ven)';
-- Short-term national-scale rating at 'F1+(ven)'.


                            ***********


Monday's edition of the TCR-LA delivers a list of indicative
prices for bond issues that reportedly trade well below par.
Prices are obtained by TCR-LA editors from a variety of outside
sources during the prior week we think are reliable.   Those
sources may not, however, be complete or accurate.  The Monday
Bond Pricing table is compiled on the Friday prior to publication.
Prices reported are not intended to reflect actual trades.  Prices
for actual trades are probably different.  Our objective is to
share information, not make markets in publicly traded securities.
Nothing in the TCR-LA constitutes an offer or solicitation to buy
or sell any security of any kind.  It is likely that some entity
affiliated with a TCR-LA editor holds some position in the
issuers' public debt and equity securities about which we report.

Tuesday's edition of the TCR-LA features a list of companies with
insolvent balance sheets obtained by our editors based on the
latest balance sheets publicly available a day prior to
publication.  At first glance, this list may look like the
definitive compilation of stocks that are ideal to sell short.
Don't be fooled.  Assets, for example, reported at historical cost
net of depreciation may understate the true value of a firm's
assets.  A company may establish reserves on its balance sheet for
liabilities that may never materialize.  The prices at which
equity securities trade in public market are determined by more
than a balance sheet solvency test.

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                            ***********


S U B S C R I P T I O N   I N F O R M A T I O N

Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America is a daily newsletter
co-published by Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless
Hills, Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Washington, D.C.,
USA, Marites O. Claro, Joy A. Agravante, Rousel Elaine T.
Fernandez, Valerie U. Pascual, Julie Anne L. Toledo, and Peter A.
Chapman, Editors.

Copyright 2015.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
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written permission of the publishers.

Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to
be reliable, but is not guaranteed.

The TCR Latin America subscription rate is US$775 per half-year,
delivered via e-mail.  Additional e-mail subscriptions for members
of the same firm for the term of the initial subscription or
balance thereof are US$25 each.  For subscription information,
contact Peter A. Chapman at 215-945-7000 or Nina Novak at
202-362-8552.


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