TCRLA_Public/171123.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

               Thursday, November 23, 2017, Vol. 18, No. 232



BANCO DE LA CIUDAD: Moody's Rates Sr. Unsec. Debt Issuances B3
FBA RENTA: Moody's Assigns B-bf Global Scale Bond Fund Rating
MAS CUOTAS: Moody's Rates ARS39.1MM Class B Debt B2(sf)
NACION SEGUROS: Fitch Affirms B IFS Rating; Alters Outlook to Pos.
PROVINCE OF RIO NEGRO: S&P Assigns 'B' ICR, Outlook Stable


BRAZIL: Rio Lives in Climate of Lawlessness, Says Attorney General
ODEBRECHT SA: Power Plant on Track for 2018

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REP: Illegal Used Car Dealers Cause Up to 30% Losses

P U E R T O    R I C O

POPULAR INC: Fitch Keeps BB- IDR on Rating Watch Negative
RENT-A-CENTER INC: Egan-Jones Cuts Sr. Unsec. Debt Ratings to B-


CITGO PETROLEUM: Venezuela Authorities Arrest Top Executives
MAKRO: Gov't Seizes Distributor for Alleged Irregularities

                            - - - - -


BANCO DE LA CIUDAD: Moody's Rates Sr. Unsec. Debt Issuances B3
Moody's Latin America Agente de Calificacion de Riesgo (MLA) has
assigned a B3 global local currency senior unsecured debt rating
and a Argentinean national scale senior debt rating to
Banco de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires (Ciudad)'s Class XV and Class
XVI senior unsecured debt issuances. The notes will be due 2019
and 2022, respectively, and will be issued under Ciudad's existing
multi-currency senior unsecured program of $500 million in a total
amount of up to ARS2,500 million. The outlook on the global scale
rating is positive, while it is stable on the national scale.

The following ratings were assigned to Banco de la Ciudad de
Buenos Aires' Class XV and Class XVI notes:

Global local currency senior unsecured debt rating of B3; positive

Argentinean national scale local currency senior debt rating of; stable outlook


Ciudad's ratings are equal to the highest ratings assigned to any
domestically-owned Argentine bank and reflect sound financial
fundamentals, including its good capitalization levels and strong
asset risk and liquidity metrics. However, these credit strengths
are offset by risks associated with Argentina's ongoing transition
to a more normalized operating environment.

Ciudad has a well-established franchise, particularly in the
retail banking segment, and a stable, low-cost funding profile,
supported by the bank's role as financial agent of the city of
Buenos Aires. As a result, it has very limited reliance on market
funds and minimal exposure to refinancing risk, while liquid
assets have more than doubled to a substantial 35.6% of tangible
banking assets as of June 2017, from less than 17% two and a half
years earlier.

As a government-owned bank, Ciudad is focused on providing
products and services to public servants of the city of Buenos
Aires, a mandate which generates recurring earnings and supports a
low risk loan portfolio that helps to reduce credit costs. While
the bank's profitability has been improving since 2015, it
nevertheless remains lower than the Argentine system average,
given its focus on low-yielding mortgage lending business. In June
2017, net income stood flat at 2.12% of tangible assets, in line
with year-end 2016, while the system average equaled 3%.

Asset quality remains strong despite a slight deterioration in
Ciudad's problem loan ratio, which reached 1.85% in June 2017 from
1.23% as of December 2015, though it remains below the industry's
2% average. While the bank's loan loss reserve coverage ratio was
below those of most of its peers at just 85.6% of problem loans in
June 2017, this considers that nearly one-quarter of the bank's
loan book is made of secured mortgage loans

Although the bank's adjusted capitalization has also deteriorated
in recent years, with tangible common equity falling to 10.56% of
adjusted risk-weighted assets in June 2017 from 12.47% in December
2014, it remains sufficient to support future portfolio expansion
in a scenario of gradual economic recovery in 2018.

The positive outlook on the bank's global scale rating reflects
the expected impact of the policy reforms being implemented by the
Macri administration, which are resulting in a return to economic
growth and a continued decline in inflation that will in in turn
create new business opportunities for Ciudad and ease its
transition into a more competitive, market-driven operating
environment. The positive outlook is in line with the outlook on
the Argentine government bond rating. However, the outlook on the
national scale rating remains stable it will likely not be
affected even if the global debt rating is upgraded in line with a
possible sovereign rating upgrade.


An upgrade of the Argentine sovereign and a corresponding increase
in Argentina's debt and deposit ceilings would put upward pressure
on the bank's global scale rating, provided the bank continues to
demonstrate sound operating performance. Conversely, a downgrade
of the Argentine sovereign could put downward pressure on the
bank's global scale rating, but this is unlikely at this time
given Argentina's positive outlook.

Because Ciudad's NSR is already at the high end of the
three NSR categories in Argentina that correspond to Moody's B3
global debt ratings, upward pressure on the NSR is unlikely at
this time. The NSR could be downgraded if the bank experiences a
significant deterioration in its financial fundamentals without a
corresponding deterioration in the government of Argentina's

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Banks
published in September 2017.

FBA RENTA: Moody's Assigns B-bf Global Scale Bond Fund Rating
Moody's Latin America Agente de Calificacion de Riesgo has
assigned global scale and national scale bond fund ratings to FBA
Renta Fija Plus, FBA Bonos Globales and FBA Bonos Latam, all
managed by BBVA Frances Asset Management S.A.G.F.C.I. and
domiciled in Argentina:

The ratings assigned are:

- FBA Renta Fija Plus:

* Global scale bond fund rating: B-bf

* National scale bond fund rating:

- FBA Bonos Globales:

* Global scale bond fund rating: B-bf

* National scale bond fund rating:

- FBA Bonos Latam:

* Global scale bond fund rating: B-bf

* National scale bond fund rating:


The B-bf global scale bond fund rating assigned to FBA Renta Fija
Plus reflects the credit profile of the fund's current investment
strategy investing in Central Bank securities (LEBACS) as well as
Moody's expectation that when LEBAC interest rates decrease the
fund will likely allocate away from LEBACs and into securities
with lower relative credit quality. FBA Renta Fija Plus
national scale reflects a mapping most consistent with the fund's
B-bf global scale credit profile.

The B-bf global scale bond fund ratings assigned to FBA Bonos
Globales and FBA Bonos Latam are based on an expectation that the
Funds will likely maintain high allocation to Argentinian
Government bonds (B3 positive) over the next six to twelve months
due to the high relative yields offered by these securities.
However, when Argentine bond yields decline, Moody's would expect
these Funds to allocate more of their assets to other Latin
American government and corporate bonds which is likely to have a
positive impacting on their global scale credit profiles. Their
national scale reflects a mapping most consistent with the Funds'
B-bf global scale credit profiles. "The key difference between FBA
Bonos Globales and FBA Bonos Latam is the subscription and
redemption currency being in ARS and USD, respectively", said
Carlos de Nevares, Moody's Vice President.

BBVA Frances Asset Management S.A.G.F.C.I. is a large Argentinian
asset manager with 6.4% market share. As of September 2017, BBVA
Frances Asset Management S.A.G.F.C.I. had assets under management
of approximately ARS 37.8 billion (USD 2.1 billion).

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Moody's Bond
Fund Rating Methodology published in May 2013.

MAS CUOTAS: Moody's Rates ARS39.1MM Class B Debt B2(sf)
Moody's Latin America Agente de Calificacion de Riesgo has rated
Fideicomiso Financiero Mas Cuotas Serie X. This transaction will
be issued by Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires S.A acting solely in
its capacity as issuer and trustee.

This credit rating is subject to the fulfillment of contingencies
that are highly likely to be completed, such as finalization of
documents and issuance of the securities. This credit rating is
based on certain information that may change prior to the
fulfillment of such contingencies, including market conditions,
financial projections, transaction structure, terms and conditions
of the issuance, characteristics of the underlying assets or
receivables, allocation of cash flows and of losses, performance
triggers, transaction counterparties and other information
included in the transaction documentation. Any pertinent change in
such information or additional information could result in a
change of this credit rating.

The full rating action is:

- ARS 489,242,605 in Class A Floating Rate Debt Securities (VDFA)
   of "Fideicomiso Financiero Mas Cuotas Serie X", rated
   (sf) (Argentine National Scale) and Ba3 (sf) (Global Scale)

- ARS 39,139,408 in Class B Floating Rate Debt Securities (VDFB)
   of "Fideicomiso Financiero Mas Cuotas Serie X", rated
   (sf) (Argentine National Scale) and B2 (sf) (Global Scale)


The rated securities are payable from the cash flow coming from
the assets of the trust, which is an amortizing pool of
approximately 204,041 eligible purchases in installments
denominated in Argentine pesos and originated by Cencosud
(Argentina) S.A. ("Cencosud Argentina"), the local subsidiary of
Cencosud S.A. ("Cencosud", Baa3, Stable), among Latin America's
largest retailers, with presence in Chile, Argentina, Peru,
Colombia and Brazil. Only installments payable after December 1st,
2017 will be assigned to the trust.

The installments are originated through credit cards issued by
Cencosud Argentina. Clients of Cencosud credit cards can make
purchases in affiliated stores and split the payments in several
monthly installments bearing no interest rates. The monthly
installments are included in the cardholder's credit card balance.

The transaction exhibits a high degree of support from the
sponsor. Cencosud Argentina regularly advances funds to the trust
in the following situations: (i) when a cardholder refinances his
card balance, the sponsor will advance to the trust all the unpaid
balances in relation to that loan, and (ii) when the cardholder
pays the minimum payment of the credit card, and that minimum
payment is insufficient to cover for the securitized installment,
Cencosud Argentina advances the difference between the installment
and the minimum payment.

The securitized pools of previous transactions rated by Moody's
have exhibited a relatively high level of refinanced loans. This
refinancing does not translate into losses for the transactions
given that Cencosud Argentina advances the payment of these
refinanced loans to the trust. Hence, this behavior leads to
faster repayment of the transactions and minimal reported losses
in the securitized pools.

However, it also evidences a high degree of dependence between the
performance of the assets and the performance of the sponsor. In
an event of insolvency of the sponsor, the transaction may realize
higher losses.

The transaction also depends on advances from the sponsor as a
source of liquidity. Approximately 85.8% (measured in terms of
nominal amount) of the installments in the pool have a minimum
payment lower than 100%. Therefore, in situations with cardholders
paying less than the whole credit card balance, the transaction
could be exposed to delays in collections of the installment. In
these situations, Cencosud Argentina will advance to the trust the
difference between the full amount of the installment assigned to
the trust and the minimum payment.

Either the advances related to refinanced loans and to coverage of
the minimum payment increase the transaction's dependence to the
sponsor. As mentioned before, if the sponsor is unwilling or
unable to continue making these advances, this could translate
into losses for the transaction.

Moody's considers that these risks are partially mitigated by the
following factors: (i) the strong credit profile of Cencosud and
Cencosud Argentina and their position as key players in the retail
sector of Argentina and the region, (ii) the relatively short
expected life of the notes, (iii) the availability of a reserve
fund covering two times the next interest accrual of the VDFA and
VDFB and (iv) the high payment rates exhibited by the credit card
portfolio (71.4% average during the last twelve months as of
September 2017). For more details about these risks, please refer
to the "Loss and Cash Flow Analysis" section of this press release
and/or the Pre-Sale Report (in Spanish) which can be found at


The VDFA will bear a floating interest rate (BADLAR plus 150 bps).
The VDFA's interest rate will never be higher than 30.5% or lower
than 20.5%.

The VDFB will bear a floating interest rate (BADLAR plus 250 bps).
The VDFB's interest rate will never be higher than 31.5% or lower
than 21.5%.

According to the transaction documents, the trustee is allowed to
leak out cash from the trust account to the sponsor if the
following conditions are met in each period: (i) the
overcollateralization (OC) is higher than or equal to 123.46%;
(ii) VDF outstanding balance is higher than 15% and (iii) VDFA
subordination is higher than 25%.

Overall credit enhancement is comprised of subordination,
transaction level overcollateralization and various reserve funds.
The transaction has initial subordination levels of 25.0% for the
VDFA and 19.0% for the VDFB, calculated over the pool's
undiscounted principal balance. Credit enhancement is also
comprised by the availability of a Liquidity Reserve Fund covering
the next two interest accruals for the VDFA and VDFB.

Finally, the transaction has an estimated 24.8% negative annual
excess spread, before considering losses, taxes or prepayments and
calculated at the interest rate cap for the notes.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was "Moody's
Approach to Rating Consumer Loan-Backed ABS" published in
September 2015.

Factors that would lead to an upgrade or downgrade of the ratings:

Factors that may lead to a downgrade of the ratings include an
increase in delinquency levels beyond the level Moody's assumed
when rating this transaction. Although Moody's analyzed the
historical performance data of previous transactions and similar
receivables originated by Cencosud Argentina, the actual
performance of the securitized pool may be affected, among other
factors, by the level of economic activity, high inflation rates
compared with nominal salaries increases and the unemployment rate
in Argentina.

Another key factor that could lead to a rating downgrade would be
the deterioration of the sponsor's credit profile, as well as
changes in the sponsor's minimum payment policies.

Factors that may lead to an upgrade of the ratings include the
building of credit enhancement over time due to the turbo
sequential payment structure, when compared with the level of
projected losses in the securitized pool.

Loss and Cash Flow Analysis:

Moody's considered the credit enhancement provided in this
transaction through the initial subordination levels for each
rated class, as well as the historical performance of Cencosud
Argentina's portfolio and previous securitizations. In addition,
Moody's considered factors common to consumer loans and credit
card receivables securitizations such as delinquencies, charge-
offs, payment rates and losses; as well as specific factors
related to the Argentine market, such as the probability of an
increase in losses if there are changes in the macroeconomic
scenario in Argentina.

Moody's also considered in the analysis the possibility of leaking
out cash from the trust under certain conditions and the resulting
impact on the expected loss of the rated securities.

Moody's analyzed the historical performance data of previous
transactions and the dynamic credit card portfolio of Cencosud
Argentina, ranging from March 2015 to September 2017.

In assigning the rating to this transaction, Moody's assumed a
lognormal distribution of losses for the securitized pool with a
mean of 4.0% and a coefficient of variation of 50%.

The rating agency also analyzed the payment levels in the seller's
overall credit card dynamic portfolio, identifying a payment rate
(monthly payment / monthly balance) averaging 71.4% during the
last twelve months as of September 2017.

Additionally, in order to analyze a scenario of extreme dependence
to the sponsor of the transaction, Moody's assumed that all
cardholders in the pool will pay only the minimum payment.

To determine the rating assigned to the notes, Moody's has used an
expected loss methodology that reflects the probability of default
times the severity of the loss expected for each security. In
order to allocate losses to each Class in accordance with their
priority of payment and relative size, Moody's has used a cash-
flow model (ABSCORE) that reproduces many deal-specific
characteristics. Weighting each loss scenario's severity result
with its probability of occurrence, the model has calculated the
expected loss level for each security as well as the expected
average life. Moody's model then compares the quantitative values
to the Moody's Idealized Expected Loss table for each tranche.

Servicer default was modeled by simulating the default of Cencosud
Argentina as the servicer consistent with an internal assessment
of Cencosud Argentina's credit quality. In the scenarios where the
servicer defaults, Moody's assumed that the defaults will increase
by approx. 10.0x and that one full month of collections will be
lost due to commingling.

The increase in delinquencies reflects the risks related of the
sponsor not being around to advance payments in relation to
refinanced loans and loans with minimum payments below the
securitized installment. The precise increase of 10.0x is derived
from studying the amount of refinanced loans in past transactions
of Cencosud Argentina, as well as the minimum payment profile of
each cardholder in the pool. In addition, the stress multiple also
incorporates the risk that, in such a scenario, the credit card
could stop working as a means of payment, reducing the incentives
to pay remaining balances for the credit card holders.

The model results showed 0.7% expected loss for the VDFA and 3.6%
for the VDFB.

Stress Scenarios:

Parameter Sensitivities provide a quantitative, model-indicated
calculation of the number of notches that a Moody's-rated
structured finance security may vary if certain input parameters
used in the initial rating process differed. The analysis assumes
that the deal has not aged. It is not intended to measure how the
rating of the security might migrate over time, but rather, how
the initial rating of the security might differ as certain key
parameters vary.

Parameter sensitivities for this transaction have been calculated
in the following manner: Moody's tested fifteen scenarios derived
from the combination of mean loss: 4.0% (base case), 5.0% (base
case + 1.0%), 6.0% (base case + 2%), 9.0% (base case + 5.0%),
11.0% (base case + 7.0%) and coefficient of variation (CoV) of
losses: 50% (base case) , 60% (10% more than base case) and 70%
(20% more than base case). The 4.0% /50% represents the base case
assumptions used in the initial rating process.

At the time the rating was assigned, the model output indicated
that the VDFB would have achieved a B3 (sf) global rating model
output if mean loss was as high as 5.0% with a CoV of 50%. Under
the same assumptions, the VDFA would have remained unchanged.

NACION SEGUROS: Fitch Affirms B IFS Rating; Alters Outlook to Pos.
Fitch Ratings has affirmed the Insurer Financial Strength (IFS)
rating of Nacion Seguros S.A., Nacion Seguros de Retiro S.A. and
Nacion Reaseguros S.A. at 'B', and revised the Rating Outlooks to
Positive from Stable.


The three Nacion insurance companies are considered by Fitch as
core subsidiaries of its parent Banco de la Nacion Argentina
(BNA). BNA is a large, state-owned bank and its operations are
guaranteed by the Argentinian government. The bank plays an
important social role and supports government policies. Fitch
rates Argentina's Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating
(IDR) at 'B' and revised the Outlook to Positive from Stable on
Nov. 7, 2017.

The revision of Argentina's Outlook to Positive reflects an
improving backdrop for policies that could support a stronger and
more stable macroeconomic outlook, after a decade of weak and
volatile performance. Recent midterm elections have improved
confidence in the durability of the on-going policy shift, which
augurs well for investment and the sovereign's ability to maintain
favorable financing access.

Argentina's 'B' ratings reflect weaknesses that persist despite an
improving policy outlook, including high inflation, a large fiscal
deficit, and heavy sovereign reliance on external financing that
render it vulnerable to shocks.


Considering the support driven ratings, any changes in Fitch's
assessment of BNA's capacity and/or its willingness to support the
Nacion Seguros, Nacion Seguros de Retiro or Nacion Reaseguros
would result in changes to the insurer's ratings.

PROVINCE OF RIO NEGRO: S&P Assigns 'B' ICR, Outlook Stable
S&P Global Ratings assigned its 'B' long-term foreign and local
currency issuer credit ratings to the province of Rio Negro. S&P
also assigned its 'B' rating to the province's proposed issuance
for up to $300 million. The outlook is stable.


S&P said, "The stable outlook on Rio Negro reflects our
expectation that its fiscal performance will gradually improve in
the next 12-18 months, due to ongoing efforts to contain spending
and to strengthen tax collection, although it will continue to
post relatively high deficits after capex due to increasing
public-works spending. The province's debt is likely to remain
moderate, while its contingent liabilities are low. The outlook
also incorporates our view of an improved dialogue between the
local and regional governments (LRGs) and the federal government
in Argentina to address various fiscal and economic challenges
that are likely to persist in the short to intermediate term."

Downside scenario

S&P could lower its ratings on Rio Negro in the next 12-18 months
if it's unable to improve its finances as expected, such that it
perceives that the province's financial commitments are
unsustainable in relation to its fiscal performance.

Upside scenario

S&P said, "We could raise our ratings on Rio Negro in the next 12-
18 months if its budgetary performance strengthens beyond our
expectations in the form of solid operating surpluses and
manageable deficits after capex. Under this scenario, debt
relative to operating revenue would gradually decrease as the
province posts a stronger internal cash generation. Also,
improvements in the debt and liquidity management, and a sustained
track record in the long-term capital and financial planning could
also trigger upgrades."


The 'B' ratings on Rio Negro reflect its individual credit profile
and the institutional framework in which it operates. Rio Negro,
like all LRGs in Argentina, operates under an institutional
framework that has recently strengthened but still remains very
volatile and underfunded, in S&P' view. S&P said, "At the same
time, we expect macroeconomic recovery, cost-containment measures,
and advances in tax administration to only gradually improve the
province's currently weak finances, given the budgetary
constraints stemming from large payroll spending. We expect the
increasing infrastructure spending to result in after-capex
deficits that Rio Negro potentially can finance with an
international debt issuance. Nevertheless, we expect a moderate
debt burden and low contingent liabilities in the next few years."

S&P said, "During President Macri's administration, we have
observed a more institutionalized, transparent, and formal way of
resolving fiscal issues between the federal government and LRGs.
Despite a very volatile and underfunded institutional framework,
we believe there's predictability from the outcome of potential
moderate reforms and the pace of their implementation. And we
consider that the constructive dialogue between the federal and
subnational governments could bolster LRGs' credit quality in the
coming years."

Alberto Weretilneck from Juntos Somos Rio Negro (part of the
Peronist Party) is the governor of the province. He was formerly
vice governor and took office in 2012 after governor Soria passed
away. He was reelected in 2015 for a four-year term. The ruling
party has majority in the local legislature, which gives the
administration the ability to pass laws and budgets without
significant delays. Rio Negro's financial management has adequate
expertise. Nevertheless, medium- to long-term financial planning
has been limited due to the lack of predictability of economic
variables in the past few years. After the provincial finances
deteriorated in 2016, the administration established a plan to
rein in expenditures and to reach balanced fiscal accounts by
2019. A longer track record of budget spending controls and focus
on fiscal sustainability could bolster the province's credit

Rio Negro's economy represents 1.4% of national GDP. The
province's per capita GDP reached $11,009 in 2016, below the
national average of $12,514. S&P assesses Rio Negro's economy as
fairly diverse: main sectors are whole trade and retail trade,
which represent around 21% of the provincial economy, followed by
the primary sector, transportation and storage, and industry. The
primary sector consists of agricultural, metals, and energy
commodities extraction and production. Rio Negro's agricultural
sector is concentrated in the apple and pear juice production and
paper products manufacturing. Socio-economic and demographic
profile of the province is very similar to that of other LRGs in

Rio Negro's budgetary performance has been fluctuating, swinging
between meager operating deficits and surpluses. However, it
deteriorated in 2016, due to the recession and high inflation in
Argentina following the federal government's policies to diminish
economic imbalances. S&P said, "We expect a gradual improvement in
the fiscal performance, such that operating deficits will narrow
over 2017 and 2018 and for operating surplus occur by 2019. We
expect Rio Negro to continue containing its expenditures in line
with its plan that it initiated in 2017 and revenue to rise
through the stronger tax administration. In addition, we believe
the national government's more realistic macroeconomic assumptions
will enable the province to improve its financial planning."
However, deficits after capex will remain at 9.6% of total revenue
on average, because of the expected boost in capital spending in
the next three years. Rio Negro has an ambitious plan, called Plan
Castello, to invest in infrastructure for $580 million in the next
three years, including the construction of new roads and extension
of a gas pipeline.

The efforts to tighten tax collection increased the share of the
province's own-source revenue of total operating revenue to 39% in
2016 from 35% in 2011. S&P said, "We believe this metric will rise
modestly amid the widening tax base and continued strengthening of
the tax collection system. At the same time, Rio Negro has
historically faced budgetary constraints; public-sector employee
wages and interest payments represent around 70% of total
operating expenditure. We believe this is partly because the
public sector plays an important role in some of regions of the
province. Despite Rio Negro's efforts to reduce the pressure from
payroll spending by restraining hiring, we believe its finances
will continue to be crimped by the high, though decreasing,

S&P said, "We expect tax-supported debt to average 55% of the
province's operating revenue in 2017-2019. Rio Negro's debt
increased to 36% 2016 from 27% in 2015 due to the fiscal
deterioration that was covered by short-term debt instruments. Rio
Negro's main creditor is the national government through the
Programa Federal de Desendendeudamiento's loans. Rio Negro also
has taken out loans from the multilateral lending agencies and
issued bonds in the domestic capital market. In 2017, the province
issued ARP1.8 billion in bonds in the domestic market to partly
repay the short-term debt instruments. The proposed $300 million
issuance will be Rio Negro's first international issuance and will
increase its debt to 58% in 2017. We don't expect any significant
changes in the province's debt stock for the next few years.
However, the exchange rate risk will increase, because 40% of Rio
Negro's debt will be denominated in dollars at the end of 2017.

"In our view, Rio Negro's cash and reserves are insufficient to
cover the 2018 projected debt service, which is likely to reach
ARP3.8 billion. Therefore, we initially assess its liquidity
position as weak. However, we believe that the province will be
able and willing to meet its debt service obligations using
internal and external sources. Access to external funding for
Argentine LRGs has increased following the May 2016 cure of the
sovereign default, and we expect subnational governments to keep
issuing debt in the capital markets, given that overall debt level
are currently moderate. However, we view LRGs' overall access to
external liquidity as still limited given the country's weak
banking system, reflected in our Banking Industry Country Risk
Assessment (BICRA) score at group '8'. (Our BICRAs, which evaluate
and compare global banking systems, are grouped on a scale from
'1' to '10', ranging from what we view as the lowest-risk banking
systems [group '1'] to the highest-risk [group '10']). In
addition, the Fiscal Responsibility Law prevents LRGs from using
debt to finance operating expenditures and requires the national
government's authorization for LRGs to issue new debt."

Finally, Rio Negro's contingent liabilities are low. The province
has 12 government-related entities that are not consolidated in
its budget. They operate in a wide range of sectors, such as
transportation, insurance, energy generation, and research and
development. We consider INVAP, Alta Tecnolog°a SE (ALTEC), Aguas
Rionegrinas SE (ARSE), Empresa Forestal Rionegrina SA (EMFORSA),
and Transcomahue S.A. as self-supporting entities because they
don't need financial support from the province and are unlikely to
receive support in the future, as was the case in the past five
years. Rio Negro has only provided guarantees to INVAP for ARP90
million ($5 million). INVAP is one of the most important public
companies for the province; it specializes in research and
development for technology, and it generates profit. S&P said,
"Aside from these entities, other GREs require regular support
from Rio Negro, and we have included their debt, ARP52 million to
our tax-supported debt analysis. We calculate that overall
exposure to GREs represented 9% of the province's operating

In accordance with S&P's relevant policies and procedures, the
Rating Committee was composed of analysts that are qualified to
vote in the committee, with sufficient experience to convey the
appropriate level of knowledge and understanding of the
methodology applicable (see 'Related Criteria And Research'). At
the onset of the committee, the chair confirmed that the
information provided to the Rating Committee by the primary
analyst had been distributed in a timely manner and was sufficient
for Committee members to make an informed decision.

After the primary analyst gave opening remarks and explained the
recommendation, the Committee discussed key rating factors and
critical issues in accordance with the relevant criteria.

Qualitative and quantitative risk factors were considered and
discussed, looking at track-record and forecasts.

The committee's assessment of the key rating factors is reflected
in the Ratings Score Snapshot above.

The chair ensured every voting member was given the opportunity to
articulate his/her opinion. The chair or designee reviewed the
draft report to ensure consistency with the Committee decision.
The views and the decision of the rating committee are summarized
in the above rationale and outlook. The weighting of all rating
factors is described in the methodology used in this rating action
(see 'Related Criteria And Research').


  New Rating; Outlook Action

  Province of Rio Negro
   Issuer Credit Rating                   B/Stable/--
   Senior Unsecured                       B


BRAZIL: Rio Lives in Climate of Lawlessness, Says Attorney General
EFE News reports that the Attorney General of Brazil said that the
state of Rio de Janeiro lives in a climate of "land without law"
after the regional Legislative Assembly decided to release three
of its deputies who were imprisoned on suspicion of corruption, a
decision annulled by an appellate court.

Raquel Dodge made the statement when he entered the Supreme Court
to revoke the decision made by the Rio legislature on Nov 17 to
free three state deputies accused of corruption, conspiracy, money
laundering and evasion, according to EFE News.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Nov. 14, 2017, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Brazil's Long-Term
Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BB' with a
Negative Outlook.

ODEBRECHT SA: Power Plant on Track for 2018
Dominican Today reports that Dominican Republic state-owned
Electric Utility (CDEEE) Chief Executive Officer, Ruben Jimenez
Bichara, said the govt. continues to adhere to its contractual
rights in its dispute with the Brazilian company Odebrecht over
the cost of the Punta Catalina coal-fired power plant.

"We adhere to our contractual rights and our task is to defend
every penny and every peso of the public treasury and that's what
we're doing," the official said after taking part in the
conference "Expansion and sustainability of the national
electricity sector; realities and challenges," hosted by the
American Chamber of Commerce, according to Dominican Today.

The report notes that Mr. Jimenez said disbursements for the power
plant exceed US$1.7 billion, and the government expects to finish
its construction with the US$1.9 billion programmed, which he
affirms hasn't stopped, and already has 83% complete.

"Let's see where we're going," he said, adding that the goal is
for the facility to be ready by yearend 2018, the report relays.

                       At Center of Scandal

Punta Catalina's alleged cost overruns are at the center of the
scandal of Odebrecht's admitted bribes of US$92.0 million to
government officials to obtain lucrative contracts, the report

                      About Odebrecht

Construtora Norberto Odebrecht SA is a Latin American
engineering and construction company fully owned by the
Odebrecht Group, one of the 10 largest Brazilian private groups.
Construtora Norberto is the world's largest builder of
hydroelectric plants, of sanitary and storm sewers, water
treatment and desalination plants, transmission lines and
aqueducts.  The Group's main businesses are heavy engineering
and construction based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Braskem
S.A., its chemicals/petrochemicals company, based in Sao Paulo,

As of May 5, 2009, the company continues to carry Standard and
Poor's BB Issuer Credit ratings, and Fitch Rating's BB+ Issuer
Default ratings and BB+ Senior Unsecured Debt ratings.

                        *     *     *

As reporter in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Dec. 2, 2016, The Wall Street Journal related that Marcelo
Odebrecht, the jailed former head of Brazilian construction giant
Odebrecht SA, agreed to sign a plea-bargain agreement in
connection with Brazil's largest corruption probe ever, according
to a person close to the negotiations.  The move could roil the
nation's political class yet again.  The testimony of the former
industrialist, which is part of the deal, has the potential to
implicate numerous politicians who allegedly took kickbacks from
contractors as part of a years-long graft ring centered on
Brazil's state-run oil company, Petroleo Brasileiro SA, known as
Petrobras, according to The Wall Street Journal.

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REP: Illegal Used Car Dealers Cause Up to 30% Losses
Dominican Today reports that auto dealers operating illegally in
Dominican territory have prompted losses as high as 30%, Used
Vehicles Importers Association (ASOCIVU) president, Luis Manuel
Pena said.

Mr. Pena said they're meeting with the authorities to deal with
the situation, assuring that informality jeopardizes everybody,
according to Dominican Today.

"The informal dealers occupy the streets, the green areas,
circulate without papers and without documents. This includes the
security system, the environment and affects communities that
cannot walk freely through its streets," the report quoted Mr.
Pena as saying.

The business leader spoke in a press conference to announce the
ASOCIVU Auto Fair, where 76 dealers will offer 5,000 vehicles at
Ciudad Ganadera, December 14 to 18, the report notes.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Nov. 20, 2017, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Dominican Republic's
Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BB-'
with a Stable Outlook.

P U E R T O    R I C O

POPULAR INC: Fitch Keeps BB- IDR on Rating Watch Negative
Fitch Ratings has maintained Popular Inc.'s (BPOP) 'BB-' Long-Term
Issuer Default Rating (IDR), 'B' Short-Term IDR, and 'bb-'
Viability Rating (VR) on Rating Watch Negative due to the
uncertainty of the impact caused by Hurricane Maria on Puerto


The ratings are maintained on Negative Watch because Fitch
believes that the challenges posed by Hurricane Maria, including
massive destruction to vital infrastructure, homes, businesses,
and other property, could make it difficult for BPOP to maintain
stable asset quality, positive core earnings, and improving
deposit funding metrics, in line with Fitch expectations for the
current rating level. Further, uncertainties remain on the timing
of recovery efforts.

Historically, FBP's ratings have incorporated the significant
challenges posed by the weak operating environment in Puerto Rico.
Prospectively, Fitch expects the destruction caused by Hurricane
Maria could further weaken the operating environment, which is a
higher influence on the rating. Fitch also expects the hurricane's
impact will complicate the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico's efforts
to reverse outward migration, generate sustainable economic
growth, and address its fiscal and debt imbalances.

In Fitch's view, financial measures will likely be pressured given
the negative impact on the economy from the hurricanes.
Nonetheless, BPOP's solid core earnings strength should provide an
offset and help absorb future provisioning needs. For 3Q17, BPOP
reported net income of $20.7m despite a sizeable $108 million
provision attributed largely to the estimated impact of the
Hurricane Irma and Maria and a $35 million reserve for the U.S.
taxi medallion portfolio. In Fitch's view, the estimated impact
could change as the information flow from clients and market
participants improves. Other negative impacts to financial
performance included declines in net interest income as loans
migrating into NPAs, reduced revenue from mortgage banking and

Credit trends were negative as the inflows of nonperforming loans
(excluding covered loans) increased by $38.8m to $585.9m for 3Q17
with asset quality deteriorating driven mainly in residential and
consumer loans. Early stage delinquencies are also up, but this is
mainly due to disruption of its collection efforts. Reserves to
NPLs stood at 104.8%.

In Fitch's view, capital still remains solid and should provide a
buffer to potential losses. Further, given BPOP's risk profile and
uncertainties that remain regarding the Puerto Rican economy and
hurricane impact, the company higher capital ratios are viewed as
prudent and supportive of ratings. For 3Q17, BPOP's TCE and CET1
stood at 10.9% and totaled 16.6%, respectively.


The Support Rating of '5' and Support Ratings Floor of 'NF'
reflect Fitch's view that BPOP is not considered systemically
important, and therefore the probability of support is unlikely.
The IDRs and VRs do not incorporate any support.


BPOP's uninsured deposit ratings at its subsidiary banks are rated
one notch higher than BPOP's IDR and senior unsecured debt rating
because U.S. uninsured deposits benefit from depositor preference.
U.S. depositor preference gives deposit liabilities superior
recovery prospects in the event of default.


Hybrid capital instruments issued by BPOP are notched down from
the company's VR in accordance with Fitch's assessment of each
instrument's respective non-performance and relative loss severity
risk profiles, which may vary considerably.

BPOP's preferred stock and trust preferred stock rating at 'B-' is
three notches below its Viability Rating (VR) of 'bb-', in
accordance with Fitch's assessment of the instruments' non-
performance and loss severity risk profiles for issuers that have
VRs rated below 'bb+'.


BPOP has a bank holding company (BHC) structure with the bank as
the main subsidiary. IDRs and VRs are equalized with those of the
operating companies and banks, reflecting its role as the bank
holding company, which is mandated in the U.S. to act as a source
of strength for its bank subsidiaries. Double leverage is below
120% for the BPOP parent company.


All of the BPOP entities factor in a high probability of support
from the parent. This reflects the fact that performing parent
banks have very rarely allowed subsidiaries to default. It also
considers the high level of integration, brand, management,
financial and reputational incentives to avoid subsidiary


Fitch expects to resolve the Rating Watch Negative within the next
six months. Fitch also expect that the bank's quarterly financial
results as well as disclosures from the U.S. Federal Government
and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico will bring greater visibility
into the potential short- and long-term effects that this
unprecedented event may have on financial performance and
ultimately the company's ratings.

Further, if recovery efforts become more challenged and lag longer
than six months pressuring the economy even further, the Rating
Watch Negative could be removed and a Negative Outlook assigned.
Additionally, if Fitch believes the effects of the hurricane will
have long-term effects on the economy, it may negatively impact
the franchise.


The Support Rating and Support Rating Floor are sensitive to
Fitch's assumption around capacity to procure extraordinary
support in case of need.


The ratings of long- and short-term deposits issued by BPOP
subsidiaries are primarily sensitive to any change in the
company's IDRs. This means that should the Long-Term IDR be
downgraded, deposit ratings could be similarly affected


The ratings of hybrid securities are sensitive to any change in
BPOP's VR or to changes in BPOP's propensity to make coupon
payments that are permitted but not compulsory under the
instruments' documentation.


If BPOP became undercapitalized or increased double leverage
significantly, there is the potential that Fitch could notch the
holding company IDR and VR from the ratings of the operating


As the IDRs and VRs of the subsidiaries are equalized with those
of BPOP to reflect support from their ultimate parent, they are
sensitive to changes in the parent's propensity to provide
support, which Fitch currently does not expect, or from changes in

Fitch maintains the following ratings on Rating Watch Negative:

Popular, Inc.
-- Long-term IDR 'BB-';
-- Senior unsecured 'BB-';
-- Short-term IDR 'B';
-- Short-term Debt 'B'.
-- Viability rating 'bb-';
-- Preferred stock 'B-'.

Popular North America, Inc.
-- Long-term IDR 'BB-';
-- Senior unsecured 'BB-';
-- Short-term IDR 'B';
-- Short-term Debt at B
-- Viability rating 'bb-'.

Banco Popular North America
-- Long-term IDR 'BB-';
-- Long-term deposits 'BB';
-- Short-term IDR 'B';
-- Short-term deposits 'B'.
-- Viability rating 'bb-'.

Banco Popular de Puerto Rico
-- Long-term IDR 'BB-';
-- Short-term IDR 'B';
-- Short-term deposits 'B';
-- Viability rating 'bb-'.

BanPonce Trust I
-- Trust preferred 'B-'.

Popular Capital Trust I
-- Trust preferred 'B-'.

Popular Capital Trust II
-- Trust preferred 'B-'.

Popular North America Capital Trust I
-- Trust preferred 'B-'.

Popular Capital Trust III
-- Trust preferred 'B-'

Fitch has affirmed the following ratings:

Popular, Inc.
-- Support '5'
-- Support floor 'NF'.

Popular North America, Inc.
-- Support '5'
-- Support floor 'NF'.

Banco Popular North America
-- Support '5'
-- Support floor 'NF'.

Banco Popular de Puerto Rico
-- Support '5'
-- Support floor 'NF'.

RENT-A-CENTER INC: Egan-Jones Cuts Sr. Unsec. Debt Ratings to B-
Egan-Jones Ratings Company, on Nov. 13, 2017, downgraded the
foreign currency and local currency senior unsecured ratings on
debt issued by Rent-A-Center Inc. to B- from B.

Previously, on Aug. 30, 2017, EJR lowered the senior unsecured
debt ratings on the Company to B from B+.  EJR also lowered the
foreign currency and local currency commercial paper ratings on
the Company to B from A3.

Rent-A-Center, Inc. operates franchised and company-owned
Rent-A-Center and ColorTyme rent-to-own merchandise stores. The
Company's stores offer home electronics, appliances, furniture,
and accessories under flexible rental purchase agreements.
Rent-A-Center operates across the United States and Puerto Rico.


CITGO PETROLEUM: Venezuela Authorities Arrest Top Executives
VoaNews reports that Venezuelan authorities arrested the acting
president of Citgo, the U.S. subsidiary of state-owned Petroleos
de Venezuela SA (PDVSA), along with five other senior executives
for alleged corruption.

Attorney General Tarek William Saab told a press conference that
interim president Jose Pereira and other managers allegedly
arranged contracts that put Citgo at a disadvantage, according to
VoaNews.  The company operates refineries in Illinois, Texas and
Louisiana with a capacity of 749,000 barrels per day, the report

"They did it with total discretion, without even coordinating with
the competent authorities," Mr. Saab said, notes the report.
"This is corruption, corruption of the most rotten kind."

The six were accused of misappropriation of public funds,
association to commit crimes and legitimation of capital, among
other crimes, the report relays.

The other five detainees were identified as Tomeu Vadell, vice
president of Refining Operations; Alirio Zambrano, vice president
and general manager of the Corpus Christi Refinery; Jorge Toledo,
Vice President of Supply and Marketing; Gustavo Cardenas, Vice
President of Strategic Relations with Shareholders and Government,
and Jose Luis Zambrano; Vice President of Shared Services, the
report notes.

Last month, a senior executive of PDVSA and a dozen officials were
arrested for alleged embezzlement, the report relays.

But members of the Venezuelan opposition argue that recent
investigations do not demonstrate a genuine intention of the
government to eradicate corruption, but only reflect internal
struggles of PDVSA, the report adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on Nov.
10, 2017, Moody's Investors Service downgraded CITGO Petroleum
Corporation's Corporate Family Rating to Caa1 from B3; its
Probability of Default rating to Caa1-PD from B3-PD; and its
senior secured and unsecured ratings on term loans and global
notes and IRB's to Caa1 (LGD4) from B3 (LGD4). The rating on Citgo
Petroleum's senior secured revolving credit facility was
downgraded to B3 (LGD4) from B2 (LGD3).

MAKRO: Gov't Seizes Distributor for Alleged Irregularities
EFE News reports that the Venezuela government has seized the
Makro wholesale chain, one of the world's largest with 37 stores
in Venezuela, for allegedly putting unacceptable conditions on the
sale of basic goods, generally scarce in this oil-producing
nation, state media reported.

"At this time we have taken over the Makro distribution network .
. . . that company placed unacceptable conditions on sales (to
retailers)," the national superintendent for the defense of
socioeconomic rights, William Contreras, disclosed on state
channel VTV, according to EFE News.


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.

Submissions about insolvency-related conferences are encouraged.
Send announcements to


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, Julie Anne L. Toledo, Ivy B. Magdadaro, and Peter A.
Chapman, Editors.

Copyright 2017.  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
re-mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without prior
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 Joseph Cardillo at

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