TCRLA_Public/180124.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

           Wednesday, January 24, 2018, Vol. 19, No. 17



ARGENTINA: IDB Invest Finances Terminal Zarate Port Expansion


AGENCIA DE FOMENTO: Fitch Affirms & Then Withdraws 'BB' IDR
CIMENTO TUPI: S&P Affirms 'D' CCR & Withdraws Recovery Ratings
NATURA COSMETICOS: Fitch Assigns 'BB' LT Issuer Default Ratings
QGOG ATLANTIC: Fitch Affirms B Secured Notes Rating; Outlook Neg.
RUSAL CAPITAL: Fitch Assigns BB-(EXP) Rating to New Unsec. Notes


CHILE: Emphasizes Diplomatic Relations With China

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Energy Body Pushes for Romero Mining Project
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Minister Advocates Closer Ties With China


ECUADOR: Fitch Assigns 'B' Rating to US$3BB Notes Due 2028


NATIONAL COMMERCIAL BANK: Wayne Chen Resigns From Board

                            - - - - -


ARGENTINA: IDB Invest Finances Terminal Zarate Port Expansion
IDB Invest, a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
Group, will finance the expansion of the Terminal Zarate port, the
most important in Argentina's automotive transportation sector and
located in a strategic area to move goods and containers from the
center and north of the country along its waterways. IDB Invest
will provide an A loan of $15 million and the financial
institution CIFI will provide a B loan of $15 million.

The Argentine trade will grow in the coming years and the
investments financed by IDB Invest will allow Terminal Zarate port
to meet the incremental demand of its clients for its services,
competitively and efficiently.

This operation seeks to increase the capacity of Terminal Zarate
to move containers of up to 300,000 TEUs (twenty equivalent
units). IDB Invest's loan will be used mainly for the expansion of
the port wharf to handle larger ships. It will also be used, among
other investments, in the purchase of a gantry crane and other
similar RTG (rubber tired gantry) crane investments, which will
allow a greater volume of cargo to be managed more efficiently.

IDB Invest offers Terminal Zarate a long-term financing of up to
eight years, which is adapted to the repayment needs of the
investments to be carried out by the company. In addition, the IDB
Group has helped mobilize funds from third parties to complete the
financial package. Thanks to IDB Invest's participation, the
project will comply with the environmental and social standards of
this institution.

                         *     *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
December 4, 2017, Moody's Investors Service upgraded the
Government of Argentina's local and foreign currency issuer and
senior unsecured ratings to B2 from B3. The senior unsecured
shelves were upgraded to (P)B2 from (P)B3. The outlook on the
ratings is stable.  At the same time Argentina's short-term rating
was affirmed at Not Prime (NP). The senior unsecured ratings for
unrestructured debt were affirmed at Ca and the unrestructured
senior unsecured shelf affirmed at (P)Ca .

Moody's said the key drivers of the upgrade of the rating to B2
are: (1) a record of macro-economic reforms that are beginning to
address long existing distortions in Argentina's economy; and (2)
the likelihood that reforms will continue and in turn sustain
the recent return to positive economic growth.

The stable outlook on Argentina's B2 ratings balances Argentina's
credit strengths of its large, diverse economy and moderate income
levels against the credit challenges posed by still high fiscal
deficits and a reliance on external financing, which increases its
vulnerability to external event risk, said Moody's.

On Nov. 10, 2017, Fitch Ratings revised Argentina's Outlook to
Positive from Stable and has affirmed its Long Term Foreign-
Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'B'.

On Oct. 30, 2017, S&P Global Ratings raised its long-term
sovereign credit ratings on the Republic of Argentina to 'B+' from
'B'. The outlook on the long-term ratings is stable.  S&P also
affirmed its short-term sovereign credit ratings on Argentina at
'B'. At the same time, S&P raised its national scale ratings to
'raAA' from 'raA+'. In addition, S&P raised its transfer and
convertibility assessment to 'BB-' from 'B+', in line with its
assessment of sustained local access to foreign exchange.

As previously reported by the TCR-LA, Argentina defaulted on some
of its debt late July 30, 2014, 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. On March 30, 2016, Argentina's Congress
passed a bill that will allow the government to repay holders of
debt that the South American country defaulted on in 2001,
including a group of litigating hedge funds that won judgments
in a New York court. The bill passed by a vote of 54-16.


AGENCIA DE FOMENTO: Fitch Affirms & Then Withdraws 'BB' IDR
Fitch Ratings has affirmed and withdrawn its ratings for Agencia
de Fomento do Parana S.A. (Fomento Parana).


Fitch is withdrawing these ratings as Fomento Parana has chosen to
stop participating in the rating process for commercial reasons.
Fitch will no longer have sufficient information to maintain the
ratings and, accordingly, will no longer provide ratings or
analytical coverage for Fomento Parana.


Rating Sensitivities are not applicable as the ratings have been

Fitch has affirmed and withdrawn the following ratings:

Fomento Parana

-- Long-term Foreign and Local Currency IDR at 'BB'; Outlook
-- Short-term Foreign and Local Currency IDR at 'B';
-- Support Rating at '3';
-- National Long-term Rating at 'AA+(bra)'; Outlook Stable;
-- National Short-term Rating at 'F1+(bra)'.

CIMENTO TUPI: S&P Affirms 'D' CCR & Withdraws Recovery Ratings
S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'D' global and national scale
corporate credit ratings on Cimento Tupi S.A., at the same time
affirming its 'D' global scale issue-level ratings on Cimento
Tupi's senior unsecured notes. S&P withdrew the recovery ratings
on the company's debt, until the debt renegotiation reaches a
conclusion and the new capital structure is defined.

The 'D' ratings on Tupi continue to reflect the company's failure
to honor its financial obligations in May 2015. The company is
still in talks with its creditors -- primarily bondholders of the
2018 notes -- in order to adjust its capital structure and
finalize the debt restructuring; however, no agreement has been
reached so far. The company is also struggling with the
challenging business environment for cement producers in Brazil,
while aiming to divest non-operational assets. S&P will reevaluate
Cimento Tupi once the restructuring process is completed, at which
point S&P will consider its revised capital structure and
operational capabilities.

NATURA COSMETICOS: Fitch Assigns 'BB' LT Issuer Default Ratings
Fitch Ratings has assigned 'BB' Long-Term Foreign and Local
Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) and a National Scale rating
of 'AA(bra)' to Natura Cosmeticos S.A. Fitch has also assigned a
'BB(EXP)' rating to Natura's proposed senior unsecured notes, in
the amount of up to US$1.15 billion, due to 2023 or 2025. Proceeds
of the issuance will be used to repay the promissory notes issued
to finance the acquisition of The Body Shop (TBS).

The Rating Outlook is Stable.

Natura's ratings reflect its solid business position in the
Cosmetics, Fragrances and Toilette (CF&T) sector in Brazil and
Latin America which is due to its strong brand value and
recognition, large operating scale, elaborate direct sales
structure and track record of maintaining a solid capital
structure. Natura's current ratings are pressured by high leverage
due to its recent debt-financed acquisition of TBS for EUR1
billion. This acquisition is accompanied by high execution risks,
as TBS has a business model that unlike Natura is focused mainly
on retail operations and is primarily based outside of Brazil. It
is part of an attempt by Natura to move from a direct sales
single-model to an omni-channel strategy. The fierce competition
scenario of the CF&T industry, with its well-capitalized players
and threat from online retailers, is also incorporated into the

Fitch expects Natura to remain committed to a sound credit profile
in the medium term while proceeding with its business
reorganization/integration. Fitch expects Natura's net leverage,
measured by the ratio of net adjusted debt/ EBITDAR, to remain
high during 2017 and 2018 at around 4.0x, with a modest decline
during 2019 as the integration process moves forward.


New Industry Dynamics: The CF&T industry is attractive due to its
resilience throughout economic cycles. Nevertheless, there is a
new business dynamic in the market, which is bringing more
volatility to results and altering traditional business models.
With the channel shifting toward e-commerce and specialty stores,
direct sales and traditional consumer companies are facing intense
competition from multi-national beauty giants that have
implemented omni-channel strategies, as well as smaller, nimbler,
fast-growing companies. In Brazil, the sharp economic downturn
during 2015 and 2016 put further pressure on the industry, with
consumers shifting to lower-ticket products.

Challenge to Reformulate Business Model: The structural change in
the competitive environment is leading Natura to alter its
business strategy. Near term, Natura is seeking to strengthen its
innovation pipeline to compete in new categories in the market
while developing its multi-channel, multi-category and multi-
product platforms. Since 2016, Natura has opened 18 stores, mostly
in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. In the medium to long term, Fitch
expects to have its sales channel divided between direct sales
(40%), online (30%) and stores (30%). Fitch believes that the
company should be able to capture benefits from these changes;
however, stronger marketing initiatives, higher R&D expenses and,
a lower product mix should drive margins down. Fitch's base case
considers EBITDA margins of around 15%, including TBS, which
represents a significant drop from historical margins in the range
of 23%-25%.

Execution Risks on TBS Integration: Over the long term, Fitch sees
the acquisition of TBS as positive, as it enhances Natura's
product portfolio, sales channel and geographic diversification.
Both companies share the same commitment to organic/natural
products. The acquisition helps Natura with its strategy to expand
its retail operations, moving it away from a single direct-sales
structure. Nowadays, only 3% of The Body Shop's sales are through
direct sales, and Latin America, Natura's key market, represents
only 2% of its sales. Nevertheless, TBS's large business scale in
regions/markets where Natura does not operates and its massive
retail operations have elevated execution risk. TBS has been
losing operating margins under the management of L'Oreal over the
last few years and Natura will be challenged to turnaround its

Increasing Geographic Diversification: Once the integration is
complete, Natura should benefit from increased business and
geographic diversification. Brazil currently represents the bulk
of Natura's operations, accounting for 65% of its revenues and 72%
of its EBITDA generation. Per Fitch's calculations, including TBS,
the revenue split should be 46% Brazil, 32% TBS, 18% Latin America
(excluding Brazil) and 5% Aesop. For EBITDA, the split would be
60% Brazil, 15% Latin America (excluding Brazil), 18% TBS and 7%

High Leverage: Fitch expects Natura's net leverage, measured by
net adjusted debt/ EBITDAR, to remain high during 2017 and 2018 at
around 4.0x, with a modest decline during 2019 as the integration
process moves forward. Fitch's leverage calculation includes
adjustments related to operating lease rentals.

Higher Capex Should Pressure FCF: Natura's operating cash flow
generation has shown some volatility over the last two years as a
result of the challenging industry scenario and ongoing changes in
business strategy that have impacted profitability. However,
operational performance has started to show some recovery during
2017. During 2015, 2016 and LTM Sept. 30 2017, Natura generated
BRL1.5 billion, BRL775 million and BRL1 billion of CFFO,
respectively. Lower capex and dividends distribution helped to
boost FCF during 2016 and 2017; FCF was BRL471 million in 2015,
BRL346 million in 2016 and BRL595 million LTM Sept. 30, 2017. In
the next two to three years, Fitch expects FCF to be in the range
of BRL50 million-BRL150 million, as capex should grow to BRL550-
BRL650 million to support Natura's new strategy to change its
business model and TBS's turnaround.

Natura has a track record of shareholder-friendly policy, with
average net income payout of around 90% during 2012-2015. Fitch
expects dividends to fall to the minimum required by Natura's
bylaws (30%) as the company seeks to lower its leverage.


Natura's 'BB/AA(bra)' ratings reflect its good business position
in the CF&T industry, underpinned by strong brand recognition,
with a focus on sustainability, large scale enabling a competitive
cost structure and a large direct-sales structure. Natura's brand
and product portfolio, with its higher-ticket products is well
positioned against its main competitor in the direct sales
segment, Avon Products, Inc. (IDR B+/Negative Outlook). The
company also has a track record of less volatile operating cash
flow and more conservative credit metrics. Even at this time, when
Natura's leverage has deteriorated following the debt-financed
acquisition, it shows lower leverage compared to Avon. Natura has
the challenge to continue to conduct its activities on a
profitable basis while preserving its strong market position in
Brazil, within the context of increasing competition. Natura's
market share in the Brazilian market declined to 10.4% in 2016
from almost 14.1% in 2012, according to EuroMonitor. Natura also
faces strong competition from a local player, O Boticario (not
rated), which presents a stronger financial profile and solid
business profile, supported mainly by its bricks-and-mortar
franchise chain.


Fitch's key assumptions within its rating case for the issuer

-- Low-single-digit decline in volumes;
-- Consolidated EBITDA margins around 15%, following acquisition
    of TBS;
-- Increase in Capex levels to around BRL550 million;
-- Dividend payouts at 30%;
-- Debt refinancing as planned.


Future Developments That May, Individually or Collectively, Lead
to Positive Rating Action

-- Given the challenges Natura faces to recover its profitability
    and manage the TBS's acquisition, Fitch does not foresee an
    upgrade in the short to medium term.

-- The company's ability to return TBS's EBITDA margin to above
    9.5% while managing capex and SG&A, and moving net leverage
    ratios closer to 2.5x could lead to a positive rating action.

Future Developments That May, Individually or Collectively, Lead
to Negative Rating Action

-- EBITDA margins declining to below 14% on a recurrent basis;
-- Net adjusted leverage above 4.0x by the end of 2019 and/or
    diminished prospects of falling to 3.5x by 2020;
-- Competitive pressures leading to severe loss in market-share;
    or a significant deterioration in its brand reputation.


Natura has a track record of maintaining strong liquidity. As of
Sept. 30, 2017, Natura had BRL3.7 billion in cash and marketable
securities against BRL2.1 billion of short-term debt, leading to
cash/short-term debt ratio of 1.8x, this compares to average ratio
of 1.7x from 2013 to 2016. On Sept. 30, 2017, the company had
total debt of BRL9.7 billion. Natura faces some debt concentration
in the medium term with an additional BRL4.5 billion coming due by
the end of 2019, Including BRL3.7 billion of the bridge loan used
to fund the acquisition, The company's main strategy is to
refinance it with a cross-border bond issuance or, in the case of
capital market volatility it should be refinanced with local


Fitch has assigned the following ratings:

Natura Cosmeticos S.A.

-- Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency IDRs of 'BB';

-- National scale Long-Term rating of 'AA(bra)';

-- USD1.15 billion senior unsecured notes due to 2023 or 2025 of

The Rating Outlook is Stable.

QGOG ATLANTIC: Fitch Affirms B Secured Notes Rating; Outlook Neg.
Fitch Ratings affirms the senior secured notes issued by QGOG
Atlantic/Alaskan Rigs Ltd. (the notes) as follows:

-- Series 2011-1 senior secured notes due 2019 at 'B'; Outlook

The notes are backed by the flows related to the charter
agreements signed with Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobras) for the use
of the moored semi-submersibles Atlantic Star and Alaskan Star.
Queiroz Galvao Oleo e Gas S.A. (QGOG) is the operator of the
vessels and QGOG Constellation S.A. (QGOG Constellation) is the
primary sponsor of the transaction.


Credit Quality of the Operator, QGOG Constellation: The
transaction is directly and indirectly exposed to the credit
quality of QGOG Constellation as the charter and service
agreements have termination clauses relating to bankruptcy and
performance, and therefore linked to the credit quality of this
entity. QGOG's rating is currently the implied rating cap for the
transaction. Fitch rates QGOG Constellation S.A.'s (QGOG) Long-
Term Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at
'B', Outlook Negative.

Increased Liquidity Supports Rating: Increased liquidity mitigates
the transactions exposure to potential deterioration in the
operator's credit quality. Since November 2016, the transaction
has benefitted from retention of excess cash flows. After the most
recent November payment, net debt with consideration of the
reserve account balances as of September 2017 should be
approximately US$14.92 million. Fitch expects that as excess cash
flows are being retained, the net debt balance will be zero in the
next couple of months, at which point the rating of this
transaction will be linked to the credit quality of the cash

Supply and Demand Fundamentals: While oil prices have rebounded
from the lows of early 2016, oil prices remain more than 50% below
2015. As a response to this macro environment, energy companies
have continued to cut expenses, putting significant pressure on
exploration spending. The overall rig market remains severely
depressed as day rates and asset prices are not expected to
rebound over the next several years.

Linkage to Petrobras' Credit Quality: The off-taker's credit
quality is a key risk factor for determining the strength of the
off-taker's payment obligation. On Jan. 26, 2017, Fitch affirmed
Petrobras' Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (LT IDR) at
'BB'/Outlook Negative. Petrobras' ratings continue to reflect its
close linkage with the sovereign rating of Brazil due to the
government's control of the company and its strategic importance
to Brazil as its near-monopoly supplier of liquid fuels.

Strength of Off-taker Obligation: Fitch's view on the strength of
the off-taker's payment obligation is typically notched from the
off-taker's IDR, and will act as the ultimate rating cap to the
transaction. Fitch's qualitative assessment of
asset/contract/operator characteristics and the off-
taker's/industry's characteristics related to this transaction
would ultimately cap the transaction at two notches below
Petrobras' LT IDR. However, the ratings are constrained by the
credit quality of the operator/sponsor.

Operational Performance: Petrobras has demonstrated a willingness
to terminate existing charter agreements related to less strategic
assets when a termination clause is breached. With current market
conditions and market day-rates for drilling rigs close to the
contracted day-rates for the rigs within the sponsor's fleet,
Petrobras may approach the operator in an attempt to restructure
certain contracts to reduce expenses over the medium term.

Continued pressure on global day-rates and asset values caused by
stressed oil prices imply a low likelihood that the underlying
assets would be re-contracted. This underlines the importance of a
strong operating performance to avoid any performance-related
contract terminations.


The ratings are sensitive to changes in the credit quality of
Petrobras as off-taker, changes in the credit quality of QGOG
Constellation, and the operating performance of the underlying
assets. Additionally, the ratings are sensitive to changes in
Brazilian oil and gas industry dynamics and overall market
dynamics for midwater assets, and Fitch's perception of the
strength of the payment obligation.

Fitch has affirmed the following ratings:

-- Series 2011-1 senior secured notes due 2019 at 'B'; Outlook

RUSAL CAPITAL: Fitch Assigns BB-(EXP) Rating to New Unsec. Notes
Fitch Ratings has assigned Rusal Capital D.A.C.'s upcoming notes
issue an expected senior unsecured rating of 'BB-(EXP)' and
Recovery Rating 'RR4'. The expected rating is in line with the
current ratings of Rusal Capital D.A.C.'s outstanding senior
unsecured notes.

Rusal Capital D.A.C. is a financing entity of Russia-based
aluminium company United Company RUSAL Plc (Rusal; BB-/Stable).
The new notes will be guaranteed by the holding company (Rusal),
its main trading company (RTI Limited) and Rusal's key aluminium
smelting companies (Rusal Bratsk, Rusal Krasnoyarsk & Rusal
Sayanogorsk), which together produce 3 million tonnes of aluminium
per annum in (81% of Rusal's total annual production).

The notes will rank equally with Rusal's existing and future
unsecured and unsubordinated obligations. The guarantees will also
rank equally with all existing and future unsecured and
unsubordinated obligations of each guarantor. A final rating for
the notes will be assigned upon receipt of final documentation.
The net proceeds from the issue are expected to be used to finance
or refinance eligible green projects including reducing emissions
at the group's smelters. However, the group has the flexibility to
apply the net proceeds to other projects or to refinance existing


Positive Aluminium Market Dynamics: Fitch has recently updated its
commodity price assumptions and Fitch now assume aluminium prices
at USD1,900/tonne over the next four years versus a previous
assumption of USD1,800/tonne. The change in assumed prices
primarily reflects a downward revision of Fitch assumptions for
net Chinese smelter capacity growth due to supply-side reform
closures. Fitch now expects Chinese output to grow by only
approximately 4% yoy in 2018, due to a combination of state
directed closures and winter closures. Aluminium prices are also
being supported by a cost push from increasing alumina prices.

Smelter capacity in China, and specifically the balance of smelter
additions and curtailments, remains key to the aluminium market
outlook and is a major contributor to the weak market prices and
higher exports from China seen in recent years. While Fitch
expects demand for aluminium to remain sound in the medium term,
net smelter capacity additions in China and the rest of the world
remains a key factor to watch over the next three years.

Competitive Cost Position: In 2016, Rusal's smelters were strongly
positioned in the first quartile of the global aluminium cost
curve. In the past couple of years, the group has benefitted from
highly favourable FX dynamics following the rouble devaluation,
which positively affected its cash costs (around 50% +/-5% of
Rusal's cash costs are rouble-denominated). Additionally, Rusal
still benefits from the results of its own cost-saving measures
(including idling of 647kt of its least efficient assets in
2013/2014). As a result, Rusal's cash costs decreased 8% yoy to
USD1,334/tonne in 2016.

Costs to Rise: Higher energy costs due to a new electricity
agreement, increase in raw material costs and FX impact pushed
Rusal's average costs to USD1,520/tonne in 3Q17 (up 12% on 2016),
but still within the first quartile of the cost curve. Yet, most
of Rusal's smelters, including Bratsk, are located in Siberia and
source 90% of their electricity needs from the region's hydro
power generation assets, benefitting from lower electricity
prices. Fitch forecasts the gradual rouble strengthening to
56RUB/USD by 2020 to have the biggest negative impact on the
group's cost structure in the next three to four years, leading to
a gradual erosion in EBITDA margin to 16% by 2020 from 22% in

Ongoing Deleveraging: Rusal has been highly leveraged since the
purchase of its 25% stake in PJSC MMC Norilsk Nickel (NN; BBB-
/Stable in 2008). The group has, however, benefitted from strong
support from its bank group and has consistently deleveraged,
though at a slower pace than initially expected by Fitch, to an
estimated USD8.8 billion at end-2017 (Fitch-adjusted) from USD9.1
billion in 2016. In Fitch's view, further debt reduction remains a
key priority for Rusal but the pace will depend on aluminium
prices as well as the level of dividends paid by NN. As of end-
December 2016, funds from operations (FFO) gross leverage
temporarily increased to above 5x from 3.6x as of end-2015.

Fitch now expects this ratio to decrease to 3.1x by end-2017 and
to remain below 3.5x in 2018-2020. This is mainly due to an
improved price environment, as reflected in the expected 40% rise
in Fitch-adjusted EBITDA by end-2017. Absent the absolute debt
reduction, Rusal will remain exposed to external factors, such as
market price volatility, rouble strengthening and energy cost
inflation, which add instability to the leverage metrics as seen
in 2016. Fitch expects that free cash flow (FCF) will be partly
directed to deleveraging, resulting in total debt of less than
USD8 billion at end-2018, USD7 billion at end-2019 and around
USD6.5 billion in 2020.

Stake in NN: Rusal effectively owns 27.82% of the second world's
largest nickel producer, NN. The market value of the stake
amounted to USD8.9 billion as of 19 January 2018, and represented
nearly 100% of Rusal's total indebtedness, therefore providing
significant collateral coverage.

Additionally, NN has historically paid out significant dividends
to its shareholder. From 2017 a new dividend policy applies with a
variable payout ratio of 30%-60% of EBITDA, depending on market
conditions. However, the total dividend declared by NN in 2017 is
around USD3 billion (Rusal already received USD0.6 billion in
9M17) and the total minimum payment at USD1 billion from 2018 and
onwards (USD278 million Rusal pre-tax share). Fitch estimates
dividends attributable to Rusal to exceed on average USD650
million/year in 2018-2020, contributing materially to Rusal's debt


Comparable peers to Rusal rated by Fitch include Alcoa Corporation
(BB+/Stable), Aluminium Corporation of China (Chalco)
(BBB+/Stable) and China Hongqiao Group (B+/RWN). Rusal's
standalone rating of 'BB+' (BB- after notching down for the
operating environment) reflects a comparable operating profile in
most respects (eg, market position, self-sufficiency, cost
competitiveness), but typically higher leverage metrics.

Chalco is rated three notches below China's sovereign rating based
on Fitch's top-down approach in line with its Parent and
Subsidiary Linkage rating criteria. Hongiao Group, being the
biggest aluminium producer in the world, was downgraded by Fitch
in April 2017 from 'BB' due to continued delay in publishing its
annual results, which suggests weak internal controls and exposes
the company to covenant breaches and liquidity events.


Fitch's key assumptions within its rating case for the issuer

- Fitch aluminium LME base prices: USD1,900 in 2018-2020;

- Aluminium premiums earned by Rusal to average USD170/tonne in
   2018 and USD180/tonne thereafter (across all products produced
   by the group);

- RUB/USD exchange rates:,58 in 2018, and 56 in 2019;

- 6% increase in production volumes in 2018 and flattening

- EBITDA margin to average 19% in 2017-2018 and 16% in 2019-2020;

- USD400 million dividend payment in 2017 and to average USD350
   million afterwards; and

- Sustained dividend received from NN as per NN's new dividend


Future Developments That May, Individually or Collectively, Lead
to Positive Rating Action

- Further absolute debt reduction with FFO adjusted gross
   leverage moving sustainably below 3.0x.
- FFO-adjusted net leverage below 2.5x.

Future Developments That May, Individually or Collectively, Lead
to Negative Rating Action

- FFO gross leverage sustained above 3.5x with limited prospects
   for deleveraging.
- EBITDA margin below 12.5% on a sustained basis.


Adequate Liquidity: As at end September-2017, Rusal had nearly
USD8.7 billion of debt, excluding USD140 million of Fitch's
adjustments for factoring and leases. Maturities of USD0.6 billion
are to be repaid before December 2018 compared with USD1.1 billion
of non-restricted cash. Near-term liquidity is also supported by
FCF generation, which Fitch forecasts to be over USD0.9 billion
over the next 15 months, including dividends from NN.

Rusal also proactively managed its debt maturity profile post
2018, refinancing USD1.4 billion and USD2.9 billion of 2019 and
2020 maturities, and reducing them to USD0.8 billion and USD0.7
billion, respectively (excluding the upcoming notes issue).


CHILE: Emphasizes Diplomatic Relations With China
RJR News reports that the Chilean government emphasized the role
its country is playing in diplomatic relations with China, with
bilateral trade exceeding $34 billion last year, 17 percent more
than in 2016.

"Chile has always been first. The first to recognize the People's
Republic of China in South America in 1970, in negotiating for
Latin America China's entry into the (World Trade Organization),
in recognizing China as a market economy, in having signed a trade
pact and in having expanded it," Foreign Minister Heraldo Munoz
said, according to RJR News.

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Energy Body Pushes for Romero Mining Project
Dominican Today reports that the Energy and Mines Ministry of The
Dominican Republic has asked the Presidency to authorize the
exploitation of gold and other metals from a mine in El Romero,
San Juan province (west), a proposal it affirms includes strict
commitments to protect the environment and to provide considerable

In a statement, the Ministry said it carried out technical, legal
and financial evaluations during 16 months to determine that the
Romero mining project, by Gold Quest Dominicana, "meets the
requirements and formalities required by law," according to
Dominican Today.

"If the conditions necessary for the mine to start operating are
completed, the Dominican State would receive a total of US$224.0
million during the estimated 7 years of useful life from the gold,
silver, copper, zinc and lead deposit, and whose present value
will be calculates at US$561.0 million in accordance with the
current prices of metals," the Ministry said in a statement, the
report notes.

               Miner Would Pay More Than Required

The Ministry said Gold Quest, of Canadian and Swiss capital,
"accepts to give financial compensation to the State over what is
stipulated in the Law," which would establish a financial
milestone in the mining exploitation concessions granted by the
country in recent years, the report relays.

"With the commitment by the company, consigned in an affidavit
that accompanies the file, the State would be receiving an
additional 52 million dollars of voluntary contribution from the
company," the agency said, the report adds.

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.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Minister Advocates Closer Ties With China
Dominican Today reports that Foreign Relations Minister Miguel
Vargas spoke in favor of strengthening relations between the
Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (Celac) and the
People's Republic of China.

Mr. Vargas was addressing the 2nd Ministers' Meeting of the Celac-
China Forum, being held in the Chilean capital, with the
participation of the 34 countries represented at the event,
according to Dominican Today.

"We must congratulate the People's Republic of China for its
solidarity with developing countries, for its cooperation policy
and for its great interest in our region.  This is why we believe
in this Celac-China forum, and that we should continue working
hard and strengthening the process to move forward more closely
toward full development," declared Mr. Vargas, the report notes.

"The slogan of this meeting -- Celac-China: Working for increased
development, innovation and cooperation for our nations -- is a
perfect fit with the Dominican vision towards this great Asian
nation, which we sincerely admire," he highlighted, the report

The minister pointed out that over the past two decades economic
interaction between the Dominican Republic and the People's
Republic of China had grown, thanks to the implementation of a
memorandum of understanding that enabled the opening of trade
offices in both countries, the report relays.

Founded in 2011, Celac is an inter-governmental political dialogue
and coordination mechanism, with 33 member countries from Latin
America and the Caribbean, the report says.

On the sidelines of the ministerial meeting, foreign minister
Vargas and his Costa Rican counterpart Alejandro Solano Ortiz
signed a "Memorandum of Understanding for the Establishment of
Political Consultations between the Dominican Republic and the
Republic of Costa Rica," the report discloses.  The two countries
committed to conducting bilateral consultations on a regular basis
to exchange viewpoints about the relationship between the two
countries and in relation to international affairs, with the aim
of strengthening mutual friendship ties, the report adds.

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


ECUADOR: Fitch Assigns 'B' Rating to US$3BB Notes Due 2028
Fitch Ratings has assigned a 'B' rating to Ecuador's USD3.0
billion notes maturing Jan. 23, 2028. The notes have a coupon of

Proceeds from the issuance will be used in accordance with local
laws for government programs, infrastructure projects or to
refinance existing debt obligations on more favourable terms.


The bond rating is aligned with Ecuador's Long-Term Foreign
Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of 'B'.


The bond rating would be sensitive to any changes in Ecuador's
Long-Term Foreign Currency IDR. Fitch affirmed the rating at 'B'
on Aug. 24, 2017 while revising the Outlook to Negative.


NATIONAL COMMERCIAL BANK: Wayne Chen Resigns From Board
RJR News reports that businessman Wayne Chen has resigned from the
Board of National Commercial Bank (NCB).

In a statement published on the Jamaica Stock Exchange website,
NCB said Mr. Chen has also resigned from the Boards of the NCB
Financial Group, according to RJR News.

These include NCB Insurance Company, West Indies Trust Company and
NCB Cayman, the report notes.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
March 1, 2017, Fitch Ratings affirmed National Commercial Bank
Jamaica Limited's Long-term foreign and local currency IDRs at
'B', and Short-term foreign and local currency IDRs at 'B'.


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

Copyright 2018.  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.

                   * * * End of Transmission * * *