TCRLA_Public/180131.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 31, 2018, Vol. 19, No. 22


                            Headlines



A R G E N T I N A

ARGENTINA: Freezes Salaries & Cuts Jobs in Austerity Campaign


B R A Z I L

ABENGOA BIOENERGIA: Lenders Eye Sugarcane Mills Sales


D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

CARRIER PAWA: To Pay RD$230MM if Flights Continue Grounded
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Hurricanes Kept 2017 Growth Below 5
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: IMF Warns of Spiraling Debt


J A M A I C A

JAMAICA: JCC Concerned About Impact of Crime on Business


P U E R T O    R I C O

CINEVIA CORPORATION: Hires Cerrato Zeballos as Accountant


U R U G U A Y

URUGUAY: Discloses Immediate Measures to Help Rural Producers


V E N E Z U E L A

VENEZUELA: Ready to Sign Accord With Opposition
VENEZUELA: Oil Basket Closing January on a High


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A R G E N T I N A
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ARGENTINA: Freezes Salaries & Cuts Jobs in Austerity Campaign
-------------------------------------------------------------
Hugh Bronstein at Reuters reports that President Mauricio Macri
said executive branch government employees in Argentina will get
no pay raises this year and one out of every four "political
positions" appointed by ministers will be cut, in a move to
strengthen his austerity measures.

The clampdown on political positions, including advisers appointed
by government ministers, is viewed as an attack on a patronage
system that has been in place for decades, according to Reuters.

The firings, expected to save $77 million a year, are symbolic of
Macri's drive to regain market confidence, the report relays.

"Austerity has to be part of politics," Mr. Macri said in a
televised address, Reuters relays. Mr. Macri spent the first two
years of his administration dismantling the trade and currency
controls set up by his predecessor, Cristina Fernandez, who had
expanded the role of government in the economy, the report cites.

Reuters relates that that Mr. Macri, expected to seek re-election
next year, denounced "the corruption and clientelism" of past
administrations.  Included in the measures announced, family
members of ministers were banned from holding government jobs.

Reuters adds that that Mr. Macri scored a series of business-
friendly legislative wins late last year after his coalition swept
mid-term elections, but passage of his pension reform bill last
month triggered violent protests and a decline in the president's
approval ratings.

Pressured by the country's powerful labor unions, the government
canceled a special session of Congress planned for February to
debate Mr. Macri's proposed labor reform, Reuters discloses.

The bill includes amnesty for companies that register workers who
had been paid off the books, according to the report. It aims to
curb litigation by workers and would lighten social security taxes
paid by employers.  The private sector has long argued for more
flexibility in labor regulations, the report adds.



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B R A Z I L
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ABENGOA BIOENERGIA: Lenders Eye Sugarcane Mills Sales
-----------------------------------------------------
Jose Roberto Gomes and Ana Mano at Reuters report that banks and
investors involved in the court reorganization of energy group
Abengoa Bioenergia Brasil SA hope to get paid through a potential
sale of the company's two sugarcane mills, two sources said.

There are non-disclosure agreements signed with four potential
bidders for the mills, said one of the sources, according to
Reuters.  Two of the suitors already operate in the sector while
the other two are investment funds, the source said, the report
notes.

Though there is no binding proposal, it is hoped all the stake
holders can reach an agreement before the beginning of the next
harvest cycle in April, the person said, Reuters relays.

BP Biocombustiveis is a fifth potential suitor, according to the
second source. But talks between the sugarcane crushing arm of
Spain's Abengoa SA and the local unit of BP Plc are in the initial
stages, the person said, the report notes.

BP did not reply to a comment request, Reuters relates. Abengoa
declined to comment, the report adds.

The potential acquisitions underscore the good prospects of
Brazil's clean energy sector after the government passed rules to
increase the amount of biofuels in the country's fuel mix, the
report discloses.

Crowe Horwath International, which evaluated Abengoa's assets,
said if the company's Usina Sao Luiz unit is sold, up to 36% of
the debt claims could be recovered, amounting to BRL400 million
(US$126 million), according to court filings, the report relays.

Abengoa's Usina Sao Joao could attract a price of BRL335 million,
which would equal 30 percent of the debt being restructured in
court, according to Crowe Horwath, the report notes.

Reuters note that Abengoa Bionergia Brasil filed for bankruptcy
protection in September to restructure about BRL1.1 billion
(US$354 million) of loans and other liabilities in Brazil.  Its
main creditors are Banco do Brasil, Banco Bradesco SA, Banco
Original SA, Banco Santander Brasil SA, and Amerra Capital, court
filings show, the report says.

Bradesco and Santander declined to comment, Reuters cites.
Amerra, Banco do Brasil and Banco Original did not reply to
comment requests.

Abengoa debuted in Brazil's sugar and ethanol sector in 2007 after
taking over Dedini Agro for BRL1.3 billion and assuming BRL730
million of debt, the report notes.  Its two mills in Sao Paulo
state can crush about 6 million tons of sugarcane annually.

Abengoa presented an in-court reorganization plan in December,
Reuters relays.



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D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C
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CARRIER PAWA: To Pay RD$230MM if Flights Continue Grounded
----------------------------------------------------------
Dominican Today reports that Airline Pawa Dominicana will have to
reimburse passengers more than RD$230 million if its operations
continue to be suspended, the Civil Aviation Board announced
Monday, on a debt of over US$ 3.0 million in airport taxes, among
others.

Pawa estimates that the halt of operations affects 12,000
passengers, who have bought fares at an average price of US$400,
through the end of February, according to Dominican Today.

That's why Pawa insists that Dominican authorities reconsider the
decision, the report notes.

"If they don't let us fly, we cannot respond. We deeply regret
this situation, but we understand that these things aren't handled
in the way that has occurred," Pawa PR Elena Rodriguez said, the
report cites.

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: Hurricanes Kept 2017 Growth Below 5
-------------------------------------------------------
Dominican Today reports that Central banker Hector Valdez Albizu
on Tuesday said the economy of the Dominican Republic grew 4.6%
last year.

"It's a very satisfactory growth and better than expected," the
official told the press in the Central Bank, according to
Dominican Today.

He said December GDP growth was 7.4% and 6.9% in November, the
report notes.

Valdez said the release of the bank reserve propelled the
momentum, noting that if it weren't for the impact of September's
hurricanes, 2017 growth would've been above 5%, the report relays.

"We're ending with one of the highest growths in Latin America,"
Mr. Valdez said after he met with the International Monetary Fund
consulting mission the country, the report notes.  "They were also
surprised by the economic results posted," 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: IMF Warns of Spiraling Debt
-----------------------------------------------
Dominican Today reports that The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
mission began its visit of The Dominican Republic, as part of the
annual Article IV Consultation of 2018 with the Dominican
Republic.

The IMF technicians are slated to meet with senior economic
cabinet officials to review topics of financial interest and
analyze the progress made, according to Dominican Today.

Last year, after the closing of the Article IV Consultation, the
IMF acknowledged Dominican Republic's economic growth but warned
about the urgency of a tax reform that would broaden the base,
simplify the tax system and reduce exemptions, the report notes.

After last year's visit, the IMF also stressed the need to put a
halt to the spiraling debt, the report relays.  It was estimated
at that time that for this year, the total public debt --
government and Central Bank jointly -- will reach 52.3% of GDP,
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.



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


JAMAICA: JCC Concerned About Impact of Crime on Business
--------------------------------------------------------
RJR News reports that concerns are being raised that the rising
number of murders will tarnish Jamaica's image as a place to do
business.

With more than 130 cases of homicide reported since the start of
the year, the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) is worried that
investors might become reluctant to set up shop in the island,
according to RJR News.

According to JCC President Laurence Watson, the crime will affect
the image of Jamaica, its foreign exchange earnings and the
confidence of investors, the report notes.

"And not only overseas people. Jamaicans as a whole. We have to
get this crime under control, it cannot keep rising and rising,"
he said, the report relays.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America,
S&P Global Ratings affirmed on Sept. 25, 2017, its 'B' long- and
short-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on
Jamaica. The outlook on the long-term rating remains stable. At
the same time, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'B+' transfer and
convertibility assessment on the country.



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


CINEVIA CORPORATION: Hires Cerrato Zeballos as Accountant
---------------------------------------------------------
Cinevia Corporation seeks authority from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court
for the District of Puerto Rico to employ Ronald F. Cerrato
Zeballos, as accountant to the Debtor.

Cinevia Corporation requires Cerrato Zeballos to assist the Debtor
in accounting matters and compliance with tax return filing and
reporting matters.

Cerrato Zeballos will be paid $300 per month.

Cerrato Zeballos will also be reimbursed for reasonable
out-of-pocket expenses incurred.

Ronald F. Cerrato Zeballos, assured the Court that the firm is a
"disinterested person" as the term is defined in Section 101(14)
of the Bankruptcy Code and does not represent any interest adverse
to the Debtor and its estates.

Cerrato Zeballos can be reached at:

     Ronald F. Cerrato Zeballos
     Urb. Rio Hondo 2, AB 15 Calle Rio Fajardo
     Bayamon, PR 00961
     Tel: (787) 402-1242

              About Cinevia Corporation

Cinevia Corporation, filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition
(Bankr. D.P.R. Case No. 18-00135) on January 12, 2018, disclosing
under $1 million in both assets and liabilities. The Debtor is
represented by Noemi Landrau Rivera, Esq., at Landrau Rivera &
Associates.



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U R U G U A Y
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URUGUAY: Discloses Immediate Measures to Help Rural Producers
-------------------------------------------------------------
EFE News reports that Uruguayan President Tabare Vazquez met with
representatives of the rural agricultural sectors to announce
measures "to be implemented immediately" that will begin to
resolve the conflict with farmers that erupted in early January.

After meeting behind closed doors at the presidential residence
for some 90 minutes, Vazquez announced, among other policies,
extended fuel price reductions for small and medium-sized farmers
to address "the main relevant difficulties" being suffered by
dairy, rice and fruit and vegetable producers, according to EFE
News.



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


VENEZUELA: Ready to Sign Accord With Opposition
-----------------------------------------------
EFE News reports that Venezuelan Communications Minister Jorge
Rodriguez said the government of President Nicolas Maduro is ready
to sign an accord with the representatives of the opposition it
was to meet with again this Monday in the Dominican capital.

"We're ready to reach an agreement with the sectors of the
Venezuelan opposition that are here at the dialogue table in the
Dominican Republic insisting that Venezuelan issues should be
settled by Venezuelans," Mr. Rodriguez told reporters upon his
arrival at the Dominican Foreign Ministry, where the dialogue was
to be resumed, according to EFE News.

"I believe we should continue to be optimistic . . . . for some
time we've been very close to an accord and there's a preliminary
document that shows we lack very little to reach an agreement," he
said, the report relays.

The anti-Chavistas confirmed that it would attend this meeting "to
demand the electoral guarantees that would ensure fair elections,"
after the ruling party's National Constituent Assembly (ANC)
decreed that the presidential election will be held before May and
not at the end of the year as is usual in the Caribbean country,
the report notes.

Members of the opposition complain that the government "has
strengthened its boycott position at the negotiating table by
proceeding to the illegalization" of political parties and by
unilaterally decreeing that the presidential elections, one of the
subjects of the dialogue, will be held before May, the report
relays.

The report discloses that the most important aspects for the
opposition in this dialogue are guarantees for a fair presidential
election this year, the opening of a humanitarian channel that
allows food and medicines to be sent into the country, the freeing
of those they consider political prisoners, and the restoration of
the constitutional powers that have been taken away from the
National Assembly legislature, dominated by the opposition.

The ruling party, meanwhile, demands the raising of economic
sanctions on some of its officials and the recognition of the
National Constituent Assembly, a plenipotentiary body made up only
of Chavistas and not recognized by many governments, the report
adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Jan. 12, 2018, S&P Global Ratings lowered its issue rating on the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela's global bond due 2020 to 'D'
from 'CC'. At the same time, S&P affirmed its long- and short-term
foreign currency sovereign issuer credit ratings at 'SD/D'. The
long- and short-term local currency sovereign credit ratings
remain at 'CCC-/C' and are still on CreditWatch with negative
implications, where S&P placed them on Nov. 3, 2017. Other foreign
currency senior unsecured debt issues not currently rated 'D' are
rated 'CC'.


VENEZUELA: Oil Basket Closing January on a High
-----------------------------------------------
The Latin American Herald reports that the price Venezuela
receives for its mix of medium and heavy oil continued on a high
during the fourth week of 2018.

According to figures released by the Venezuela Ministry of
Petroleum and Mining, the average price of Venezuelan crude sold
by Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) during the week ending
January 26 rose to $61.36, up 8 cents from the previous week's
$61.28, the report notes.

WTI in New York averaged $64.51 -- up 46 cents -- for the week,
while Brent crude traded in London averaged $69.71 -- up 12 cents
from the previous week, according to The Latin American Herald.

According to Venezuelan government figures, the average price in
2018 for Venezuela's mix of heavy and medium crude for 2018 is
$61.41, the report notes.

The report relays that Venezuela's average oil price for 2017 was
$46.66, up from 2016's $35.15.  It is higher than 2015's $44.65
but lower than 2014's $88.42, 2013's $98.08, 2012's $103.42 and
2011's $101.06, 2010's $72.43. The 2009 average was $57.01, the
report discloses.

In 2017, WTI averaged $50.88 -- up from 2016's $43.32 -- while
Brent averaged $54.73 -- up from 2016's $44.98, the report says.

Historically, Venezuela's basket set its highest weekly average
ever on July 18, 2008, when it hit $126.46 before economies around
the world began crashing under the weight of expensive oil, the
report relays.  The recent low was set January 22, 2016, when
Venezuela's basket averaged just $21.63, the report says.

The United States is the largest importer of Venezuela's oil
exports, the report notes.

According to the US Department of Energy, Venezuela is the third-
largest supplier of imported crude oil and petroleum products to
the United States, though U.S. imports from Venezuela have been on
an overall decline in recent years, the report discloses.

In 2016, the United States imported an average of 797,000 barrels
per day of crude oil and petroleum products from Venezuela, a
decline of 49% from a decade ago, the report recalls.  That makes
Venezuela the third largest supplier of crude to the U.S., after
Canada's 3.556 million bpd and Saudi Arabia's 1.02 million bpd.
Mexico was fourth with 623,000 bpd, Iraq fifth with 414,000 bpd,
Colombia sixth with 315,000 bpd, and Ecuador the seventh largest
supplier with 250,000 bpd. Kuwait, Nigeria and Brazil round out
the top 10 U.S. suppliers, the report notes.

The report relates that Venezuela sends a large share of its oil
exports to the United States because of the proximity and the
operation of sophisticated U.S. Gulf Coast refineries specifically
designed to handle heavy Venezuelan crude.

While U.S. imports of primarily crude oil from Venezuela have been
on the decline, U.S. exports of petroleum products to Venezuela
have increased largely because of Venezuela's tight finances that
leave it unable to invest and maintain its own domestic
refineries, the report relays.

Oil is the main export of Venezuela and provides most of the
country's foreign currency, the report notes.

As of 2015, Venezuela had nearly 298 billion barrels of proved oil
reserves -- the largest in the world. The next largest proved oil
reserves are in Saudi Arabia with 268 billion barrels and Canada
with 173 billion barrels, the report discloses.

Venezuela reported to OPEC -- where Venezuela is a founding member
-- that its production had fallen to 1.621 million barrels per
day in December 2017, the report relays.

Under 2016's OPEC agreement, Venezuela agreed to cut its
production by 95,000 bpd to 1.972 million bpd, the report adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Jan. 12, 2018, S&P Global Ratings lowered its issue rating on the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela's global bond due 2020 to 'D'
from 'CC'. At the same time, S&P affirmed its long- and short-term
foreign currency sovereign issuer credit ratings at 'SD/D'. The
long- and short-term local currency sovereign credit ratings
remain at 'CCC-/C' and are still on CreditWatch with negative
implications, where S&P placed them on Nov. 3, 2017. Other foreign
currency senior unsecured debt issues not currently rated 'D' are
rated 'CC'.


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

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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.
.


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