TCRLA_Public/180216.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

               Friday, February 16, 2018, Vol. 19, No. 34


                            Headlines



B R A Z I L

AGENCIA DE FOMENTO: Fitch Affirms C Long-Term IDR


D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REP: Moneychangers Refute Bank: Dollars Are Scarce
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Top Challenge is to Step Up Reforms, IMF Says


J A M A I C A

JAMAICA: Carreras Says Government Unlikely to Meet Revenue Target


P U E R T O    R I C O

MAC ACQUISITION: Court Confirms Amended Chapter 11 Plan
PUBLIC BUILDING AUTHORITY PR: S&P Cuts Series L Bond Rating to 'D'
UNIVERSITY OF THE SACRED HEART PR: S&P Affirms 'BB' Bond Rating


V E N E Z U E L A

VENEZUELA: Blames Blackout on Sabotage


X X X X X X X X X

LATAM: IDB Launches 2018 Call for Proposals to Receive Financing


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B R A Z I L
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AGENCIA DE FOMENTO: Fitch Affirms C Long-Term IDR
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Fitch Ratings has affirmed Agencia de Fomento do Estado do Rio de
Janeiro S.A.'s (AgeRio) Long-Term Local and Foreign Currency
Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at 'C' and Long-Term National
Ratings at 'C(bra)'.

KEY RATING DRIVERS - IDRS, NATIONAL RATINGS AND SUPPORT RATING

AgeRio's IDRs and National Ratings align with those of its parent,
the State of Rio de Janeiro (ERio; Long-Term Local and Foreign
Currency IDRs 'C'). AgeRio's Support Rating (SR) of '5' reflects
that there is a possibility of parental support, although it
cannot be relied upon, given ERio's very weak financial capacity.
However, AgeRio's small size increases the relative ability of
ERio to provide support in case of need. Fitch does not assign a
Viability Rating to AgeRio, as it is a development agency and
therefore cannot be assessed on a standalone basis.

Fitch believes that ERio's willingness to support AgeRio remains
high, even though its capacity to support is very low. AgeRio is
strategically important for ERio, as it acts as the state's
development arm and implements its economic development policies
both as a lender and a financial agent.

A track record of frequent capital injections by ERio, most
recently in the second half of 2015, reinforces Fitch's view.
Furthermore, ERio controls 99.99% of AgeRio, and, according to a
state law, ERio's stake in AgeRio's voting shares cannot fall
below 51%. AgeRio's financial profile has no direct rating
implications, but it has remained broadly stable since Fitch's
last annual review.

The agency's asset quality indicators started coming under
pressure in 2015 and reached their weakest levels in 2016. As of
June 2017, they remained broadly unchanged. In this period,
impaired loans, classified in the D-H risk category in the central
bank's risk scale, stood at a high 24%. Significant amount of
renegotiations and a net charge-off of about 7% of average gross
loans helped preserve the NPL ratio at a relatively low 4% in this
period.

AgeRio's loan book is adequately provisioned, with loan loss
reserves covering 85% of impaired loans at June 2017. AgeRio's
earnings have historically been adequate, broadly stable and
compatible with the agency's strategy, despite volatility in
impairment charges. As of June 2017, the agency's ROAA fell
slightly to 1.6% (1.8% in 2016), as a result of both an increase
in the effective tax-rate and a non-recurring impairment expense
charged for the collateral that was received for a non-performing
loan.

In 2018, AgeRio's operating results could be negatively affected
if part of the renegotiated loans fails to perform, which might
require additional loan loss reserves. As of June 30, 2017,
funding consisted of lines from Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento
Economico Social (BNDES, Long-Term Local and Foreign Currency IDRs
BB/Negative) and FINEP (Long-Term Local and Foreign Currency IDRs
BB/Negative), a public entity subordinate to the Ministry of
Science, Technology and Innovation, which accounted for 65% and
35% of total funding, respectively.

In July 2016, BNDES suspended its funding lines to AgeRio
following ERio's nonpayment of its obligations to the federal
government. Existing BNDES operations were not affected by this
suspension, but future new funding from BNDES will be conditional
on ERio honoring its debt to the federal government.

AgeRio is very highly capitalized and has significant room for
growth. As of June 30, 2017, its total regulatory capital ratio
was approximately 67%. Historically, ERio has reinvested all
dividends back into AgeRio.

In the same period, AgeRio's liquidity also remained very high,
whereby liquid assets (government securities and investment funds
consisting entirely of government securities and reverse repos)
corresponded to 3.5 times its total liabilities, compared to the
10% minimum limit required by the regulator.

RATING SENSITIVITIES IDRs, NATIONAL RATINGS AND SUPPORT RATING

Changes in Parental Support: AgeRio's ratings are linked to those
of ERio. Any changes in ERio's ratings or willingness to support
AgeRio would lead to a review of its ratings.

Fitch has affirmed the following:

    -- Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency IDRs at 'C';
    -- Short-Term Foreign and Local Currency IDRs at 'C';
    -- Long-term National Rating at 'C(bra)';
    -- Short-term National Rating at 'C(bra)';
    -- Support Rating at '5'.


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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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DOMINICAN REP: Moneychangers Refute Bank: Dollars Are Scarce
------------------------------------------------------------
Dominican Today, citing outlet El Dia, reports that one day after
the Central banker Hector Valdez Albizu affirmed that the country
has the US currency "and more coming," moneychangers complain that
dollars have become scarcer in the market in recent weeks.

Pedro Arias, a moneychanger says they're receiving only bills of
lower denomination, according to Dominican Today.  "Here only 20,
25 or 50 dollars arrive, the large quantities apparently go
elsewhere," the report quoted Mr. Albizu as saying.

Some suspect currency hoarding by the Government and companies,
the report relays.

The report notes that Mr. Valdez meanwhile stressed that there's
no shortage of dollars in the Dominican Republic and "a lot of
foreign currency" instead.

He refuted claims that banks dispatch from US$10,000 to US$20,000
at 50 points above the market rate, the report relays.  "The banks
often give priority to corporate clients," Mr. Valdez added.

                             Depreciation

The Dominican peso depreciated 0.10 percent against the dollar in
the currency market, according to Central Bank data, 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: Top Challenge is to Step Up Reforms, IMF Says
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Dominican Today reports that the IMF mission that visited the
country during the past two weeks, concluded that the main
challenge for the future is to accelerate reforms to create
resilience against risks, raise potential growth and further
reduce poverty and inequality.

"The efforts made by the government to strengthen the fiscal
position are welcome, but more significant consolidation measures
are needed to address structural fiscal weaknesses," the entity
said, according to Dominican Today.

The mission said the recent measures to strengthen the tax and
customs administration are helping raise tax revenues, however,
"these would be insufficient to reverse the upward dynamic of the
debt in the face of tightening global financial conditions, rising
oil prices and a higher burden of debt service," the report notes.

In that context, the IMF mission said greater efforts will be
required to rebuild the capacity of public finances to cushion
shocks, taking into account the social impact and growth in the
composition of the fiscal consolidation process, the report
relays.

"This would mean focusing the adjustment on the broadening of the
tax base, including the targeting of tax exemptions and
incentives, and the simplification of the tax system while
protecting the most vulnerable," it said, adding that the savings
resulting from a lower interest charge could then be used to
increase social spending and public investment, the report notes.
A more robust fiscal policy framework would underpin efforts to
improve the fiscal position.  A medium-term fiscal framework,
anchored in longer-term sustainability objectives, would help to
reduce policy uncertainty and further strengthen its credibility
with economic agents," it added.

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
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JAMAICA: Carreras Says Government Unlikely to Meet Revenue Target
-----------------------------------------------------------------
RJR News reports that Carreras Limited said it's unlikely that the
Jamaica government will meet its revenue target from the tax on
tobacco products this fiscal year and has placed blame on the tax
affecting the affordability of cigarettes and subsequently sales.

According to company officials, the Government had announced that
revenues from tobacco would increase by J$826 million this fiscal
year with the hike in the Special Consumption Tax from $14 to $17
per stick of cigarette, the report notes.

However, the company says based on actual volume performance up to
December last year, it is evident that the Government's revenue
target will not be achieved, the report relays.

Carreras says the Government is on track to collect one billion
dollars less than its collection in 2016/2017 which taken together
is an overall reduction of $1.826- billion compared to its
projections, the report relays.

Meanwhile, the cigarette tax affected Carreras financial
performance for the April to December period, the report
discloses.

It earned total operating revenue of $ 9.53 billion and $2.5
billion in net income which were both down ten per cent when
compared to the prior year, the report relays.

Carreras experienced a decline in sales volume since the increase
in the tobacco tax.

The company says legal sales volume lost is being channeled
directly to the illicit trade which continues to expand as a
result of continuous tax increases, the report adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Feb. 5, 2018, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Jamaica's Long-Term
Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'B' and has
revised the Rating Outlook to Positive from Stable.


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P U E R T O    R I C O
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MAC ACQUISITION: Court Confirms Amended Chapter 11 Plan
-------------------------------------------------------
Judge Mary F. Walrath of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the
District of Delaware, on Feb. 7, issued a findings of fact,
conclusions of law, and order confirming the Amended Joint Chapter
11 Plan of Reorganization of Mac Acquisition LLC, and its debtor
affiliates.

On Dec. 13, 2017, the Court held a hearing to consider the
adequacy of the disclosure statement and the objection of the
Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors with respect to the
Disclosure Statement.  The Court sustained in part and overruled
in part the Committee's objection.  Following the hearing, the
Debtors made certain revisions to the Plan and Disclosure
Statement consistent with the statements made at the hearing and
the Court's ruling.

A revised Plan and Disclosure Statement were filed with the Court
on December 14, 2017, a full-text copy of which is available at:

               http://bankrupt.com/misc/deb17-12224-301.pdf

On Dec. 15, 2017, the Court approved the Disclosure Statement, as
amended.

Prior to the Confirmation Hearing, the Debtors amended their Plan
several times to, among other things, provide that the Exit
Facility in the aggregate amount up to $8,500,000, will have a
maturity of 36 months following the Effective Date.

A full-text copy of the confirmed Amended Plan is available at:

               http://bankrupt.com/misc/deb17-12224-505.pdf

                     About Mac Acquisition LLC

Mac Acquisition LLC, et al. -- https://www.macaronigrill.com/ --
operate full-service casual dining restaurants under the trade
name, "Romano's Macaroni Grill."  As of Oct. 18, 2017, the company
operates 93 company-owned restaurants located in 23 states, with a
workforce of approximately 4,600 employees. Non-debtor affiliate
RMG Development franchises an additional 23 restaurants in
Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Texas, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Bahrain,
Egypt, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Germany, and Saudi
Arabia.

During 2016, Mac Acquisition and RMG generated gross revenues
through restaurant sales and franchisee payments of approximately
$230 million.

On Oct. 18, 2017, Mac Acquisition LLC, and eight affiliates sought
Chapter 11 protection (Bankr. D. Del. Lead Case No. 17-12224).
Mac Acquisition's estimated assets of $10 million to $50 million
and debt at $50 million to $100 million.

The Hon. Mary F. Walrath is the case judge.

The Debtors tapped Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP, as
Delaware bankruptcy counsel; Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, as
general bankruptcy counsel; Mackinac Partners, LLC, as financial
advisor; and Duff & Phelps Securities, LLC as financial advisor
and investment banker.  Donlin, Recano & Company, Inc., is the
claims agent.

On October 30, 2017, the Office of the U.S. Trustee appointed an
official committee of unsecured creditors.  The committee hired
Kelley Drye & Warren LLP as its lead counsel, and Bayard, P.A., as
co-counsel with Kelley Drye.


PUBLIC BUILDING AUTHORITY PR: S&P Cuts Series L Bond Rating to 'D'
------------------------------------------------------------------
S&P Global Ratings has corrected by lowering its rating on two
maturities of Puerto Rico Public Building Authority's series L
revenue refunding bonds due July 1, 2021, to 'D' (default) from
'CC'.

Due to an administrative error, S&P inadvertently omitted these
two maturities from the rating action to lower the building
authority's series L revenue refunding bonds following a default
on their debt service payment on July 1, 2016.


UNIVERSITY OF THE SACRED HEART PR: S&P Affirms 'BB' Bond Rating
----------------------------------------------------------------
S&P Global Ratings removed from CreditWatch negative and affirmed
its 'BB' rating on the Puerto Rico Industrial, Tourist,
Educational, Medical, and Environmental Control Facilities Finance
Authority's series 2012 higher education revenue bonds, issued for
the University of the Sacred Heart (USH; Universidad del Sagrado
Corazon). The outlook is stable.

"Removal of the rating from CreditWatch reflects S&P Global
Ratings' receipt of information it requested from the university
to maintain the ratings and S&P Global Ratings' assessment of the
university's operations and finances," said S&P Global Ratings
credit analyst Jamie Seman.

S&P said, "We assessed the university's enterprise profile as
adequate, characterized by its history of declining enrollment. We
assessed the university's financial profile as vulnerable based on
full accrual deficits in both fiscal years 2015-2017, weak
financial balance sheet metrics, high student fee dependence, and
heavy reliance on Pell and similar grants for tuition revenue. We
believe that these financial characteristics make it vulnerable to
economic conditions beyond its control. We believe Puerto Rico's
prolonged recession, structural deficits, recent natural
disasters, and economic uncertainty will continue to constrain
consumer budgets. As a result, we also believe enrollment
pressures and weakened financial position at universities in
Puerto Rico (including USH) will likely continue during the next
two years due to depressed economic conditions.

"The stable outlook reflects our expectation that, during the one-
year outlook period, USH will continue to stabilize enrollment at
or near current levels. We also expect operations to improve
toward breakeven on a full accrual basis and its financial
resources to improve beyond fiscal 2017. In addition, we do not
expect USH to issue any new debt within the outlook period.

"We could consider a negative rating action during the one-year
outlook period if enrollment declines further, material full-
accrual operating deficits continue, or financial resource ratios
were to decrease to levels no longer consistent with the rating
category.

"We believe that a positive rating action is unlikely during the
outlook period, due to financial resource ratios that are low for
the rating category. We also believe Puerto Rico's depressed
economic conditions will likely continue during the next year,
limiting USH's ability to grow enrollment beyond current levels.
We would view an improvement in enrollment and demand, positive
operations, and growth in financial resources positively."


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V E N E Z U E L A
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VENEZUELA: Blames Blackout on Sabotage
--------------------------------------
EFE News reports that Venezuela's minister of electric energy said
that the blackout affecting this capital and other areas was due
to sabotage at a substation in the central state of Miranda.

"Santa Teresa substation suffered an act of sabotage and vandalism
that caused a large explosion and a fire," Luis Motta Dominguez
said on Instagram, according to EFE News.

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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LATAM: IDB Launches 2018 Call for Proposals to Receive Financing
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) launched the 2018 call
for proposals for the Regional Public Goods (RPG) Initiative in
Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), which supports projects
involving three or more countries.

The RPG Initiative provides technical grants to finance solutions
that resolve shared challenges through regional cooperation. Since
2004, the RPG Initiative has financed 154 projects, investing more
than $112 million.

The proposals must involve a collective solution produced by at
least three IDB borrowing member countries. The Initiative is open
to the promotion of RPGs in any topic, alignment with the Bank's
operational priorities is a selection criterion. The other two
criteria are the value added of a regional (vs. national) approach
to addressing a development challenge or opportunity, as well as
sustaining the benefits of regional collective action beyond the
support of the Initiative.

Past RPG-funded projects have included a protocol for joint
procurement and quality of medicines in Central America, an action
plan for the energy efficiency in the Caribbean hotels, support to
the interoperability of foreign trade single windows, a framework
for protection and registration of migrant workers in the Southern
Cone and regional standards for school infrastructure across Latin
America and the Caribbean, among others.

All Information regarding the 2018 Call for Proposals can be
accessed in the RPG Initiative website.  All proposals must be
presented in accordance with the General Guidelines applicable to
all Call for Proposals and must be submitted online before 05:00
pm (US Eastern Standard Time) on April 16th, 2018.


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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.
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for actual trades are probably different.  Our objective is to
share information, not make markets in publicly traded securities.
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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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Send announcements to conferences@bankrupt.com


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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.
.


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