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

           Friday, February 23, 2018, Vol. 19, No. 39


                            Headlines




A R G E N T I N A

CORDOBA: Moody's Rates 2018 ST Treasury Note Program (P)B2


B E R M U D A

GEOPARK LTD: S&P Raises CCR to 'B+' on Improved Financial Profile


B R A Z I L

BR PROPERTIES: Moody's Rates Proposed BRL50MM Sr. Secured Debt Ba2
LOCALIZA RENT: S&P Affirms 'BB+' CCR, Outlook Remains Stable
ODEBRECHT ENGENHARIA: S&P Lowers CCR to 'CCC', Outlook Negative


C O L O M B I A

COLOMBIA: Teachers Mount 1-day Strike


J A M A I C A

JAMAICA: BOJ Responds to Criticism it Failed to Protect Customers


M E X I C O

DEUTSCHE BANK: Moody's ba2 BCA Remains on Review for Downgrade
GRUPO EMBOTELLADOR: S&P Ups CCR to 'B' on Improving Credit Metrics


S U R I N A M E

SURINAME: Moody's Lowers LT Issuer and Sr. Unsecured Rating to B2


V E N E Z U E L A

PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Ordered to Make Transactions in "Petro"
VENEZUELA: Brazil, Colombia Confront Venezuelan Exodus
VENEZUELA: Main Opposition Parties to Boycott Presidential Vote


                            - - - - -



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A R G E N T I N A
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CORDOBA: Moody's Rates 2018 ST Treasury Note Program (P)B2
----------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Latin America Agente de Calificacion de Riesgo has
assigned a (P)B2 (Global Scale, local currency) and A2.ar
(Argentina National Scale) ratings to the 2018 Short-Term Treasury
Note Program of the Municipality of Cordoba. The ratings are in
line with the municipality's long term local currency issuer
ratings, which carry a stable outlook.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The 2018 program, authorized by laws N 12.752 and Mayor's Decree
Nß4.399/17, considers a maximum outstanding issuance amount of
ARS770 million in different series with maturities up to 360 days.

The assigned debt ratings reflect Moody's view that the
willingness and capacity of the Municipality of Cordoba to honor
these short-term treasury notes is in line with the municipality's
long-term credit quality as captured in the B2/A2.ar issuer
ratings.

The assigned ratings are based on preliminary documentation
received by Moody's as of the rating assignment date. Moody's does
not expect changes to the documentation reviewed over this period
or anticipates changes in the main conditions that the notes will
carry. Should issuance conditions and/or final documentation of
any of the series under this program deviate from the original
ones submitted and reviewed by the rating agency, Moody's will
assess the impact that these differences may have on the ratings
and act accordingly.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING UP/DOWN

Given the strong macroeconomic and financial linkages between the
Government of Argentina's and Sub-sovereigns economic and
financial ratings, and upgrade of Argentina's sovereign bonds
ratings and/or the improvement of the country's operating
environment could lead to an upgrade of the sub-sovereigns
ratings. Conversely, a downgrade in Argentina's bond ratings
and/or further systemic deterioration or idiosyncratic risks
arising in the rated issuers could continue to exert downward
pressure on most of the ratings assigned and could translate in to
a downgrade in the near to medium term.

The principal methodology used in this rating was Regional and
Local Governments published in January 2018.



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GEOPARK LTD: S&P Raises CCR to 'B+' on Improved Financial Profile
-----------------------------------------------------------------
S&P Global Ratings raised its long-term corporate credit rating on
Geopark Ltd. (GPRK) to 'B+' from 'B'. At the same time, S&P raised
its issue-level rating on the company's $425 million senior
secured notes due 2024 to 'B+' from 'B'. The outlook is stable.

S&P said, "The upgrade reflects our expectation that GPRK will
post stronger credit metrics over the next two years, mainly
driven by better oil prices, a solid operating performance, and
successful drilling activities, with sound growth prospects in
terms of production and reserves. Our assessment also incorporates
the company's low leverage even amid a substantial expansionary
cycle, as well as its improved liquidity position based on
extended principal maturities after the liability management
performed in the second half of 2017." However, even though the
company has significantly increased the size and scale of its
reserves in recent years, it still has a small reserve base and
low production levels compared with its higher-rated international
peers.
Bermuda-based oil and gas exploration, development, and production
company GeoPark Ltd.'s leverage profile has improved recently,
driven by higher oil prices and successful drilling activities.
The company's liquidity position has also been enhanced after
liability management activities performed in the second half of
2017.



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B R A Z I L
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BR PROPERTIES: Moody's Rates Proposed BRL50MM Sr. Secured Debt Ba2
------------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's America Latina Ltda. assigned a Ba2/Aa2.br rating to BR
Properties S.A.'s proposed BRL50 million senior secured, local
debentures. Outlook remains negative.

The following rating was assigned:

Issuer: BR Properties S.A.

Local Currency Senior Secured Debentures at Ba2 (global scale) /
Aa2.br (national scale)

RATINGS RATIONALE

BR Properties S.A. intends to locally issue one series of simple,
non-stock convertible, unsecured debentures, totaling BRL50
million, that will ultimately be converted to secured obligations
and underlie a real estate securitization transaction
(securitizacao do certificados de receibiveis imobiliarios or
"CRI"). This issuance will mark the company's ninth series of
debenture notes and the net proceeds are to fund the acquisition
of Galpao Tucano, an industrial warehouse/distribution center with
31,716 square meters of gross leasable area (GLA), located in the
city of Jarinu, in Sao Paolo state. To guarantee the full and
timely payment of the debentures and other guaranteed obligations,
BR Properties will execute a fiduciary lien agreement (contrato do
alienacao fiduciaria) on the company's full ownership of said
industrial property and a fiduciary assignment agreement (contrato
de cessao) on the property's current and future rent receivables
as collateral. Constructed in 2014, the property is a triple-net
leased, single-story, warehouse that is located in an industrial
park approximately 75 kilometers north of the city of Sao Paolo.
The property is conveniently located near multiple modes of
transportation, including toll roads, airports and seaport. The
transaction is subject to final documentation and local regulatory
approval along with confirmation of the conversion of the
debentures to secured from unsecured.

The Ba2 senior secured rating for the proposed debenture notes
reflects BR Properties' dominant size and scale as one of the
largest owners of high-quality, office and industrial properties
in Brazil, its strengthening balance sheet, improved liquidity, as
well as the collateral package of the offering. The senior secured
rating is one notch above the company's senior unsecured (foreign
currency) rating of Ba3. As of December 31, 2017, the investment
portfolio totaled approximately 685 thousand square meters (m2) of
GLA. The company reported solid leverage metrics with its
effective leverage at approximately 34% of gross assets on a
market-value basis and a net debt to EBITDA at 6.9x, respectively.
With a reported cash balance of over R$ 1.0 billion, as of 4Q17,
BRPR has ample liquidity to meets its near-term obligations and a
manageable debt maturity schedule.

These strengths, however, are counterbalanced by the portfolio's
weak occupancy rate, its small, unencumbered asset pool as well as
its exposure to the macroeconomic and political challenges in
Brazil, including the government's growing fiscal constraints. At
the end of 2017, the portfolio had a physical occupancy rate of
approximately 70% and its unencumbered assets represented
approximately 21% of gross assets. However, the same store
portfolio was 80% occupied, as of 4Q17, after excluding properties
acquired since December 2016. Subsequent to year end 2017, the
company announced in 1Q18 that Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.
"Petrobras" (Moody's Ba3 Lt. Corporate Family Rating), one of BR
Property's largest tenants, will reduce a portion of its footprint
in Rio de Janeiro in 2018, thus impacting BR Properties' trophy
Ventura Office Complex. Rio remains a challenged market due to the
fallout from the 2014-2016 recession, corruption scandals in the
oil and gas industry and the on-going delivery of new office
supply. These factors have resulted in rising vacancy rates and
declining office rents. The management team is actively working
towards back-filling Petrobras' space while also securing new
leases and renewals throughout the portfolio. Moody's views BR
Properties' portfolio to be of high-quality and considers the firm
to be well positioned to benefit from the current changes in the
real estate cycle, especially in Sao Paulo, as the supply/demand
dynamics become more favorable towards property owners and as more
indicators of economic improvement and business confidence
continue to emerge in Brazil. Nevertheless, Moody's will continue
to monitor the portfolio's occupancy levels.

The ratings for BR Properties incorporate Moody's view that the
company is well positioned to further delever, given its strong
cash position, broad access to capital and franchise power.
Furthermore, Moody's expect the company's operational performance
will continue to improve as the management team reduces the
portfolio's vacancy levels. However, the outlook on Brazil's
sovereign bond rating effectively caps BR Properties' ratings. The
negative rating outlook reflects the potential adverse effects of
the persistent political uncertainty on the government's reform
agenda and on the prospects of the country's growth over the
medium term.

Positive movement for the ratings or the rating outlook for BR
Properties' would be predicated upon the following criteria on a
recurring basis: 1). total debt below 30% of gross assets; 2). net
debt to EBITDA approaching 5.5x; 3). maintenance of a strong cash
position; 4). unencumbered asset base above 30% of gross assets;
5). net cash interest expense coverage (excluding noncash items)
approaching 2.0x; 5). same store portfolio's occupancy level above
85%. Additionally, any positive rating movement would necessitate
an improvement in Moody's expectations for Brazil's credit
profile.

Downward rating pressure would likely result from the following
criteria on a consistent basis: 1). total debt to gross assets
approaching 40%; 2). net debt to EBITDA approaching 8.5x; 3).
unencumbered assets below 20%; 4). net cash Interest expense
coverage below 1.2x; 5). same store portfolio (excluding new
acquisitions) physical occupancy level below 80%. A negative
change in Moody's view of Brazil's credit profile may also
potentially affect the company's ratings.

Moody's last rating action with respect to BR Properties S.A. was
on January 23, 2018 when Moody's newly assigned a Ba3 (global
currency) / A2.br (national scale) rating to the company's R$ 250
million of locally issued, senior unsecured debentures.

BR Properties S.A. [BOVESPA: BRPR3], headquartered in Sao Paolo,
Brazil, is an owner, acquirer, manager, and developer of office,
industrial and retail properties in the main economic regions of
Brazil. As of December 31, 2017, the company held interests in 46
properties, totaling 685 thousand square meters of GLA, of which
five land parcels are for future development,

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Global Rating
Methodology for REITs and Other Commercial Property Firms
published in July 2010.


LOCALIZA RENT: S&P Affirms 'BB+' CCR, Outlook Remains Stable
------------------------------------------------------------
S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'BB+' global scale and 'brAAA'
Brazilian national scale ratings on Localiza Rent-a-Car S.A. At
the same time, S&P affirmed the 'brAAA' issue-level rating on
Localiza's debentures. The stand-alone credit profile (SACP) is
still 'bbb-' and the outlook on the corporate credit rating is
stable.

The 'brAAA' issue-level rating and the corporate credit rating are
at the same level, reflecting a recovery rating of '3', given
S&P's expectation for meaningful recovery (65% rounded estimate)
in the event of default.

The rating on Localiza continues to reflect the sovereign rating
cap. Since that SACP doesn't reflect the cap, it remains 'bbb-'.
S&P said, "We recently revised the cap to two notches from one
based on Localiza's cash flow resilience during three recessionary
years in the domestic economy. We've factored in its ability to
continue to grow, maintaining strong liquidity, smooth debt
amortization, and access to low cost funding."

The ratings affirmation reflects the company's above-average
operating efficiency, dominant market position, and overall size,
which gives it a competitive edge (a strong brand with larger
number of stores and greater discounts with manufacturers). Also,
the recent agreement with Hertz allows Localiza to associate its
brand with that of a larger global player, which can create demand
in the near term and increase geographic diversity.

The rent-a-car market in Brazil is expected to continue growing at
a fast pace in the next few years, largely driven by economic
recovering and air travel. S&P said, "We expect Localiza to be at
the forefront of this expansion, benefiting from its geographic
footprint and ability to expand operations, which is in turn
largely supported by internal cash generation and access to low-
cost funding sources (partly due to  declining interest rates in
Brazil). In addition, we expect the competitive environment to
remain challenging, but with less pressure on rates and greater
focus on securing profitability. We also expect the used car
market to remain challenging as the availability of credit to
consumers remains limited, but Localiza should benefit from its
diversified fleet, large scale, and efficient resale structure."

The stable outlook reflects that on the sovereign, which continues
to cap the corporate credit rating by two notches. S&P said, "We
expect Localiza to continue taking advantage of growth
opportunities in Brazil, mainly organic, to boost its revenue
base, although we anticipate that financial metrics will reflect
additional debt to fund recent acquisitions and more aggressive
organic growth, leading to EBIT interest coverage of around 2.3x
over the next 12 months, and FFO to debt of about 25%. Therefore,
we do not expect significant pressures on Localiza's 'bbb-' SACP."


ODEBRECHT ENGENHARIA: S&P Lowers CCR to 'CCC', Outlook Negative
---------------------------------------------------------------
S&P Global Ratings lowered its global scale corporate credit
rating on Odebrecht Engenharia e Construcao S.A. (OEC) to 'CCC'
from 'CCC+'. S&P said, "At the same time, we lowered our national
scale corporate credit rating on the company to 'brCCC/brC' from
'brB-/brB'. We also lowered our issue-level ratings on OEC's
sister company, Odebrecht Finance Ltd. (OFL), to 'CCC' from
'CCC+'. The '4' recovery rating on this debt, indicating our
expectation that lenders would receive average (30%) recovery of
their principal in the event of a payment default, remains
unchanged." The outlook on the corporate credit ratings remains
negative.

The downgrade reflects S&P's view that OEC's currently weak cash
flow generation that exposes the company to a potential debt
restructuring, given its very high debt and sizable interest
burden. The fall in cash flows is due to difficulties in
replenishing its backlog and in working capital management, and a
slow pace of projects' execution.


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C O L O M B I A
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COLOMBIA: Teachers Mount 1-day Strike
-------------------------------------

EFE News reports that thousands of Colombian public school
teachers launched a 24-hour national walkout demanding that the
government fulfill a set of agreements reached in June 2017 that
ended a 37-day strike.

In Bogota, teachers affiliated with the Fecode union gathered at
the National Park, from where they started out toward the Ministry
of Education in a lively march accompanied by music and protest
chants, according to EFE News.


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JAMAICA: BOJ Responds to Criticism it Failed to Protect Customers
-----------------------------------------------------------------
RJR News reports that the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) has responded to
criticism levelled at it earlier this month that it failed to
protect the interests of customers of deposit taking institutions.

The criticism came from opposition Member of Parliament Fitz
Jackson during debate in the House of Representatives on his now
defunct Banking Services Bill, according to RJR News.

Mr. Jackson also chided the central bank for failing to offer
comments on his proposed piece of legislation, the report notes.

However, Central Bank Governor Brian Wynter, who responded to
queries at the bank's quarterly media briefing, said the BOJ did
not wish to get involved in the debate, the report relays.

"We act on the basis of the law.  We give advice with respect to
policy when we're asked.  I'm not part of, and the bank certainly
would not want to be in the debate in Parliament between our
sovereign authorities in determining what the laws of the land
should be," he insisted, the report discloses.

The report relays that he added: "We have opinions and I'm happy
to share them in the proper format and discussion, but I'm not
sure if you're maybe considering the question of whether the Bank
of Jamaica should be a price regulator of fees.  That's something
that we would urge a lot of caution on."

Mr. Wynter said while price regulation exists in other sectors,
the Bank of Jamaica has never been required to engage in such an
activity, the report notes.

"I'm making the point that we are not an economic regulator, we've
not been one for a long long time . . . But I'm committed to
providing the advice that we are required to when it comes up," he
reiterated, the report notes.   "But what I do not want to do, and
it would be wrong for me to do, is to be engaged in the
controversy around this issue. We do not have a voice in this
debate, we're not a part of it. We're a subject of it perhaps."

                          Growth

Meanwhile, speaking at the BOJ's media briefing, Deputy Governor
Dr. Wayne Robinson, said the Bank has seen growth in some sectors
in the economy because of the expansion of credit, the report
says.

"We've found that credit growth is important to economic growth.
There are two components of credit growth, that is credit that
goes to the various productive sectors, and we've certainly seen
some correlation between credit growth to a number of these
sectors and actual GDP or value added from these sectors. There is
also indirect channel as well when credit goes to the householders
who then will buy and consume and that also impacts economic
growth as well," Mr. Robinson outlined, 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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M E X I C O
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DEUTSCHE BANK: Moody's ba2 BCA Remains on Review for Downgrade
--------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's de Mexico S.A. de C.V said that the ratings of Deutsche
Bank Mexico, S.A. (Deutsche Bank Mexico) and of Deutsche
Securities Mexico, S.A. de C.V. (Deutsche Securities Mexico)
remain under review for downgrade pending regulatory approval of
the sale of these entities to Mexico's Investa Bank, S.A.
(Investabank, unrated). The review was initiated on November 4,
2016.

The following ratings and assessments remain on review for
downgrade:

Deutsche Bank Mexico, S.A. (600069090):

-- Baseline credit assessment of ba2

-- Adjusted baseline credit assessment of ba1

-- Long-term global local currency deposit rating of Ba1

-- Long-term global foreign currency deposit rating of Ba1

-- Long-term Mexican National Scale deposit rating of A1.mx

-- Short-term Mexican National Scale deposit rating of MX-1

-- Long and short term Counterparty Risk Assessments of Baa3(cr)
    and Prime-3(cr)

Deutsche Securities Mexico, S.A. de C.V. (821503957):

-- Long-term global local currency issuer rating of Ba1

-- Long-term Mexican National Scale issuer rating of A1.mx

-- Short-term Mexican National Scale issuer rating of MX-1

RATINGS RATIONALE

The ratings of Deutsche Bank Mexico and Deutsche Securities Mexico
were placed under review following the signing of an agreement by
the companies' ultimate parent, Deutsche Bank AG (Deutsche AG,
baseline credit assessment of ba1), to sell these operations to
Investabank as part of a broader scaling back of its global
operations pursuant to its 2020 strategic plan.

Barring a significant deterioration in the entities' standalone
creditworthiness prior to the closing of the sale, the conclusion
of the reviews is dependent upon receipt of regulatory approval of
the deal. Once the transaction closes, Deutsche Bank Mexico and
Deutsche Securities Mexico will no longer benefit from support
from Deutsche AG. Despite the marginal business importance of the
Mexican bank to its parent, Moody's assesses a high likelihood of
parent support given their shared brand name, which results in one
notch of ratings uplift from Deutsche Bank Mexico's baseline
credit assessment. In turn, as a highly integrated and harmonized
entity, Deutsche Securities Mexico's ratings are in line with
those of Deutsche Bank Mexico.

In addition, the review is considering the credit implications of
Investabank's strategy for the units it is acquiring, and any
changes in their credit profile that may occur upon closing -- in
particular, any further reduction in the capital of the bank.
Until regulatory approval is received, the reviews for downgrade
will also consider the impact on the two entities'
creditworthiness of the progressive decrease in earnings
generation and business diversification that is already occurring
as the entities continue to wind down business that will not be
part of the sale, and their balance sheets continue to shrink
through the transaction's closing date. Moody's expects that at
the sale's closing, the business being acquired by Investabank
will largely consist of the trustee division of Deutsche Bank
Mexico. The companies have already begun to exit or transfer to
their parent certain operations that will not be sold to
Investabank.

As of December 2017, the bank's total assets had shrunk 88% vis-a-
vis December 2016 as the entity unwound its derivative positions.
Currently, the bank's assets largely consist of investments in
securities, while liabilities are mostly comprised of accounts
payable. In December 2017, the bank paid a dividend of MXN1.8
billion, which led to a 46% contraction in shareholders' equity
from November.

Despite the sharp contraction of the balance sheet, however, the
bank's ba2 baseline credit assessment remains appropriate.
Deutsche Bank Mexico's capital remains very strong even after the
dividend distribution, evidenced by its reported total capital
ratio of around 90%. Further, the bank's liquidity remains strong,
with the average liquidity coverage ratio standing at a high
265.95%, and liquid assets amounting to about 80% of total assets
as of December 2017. In addition, the bank posted a moderate
profit after taxes of 1% of total assets during 2017, largely
composed of interest income from its investment portfolio.

If the sale unexpectedly falls through, Moody's anticipates an
orderly wind down of the Mexican entities' remaining lines of
business, which are not currently under stress. Should their
situation suddenly deteriorate before the parent can finish
winding them down, however, Moody's expects that Deutsche AG would
provide the necessary financial support to avoid a failure as the
reputational cost for Deutsche AG's global business of allowing
these entities to fail would likely outweigh the costs of bailing
them out.

WHAT COULD MOVE THE RATINGS DOWN

The ratings will likely be downgraded when regulatory approval of
the transaction is received and/or it reaches financial close.
They could be downgraded more than one notch if the bank's capital
declines significantly further upon, or just prior to closing, or
if the bank's intrinsic risk profile looks likely to increase
significantly under Investabank's ownership. The ratings could
also be downgraded before closing if the bank's standalone credit
profile deteriorates significantly as a result of preparations for
its upcoming sale. This may include a significant drop in
capitalization or profitability. The ratings could be confirmed if
the sale falls through and Deutsche AG consequently retains
ownership of the Mexican subsidiaries until they are completely
wound down, or until a sale to another party is announced.

The long-term Mexican National Scale ratings of A1.mx indicate
issuers or issues with above-average creditworthiness relative to
other domestic issuers. The short- term Mexican National Scale
ratings of issuers rated MX-1 indicate the strongest ability to
repay short-term senior unsecured debt obligations relative to
other domestic issuers.

The principal methodology used in rating Deutsche Bank Mexico,
S.A. was Banks published in September 2017. The principal
methodology used in rating Deutsche Securities Mexico, S.A. de
C.V. was Securities Industry Market Makers published in September
2017.


GRUPO EMBOTELLADOR: S&P Ups CCR to 'B' on Improving Credit Metrics
------------------------------------------------------------------
S&P Global Ratings raised its global scale corporate credit rating
on Grupo Embotellador Atic, S.A. (Atic) to 'B' from 'B-'. S&P also
raised its issue-level rating to 'B' from 'B-' on the company's
$450 million senior unsecured notes due 2022. The outlook remains
stable.

The upgrade reflects Atic's recent track record of improved
profitability, cash flow generation, liquidity, and credit metrics
since its corporate reorganization, whereby its loss-making
operations in Brazil, Venezuela, Asia, and Mexico were classified
as assets held for sale at the end of 2016. This, coupled with
cost-savings initiatives the company has implemented such as the
outsourcing of its packaging and recycling activities through a
long-term supply agreement, together with ongoing supply chain
efficiency actions, and reductions in overhead expenses, led to an
EBITDA margin of about 17.5%, a debt to EBITDA approaching the
4.0x area, and an EBITDA interest coverage of 3.2x for the last 12
months (LTM) ended Sept. 30, 2017, compared with 6.8%, 8.2x, and
1.7x, respectively, in the same period last year. Such
improvement, and S&P's expectation that this trend will continue
throughout 2018, prompted it to revise its financial risk profile
assessment on the company from highly leveraged to aggressive.

The ratings on Atic reflect its narrowed geographic
diversification since its corporate reorganization. In its core
markets, although Atic continues to benefit from leading market
positions in its non-carbonated soft drinks (CSD) categories, its
sale volumes have diminished due to an increasing competition from
larger global bottlers that have been aggressively entering these
categories in recent years, along with initiatives to increase its
profitability. In its CSD segment, Atic has a small market share
in all countries where it operates due to the difficulties to
develop stronger brands. Moreover, Atic has limited flexibility in
its cost structure, because approximately two-thirds of its costs
are dollar-denominated, exposing it to foreign currency
volatility. Since its reorganization took place, the company has
nonetheless implemented various measures to strengthen its
profitability, including the overhaul of certain categories to
reduce sugar content, an improved procurement of main raw
materials, increased efficiencies in its logistics platforms, and
a consistent reduction in overhead expenses.

For 2018, S&P expects Atic to post low-single digit revenue growth
thanks to its strategy to adjust its prices and packaging
offerings, which should continue to offset volumes contraction
resulting from the high level of competition in most of its
markets. S&P also expects Atic to generate FOCF amid limited
capex, which the loan agreements restrict, and stabilize its
profitability.



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S U R I N A M E
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SURINAME: Moody's Lowers LT Issuer and Sr. Unsecured Rating to B2
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service has downgraded the long-term issuer and
senior unsecured rating of the Government of Suriname to B2 from
B1. The outlook was changed to negative from rating under review.
This concludes the review for downgrade that commenced on 22
November 2017.

The drivers of the downgrade relate to the erosion of fiscal
metrics, as reflected in an increase in debt ratios and
deterioration in debt affordability metrics, despite fiscal
reforms adopted by the authorities. The negative outlook reflects
Moody's view that without additional measures to strengthen the
fiscal position, the pace of fiscal consolidation may not be
sufficient to prevent increased liquidity pressures.

Suriname's B2 rating balances the deterioration in fiscal metrics
against an improvement in the external accounts and favorable
investment prospects driven by the mining sector. Despite the
authorities' commitment to carrying out additional structural
fiscal reforms, Suriname faces challenges in the form of
institutional constraints, which may limit the government's
ability to carry out a comprehensive reform agenda.

Concurrently, Moody's lowered Suriname's long-term foreign-
currency bond and deposit ceilings to Ba3 from Ba2 and to B3 from
B2, respectively. Moody's has maintained the long-term local-
currency bond and deposit ceilings at Ba2. All short-term foreign
currency ceilings remain at Not Prime.

RATINGS RATIONALE

RATIONALE FOR DOWNGRADE TO B2

WEAKER FISCAL STRENGTH REFLECTED IN HIGHER DEBT RATIOS AND
DECLINING DEBT AFFORDABILITY

Suriname's government debt burden peaked at 70.9% of GDP in 2016,
up from 26% of GDP in 2014. Although Moody's anticipates it to
likely stabilize around 60% of GDP, in the absence of continued
fiscal reforms, the rating agency expects the pace of
consolidation to be only gradual, with budget deficits averaging
about 6% of GDP between 2017 and 2019.

The interest burden, i.e., interest payments to government
revenues, will remain higher than the B-rated median with interest
payments increasing to 18% of government revenue in 2017 and 2018
from 4.1% in 2014, far exceeding the median for B-rated sovereigns
of 10%.

The deterioration in debt affordability is due to a shift in the
composition of debt toward more expensive sources of borrowing.
The share of non-concessional external market borrowing increased
to 43% of total external debt in 2017 from 4% in 2014. The
increase in non-concessional external borrowing reflects the $550
million global bond issuance in October 2016. Although more than
half of the proceeds were lent to the state-owned oil company
Staatsolie, they ultimately constitute an obligation of the
government of Suriname and are included in Moody's government debt
figures, factoring into the rating agency's calculation of debt
affordability. Meanwhile, short-term domestic debt, primarily
Treasury bills, increased to 5.0% of GDP in June 2017, from 4.2%
of GDP at the end of 2016. As a result, Moody's expects interest
expenditures to exceed 3.0% of GDP in 2018 and 2019.

Moody's envisions a continued -- but gradual -- pace of fiscal
consolidation supported by the introduction of a value-added tax
(VAT) and prospects of increased mining-related revenue. VAT
legislation has not been approved yet, but the authorities expect
a vote by April. The VAT could increase government revenue by 2.5%
of GDP in 2019, strengthening fiscal consolidation, helping to
further diversify government revenue, and build resiliency to
commodity shocks.

RATIONALE FOR NEGATIVE OUTLOOK

The negative outlook reflects Moody's view that in the absence of
additional fiscal measures credit risks are tilted to the
downside. Even though various measures have already been taken by
the government, several reforms that Moody's views as important to
improving fiscal flexibility have yet to be implemented. Without
them, the pace of fiscal consolidation may not be sufficient to
prevent increased liquidity pressures given Suriname's limited
ability to rely more heavily on external and domestic sources of
funding.

The authorities have shown strong commitment to structural reforms
in the fiscal arena even after the IMF program came to an end.
Evidence of this has been a push for a wide range of measures
intended to improve public financial management, tighten controls
on spending, and improve revenue collection.

However, Suriname's medium-term fiscal prospects will hinge on the
government's ability to implement those reforms. In this respect,
and despite the government's strong commitment to reform, the
country faces significant institutional constraints due to human
capital limitations that limit its capacity to carry out those
reforms.

The government has already passed legislation to establish a
sovereign wealth fund, which will have both a savings and
stabilization function. However, Moody's does not anticipate it to
materially affect Suriname's credit profile until after it begins
accumulating assets in 2019, and will depend on the production
level and price of gold in 2019 and beyond. Additionally, no
deductions from the sovereign wealth fund can be made until 2023.
Alternatively, the authorities expect a long-awaited VAT proposal
to finally be voted on in the National Assembly in April. If
approved, a VAT would support a shift to a more stable
consumption-based tax system.

The outlook could also turn more favorable if an increase in
mining output materializes, leading to higher mining-related tax
revenue -- the start of production at the Saramacca mine is
expected by the second half of 2019.

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO FURTHER DOWNGRADES

Moody's would consider downgrading Suriname's rating if, in the
absence of additional structural fiscal reforms, fiscal slippage
contributed to an increase in liquidity risks given limited
domestic and external funding options.

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE

Given the negative outlook, an upgrade is unlikely in the
foreseeable future. Moody's could change the outlook to stable
from negative if the government were able to deliver on its
commitment to additional fiscal measures to broaden and diversify
the revenue base, through measures such as a VAT, which increase
non-mining revenue. Additionally, efforts to improve oversight of
spending, could result in Moody's changing the outlook to stable
from negative.

Additional fiscal reforms can lead to an improvement in the
medium-term fiscal outlook, beyond those envisioned in Moody's
central scenario. The implementation of public financial
management and public investment management reforms has the
potential to improve budget control, resulting in gains in
efficiency and effectiveness of government expenditures. Revenue
measures to modernize tax administration can increase the revenue
base and reduce revenue sensitivity to commodities.

GDP per capita (PPP basis, US$): 13,985 (2016 Actual) (also known
as Per Capita Income)

Real GDP growth (% change): 0.0% (2017 Estimate) (also known as
GDP Growth)

Inflation Rate (CPI, % change Dec/Dec): 9.1% (2017 Estimate)

Gen. Gov. Financial Balance/GDP: -7.0% (2017 Estimate) (also known
as Fiscal Balance)

Current Account Balance/GDP: 9.4% (2017 Estimate) (also known as
External Balance)

External debt/GDP: 47.1% (2017 Estimate)

Level of economic development: Low level of economic resilience

Default history: At least one default event (on bonds and/or
loans) has been recorded since 1983.

On February 15, 2018, a rating committee was called to discuss the
rating of the Suriname, Government of. The main points raised
during the discussion were: The issuer's fiscal or financial
strength, including its debt profile, has materially decreased.
The issuer has become increasingly susceptible to event risks.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Sovereign Bond
Ratings published in December 2016.

The weighting of all rating factors is described in the
methodology used in this credit rating action, if applicable.


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


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Ordered to Make Transactions in "Petro"
---------------------------------------------------------------
EFE News reports that the president of Venezuela issued an order
to the state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) to
conduct parts of its buying and selling of products in "petro,"
the national cryptocurrency whose presale started shortly after
midnight on Feb. 19.

"I have given the order to the companies PDVSA, Pequiven (a
petrochemical company) and the Corporacion Venezolana de Guayana
(CVG) so that they, as state companies, make a percentage of their
sales of products in convertible currency 'petro' from today on,"
Nicolas Maduro said during the Venezuelan cryptocurrency presale
announcement, according to EFE News.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on Dec.
22, 2017, S&P Global Ratings lowered its issue-level ratings on
Petroleos de Venezuela S.A.'s (PDVSA's) senior unsecured notes due
2024 and 2021 to 'D' from 'CC'.


VENEZUELA: Brazil, Colombia Confront Venezuelan Exodus
------------------------------------------------------
The Latin American Herald reports that Brazil and Colombia will
reinforce their already close cross-border cooperation and
information exchange to better help Venezuelans fleeing their
country's crisis, officials said.

The announcement emerged from a high-level bilateral meeting in
Brasilia, according to The Latin American Herald.

"We have an excellent cross-border cooperation with Colombia,
which must now be enhanced to contend with the mass migration from
Venezuela," Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes said, the
report notes.

The influx of Venezuelans has generated a "social emergency"
situation in both Brazil and Colombia, he said, the report relays.

His Colombian counterpart, Maria Angela Holguin, said that the aim
of increased cooperation with Brazil is to improve attention to
Venezuelans "fleeing from a difficult situation of hunger and
shortages," the report notes.

According to the latest official data, 550,000 Venezuelans have
settled in Colombia and some 37,000 citizens cross the border
every day looking for a better future or in search of food and
medicines unavailable in Venezuela, the report says.

In Brazil, the inflow has been primarily into the impoverished
border state of Roraima, which has received close to 40,000
Venezuelans over the past year, although the number may be larger,
as it is believed that many immigrants do not register with
authorities, the report adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Feb. 19, 2018 S&P Global Ratings affirmed its long- and short-
term foreign currency sovereign issuer credit ratings on Venezuela
at 'SD/D'. S&P said, "At the same time, we lowered seven issue
ratings on Venezuela's global bonds to 'D' from 'CC'. Our long-
and short-term local currency sovereign credit ratings remain at
'CCC-/C' and are still on CreditWatch with negative implications.
In addition, we affirmed our 'CC' transfer and convertibility
assessment."


VENEZUELA: Main Opposition Parties to Boycott Presidential Vote
---------------------------------------------------------------
Andrew Rosati and Jose Orozco at Bloomberg News report report that
Venezuela's main opposition parties say they will shun this year's
presidential elections, claiming the vote has been rigged to
guarantee a victory for President Nicolas Maduro.

Justice First, the country's largest opposition party, announced
that it would not be participating in April 22 elections,
according to Bloomberg News.  "We won't help out a dictatorship
that only cares about maintaining power on the backs of the
Venezuelan people and their suffering," the party said in a
statement obtained by the news agency.

While several members in the broad-coalition of parties that form
the Democratic Unity Roundtable, known as MUD in Spanish, are
still deliberating on whether to skip April's elections, Bloomberg
News notes.  A senior member of the New Era Party announced on
Twitter that his organization would sit out the election, while
the Popular Will party, led by jailed-activist Leopoldo Lopez,
said that it would not "nominate or endorse any candidate,"
Bloomberg News relays.

Maduro, 55, who became president after the death of Hugo Chavez in
2013, is seeking another six-year term to further a so-called
socialist revolution that has given way to the worst economic
crisis the country's history, Bloomberg News says.  Opposition
leaders say they can't overcome an electoral authority stacked
with Maduro loyalists that ignores state abuses and banned its top
candidates from the ballot, Bloomberg News discloses.

For months the opposition has tried to negotiate more favorable
terms with the government through a series of meetings in the
Dominican Republic, as part of an international effort to remedy
the country's political stalemate, Bloomberg News relays.  The MUD
demanded the government set a date that provided ample time to
appoint new electoral authorities and invite international
observers, but as talks broke down the ruling socialists did
exactly the opposite: Election Day was accelerated under current
conditions, Bloomberg News notes.

"We do not accept an invitation where the date was imposed,
international observers are not guaranteed, Venezuelans abroad
can't participate and where blacking and threatening people is the
norm," Congressman Julio Borges, head of Justice First wrote on
Twitter, Bloomberg News adds.

Bloomberg News says that while Venezuelans largely blame the
ruling socialist's stewardship of the economy for quadruple-digit
inflation and chronic food shortages, Maduro's top rivals are
currently barred from holding office.  Lopez is under house arrest
on charges of inciting violence, while Venezuela's comptroller
general last year banned two-time presidential contender Henrique
Capriles from running for office on charges of "administrative
irregularities" found during his time as governor, Bloomberg News
notes.

While polls show the majority of Venezuelans plan to head to the
polls, they overwhelming indicate they are apathetic about the
current opposition field, which is lead by former governor Henri
Falcon, Bloomberg News relays.  According to a survey conducted by
the Caracas pollster Venebarometro, over 62% respondents said they
believe that none of the options provided should be president,
Bloomberg News discloses.

Maduro's administration is facing widespread criticism over its
decision to accelerate the presidential elections, which
traditionally take place toward year-end, Bloomberg News notes.

Elections that exclude political actors and fall short of
international standards "will lack all legitimacy and credibility"
the so-called Lima Group said in a statement, Bloomberg News adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Feb. 19, 2018 S&P Global Ratings affirmed its long- and short-
term foreign currency sovereign issuer credit ratings on Venezuela
at 'SD/D'. S&P said, "At the same time, we lowered seven issue
ratings on Venezuela's global bonds to 'D' from 'CC'. Our long-
and short-term local currency sovereign credit ratings remain at
'CCC-/C' and are still on CreditWatch with negative implications.
In addition, we affirmed our 'CC' transfer and convertibility
assessment."


                            ***********


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 conferences@bankrupt.com


                            ***********


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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