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

               Tuesday, February 27, 2018, Vol. 19, No. 41



ALGODON WINES: Scott L. Mathis Holds 14.6% Stake as of Dec. 31
GST AUTOLEATHER: 7.9% Projected Recovery for Unsecured Creditors


BANCO BTG: Fitch Affirms B Short Term IDR, Outlook Negative
NOVA SECURITIZACAO: Moody's Rates 26th Series of Certs. (P)Ba2

C A Y M A N  I S L A N D S

SCOTTISH HOLDINGS: U.S. Trustee Forms Three-Member Committee

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Leader to Address a Much Calmer Country
DOMINICAN REP: Economic Upswing Didn't Trickle Down to Poorest


JAMAICA: Heavy Rains Affected Agri., Forestry & Fishing Sectors


MEXICO: Cancels Meeting; Trump Refuses to Avoid Border-Wall Talk

P U E R T O    R I C O

LABORATORIO CLINICO: Seeks Feb. 19 Plan Filing Extension
LRJ GLOBAL: Hires Santiago & Gonzalez Law as Attorney


VENEZUELA: Opposition to Boycott Vote

                            - - - - -


ALGODON WINES: Scott L. Mathis Holds 14.6% Stake as of Dec. 31
In a Schedule 13G filed with the Securities and Exchange
Commission, Scott L. Mathis disclosed that as of Dec. 31, 2017, he
beneficially owns 7,990,082 shares of common stock of Algodon
Wines & Luxury Development Group, Inc., constituting 14.6 percent
of the shares outstanding.  A full-text copy of the regulatory
filing is available for free at

                      About Algodon Wines

Through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Algodon Wines & Luxury
Development Group, Inc. -- invests
in, develops and operates real estate projects in Argentina.
Based in New York, AWLD operates a hotel, golf and tennis resort,
vineyard and producing winery in addition to developing
residential lots located near the resort.  The activities in
Argentina are conducted through its operating entities:
InvestProperty Group, LLC, Algodon Global Properties, LLC, The
Algodon - Recoleta S.R.L, Algodon Properties II S.R.L., and
Algodon Wine Estates S.R.L. AWLD distributes its wines in Europe
through its United Kingdom entity, Algodon Europe, LTD.

Marcum LLP, in New York, issued a "going concern" qualification on
the consolidated financial statements for the year ended Dec. 31,
2016, citing that the Company has incurred significant losses and
needs to raise additional funds to meet its obligations and
sustain its operations.  These conditions raise substantial doubt
about the Company's ability to continue as a going concern.

Algodon Wines reported a net loss of $10.04 million on $1.52
million of sales for the year ended Dec. 31, 2016, compared to a
net loss of $8.27 million on $1.86 million of sales for the year
ended Dec. 31, 2015.  As of Sept. 30, 2017, Algodon Wines had
$8.84 million in total assets, $4.03 million in total liabilities,
$7.61 million in series B convertible redeemable preferred stock
and a $2.80 million total stockholders' deficiency.

GST AUTOLEATHER: 7.9% Projected Recovery for Unsecured Creditors
GST AutoLeather, Inc., and its debtor affiliates filed with the
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware a disclosure
statement for their joint chapter 11 plan dated Feb. 16, 2018.

The primary objective of the Plan is to maximize the value of
recoveries to all holders of Allowed Claims and Allowed Interests
and generally to distribute all property of the Estates that is or
becomes available for distribution generally in accordance with
the priorities established by the Bankruptcy Code.  The Debtors
believe that the Plan accomplishes this objective and is in the
best interest of the Estates.

Generally speaking, the Plan: (a) provides for the full and final
resolution of certain funded debt obligations; (b) designates a
Plan Administrator to wind down the Debtors' affairs, pay and
reconcile Claims, and administer the Plan in an efficacious
manner; (c) provides for Cash distributions from the Unsecured
Cash Pool on a Pro Rata basis to holders of Allowed Unsecured
Claims; and (d) provides for 100% recoveries for holders of
Allowed Administrative Claim, Priority Tax Claims, DIP Claims,
Other Priority Claims, and Other Secured Claims. The Debtors
believe that Confirmation of the Plan will avoid the lengthy delay
and significant cost of liquidation under chapter 7 of the
Bankruptcy Code.

The Plan proposes to fund creditor recoveries from cash on hand
and the proceeds of a Sale Transaction pursuant to which the
Debtors will sell substantially all of the assets of the Estates.
Following the entry of the Bid Procedures Order approving the Bid
Procedures Motion and related sale procedures, the Debtors
continued to use their best efforts to market the assets of the
estates in order to obtain Qualified Bids prior to the Jan. 8,
2018 bid deadline.  Following the auction, the Successful Bidder
was determined to be the highest and best bid. The Debtors and the
Successful Bidder executed an asset purchase agreement on Feb. 13,
2018, and closing the Sale Transaction is a condition to the Plan
Effective Date.

Each holder of an Allowed Unsecured Claim in Class 5 will receive
its Pro Rata share (not to exceed the amount of such holder's
Allowed Unsecured Claim) of 75% of the Unsecured Cash Pool (equal
to $1,575,000.00); 75% of all proceeds of Retained Causes of
Action up to the Retained Causes of Action Threshold Amount (that
is, up to $2,175,000); and Class 5's Pro Rata share of any (A)
Excess Distributable Cash and (B) proceeds of Retained Causes of
Action in excess of the Retained Causes of Action Threshold
Amount. Projected recovery for unsecured claimants is 7.9%.

A full-text copy of the Disclosure Statement is available at:


                       About GST Autoleather

Headquartered in Southfield, Michigan, GST AutoLeather, Inc., was
founded in 1933, then known as Garden State Tanning, initially
operated as a tanning company that processed leather for the
upholstery and garment industries.  The Company entered the
automotive industry in 1946.

As of Oct. 3, 2017, the Company employs 5,600 people worldwide,
including the United States, Mexico, Japan, China, Korea, Germany,
Hungary, South Africa, and Argentina.  The Company supplies
leather to virtually every major OEM in the automotive industry,
including Audi, BMW/Mini, Daimler, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, General
Motors, Hyundai, Honda, Porsche, PSA, Nissan, Kia, Toyota and

GST AutoLeather, Inc., and five of its affiliates filed voluntary
petitions for relief under chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code
(Bankr. D. Del. Lead Case No. 17-12100) on Oct. 3, 2017.

The Hon. Laurie Selber Silverstein is the case judge.

The Debtors tapped Kirkland & Ellis LLP as general bankruptcy
counsel; Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLP as local bankruptcy
counsel; Lazard Middle Market, LLC as financial advisor; Alvarez &
Marsal North America, LLC as restructuring advisor; and Epiq
Bankruptcy Solutions, LLC as claims and noticing agent, Ernst &
Young LLP, as tax advisors. Deloitte & Touche LLP, as independent

On Oct. 13, 2017, the Office of the U.S. Trustee appointed an
official committee of unsecured creditors.  The Committee is
represented by Christopher M. Samis, L. Katherine Good, Aaron H.
Stulman, Christopher A. Jones and David W. Gaffey of Whiteford
Taylor & Preston LLP and Erika L. Morabito, Brittany J. Nelson,
John A. Simon, Richard J. Bernard and Leah Eisenberg of Foley &
Lardner LLP.

Royal Bank of Canada is represented by Andrew V. Tenzer of Paul
Hastings LLP.


BANCO BTG: Fitch Affirms B Short Term IDR, Outlook Negative
Fitch Ratings has affirmed the ratings of Banco BTG Pactual S.A.
(BTG Pactual) and its related entities: PPLA Investments LP (PPLA,
former BTGI) and BTG Pactual Holding S.A. (BTGH). The Rating
Outlook is Negative.

Fitch also upgraded BTG Pactual's and BTGH's national ratings to
'A+(bra)' from 'A (bra)' with a Stable Outlook.



The upgrade of BTG Pactual's national scale ratings reflects
gradual but sustained improvements to the bank's franchise while
maintaining decent credit metrics. The upgrade also factors in the
bank's tested and well proven historic earnings execution and its
maintenance of adequate internal capital generation. Pressure on
the bank's access to long-term funding has somewhat eased,
although it has not fully rebounded to pre-crisis levels.

BTG Pactual's IDRs are based on its Viability rating (VR). The
Outlook on the IDRs remains Negative, which captures Brazil's
still volatile operating environment and downside pressures at the
sovereign rating level, which carries a Negative Outlook.

BTG Pactual continues to seek increased investor confidence in its
funding franchise and to fully restore its access to more stable
and long-term funding. These challenges remain the highest rating
sensitivities for the bank's IDRs.

Although still evolving, Fitch believes that BTG Pactual has
demonstrated an increased capability to access long-term funding
in 2017, as compared to the previous years, following the episode
involving one of its shareholders. The amount of funding maturing
above one year increased to 65% in December 2017, from 43% in
September 2015. Fitch believes that the bank's recently-concluded
five-year US$500 million international issuance (first bond
issuance since September 2014) also evidences increased investor

BTG Pactual's ratings reflect the good earnings track record,
differentiated risk management culture, and solid liquidity and
capital ratios. Rating constraints include Fitch's view of the
cyclicality of the company's business model, its dependence on
volatile businesses such as trading, and higher reliance on
wholesale funding compared to higher rated institutions.

BTG Pactual's ratings also encompass its relative higher
dependence on high-risk business when compared to higher rated
commercial banks. The relative contribution of BTG Pactual's fee
business to total revenue has dropped in recent years as those
franchises recover from a significant reduction of business volume
after its liquidity crisis. Fee business results improved during
the second half of 2017, but since they usually carry narrower
margins substantial scale would be required to influence results
meaningfully. Fitch expects a significant share of the bank's
earnings to continue to come from its 'sales & trading' division.

Fitch recognizes BTG Pactual's historically strong market position
in trading businesses and its competitive investment banking
franchise, which continues to be robust and has consistently
ranked near the top of league tables.

Liquidity and Capitalization remains comfortable, as credit
activity remains low. Loan exposures have decreased significantly
vs. 2015 levels and have been quite stable over the last couple of
years as the operating environment starts to show first signs of
recovery and long-term funding access is not fully restored. As of
September 2017, Fitch's Core Capital ratio for the bank was 15.1%
with a Tier 1 Capital ratio of 14.9%.

BTG Pactual ALM remains conservatively managed, with the term of
its funding adequately matching the liquidity of its assets. Its
cash position at the end of the third quarter of 2017 reached
BRL12.1billion, resulting in a robust liquidity coverage ratio
(LCR) of 158%.

AFFILIATED COMPANIES IDRs and National Scale Ratings - PPLA and

According to Fitch's criteria, PPLA is deemed a strategic part of
BTG Pactual Group. Despite its evident links with the group
(franchise, common management, relevance of its revenue stream and
completely aligned business model), PPLA is not a direct
subsidiary of BTGH. Hence, its rating differs by one-notch from
BTGH, which provides the primary source of support to the bank.
The group's split of the stock market listing for its investment
banking and merchant banking division does not alter Fitch's
expectation that PPLA will continue to benefit from BTG Pactual's
indirect support, through BTGH, should it be needed. They will
continue to share the same ultimate owners with majority control,
and Fitch believes that in a stress situation PPLA may continue to
rely on BTG Pactual's willingness to extend support.

BTGH's long- and short-term IDRs and National Scale Ratings are
equalized to those of its sole operating subsidiary, BTG Pactual.
BTGH is a pure holding company and its long- and short-term IDRs
and National Scale Ratings are equalized to those of BTG Pactual
due to its moderate leverage levels and favorable regulatory
framework towards financial groups in Brazil. BTGH is a pure
holding company and directly controls 73.5% of BTG Pactual. The
equalization of the ratings is based on the high correlation
between the probability of default for BTGH and the bank. Both are
incorporated in the same jurisdiction and are overseen by the
Brazilian authorities.


Fitch has affirmed BTG Pactual's and BTGH's SR and SRF at '5' and
'NF', respectively, in view of the bank's low systemic importance.
In Fitch's view, external support cannot be relied upon.

PPLA's SENIOR at '4' reflects its role as an integral BTG Pactual
group and the implicit support PPLA receives from BTGH.


The senior secured and unsecured debt of BTG Pactual and PPLA are
rated in line with their respective IDRs. Fitch believes the
likelihood of default on any given senior obligation is linked to
the likelihood of default by the bank (as reflected by the Long-
Term IDR) because default on any material class of senior
obligations would be treated by Fitch as a default of the entity.

At 'B-', BTG Pactual's perpetual non-cumulative junior
subordinated notes are rated three notches below its VR of 'bb-'.
This is consistent with Fitch's typical notching for loss severity
and nonperformance risk of AT1 securities for banks rated at the
'bb-' level. Fitch expects that, under the proposed terms, these
T1 securities will receive 50% equity credit for the purposes of
assessing capital adequacy.

Subordinated notes due in September 2022 are rated two notches
below BTG Pactual's VR of, one notch lower due to Loss Severity
features and its subordinated status, and a one-notch deduction
due to moderate risk of non-performance.


The potential for an upgrade of BTG Pactual's IDRs and VR remains
limited in the short term as they remain linked to Brazilian
sovereign risks. The Negative Outlook on the ratings could be
revised to Stable if Fitch makes a similar revision to its
Negative Outlook for the sovereign rating.

The bank's ratings could be downgraded in case of a steep
deterioration of its profitability metrics to levels below an
operating profit ROAA of 1% and/or Fitch Core Capital falls below


BTG Pactual's national scale ratings could be positively affected
if the bank demonstrates continuous restoration of its funding
franchise, resulting in a greater access to long-term, not
concentrated funding and further consolidation of the bank's

Changes to the rating of BTG Pactual may lead to changes to BTGH's
ratings. An increase of its double leverage ratio above 120% or a
deterioration of its debt service metrics could also result in a
downgrade of BTGH's ratings.

Changes to the rating of BTG Pactual or BTGH may lead to changes
to PPLA's ratings. Also, the company could be downgraded if Fitch
has reason to believe that the capacity or propensity of support
from BTGH has changed, illustrated, for instance, by a lower level
of integration (either managerial, operational and / or at a
balance-sheet level) between BTG Pactual and PPLA.

In addition, a material deterioration of PPLA's financial profile
where sustained losses and/or a significant increase of its
leverage may hinder the overall financial profile of BTG Group,
may trigger a rating downgrade.

BTG Pactual and BTGH SR and SRF
A potential upgrade of BTG Pactual Support Rating and Support
Rating Floor is unlikely in the foreseeable future, since this
would arise from a material gain in systemic importance.

Fitch has taken the following rating actions:

Banco BTG Pactual S.A.
-- Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency IDRs affirmed at 'BB-',
    Outlook Negative;
-- Short-Term Foreign and Local Currency IDRs affirmed at 'B';
-- Viability Rating affirmed at 'bb-';
-- Long-term National Rating upgraded to 'A+(bra)' from 'A(bra)';
    Outlook Stable;
-- Short-term National Rating affirmed at 'F1(bra)';
-- Support Rating affirmed at '5';
-- Support Rating Floor affirmed at 'NF';
-- Senior unsecured notes due in January 2020, foreign currency
    rating affirmed at 'BB-';
-- Senior unsecured notes due in January 2023, foreign currency
    rating affirmed at 'BB-';
-- Subordinated notes due in September 2022, foreign currency
    rating affirmed at 'B';
-- Perpetual non-cumulative junior subordinated notes, foreign
    currency rating affirmed at 'B-'.

PPLA Investments LP
-- Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency IDRs affirmed at 'B+';
    Outlook Negative;
-- Support Rating affirmed at '4';
-- Senior guaranteed notes affirmed at 'BB-'.

BTG Pactual Holding S.A.
-- Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency IDRs affirmed at 'BB-',
    Outlook Negative;
-- Short-Term Foreign and Local Currency IDRs affirmed at 'B';
-- Long-term National Rating upgraded to 'A+(bra)' from 'A(bra)';
    Outlook Stable;
-- Short-term National Rating affirmed at 'F1(bra)';
-- Support Rating at affirmed '5';
-- Support Rating Floor affirmed at 'NF'.

NOVA SECURITIZACAO: Moody's Rates 26th Series of Certs. (P)Ba2
Moody's America Latina Ltda. has assigned provisional ratings of
(P) Ba2 (Global Scale, Local Currency) and (P) (National
Scale) to the 26th Series of the first issuance of real estate
certificates ("certificados de recebiveis imobiliarios" or CRI) to
be issued by Nova Securitizacao S.A. (Nova Securitizacao, the
Issuer or the Securitizadora) and backed by one series of
debentures issued by BR Properties S.A. (BR Properties).

Issuer: Nova Securitizacao S.A. - 26th Serie da Primeira Emissao

26th Serie - Primeira emissao, Assigned (P)Ba2 / (P)

The provisional ratings address the structure and characteristics
of the transaction based on the information provided to Moody's as
of February 20, 2018. Certain issues related to this transaction
have yet to be finalized. Upon conclusive review of all documents
and legal information as well as any subsequent changes in
information, Moody's will endeavor to assign definitive ratings to
the CRI issuances. If any assumptions or factors considered by
Moody's in assigning the ratings change, Moody's could change the
ratings assigned to the CRI.


The (P) Ba2 (Global Scale, Local Currency) and (P)
(National Scale) ratings assigned to the CRI are primarily based
on the willingness and ability of BR Properties (as debtor) to
honor the payments defined in transaction documents, as reflected
in the Ba2/ senior secured ratings of the underlying
debenture backing the CRI issuance. Any change in the ratings of
the debentures will lead to a change in the ratings of the CRI.

The certificates will be backed by a real estate credit note
("cedula de credito imobiliario" or CCI), which in turn is backed
by the debentures issued by BR Properties. The underlying
debentures are rated Ba2 (Global Scale, Local Currency)
(National Scale). BR Properties is responsible to maintain an
expense reserve above or at the minimum level established in the
transaction documents. BR Properties is also responsible for
covering any extraordinary expenses.

The CRI are floating rate notes, indexed to the DI (interbank
deposit rate) rate plus a spread to be determined. Interest will
be paid on a quarterly basis, followed by two principal payments
in March 2022 and March 2023.

The provisional ratings on the CRI are based on a number of
factors, among them the following:

- The willingness and ability of BR Properties (as debtor) to
make payments on the underlying debentures, rated Ba2/ BR
Properties is therefore ultimately responsible for making timely
principal and interest payments on the debentures backing the CRI.

- Pass through structure; interest risk mitigated: The payment
schedule of the CRI replicates the scheduled cash flow of the
underlying debentures, with a one-day lag, which allows adequate
timing to make payments under the CRI. The CRI payments will match
any payments on the underlying debentures. The floating rate of DI
to be paid under the CRI will be determined using the same DI
period under the underlying debenture. To mitigate the risk of the
additional one day of interest for the first interest payment, the
debentures will incorporate one extra day of interest accrual.

- BR Properties is ultimately responsible for the transaction
expenses: BR Properties will be responsible, under the transaction
documents, for all the CRI expenses. In addition, the CRI will
benefit from an expenses reserve, sized to cover any shortfall of
cash to pay down transaction expenses. BR Properties is
responsible to maintain a minimum of BRL 12,000 in the expenses
reserve throughout the life of the transaction.

- BR Properties' payment obligations under the debentures,
assignment agreement and the trust expenses related to the CRI
issuance will benefit from: (i) a fiduciary lien ("alienaáao
fiduciaria") 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 Paulo
state, and (ii) a pledge of receivables ("cessao fiduciaria") of
the tenant rent flows related to the exploration of the building.
The property is conveniently located near multiple modes of
transportation, including toll roads, airports and seaport.

- No commingling risk: BR Properties will make the payments due
on the debentures directly to the transaction trust account held
at Banco Bradesco S.A. (Ba2 negative).

- Segregated assets: The CRI benefit from a fiduciary regime
("regime fiduciario") whereby the assets backing each series of
CRI are segregated. These segregated assets are destined
exclusively for payments on the CRI as well as certain fees and
expenses, and will be segregated from all of the other assets on
the issuer's balance sheet. However, the transaction is subject to
residual legal risk because Nova Securtizaáao's real estate
credits can be affected by the securitization company's tax, labor
and pension creditors. (For more information, see the "Fiduciary
Regime and Segregation of Assets" section in the Pre-sale Report.)

BR Properties S.A. [BOVESPA: BRPR3], headquartered in Sao Paulo,
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 Ba2 / senior secured ratings of the debentures that
backs the CRI 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
global scale senior secured rating is one notch above the
company's senior unsecured (foreign currency) rating of Ba3. The
transaction is subject to final documentation and local regulatory
approval along with confirmation of the conversion of the
debentures to secured from unsecured.

Nova Securitizaáao was incorporated in 2007 as a securitization
company (companhia securitizadora de creditos imobiliarios)
authorized to issue real estate certificates (CRI) and
agribusiness certificates (CRA) as per Brazilian law nß 9,514/97.

To date, Nova Securitizaáao has issued circa 25 transactions of
CRI, totaling approximately BRL1.5 billion, with an outstanding
amount of CRI of BRL 1.2 billion. Nova Securitizaáao financial
auditor is BLB Auditores Independentes.

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

Any changes in the senior secured ratings of the underlying
debentures will lead to a change in the ratings on the CRI.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was "Moody's
Approach to Rating Repackaged Securities" published in June 2015.

More information on Moody's analysis of the 26th Series of the
first issuance of real estate certificates of Nova Securitizaáao
is available in the pre-sale report to be published on Moody's

C A Y M A N  I S L A N D S

SCOTTISH HOLDINGS: U.S. Trustee Forms Three-Member Committee
Andrew Vara, acting U.S. trustee for Region 3, on Feb. 20
appointed three creditors to serve on the official committee of
unsecured creditors in the Chapter 11 case of Scottish Holdings,

The committee members are:

     (1) Wilmington Trust Corporation as Indenture Trustee
         Attn: Rita Marie Ritrovato & Steven Cimalore
         1100 N Market Street
         Wilmington, DE 19890
         Tel: (302) 636 5137
         Fax: (302) 636-4140

     (2) Hildene Opportunities Master Fund, Ltd.
         Attn: Jennifer Nam
         700 Canal Street, Suite 12C
         Stamford, CT 06902
         Tel: (203) 517-2555
         Fax: (203) 517-2548

     (3) Security Life of Denver Insurance Co.
         Attn: John Longwell, Esq.
         901 K Street, Suite 220
         Washington, D.C. 20001
         Tel: (202) 383-1772

Official creditors' committees have the right to employ legal and
accounting professionals and financial advisors, at a debtor's
expense.  They may investigate the debtor's business and financial
affairs.  Importantly, official committees serve as fiduciaries to
the general population of creditors they represent.

            About Scottish Holdings and Scottish Annuity
                 & Life Insurance Company (Cayman)

Scottish Holdings, Inc., and Scottish Annuity & Life Insurance
Company (Cayman) operate as subsidiaries of Scottish Re Group Ltd.
Scottish Re Group Limited -- is a
holding company organized under the laws of the Cayman Islands
with its principal executive office in Bermuda.  Through its
operating subsidiaries, the company is engaged in the reinsurance
of life insurance, annuities and annuity-type products.  These
products are written by life insurance companies and other
financial institutions primarily located in the United States.
Scottish Re Group has operating companies in Bermuda, Ireland, and
the United States.

Scottish Holdings and Scottish Annuity sought protection under
Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code (Bankr. D. Del. Lead Case No.
18-10160) on Jan. 28, 2018.  In the petition signed by CEO Gregg
Klinenberg, the Debtor estimated assets and liabilities of $1
billion to $10 billion.

The Debtors hired HOGAN LOVELLS US LLP as bankruptcy counsel;
LLP as special counsel; and KEEFE, BRUYETTE & WOODS, INC., as
investment banker.

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Leader to Address a Much Calmer Country
Dominican Today reports that President Danilo Medina will address
the National Assembly for the sixth consecutive time to render
account of the last 12 months of his term with a political and
social ambiance more favorable than last year.

In February last year, Medina faced a country overshadowed by the
Green March's first anti-corruption and anti-impunity rallies held
in Santo Domingo and Santiago, as the population began to question
the scope of the bribery scandal unleashed by the Brazilian
company, Odebrecht, according to Dominican Today.

He was also facing the opposition's scathing critique over the
tender process on the contract for the Punta Catalina power plant,
the report notes.

President Medina will have in his favor the International Monetary
Fund's (IMF) most recent report that despite a slowdown compared
with the 2014-2016 period, economic growth will continue and could
reach as high as 5.5% this year, the report relays.

Also in his favor is the political opposition's struggle with
internal disputes for control, and the planning of conventions and
primaries, the report notes.

The Green March's loss of steam is also in Medina's favor, the
report says.

The report discloses that President Medina is also expected to
announce the start of operation of the Punta Catalina power plant,
the Santo Domingo Cable Car, the 2B line of the Santo Domingo
Metro and the Domingo Savio urban renewal project.

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 REP: Economic Upswing Didn't Trickle Down to Poorest
Dominican Today reports that Central America, Panama and the
Dominican Republic posted a 3.8% economic expansion in 2017, but
hasn't led to significant changes in reducing poverty or improving
income distribution, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

The statement is part of the conclusions of the regional
macroeconomic report published by the IDB, "Inclusive Growth:
Challenges and Opportunities for Central America and the Dominican
Republic," according to Dominican Today.

The report was released in the country after the meeting of
governors of the region in Punta Cana (east), Dominican Today

In recent years, the region has benefited from a favorable
international context, "but unfortunately, we haven't seen this
boom reach the most vulnerable social sectors," said Veronica
Zavala, general manager of the Central American Countries
Department, Haiti, Mexico, Panama and the Dominican Republic of
the IDB, in a statement issued by the body's office in Santo
Domingo, Dominican Today relays.

"It's necessary for the region to maximize the impact of the
assets it already has, such as the growing labor force, its
financial system or its high commercial and financial integration,
to accelerate growth and thus promote a more equitable
distribution of the benefits of an economic expansion," Dominican
Today quoted Ms. Zavala as saying.

"In an environment of growing uncertainty about the direction of
the world economy, it's recommended that the authorities of the
region adopt actions and policies to boost their growth and
increase its inclusiveness," the analysis added, notes the report.

The report analyzes a series of determinants that affect the
accumulation of human capital and its influence on economic growth
and highlights characteristics of the individual's home and
individuals, which affect the likelihood of accessing education
and health services, according to the statement obtained by
Dominican Today.

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.


JAMAICA: Heavy Rains Affected Agri., Forestry & Fishing Sectors
RJR News reports that heavy rains affected the Agriculture,
Forestry and Fishing sector in Jamaica during the October to
December quarter.

It contracted at a faster pace when compared to the decline in the
September 2017 quarter, according to RJR News.

The performance of the industry largely reflected a decline in
domestic crop production as traditional export crops increased,
the report notes.

The Bank of Jamaica says the contraction in domestic crop
production reflected the continued impact of torrential rainfall
experienced in May which was exacerbated by heavy rains during the
quarter, the report relays.

In contrast, animal farming grew due to an increase in poultry
meat production, the report says.

The growth in traditional export crops mainly reflected increased
production of coffee and banana, the report notes.

Cocoa production was adversely affected by the lingering impact of
the frosty pod disease, the report adds.

Meanwhile, Jamaica's mining and quarrying recorded strong growth
during the October to December quarter, the report says.

According to the Bank of Jamaica's quarterly monetary policy
report, this reflected expansions in alumina and bauxite
production due to higher capacity utilization, the report notes.

The increase in alumina production largely reflected the restart
of the Alpart plant and a recovery from the operational challenges
that were experienced at some of the plants, the report relays.

Average aluminum prices for the three months recorded increases of
23 per cent and 4.6 per cent, relative to the December 2016 and
the September 2017 quarters, the report says.

This rapid increase largely reflected the impact of China's
efforts to reduce surplus production capacity and limit industrial
pollution, 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.


MEXICO: Cancels Meeting; Trump Refuses to Avoid Border-Wall Talk
Santiago Perez and Peter Nicholas at The Wall Street Journal
report that plans for a meeting between President Donald Trump and
Mexico's Enrique Pena Nieto have been shelved for the second time
in a year over disagreements about the funding of a border wall,
Trump administration officials said.

The border wall has been a key issue for Mr. Trump since he began
campaigning for the presidency but has strained relations between
the two countries and enraged Mexicans, according to The Wall
Street Journal.

Messrs. Trump and Pena Nieto had a "tense" phone call lasting
nearly an hour that culminated in what U.S. officials described as
a mutual decision to put off a meeting at the White House, the
report notes.

Things got difficult as Mr. Trump was "exasperated" at Mr. Pena
Nieto's insistence that the U.S. president steer clear of talking
about his campaign pledge that Mexico would pay for construction
of the border wall, senior U.S. and Mexican officials said, the
report relays.

"The two leaders mutually agreed now was not the immediate right
time for a visit but that they would have their teams continue to
talk and work together," said a White House official, the report

After the call, Mr. Trump directed his senior adviser and son-in-
law, Jared Kushner, to call Mr. Pena Nieto back to "discuss ways
to keep moving forward on other issues," said another U.S.
official, the report discloses.

The cancellation of the latest meeting was earlier reported by the
Washington Post and Mexican weekly news magazine Proceso, the
report relays.

Both governments had disclosed plans for the meeting to be held by
the end of this month, the report notes.  But with Mexico holding
presidential elections in July, the issue of the wall and Mr. Pena
Nieto's responses to Mr. Trump are even more sensitive, the report
says.  The subject has sparked a nationalist backlash in Mexico
and has also dented Mr. Pena Nieto's political standing, the
report notes.

When Mr. Trump visited Mexico as a candidate in August 2016, the
two sides agreed not to talk about the wall, but Mr. Pena Nieto
was criticized at home for failing to insist at a joint press
conference that Mexico wouldn't pay for it, the report relays.

Since then, Mexican officials have consistently said the country
won't pay for the wall, and Mr. Trump has repeatedly insisted
Mexico would fund it, directly or indirectly, even as the
administration secures budget funds for its construction, the
report relays.

The dispute over payment of the wall led Mr. Pena Nieto to cancel
a planned state visit to Washington in the weeks following Mr.
Trump's inauguration, although the two heads of state met last
year at a meeting of the Group of 20 in Germany while largely
avoiding the controversy, the report relays.

The decision to cancel the visit was understandable, said Michael
Shifter, president of the Inter-American Dialogue, a Washington
think tank, the report notes.

"It would be completely humiliating for Mr. Pena Nieto to show and
agree that Mexico will pay for the wall," Mr. Shifter said, the
report relays.  "No self-respecting Mexican president would do
it," he added.

With Mexican presidential elections less than five months away,
the canceled trip could boost leftist nationalist Andres Manuel
Lopez Obrador, who is leading in polls, the report notes.  Mr.
Lopez Obrador "has much more of a nationalist message which will
resonate more with this tension over building the wall," he added.

The canceled trip will also complicate negotiations among the
U.S., Mexico and Canada to revamp the North American Free Trade
Agreement, the report says.

"It complicates Nafta negotiations and a host of other issues the
U.S. has with Mexico," Mr. Shifter added, notes the report.

The latest disagreement comes as a seventh round of talks to
redraw the North American Free Trade Agreement is set to get under
way in Mexico City, the report relays.  Immigration and the border
wall aren't part of the trade talks, which have made some progress
since they began last August, although some sticking points
remain, the report says.

The Feb. 14 announcement about plans for a bilateral meeting was
seen in Mexico as a sign that relations with the U.S. were
improving, the report notes.  In a statement that day, Mexico's
government attached photos of Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray
having a candid chat over lunch with several senior Trump
administration officials, including Mr. Kushner and U.S. Commerce
Secretary Wilbur Ross, the report relays.

Michael Anton, a spokesman for the White House's National Security
Council, said in a statement, "We enjoy a great relationship with
Mexico, and the two administrations have been working for a year
to deepen our cooperation across a range of issues including
security, immigration, trade and economics," the report notes.

But Mexico's failed efforts to persuade Mr. Trump to avoid talking
about the wall during the planned meeting shows how delicate the
topic is for the Mexican public. Opinion polls show that most
Mexicans reject Mr. Trump and his immigration policies, the report

Mr. Trump's 2016 visit to Mexico led to the resignation of Mr.
Videgaray as finance minister after his involvement in arranging
the meeting with Mr. Kushner became public. Mr. Videgaray returned
to Mr. Pena Nieto's cabinet as foreign minister after Mr. Trump
won the U.S. election, the report notes.

There is broad consensus in Mexico against Mr. Trump's proposed
border wall, and that goes beyond ideology, income levels or party
lines, said Laura Rojas, a senator with the conservative National
Action Party, the report discloses.

"There can't be a dialogue between presidents if there is no
common understanding on fundamental issues," said Ms. Rojas, who
belongs to the Senate's foreign relations committee, the report
says.  "If Mr. Trump refuses to accept the reality that Mexico
will not pay a cent for the construction of the wall, a meeting
isn't possible," he added.

P U E R T O    R I C O

LABORATORIO CLINICO: Seeks Feb. 19 Plan Filing Extension
Laboratorio Clinico Los Robles, Inc., asks the U.S. Bankruptcy
Court for the District of Puerto Rico to allow the extension of
time until Feb. 19, 2018 to file the Disclosure Statement and the
Chapter 11 Small Business Plan.

The Court has previously granted the Debtor's motion for extension
of time to file the Disclosure Statement and the Chapter 11 Small
Business Plan to Jan. 29, 2017.

The Debtor has previously informed the Court that due to the
damages caused by Hurricane Irma and later with Hurricane Maria,
electricity was connected only until January 26, 2018. The
situation with the electricity has impaired the Debtor's ability
to complete the Disclosure Statement, the Chapter 11 Small
Business Plan and other documents that need to be revised and

Now, the Debtor is still trying to complete all the requirements
in order to be ready to file the Disclosure and the plan. As such,
the Debtor request an extension of time until February 19, 2017
due to this exigent situation that it is more likely than not that
the Court will confirm the plan within a reasonable period of

             About Laboratorio Clinico Los Robles

Laboratorio Clinico Los Robles, Inc. filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy
petition (Bankr. D.P.R. Case No. 17-03196) on May 5, 2017. The
petition was signed by the Debtor's president, Luis Armando
Berrios Diaz.  At the time of filing, the Debtor estimated
$500,000 to $1 million in assets and $100,000 to $500,000 in
liabilities.  Ada M. Conde, Esq., at Estudio Legal 1611 Corp, is
the Debtor's bankruptcy counsel.

LRJ GLOBAL: Hires Santiago & Gonzalez Law as Attorney
LRJ Global Quality Concrete, Inc. seeks approval from the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for the District of Puerto Rico to employ Nydia
Gonzalez Ortiz, Esq., and the Law Offices of Santiago & Gonzalez
Law, LLC as Chapter 11 counsel.

Nydia Gonzalez Ortiz, Esq., and Santiago & Gonzalez Law, LLC, have
bee paid a $4,000 retainer fee, against which the law firm will
bill on the basis of $250.00 per hour, plus expenses, for work to
be performed by Nydia Gonzalez Ortiz, Esq., and $125.00 per hour,
plus expenses, for work to be performed by the firm's associate.

Nydia Gonzalez Ortiz, Esq. attests that she and her law firm are
disinterested persons or entities, as defined in 11 U.S.C. Section

The Counsel can be reached through:

     Nydia Gonzalez Ortiz, Esq
     11 Betances Street
     Yauco, PR 00698
     Tels: (787) 267-2205/267-2252

          About LRJ Global Quality Concrete, Inc

Based in Yauco, Puerto Rico, LRJ Global Quality Concrete filed a
voluntary petition for reorganization pursuant to Chapter 11 of
the Bankruptcy Code (Bankr. D.P.R. Case No. 17-04359) on June 19,
2017.  The Debtor is represented by Nydia Gonzalez Ortiz, Esq. of
Santiago & Gonzalez. The Debtors' assets and liabilities are both
below $1 million.


VENEZUELA: Opposition to Boycott Vote
Kejal Vyas at The Wall Street Journal reports that Venezuela's
largest opposition parties said they would boycott the April 22
presidential elections, casting further doubt on the legitimacy of
the vote in which leftist leader Nicol†s Maduro is seeking a
second, six-year term.

Mr. Maduro responded soon after, saying that not only would the
presidential election proceed but that he wanted voters to also
choose members of a new congress, according to The Wall Street
Journal.  That would mean the end of the opposition-controlled
legislature, which has already been shorn of its power by other
actions of the president and his supporters, the report notes.

The opposition's boycott call came as the U.S. and countries
around the Americas have condemned the planned election as a farce
meant to tighten Mr. Maduro's already firm authoritarian grip on
the country, the report relays.  The president's total control of
the electoral process and past allegations of voter fraud all but
ensure an unfair race, Western diplomats and election monitors
say, along with his moves to bar some popular rivals from running
while jailing others, the report says.

Numerous political opponents of Mr. Maduro have called for
snubbing the vote since talks between the government and the
opposition aimed at setting election terms broke down earlier this
month, the report discloses.  A former governor, Henri Falcon, who
has cast himself as an outsider candidate, is still expected to
run. But the opposition's 18-party Democratic Unity Roundtable, or
MUD, for the first time jointly declared its abstention, the
report notes.

"Don't count on the people to back something that up until now has
a fraudulent and illegitimate presidential election," MUD
coordinator Angel Oropeza said, the report says.  He said the
parties in the group wouldn't participate without guarantees of a
level playing field, including replacing electoral officials
closely allied with Mr. Maduro, the report relays.  The government
has refused to make such concessions, the report notes.

"There will be an election, whether or not there's an opposition,"
Mr. Maduro said in a televised address earlier, the report relays.

Mr. Maduro is seeking to take advantage of the electorate's
reluctance to participate in a system widely perceived as rigged,
according to Francisco Rodriguez, who tracks Venezuela at the New
York investment firm Torino Capital, the report discloses.

Just under half of the 931 respondents of a flash Venebarometro
poll conducted said they were sure to cast a ballot in the coming
vote, while a quarter of those surveyed said they would likely
hold back, the report relays.

The boycott strategy is a gamble for the opposition, which has
effectively ceded control to the Socialist Party by abstaining
from past elections, the report notes.

A potential beneficiary of the current boycott could be a third-
party contender like Mr. Falcon, who broke ranks with the
Socialist movement but has never fully been accepted by the
opposition, the report relays.  The Venebaromentro poll found Mr.
Falcon, with 32% of intended votes, narrowly beating Mr. Maduro in
a hypothetical head-to-head race, the report relays.

"There are multiple examples in which authoritarian governments
lose power after trying to rig an election," said Mr. Rodr°guez,
citing Chile in 1988 and Nicaragua in 1990, the report notes.

A victory for Mr. Maduro may help him shore up political power in
the near term. But he risks sharpening an increasingly precarious
humanitarian crisis and drawing further sanctions that Washington
and other governments in the region have promised to levy if
Caracas goes ahead with the vote, the report notes.

While the government, by law, could have called the election any
time this year, Mr. Maduro's critics say he is rushing to hold the
vote as early as possible before the country's economic pain
deepens, the report notes.  Rampant food shortages and a fast-
depreciating bolivar currency have punished Venezuelans, who the
International Monetary Fund expects will be grappling with 13,000%
inflation by the end of the year, the report relays.

Two-thirds of respondents to an annual poll on living standards
reported losing an average of 24 pounds in weight in 2017 because
of difficulties accessing food, the report dicloses.  The Encovi
poll, which was released by a consortium of Venezuelan
universities, also classified 87% of the population as living in
poverty as measured on several factors, including salary and
access to public services, the report says.

In speeches, Mr. Maduro says the future of social programs,
including distribution of the state-subsidized food his
compatriots depend on, hinges on his reelection. His foes say that
amounts to extortion, the report relays.

"We need an election where the people can vote with confidence . .
. where the people aren't forced to vote for a box of food," said
Juan Guanipa, an opposition leader supporting the boycott, 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


Monday's edition of the TCR-LA delivers a list of indicative
prices for bond issues that reportedly trade well below par.
Prices are obtained by TCR-LA editors from a variety of outside
sources during the prior week we think are reliable.   Those
sources may not, however, be complete or accurate.  The Monday
Bond Pricing table is compiled on the Friday prior to publication.
Prices reported are not intended to reflect actual trades.  Prices
for actual trades are probably different.  Our objective is to
share information, not make markets in publicly traded securities.
Nothing in the TCR-LA constitutes an offer or solicitation to buy
or sell any security of any kind.  It is likely that some entity
affiliated with a TCR-LA editor holds some position in the
issuers' public debt and equity securities about which we report.

Tuesday's edition of the TCR-LA features a list of companies with
insolvent balance sheets obtained by our editors based on the
latest balance sheets publicly available a day prior to
publication.  At first glance, this list may look like the
definitive compilation of stocks that are ideal to sell short.
Don't be fooled.  Assets, for example, reported at historical cost
net of depreciation may understate the true value of a firm's
assets.  A company may establish reserves on its balance sheet for
liabilities that may never materialize.  The prices at which
equity securities trade in public market are determined by more
than a balance sheet solvency test.

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


S U B S C R I P T I O N   I N F O R M A T I O N

Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America is a daily newsletter
co-published by Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless
Hills, Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Washington, D.C.,
USA, Marites O. Claro, Joy A. Agravante, Rousel Elaine T.
Fernandez, Julie Anne L. Toledo, Ivy B. Magdadaro, and Peter A.
Chapman, Editors.

Copyright 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
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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,
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