TCRLA_Public/180301.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

               Thursday, March 1, 2018, Vol. 19, No. 43



BRAZIL LOAN: Fitch Lowers Rating on US$661.9MM Notes to BB-

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: To Deploy Soldiers on Haitian Border

E L  S A L V A D O R

AES EL SALVADOR: Moody's Hikes CFR & Senior Unsecured Rating to B2


JAMAICA: JSE Ends 2017 With Marginal Dip in Profit


BANCO VE POR MAS: Fitch Affirms BB LT IDR; Removes Rating From RWN
CONTROLADORA MABE: Fitch Affirms BB+ FC LT IDR, Outlook Positive
MEXICO: Judge Who Trump Attacked Rules in Favor of Border Wall

P U E R T O    R I C O

CATHOLIC SCHOOL: Taps Luis R. Carrasquillo as Financial Consultant
NUTRITION CARE: U.S. Trustee Directed to Appoint Ombudsman
TOYS R US: Spokesman Debunks Report on Closure of 200 Stores


VENEZUELA: President Maduro Disclosed Re-election Candidacy
VENEZUELA: Says US Sanctions Hampering Debt Renegotiation

                            - - - - -


BRAZIL LOAN: Fitch Lowers Rating on US$661.9MM Notes to BB-
Fitch Ratings has downgraded the rating assigned to the senior
secured pass-through notes issued by Brazil Loan Trust I (the
issuer) as follows:

-- USD661.9 million notes to 'BB-sf'/Outlook Stable from
    'BBsf'/Outlook Negative.

The transaction is a pass-through securitization of a 10-year
amortizing loan originated by Bank of America N.A. (A+/Stable) to
the Brazilian State of Maranhao (BB-/Stable). The loan is
guaranteed on an unconditional and irrevocable basis by the
Federative Republic of Brazil (BB-/Stable).

Payments on the loan are made to a bank account of Wilmington
Trust N.A. (administrative agent; A/Stable). On the next day,
funds are transferred to an Issuer account at the Bank of New York
Mellon (indenture trustee; AA-/Stable). Payments are made under
the notes immediately thereafter.

Fitch's rating addresses timely payment of interest and principal
on the scheduled payment date until legal final maturity.


The downgrade on the notes reflects the downgrade on Brazil's
Credit Quality. The transaction benefits from an unconditional an
irrevocable guarantee from Brazil as primary obligor on the
underlying loan. Therefore, the rating of senior secured pass-
through notes is equivalent to Brazil's sovereign long-term Issuer
Default Ratings (IDRs). Fitch downgraded Brazil's Foreign Currency
(FC) IDR on Feb. 23, 2018, to 'BB-'/Outlook Stable from
'BB'/Outlook Negative.

Brazil's downgrade reflects its persistent and large fiscal
deficits, a high and growing government debt burden and the
failure to legislate reforms that would improve the structural
performance of public finances. The decision of the government not
to put the social security reform to a congressional vote
represents an important setback in the reform agenda that
undermines confidence in the medium-term trajectory of public
finances and the political commitment to address the issue. The
October Presidential and Congressional elections mean that the
social security reform will be delayed until after the elections
and there is uncertainty whether the next administration will be
able to secure its approval in a timely manner.

The 'BB-' rating and Stable Outlook also reflect Fitch's
expectation that Brazil's external balance sheet will remain
relatively strong during the forecast period and provide a cushion
against external and/or domestic shocks. The high level of
international reserves, a strong net sovereign external creditor
position and the significant reduction in the current account
deficit provide the authorities room to maneuver in the face of a
shock. Moreover, deep and developed domestic government debt
markets continue to provide financing for the large fiscal
deficit. Brazil's economic diversity, well entrenched civil
institutions, and a higher than peer median per capita income are
supportive of its credit profile.

The rating of the notes also considers the timely payments of
interest and principal due to date. All semi-annual payments due
until January 2018 were made directly by the State of Maranhao.
The next interest and principal payment date is July 23, 2018.


The transaction's rating is sensitive to changes to the FC IDR
assigned to Brazil as guarantor on an unconditional and
irrevocable basis. Whilst the State of Maranhao is rated below the
Sovereign, the rating of the transaction will not be sensitive to
changes to the rating of the State. If the rating assigned to
Maranhao's FC obligations surpasses the rating of Brazil, the
transaction's rating will be rated at the State of Maranhao's

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: To Deploy Soldiers on Haitian Border
EFE News reports that Dominican Republic President Danilo Medina
said that 900 soldiers, supported by 90 vehicles and three
helicopters, will be immediately deployed to secure the borders,
especially the boundary with Haiti.

President Medina made the announcement at a moment when some
sectors of Dominican society are demanding that the government
take action against a "quiet invasion" of undocumented immigrants
from Haiti, according to EFE News.

"We will coordinate all the institutions that operate on the
border: the army, the navy, the air force, Border Security and the
General Migration Directorate, so that Dominican law is respected
on the border," the president said in a speech to a joint session
of Congress, the report notes.

President Medina said that the borders will also be monitored from
the air and sea and that drones and surveillance cameras would be
part of the effort, the report relays.

"We Dominicans have our own national project, which isn't better
or worse than others, but it is ours.  This is very clear to us
and it is our responsibility to strengthen it and to work to
defend it," President Medina said to the applause from lawmakers,
officials and guests, the report notes.

President Medina said that the government's mission is to protect
the people and the country's heritage and territory, the report

President Medina acknowledged, however, that it was unrealistic to
expect to have secure, orderly borders if at the same time
Dominicans "fuel the demand for undocumented workers in sectors
such as agriculture, construction and in our own homes," the
report notes.

In the past, the Dominican government cited unofficial estimates
of around 1 million Haitians living in the country, most of them
illegal immigrants working in agriculture and construction, the
report relays.

The Dominican Republic and Haiti share the Caribbean island of
Hispaniola, with Haiti in the western portion, the report says.

Though both countries are poor, Haiti is destitute, and Haitians
cross the border to do work that many Dominicans will not do, such
as harvesting sugarcane, the report adds.

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

E L  S A L V A D O R

AES EL SALVADOR: Moody's Hikes CFR & Senior Unsecured Rating to B2
Moody's Investors Service upgraded to B2 from B3 the Corporate
Family Rating (CFR) and senior unsecured rating of AES El Salvador
Trust II bis (Trust II). The outlook remains stable.


The upgrade of the ratings of Trustco II to B2 with stable outlook
reflects the upgrade on February 23, 2018 of the ratings of the
government of El Salvador to B3 from Caa1 also with stable

Trust II issued a 10-year bullet 6.75% US$310 million Notes due in
2023 for the benefit of four electricity distribution affiliates
in El Salvador: Compa§°a de Alumbrado Electrico de San Salvador,
S.A. de C.V. (CAESS); the 98.29%-owned subsidiary of CAESS,
Distribuidora Electrica de Usulutan, S.A. de C.V. (DEUSEM); AES
CLESA S. en C. de C.V. (CLESA); and Empresa Electrica de Oriente,
S.A. de C.V. ("EEO"). These four distribution utilities
(collectively the guarantors) jointly, unconditionally and
severally guarantee the debt of Trust II. Trust II's ratings and
stable outlook reflect the consolidated credit profile of its four
guarantors given a joint and several guaranty. It further reflects
Trust II's dependence on the guarantors' payments under a
promissory note to service the $310 million bonds.

The ratings also factor in the guarantors' robust consolidated
credit metrics for the B-rating category, the regulated nature and
relatively low business risk profile of their operations, as well
as Moody's opinion that the regulatory framework is overall credit
supportive. This view considers the credit constructive outcome of
the 2018-2022 tariff review that allow the guarantors to earn a
10% annual return on the regulated distribution assets based on
their replacement cost before taxes. The ratings also consider
that the guarantors face no foreign exchange risk exposure and a
leading position in El Salvadorian electricity distribution sector
but take into consideration their modest size.

Importantly, the B2 ratings and stable outlook also consider the
guarantors' liquidity profile that remains strong despite their
exposure to delays in the collection of the electric subsidies
from the government. At year-end 2017, the guarantors' recorded
cash on hand that totaled $37 million while their $16.5 million
committed credit facilities (due in 2020) remain fully available
albeit borrowings are subject to conditionality, a credit
negative. Key drivers of the guarantor's robust liquidity profile
include their modest dividend distributions of $7 million last
year as well as the reduction of the subsidies that limit their
annual exposure to $30 million since March 2017 and a more timely
recovered of the due amounts with the current due amount
aggregating $3 million. The B2 and stable outlook also factor in
Moody's expectation of a timely recovery of the subsidy amounts
during 2018 following the Legislative Assembly's approval in
January 2018 of a $5.5 billion budget for 2018 and a $350.1
million in long-term financing, underpin Moody's expectation that
the guarantors will be able to collect the due amounts on timely
basis during 2018.

Moody's liquidity analysis assigns limited value to non-committed
facilities but Moody's acknowledge that the guarantors have around
$37 million available under its four non-committed credit (total
amount: US$52 million). The guarantors are in the process of
renewing these non-committed credit facilities that are subject to
annual renewals most of them in January of each year. The B2
ratings also consider the growing refinancing risk of the bullet
Global Notes; however, this will only mature in March 2023.
Moreover, the B2 ratings also acknowledge that, under the terms of
the Global Notes, the structure has a six month interest only debt
service reserve account and the incurrence of long-term debt is
restricted to reporting a maximum debt to capitalization of 65%.


The prospects of an upgrade of Trustco II are limited given the B3
sovereign rating for El Salvador.


A downgrade of Trustco's B2 ratings is likely to follow a
downgrade of the sovereign rating. Negative momentum is likely if
Moody's concludes that the guarantors' financial and/or liquidity
profiles are no longer appropriate to maintain the one-notch
difference between Trustco II's ratings and the sovereign rating.

Negative momentum is also likely if the consolidated key credit
metrics deteriorate significantly; specifically, if the
consolidated interest coverage ratio and the CFO pre-W/C to debt
fell below 2x and 5%, respectively, for an extended period. An
aggressive distribution policy particularly amid the current
delays to collect the subsidy payments, would also likely result
in a downgrade.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Regulated
Electric and Gas Utilities published in June 2017.

The guarantors' service territory extends over 80% of the country
while their market share in terms of the national electricity
demand exceeds 65%. They are subject to the regulatory overview of
the Superintendencia General de Electricidad y Telecomunicaciones
(SIGET). Their ultimate parent company is AES Corporation (Ba2
stable) which holds indirect ownership stakes that range in
between 80.08% (CLESA), 75.11% (CAESS) and 89.11% (EEO), averaging
80% overall. For the Last Twelve Month period ended September
2017, the guarantors reported Cash of Operations of around US$87
million (excluding net interest) and consolidated assets of $794


JAMAICA: JSE Ends 2017 With Marginal Dip in Profit
RJR News reports that despite an increase in revenue, the Jamaica
Stock Exchange (JSE) ended its 2017 financial year with a marginal
dip in profit.

It published on Feb. 27 its financial results for the year,
according to RJR News.

Profit for the twelve months totaled J$220.6 million down from
$223.5 million in the previous year, the report notes.

The JSE's revenue increased to near one billion dollars, the
report relays.

During 2017, the Stock Exchange raked in $991 million up from $865
million in 2016, 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


BANCO VE POR MAS: Fitch Affirms BB LT IDR; Removes Rating From RWN
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Banco Ve por Mas, S.A., Institucion de
Banca Multiple's (BBX+) Long- and Short-term Foreign and Local
Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) and its Viability Ratings
(VR) at 'BB', 'B' and 'bb', respectively. BBX+ and its affiliates'
National ratings have also been affirmed. All the ratings have
been removed from Rating Watch Negative (RWN). The Rating Outlook
is Stable.

The removal of the RWN status on BBX+ and affiliates' ratings
follows the decision in December 2017 by the management of BBX+
not to complete the acquisition and merger of Bankaool, S.A.,
Institucion de Banca Multiple (Bankaool). Instead, BBX+ recently
completed a loan portfolio purchase.

Fitch believes this loan portfolio purchase does not entail a
material deterioration of BBX+'s financial performance,
specifically in its capital adequacy, profitability and asset
quality, which underpins the removal of the RWN status. Despite
the agency's belief that there could be execution risks on the
acquired loans, the terms and conditions of the purchase agreement
could lessen potential asset quality problems and increasing
credit costs that could add additional pressure on BBX+'s already
weaker profitability than its closest peers, which explains the
Stable Outlook assigned.


BBX+'s IDRs and National Ratings are driven by its VR of 'bb',
which reflects the bank's less diversified business model, small
franchise, reasonable liquidity profile and acceptable asset
quality metrics, as well as its adequate capital metrics - when
compared to local and international peers - despite its
accelerated loan growth.

Fitch believes that the decision by the management of BBX+ to
acquire a loan portfolio, instead of completing the acquisition
and merger of Bankaool, will not have a material immediate impact
on BBX+'s financial profile and could provide an opportunity to
strengthen its moderate franchise in the agricultural financing
sector. BBX+ acquired a net loan portfolio of approximately MXN1.3
billion, equivalent to around 4% of BBX+'s total loan portfolio as
of November 2017.

Fitch's baseline scenario does not expect a material deterioration
in BBX+'s asset quality or capitalization. With preliminary data
for BBX+ as of the fourth quarter of 2017 (4Q17), the NPL ratio,
including Bankaool's loan portfolio, stood at a reasonable 1.7%.
BBX+'s operating profits to risk weighted assets (RWAs) remains
below 1%, which compares below other Mexican medium-sized banks
and is among the bank's weakest links from a credit perspective.
Impairments in BBX+'s organic loan portfolio have been rising
recently. If this trend is not properly contained, Fitch believes
that earnings could be further pressured, which could drive
negative rating actions.

Since Casa de Bolsa Ve por Mas, S.A. de C.V. (CBBX+) and
Arrendadora Ve por Mas, S.A. de C.V. Sofom E.R.'s (ABX+) National
Ratings are based on the likely support from their ultimate
parent, Grupo Financiero Ve por Mas (GFBX+), whose
creditworthiness is highly associated with BBX+, any rating action
on the subsidiaries is contingent on any actions taken on the
bank's National Ratings. As a result, the Rating Watch Negative is
also removed from CBBX+'s and ABX+'s ratings.

BBX+ has local senior unsecured debt at the level of its National
Rating, which was also removed from the Rating Watch Negative.
This is based on Fitch's assessment that the likelihood of default
of any given senior unsecured obligation is the same as the
likelihood of default of the issuing bank.


BBX+ and its affiliates' ratings could be downgraded if the bank's
profitability deteriorates further, due to additional credit
costs. Specifically, if the bank's operating profitability to RWAs
remains consistently below 1% that drives a Fitch Core Capital to
RWAs ratios sustained below a 12%. NPL ratios sustained above 2%
could also drive a rating downgrade.

BBX+'s ratings could be upgraded in the medium term if the bank
maintains asset quality and credit costs under strict control, so
that its operating profitability metrics are improved and
consistently maintained above 1% (operating earnings as % of risks
weighted assets), while maintaining adequate capitalization ratios
and stable business volumes.

The bank's senior debt ratings would mirror any change in the
bank's national scale ratings.

CBBX+'s and ABX+'s ratings will be aligned with their ultimate
parent (GFBX+), whose credit quality is reflected in BBX+. Any
change in the bank's ratings would have a similar effect on the
ratings of both CBB+ and ABX+.

Fitch has taken the following ratings actions as indicated:

-- Long-Term Foreign Currency IDR affirmed at 'BB'; Removed from
    Rating Watch Negative, Stable Outlook;
-- Short-Term Foreign Currency IDR affirmed at 'B'; Removed from
    Rating Watch Negative;
-- Long-Term Local Currency IDR affirmed at 'BB'; Removed from
    Rating Watch Negative, Stable Outlook;
-- Short-Term Local Currency IDR affirmed at 'B'; Removed from
    Rating Watch Negative;
-- Viability Rating affirmed at 'bb'; Removed from Rating Watch
-- National Long-Term Rating affirmed at 'A(mex)'; Removed from
    Rating Watch Negative, Stable Outlook;
-- National Short-Term Rating affirmed at 'F1(mex)'; Removed from
    Rating Watch Negative;
-- Senior Unsecured Long-Term Debt affirmed at 'A(mex)'; Removed
    from Rating Watch Negative.

-- National Long-Term Rating affirmed at 'A(mex)'; Removed from
    Rating Watch Negative, Stable Outlook ;
-- National Short-Term Rating affirmed at 'F1(mex)'; Removed from
    Rating Watch Negative.

-- National Long-Term Rating affirmed at 'A(mex)'; Removed from
    Rating Watch Negative, Stable Outlook ;
-- National Short-Term Rating 'F1(mex)'; Removed from Rating
    Watch Negative.

CONTROLADORA MABE: Fitch Affirms BB+ FC LT IDR, Outlook Positive
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Controladora Mabe, S.A. de C.V.'s
ratings at 'BB+'. The Rating Outlook is Positive.

The Positive Outlook reflects Fitch's expectations for further
strengthening of Mabe's credit profile given stronger cash flow
generation due to its awarded incremental export business. The
majority of these product lines should start to be delivered
between 2018-2019. A broader product portfolio and sourcing
synergies are also positive drivers supporting the Positive
Outlook and complement the company's solid market position
throughout the Americas resulting from the strong brand
recognition of the Mabe and GE brands.

Mabe's ratings are constrained by the ongoing NAFTA
negotiations,that threaten the continuity of North American trade
relations. Satisfactory resolution of on-going NAFTA talks along
with continued strengthening of Mabe's cash flow profile could
result in a rating upgrade. Conversely, an unfavorable outcome
from negotiations that disrupts North America's intricate supply
chains and increases trade barriers would lead to lower industry
profitability and a slowdown of the Mexican economy. This would
likely set Mabe's financial improvements back, and could cause
Fitch to revise the Outlook to Stable.


Strong Market Position: Controladora Mabe S.A. de C.V. holds a
strong business position in most of Latin America. The company has
seven manufacturing facilities in Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia and
Argentina, which allows it to compete throughout Latin America.
Mabe focuses on offering a wide product portfolio under a
multibrand strategy that targets all socioeconomic levels. It also
has long-term contracts to distribute, manufacture and export
appliances under the General Electric Co. brand and also holds
exclusive rights to distribute Haier products in Latin America.

Shareholder Focused on Appliances: Qingdao Haier Co., Ltd.
acquired GE's appliance business in 2016. The transaction included
GE's 48.4% stake in Mabe, and all terms and conditions Mabe had
with GE were maintained. Haier is a large international appliance
manufacturer aiming to increase its global presence. Since the
acquisition, Mabe and Haier have worked to implement synergies as
well as expand their product portfolios. This has resulted in new
manufacturing contracts and in a broader product line for Mabe
that includes split-system air conditioners.

Trade Policy Uncertainty: Mabe is an important manufacturer and
exporter with significant exposure to the NAFTA region. The
company manufactures a significant quantity of GE-branded products
through its joint venture with Haier. Barriers to the import of
appliances into the U.S. would hurt the industry, as most players
have established manufacturing operations to export into the U.S.
from Mexico. An unfavorable outcome to trade negotiations that
significantly increases the barriers to trade would likely delay
Mabe's ability to deleverage and result in the Outlook being
revised to Stable.

Stable Results Amid Volatility: Mabe's operating environment
remains challenging due to high input costs and increased
competition in South America. Prices of steel and aluminum have
risen sharply. Plastics prices have also climbed, which, combined
with sluggish demand for appliances in South America and higher
energy costs, has also contributed to weaker results. Positively,
housing dynamics in the U.S., where the company generates over a
third of its revenue, have lessened these effects on Mabe's
financial performance.

Credit Metrics Expected to Strengthen: Fitch projects gross
leverage at 2.7x in 2018 or about 3.0x adjusting for the factoring
of account receivables. This adjustment allows Fitch to compare
issuers that may use different sources of funding. In its
analysis, Fitch takes into account increased volumes from new
contracts, an expanded portfolio, Mabe's improved cash generation
due to the absence of nonrecurring charges, and efficiencies
resulting from consolidated manufacturing in fewer sites of larger

Recovering Cash Flow Generation: Mabe's FFO margin increased to
5.3% in 2017, compared to 5.0% in 2016, 4.7% in 2015 and 2.9% in
2014. FFO margin had been low due partly to numerous restructuring
and reorganization expenses, as well as the consolidation of
manufacturing capacity into larger production sites in Mexico and
Colombia. In addition, weak conditions in Latin America, including
more competitive dynamics in several South American markets
including Argentina, pressured financial performance. Product
repricing to reflect higher input costs, incremental exports to
North America, and realignment of production in Argentina should
allow Mabe's FFO margin to trend to around 6% in 2018 and 2019.


Mabe's major competitors in the region are Whirlpool Corp.
(BBB/Stable) and Asian manufacturers, such as LG Electronics Inc.
(BBB-/Stable), Daewoo, Samsung (A+/Stable) as well as local
producers. Mabe's solid business position is supported by its low
cost structure, proprietary brands, the strength of GE
appliances/Haier's technical capability and brand recognition.

Mabe's relatively smaller scale and lower geographic
diversification against higher-rated peers such as Whirlpool is
partially mitigated by its portfolio's strong brand recognition.
Sourcing and technical capabilities that result from being partly
owned by Haier, a large appliance manufacturer, are also positive
factor. Mabe's leverage is higher than both Whirlpool and LG
Electronics and its profitability is comparable to Whirlpool's and
higher than that of LG Electronics.


Fitch's Key Assumptions Within Fitch Rating Case for the Issuer
-- Revenues grow by mid-single digits in 2018 and 2019.
-- EBITDA margins trend toward 10% over the next few years.
-- Debt/EBITDA leverage declines over the medium term.
-- The company does not undertake meaningful shareholder
    distributions; FCF remains neutral through 2018 and turns
    positive thereafter.


Developments That May, Individually or Collectively, Lead to
Positive Rating Action
-- Increased sales volumes that result in robust cash flow
    generation, stable profitability and total adjusted
    debt/EBITDA close to 2.5x, in conjunction with strong

Developments That May, Individually or Collectively, Lead to
Negative Rating Action
-- Large debt-financed acquisitions, deterioration in
    profitability and cash flow generation from lower demand,
    and/or competitive or input cost pressures, resulting in the
    expectation of adjusted gross leverage levels consistently
    above 3.5x.


Adequate Liquidity: Mabe's liquidity is adequate. Fitch's base
case suggests Mabe could generate about USD180 million of cash
flow from operations, which together with USD140 million in cash
and good access to bank credit should allow the company to
refinance USD481 million in 2019 notes. Mabe has refinanced USD300
million of syndicated bank debt during the last year or so with a
combination of 10-year private notes and local currency bank debt
with five-year maturities.

Supporting Mabe's intrinsic liquidity is the continued demand for
the company's products and strong name recognition of the GE and
Mabe brands. Total debt was USD781 million as of Dec. 31, 2017,
consisting of USD481 million and USD175 million of notes due 2019
and 2026, respectively, and bank debt.


Fitch has affirmed Mabe's ratings as follows:

-- Foreign Currency Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at
-- Local Currency Long-Term IDR at 'BB+';
-- 7.875% senior unsecured notes due 2019 at 'BB+'.

S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'CCC+' corporate credit rating on
Maxcom Telecomunicaciones S.A.B. de C.V. The outlook remains
stable. S&P said, "At the same time, we affirmed our 'CCC+' issue-
level rating on the company's senior secured notes. The '4'
recovery rating on the notes, indicating our expectation for
average recovery (30%-50%) in the event of a payment default,
remains unchanged."

The rating affirmation reflects Maxcom's weak credit metrics and
the uncertainty about the sustainability of its business model,
because the company has struggled to materialize growth in the
past few years. With the objective to increase profitability and
preserve cash, Maxcom began the winding down of its residential
business in 2016, because it was unable to compete with larger and
better capitalized carriers. The winding down has taken a toll on
revenue and EBITDA generation; however, it allows Maxcom more
efficient use of resources, focusing its capital expenditures  on
increasing its share of the commercial segment.

Recently, the company also announced its decision to reduce its
participation in the international traffic business that holds
very low margins. This, coupled with its efficiency strategies to
reduce costs, has resulted in higher EBITDA margins. S&P said, "We
believe the company will be able to achieve double-digit EBITDA
margins for 2018; however, we expect key credit metrics to remain
weak through 2018. We estimate Maxcom has sufficient cash to fund
its operations beyond the next 12 months. Nevertheless, we are
concerned about the company's free operating cash flow (FOCF)
shortfall and the ability to refinance its 2020 senior secured

The ratings on Maxcom reflect its vulnerable competitive position
due to its operations in only a few cities in Mexico, its small
market share, smaller scale than that of larger players in the
Mexican market, limited growth potential, and margin pressures.
Additionally, frequent management changes continue to constrain
the rating.

MEXICO: Judge Who Trump Attacked Rules in Favor of Border Wall
Jacqueline Thomsen at The Hill reports that the judge whom
President Trump once attacked for his Mexican heritage has ruled
in favor of the administration in a lawsuit attempting to block
Trump's proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel, whose parents immigrated from
Mexico, ruled against a legal challenge to the wall over
environment waivers granted by the Department of Homeland
Security, according to The Hill.

The ruling means that the administration will be able to continue
waiving the regulations to build barriers on the border, the
report notes.

The report relays that President Trump had targeted Judge Curiel
during the 2016 presidential race, claiming the judge might be
biased against him in a lawsuit over Trump University because of
Curiel's Mexican heritage.

Judge Curiel wrote in his ruling that he did not have "serious
constitutional doubts" about the administration's use of the
waivers, the report says.

"In its review of this case, the court cannot and does not
consider whether underlying decisions to construct the border
barriers are politically wise or prudent," he said, the report

The lawsuit, filed by the state of California last year, argued
that the department had improperly waived the National
Environmental Policy Act and other immigration and environmental
rules to speed up the construction of the wall, the report

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement
that the state is "unwavering in our belief that the Trump
Administration is ignoring laws it doesn't like in order to
resuscitate a campaign talking point of building a wall on our
southern border," the report notes.

"We will evaluate all of our options and are prepared to do what
is necessary to protect our people, our values, and our economy
from federal overreach," he said, the report relays.  "A medieval
wall along the U.S.-Mexico border simply does not belong in the
21st century," he added.

And Brian Segee, senior attorney for the Center for Biological
Diversity, one of the litigants in the suit, said the organization
would appeal the decision, calling the waivers "unconstitutional,"
the report notes.

"The Trump administration has completely overreached its authority
in its rush to build this destructive, senseless wall," Mr. Segee
said in a statement obtained by the news agency.  "They're giving
unprecedented, sweeping power to an unelected agency chief to
ignore dozens of laws and crash through hundreds of miles of
spectacular borderlands," he added.

But a Department of Justice spokesman applauded the ruling, saying
it will allow "work vital to our nation's interest, the report

"Border security is paramount to stemming the flow of illegal
immigration that contributes to rising violent crime and to the
drug crisis, and undermines national security," Devin O'Malley
said in a statement, the report notes.  "Congress gave authority
to the Department of Homeland Security to construct a border wall
without delay to prevent illegal entry into the United States, and
we are pleased DHS can continue this important work vital to our
nation's interests," he added.

DHS Acting Press Secretary Tyler Houlton also celebrated the
ruling in a statement to The Hill, saying that walls "have proven
to be extremely effective in preventing the flow of drugs and
illegal aliens across our borders," the report relays.

"Simply put - walls work. The Department of Homeland Security
looks forward to building the wall where our frontline operators
say it is needed and in accordance with all applicable laws,"
Houlton said, the report adds.

P U E R T O    R I C O

CATHOLIC SCHOOL: Taps Luis R. Carrasquillo as Financial Consultant
Catholic School Employees Pension Trust seeks approval from the
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Puerto Rico to hire CPA
Luis R. Carrasquillo & Co., P.S.C. as its financial consultant.

Carrasquillo will assist the Debtor's management in the financial
restructuring of its affairs by providing advice in strategic
planning and preparation of its plan of reorganization and
business plan, and by participating in the Debtor's negotiations
with its creditors.

The firm's hourly rates are:

     Luis Carrasquillo              Partner                   $175
     Marcelo Gutirrez              Senior CPA                 $125
     Lionel Rodriguez Perez         Senior Accountant          $90
     Carmen Callejas Echevarria     Senior Accountant          $85
     Kenneth Ramirez                Senior Accountant          $80
     Kelvin Cabezudo                Senior Accountant          $80
     Zoraida Delgado                Junior Accountant          $45
     Karina Mejias Ortiz            Administrative/Support     $30
     Maricruz Mangual Hernandez     Administrative/Support     $30
     Iris Franqui                   Administrative/Support     $30

The firm received a retainer in the sum of $6,000.

Luis Carrasquillo Ruiz, a principal of the firm, disclosed in a
court filing that he and other members of the firm are
"disinterested person" as defined in section 101(14) of the
Bankruptcy Code.

Carrasquillo can be reached through:

     Luis R. Carrasquillo Ruiz
     CPA Luis R. Carrasquillo & Co., P.S.C.
     28th Street, #TI-26
     Turabo Gardens Avenue
     Caguas, PR 00725
     Phone: 787-746-4555 / 787-746-4556
     Fax: 787-746-4564

            About Catholic School Employees Pension Trust

The Catholic School Employees Pension Trust is a business trust
duly constituted under the laws of the Commonwealth of Puerto

The Pension Trust filed a Chapter 11 petition (Bankr. D.P.R. Case
No. 18-00108) on Jan. 11, 2018.  In the petition signed by Ramon
Guzman, president of Board of Trustees, the Debtor estimated $1
million to $10 million to $1 million to $10 million in assets and
liabilities.  The Hon. Enrique S. Lamoutte Inclan presides over
the case.  Javier Vilarino, Esq., at the Law Firm of Vilarino &
Associates, serves as bankruptcy counsel.

NUTRITION CARE: U.S. Trustee Directed to Appoint Ombudsman
Judge Enrique S. Lamoutte of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the
District of Puerto Rico issued an order directing the U.S. Trustee
to appoint an ombudsman in the chapter 11 case of Nutrition Care,

The U.S. Trustee and/or the debtor in possession have 21 days to
inform the Court in writing if the appointment of an ombudsman is
not necessary for the protection of the patients.

Nutrition Care, Inc. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
(Bankr. D.P.R. Case No. 18-00394) on Jan. 29, 2018, and is
represented by Tomas F. Blanco Perez, Esq. of MRO Attorneys at
Law, LLC.

TOYS R US: Spokesman Debunks Report on Closure of 200 Stores
Sherry Greenfield, writing for, reports that
Joseph Contrino, a spokesman for Toys R Us, denied news reports
that the company will close another 200 stores, calling the news

"We did not announce additional store closures," Mr. Contrino said
in an email, according to  "As we have shared
publicly, our focus is on the reinvention of our business and
emergence from Chapter 11. Decisions about our future store
footprint and organizational structure will be based on needs of
the new business model.

"It is therefore premature for us to comment on that. Everything
that you may have seen in the news is based on pure speculation."

Michael Corkery, writing for The Wall Street Journal, reported
that the Company may close dozens of more stores as it
struggles to find a path out of bankruptcy and return to financial
viability.  The WSJ report says the Company is under pressure to
demonstrate to its lenders that it has a realistic strategy after
a dismal holiday selling season.  WSJ says that, according to
people briefed on the matter, who were not authorized to speak
publicly, one plan under discussion includes shutting down close
to 200 stores, and possibly more.

The Company announced in January that it would close 182 stores
this year due to struggling sales.

According to, Dave Brandon, the company's
chairman and CEO, told the Associated Press in January that "tough
decisions are required to save Toys R Us."

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on Feb. 9, 2018,
store closing sales are being conducted at select Toys"R"Us(R) and
Babies"R"Us(R) locations throughout the country -- offering
shoppers deep discounts on top brand names across all product

The closing sales are operated by a consortium consisting of
Gordon Brothers, Hilco Merchant Resources, Tiger Capital Group and
Great American Group.  Store furniture and fixtures will also be
available for sale.

Since 1948, Toys"R"Us has served kids and families around the
world by offering great service and a broad assortment of toy and
baby products.  The Company recently announced the closure of a
number of stores as part of a restructuring strategy to make
Toys"R"Us a more viable and competitive business.  Toys"R"Us filed
for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last September to ensure the
Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us brands live on for generations to come.
The discounts and promotions that will be offered at closing
locations starting Feb. 7 will be unique to these stores.  Closing
locations will continue to honor customer programs including gift
cards, Endless Earnings and credit card specials.

A consortium spokesperson said, "not only will the sale provide
loyal customers from coast to coast the opportunity to purchase
their favorite products at significantly lower prices, it will
also include new merchandise at even deeper discounts.  Due to
these substantial reductions, we encourage consumers to shop early
to take advantage of the best selection of products available
while supplies last."

A complete list of closing stores is available at:


                      About Gordon Brothers

Since 1903, Gordon Brothers --
has helped lenders, operating executives, advisors, and investors
move forward through change.  The firm brings a powerful
combination of expertise and capital to clients, developing
customized solutions on an integrated or standalone basis across
four service areas: valuations, dispositions, operations, and
investments.  Whether to fuel growth or facilitate strategic
consolidation, Gordon Brothers partners with companies in the
retail, commercial, and industrial sectors to put assets to their
highest and best use. Gordon Brothers conducts more than $70
billion worth of dispositions and appraisals annually.  Gordon
Brothers is headquartered in Boston, with 25 offices across four

                 About Hilco Merchant Resources

Hilco Merchant --
provides a wide range of analytical, advisory, asset monetization,
and capital investment services to help define and execute a
retailer's strategic initiatives.  Hilco Merchant Resources'
activities fall into several principal categories including
acquisitions; disposition of underperforming stores; retail
company or division wind downs; event sales to convert unwanted
assets into working capital; facilitation of mergers and
acquisitions; interim company, division or store management teams;
loss prevention; and, the monetization of furniture, fixtures and
equipment.  Hilco Merchant Resources is part of Northbrook,
Illinois based Hilco Global, one of the world's leading
authorities on maximizing the value of business assets by
delivering valuation, monetization and advisory solutions to an
international marketplace.

                    About Tiger Capital Group

Tiger Capital Group -- provides
asset valuation, advisory and disposition services to a broad
range of retail, wholesale, and industrial clients.  With over 40
years of experience and significant financial backing, Tiger
offers a uniquely nimble combination of expertise, innovation and
financial resources to drive results.  Tiger's seasoned
professionals help clients identify the underlying value of
assets, monitor asset risk factors and, when needed, provide
capital or convert assets to capital quickly and decisively.
Tiger maintains domestic offices in New York, Los Angeles, Boston,
Chicago, and San Francisco, and international offices in Sydney,
Perth, Melbourne and Brisbane,

                  About Great American Group

Great American Group, LLC -- is a
provider of asset disposition and auction solutions, advisory and
valuation services, and a wholly-owned subsidiary of B. Riley
Financial, Inc. Great American Group efficiently deploys resources
with sector expertise to assist companies, lenders, capital
providers, private equity investors and professional service firms
in maximizing the value of their assets.

                        About Toys "R" Us

Toys "R" Us, Inc., is an American toy and juvenile-products
retailer founded in 1948 and headquartered in Wayne, New Jersey,
in the New York City metropolitan area.  Merchandise is sold in
880 Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us stores in the United States,
Puerto Rico and Guam, and in more than 780 international stores
and more than 245 licensed stores in 37 countries and
jurisdictions.  Merchandise is also sold at e-commerce sites
including and

On July 21, 2005, a consortium of Bain Capital Partners LLC,
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and Vornado Realty Trust invested $1.3
billion to complete a $6.6 billion leveraged buyout of the

Toys "R" Us is a privately owned entity but still files with the
Securities and Exchange Commission as required by its debt

The Company's consolidated balance sheet showed $6.572 billion in
assets, $7.891 billion in liabilities, and a stockholders' deficit
of $1.319 billion as of April 29, 2017.

Toys "R" Us, Inc., and certain of its U.S. subsidiaries and its
Canadian subsidiary voluntarily filed for relief under Chapter 11
of the Bankruptcy Code (Bankr. E.D. Va. Lead Case No. Case No.
17-34665) on Sept. 19, 2017.  In addition, the Company's Canadian
subsidiary voluntarily commenced parallel proceedings under the
Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act ("CCAA") in Canada in the
Ontario Superior Court of Justice.  The Company's operations
outside of the U.S. and Canada, including its 255 licensed stores
and joint venture partnership in Asia, which are separate
entities, are not part of the Chapter 11 filing and CCAA

Grant Thornton is the monitor appointed in the CCAA case.

Judge Keith L. Phillips presides over the Chapter 11 cases.

In the Chapter 11 cases, Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Kirkland & Ellis
International LLP serve as the Debtors' legal counsel.  Kutak Rock
LLP serves as co-counsel.  Toys "R" Us employed Alvarez & Marsal
North America, LLC as its restructuring advisor; and Lazard Freres
& Co. LLC as its investment banker.  It hired Prime Clerk LLC as
claims and noticing agent.  A&G Realty Partners, LLC, serves as
its real estate advisor.

On Sept. 26, 2017, the U.S. Trustee for Region 4 appointed an
official committee of unsecured creditors.  The Committee retained
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP as its legal counsel; Wolcott
Rivers, P.C. as local counsel; FTI Consulting, Inc. as financial
advisor; and Moelis & Company LLC as investment banker.


VENEZUELA: President Maduro Disclosed Re-election Candidacy
EFE News reports that President Nicolas Maduro officially
disclosed his candidacy for re-election before Venezuela's
National Electoral Council (CNE) in the April 22 balloting, which
the main opposition alliance MUD plans to boycott.

Earlier, the incumbent visited the grave of his political mentor,
President Hugo Chavez (1954-2013), his motorcade passing along
several streets in downtown Caracas en route from the Miraflores
presidential palace to the CNE offices, according to EFE News.

The governing PSUV party, the recently created Somos Venezuela (We
Are Venezuela) organization, the Communist Party and other leftist
organizations are all backing Maduro's candidacy, the report

He said he accepted the nomination by "Venezuela's bloc of
revolutionary, patriotic and pro-Chavez forces," and handed CNE
chair Tibisay Lucena a copy of the so-called "2019-2025 Plan for
the Homeland," which includes the executive branch's intended
course of action for the upcoming presidential term, the report

So far, President Maduro is not opposed by any strong candidates,
the report notes.

The president, who later gave a speech before thousands of
supporters, said that -- if re-elected -- he will enhance the
"path and legacy of Chavez," his predecessor, whom he succeeded in
April 2013, 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

VENEZUELA: Says US Sanctions Hampering Debt Renegotiation
Channel News Asia reports that Venezuela's foreign minister said
that U.S. sanctions against the ailing oil nation are making
foreign debt renegotiation more difficult and causing "panic" at
global banks.

Venezuela is undergoing a major economic crisis, with millions
suffering food and medicine shortages, and President Nicolas
Maduro's socialist government is late in paying interest of some
US$1.9 billion on its debt, according to Channel News Asia.

The U.S. government imposed financial sanctions on Venezuela in
August, prohibiting dealing in new debt from the Venezuelan
government or state oil company PDVSA, in an effort to halt
financing that Washington said fuels a "dictatorship," the report

Venezuela has repeatedly said Washington is trying to force a
default, the report relays.  "The renegotiation of external debt
is underway, but it has been made more difficult by U.S.
sanctions," foreign minister Jorge Arreaza told reporters in
Geneva, the report notes.

"It's incredible how global banks have reacted with panic. If a
bank somewhere in the world works with Venezuela, they feel they
are going to be sanctioned," the report says.

According to Arreaza, global banks have opted to close accounts
belonging to the government, business people and embassies, the
report relays.  He added that some U.S. companies were unable to
pay for Venezuelan oil, the report notes.

Earlier this month, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson raised
the specter of sanctions on Venezuela's oil industry, the report
notes.  The OPEC nation obtains some 95 percent of its export
revenue from oil, though production is down significantly in
recent months, the report says.

"If the international financial system blocks Venezuela, we are
working with Russia, China and Turkey to find new mechanisms,"
said Mr. Arreaza, the report discloses.

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

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

Copyright 2018.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
re-mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without prior
written permission of the publishers.

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

The TCR Latin America subscription rate is US$775 per half-year,
delivered via e-mail.  Additional e-mail subscriptions for members
of the same firm for the term of the initial subscription or
balance thereof are US$25 each.  For subscription information,
contact Peter A. Chapman at 215-945-7000.

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