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

             Tuesday, March 27, 2018, Vol. 19, No. 61


                            Headlines



B R A Z I L

BRAZIL: DBRS Lowers LT Issuer Ratings to BB(low), Trend Stable
PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: Posts Net Loss for Fourth Straight Year


J A M A I C A

C2W MUSIC: Questions Surround Future of Company


M E X I C O

ANA COMPANIA: A.M. Best Affirms 'B- (fair)' Fin'l. Strength Rating
EMPRESAS ICA: Cleary Gottlieb Represents Firm in Restructuring


P U E R T O    R I C O

BREAST CANCER INSTITUTE: Case Summary & 20 Top Unsecured Creditors
HALAIS GROUP: Court Refuses to Stay Financing Order Pending Appeal
TOYS "R" US: Incurs $97M Net Loss on 40-Day Period Ended Feb. 3
TOYS "R" US: Al Angrisani Blames Complacency for Woes


V E N E Z U E L A

PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: 4 Arrested For Allegedly Embezzling Funds
VENEZUELA: Candidate Would Seek Debt Restructuring, Adviser Says


                            - - - - -


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B R A Z I L
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BRAZIL: DBRS Lowers LT Issuer Ratings to BB(low), Trend Stable
--------------------------------------------------------------
DBRS, Inc. has downgraded Brazil's Long-Term Foreign and Local
Currency - Issuer Ratings to BB (low) from BB. The trend on both
ratings has been changed to Stable from Negative. In addition,
DBRS has confirmed Brazil's Short-Term Foreign and Local Currency
- Issuer Ratings at R-4 and maintained the Stable trends.

The downgrade to BB (low) reflects the deterioration in Brazil's
public debt sustainability outlook due to delays in passing
pension reform. Absent reform, the implementation of a structural
fiscal adjustment will be increasingly difficult to achieve and
will likely need to rely on measures that could weaken medium-term
growth prospects. The Stable trend indicates that upside and
downside risks to the ratings are now balanced. Recent positive
developments, such as improved monetary policy credibility,
reformed credit markets and stronger household balance sheets, put
the economy in a better position to grow. Nonetheless, Brazil's
outlook depends in large part on the implementation of a credible
deficit-reduction plan following the 2018 elections.

The BB (low) ratings benefit from several fundamental strengths.
Brazil is a large and diversified economy, which enhances its
resilience to sector or region specific shocks. Financial
stability concerns are limited due to a well-capitalized and
profitable banking system. Moreover, exchange rate flexibility
helps the economy adjust to changing global conditions.

However, the key constraint to the ratings is the large budget
deficit and rising public debt burden. Without corrective policy
action, the fiscal trajectory is unsustainable. Public finance
concerns are compounded by Brazil's weak medium-term growth
outlook. Prospects for policy action to address fiscal imbalances
and increase potential growth are unclear ahead the October 2018
elections.

FISCAL DYNAMICS ARE UNSUSTAINABLE WITHOUT CORRECTIVE ACTION

The most pressing issue facing Brazil's sovereign credit profile
is the fiscal deficit. The primary balance deteriorated
significantly from 2011 to 2016. This was largely due to rising
spending. In response, the Temer administration designed an
expenditure-based fiscal consolidation plan underpinned by a
constitutional amendment that limits the growth of primary
spending to the rate of inflation. Compliance with this spending
cap was achieved in 2017. The primary deficit narrowed to 1.7% of
GDP from 2.5% the previous year. Spending will likely come in
below the cap in 2018 as well. However, the improving headline
figure masks a deteriorating structural outlook. Given the high
share of spending that is constitutionally protected or indexed to
the minimum wage, mandatory spending pressures continue to build.

In particular, the size and direction of pension spending makes
reform essential. Pension spending is responsible for a large
share of total government expenditures and it is quickly rising
due to Brazil's aging population and the regime's generous
benefits. Without reform, rising mandatory spending will become
incompatible with the constitutional spending cap. In February
2018, the Temer administration withdrew its reform proposal amid
insufficient congressional support, leaving the next
administration with limited room to maneuver. The savings lost by
not reforming the system will need to be offset by commensurate
expenditure cuts elsewhere, a prospect that could be both
economically inefficient and politically challenging.

Public debt dynamics are not expected to stabilize in the near
term. Assuming future governments comply with the spending cap,
DBRS estimates that the primary balance would shift to a surplus
in 2021 and then rise to 1.9% of GDP in 2025. In such a scenario,
gross non-financial public sector debt (based on IMF definition)
would peak in 2025 at around 98% of GDP and then gradually
decline. This does not consider cumulative prepayments from BNDES
in 2017 and 2018 (totaling nearly 3% of GDP) that could reduce
gross debt. Stronger growth on the back of corrective policy
action and economic reforms could also materially improve the debt
sustainability outlook. On the other hand, if the fiscal
adjustment does not proceed in a manner that is consistent with
the spending cap, public debt ratios would continue to rise,
thereby jeopardizing the sustainability of public finances and,
potentially, macroeconomic stability.

PROSPECTS FOR POLICY ACTION ARE UNCERTAIN IN THE POST-ELECTION
ENVIRONMENT

Prospects for corrective fiscal policy action and structural
reforms following the October 2018 general election are uncertain.
The field of presidential candidates is still unsettled. The most
popular potential candidate, former president Luiz Inacio Lula da
Silva of the Workers' Party, could be prevented from running due
to recent court rulings. Widespread dissatisfaction with the
political elite could also create space for anti-establishment
candidates to mount competitive runs. At this point, candidates'
policy platforms are largely undefined. However, even if the next
president is committed to fiscal consolidation, party
fragmentation in Brazil's congress will make it difficult for the
next administration to build a coalition large enough to pass
legislation, particularly pension reform which requires amending
the constitution.

The Car Wash investigations have revealed widespread corruption
but also highlighted some of Brazil's institutional strengths.
According to the World Bank Governance Indicators, Brazil compares
poorly to many other emerging economies in the area of corruption
control. However, Brazil's institutional response to corruption in
recent years is encouraging. The investigations themselves are the
product of a strong and independent judiciary, which has been
supported by an active civil society and vibrant media. One legacy
of the Car Wash probe could also be better corporate governance.
Legislation such as the Clean Companies Act (2014) and the State
Companies Law (2016) aim to strengthen anti-bribery laws, enhance
transparency, and improve risk management practices.

ECONOMY IS RECOVERING BUT MEDIUM-TERM GROWTH PROSPECTS ARE WEAK

The economy is recovering from a deep and prolonged recession. GDP
expanded 1.0% in 2017 and it is expected to grow 1.9% in 2018.
Although the cyclical recovery is advancing, Brazil's medium-term
growth prospects are comparatively weak. The IMF projects that
Brazil will expand on average 2.0% per year from 2019-2022, below
most emerging market peers. The poor outlook partly reflects
demographics, but interlinking structural constraints of low
investment, high business costs and weak competitive forces also
play a role. Low investment is especially evident in Brazil's
underdeveloped infrastructure, which holds back productivity. At
the same time, Brazil does not fully benefit from the potential
efficiency gains derived from specialization and trade on account
of high tariff barriers, elevated compliance costs, and inward-
looking policy.

The Temer administration has taken measures to improve the
investment climate. In September 2017, congress passed a law that
gradually aligns directed lending rates with market rates. This
should improve credit allocation and enhance budget transparency.
In July 2017, congress passed labor reform, which should make the
jobs market more flexible and encourage greater formalization. The
government also eased restrictions in the oil and gas sector and
scaled back local content rules, making the sector more attractive
to foreign capital. Nevertheless, the implementation of a broader
structural reform agenda that strengthens Brazil's medium-term
growth outlook will depend on the next government.

INFLATION AND EXTERNAL OUTLOOKS HAVE IMPROVED AND BANKING SYSTEM
IS SOUND

The inflation outlook has significantly improved. Prudent monetary
policy has consolidated inflation at low levels and anchored
inflation expectations around the target. Inflation was 2.8% (yoy)
in February 2018, down from 10.4% two years earlier. In the
context of a more benign inflation outlook and a negative output
gap, the central bank has eased monetary policy substantially to
support the recovery. The policy rate has declined by 750 basis
points since October 2016. Enhanced credibility combined with the
tapering of directed lending should strengthen the effectiveness
of monetary policy.

Asset quality in the banking system has deteriorated but risks to
financial stability appear contained. The delinquency rate for
firms is still above pre-recession levels. Corporate debt levels
are high, albeit declining, and demand conditions remain weak.
However, credit quality issues have not generated stability
concerns. Even if the recovery is slower than expected, the
banking system appears sufficiently capitalized to digest
additional credit losses without any major disruption.
Provisioning levels are high, and capital buffers are well above
the regulatory minimum.

In addition, Brazil's external accounts do not exhibit any clear
imbalances. Gross external liabilities are moderate, the current
account deficit is modest, and inflows of net foreign direct
investment provide a stable source of external financing.
Moreover, exchange rate flexibility facilitates Brazil's
adjustment to global conditions. In the event of an external
shock, the central bank has a large stock of reserves to provide
foreign exchange liquidity if necessary.

RATING DRIVERS

The ratings could experience downward pressure if the next
administration does not address Brazil's structural fiscal
imbalances. Large external shocks that materially weaken Brazil's
medium-term growth outlook could also weigh on the ratings.

Alternatively, the ratings could experience upward pressure if the
next administration implements a credible fiscal consolidation
plan, underpinned by a reform that materially slows the pace of
pension spending. The structural nature of such an adjustment
would lend credibility to the plan, which could strengthen
confidence, lower real interest rates and accelerate the recovery.
Economic reforms that improve the investment outlook and
facilitate Brazil's integration into global markets would also be
credit positive.

RATING COMMITTEE SUMMARY

The DBRS Sovereign Scorecard generates a result in the BB(high) to
BB(low) range. The main points discussed during the Rating
Committee include: (1) the fiscal outlook, (2) the 2018 general
election, and (3) the impact of economic reforms and policy
changes.

KEY INDICATORS

Fiscal Balance (% GDP): -10.2% (2016); -7.8% (2017); -8.0% (2018F)

Gross Debt (% GDP): 78.3% (2016); 83.4% (2017F); 87.7% (2018F)

Nominal GDP (USD billions): 1,806 (2016); 2,055 (2017);
                            2,200 (2018F)

GDP per capita (USD thousands): 8.7 (2016); 10.0 (2017);
                                10.5 (2018F)

Real GDP growth (%): -3.5% (2016); 1.0% (2017); 1.9% (2018F)

Consumer Price Inflation (%, eop): 6.3% (2016); 2.9% (2017);
                                   4.0% (2018F)

Domestic credit (% GDP): 49.6% (2016); 47.1% (2017);
                         46.6% (Jan-2018)

Current Account (% GDP): -1.3% (2016); -0.5% (2017); -1.8% (2018F)

International Investment Position (% GDP): -32.3% (2016);
                                           -33.5% (2017)

Gross External Debt (% GDP): 30.4% (2016); 26.6% (2017)

Foreign Exchange Reserves (% short-term external debt + current
account deficit): 302% (2016); 262% (2017)

Governance Indicator (percentile rank): 53.7 (2016)

Human Development Index: 0.754 (2015)


PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: Posts Net Loss for Fourth Straight Year
------------------------------------------------------------
EFE News reports that Brazilian state oil company Petroleo
Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras), which was at the center of a multi-
billion-dollar kickback scandal that ensnared powerful politicians
and business leaders, said it posted a net loss of BRL446 million
(around $139.3 million) in 2017.

That marked Petrobras' fourth straight year in the red, according
to EFE News.

The oil company's finances, however, improved last year relative
to 2016, when its net loss amounted to BRL14.8 billion (roughly
$4.5 billion), the report notes.

Petrobras said it would have posted net income of BRL7.1 billion
(some $2.2 billion) last year, the report relays.  But the
company's results were adversely affected by a BRL11.2-billion
($3.5-billion) payout it made to settle a United States class
action brought by shareholders who claimed they had been
materially hurt by the corruption scandal, the report says.

The scheme centered on Petrobras has ensnared dozens of business
leaders who oversaw the payment of bribes for government contracts
and political figures who pocketed kickbacks and provided cover
for the graft, the report adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Feb. 14, 2017, S&P Global Ratings raised its global scale ratings
on Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras) to 'BB-' from 'B+',
including its corporate credit rating and the ratings on the
senior unsecured notes issued through the company's financing
vehicles (Petrobras International Finance Co. and Petrobras Global
Finance B.V.).


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J A M A I C A
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C2W MUSIC: Questions Surround Future of Company
-----------------------------------------------
RJR News reports that concern has been raised about risks to the
future operations of listed company C2W Music Limited.

Its auditors, Baker Tilly Strachan Lafayette, have highlighted in
C2W's just released audited financial statements for 2017 that it
made a loss of more than US$300 thousand and has an accumulated
deficit of US$1.5 million, according to RJR News.

In addition, C2W's current liabilities exceeded its current assets
by US$234,565, the report notes.

The auditors say from inception, the company has not achieved the
level of revenues projected and required to sustain its
operations, the report relays.

They added that the ability of the company to generate sustained
profitable operations depend on the successful implementation of
the strategies, the key assumptions around revenue growth and
continued cost reductions, the report says.

C2W has been told that if these assumptions do not materialize and
it is unable to service its obligations when due, this will pose a
going concern risk to the company, the report relays.

Meanwhile, C2W's financial statements show that the Performing
Rights Societies of the Caribbean owes it publishing and sub-
publishing royalties for 2012 to last year, the report notes.

The company is working to rectify systems issues so the royalties
can be identified and paid, the report relays.

In addition, the company has moved into a 360 all Rights revenue
model which will increase inflows based on other revenue streams
other than music publishing earnings, the report adds.

C2W Music Limited operates as a music publishing company in the
Caribbean.  It is involved in developing the talents of Caribbean
songwriters, acquiring licensing rights to their compositions, and
promoting the commercial use of the compositions.  The company was
founded in 2011 and is based in Kingston, Jamaica.


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M E X I C O
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ANA COMPANIA: A.M. Best Affirms 'B- (fair)' Fin'l. Strength Rating
------------------------------------------------------------------
A.M. Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of B- (Fair),
the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating of "bb-" and the Mexico
National Scale Rating of "a-.MX" of ANA Compania de Seguros S.A.
de C.V. (ANA) (Mexico). The outlook of these Credit Ratings
(ratings) is revised to stable from positive. Concurrently, A.M.
Best has withdrawn the ratings as the company has requested to no
longer participate in A.M. Best's interactive rating process.

The change in outlook to stable reflects the company's 2017 risk-
adjusted capitalization standing at weak levels as it has
experienced pressure derived from above-market premiums growth and
a reduction in reported equity. ANA may improve capital adequacy
levels in the medium term given that it has benefited historically
from the support of its immediate parent, GMS Valore, S.A. de C.V.
(formerly Grupo Maxasem) (GMS Valore) in the form of previous
capital injections, as well as synergies with other group members.

The ratings reflect ANA's balance sheet strength, which A.M. Best
categorizes as adequate, as well as its adequate operating
performance, limited business profile and appropriate enterprise
risk management.

The ratings also recognize the company's improvement in operating
performance and ANA's affiliation with GMS Valore, which affords
ANA operating efficiencies as a member of this group. Offsetting
these positive rating factors is the company's risk-adjusted
capitalization standing at weak levels, as measured by Best's
Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), ANA's relatively small size within
the industry's highly competitive environment and its
concentration in a single business line.

ANA was established in Mexico in 1995 and acquired by GMS Valore
in 2002. The company exclusively underwrites auto insurance. ANA
operates through a network of local agents, auto dealers and
service offices throughout Mexico.

ANA has continued to strengthen its underwriting policies, which
has resulted in premium sufficiency indicators since 2016. During
2017, improvement in operating performance was driven by premium
growth in line with improved underwriting practices, a contained
evolution of claims and enhanced investment results, thus
generating stronger bottom-line results. ANA posted a 95.7%
combined ratio and return on equity of 19.5% in 2017.


EMPRESAS ICA: Cleary Gottlieb Represents Firm in Restructuring
--------------------------------------------------------------
Cleary Gottlieb represented Empresas ICA, S.A.B. de C.V. and its
subsidiaries (ICA) in connection with the restructuring of over
$3.5 billion of indebtedness, which was implemented through a
Mexican concurso mercantil proceeding with plan de reestructura
previo (pre-packaged restructuring plan) approved on March 1,
2018.

The proceeding involved over $1.2 billion of international bonds,
with the remainder of the claims composed of local creditors and
claims under a rescue financing provided by an international
investment fund.

The approval and publication of the convenio concursal constitute
the last procedural milestones under the concurso proceeding,
thereby concluding a year-long process of negotiations with
creditors and restructuring of substantially all of the company's
debt. The restructuring of ICA is the largest insolvency of a
Mexican company since 2015, when Cleary represented Casas Geo in
its concurso mercantil proceeding.

Following the restructuring, ICA will continue to be one of
Mexico's largest construction companies, with a portfolio of
projects that includes such marquee projects as the New Mexico
City International Airport.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Sept. 1, 2017, Moody's Investors Service downgraded Empresas ICA,
S.A.B. de C.V.'s (ICA) Corporate Family Rating and senior
unsecured ratings on its rated guaranteed global notes to C from
Caa3 as a result of ICA's filing of a judicial restructuring
request.


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P U E R T O    R I C O
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BREAST CANCER INSTITUTE: Case Summary & 20 Top Unsecured Creditors
------------------------------------------------------------------
Debtor: Breast Cancer Institute, P.S.C.
           dba Advance Breast Center
        Plaza Miliangie
        Car. 14 Km. 72.2
        Cavey, PR 00736

Business Description: Breast Cancer Institute, P.S.C.
                      dba Advance Breast Center is healthcare
                      company that provides breast imaging,
                      mammography, diagnostic imaging,
                      stereotactic biopsy, radiology services.
                      The Company is based in Cavey, Puerto
                      Rico.

Chapter 11 Petition Date: March 22, 2018

Case No.: 18-01524

Court: United States Bankruptcy Court
       District of Puerto Rico (Old San Juan)

Judge: Hon. Brian K. Tester

Debtor's Counsel: Carmen D. Conde Torres, Esq.
                  C. CONDE & ASSOC.
                  254 San Jose Street, 5th Floor
                  San Juan, PR 00901-1523
                  Tel: 787-729-2900
                  Fax: 787-729-2203
                  E-mail: notices@condelaw.com
                          condecarmen@condelaw.com

Total Assets: $4.06 million

Total Liabilities: $14.67 million

The petition was signed by Vidal Rosario Leon, president.

A full-text copy of the petition, along with a list of 20 largest
unsecured creditors, is available for free at:
http://bankrupt.com/misc/prb18-01524.pdf


HALAIS GROUP: Court Refuses to Stay Financing Order Pending Appeal
------------------------------------------------------------------
Judge Mildred Caban Flores of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the
District of Puerto Rico denied Swift Capital Corporation's motion
for stay pending appeal.

Swift asks the court to stay the order entered on August 16, 2017,
granting Halais' motion for postpetition financing. Subsequently,
Swift moved the court to reconsider its approval of the Debtor's
post-petition financing. Swift stated that it did not object to
the post-petition financing but did not want the new creditor to
have a first ranking lien over Debtor's accounts receivable. The
court denied the reconsideration because Swift's objection was
untimely.

The Court finds that Swift is unlikely to prevail on the merits of
its appeal because it failed to timely object to the post-petition
financing motion after receiving proper notice of the time period
to object. Swift waited until after Parliament's urgent motion for
entry of order and writ to raise an objection to the post-petition
financing. At this juncture it appears that a stay of the order
granting post-petition financing could be moot because the order
and writ may have been presented to the registrar at the Puerto
Rico Department of State.

Insomuch as Swift failed to meet the burden of demonstrating
likelihood of success on the merits, the court need not entertain
other factors to consider the stay of this court's order pending
appeal. The court denies Swift's request for a stay of the order
granting Debtor's post-petition financing.

A full-text copy of Judge Flores' Opinion and Order dated Nov. 8,
2017, is available at:

    http://bankrupt.com/misc/prb16-01361-11-247.pdf

                     About Halais Group

Headquartered in Caguas, Puerto Rico, Halais Group, Inc., d/b/a
Monte Calvario, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection (Bankr.
D. P.R. Case No. 16-01361) on Feb. 24, 2016, estimating its assets
at between $500,000 and $1 million and its liabilities at between
$1 million and $10 million.  The petition was signed by Raymond
Halais, president, authorized representative of Halais.

Judge Mildred Caban Flores presides over the case.

Carlos A Ruiz Rodriguez, Esq., at Carlos Alberto Ruiz Law Office,
CSP, serves as the Debtor's bankruptcy counsel.


TOYS "R" US: Incurs $97M Net Loss on 40-Day Period Ended Feb. 3
---------------------------------------------------------------
BankruptcyData.com reported that Toys "R" Us filed with the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court a monthly operating report for the period of
December 24, 2017 to February 3, 2018. For the period, the Company
reported a $97 million net loss on $514 million in net sales and
paid $282 million in total operating expenses and $277 million in
selling, general and administrative expenses. The Company reported
$1,404,696,729 in cash disbursements and $ 1,212,718,780 in cash
receipts.

                        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 Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com.

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
company.

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

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
proceedings.

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.

                        Toys "R" Us UK

Toys "R" Us Limited, Toys "R" Us, Inc.'s UK arm with 105 stores
and 3,000 employees, was sent into administration in the United
Kingdom in February 2018.

Arron Kendall and Simon Thomas of Moorfields Advisory Limited, 88
Wood Street, London, EC2V 7QF were appointed Joint Administrators
on Feb. 28, 2018.  The Administrators now manage the affairs,
business and property of the Company.  The Administrators act as
agents only and without personal liability.

The Administrators said they will make every effort to secure a
buyer for all or part of the business.


TOYS "R" US: Al Angrisani Blames Complacency for Woes
-----------------------------------------------------
News recently broke that toy retailer Toys R Us will be closing
for good, shortly after it filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11
last September. So what happened to one of the biggest retailer in
the US?

Available to weigh in on where Toys R Us went wrong is turnaround
expert Al Angrisani.  The author of the new book "From Last to
First", Mr. Angrisani applies his years of experience as a
successful investor and turnaround expert to the improvement of
businesses and personal lives alike.  And according to Mr.
Angrisani, Toys R Us' Board of Directors, and two large private
equity investors, became complacent about the business and lost
their sense of reality about the competition, technology and
evolution of the industry.

This complacency and irrational thinking manifested itself, as it
always does, in three public responses to the crisis engulfing a
failing business:

    * Denial and failure to recognize the business is in crisis,
along with accepting responsibility for the crisis.  In this case
a
crisis brought on by Wal-Mart and Amazon, the new online retail
model and technology

    * Delusion and self deception that somehow things will get
better by not recognizing the crisis engulfing the company and
making the hard choices required to fix it.  For Toys R Us, this
was thinking that what once made Toys R Us successful was enough
to counteract the threat of other companies and ignore the
challenges their massive debt posed

    * Finally, panic and fear induced freezing, like a deer in
headlights, when the cash was running out and the right thing to
do would have been to convert the debt of the two private equity
groups into equity to give the company a chance to fight another
day

Mr. Angrisani points out that Toys R Us was doomed in 2008 when
the debt began piling up.  And this is happening with more
frequency as private equity firms with access to all of the money
the Federal Reserve has printed the last ten years make bad bets
with Other People's Money.

So is Toys R Us the canary in the coal mine, or the next financial
crisis?

                      About Al Angrisani

Al Angrisani, former Assistant U.S. Secretary of Labor under
President Ronald Reagan, is one of the top corporate turnaround
experts in the United States.  Over the past 20 years, he has
rescued several large public companies that stood on the brink of
disaster.  His proven track record, time-tested model for change
and reputation for expertise and integrity have prompted Boards of
Directors of companies to place their trust in him. His
understanding of and ability to dissect complex economic issues
have made him a sought-after guest commentator on nationally
broadcast news outlets, including CNBC and Fox Business News.
Recently, Mr. Angrisani further proved his expertise as a
turnaround executive and shareholder advocate by authoring the
well-received book, Win One for the $hareholders, a description of
his proven model for corporate change and an exploration of
current key economic issues.

                       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 Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com.

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
company.

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

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
proceedings.

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.

                        Toys "R" Us UK

Toys "R" Us Limited, Toys "R" Us, Inc.'s UK arm with 105 stores
and 3,000 employees, was sent into administration in the United
Kingdom in February 2018.

Arron Kendall and Simon Thomas of Moorfields Advisory Limited, 88
Wood Street, London, EC2V 7QF were appointed Joint Administrators
on Feb. 28, 2018.  The Administrators now manage the affairs,
business and property of the Company.  The Administrators act as
agents only and without personal liability.

The Administrators said they will make every effort to secure a
buyer for all or part of the business.

                    Liquidation of U.S. Stores

Toys "R" Us, Inc., on March 15, 2018, filed with the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court a motion seeking Bankruptcy Court approval to
start the process of conducting an orderly wind-down of its U.S.
business and liquidation of inventory in all 735 of the Company's
U.S. stores, including stores in Puerto Rico.


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


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: 4 Arrested For Allegedly Embezzling Funds
-----------------------------------------------------------------
EFE News reports that Venezuela's attorney general disclosed the
arrest of three officials at state oil company Petroleos de
Venezuela, S.A. and a business leader for allegedly embezzling
money from the country's leading refinery, the Paraguana Refinery
Complex (CRP).

He also said he had requested that Interpol issue a Red Notice
arrest warrant for a female suspect in the case who has fled
Venezuela, according to EFE News.

"We've regrettably uncovered a new corruption scheme . . . by
unscrupulous officials at state oil company PDVSA in association
with criminal business leaders" to "embezzle funds from the
Venezuelan government," Tarek Saab said in a press conference
without revealing how much was allegedly stolen, the report notes.

Authorities have arrested PDVSA's vice president of refining,
trade and supply, Jesus Enrique Luongo; the project manager at
CRP, Lexy Briceno; and cost estimate analyst Keila Janeth Gatica
Mota, the report says.

Also taken into custody was the president of a company known as
Espidel, Jose Espinoza Delgado, the report discloses.

Mr. Saab said the three officials signed a diesel-purchase
contract with Espidel, the report notes.

He also said he had asked Interpol to issue a red alert for CRP's
cost-estimate superintendent, Kheyla Martinez, who fled the
country in December 2017, the report relays.

The suspects are accused of "willful embezzlement, money
laundering and criminal conspiracy to the detriment of the
Paraguana Refinery Complex and the Venezuelan state in its
entirety," the report says.

Mr. Saab said a total of 80 people have been arrested in
connection with corruption cases at PDVSA, the report notes.

Those individuals include two men who both formerly served as
Venezuela's oil minister and as PDVSA's president - Nelson
Martinez and Eulogio del Pino, who were arrested last November as
part of an anti-corruption probe, the report adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
March 19, 2018, Moody's Investors Service downgraded Petroleos
de Venezuela, S.A.(PDVSA)'s ratings to C from Ca. Moody's also
lowered the company's baseline credit assessment (BCA) to c
from ca.


VENEZUELA: Candidate Would Seek Debt Restructuring, Adviser Says
----------------------------------------------------------------
Andrew Rosati and Fabiola Zerpa at Bloomberg News report that
Venezuela needs urgent debt relief and would look to give
bondholders small payments in the short-term while pushing back
maturities in order to allow the country to return to growth,
according to the economic adviser of opposition candidate Henri
Falcon.

"Venezuela's debt is in default and needs to be restructured in
the nation's best interests to get relief in the short term,"
Francisco Rodriguez said in an interview with Bloomberg News.
"We're going to propose very small payments in the first years of
governance in order to extend payment periods until the economy
recovers," he added.

Under President Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela has finally succumbed to
an onerous debt load from the government and state-oil company
Petroleos de Venezuela SA, Bloomberg News notes.  The OPEC nation
is behind on about $2 billion of bond payments and its benchmark
security due in 2027 is trading at just 31 cents on the dollar,
Bloomberg News relays.  The default, coupled with U.S. sanctions
and an economy deep in crisis has sapped financing possibilities
for Maduro's administration which has resorted to unorthodox
measures like issuing a sovereign cryptocurrency, Bloomberg News
relays.  International reserves sit at $9.4 billion, down from
$27.6 billion five years ago when Maduro took office, Bloomberg
News notes.

For now, Venezuelan bondholders have remained patient as some
interest payments have wiggled their way through complex chains
and principal payments have largely been made, Bloomberg News
says.  If a large enough group of creditors were to unite, they
could demand immediate repayment of all foreign bond debt in a
process called acceleration, Bloomberg News discloses.

Bloomberg News relays that Mr. Rodriguez, a 48-year-old Harvard-
trained economist who previously worked at Bank of America in New
York and was chief economist at boutique investment firm Torino
Capital until recently, said that there are informal talks with
lenders, investors and even government officials but that nothing
can be considered formal at this stage.

                          Dollarization

While Maduro has overseen the collapse of the economy during his
term, his government still maintains a core of support near 20
percent of Venezuelans either ideologically aligned with the
government or financially dependent on the handouts including
monthly food shipments in boxes called CLAPs, Bloomberg News
notes.  What's Falcon's response to that policy to woo
disenfranchised voters ahead of the May 20 election?
"Dollarization."

Bloomberg News notes that Mr. Rodriguez says he's convinced that
ditching the bolivar for the U.S. dollar would kick start the
economy, return purchasing power to Venezuelans through the
allotment of monthly subsidies to all and unite the various
exchange rates ranging from 40,000 bolivars per dollar to 230,000
under one roof.

"The majority of countries that dollarize use all of their
international reserves, Venezuela is interesting because you can
do it with a third of them," he said, Bloomberg News notes.  Mr.
Rodriguez estimates an exchange rate of around 70,000 bolivars per
dollar, but the rate would ultimately depend on inflation and the
amount of reserves in the central bank's vault upon taking office,
Bloomberg News relays.

"If we get to the central bank and nothing is there we'll have to
look for external financing to implement dollarization like
Ecuador did," he added, notes the report.

Against the pleas of his ostensible allies, former governor Falcon
officially kicked off his presidential campaign and is now
stumping across Venezuela in his bid to bring an end to nearly two
decades of socialist rule, Bloomberg News notes.

                         Divisive Figure

Bloomberg News says that while polls give the opposition candidate
as much as a double-digit lead over President Maduro, Falcon
remains a long shot.  Not only is he squaring off against an
autocratic incumbent that has extended his grip across nearly all
the country's institutions, but also a boycott of the main
traditional opposition parties that will undoubtedly sap him of
votes, Bloomberg News notes.

"We have two enemies: Maduro and abstention," said Mr. Rodriguez,
Bloomberg News relays.

Mr. Falcon, 56, is a divisive figure.  A former military man and
ally of Maduro's predecessor, Hugo Chavez, he broke ranks with the
government in 2010 as governor of Lara state, Bloomberg News says.
Hardliners view him as a traitor or a turncoat legitimizing a vote
rigged in favor of Maduro. But Falcon presents himself as the
ideal candidate to bridge a bitter divide, appealing to moderates
who are sick of politics as usual and an economy in tatters,
Bloomberg News notes.

Wracked by food shortages and hyperinflation, Mr. Rodriguez is
confident the campaign will gain steam, Bloomberg News says.  Not
voting on May 20 will ultimately give way to six more years of
Maduro, Mr. Rodriguez says, Bloomberg News relays.  Falcon is
pledging to begin dismantling price and exchange controls
immediately upon taking office, Bloomberg News says.

"In three or four years, the Venezuelan economy can perfectly
return to being worth $300 billion," the adviser said, Bloomberg
News adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
March 13, 2018, Moody's Investors Service has downgraded the
Government of Venezuela's foreign currency and local currency
issuer ratings, foreign and local currency senior unsecured
ratings, and foreign currency senior secured rating to C from
Caa3. Concurrently, the foreign currency senior unsecured medium
term note program has also been downgraded to (P)C from (P)Caa3.
The outlook has been changed to stable from negative.


                            ***********


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

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

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


                            ***********


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

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

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

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

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

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


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