TCRLA_Public/180726.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, July 26, 2018, Vol. 19, No. 147


                            Headlines



B R A Z I L

CHACO PROVINCE: Fitch Affirms 'B' IDRS & USD250MM Notes Rating


D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

BANCO DEL PROGRESO: 2 Biggest Shareholders Sells Stakes
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Central Bank Raises Benchmark Rate to 5.50%


J A M A I C A

JAMAICA: DPP Urges Firms to Safeguard Against White-Collar Crimes
JAMAICA: UK Providing $9.4BB Boost to Agriculture Sector


P U E R T O    R I C O

DIAMOND & DIAMONDS: Aug. 29 Plan and Disclosures Hearing
FANTASY JEWELRY: Sept. 13 Plan and Disclosure Statement Hearing
FANTASY JEWELRY: Unsecured Creditors to Get 100% Under Plan


T R I N I D A D  &  T O B A G O

NEW CITY MALL: Tenants Protests Against Management


V E N E Z U E L A

PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Two Oil Upgraders to be Halted Soon


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B R A Z I L
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CHACO PROVINCE: Fitch Affirms 'B' IDRS & USD250MM Notes Rating
--------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has affirmed the Province of Chaco's long-term,
foreign-and local-currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at 'B'
with a Stable Rating Outlook. Fitch has also affirmed the 'B'
long-term rating on Chaco's 9.375% senior unsecured notes for
USD250 million.

Chaco's ratings affirmation is supported by the generation of
operating margins in line with Fitch's expectations. Operating
margins should be close to 3%, absent pension deficit payments,
which is better than international peers in the 'B' category. The
ratings are limited by Chaco's low participation of tax revenues
and fragile economic structure.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

Institutional Framework: Weak/Stable

Fitch considers Argentina's institutional framework to be Weak
given the country's structural weaknesses, including its complex
and unbalanced fiscal regime with weak equalization funding with
federal transfers being updated with much delays. Fitch will
monitor the implementation of several corrective measures on tax
and federal revenue distribution and their potential impact on the
province's public finances.

Fiscal Performance: Neutral/Stable

Operating revenue reached ARS48.2 billion in 2017 with an
estimated real growth rate of around 13%. The positive operating
margins posted in 2017 (3.1%) contrasts with the negative
operating margin in 2016 (negative 3%). It is worth mentioning
that local revenue is linked to the level of national economic
activity since federal shared tax revenue represented around 85%
operating revenue in the past five years.

Debt, Liabilities and Liquidity: Weak/Stable

Total outstanding consolidated debt reached ARS18.5 billion in
2017, 46% higher in relation to 2016 given the new debt hired in
2017 and the currency depreciation. Exposure to currency risk is
moderate at around 42% of unhedged foreign currency debt, similar
to the 'B' category median. The prevalent portion is accrued with
the federal government, which can be considered an amicable
creditor.

Debt service absorbed low 4.1% of operating revenue in 2017 and 3%
in 2016. And direct debt represented almost 40% its operating
revenues, in line with peers in the same rating category. Fitch
expects increased refinancing risks in 2018 and 2019 thus
requiring the province to be able to enter into new credit
operations. Fitch estimates that around one-third of Chaco's debt
will mature until 2020.

The main contingent liability of Chaco is the local pension
system. In 2017, ANSES transferred around ARS613 million to
INSSSEP, covering some 40% of the estimated deficit. For 2018,
Fitch expects some ARS902 million from the federal government in
favor of Chaco. Short-term liabilities (floating debt) due in 2018
totaled around ARS5 billion, corresponding manageable 10% of
operating revenue (12.3% in 2016). Despite lower in 2017, gross
cash positions cover around 94% short-term obligations (110% in
2016). Fitch does not expect further decreases in cash positions
in 2018.

Economy: Weak/Stable

Chaco is located in the northeastern region of Argentina with
improving socioeconomic indicators. With an estimated population
of around 1.2 million (less than 3% of Argentina's), GDP per
capita is around USD3,400, thus below the national average of
USD12,400. Cotton and sunflower have been the main products of
Chaco and this province ranks as the second largest producer in
Argentina. Soybeans have also grown in importance, with the
province now ranking as the sixth largest producer.

Management and Administration: Neutral/Stable

The administration's goal is to promote job creation via public
policies and investments. Fitch believes management has average
skills and experience compared to peers. Budget formulation is
appropriate, but the province does not prepare annual balance
sheets. Fitch notes that Chaco adhered to the nationwide fiscal
reform pact in November 2017, thus leading to additional federal
transfers to the province.

RATING SENSITIVITIES

Negative factors: A downgrade of Argentina's Issuer Default Rating
(IDR) or persistently weak operating margins, coupled with a
persistent high refinance risk, could lead to a negative rating
action. Fitch does not expect any improvement in the ratings in
the short term given that ratings factors are well balanced for
its current ratings and the fact that Chaco's IDR is not
constrained by the sovereign.

Any change in the rating of the province will affect the bond
rating in the same direction.

FULL LIST OF RATING ACTIONS

Fitch has affirmed Chaco's ratings as follows:

  -- Long-term foreign- and local-currency IDR at 'B'; Outlook
     Stable;

  -- USD250 million 9.375% senior unsecured notes at 'B'.



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D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C
===================================


BANCO DEL PROGRESO: 2 Biggest Shareholders Sells Stakes
-------------------------------------------------------
Dominican Today reports that the two companies that control more
than 95 percent of the Banco del Progreso's shares have put
US$328.0 million worth (RD$16.3 billion) on sale.

Progreso is one of the country's the Dominican Republic major
banks and two years ago, it managed to completely recover from an
2005 embezzlement into the hundreds of millions of dollars,
according to Dominican Today.

The report notes that it has obtained good ratings from
international agencies for several years, with an "A" from Feller
Rate at yearend 2017.

Progreso Board president Juan Bautista Vicini Lluberes announced
the sale, the report relays.

                           The Offer

The companies Clavet Group LTD and Fletchwood Limited jointly sold
their 51.83 million shares at US$6.33 each, for a total of
RD$328.0 million, Progreso said in a statement obtained by the
news agency.


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Central Bank Raises Benchmark Rate to 5.50%
---------------------------------------------------------------
Dominican Today reports that Dominican Republic's Central Bank
said it increased its monetary policy interest rate by 25 basis
points, from 5.25% to 5.50% per annum, a decision adopted at its
monetary policy meeting in July 2018.

It said short-term liquidity management scheme, the rate of
overnight deposits increases from 3.75% to 4.00% per annum and the
rate of permanent expansion facilities (repos) increases from
6.75% to 7.00 % annually, according to Dominican Today.

It stressed that the decision to increase the prime rate was based
"on an exhaustive analysis of the balance of risks around
inflation projections, the main national macroeconomic indicators,
the relevant international environment, market expectations and
the medium-term forecasts," the report notes.

It also said that accumulated inflation was 1.43% during the first
six months, with year-on-year inflation from June 2017 to June
2018 at 4.63%, "above the midpoint of the target range of 4.0% Ò
1.0% established in the Monetary Program," the report relays.

"Prior to the meeting, inflation forecasts in a passive scenario
indicated a gradual upward trend, as a result of higher oil
prices, domestic demand pressures and an increase in uncertainty
in international financial markets, for which a need for a change
of position in the monetary policy that seeks to achieve the goal
within the two-year policy horizon," the Central Bank said, the
report relays.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
July 19, 2018, Fitch Ratings has assigned a 'BB-' rating to
Dominican Republic's USD1.3 billion bonds, maturing July 2028. The
notes have a coupon of 6%.  Proceeds from the issuance will be
used for general purposes of the government, including the partial
financing of the 2018 budget.



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J A M A I C A
=============


JAMAICA: DPP Urges Firms to Safeguard Against White-Collar Crimes
-----------------------------------------------------------------
RJR News reports that Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Paula
Llewellyn, is encouraging the heads of public and private
financial entities to put in mechanisms and systems that will
safeguard their operations against white-collar crimes, such as
fraud.

She's urging the entities to seek external assistance, if it has
been determined that these safeguards have been breached,
according to RJR News.

The DPP was delivering the keynote address at the Jamaica Bankers
Association anti-fraud seminar, which was held under the theme
'Fighting Fraud -- Protecting Our Economy,' the report notes.

The report relays that Ms. Llewellyn noted that white-collar
crimes, which also include bribery, forgery, money laundering and
lottery scamming, can potentially destroy business entities as
well as devastate personal financial resources and cause Jamaica
to suffer global reputational damage.

Ms. Llewellyn said while these illicit activities were once
committed by persons deemed of high respectability and social
standing, they are now being carried out by a wider cross-section
of  individuals, irrespective of  gender, class, color or
educational background, the report adds.

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


JAMAICA: UK Providing $9.4BB Boost to Agriculture Sector
--------------------------------------------------------
RJR News reports that Jamaica's agricultural sector will in short
order receive a $9.4 billion boost by way of development
assistance from the United Kingdom (UK).

The Gleaner newspaper said, during a recent interview, Asif Ahmad,
UK's High Commissioner to Jamaica, explained that plans are afoot
to create a sustainable irrigation system for local agriculture,
according to RJR News.

The project will address issues from water, to the fields, to the
type of crops grown, how they are processed, and ensuring that
they get to the markets in good state, the report notes.

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



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P U E R T O    R I C O
======================


DIAMOND & DIAMONDS: Aug. 29 Plan and Disclosures Hearing
--------------------------------------------------------
Bankruptcy Judge Mildred Caban Flores issued an order
conditionally approving Diamond & Diamonds Inc.'s disclosure
statement filed on July 2, 2018.

Acceptances or rejections of the Plan may be filed in writing by
the holders of all claims on/or before 14 days prior to the date
of the hearing on confirmation of the Plan.

That any objection to the final approval of the Disclosure
Statement and/or the confirmation of the Plan must be filed on/or
before 14 days prior to the date of the hearing on confirmation of
the Plan.

A hearing for the consideration of the final approval of the
Disclosure Statement and the confirmation of the Plan will be held
on August 29, 2018 at 09:00 A.M. at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court,
Jose V. Toledo U.S. Post Office and Courthouse Building, 300
Recinto Sur Street, Courtroom 3, Third Floor, San Juan, Puerto
Rico,

                About Diamond & Diamonds Inc.

Diamond & Diamonds, Inc. sought protection under Chapter 11 of the
Bankruptcy Code (Bankr. D.P.R. Case No. 17-04882) on July 10,
2017.  Magaly E. Hernandez Leon, vice-president, signed the
petition.

At the time of the filing, the Debtor disclosed that it had
estimated assets of less than $1 million and liabilities of less
than $500,000.

Hector Figueroa Vincenty, Esq., represents the Debtor as
bankruptcy counsel.


FANTASY JEWELRY: Sept. 13 Plan and Disclosure Statement Hearing
---------------------------------------------------------------
Judge Mildred Caban Flores of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the
District of Puerto Rico conditionally approved Fantasy Jewelry
Trading Inc.'s disclosure statement in connection with its plan
of reorganization filed on April 6, 2017.

Acceptances or rejections of the Plan may be filed in writing by
the holders of all claims on/or before 14 days prior to the date
of
the hearing on confirmation of the Plan.

Any objection to the final approval of the Disclosure Statement
and/or the confirmation of the Plan shall be filed on/or before 14
days prior to the date of the hearing on confirmation of the Plan.

A hearing for the consideration of the final approval of the
Disclosure Statement and the confirmation of the Plan will be held
on Sept. 13, 2017 at 9:00 a.m. at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Jose
V. Toledo U.S. Post Office and Courthouse Building, 300 Recinto
Sur Street, Courtroom 3, Third Floor, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

                   About Fantasy Jewelry

Fantasy Jewelry Trading Inc. filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy
petition (Bankr. D.P.R. Case No. 15-09021) on November 13, 2015.
Paul James Hammer, Esq., at Estrella, LLC as bankruptcy counsel.


FANTASY JEWELRY: Unsecured Creditors to Get 100% Under Plan
-----------------------------------------------------------
The consolidated estate of Fantasy Jewelry Trading Inc. and
Joyeria Venecia Inc. filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the
District of Puerto Rico a consolidated disclosure statement
explaining their small business plan.

There are no secured claims.  Priority claims will receive 100% of
their allowed claims.  The Internal Revenue Service filed priority
tax claims in the amount of $8,202.59.  These claims will be paid
$694.71 per month for 12 months at 4% starting 30 days after the
effective date of the Plan.  The Debtors objected to the priority
tax claims filed by the Puerto Rico Department of Treasury and the
Department of Labor.

General unsecured creditors will also receive a distribution of
100% of their allowed claims.  General unsecured claims totaling
$2,190.45 will be paid one time 30 days after the effective date
of the Plan.

Payments and distributions under the Plan will be funded by the
following:

   (a) Income from operations of the remaining store.
   (b) Sale of any excess equipment or store furniture.
   (c) Cash available at the effective date of the Plan.

A full-text copy of the Disclosure Statement dated April 6, 2017,
is available at http://bankrupt.com/misc/prb15-09021-167.pdf

                 About Fantasy Jewelry

Fantasy Jewelry Trading Inc. filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy
petition (Bankr. D.P.R. Case No. 15-09021) on November 13, 2015.
Paul James Hammer, Esq., at Estrella, LLC as bankruptcy counsel.



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T R I N I D A D  &  T O B A G O
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NEW CITY MALL: Tenants Protests Against Management
-------------------------------------------------
Trinidad Express reports that tenants of New City Mall at
Independence Square, Port of Spain, protested over the past two
days over what they claimed was poor management, victimization,
nepotism and the management board's unwillingness to meet with
them.

"We have a manager who's autocratic, poor in dealing with people
and is never prepared to deal with the challenges facing us. So
whenever we have to do anything, they're not being done in a
timely fashion in order to bring in the required revenue," said
tenant Cheryl-Ann Alexis, according to Trinidad Express.



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


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Two Oil Upgraders to be Halted Soon
-----------------------------------------------------------
Deisy Buitrago and Marianna Parraga at Reuters report that two of
Venezuela's four crude upgraders are scheduled to undergo
previously delayed maintenance in the next few weeks, according to
three sources close to the facilities, further reducing state-run
Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A.'s (PDVSA) exports of upgraded crude.
The upgraders, which convert the extra-heavy oil produced in
Venezuela's Orinoco Belt into exportable grades, have a combined
700,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) capacity, according to Reuters.

The report notes that the maintenance projects, including one that
had been expected to begin in April, have been deferred due to
lack of spare parts and outages.  The work temporarily will reduce
the amount of upgraded oil available, but will help ease tanker
congestion at the country's main port of Jose, the report relays.

The OPEC-member's oil production fell to 1.34 million bpd in June,
according to secondary sources cited by OPEC, the lowest level
since the 1950s, the report recalls.  Oil is Venezuela's main
export and the decline has deepened an already severe economic
crisis, the report says.

The 150,000-bpd Petromonagas upgrader, operated by state-run PDVSA
and Russian joint venture partner Rosneft, is expected to start
major maintenance work by early August, according to the sources,
the report notes.

Repairs to the 210,000-bpd Petropiar upgrader operated by PDVSA
and U.S. company Chevron Corp will also start in coming weeks, the
sources said, the report relays.  There was a fire at that
facility in June during its restart process, the report notes.

When the upgraders are out of service, extra-heavy oil is blended
with imported naphtha to produce diluted crude (DCO), the report
says.  But the volumes of DCO exported typically are lower than
the upgraders' capacity, the report relays.

In a meeting this week with some Orinoco Belt partners, Venezuelan
officials complained about delayed maintenance affecting the
upgraders, which has led to more exports of less-valuable DCO,
according to a person that attended the meeting, the report
discloses.

Venezuela's oil exports this year have been limited due to output
declines. Asset seizures by ConocoPhillips to enforce an
arbitration award have also crimped sales by depriving PDVSA of
most of the Caribbean terminals it once used to store and ship
oil, the report says.

The report notes that as the two upgraders are taken out of
service for maintenance, PDVSA aims to restart the 160,000-bpd
Petro San Felix upgrader in the coming weeks, after several
interruptions in recent months for repairs.

The 190,000-bpd Petrocedeno, operated by PDVSA, Total and Equinor,
is working at reduced rates due to repairs and spare parts, the
report relays.  A major maintenance project there is expected to
start in early 2019, the sources said, 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.


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Monday's edition of the TCR-LA delivers a list of indicative
prices for bond issues that reportedly trade well below par.
Prices are obtained by TCR-LA editors from a variety of outside
sources during the prior week we think are reliable.   Those
sources may not, however, be complete or accurate.  The Monday
Bond Pricing table is compiled on the Friday prior to publication.
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.

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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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