TCRLA_Public/180823.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, August 23, 2018, Vol. 19, No. 167


                            Headlines



B R A Z I L

BANCO DAVIVIENDA: 2Q 2018 Net Profit Drops 38.2% to $281,000MM
MARFRIG GLOBAL: To Sell U.S. Unit to Tyson for $2.5 Billion


D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Agro Push Would Pave Way for New Economy


E C U A D O R

EMPRESA PUBLICA: Fitch Cuts Sr. Unsec. Notes Rating to 'B-'/'RR4'


M E X I C O

CULIACAN: Moody's Affirms B3 GS LC Issuer Rating; Outlook Stable
MEXICO: Millions of Dead Bees Devastate Beekeepers' Business


T R I N I D A D  &  T O B A G O

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Unemployment Up, Saving Deposits Down
TRINIDAD CEMENT: Positions for Guyana Oil Boom


V E N E Z U E L A

VENEZUELA: Venezuelans Worry About Price of Gasoline
VENEZUELA: 6.9 Earthquake Magnitude Causes Property Damages


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B R A Z I L
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BANCO DAVIVIENDA: 2Q 2018 Net Profit Drops 38.2% to $281,000MM
--------------------------------------------------------------
Laura Fernanda Bolanos at La Republica reports that following the
delivery schedule of results, Banco Davivienda S.A.(Davivienda)
disclosed its figures at the end of the second quarter of 2018.

Among the figures it delivered is a net profit that closed in the
quarter of $281,000 million, which meant a decrease of 38.2%
compared to the previous quarte, according to La Republica.

Other results that were delivered was a gross portfolio that
reached $ 81.6 billion, which according to the bank was "led by
the behavior of the housing and commercial segments, which had
growths of 15.1% and 4.4% respectively," the report notes.

In an analysis carried out by Casa de Bolsa, the experts reported
that in the midst of the economic outlook in Colombia "the
financial results of Davivienda showed a lower dynamic, in which
the ROAE registered annual and quarterly contractions in the
middle of a greater expense of provisions," the report relays.

Regarding the indicators, analysts expressed that they will remain
attentive to "the quality of the portfolio, which deteriorated at
the annual and quarterly levels (+115 pbs and +60 pbs
respectively), mainly by customers in the infrastructure and
transportation sector of the commercial portfolio," the report
adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
March 7, 2018, Moody's Investors Service affirmed Banco Davivienda
S.A.'s (Davivienda) Baa3 long-term local- and foreign-currency
deposit and foreign currency senior debt ratings, as well as its
foreign currency subordinate debt rating of Ba2. At the same time
Moody's changed the outlook on Davivienda's ratings to negative,
from stable.


MARFRIG GLOBAL: To Sell U.S. Unit to Tyson for $2.5 Billion
-----------------------------------------------------------
Tatiana Bautzer and Paula Laier at Reuters report that Brazilian
meatpacker Marfrig Global Foods SA has agreed to sell its U.S.
subsidiary, a key McDonald's supplier, to Tyson Foods Inc (TSN.N)
for $2.5 billion, two people with knowledge of the matter told
Reuters.

On Aug. 17, Marfrig shares rose as much as 8% but reversed gains
and were down 7.3% at BRL6.38 as investors reassessed the price of
the deal.  Tyson rose 1.2% to $61.71, the report relays.

In a note to clients, Itau BBA's equities team said the news is
"negative for the stock," as the market hoped for a higher
valuation of up to $3 billion, for chicken processor Keystone
Foods.  The bank kept its "underperform" rating on Marfrig, the
report relays.

The report discloses that Marfrig's controlling shareholder
Chairman Marcos Molina, who owns around 35% of the meatpacker,
agreed to sell Keystone, a major chicken products supplier to
McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) for $2.5 billion, according to the
sources.

They asked for anonymity because they are not authorized to
discuss the matter publicly, the report relays.

One of the sources said Marfrig may disclose the deal as soon
after the market closes, the report notes.  Some small details
related to the deal, such as potential spin off of some small
assets from Keystone, is delaying a final agreement, the report
relays.

Newspaper Valor Economico reported the deal on its website
earlier, the report discloses.

Tyson and Marfrig declined to comment.

The report relays that Marfrig Chief Financial Officer Eduardo
Miron told journalists that the company "can close the deal any
moment," the report relays.

Tyson entered exclusive talks to acquire Keystone in late July,
the report adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Aug. 22, 2018, S&P Global Ratings raised its global scale issuer
credit rating on Marfrig Global Foods S.A. (Marfrig) to 'BB-' from
'B+' and its national scale issuer credit and issue-level ratings
to 'brAA+' from 'brAA'. S&P removed the credit ratings from
CreditWatch positive and the issue ratings from CreditWatch
developing, where S&P placed them on April 9, 2018. The outlook on
both scales is now stable.


===================================
D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C
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DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Agro Push Would Pave Way for New Economy
------------------------------------------------------------
Dominican Today reports that Herrera Industries Association
(ANEIH) President Antonio Taveras proposed an articulated push of
agriculture and industry to pave the way for "a new economy for a
new country."

He said Santiago and the Central Cibao regions contain the seeds
of what could be a great program which accelerates Dominican
Republic's productive apparatus, according to Dominican Today.

"This vision of development would be based on the underpinning of
agriculture, industry and agro-industry, strategic sectors with
immense potential to generate productive linkage with tourism,
trade and services," Mr. Taveras said, speaking at a conference
Expo Mipymes Santiago 2018, hosted by the National Small and
Medium Enterprises Federation (Fenamipymes), the report notes.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
July 19, 2018, Fitch Ratings 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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E C U A D O R
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EMPRESA PUBLICA: Fitch Cuts Sr. Unsec. Notes Rating to 'B-'/'RR4'
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has downgraded the rating of the senior unsecured
notes issued by Empresa Publica de Exploracion y Explotacion de
Hidrocarburos Petroamazonas EP (PetroAmazonas) due in February and
November 2020 to 'B-'/'RR4' from 'B'/'RR4'. The rating action
impact a total amount of approximately USD615 million notes
outstanding. The rating action follows Fitch recent downgrade of
the Republic of Ecuador to 'B-'/Outlook Stable from 'B'/Outlook
Negative.

PetroAmazonas' senior unsecured notes rating is linked to the
Republic of Ecuador's ratings as a guarantor. The notes are fully
covered by a sovereign guarantee, which constitutes a general,
direct, unsecured, unsubordinated and unconditional obligation of
the sovereign. The guarantee is backed by the full faith and
credit of the Republic of Ecuador and ranks equally in terms of
priority with other sovereign debt. This linkage reflects
PetroAmazonas' importance to the government of Ecuador as the main
supplier of the country's energy supply, and large contributor of
U.S. dollars linked revenues.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

Sovereign Guarantee: The downgrade on Petroamazonas' senior
unsecured notes follows Fitch's recent downgrade of the Republic
of Ecuador's rating to 'B-'/Outlook Stable. The notes are fully
covered by a sovereign guarantee, which constitutes a general,
direct, unsecured, unsubordinated and unconditional obligation of
the sovereign. The guarantee is backed by the full faith and
credit of the Republic of Ecuador and ranks equally in terms of
priority with other sovereign debt.

The downgrade of Ecuador's Long-Term Foreign Currency Issuer
Default Rating (IDR) to 'B-' reflects evidence of increased fiscal
financing constraints amidst a steady deterioration of Ecuador's
key metrics, including rapidly rising government debt and interest
burden as well as weaker economic growth performance relative to
the 'B' median. The Stable Outlook reflects Fitch's expectation
that the public sector fiscal deficit will decline to 3.9% of GDP
in 2018, down from 5.0% in 2017 and 7.4% in 2016, on the back of
the government's new fiscal consolidation strategy.

Importance to the Government: PetroAmazonas is fully owned by the
government of Ecuador. The Republic has absolute control over
business strategies and the company's revenue generation.
PetroAmazonas is strategically important for the country as it
provides the majority of the country's hydrocarbon supply.
Government support is further evidenced by the Minister of
Finance's annual contribution to fund the company's operations.

Ecuador relies on exports and tourism for generating hard currency
revenues. Crude oil represented 35% of exports, a drop from 50% in
2014. While lower than historical levels, the revenues are still
the largest single source of U.S. dollar inflows. The percentage
should climb toward historical levels in the future as oil prices
rebound.

Significant Contributor to Government Revenue: Ecuador is highly
dependent on oil. Petroleum and derivatives represented 17% of
public sector revenues in 2017, a drop from 28% in 2014. This
decline is due to the sharp drop in oil prices. As prices recover,
Fitch expects this percentage to climb to historical levels.
PetroAmazonas has a competitive cost structure and could withstand
depressed prices if its revenue generation was based on market
price, which it is not. Due to a lack of a defined revenue
structure, the company is reliant upon government transfers to
cover its ongoing operations and debt service payments.

DERIVATION SUMMARY

PetroAmazonas' linkage to the sovereign is similar in nature to
its peers, namely Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA, RD), YPF
S.A. (B/Stable), Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras, BB-/Stable),
Ecopetrol S.A. (BBB/Stable), Petroleos Mexicanos (BBB+/Stable),
Petroleos del Peru - Petroperu S.A. (BBB+/Stable) and Empresa
Nacional del Petroleo (ENAP, A/Stable). These companies all have
strong linkage to their respective sovereigns given their
strategic importance to each country and the potentially
significant negative sociopolitical and financial implication a
financial distress would have for the country.

PetroAmazonas' notes ratings at 'B-'/'RR4' reflect its close
linkage with the sovereign rating of Ecuador due to its strategic
importance to the country as one of the largest suppliers of crude
oil. Ecuador depends on oil exports as a significant source of
hard currency for the country, which historically has represented
50% of the country's exports. The sovereign linkage is further
evidenced by the sovereign guarantee provided to PetroAmazonas to
cover its debt obligations under the notes.

PetroAmazonas is well positioned relative to its peers in terms of
reserves, reserve life, and debt/1P reserves. Despite adequate
production levels and reserve life, political risk remains high
for the company as its revenue generation totally depends on fund
transfers from the government and timing for receiving them.

KEY ASSUMPTIONS

Fitch's Key Assumptions Within Its Rating Case for the Issuer

  -- Senior unsecured notes fully guaranteed by the Republic of
Ecuador;

  -- Production levels remain stable at approximately 360,000
barrels of oil equivalent per day (boed) ;

  -- Approved budget and consequent government transfers will be
enough to cover operating expenses, capex investments and debt
service payments;

  -- Annual capex of approximately USD2 billion per year for the
next four years.

KEY RECOVERY RATING ASSUMPTIONS

  -- The recovery analysis assumes that the value of PetroAmazonas
would be assessed under a going concern approach;

  -- Fitch has assumed a 10% administrative claim.

RATING SENSITIVITIES

Developments That May, Individually or Collectively, Lead to
Positive Rating Action

  -- An upgrade of the sovereign.

Future developments that could individually, or collectively,
result in a positive rating change for Ecuador's sovereign ratings
include:

  -- Further fiscal policy adjustments that narrow the budget
deficit and improve the trajectory of government debt/GDP;

  -- Improvements in the economy's external liquidity position
that provides a more ample buffer to external shocks;

  -- Economic recovery resulting from higher investment in the oil
and mining sectors, productivity-enhancing reforms and
improvements in the business environment.

Developments That May, Individually or Collectively, Lead to
Negative Rating Action

  -- A downgrade of the sovereign.

Future developments that could individually, or collectively,
result in a negative rating change for Ecuador's sovereign ratings
include:

  -- The emergence of severe fiscal financing constraints that
lead to an abrupt economic adjustment;

  -- Failure to narrow the fiscal deficit and/or persistent weak
economic growth, leading to a continued rapid rise in the
government's debt burden;

  -- Governing challenges that undermine the government's
policymaking capacity.

LIQUIDITY

Weak Liquidity: PetroAmazonas' liquidity profile is heavily
reliant on the sovereign's access to external borrowing. The
government support is evidenced by the annual contribution to fund
operations from the Ministry of Finance in an amount equal to the
general budget approved by the company's board of directors.

Ecuador's international reserve levels have historically been low
and volatile. Fitch forecasts that Ecuador's international
reserves will approach USD2.4 billion by the end of 2018 or just
one month of current external payments, little changed from year-
end 2017.

In 2017, the company issued approximately USD615 million of
international notes which are guaranteed by the Republic of
Ecuador. The company's access to the markets will be driven by the
sovereign's ability to continue tapping the local and
international markets.

FULL LIST OF RATING ACTIONS

Fitch has downgraded the following notes issued by Empresa Publica
de Exploracion y Explotacion de Hidrocarburos Petroamazonas EP:

  -- Senior unsecured notes guaranteed by the government of
Ecuador due February and November 2020 to 'B-'/'RR4' from
'B'/'RR4'.


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M E X I C O
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CULIACAN: Moody's Affirms B3 GS LC Issuer Rating; Outlook Stable
----------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's de Mexico (Moody's) affirmed the issuer ratings of the
municipality of Culiacan at B3/B1.mx (Global Scale, local
currency/Mexico National Scale) and changed the outlook to stable
from negative.

RATINGS RATIONALE

RATIONALE FOR THE STABLE OUTLOOK

The change of outlook to stable from negative reflects the
municipality's improved cash financing balance and a modest rise
in its still weak liquidity position. Culiacan's cash financing
balance climbed to 4.7% of total revenues in 2017 from -0.6% a
year earlier and its cash to current liabilities increased to
0.11x from a very low 0.04x in 2016, indicating that the
municipality's liquidity stress has become less acute. Moody's
expects Culiacan's financial results will remain positive in 2018
and that its liquidity will be stable.

RATIONALE FOR THE AFFIRMATION OF THE B3 RATING

The affirmation of Culiacan's ratings reflects significant
weaknesses stemming from the municipality's negative operating
balances, volatile cash financing margins and poor liquidity
position, offset by solid own-source revenue collection and a
manageable debt burden.

Culiacan's operating results averaged -2.5% of operating revenues
during the past five years while the cash financing balance has
been volatile, averaging 0.5% of total revenues over the same time
period. As a result, Culiacan's liquidity, measured by cash to
current liabilities, has also been weak, averaging 0.15x. Weak
liquidity constitutes the main credit challenge for Culiacan in
the short term.

Culiacan has authorization from the State Congress to contract new
debt for MXN 347 million at a term of up to 25 years. If fully
acquired, this will increase the municipality's net direct and
indirect debt to 33.5% of operating revenues in 2018 from 24% in
2017. Nonetheless, this level will remain in line with the median
for B3 rated Mexican peers. Moody's estimates that the operating
and cash financing balances of Culiacan will stand at 0.4% of
operating revenues and 3.2% of total revenues, resulting in
relatively stable liquidity metrics of around 0.12x in 2018.
The B3 rating also takes into account Culiacan's unfunded pension
liabilities, which the municipality is already covering through
operating expenditures, which will continue to strain the
municipality's gross operating balance. In 2017, these payments
amounted MXN 336.8 million (23% of operating revenues). Based on
the latest available actuarial study, which was conducted in 2017,
the actuarial deficit equaled a very high 717% of total revenues.
Offsetting some of these pressures are Culiacan's strong own
source revenue collections, which averaged 42% of operating
revenues over the past five years, comparing favorably with B1-B3
rated Mexican peers.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING UP OR DOWN

Upward pressure on the ratings could arise if the municipality
shows a consistent improvement in its operating and financial
balances, that in turn strengthens the liquidity position and/or
if the municipality implements measures to reduce its unfunded
pension liabilities. On the other hand, if liquidity deteriorates
below current levels and the municipality makes use of short term
debt, this could lead to a downgrade of Culiacan's ratings.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Regional and
Local Governments published in January 2018.

The period of time covered in the financial information used to
determine Municipality of Culiacan's rating is between January 1,
2013 and December 31, 2017. (source: financial statements of
Municipality of Culiacan)


MEXICO: Millions of Dead Bees Devastate Beekeepers' Business
------------------------------------------------------------
EFE News reports that the death of millions of bees in the
apiaries of the La Candelaria commons, in the heart of the Maya
area of Quintana Roo, inflicted disaster and desolation on the
beekeepers of the region, who thought the possible cause could be
the spraying of a nearby crop of habanero chili peppers.

Up to now some 365 beehives have been counted in 18 apiaries
within a radius of 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the field of
habanero peppers, which could be why the beekeepers are losing
their main source of income, according to EFE News.



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T R I N I D A D  &  T O B A G O
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TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Unemployment Up, Saving Deposits Down
--------------------------------------------------------
Aleem Khan at Trinidad Express reports that economists from the
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), Canada's fifth largest
bank by assets, estimated that Trinidad and Tobago's (T&T)
unemployment rate has returned to its 12-month high of 5.3 per
cent.

They also noted savings deposits in the local financial system are
down 4.5%, according to Trinidad Express.

CIBC said the T&T stock market index is also down for the year so
far, and that, due to increased government borrowing, T&T also now
has a heavier US dollar interest-repayment burden, the report
notes.


TRINIDAD CEMENT: Positions for Guyana Oil Boom
----------------------------------------------
Anthony Wilson at Trinidad Express reports that like scores of
other local companies, Claxton Bay-headquartered, regional cement
producer Trinidad Cement Ltd (TCL) is positioning itself to
benefit from the increase in government expenditure that is
expected in Guyana following the start of oil production there in
2020.

Last week, TCL disclosed that it had entered into sale and
purchase agreements on August 10 to acquire the 20 per cent stake
in TCL Guyana it did not own from two minority shareholders,
Toolsie Persaud Ltd and Anral Investments Ltd., according to
Trinidad Express.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Oct. 4, 2017, Fitch Ratings has affirmed and simultaneously
withdrawn Trinidad Cement Limited's Long-Term Foreign and Local
Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at 'B+'.



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V E N E Z U E L A
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VENEZUELA: Venezuelans Worry About Price of Gasoline
----------------------------------------------------
EFE News reports that long lines of cars at Venezuela's gas
stations continue due to the uncertainty about the price of
gasoline, the cheapest in the world, which the government
threatens boost to international levels for all who do not
register for the census of car owners that ends Aug. 17.

The lines are common enough in states bordering Colombia, such as
Tachira and Zulia, where control has been maintained with a chip
since 2014 to avoid smuggling gasoline across the border, and has
been repeated in other Venezuelan states including Carabobo and
the capital, according to EFE News.

The situation is due, according to gas station personnel consulted
by EFE, to the "lack of information" about the decision of
President Nicolas Maduro, who has warned that gasoline for those
not registered in the car owners' census will be charged at the
international rate.

Though the country has a single official exchange rate that
operates on an auction system -- currently 248,832 bolivars per
dollar -- citizens have their doubts about whether they will
continue to be charged at that rate or if they'll be hit by the
one used for buying dollars at foreign currency exchange offices,
which stands at 4.01 million bolivars per dollar, the report adds.

"We're all desperate," accountant Deysa Cortes told EFE.

She said it's "incredible" that in the country with the largest
oil reserves in the world, people are getting in "immensely long
lines to fill up their gas tanks," the report relays.

"And don't talk to me about that census," she said, but added that
she's in favor of raising the price of gasoline "gradually," a
position supported by everyone EFE spoke to.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
June 1, 2018, S&P Global Ratings, on May 29, 2018, removed its
long- and short-term local currency sovereign credit ratings on
Venezuela from CreditWatch with negative implications and affirmed
them at 'CCC- /C'. The outlook on the long-term local currency
rating is negative. At the same time, S&P affirmed its 'SD/D'
long- and short-term foreign currency sovereign credit ratings on
Venezuela. S&P's transfer and convertibility assessment remains at
'CC'.


VENEZUELA: 6.9 Earthquake Magnitude Causes Property Damages
-----------------------------------------------------------
EFE News reports that the earthquake in Venezuela was of magnitude
6.9 on the Richter scale, not 6.3 as initially said, and has
caused damage to some buildings, according to Venezuela's Minister
of Interior and Justice.

Minister Nestor Reverol assured that no deaths or injuries have
been reported so far, according to EFE News.

"There are some structural faults in some buildings," Minister
Reverol said, without providing further details, on state-run VTV
channel after the quake, the magnitude of which was recalculated
with sensors closer to the epicenter, the report relays.

He said that the upper floors of the so-called Confinanzas tower,
located in downtown Caracas, bent over by "25 percent", a claim
verified by EFE.

This abandoned skyscraper, known as the Tower of David, used to be
occupied illegally years ago by families that were evicted by the
government, the report notes.

The report relays that on social networks, dozens of users have
shared photographs and videos of the damage suffered by some
houses and buildings in the affected areas.

The pictures and videos mainly show columns of damaged buildings,
some fallen walls and broken furniture as a result of one of
Venezuela's most devastating tremors in the last decade, the
report says.

Among the most affected states are the eastern state of Sucre,
where the epicenter was located, the neighboring state of Monagas
and the southern state of Bolivar, the report discloses.

The ministry indicated that some 20,000 officials were deployed to
assess the damage and asked citizens to notify the authorities of
any new information, the report adds.

The earthquake rocked Venezuela on Tuesday, Aug. 21, after hitting
off the coast near Yaguaraparo in a disaster authorities have
called the "largest historic event" since 1900, people.com says,
citing reports.  The quake was felt as far away as Bogota,
Colombia, according to the Associated Press.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
June 1, 2018, S&P Global Ratings, on May 29, 2018, removed its
long- and short-term local currency sovereign credit ratings on
Venezuela from CreditWatch with negative implications and affirmed
them at 'CCC- /C'. The outlook on the long-term local currency
rating is negative. At the same time, S&P affirmed its 'SD/D'
long- and short-term foreign currency sovereign credit ratings on
Venezuela. S&P's transfer and convertibility assessment remains at
'CC'.


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Monday's edition of the TCR-LA delivers a list of indicative
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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.

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