TCRLA_Public/180928.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

           Friday, September 28, 2018, Vol. 19, No. 193



ARGENTINA: IMF Boosts Bailout for Crisis-Hit Country
BBVA BANCO: Fitch Affirms B+ Long-Term IDR, Outlook Stable
COMPANIA GENERAL: Fitch Affirms B LT IDRs; Outlook Now Stable


DIGICEL LIMITED: Extends Refinancing Deadline as Talks Continues


BANCO LA HIPOTECARIA: Fitch Publishes BB+ LT IDR, Outlook Stable

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

AES ANDRES: Scrambles as Biggest Power Plant Out Till Feb.
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Oil Prices Force Gov. to Cut From Budget


CHEVRON CORP: Ecuador Found Liable for Violating Int'l. Law
CHEVRON CORP: Ecuadorians Call on Gov't to Reject Hague Ruling


CFG HOLDINGS: S&P Affirms 'B' Issuer Credit Rating, Outlook Stable

P U E R T O    R I C O

COLONIAL MEDICAL: Plan and Disclosures Hearing Set for Oct. 18
LA TRINIDAD ELDERLY: Case Summary & 18 Unsecured Creditors

T R I N I D A D  &  T O B A G O

PETROLEUM CO: Moody's Reviews B1 CFR, Debt Rating for Downgrade
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Slowly Recovering From a Deep Recession



                            - - - - -


ARGENTINA: IMF Boosts Bailout for Crisis-Hit Country
BBC News reports that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has
agreed to provide a bigger, faster bailout to Argentina than
initially planned in an effort to restore market confidence in the

The IMF plans to boost its 36-month financing package to $57.1
billion (GBP43 billion) from $50 billion announced previously,
according to BBC News.

It will make about $50 billion in credit available though 2019 --
$19 billion more than previously anticipated, the report notes.

The report relays that the move comes as Argentina faces a budget
deficit and economic crisis.

Its economy has contracted as the value of the Argentine peso has
plunged and a drought has hurt agricultural exports, the report

Alarmed investors have pulled money from the country, leaving the
government and companies that hold debt in dollars in turmoil, the
report relays.

Last month, President Mauricio Macri asked the IMF to accelerate
its emergency package, which makes credit available to Argentina,
the report notes.

The report says that officials plan to use the financing to
support the budget.

                        Protests and Strikes

As part of its agreement with the IMF, the government has said it
will be cut back spending, committing to a balanced budget by 2019
-- a year earlier than planned, the report relays.

Christine Lagarde, managing director of the IMF, said she was
confident the package -- one of the biggest in IMF history --
would help to restore market confidence in Argentina, while still
providing for the "most vulnerable," the report discloses.

But the budget plans have prompted protests and strikes in
Argentina, stirring memories of the austerity imposed after
earlier IMF bailouts, the report notes.

Ms. Lagarde said it was "essential" that Argentina's Congress
approve the 2019 budget, the report relays.  The bailout plan also
needs approval from the IMF's executive board, the report

Speaking at a press conference in New York, Ms. Lagarde said: "A
great deal of work remains to be done if Argentina is to respond
effectively to the current challenging circumstances. That effort
is just beginning. The IMF is committed to continue supporting the
Argentine authorities in their efforts."

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Sept. 4, 2018, S&P Global Ratings placed on Aug. 31, 2018, its
'B+' long-term and 'B' short-term sovereign credit ratings on
Argentina on CreditWatch with negative implications. At the same
time, S&P placed its 'raAA' national scale rating on CreditWatch
negative and affirmed its 'BB-' transfer and convertibility
assessment.  The CreditWatch negative reflects the risk of
worsening creditworthiness due to potentially weakened
implementation of the government's strategy to stabilize the
economy. Exchange rate volatility, as shown by recent pressure on
the Argentine currency, could jeopardize the effective
implementation of economic adjustment measures, absent further
steps to boost investor confidence.  Consequently, S&P Global
Ratings corrected its short-term ratings on Argentina
by removing them from CreditWatch with negative implications.

Fitch Ratings affirmed on May 8, 2018, Argentina's Long-Term
Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'B' and revised
the Outlook to Stable from Positive.

On December 4, 2017, Moody's Investors Service upgraded the
Government of Argentina's local and foreign currency issuer and
senior unsecured ratings to B2 from B3. The senior unsecured
shelves were upgraded to (P)B2 from (P)B3. The outlook on the
ratings is stable.  At the same time, Argentina's short-term
rating was affirmed at Not Prime (NP). The senior unsecured
ratings for unrestructured debt were affirmed at Ca and the
unrestructured senior unsecured shelf affirmed at (P)Ca.

As previously reported by the TCR-LA, Argentina defaulted on some
of its debt late July 30, 2014, after expiration of a 30- grace
period on a US$539 million interest payment.  Earlier that ,
talks with a court-appointed mediator ended without resolving a
standoff between the country and a group of hedge funds seeking
full payment on bonds that the country had defaulted on in 2001.
A U.S. judge had ruled that the interest payment couldn't be made
unless the hedge funds led by Elliott Management Corp., got the
US$1.5 billion they claimed. The country hasn't been able to
access international credit markets since its US$95 billion
default 13 years ago. On March 30, 2016, Argentina's Congress
passed a bill that will allow the government to repay holders of
debt that the South American country defaulted on in 2001,
including a group of litigating hedge funds that won judgments
in a New York court. The bill passed by a vote of 54-16.

BBVA BANCO: Fitch Affirms B+ Long-Term IDR, Outlook Stable
Fitch Ratings has affirmed BBVA Banco Frances S.A.'s (BBVA
Frances) local currency (LC) long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR)
at 'B+' and assigned a foreign currency (FC) long-term IDR of 'B'
in order to publish the full set of ratings for the bank. The
Rating Outlook is Stable.



BBVA Frances' IDRs and Support rating reflect the likelihood of
parent support. Fitch views BBVA Frances as a strategically
important entity for Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A.
(BBVA, A-/Stable). In addition, BBVA Frances' IDR and VR are
driven and constrained by Argentina's low sovereign ratings and
its volatile economic and operating environments. Fitch expects
progress in correcting macroeconomic imbalances, easing of
inflation, lower financing constraints and a return to sustained
growth will take time to materialize.

Despite BBVA's strong financial profile, BBVA Frances's rating
uplift from support is limited to one notch above Argentina's
Local Currency Long-Term IDR given downside risks of high economic
stress, the country's tentative policy reforms and still
normalizing relations with creditors. While BBVA Frances' LC IDR
is one notch above the sovereign rating, its FC IDR is constrained
by the country ceiling of 'B'.

While the operating environment highly influences BBVA Frances'
VR, Fitch takes into account the benefits from its growing
franchise as the fourth largest private sector bank in the country
by loans and deposits, with market shares of 8% and 6%,
respectively, as of June 30, 2018, and the ample experience of its
main shareholder. Fitch also considers the bank's risk appetite
and other financial metrics, which are in line with its current
VR, even when taking into account inflation.

The bank's funding and liquidity profile underpin its VR of 'b'.
BBVA Frances has a long track record of a stable base of customer
deposits which represented nearly 93% of total funding at June
2018. BBVA Frances also has access to wholesale funding, primarily
market debt issuances and lines from local and international
banks. BBVA Frances' liquidity is strong for its rating category,
with a Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) of 270% at June 2018.

Fitch Core Capital to Risk Weighted Assets(FCC) was satisfactory
at 14% at end-June 2018. Given BBVA France's lower risk appetite,
Fitch expects the bank's capital cushion to remain at comfortable
levels over the medium term.

Notwithstanding its large retail and middle market corporate
portfolios, BBVA Frances has maintained strong asset quality
indicators relative to its peers, though inflation blurs
international comparisons. At June 2018, it reported an impaired
loan ratio of 0.9% which compares favorably to local peers.
Reserve coverage as of June 2018 of nearly 215% is also
consistently high (not below 200% since 2012) according to its
internal policy of exceeding regulatory requirements.

The bank's nominal profitability at mid-year 2018 remained
satisfactory when compared to peer averages. The bank reported an
operating profits/to risk-weighted assets ratio of 4.4% at June
30, 2018, a material improvement from the 2.6% reported at year-
end 2017. Nevertheless, this ratio has declined since 2014 due to
higher credit and operating costs. However, administrative
expenses may moderate in response to the bank's efficiency
strategy, which could sustain recent improvements in



The bank's IDRs and SR are sensitive to a change in Fitch's views
on BBVA's ability and propensity to provide support. The bank's
IDRs and VR would also likely move in line with a change in
Argentina's sovereign rating.

In addition, the bank's IDRs and SR could be negatively affected
by changes in the political scene that result in a return to
unorthodox policies resulting in political and regulatory
intervention in the banking system. These ratings could benefit
from a medium term consolidation of a more market friendly
political framework.

Absent a change in the sovereign rating, the bank's VR could also
be negatively affected by an unlikely deterioration in its credit
metrics that negatively affects its liquidity position or loss
absorption capacity. Specifically, a sustained deterioration in
the bank's FCC ratio below 8.5% could be negative for
creditworthiness. Fitch considers it unlikely that Argentine
banks' VRs could be rated above the sovereign.

Fitch has assigned the following ratings to BBVA Frances:

  -- Foreign Currency Long-Term IDR 'B'; Outlook Stable;

  -- Foreign and Local Currency Short-Term IDR 'B'.

Fitch has affirmed the following ratings of BBVA Frances:

  -- Local Currency Long-Term IDR at 'B+'; Outlook Stable;

  -- Viability rating at 'b';

  -- Support Rating at '4'.

COMPANIA GENERAL: Fitch Affirms B LT IDRs; Outlook Now Stable
Fitch Ratings has affirmed the Long-Term Foreign and Local
Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) of Compania General de
Combustibles S.A. (CGC) at 'B'. The Rating Outlook has been
revised to Stable from Negative. The rating action affects USD300
million of senior unsecured notes due 2021, which are rated

The Stable Outlook reflects the company's improved cash flow
generation from operations due to growing production, higher
percentage of oil exports and positive impact from the Argentine
peso depreciation. CGC's production during the 2Q18 was 36% higher
than the average reported for 2017. Furthermore, the company
benefited from having approximately 50% of its gas production
qualify under the country's plan gas incentives program and from
greater client diversification in its oil sales, where nearly 70%
was exported. CGC reported an EBITDA for the LTM ended June 2018
of USD192 million, an increase of 137% versus year-end (YE) 2017
and higher than Fitch previous forecast of USD80 million for YE
2017. Fitch recognizes the company continues with its capex plan
aimed at increasing production and improving its reserve profile.
CGC's leverage profile has improved with total debt to LTM 2Q18
EBITD of 2.5x, down from 4.9x in YE 2017. The company's liquidity
position has improved with its reported cash position in 2Q18
covering its short-term debt obligations.

CGC's 'B' ratings reflect the company's small production size, its
asset concentration, increased exposure to the Argentine
government and a required capex plan to improved reserve profile
to support its increase in production. CGC somewhat benefits
indirectly from its majority owner, Corporacion America, a large
Argentine infrastructure holding company, as the controlling
shareholder with a 70% stake and the company's ratings consider
the possibility of support. The company has alternative liquidity
sources to help fund capex that could result from the monetization
of its mid-stream assets. On April 17, 2017, CGC announced its
intention to search for potential purchasers for its stake in
natural gas transportation assets in Argentina. If CGC decides not
to monetize its assets, the expected dividend proceeds received
from the company's midstream assets (TGN & Gas Andes) can help
support its liquidity.

Due to Fitch's "Country-Specific Treatment of Recovery Ratings"
criteria, a Recovery Rating of 'RR4' is assigned to the company's
senior unsecured notes. Per the criteria, Argentina is categorized
within Group D as having a soft cap at 'RR4'. This assumes a
recovery in the range of 31% to 50%, although a bespoke recovery
analysis for the company yields a higher than 70% recovery given a


Small Production Profile: Despite its growing production profile,
CGC's ratings remain constrained in part due to its small size and
the low diversification of its blocks. The company has exploration
and production interest in 40 concessions in Argentina, its asset
base is concentrated, as approximately 96% of the company's proved
(1P) reserves, and approximately 95% of the production is in the
Austral Basin. This limited diversification exposes the company to
operational macroeconomic risks associated with small-scale oil
and gas production.

Low Hydrocarbon Reserves: Fitch believes CGC's relatively low
reserve life of 6.2 years limits its flexibility to reduce capex
investments. As of YE 2017, CGC reported 1P reserves of 51.0
million boe, with 79% related to natural gas. The company extended
its concessions in the Santa Cruz I and Santa Cruz II areas to
2027, which is expected to improve the company's reserve life to
be in-line with the median for Fitch-rated speculative-grade
peers. Fitch estimates that the company will drill 55 wells by
2021 at an average cost per well of USD7.0 million to replenish
reserves, which Fitch estimates in order to maintain its current
reserve life considering Fitch's expected production expansion,
CGC will need to drill approximately 70 wells from 2H18 through YE

Negative FCF Despite Better EBITDA: Fitch expects FCF to remain
negative through 2020 as the company continues to invest in
increasing production while replacing reserves. Fitch estimates
funds flow from operations (FFO) will on average be USD145 million
from 2018 through 2021 covering nearly 90% of expected capex, not
including dividends received from its midstream assets. Fitch
estimates CGC will be able to fund its capex plan as it raised
USD100 million from a local bond issuance in December 2017,
covering 20% of total Fitch estimated capex, with the remainder
being financed through FFO and cash on hand.

Improved Leverage Profile: CGC's rating outlook stabilization
primarily reflects the company's improved capital structure
resulting from higher than expected cash flow generation from
operations. CGC's leverage, as measured by total debt to EBITDA,
improved to 2.5x as of the LTM ended June 2018 from 4.9x as of YE
2017. Fitch estimates total debt to EBITDA will be 1.8x at the end
of 2018 and remain at this level through 2021, assuming CGC does
not refinance its short-term debt through 2021.

The improved leverage profile is driven by a 240% increase in LTM
EBITDA compared to YE 2017, explained by 50% of the company's gas
production receiving preferential pricing under plan gas (USD7.50
MMBTU in 2018), nearly 70% of oil gas sales sold abroad to high
quality off-takers (Vitol, ENAP and Trafigura) and 50% increase in
gas production reaching 26,719 boe/d in 1H18. Lastly, the company
has benefited from the depreciation of the Argentine Peso, as
nearly 100% of the company's petroleum sales and 80% of gas sales
are paid in U.S. dollars.

Increase in Production: CGC's daily production increased in the
1H18 by 36% to an average of 32,101 boed compared to 2017 average
of 23,600 boed. Fitch expects CGC will gradually increase total
production to 35,700 boed by 2021, keeping petroleum production
flat at around 4,000 boed, but increase gas production from 25,000
boed to nearly 31,000 boed by 2021, growth coming from
unconventional production.

Exposure to the Government: Fitch estimates that between 15%-20%
of CGC's 2018-2019 revenues are associated to Plan Gas subsidies,
paid by the Argentine government (B/Stable), who does not have a
strong track record of paying this subsidy. For example, the
Argentine government has yet to officially announce an agreement
to pay the USD1.5 billion of plan gas subsidies for 2017
production, and in November 2017, the government amended the
subsidy program to apply to all new and incremental
unconventional, or shale and tight, gas production in the Neuquina
and Austral basins. Recently, the government has announced that it
will no longer approve new projects under the plan gas subsidies
in order to cut government expenditures, to comply with IMF
conditions. As of the publication of the RAC, Fitch's
understanding is that the government has been making plan gas
payments for production in 2018, which is evident in CGC's 1H18


CGC's small production size compares favorably to other 'B' rated
oil and gas E&P producers, but continues to constrain its rating
to the 'B' category. These peers include Frontera Energy
(B+/Stable), Gran Tierra Energy (B/Stable) and Geopark
(B+/Stable). Over the rating horizon, Fitch expects that CGC will
average 35,000 boed through 2021 compared to 40,000 boed for both
Gran Tierra Energy and Geopark for the same time period, and less
than Frontera Energy at 75,000 boed. Further, CGC reported 51.0
million boe 1P reserves at the end of 2017 equating to a reserve
life of 6.2 years, lower than GeoPark's at 9.5 years but higher
than Gran Tierra's at 5.9 years and Frontera's at 4.5 years. Fitch
expects the company will be able to maintain its reserve life as
it continues to increase production size.

CGC's capital structure has improved since YE 2017. As of LTM
2Q18, the company's gross leverage measured by total debt to LTM
EBITDA is 2.5x, down from 4.9x in YE 2017. Fitch estimates its
2019 gross leverage to be 1.8x in line from Geopark (1.8x) and
Gran Tierra (1.7x), but higher than Frontera Energy (0.9x). CGC
operates in a lower operating environment, a constraining factor
for its ratings. Fitch categorizes Argentina as being an economic
environment conducive with the 'B' rating category, compared to
Colombia, 'BBB', where Geopark, Gran Tierra and Frontera source a
majority if not all of its production.


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

  - Oil & gas production to remain between 29,000-35,000 boe/d
over the next five years;

  - Oil prices straight-lining over next five years to Fitch Price
Deck assumption of long-term price of USD57.50/bbl;

  - 50% of gas production receiving plan gas preferential pricing
of USD7.50 MMBTU in 2018 decreasing by USD0.50 MMBTU each year
until reaching USD6.00 MMBTU in 2021;

  - Leverage levels remaining flat assuming short-term debt is

  - High capex spending averaging 35% of annual revenues through

  - Recovery analysis assuming that CGC would be considered a
going-concern in bankruptcy and that the company would be
reorganized rather than liquidated.

  - CGC's going-concern EBITDA estimate would be based on 2017
capex and interest expense and reflects Fitch's view of a
sustainable, post-reorganization EBITDA level.

  - Applying an EV multiple of 5.0x, which is the 10-year
historical take-out multiple applied to energy companies in the


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

  -- Although an upgrade is unlikely given the company's revenues
are concentrated in Argentina and collects plan gas subsidies from
the government, a net production rising consistently to 35,000
boed or more on a sustained basis, coupled with increasing reserve
life to or greater than seven years, while maintaining a total
debt/EBITDA of 3.0x or less could bode well for the rating.

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

  -- A downgrade to the ratings of Argentina could result in a
negative rating action;

  -- Given the issuer's high dependence on the subsidies from plan
gas, any changes to or cancellation of plan gas that negatively
impact the company's collection/cash flows will result in a
negative rating action;

  -- A significant deterioration of credit metrics to total
debt/EBITDA of 5.5x or more. Sustained declines in hydrocarbon
reserves/production levels to less than 20,000 boe/d.


Adequate Liquidity: Total cash and equivalents amounted to
approximately USD65.2 million as of June 30, 2018, covering
USD46.2 million of short-term debt maturing in 2018. Fitch FFO
will be between USD125 million-USD150 million from 2018 through


Fitch has affirmed the following ratings:

Compania General de Combustibles:

  -- LT Foreign Currency IDR at 'B'; Outlook revised to Stable
from Negative;

  -- LT Local Currency IDR at 'B'; Outlook revised to Stable from

  -- International senior unsecured debt rating at 'B'/'RR4'.


DIGICEL LIMITED: Extends Refinancing Deadline as Talks Continues
Lillian Rizzo at The Wall Street Journal reports that Digicel
Group Ltd., the dominant mobile provider in the Caribbean, has hit
a snag in its effort to gain more time to repay about $3 billion
in debt.

A group of bondholders has pushed back on the terms of Digicel's
refinancing offer. In response, the company extended the deadline
for creditors to sign on to the deal to Oct. 19 from Sept. 28,
according to The Wall Street Journal.

The report notes that Digicel wants to extend the maturities on $2
billion in 8.25% bonds due in 2020 to 2022, and $1 billion in
7.125% bonds due in 2022 to 2024.

The Bermuda-based company is part of the telecom empire of Irish
businessman Denis O'Brien, who in 1991 founded Esat Telecom Group
to compete with Eircom PLC, Ireland's former state-owned telephone
company, the report relays.

The report notes that holders of more than 60% of Digicel's 2020
and 2022 bonds have entered into a so-called lockup agreement,
which states the holders won't tender their Digicel notes in
response to the company's proposal, according to a law firm
representing the group of bondholders.

The law firm, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, said it has
advised the committee of bondholders since early September, when a
number of Digicel's largest bondholders reached out to the firm in
an effort to organize a wider group, the report says.  Akin Gump
said multiple financial institutions that hold about $2.8 billion
of Digicel bonds have indicated they considered the proposal
unacceptable, the report discloses.

"Digicel continues constructive discussions with an ad hoc group
of noteholders regarding the exchange offers and consent
solicitations," the company said in the news release, the report

In addition to Akin, the bondholders committee has hired Moelis &
Co. as its financial adviser, the report relays.  The hiring of
Akin Gump and Moelis was earlier reported by LCD News, the report

In late August, Moody's Investors Service Inc. said it viewed
Digicel's proposed exchange offer as "distressed," and downgraded
the company further into junk territory due to its debt load as
well as its belief that more such distressed exchange offers would
take place, the report discloses.

The report relays that the ratings firm said Digicel's liquidity
has weakened in recent quarters as its cash position declines and
its debt continues to pile up.  The company has been selling
assets to generate cash. Digicel is expected to receive $145
million in proceeds from a recently announced tower sale and
leasebacks, Moody's said, the report notes.

Digicel has operations in 31 markets in the Caribbean, Central
America and the Asia Pacific region.  In 2015, the company pulled
a planned $2.3 billion initial public offering, blaming conditions
in emerging markets, The Wall Street Journal reported at the time.
The company generated $2.4 billion in revenue in the year ended in
March, according to Moody's.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
July 5, 2018, Moody's Investors Service has changed to negative
from stable the outlook on the ratings of Digicel Group Limited
("Digicel", "DGL" or the "company") and Digicel Limited ("DL") and
assigned a negative outlook to Digicel International Finance
Limited ("DIFL"). At the same time, Moody's has affirmed DGL's B2
corporate family rating (CFR) and B2-PD probability of default
rating (PDR), as well as the B1 rating on the unsecured notes of
DL and the Ba2 rating on the secured bank credit facilities of


BANCO LA HIPOTECARIA: Fitch Publishes BB+ LT IDR, Outlook Stable
Fitch Ratings has published a Long-Term Issuer Default Rating
(IDR) of 'BB+' and a Viability Rating (VR) of 'b+' for Banco La
Hipotecaria, S.A. Fitch has also assigned La Hipotecaria a Short-
Term IDR of 'B' and a Support Rating of '3'. The Rating Outlook
for the Long-Term IDR is Stable.



La Hipotecaria's IDRs, National Ratings and senior debt reflect
the probability of support from its ultimate shareholder, Grupo
ASSA, S.A. (Grupo ASSA), if required. Grupo ASSA is a regional
financial conglomerate that mainly operates in the insurance and
banking services while maintaining some non-controlling interest
in other industries with a presence in Panama, Nicaragua, Costa
Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala and Colombia. Grupo ASSA
currently has a 'BBB-' IDR with a Stable Outlook, which reflects
its ability to support La Hipotecaria.

In Fitch's opinion, Grupo Assa's propensity to support La
Hipotecaria if needed reflects the bank's significant strategic
importance to the group's operations. La Hipotecaria shares strong
synergies with its main shareholder given its role in
complementary market segments for many of its subsidiaries. This
allows cross sales among products and services such as the signing
of insurance policies that accompany the mortgage credit.

Fitch believes there is notable reputational risk for Grupo ASSA
and that a default by one of its subsidiaries could have a
significant impact on its business. In addition, La Hipotecaria
counts on guarantees of its funding instruments from Grupo ASSA,
which further demonstrates the group's commitment to its
subsidiaries' performance. However, La Hipotecaria has significant
independence from its ultimate shareholder, and there is a
relatively low level of integration in terms of management and the
bank's strategic decisions. Nonetheless, Grupo ASSA does have a
presence at the bank and actively participates in its committees
and Board of Directors.


Banco La Hipotecaria specializes in the underwriting,
administration and securitization of mortgage loans. Its VR is
highly influenced by its niche approach, which solely focuses on
the mortgage market and so causes the bank's franchise to be
limited. This puts La Hipotecaria at a disadvantage compared to
other banks in Panama with higher diversification and larger
market shares. In spite of its small size, the bank's business
model proves to be efficient enough to compete against larger
commercial banks and display adequate financial ratios that
compare favorably with the rest of the banking system.

The bank is characterized by its low NPL ratios that consistently
display levels around 1%, well below the industry's average. La
Hipotecaria's profitability ratios are modest but stable,
reflecting its relatively risk averse approach business model. The
bank's main income stream comes mainly from the origination of
mortgage loans but also generates recurring income from its loan
portfolio administration fees. Its net interest margin is modest
but stable, while its operating efficiency is relatively high and
compares unfavorably with many of its peers.

La Hipotecaria's funding structure is adequate and well
diversified. The bank's funding is balanced between deposits, debt
issuances and credit lines. Funding has been ample enough to
sustain the company's growth rate and expansions. The
predictability of its debt obligations deadlines allows the bank
to mitigate any refinancing risk through a precise schedule of its
payment obligations.

As for the issues of fixed income securities, the classifications
of the unsecured tranches and series issued by La Hipotecaria are
equal to its national ratings.


The bank's Support Rating is based on Fitch's view of Grupo ASSA's
ability and propensity to provide support to La Hipotecaria if
required. According to Fitch's criteria, La Hipotecaria's 'BB+'
IDR results in a support rating of '3'.



Changes in Banco La Hipotecaria's IDRs would reflect modifications
in its shareholder's risk profile or changes in the assessment of
its ability, or willingness, to provide support to its subsidiary.
Banco La Hipotecaria's VR could increase given a significant
improvement its competitive position and expansion of its market
share. Conversely, its VR could be negatively affected by a
noticeable reduction of its profitability metrics as well as
deterioration of its funding stability or capitalization metrics.

The rating actions are as follows:

Fitch has published the following ratings for Banco La
Hipotecaria, S.A:

  -- Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) 'BB+', Outlook Stable;

  -- Viability Rating 'b+'.

Fitch has assigned the following ratings to Banco La Hipotecaria,

  -- Short-Term IDR 'B';

  -- Support Rating '3'.

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

AES ANDRES: Scrambles as Biggest Power Plant Out Till Feb.
Dominican Today reports that AES Andres power plant executives
said they added 110 megawatts to the national grid and another 120
will enter in 30 days, which they affirm will mitigate the current
crisis by normalizing the electricity supply to the distributors,
after the recent outage of some generators.

AES Corp. CEO Andres Gluski made the announcement during a meeting
in New York with president Danilo Medina, who attends the annual
UN General Assembly, according to Dominican Today.

The report relays that Mr. Gluski also said they plan to restore
AES' 300 megawatt capacity into the national grid by next
February. AES Andres is the country's biggest power plant.

"In this way we believe that we maintain the system stabilized to
provide the energy that is necessary in the Dominican Republic,"
said AES executive vice president, Bernerd da Santos, who also
participated in the meeting, the report adds.

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Oil Prices Force Gov. to Cut From Budget
Dominican Today reports that budget director Luis Reyes said the
Government aims to cut RD$12.0 billion (US$240.0 million) from
this year's Budget, which will affect the entire government

The official said the reduction and other administrative cuts
being made don't need congressional approval because they are
within the same lines, for the Government to finance the US$300.0
million electricity sector deficit that resulted from the rise in
oil prices this year, according to Dominican Today.

Interviewed on Hoy Mismo, ColorVision, Reyes said due to the
impact of rising oil prices in public finances, the Finance
Ministry had to advance the date to prepare the Budget
Complementary, which traditionally in the current administration
was done for December, "after the design and presentation of the
corresponding for the following year, the report relays.  Now it
was necessary to work simultaneously with the 2019 budget bill and
with the 2018 supplementary," the report adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Sept. 24, 2018, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Dominican Republic's
Long-Term, Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BB-'
with a Stable Outlook.


CHEVRON CORP: Ecuador Found Liable for Violating Int'l. Law
An international tribunal administered by the Permanent Court of
Arbitration in The Hague has issued an award in favor of Chevron
and its indirect subsidiary, Texaco Petroleum Company (TexPet),
finding that the Republic of Ecuador violated its obligations
under international treaties, investment agreements and
international law.  The tribunal unanimously held that a $9.5
billion judgment rendered against Chevron in Lago Agrio, Ecuador,
in 2011 was procured through fraud, bribery and corruption and was
based on claims that had been already settled and released by the
Republic of Ecuador years earlier.  The tribunal concluded that
the fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment "violates international public
policy" and "should not be recognised or enforced by the courts of
other States."  As a matter of international law, this award
confirms Chevron is not obliged to comply with the Ecuadorian

The tribunal held that Ecuador breached its obligations under a
1995 settlement agreement releasing TexPet and its affiliates from
public environmental claims -- the same claims on which the $9.5
billion Ecuadorian judgment is exclusively based.  The tribunal
found "TexPet spent approximately $40 million in environmental
remediation and community development under the 1995 Settlement
Agreement" carried out by a "well-known engineering firm
specializing in environmental remediation" and that Ecuador in
1998 executed a final release agreement "certifying that TexPet
had performed all of its obligations under the 1995 Settlement
Agreement."  The tribunal found "no cogent evidence" supporting
Ecuador's claim that TexPet failed to comply with the terms of the
remediation plan approved by Ecuador.  To the contrary, the award
recites the sworn testimony of Ecuadorian officials that TexPet's
"technical work and environmental work was done well," while
Ecuador's national oil company "during more than three decades,
had done absolutely nothing" to address its own environmental
remediation obligations in the area, even though Ecuador and its
national oil company received 97.3% of the oil production revenues
from the project.  The award further recounts in detail the
testimony of numerous former members of the plaintiffs'
environmental team and scientific experts who admitted under oath
that they found no evidence to support the plaintiffs'
environmental claims against Chevron and TexPet.

"An esteemed international tribunal, including an arbitrator
appointed by Ecuador, has unanimously confirmed that, following
completion of an agreed environmental remediation program, Chevron
was released by the Republic of Ecuador from the environmental
claims that the fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment purports to
address," said R. Hewitt Pate, Chevron vice president and general
counsel.  "Following years of litigation, including visits to the
former area of operations by the tribunal, the tribunal found that
Ecuador violated the final release agreement that had certified
the successful completion of TexPet's remediation."

The tribunal also reached the same conclusion as U.S. courts
regarding the issue of judicial fraud.  "The tribunal found
extensive evidence of fraud and corruption by members of the
Ecuadorian judiciary acting in collusion with American and
Ecuadorian lawyers.  This award is consistent with rulings by
courts in the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Canada and
Gibraltar confirming that the Ecuadorian judgment is unenforceable
in any country that respects the rule of law," said Pate.
"Indeed, the tribunal explicitly found that it would be contrary
to international law for the courts of any other State to
recognize or enforce the fraudulent Ecuadorian judgment."

In more than 500 pages, the tribunal's award details the evidence
of the Lago Agrio plaintiffs' legal team's fraud and corruption in
Ecuador, finding the evidence to be "overwhelming."  The tribunal
concluded: "Short of a signed confession by the miscreants . . .
the evidence establishing 'ghostwriting' in this arbitration 'must
be the most thorough documentary, video, and testimonial proof of
fraud ever put before an arbitral tribunal.'"

The tribunal found that Nicolas Zambrano, the Ecuadorian judge
purported to have drafted the Lago Agrio judgment, did not in fact
draft the judgment but rather, "in return for his promised reward,
allowed certain of the Lago Agrio Plaintiffs' representatives
[including attorneys Fajardo and Donziger], corruptly, to
'ghostwrite' at least material parts of the Lago Agrio Judgment."

The tribunal described the conduct as "grossly improper by any
moral, professional and legal standards."  Finding that "judicial
bribery must rank as one of the more serious cases of corruption,
striking directly at the rule of law, access to justice and public
confidence in the legal system; and also, as regards the foreign
enforcement of a corrupt judgment, at the law of nations," the
tribunal held Ecuador responsible for denying justice to Chevron.

The tribunal also found that the plaintiffs' legal team had
inappropriate secret meetings with several judges who presided
over the litigation, blackmailed one of the presiding judges,
bribed the supposedly independent court-appointed environmental
expert Richard Stalin Cabrera, ghostwrote the Cabrera report on
which the judgment relies for environmental findings, orchestrated
collusive criminal proceedings against TexPet's lawyers, paid
bribes to former judge Alberto Guerra to draft orders for
Zambrano, and devised and implemented a "covert" and "nefarious"
plan to ghostwrite the judgment which then Judge Zambrano issued
under his name in exchange for a promised $500,000 bribe payable
from enforcement proceeds.

Comprised of three preeminent international arbitrators, the
tribunal issued its award unanimously.  The tribunal's award aims
to "wipe out all the consequences" of Ecuador's internationally
wrongful actions, and it grants Chevron several forms of relief.
The tribunal orders Ecuador to take immediate steps to remedy its
internationally wrongful conduct, including rendering the $9.5
billion judgment unenforceable, precluding the Plaintiffs or any
interested party from enforcing the judgment, and ensuring that
Chevron has no liability or responsibility for the judgment.  It
also orders Ecuador to abstain from receiving any proceeds from
the fraudulent judgment, and to promptly return any such proceeds
that come into its possession.  The award holds Ecuador liable for
any cost or damage to Chevron should the judgment ever be enforced
anywhere in the world. Finally, the tribunal orders Ecuador to
compensate Chevron for any damages arising from the fraudulent
Judgment. The tribunal will address the extent of damages for
which Ecuador must compensate Chevron in the next and final phase
of the arbitration.

Pate concluded: "Ecuador's executive and judicial branch officials
are now different from those involved in the events at issue in
this award.  Chevron takes no pleasure in any dispute with a
sovereign nation.  The company invites the government of Ecuador
to repudiate the fraudulent scheme and make constructive efforts
to meet its own long unfulfilled environmental obligations."

Background information

As found by the tribunal, Chevron has never operated or had assets
in Ecuador. Texaco Petroleum (TexPet), which became an indirect
subsidiary of Chevron following Chevron's acquisition of Texaco
Inc. in 2001, was a minority partner in an oil production
consortium in Ecuador along with the state-owned oil company,
Petroecuador, from 1964 to 1992.  Petroecuador took over TexPet's
share of the oil operations in 1992.  Pursuant to a 1995 agreement
with Ecuador, TexPet agreed to remediate certain environmental
impacts in the former concession area while Petroecuador assumed
responsibility for performing any remaining environmental cleanup.

To perform the remediation work, TexPet engaged a well-known
engineering firm specializing in environmental remediation.  The
government of Ecuador oversaw and certified the successful
completion of TexPet's remediation and fully released TexPet from
further environmental liability. Petroecuador failed to conduct
the cleanup it promised and has continued to operate and expand
its oil operations for more than 25 years.

Chevron filed an international arbitration claim against the
Republic of Ecuador in 2009 pursuant to the U.S.-Ecuador Bilateral
Investment Treaty seeking to hold Ecuador accountable for
breaching the settlement agreement with TexPet and to enforce the
releases.  Chevron then amended the claim in 2012 to include the
denial of justice that occurred through the Ecuadorian court's
fraud and corruption during litigation and the resulting
fraudulent $9.5 billion judgment.  The tribunal, administered by
the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, said the Republic
of Ecuador violated its international law and treaty obligations
by issuing, affirming, and enforcing a fraudulent judgment against
Chevron, because the Lago Agrio litigation was marred by fraud,
bribery, and coercion perpetrated by the Plaintiffs' attorneys in
collusion with Ecuador's courts.  The award was issued unanimously
by all three members of the tribunal, including Ecuador's
appointed arbitrator.

In 2014, a U.S. federal court found that the Ecuadorian judgment
was the product of fraud and racketeering activity, including
extortion, money laundering, wire fraud, witness tampering,
Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations and obstruction of
justice. The court also prohibited enforcement of the Ecuadorian
judgment in the United States. That decision is now final after
having been unanimously affirmed by the court of appeal and denied
review by the Supreme Court.

Other attempts to enforce the judgment in jurisdictions around the
globe have also failed:

In January 2017, a Canadian court rejected an attempt to enforce
the Ecuadorian judgment against Chevron's Canadian subsidiary. An
appeals court upheld this decision in May 2018.

In November 2017, Brazil's Superior Court of Justice unanimously
rejected an attempt to enforce the Ecuadorian judgment in Brazil.
Brazil's Deputy Prosecutor General stated the judgment was "issued
in an irregular manner, especially under deplorable acts of

In October 2017, a court in Argentina denied recognition of the
Ecuadorian judgment. An appeals court upheld the decision in July

In December 2015, the Supreme Court of Gibraltar issued a judgment
against Amazonia Recovery Ltd., a Gibraltar-based company set up
by the plaintiffs' attorneys to receive and distribute funds
resulting from the Ecuadorian judgment, awarding Chevron $28
million in damages, and issued a permanent injunction against
Amazonia to prevent the company from assisting or supporting the
case against Chevron in any way. The court issued a similar ruling
in May 2018 against directors of Amazonia, Frente de Defensa de la
Amazonia, Ecuadorian attorney Pablo Fajardo, and Servicios
Fromboliere for their role in attempting to enforce the ruling,
this time awarding $38 million in damages to Chevron.

Chevron Corporation is one of the world's integrated energy
companies, with subsidiaries that conduct business worldwide. The
company is involved in virtually every facet of the energy
industry. Chevron Corporation's subsidiaries explore for, produce
and transport crude oil and natural gas; refine, market and
distribute transportation fuels and lubricants; manufacture and
sell petrochemical products; generate power and produces
geothermal energy; provide energy efficiency solutions; and
develop the energy resources of the future, including biofuels.
Chevron Corporation is based in San Ramon, California.

CHEVRON CORP: Ecuadorians Call on Gov't to Reject Hague Ruling
EFE News reports that around 50 Indians from Ecuador's Amazon
region gathered outside the federal Attorney General's Office in
this capital to demand the government reject an arbitration ruling
in The Hague in favor of American oil supermajor Chevron Corp.

"The Ecuadorian Amazon demands respect," "Chevron Guilty" and "The
Amazon is Dying and Justice is Dying" were some of the signs held
up by those taking part in the demonstration, according to EFE

Chevron Corporation -- through its
subsidiaries, engages in petroleum, chemicals, mining, power
generation, and energy operations worldwide.  It operates in two
segments, Upstream and Downstream.


CFG HOLDINGS: S&P Affirms 'B' Issuer Credit Rating, Outlook Stable
S&P Global Ratings affirmed its long-term 'B' issuer credit rating
on CFG Holdings, Ltd. (CFGLTD). The outlook is stable.

The rating on CFGLTD reflects its status as a non-operating
holding company. Therefore, the rating on the company is one notch
below its consolidated entities' creditworthiness.

S&P said, "The stable outlook reflects our belief that for the
next 12 months, CFGLP's funding profile will remain similar while
it maintains a solid capital base. It also reflects our
expectations that the company will maintain its origination
standards and modest growth levels, supporting slightly better
asset quality metrics."

P U E R T O    R I C O

COLONIAL MEDICAL: Plan and Disclosures Hearing Set for Oct. 18
Bankruptcy Judge Brian K. Tester conditionally approved Colonial
Medical Management Corp.'s disclosure statement, filed on Sept.
17, 2018, referring to a chapter 11 plan.

Acceptances or rejections of the Plan may be filed in writing
on/or before 10 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 must be filed on/or before 10
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 Oct. 18, 2018 at 11:00 AM, with shortened notice, at the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court, U.S. Post Office and Courthouse Building, 300
Recinto Sur, Courtroom No. 1, Second Floor, San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Class 3 - General Unsecured Claims are impaired and will receive
20% payable in equal monthly payments starting the 13th month as
of the date of the confirmation of the plan.  Municipio de
Anasco's claim no. 12 is disputed.  If the claim is not disallowed
as requested by the Debtor, the Debtor proposes:

   (A) continuing the payment of the rent as per the contract and
until the expiration date in 2020;

   (B) a lump sum payment of $60,000 payable on or before six
months of the effective day of the plan; and

   (C) $2,000 monthly depending upon the amount settled starting
after 30 days of payment of the lump sum; or

   (D) a lump sum payment of $60,000 payable on or before six
months of the effective of the plan, the consignment and/or the
assignment of moneys received from the commercial spaces located
in the property operated by the Debtor after thirty (30) days of
the payment of the lump sum; and

   (E) $2,000 monthly depending upon the amount settled starting
after 30 days of payment of the lump sum; and

   (F) an adjustment in the monthly rent to the amount of $2,500.

Payments and distributions under the Plan will be funded by the
income after deducting operational expenses of the services
provided by the business.

A copy of the Disclosure Statement from is
available at at no charge.

                     About Colonial Medical

Colonial Medical Management Corp. is an ambulatory health care
clinic located in Anasco, Puerto Rico.  Its practice location is
listed as Carretera 402 Km 1.8 Bo. Marias Anasco, Puerto Rico.

The Debtor previously sought bankruptcy protection (Bankr. D.P.R.
Case No. 14-01922) on March 13, 2014.

Colonial Medical sought protection under Chapter 11 of the
Bankruptcy Code (Bankr. D.P.R. Case No. 17-06925) on Nov. 21,

In the petition signed by Luis Jorge Lugo Velez, its president,
the Debtor estimated assets of less than $50,000 and liabilities
of $1 million to $10 million.  Judge Brian K. Tester presides over
the case.  Ada Conde, Esq., at 1611 Law and Justice for All, Inc.,
is the Debtor's bankruptcy counsel.

The U.S. Trustee appoints Edna Diaz De Jesus, the Puerto Rico
State Patient Care Ombudsman, as the Patient Care Ombudsman.

LA TRINIDAD ELDERLY: Case Summary & 18 Unsecured Creditors
Debtor: La Trinidad Elderly, LP, SE
        PO Box 12032
        San Juan, PR 00914

Business Description: La Trinidad Elderly LP SE is a privately
                      held company in San Juan, Puerto Rico
                      engaged in activities related to real

Chapter 11 Petition Date: September 25, 2018

Case No.: 18-05549

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

Judge: Hon. Brian K. Tester

Debtor's Counsel: Wigberto Lugo Mender, Esq.
                  LUGO MENDER GROUP, LLC
                  Centro Internacional De Mercadeo
                  100 Carr 165 Suite 501
                  Guaynabo, PR 00968
                  Tel: 787 707-0404

Estimated Assets: $1 million to $10 million

Estimated Liabilities: $10 million to $50 million

The petition was signed by Jorge A. Rios Pulperio,
president-managing partner.

A full-text copy of the petition containing, among other items, a
list of the Debtor's 18 unsecured creditors is available for free


T R I N I D A D  &  T O B A G O

PETROLEUM CO: Moody's Reviews B1 CFR, Debt Rating for Downgrade
Moody's Investors Service placed Petroleum Co. of Trinidad &
Tobago's B1 corporate family rating and senior unsecured debt
ratings on review for downgrade. This rating action was based on
the lack of clarity regarding Petrotrin's new business profile and
strategy as well as increasing liquidity risk related to the
approaching maturity of the 2019 bonds.

Ratings placed under review:

Issuer: Petroleum Co. of Trinidad & Tobago (Petrotrin)

Corporate Family Rating, Placed Under Review for Downgrade,
currently B1

Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed Under Review for
Downgrade, currently B1

Underlying Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed Under
Review for Downgrade, currently B1

Outlook Actions:

Issuer: Petroleum Co. of Trinidad & Tobago (Petrotrin)

Outlook, Changed To Rating Under Review From Stable


Petrotrin has a weak financial condition, reflected in its high
adjusted debt leverage of 6.2 times and low adjusted interest
coverage of 2 times in March 2018. In addition, the government
recently announced that it will close Petrotrin's refinery and the
company will focus on its upstream exploration and production
business. Petrotrin's new business profile and strategy is still
unclear, which put to question its medium-term financial
prospects. In 2017, the company's oil and gas production was
49,084 boe, which is considered small in the universe of
exploration and production companies.

Petrotrin also faces increased liquidity risk related to $850
million in global bonds that mature in August 2019. Petrotrin's
total adjusted debt in March 2018 amounted to close to $2 billion,
out of which about $600 million was short term debt. Although
Moody's believes that the level of implicit government support to
the state-owned company has not changed and continues to be very
high, Petrotrin's weak financial condition and liquidity, combined
with uncertainties regarding the viability of its business
transformation, raise questions about its intrinsic credit

During the ratings review, Moody's will focus on Petrotrin's
business plan and strategy regarding oil and gas exploration and
production activities, including operating efficiency and earnings
prospects, technology capability, and the size and sources of
capital needed to sustain or increase reserves and production. The
analysis will also review Petrotrin's plans around sale of fuel in
the country as well as the company's financial management plans
and alternative sources of liquidity.

Based in Pointe-a-Pierre, Trinidad & Tobago, Petrotrin is an
integrated petroleum company 100% owned by the government. The
company has an effective monopoly position in oil refining and
wholesale marketing operations and some exploration and production
activity. Petrotrin owns the country's sole refinery, which has a
crude distillation capacity of 175,000 bpd, with a full conversion
capacity of 168,000 bpd and a Nelson complexity rating of 8.6.

The methodologies used in these ratings were Refining and
Marketing Industry published in November 2016, and Government-
Related Issuers published in June 2018.

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Slowly Recovering From a Deep Recession
On August 31, 2018, the Executive Board of the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with
Trinidad and Tobago and considered and endorsed the staff
appraisal without a meeting.

                    Executive Board Assessment

Trinidad and Tobago is slowly recovering from a deep recession.
The economy continued to contract but at a slower pace,
underpinned by the strong recovery in gas production, while weak
activity in construction, financial services, and trade, continued
foreign exchange (FX) shortages, and slow pace of public
investment dampened non-energy sector growth. Positive growth
should return from 2018 as the recovery takes hold in both
sectors. Good progress has been made in fiscal consolidation
through spending cuts, but public debt continued to rise,
approaching the government's soft target of 65 percent of GDP. The
external position is weaker than the level consistent with medium-
term fundamentals and desirable policies, but gross international
reserves provide significant financial buffers, along with the
Heritage and Stabilization Fund (HSF), although reserves are
projected to fall gradually given the current FX regime. The
financial sector remains stable, with profitable, well-capitalized
banks, while the recent decline in asset quality, rising household
debt, large domestic and regional sovereign exposures, and an
interconnected financial system create pockets of vulnerability.

Economic prospects are expected to improve over the medium term,
but remain heavily dependent on the energy sector. The medium-term
growth, fiscal and external outlook is vulnerable to negative
surprises in energy prices and output, a sizeable primary deficit,
and elevated levels of public debt. Possible delays in completing
the ongoing fiscal adjustment and reforms, persistence of FX
shortages, tightening of financial conditions, and ongoing
regional financial sector challenges also tilt the risks to the

A multi-pronged strategy is needed to ensure a sustained recovery,
and safeguard fiscal and external sustainability. Such a strategy
should aim at improving the economy's resilience to future shocks,
focusing on: (i) completing the fiscal adjustment to put the
public debt on a downward trajectory to safeguard sustainability,
while reducing the economy's over-reliance on the energy sector;
(ii) safeguarding financial stability; and (iii) creating an
enabling environment for the non-energy sector as an engine of
growth, by removing the obstacles to its development, while
increasing transparency of the operating environment for the
energy sector.

The authorities should take advantage of the impact higher energy
prices had on the fiscal position and complete the ongoing
adjustment, given the inherent volatility in energy prices.
Efforts should focus on speedy implementation of the delayed
revenue reforms, finalizing the energy taxation reform, and
reducing reliance on noncore revenues, including through increased
tax compliance. Improved efficiency and containment of public
spending should continue. Further cost savings from increased
utility tariffs and reduced transfers and subsidies should be
redirected to the most vulnerable segments of society and public
investment targeted at closing skills and infrastructure gaps to
reduce adverse impacts of adjustment. Paced over the medium term,
an adjustment equivalent to 4.4 percent of GDP should create
fiscal space to confront future shocks, alleviate market concerns
about the adequacy of adjustment, and put the public debt on a
downward trajectory to safeguard sustainability.

An appropriate Medium-Term Fiscal Framework (MTFF) could provide a
systematic tool for countercyclical fiscal policy and help
insulate the economy from energy price swings. Adopting an
appropriate formal fiscal target within a clearly-communicated
MTFF to guide fiscal policy could provide a tool to anchor fiscal
adjustments. The HSF should be fully integrated with the MTFF, by
linking transfers to/from it to the fiscal target. Such a
mechanism can shield the government from pressure to deviate from
the adjustment path, and allow the HSF to build reserves during
revenue booms to use during downturns. Managing public debt and
the HSF in an integrated framework may limit situations where the
government must borrow to save into the HSF. Establishing a
medium-term debt strategy may clarify the desired debt composition
and limit adverse implications of borrowing strategies. The
government should settle the overdraft balance with the Central
Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT), and rely on market-based

The continued state of FX market imbalance must be addressed on an
urgent and sustained basis. Notwithstanding the reduced tightness
in the market, owing to increased FX inflows from energy
companies, continued FX shortages affect market confidence, raise
the cost of doing business, hampers non-energy sector activity,
and could result in responses that further feed shortages. The
authorities could take advantage of the current relatively stable
period with low inflation and progress in fiscal consolidation to
address the shortages, while minimizing distortions.

Going forward, the exchange rate could play a more active role in
an economy exposed to frequent terms-of-trade shocks and help
manage the transition to a more balanced FX market. Allowing
gradually some market forces in determining the exchange rate
(e.g., within a widening band) could facilitate adjustment to
external shocks, help restore competitiveness, and safeguard
foreign reserves. Permitting two-way exchange-rate variation could
help reduce incentives for FX-hoarding and one-way currency bets,
while allowing the exchange rate to anchor inflation expectations
with some scope for flexible monetary policy. Such a move requires
careful design and implementation to avoid adverse balance-sheet
problems or second-round effects and needs to be supported by a
prudent fiscal, monetary, financial, and structural policy mix,
adequate safety nets, and well-designed intervention and
communication strategies.

Preserving financial stability calls for careful monitoring of the
sources of systemic risk and swift implementation of the ongoing
reforms. Staff welcomes the authorities' cautious and proactive
approach, given a highly-indebted household sector, bank-sovereign
linkages domestically and regionally, and rising interest rates in
a complex, interconnected financial system. Efforts must focus on
risk-based, consolidated, cross-border supervision with
appropriate prudential regulations, and completing the ongoing
regulatory reforms, including Basel II, the Insurance Law, and
nonbank supervisory frameworks. Trends in Correspondent Banking
Relationships (CBRs) should be systematically monitored, given the
ongoing weaknesses in AML/CFT and tax transparency regimes.
Ensuring compliance with international standards, risk-based
supervision, and complete legislative processes should accompany
banks' ongoing due-diligence, relationship-maintenance, and risk-
management efforts.

A structural reform agenda should create an enabling environment
for the non-energy sector, and boost its potential to support
sustainable growth and resilience. Institutional reforms should
focus on improved tax collection and contract enforcement and
strengthening existing legal frameworks that hinder legislative-
passage of ongoing reforms. Reduced cost of doing business,
addressing crime (with prevention and response efforts), reducing
skills gaps (with ongoing training programs), and sustained
government support in removing obstacles to diversification within
and outside the energy sector should help reduce heavy reliance on
the energy sector, enhance FX-earning potential, and attract
foreign investment.

The quality and timeliness of data continue to present a
significant challenge to surveillance and policymaking. Staff
welcomes the progress made, and calls for further efforts to
complete data improvements needed for surveillance, prioritize
operationalization of the independent statistical authority, and
enhance interagency cooperation.

It is recommended to hold the next Article IV consultation on the
standard 12-month cycle.


S&P Global affirmed its 'BB+' issuer credit rating on
Administracion Nacional de Combustibles, Alcohol y Portland
(ANCAP). S&P also revised the company's stand-alone credit profile
(SACP) upwards to 'b+' from 'b'. The outlook remains stable.

S&P said, "Our 'BB+' credit rating on ANCAP continues reflects our
view that there's a very high likelihood that the Republic of
Uruguay (BBB/Stable/A-2) would provide timely and sufficient
extraordinary support to the company in the event of financial
distress. Our assessment incorporates our view of ANCAP's very
important role as the sole petroleum importer, refiner, and
supplier of refined products to Uruguay's distributors, and its
very strong link with the government, particularly regarding the
budget approval process, debt authorization, and tax payments."

The SACP revision reflects the continued improvement of the
company's operating and financial performance amid higher fuel
prices. This is because the government has imposed greater
discipline on public-sector enterprises, including ANCAP, in order
to lead to a surplus and reduce fiscal deficit. In addition, after
the maintenance stoppage that ANCAP performed in 2017, the
refinery's efficiency has improved, as seen in record levels of
8.2 million of barrels processed during the first half of 2018.
S&P said, "Therefore, we now expect ANCAP's EBITDA to range
between $220 million and $250 million, debt to EBITDA at 2.5x-
3.0x, and free operating cash flow to debt of approximately 10%.
Although it has improved, we still believe that ANCAP's cash flow
generation is very volatile, because it ultimately depends on
discretionary fuel price increases, which the government must
approve. In addition, volatility to our analysis stems from
ANCAP's debt that's mostly denominated in dollars while its cash
flow generation is in domestic currency, although linked to the


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

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

Submissions about insolvency-related conferences are encouraged.
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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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