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

             Monday, December 17, 2018, Vol. 19, No. 249



BAHAMAS: Economy Continues to Recover, IMF Says


BISA SEGUROS: Moody's Affirms Ba3 Global Currency Rating
LA BOLIVIANA: Moody's Affirms Ba3 Insurance Fin. Strength Rating


AVIANCA BRASIL: In Talks Since Before Bankruptcy for Cash Boost
GERDAU SA: Moody's Raises CFR to Ba1, Outlook Positive
RIO ENERGY: Moody's Confirms B3 Sec. Bond Rating, Outlook Neg.


ECUADOR: 1st Priority of Governments Should be The Poor
ECUADOR: Moody's Alters Outlook on Issuer Rating to Negative


MEXICO: Trust Sweetens Bond Buy-Back After Investors Snub Deal

P U E R T O    R I C O

GIRARD MANUFACTURING: Feb. 5 Plan Confirmation Hearing
FIRST BANCORP: Fitch Hikes Issuer Default Rating to B
TOYS R US: Reaches Comprehensive Intercompany Settlement Deal

T R I N I D A D  &  T O B A G O

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Most Public Companies Fail Disclosure Standards


CONSORCIO DEL URUGUAY: Moody's Hikes CFR to Ba3, Outlook Stable


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Creditor Group Starts Legal Process


* BOND PRICING: For the Week December 10 to December 14, 2018

                            - - - - -


BAHAMAS: Economy Continues to Recover, IMF Says
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Fabian Bornhorst
visited The Bahamas during December 3 to 7, 2018 to review latest
economic developments and prepare for the 2019 Article IV
consultation (planned for April 2019). During the visit,
discussions focused on the outlook and risks, fiscal developments,
and the financial sector.

At the conclusion of the visit, Mr. Bornhorst issued the following

"The Bahamian economy continues to recover, with real GDP growth
projected to reach 2.3 percent in 2018 and 2.1 percent in 2019.
Growth is driven by an increase in tourist arrivals, paired with
an expansion of hotel room and airlift capacity, and against the
backdrop of the continued expansion of the U.S. economy. This
calls for maintaining strong fiscal and financial policies to
bolster the Bahamian economy's resilience and build buffers should
external conditions become less favorable, and for advancing
reforms to achieve more inclusive growth over the medium term.

"The enactment of the Fiscal Responsibility Law (FRL) is a welcome
development that supports the government's efforts to secure
fiscal sustainability and put debt on a downward path.
Implementation of the FRL framework will also increase
transparency and enhance policy credibility. The government's plan
to establish a disaster relief fund as part of a broader strategy
for preparedness and risk reduction policies is a welcomed step.

"The government has narrowed the fiscal deficit from 5.5 percent
of GDP in FY 2017 to an estimated 3.3 percent in FY 2018. In the
budget for FY 2019 the government committed to further fiscal
consolidation, targeting an overall deficit of 1.8 percent of GDP.
This is supported by various revenue mobilization measures. As
noted during the 2018 Article IV consultation, fiscal
consolidation should also include decisive measures to contain
expenditure growth in the short and medium term. The team welcomed
the government's transparent recognition of accumulated arrears
and the budgetary provisions to clearing them, as well as the
plans to put in place robust expenditure control systems.

"The banking system as a whole has strong capital and liquidity
ratios, and banks have made progress towards improving asset
quality. As of June 2018, the average capital to risk-weighted
assets ratio across domestic institutions was 34 percent, above
the regulatory target ratio of 17 percent, and non-performing
loans declined to 9.6 percent of total loans, from 12.3 percent a
year earlier. The mission recommended the speedy establishment of
the credit bureau to enhance credit market efficiency, increase
credit growth, and help financial inclusion.

"The Central Bank of The Bahamas is preparing to pilot a digital
central bank currency. The team recognized the role new financial
technologies can play in fostering financial inclusion, and
concurred that a gradual approach will help mitigate potential
risks to the economy.

"The mission welcomed the government's firm commitment to a well-
regulated international financial and business sector, and
recognized the significant steps taken to increase compliance with
international standards on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the
Financing of Terrorism. The team made the case for sustaining
efforts to fully implement the Action Plan agreed with the
Financial Action Task Force, including to mitigate financial risks
associated with the withdrawal of correspondent banking

"The mission met with the Honorable K. Peter Turnquest, Deputy
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Mr. John Rolle, Governor
of the Central Bank of The Bahamas, other senior government
officials, and representatives of the private sector. The mission
would like to thank the authorities and other interlocutors for
the open and productive discussions."


BISA SEGUROS: Moody's Affirms Ba3 Global Currency Rating
Moody's Latin America Agente de Calificacion de Riesgo S.A. has
affirmed the Ba3 global local currency and the national
scale insurance financial strength ratings of BISA Seguros y
Reaseguros S.A. The outlook of both ratings remains stable.


According to Moody's, the affirmation of BISA Seguros' Ba3 GLC and NS IFS ratings with a stable outlook is based primarily on
the company's strong history of underwriting results, its leading
position in the Bolivian property and casualty insurance market,
adequate capitalization, and well diversified product offering,
including commercial lines, personal lines, health and personal

Counterbalancing these strengths are Bisa Seguros' significant
investment risk, given its concentrations in local government
bonds and domestic bank deposits which are below investment-grade,
its above-average gross underwriting leverage, and country-
specific systemic risk. The rating agency went on to say that the
recent deterioration in the company's profitability and market
share is offset by Bisa Seguros' ownership by and integration with
its ultimate parent company, Grupo Financiero BISA (unrated), a
leading Bolivian financial conglomerate.

Among the factors that could lead to a rating upgrade for BISA
Seguros are: 1) improvement in investment credit quality (i.e.
investment-grade assets represent 30% or more of total cash and
investments); 2) an improvement in Bolivia's operating environment
and/or sovereign bond's rating; 3) improvement in its capital
position, with gross underwriting leverage consistently below 3x
shareholders' equity. Conversely, factors that could lead to a
downgrade include one or more of the following: 1) gross
underwriting leverage steadily above 7x shareholders' equity
and/or failure to comply with local capital regulatory
requirements; 2) significant reduction in company's market share;
3) sustained decline in profitability; 4) significant
deterioration in Bolivia's government bond rating and/or the
country's operating environment; and 5) Decrease in strategic
commitment from BISA Financial Group.

LA BOLIVIANA: Moody's Affirms Ba3 Insurance Fin. Strength Rating
Moody's Latin America Agente de Calificacion de Riesgo S.A. has
affirmed the Ba3 global local currency insurance financial
strength ratings of La Boliviana Ciacruz Seguros y Reaseguros and
La Boliviana Ciacruz Seguros Personales. In the same rating
action, Moody's has upgraded the national scale IFS ratings of
both companies to from All rating outlooks remain


According to Moody's, the upgrade of La Boliviana Seguros and La
Boliviana Personales' national scale IFS ratings to from, reflects consistent improvements on the companies'
business and financial profiles, particularly in their
profitability and market position, and our view that the
companies' credit profiles are now better positioned at the higher
end of possible NS ratings for Ba3-global scale rated Bolivian
issuers. That said, while these were positive developments, they
were not sufficient to lead to an upgrade of the global scale

The affirmation of La Boliviana Seguros and La Boliviana
Personales Ba3 GLC IFS ratings reflects the companies' established
presence in the Bolivian property and casualty (P&C) and life
insurance sectors, as well as their overall favorable
profitability, solid capitalization and well-diversified
distribution channels. Offsetting these positive factors are the
companies' significant investment risk, given their concentration
in Bolivian government bonds (Ba3 stable) and domestic bank
deposits, and Bolivia's limited insurance market development, as
reflected in the low penetration of insurance products in
Bolivia's economy. Moody's noted that La Boliviana Seguros and La
Boliviana Personales' credit profiles are restrained primarily by
Bolivia's high sovereign risk and poor operating environment.

Among the factors that could lead to a rating upgrade to La
Boliviana Seguros are: 1) improvement in investment credit quality
(i.e. investment-grade assets represent 30% or more of total cash
and investments); 2) an improvement in Bolivia's operating
environment and/or sovereign bond's rating; 3) improvement in its
capital position, with gross underwriting leverage consistently
below 3x shareholders' equity; and 4) growth in the company's
market share. Conversely, factors that could lead to a downgrade
include one or more of the following: 1) gross underwriting
leverage steadily above 6x shareholders' equity and/or failure to
comply with local capital regulatory requirements; 2) significant
reduction in company's market share; 3) sustained decline in
profitability; 4) deterioration in company's investment credit
quality; and 5) significant deterioration in Bolivia's government
bond rating and/or the country's operating environment;

Factors that could lead to an upgrade of La Boliviana Personales'
rating include the following: 1) sustained track record of
positive profitability; 2) improvement in investment credit
quality (i.e. investment-grade assets represent 30% or more of
total cash and investments); 3) improvement in Bolivia's operating
environment and/or sovereign bond's rating; 4) growth in the
company's market share to 20% of the industry's gross premiums.
Among the factors that could lead to a downgrade are: 1)
deterioration in company's investment credit quality; 2) sustained
weakening of profitability; 3) significant deterioration in
Bolivia's government bond rating and/or the country's operating
environment; and 4) reduction in company's market share.

The principal methodology used in rating La Boliviana Ciacruz
Seguros y Reaseguros was Property and Casualty Insurers published
in May 2018. The principal methodology used in rating La Boliviana
Ciacruz Seguros Personales was Life Insurers published in May


AVIANCA BRASIL: In Talks Since Before Bankruptcy for Cash Boost
Avianca Brasil has been in talks for a much-needed cash injection
since before it filed for bankruptcy, German Efromovich, whose
family controls the carrier, told Reuters.

Tatiana Bautzer and Marcelo Rochabrun at Reuters report that
Efromovich, the controlling shareholder of better-known airline
Avianca Holdings said in a phone interview that he was negotiating
with funds, which he declined to identify.  He also declined to
elaborate on the value and whether the transaction would be debt
or equity, according to Reuters.

Avianca Brasil had faced recurring losses and a series of airplane
repossession lawsuits, the report notes.  It lost four planes in
the days leading up to its bankruptcy filing, according to a
source with knowledge of the disputes, the report relays.

At least 10 other planes are still under dispute, and a judge
ruled that Avianca Brasil can hold on to them for 30 days in case
the parties can reach a deal, the report relays.  Otherwise,
Avianca Brasil will lose the planes as the lessor already has a
favorable court order, the report says.

The source said that Avianca owes lessors some $100 million, the
report discloses.

The airline also has debts to suppliers, including airports, fuel
and maintenance companies that court records show amounted to $125
million, the report relays.  The airline announced a judge had
granted it bankruptcy protection on its debts, the report says.

Efromovich said he was discussing the cash boost for Avianca
Brasil at the same time that he was negotiating for a loan from
United Continental Holdings Inc, the report says.  Although
Avianca Brasil has in the past said it was owned by Efromovich's
Synergy Group, he said that was not currently the case and that a
separate holding company controlled by his brother Jose was now
controlling shareholder, the report discloses.

The United loan, finalized in late November, was negotiated for
years and eventually went to Synergy, the report relays.
Reportedly meant to repay another credit from investment firm
Elliott Management, the loan will be secured by shares in
Colombia-based Avianca Holdings, the report says.

German Efromovich did not say whether he was now seeking a loan
for Avianca Brazil or to sell an equity stake, the report relays.

He praised a decree signed by outgoing Brazilian President Michel
Temer that will eliminate a 20 percent ceiling on foreign
investment in Brazilian airlines, the report relays.

The lessors who have managed to reclaim planes include Singapore's
BOC Aviation and Constitution Aircraft, a unit of Aircastle Ltd,
the report notes.

In a statement, Avianca Brasil blamed the leasing companies for
their resistance "to reach a friendly deal," the report adds.

GERDAU SA: Moody's Raises CFR to Ba1, Outlook Positive
Moody's Investors Service upgraded to Ba1 from Ba2 Gerdau S.A.'s
corporate family rating and the ratings of the debt issues of
Gerdau Trade Inc. (guaranteed by Gerdau S.A. and its operating
subsidiaries in Brazil) and of GTL Trade Finance Inc. (guaranteed
by Gerdau S.A. and its operating subsidiaries in Brazil), as well
as the solid waste disposal bonds issued by St. Paul Port
Authority, MN (guaranteed by Gerdau S.A.). The outlook for the
ratings is positive.

Ratings upgraded:

Issuer: Gerdau S.A

Corporate Family Rating: to Ba1 from Ba2

Issuer: Gerdau Trade Inc.

USD750 million senior unsecured notes due 2023: to Ba1 from Ba2

Issuer: GTL Trade Finance Inc.

USD1,250 million senior unsecured notes due 2024: to Ba1 from Ba2

USD500 million senior unsecured notes due 2044: to Ba1 from Ba2

Issuer: St. Paul Port Authority, MN

USD51 million solid waste disposal revenue bonds due 2037: to Ba1
from Ba2

Outlook changed to positive from stable


The upgrade to Ba1 reflects Gerdau's better than anticipated
operating performance in 2018, which, combined with assets sales
and liability management initiatives, allowed the company to
intensify its debt reduction efforts and consequently improve
credit metrics within a very short timeframe. Moody's expects
Gerdau's Moody's adjusted leverage to decline to 2.5 times at the
end of 2018 from 5.1 times at the end of 2017. As well, Moody's
estimates the company will continue to generate positive free cash
flow and strong operating margins in the medium term as a result
of its focus on higher-margin products and markets after asset
sales carried out in the last four years, cost reduction efforts
and financial discipline.

Since the beginning of 2014, Gerdau sold BRL7.4 billion in assets
and reduced reported debt by BRL8.2 billion. During 2018, the
company raised BRL4.2 billion from asset sales and announced a
$1.0 billion (BRL3.8 billion) tender offer for its outstanding
2020, 2021, 2023, 2024 and 2027 notes, which will contribute to
additional debt reduction during the last quarter of the year. In
addition to supporting a material debt reduction, the asset
divestiture program allowed Gerdau to streamline its operations,
focusing on the more profitable, core US and Brazilian markets,
which will support the company's future profitability. With that,
Moody's believes the company has built a significant amount of
additional financial flexibility to withstand the cyclicality of
the steel industry.

Gerdau's Ba1 ratings are supported by the company's historically
solid cash generation, which reflects its strong market position
in the several markets where it operates, its good operational and
geographic diversity, its cost-driven management, as well as its
conservative financial policies. Despite volatile global operating
environments and Brazil's economic recession, Gerdau has generated
positive free cash flows since 2013, and was able to reduce debt
levels, partially with the proceeds from asset divestitures.
Constraining the ratings is the company's exposure to the
cyclicality of the steel industry, especially in Brazil and the

Although Brazil's demand fundamentals remain weak, the company's
adjusted EBITDA margins have recovered during 2018, reaching 12.2%
in September 2018 (up from 10.9% in 2016). Moody's does not expect
any material recovery in the long steel industry in Brazil at
least until mid-2019. Construction and infra-structure, the main
consuming segments for long steel, will continue to underperform
until there are evidences of a sustained economic improvement that
may attract investments. Still, economic stability should support
a gradual recovery in the commercial construction and homebuilding
segments when compared to 2015-16 levels, while the specialty
steel segment will continue to post a solid performance due to
stronger auto production in the country. In the US, Gerdau will
continue to benefit from protectionist policies supporting higher
steel prices, but also from its strategy of focusing in higher-
margin products, following the sale of the rebar assets.
Nevertheless, uncertainties regarding the continuity of such
measures add uncertainties to the medium-term competitive
landscape, which can impact Gerdau's future operating performance.

The positive outlook reflects our expectations that Gerdau's
credit metrics will remain strong in the next 12-18 months, and
that the company will continue to strengthen its balance sheet,
liquidity profile and financial policies to enhance its credit
quality even further.

The ratings could be further upgraded if Gerdau is able to sustain
profitability, as measured by EBIT margin, at high single digit
(8.0% in LTM ended September 2018), while maintaining strong
liquidity and leverage, with total adjusted debt to Ebitda of
around 2.5x (3.7x in the LTM ended in September 2018) and EBIT to
interest expense above 4.0x (2.7x in the LTM ended in September
2018) on a sustained basis. The maintenance of conservative
financial policies would also be required for a rating upgrade.

Negative pressure on the rating or outlook could result from
weaker liquidity or from persistently high leverage, with total
debt to Ebitda above 3.5x on a sustainable basis over the long-
term, and interest coverage (EBIT to interest expense) below 3x. A
deterioration in volumes and margins in Gerdau's main markets
(namely Brazil and the US), affecting its ability to generate
positive free cash flow or limited flexibility for capex and
dividend reduction could trigger a downgrade. A sharp
deterioration in the controlling shareholders' financial position
could also precipitate a downgrade.

Based in Brazil, Gerdau S.A. is the leading producer of long steel
in the Americas and one of the largest suppliers of special long
steel in the world, with total capacity of over 21 million tons
per year of crude steel and 17.5 million tons per year of rolled
products. Its US subsidiary, Gerdau Ameristeel Corporation (Gerdau
Ameristeel), is the second largest long steel producer in North
America. In the last twelve months through September 30, 2018
Gerdau reported consolidated annual revenues of approximately BRL
45 billion (USD 12.9 billion converted by the average exchange
rate). The group has operations in 10 countries with relevant
market shares in many of them, among which are Brazil, USA,
Canada, Peru, Uruguay, Argentina, Mexico and Venezuela, and joint
ventures in Colombia, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Steel Industry
published in September 2017.

RIO ENERGY: Moody's Confirms B3 Sec. Bond Rating, Outlook Neg.
Moody's Investors Service confirmed the B3 rating assigned to Rio
Energy S.A. This rating action concludes the review for downgrade
commenced on September 4, 2018. The rating outlook is negative.

Outlook Actions:

Issuer: Rio Energy S.A.

Outlook, Changed To Negative From Rating Under Review


Issuer: Rio Energy S.A.

Senior Secured Regular Bond/Debenture, Confirmed at B3


The rating confirmation follows the company's announcement of a
Private Placement transaction for a total amount of $ 250 million
senior secured notes due 2023. With this transaction MSU has
sufficient liquidity to repay its upcoming short term debt
maturities and also to complete the financing of its ongoing
expansion plan, thus reducing significantly its immediate
liquidity and financing risks. The rating confirmation takes into
account MSU Energy's stable and predictable cash flow generation
from fixed price, availability based long term contracts on its
current installed capacity, that to date has shown solid
operational performance and high availability levels.

The B3 rating and negative outlook are reflective of an overall
aggressive, highly leveraged financing structure that lacks the
standard structural protections for a company with a limited
operating history. The structure considers a six months debt
reserve account (equal to next interest payment given the bullet
amortization structure of the notes) that is comparably weak.
Furthermore, the private placement notes pay interest at a
floating rate of Libor plus 11.25%, which is costly and exposes
MSU to market volatility, particularly during the completion of
current construction works. The private placement notes have a 30-
month grace period and will start amortizing 14-months after the
COD of the combined cycle and fully amortize by November 2023,
sooner than the rated $600 million senior secured notes due 2025,
which will continue to be exposed to refinancing risk.

MSU Energy's credit profile acknowledges the steps that the
company undertook to reinforce its governance structure.
Reputational risk notwithstanding, Moody's is not aware that the
ongoing legal proceedings involving the company's former chairman
have direct linkages with MSU's operations or existing contracts.
As a result, MSU's credit profile primarily captures the company's
exposure to CAMMESA (Argentina's electricity wholesale market
administrator) as the sole off-taker under the PPA's and to the
Government of Argentina's (B2, stable) and its evolving power


MSU Energy's leverage is high and will remain elevated until the
company completes its investment in the first half of 2020 and
starts repaying debt in 2021.

MSU's outstanding debt is comprised of the $ 600 million 2025
senior secured notes and the $ 250 million 2023 private placement
notes, that have a 5-year tenor and will be repaid in eleven equal
quarterly installments commencing on the 30-month anniversary of
the closing date (or May 2021), 14-months after the combined cycle
currently under construction is scheduled to become operational.

The company does not have any other debt maturity until 2021.
While MSU has secured sufficient funds to complete its expansion
through the issuance of the private placement notes, the company's
high cash needs will result in limited financial flexibility.


The negative outlook reflects limited track record, overall weak
credit metrics, high leverage and tight liquidity. These elements
leave MSU with limited room of maneuver. While the company's
limited financial flexibility will add risks to the execution of
the current expansion, Moody's will follow up closely on
construction progress to reassess the negative outlook in due


Positive rating pressure will result as the company demonstrates
consistent progress in its expansion works. Moody's could envision
upward pressure should MSU Energy start generating cash flows from
operations in relation to debt consistently above 15% and debt to
EBITDA declining towards 5 times.

The ratings could be downgraded further as a result of
underperformance at the simple cycle plants, higher than
anticipated construction costs or delays in construction that lead
to lower than expected cash flows. Quantitatively, cash from
operations (as per Moody's definition) below 6% or a DSCR below
1.4 times could result in a rating downgrade.

Corporate Profile

MSU Energy is an argentine, family owned conglomerate comprised by
three special purpose vehicles or Sociedades Anonimas designed to
participate in the power auctions performed by the Argentine
Energy Ministry and the beneficiaries under the PPAs. Each of
these companies, Rio Energy S.A, Uensa S.A. and Ugen S.A. own and
operate a thermal simple cycle plant with 150 MW of nominal
generation capacity each and all are joint obligors under the USD
600 million senior secured notes. It is expected that the three
companies will be merged into one in early 2019. The company is
currently developing an expansion plan to convert its operating
simple cycle plants into combined cycle plants, with an expected
start of operations in mid-2020.


ECUADOR: 1st Priority of Governments Should be The Poor
EFE News reports that the president of Ecuador said the first
priority of governments is to pay attention to the poor.

Lenin Moreno made his remarks during his speech at the opening of
the Doha Forum, a conference organized by Qatar and attended by
leaders from several countries and the United Nations and other
world key figures, according to EFE News.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Aug. 22, 2018, Fitch Ratings has downgraded Ecuador's Long-Term
Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to 'B-' from 'B'. The
Outlook has been revised to Stable from Negative. Additionally,
Fitch has assigned the sovereign a 'B-' Long-Term Local-Currency
IDR/Stable Outlook and a 'B' Short-Term Local-Currency IDR.

ECUADOR: Moody's Alters Outlook on Issuer Rating to Negative
Moody's Investors Service has changed the outlook on the
Government of Ecuador's issuer rating to negative from stable and
affirmed the long-term issuer and senior unsecured B3 ratings.

The decision to change the outlook to negative reflects the risk
that Ecuador's government liquidity position may remain
constrained ahead of debt repayments in the coming years given the
challenging market conditions it faces. In Moody's view, Ecuador's
market access will remain challenged due to a combination of
internal and external factors that have contributed to negative
investor sentiment, which has led to very high sovereign spreads,
elements that will likely keep market borrowing costs high.
Moody's notes that even though increased access to official
(multilateral) financing would ease funding pressures, in the
absence of more forceful policies that effectively address
macroeconomic imbalances that built up over the past decade, a
large official lending program would not be sufficient on its own
to materially reduce the tight liquidity conditions.

Moody's decision to affirm the B3 ratings balances the sovereign's
higher fiscal strength relative to similarly-rated peers,
notwithstanding the sharp deterioration in Ecuador's government
debt metrics over the last five years. The affirmation is also
informed by weak but improving institutions and low economic
growth as the economy transitions from a State-led economic model.

The senior unsecured bond rating on the 2030 global bond was
affirmed at C, reflecting the small amount of remaining claims on
principal amounts owed to bondholders that did not participate in
the debt exchange of 2009, following the 2008 default.

Ecuador's long-term foreign-currency ceilings remain unchanged at
B2 for bonds and Caa1 for bank deposits. The short-term foreign-
currency ceilings remain NP.




The authorities' gradualist approach toward macroeconomic
adjustment will likely prove insufficient to improve investor
sentiment and facilitate market access at more sustainable costs.
The authorities have pursued a fiscal adjustment strategy that
will reduce the government deficit to 4.0% of GDP this year from
5.9% in 2017, but consolidation efforts have been mostly focused
on reductions in public investment. Other structural components of
expenditure such as wages and transfers, which account for nearly
50% of total government spending, have been subject to only
minimal reductions, while a rising interest burden is adding
further rigidity to government spending.

The 2019 budget incorporates a gradual fiscal adjustment over the
coming years, reducing the deficit to 3.2% of GDP next year.
Looking ahead, prospects of weak growth and less favorable
external conditions will weigh on government revenue, complicating
deficit reduction efforts in the absence of additional spending

Moody's expects the economy to remain weak over the coming years
as it transitions from a model where public sector investment was
the main growth driver -- increasingly dependent on external
borrowing -- to one in which private investment and exports play a
more prominent role. Continued reduction in public investment will
weigh on growth while a transition toward a different economic
model supported by policies put forward to incentivize investment
in the country and increase trade openness will likely take years
to materialize.

Additionally, Ecuador's external reserve position has become
increasingly reliant on public external borrowing as the main
source of hard currency into the country. In the context of a
dollarized economy, higher exports and stronger flows of foreign
direct investment would ease pressures on the fiscal and external
reserve positions.


Moody's believes that Ecuador's access to private sources of
external financing could remain constrained in the coming years,
reflecting market concerns regarding the country's weak
fundamentals. As a consequence, and despite reporting lower gross
borrowing requirements than B-rated sovereigns (8% of GDP in 2019
versus a 'B' median of 11%), the country's sovereign spreads are
higher than those of similarly-rated peers, a condition that has
consistently led to high borrowing costs for the government.
Sovereign spreads have remained above 700 basis points over the
past few months, and are over 275 basis points higher than in
January 2018 when the government issued a $3 billion ten-year bond
with a coupon of 7.875%.

Relatively limited market funding has also made it more difficult
for authorities to identify financing sources for 2019. Next
year's budget incorporates an assumption of a market debt issuance
of $1.75 billion. Moreover, funding sources for 56.5% ($4.6
billion) of its borrowing requirements next year have yet to be

Government gross borrowing requirements will decline in 2019, but
starting in 2020 the external debt maturity profile will turn more
demanding. Debt repayments will rise from $4.0 billion in 2019 to
an average of $4.6 billion in 2020-24. These amortizations include
the maturities of global bonds in 2020 and 2022-24 on average
worth $1.7 billion -- overall Ecuador faces global bond maturities
of almost $15 billion (15% of GDP) during 2020-28.

If the government is unable to materially increase its market
access, which would require improved investor sentiment, the
government's debt repayment capacity will be restricted,
introducing additional credit risk to the sovereign profile.

Given the short track record of orthodox macroeconomic policies,
stronger support from official creditors may provide additional
credibility to the authorities' adjustment program, which would
contribute to improving investor sentiment. Should this allow
Ecuador to access market funding at lower borrowing costs,
liquidity risks that would compromise debt repayment capabilities
over the coming years could materially decrease.



Ecuador's debt metrics have deteriorated over the past five years
following the oil price shock, which in turn affected economic
growth and the fiscal accounts. Government debt will rise to 47%
of GDP in 2019 from 22% in 2013. Under a more conservative deficit
reduction path, Moody's forecasts that the debt ratio would
stabilize by 2022 around 50% of GDP. At this level, Ecuador's debt
ratio would still compare favorably to other B-rated peers, with a
category median at 60% of GDP -- the median for B2- and B3-rated
peers that have experienced shocks caused by volatile commodity
prices or shifting external financial conditions is 70%.

However, Ecuador's debt affordability has worsened in recent years
relative to peers. Due to a combination of lower revenue because
of lower oil prices and weak economic activity weighing on tax
income, as well as an accumulation of debt with higher costs, the
government's ratio of interest payments-to-revenue rose to 14% in
2017 from 6% in 2013. Moody's forecasts this ratio will stabilize
around 16% over the coming years, compared with a B-category
median of less than 12% -- the median for B2- and B3-rated peers
that have experienced similar shocks is 17%.


Ecuador's institutional strength is weak on a global comparative
basis. That said, under President Lenin Moreno the country's
institutional framework has improved, especially in issues related
to control of corruption and rule of law. The administration has
put forward changes that have increased the independence of
various entities charged with government oversight, including the
comptroller general's office. Authorities have also taken steps to
bolster transparency and accountability by presenting more
comprehensive government debt statistics. Additionally, measures
have been put in place to support a more favorable business
environment, a development that over time should contribute to the
transition away from a State-led economic model to one driven by
private investment and exports.

Moody's considers that Ecuador's policymaking framework is
shifting toward one associated with macroeconomic policies that,
unlike those observed during the previous administration, are now
directed toward addressing fiscal and external imbalances.
However, given the gradual adjustment approach pursued by the
authorities and given the relatively short track record, the
government is still in the process of building up policy


The negative outlook signals that an upgrade is unlikely.

Moody's would consider changing the outlook to stable should the
government secure sufficient funding to fully cover Ecuador's 2019
and 2020 borrowing needs, including the $1.5 billion global bond
maturity, and there is evidence that sustained improvement in
economic management is leading to a material reduction in both
fiscal and external imbalances.


Downward pressure on the rating would develop if Ecuador's ability
to access market funding remains limited and alternate financing
sources fail to materialize, compromising the government's
external repayment capabilities and adding pressure on external

GDP per capita (PPP basis, US$): 11,507 (2017 Actual) (also known
as Per Capita Income)

Real GDP growth (% change): 2.4% (2017 Actual) (also known as GDP

Inflation Rate (CPI, % change Dec/Dec): -0.2% (2017 Actual)

Gen. Gov. Financial Balance/GDP: -5.9% (2017 Actual) (also known
as Fiscal Balance)

Current Account Balance/GDP: -0.4% (2017 Actual) (also known as
External Balance)

External debt/GDP: 38.2% (2017 Actual)

Level of economic development: Low level of economic resilience

Default history: At least one default event (on bonds and/or
loans) has been recorded since 1983.

On December 10, 2018, a rating committee was called to discuss the
rating of the Ecuador, Government of. The main points raised
during the discussion were: The issuer's institutional
strength/framework, have increased. The issuer's fiscal or
financial strength, including its debt profile, has decreased. The
issuer has become increasingly susceptible to event risks.


MEXICO: Trust Sweetens Bond Buy-Back After Investors Snub Deal
Jude Webber at The Financial Times reports that the Mexico City
Airport Trust -- the financial backer of a new Mexico City airport
project that President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has vowed to
scrap -- has boosted the terms of its bond buy-back offer to try
to woo the approximately 50 per cent of bondholders who rejected
the initial deal.

The new deal offers to buy back $1.8 billion of the $6 billion in
bonds as before, according to The Financial Times.  But in a
statement, the trust, known as Mexcat, said the price would be
$1,000 per each $1,000 tendered by the early bird deadline, plus
accrued and unpaid interest, the report relays.

"The original tender offers used a reverse Dutch auction mechanism
to determine the price, within a range that was capped at par,"
the statement said, the report discloses.

Crucially, the new offer seeks to address bondholder concerns
about the bond terms, or indentures, "which are meant to address
concerns holders may have," the report says.

They included changes to require Mexcat to put funds aside to fund
repurchases, the report notes.

The new conditions also include a default clause if any airport
begins commercial operations within a 70 kilometre radius of the
existing Mexico City airport, or if the Toluca airport generates
passenger traffic above 5 million passengers per year and the debt
service coverage ratio drops below 1.75:1, the report relays.

Lopez Obrador wants to replace the part-built new airport project
with upgrades to the existing airports in Mexico City and Toluca
and the addition of two runways at the Santa Lucia military base,
the report says.

The new terms also "significantly limit" Mexcat's ability to incur
new debt, the report notes.  It also proposed to lift the
threshold of passenger taxes below which a default would be
triggered, the report relays.

A new deadline of December 19 has been set for early tender and
the offer expires on January 4, the report adds.

P U E R T O    R I C O

GIRARD MANUFACTURING: Feb. 5 Plan Confirmation Hearing
The Bankruptcy Court has approved the disclosure statement
explaining Girard Manufacturing, Inc.'s Amended Chapter 11 Plan.

The hearing for the consideration of confirmation of the Plan and
of those objections as may be made to the confirmation of the Plan
will be held on February 5, 2019 at 10:00 AM at Jose V. Toledo
Fed. Bldg. & U.S. Courthouse, Courtroom 2, 300 Recinto Sur Street,
Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The objections to claims must be filed forty-five (45) days prior
to the hearing on confirmation.  Any objection to confirmation of
the plan shall be filed on/or before twenty-one (21) days prior to
the date of the hearing on confirmation of the Plan.

The Amended Plan increased the recovery of general unsecured
creditors to 7%, from 4% in the previously filed Plan.

Unsecured Claims of more than $5,000, classified in Class 5, is
impaired.  Holders of Class 5 Claims will be paid 7% of their
claims in 60 monthly payments.  The Estimated Aggregate Amount of
Class 5 Claims is $1,320,456.50.

Class 6 - Convenience Class Unsecured Claims of less than $5,000
is impaired.  Holders of Class 6 Claims will be paid 7% of their
claims on the Effective Date.  Estimated aggregate amount of Class
5 claims is $41,416.45.

The Plan is to be funded by Girard's income which is estimated to
be $105,000 per month for a period of five (5) years.

A full-text copy of the Disclosure Statement dated November 26,
2018, is available at:

               About Girard Manufacturing, Inc.

Girard Manufacturing Inc. provides office furniture in San Juan,
Puerto Rico. The Company offers desks chairs, modular systems,
bookshelves, filing systems, and accessories, as well as online
service and support.

Girard Manufacturing, Inc., based in San Juan, PR, filed a Chapter
11 petition (Bankr. D.P.R. Case No. 17-05975) on August 24, 2017.
Alexis Fuentes-Hernandez, Esq., at Fuentes Law Offices, LLC,
serves as bankruptcy counsel.

In its petition, the Debtor estimated $2.36 million in assets and
$3.83 million in liabilities. The petition was signed by Jose A.
Casal Seibezzi, president.

FIRST BANCORP: Fitch Hikes Issuer Default Rating to B
Fitch Ratings has upgraded First Bancorp's (FBP) Long-Term Issuer
Default Rating (IDR) to 'B' from 'B-' with a Stable Outlook. Fitch
has also upgraded FBP's Viability Rating (VR) to 'b' from 'b-'.

Prior to Fitch's affirmation of FBP's ratings on May 9, 2018,
FBP's ratings had been on Rating Watch Negative due to the
uncertainty of the impact caused by Hurricanes Irma and Maria on
Puerto Rico in September 2017. Prior to the hurricanes, FBP's
ratings had a Positive Outlook since November 2016.


IDRS and VRs

The upgrade reflects improvements in FBP's financial profile; the
company's asset quality metrics, operating performance, capital
ratios, and funding profile have all improved meaningfully since
2012, when FBP was upgraded to 'B-'.

When Fitch affirmed FBP's ratings with a Stable Outlook in May
2018, Fitch expected that asset quality could deteriorate from
1Q18 levels in the following few quarters. The press release that
accompanied the affirmation highlighted stabilized credit quality
measures as a key positive rating sensitivity. Net charge-offs for
the two most recent quarters were in line with 1Q18 levels, and
nonperforming assets (including accruing troubled debt
restructures and adjusted for rebooked GNMA loans), while slightly
elevated relative to 1Q18 levels, were below pre-hurricane levels.
However, FBP's ratings remain constrained by poor asset quality
relative to Puerto Rico peers and U.S. mainland banks.

The company's asset quality has improved meaningfully over the
last few years. Fitch believes that this is partially attributable
to FBP's reduction in risk appetite as well as a relatively benign
credit environment. FBP's nonperforming assets (including accruing
troubled debt restructures and adjusted for rebooked GNMA loans)
to loans held-for-investment and other real estate owned decreased
to 11.9% at 3Q18 from 17.7% at year-end 2012, and net charge-offs
of 127bps through 3Q18 YTD were below the 20-quarter average
despite the recent hurricanes.

FBP's earnings have improved meaningfully and have stabilized over
the past few years. The company's return on average assets for
3Q18 YTD was 1.1% compared to the five-year average of 0.2%.
Earnings improvement has been driven by lower credit provisions
given the aforementioned asset quality stabilization along with
higher interest rates and improvements in efficiency. Fitch
expects that earnings could face headwinds going forward as FBP
continues to work down its relatively high levels of nonperforming
assets, although earnings should benefit from further rate hikes.
FBP, along with the other Puerto Rican banks, have been able to
lag deposit pricing more than banks in the U.S. mainland through
the current rate hike cycle, although their deposit costs started
from a higher absolute level.

In Fitch's view, capital remains a rating strength and should
provide an adequate buffer to potential losses stemming from
credit quality deterioration. Based on a severe stress test
incorporating reduced core earnings and significant increases in
provisions, Fitch believes FBP's capital base is sufficient to
withstand further credit deterioration and/or volatility. At 3Q18,
FBP's TCE and CET1 stood at 15.0% and 20.1%, respectively, which
are among the highest in Fitch's rated universe in the U.S. Given
FBP's risk profile and uncertainties that remain regarding the
Puerto Rico economy and hurricane impact, the company's higher
capital ratios are viewed as prudent and supportive of the

The company's capital ratios have increased by approximately 400
basis points over the last four years, although capital generation
may decelerate going forward as FBP reinstated its common
dividend.  In November 2018, FBP announced that the Federal
Reserve permitted the company to pay a common dividend to
shareholders for the first time since 2009.

FBP's funding profile is well situated for its current ratings.
Fitch observes that there has been modest improvement over time
with the company reducing its reliance on noncore funding sources,
particularly brokered deposits. Moreover, a lack of loan growth as
well as an inflow of deposits has reduced the bank's loan to
deposit ratio to 96% at 3Q18. Fitch notes that FBP has benefited
from the inflow of cash from federal aid and insurance payouts in
the past few quarters. Fitch expects this trend to continue over
the medium term.

FBP's ratings continue to be constrained by a challenging and
uncertain operating environment. The recent hurricanes have
complicated the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico's efforts to reverse
outward migration, generate sustainable economic growth, and
address its fiscal and debt imbalances. Additionally, the
reduction in the federal corporate tax rate in the U.S. makes
Puerto Rico less attractive on a relative basis. Fitch notes that
rebuilding efforts and federal aid from the U.S. government have
had a positive effect on the island's economy, which is expected
to continue over the medium term. Longer-term prospects for the
islands economy, outside the current rating time horizon, depend
heavily on the effectiveness of fiscal and structural reforms.


The Support Rating of '5' and Support Ratings Floor of 'NF'
reflect Fitch's view that FBP is not considered systemically
important, and therefore the probability of support is unlikely.
The IDRs and VRs do not incorporate any support.


FBP's uninsured deposit ratings at its subsidiary bank are rated
one notch higher than FBP's IDR and senior unsecured debt rating
because U.S. uninsured deposits benefit from depositor preference.
U.S. depositor preference gives deposit liabilities superior
recovery prospects in the event of default.


FBP has a bank holding company (BHC) structure with the bank as
the main subsidiary. IDRs and VRs are equalized with those of the
operating company and bank, reflecting its role as the bank
holding company, which is mandated in the U.S. to act as a source
of strength for its bank subsidiaries. Double leverage is below
120% for the FBP parent company.


IDRS and VRs

With the upgrade, Fitch considers the likelihood for further
upward rating momentum to be limited in the near term. FBP's
operating environment is a higher influence on the ratings, and
FBP's ratings are sensitive to changes in Fitch's view of Puerto
Rico's operating environment. However, given FBP's low rating
level relative to Fitch's assessment of the operating environment
in Puerto Rico, Fitch believes that a modest degree of
deterioration in the island's operating environment over the
longer term is already captured in FBP's current ratings.

Positive rating momentum could stem from an improved franchise
indicated by loan and deposit market share on the island relative
to the other Fitch-rated bank in Puerto Rico, Popular, Inc. (BPOP,
rated BB-/Stable). FBP is currently the second largest bank on the
island behind BPOP, although loan and deposit market share in
Puerto Rico were 19% and 12%, respectively, as of 2Q18. This
compares to BPOP's loan and deposit market shares of 49% and 58%,

Negative ratings pressure could develop if Fitch believes that the
potential benefits of the planned structural and fiscal reforms in
the recently approved fiscal plan will not be realized, resulting
in a sustained weaker operating environment. Conversely, positive
rating action is possible if Fitch believes that the benefits from
the planned structural and fiscal reforms will be effective
resulting in a stronger operating environment.

Fitch regards FBP's high capital levels as a rating strength;
therefore, FBP's ratings would be sensitive to material reductions
in capital levels, particularly if not accompanied by a
commensurate reduction in problem loans.


The Support Rating and Support Rating Floor are sensitive to
Fitch's assumption around capacity to procure extraordinary
support in case of need.


The ratings of long- and short-term deposits issued by FBP
subsidiaries are primarily sensitive to any change in the
company's IDRs. Should the Long-Term IDR be upgraded or
downgraded, the long-term deposit rating could be similarly


If FBP became undercapitalized or increased double leverage
significantly, there is the potential that Fitch could notch the
holding company IDR and VR from the ratings of the operating

Fitch has upgraded the following ratings:

First BanCorp

  -- Long-Term IDR to 'B' from 'B-'; Outlook Stable;

  -- Viability Rating to 'b' from 'b-'.

FirstBank Puerto Rico

  -- Long-Term IDR to 'B' from 'B-'; Outlook Stable;

  -- Long-term deposit to 'B+'/'RR3' from 'B'/'RR3';

  -- Viability Rating to 'b' from 'b-'.

Fitch has affirmed the following ratings:

First BanCorp

  -- Short-Term IDR at 'B';

  -- Support at '5';

  -- Support floor at 'NF'.

FirstBank Puerto Rico

  -- Short-Term IDR at 'B';

  -- Short-term Deposits at 'B';

  -- Support at '5';

  -- Support floor at 'NF'.

TOYS R US: Reaches Comprehensive Intercompany Settlement Deal
------------------------------------------------------------- reported that Toys "R" Us requested Court
approval of a settlement agreement, dated December 11, 2018,
amongst (i) the Debtors, (ii) Toys (Labuan) Holding Limited (the
"Asia JV"), (iii) the TRU Non-Debtor Subsidiaries, (iv) the Ad Hoc
Group of B-4 Lenders, (v) the Taj Holders Steering Group, and (vi)
the Debtors' Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors (the
"Intercompany Settlement Agreement").

The Debtors' motion states, "After more than a year of inter-silo
disputes related to a multitude of issues, the Debtors, their key
stakeholders, and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors
(the 'Creditors' Committee') have reached a comprehensive
agreement reflecting a balanced resolution of all issues, thereby
paving the way for the conclusion of these cases. Among other
things, the intercompany settlement agreement resolves all matters
concerning licensing agreements between Toys (Labuan) Holding
Limited (the 'Asia JV'), its subsidiaries, and Geoffrey, LLC
('Geoffrey'), source-code-ownership, private-label goods and
trademarks, and all other intercompany issues (including
professional-fee allocation).

The Intercompany Settlement Agreement also establishes the
framework of the various Debtors' go-forward business relationship
-- and resolves significant ongoing disputes regarding that
relationship -- as it addresses the provision of transition
services to the Asia JV or its subsidiaries; the new licensing
agreement between Geoffrey and the Asia JV and/or its
subsidiaries; the private-label arrangements; and the ownership of
the Source Code. Once this Court approves the Intercompany
Settlement Agreement, the Debtors and the rest of the Settlement
Parties will be able to allocate their resources toward resolving
any remaining issues and expeditiously confirming and consummating
the chapter 11 plans. All use of the Debtors' property
contemplated by the Intercompany Settlement Agreement and any
stipulations contemplated thereby is, in the Debtors' business
judgment, appropriate given the circumstances."

Key provisions of the Intercompany Settlement Agreement include:

* Geoffrey will enter into new license agreements with the Asia JV

  and certain of its subsidiaries, as well as the French business.

* The new license agreements will have a fixed 15-year term,
  subject to extension by the Asia JV after the 15-year term, and
  will have other amended terms as set forth in the Settlement

* The Asia JV and/or its subsidiaries will pay Geoffrey a 2% net
  royalty rate under the new licensing agreements.

* The Asia JV will relinquish its rights to $26,279,192 it claims
  it is owed by Geoffrey under the Subsidy Agreement.

* The Asia JV or its subsidiaries will pay $3,720,808 to Geoffrey
  on the effective date of the Plan.

* The Asia JV and/or its subsidiaries will pay $6,000,000 to Toys
  'R' Us - Delaware, Inc. ("Toys Delaware") on April 30, 2019.

* The Taj Debtors will pay Toys Delaware $3 million in settlement
  of certain professional fee allocation disputes.

* Toys Delaware will deliver the Source Code and Oracle Data to
  the Asia JV or its subsidiaries, which, following receipt of the

  Source Code and Oracle Data, will pay Toys Delaware $5 million,
  plus unpaid invoiced amounts under the ITASSA (which total
  approximately $7.6 million).

* Toys Delaware will enter into a transition services agreement to
  provide existing IT services to the Asia JV or its subsidiaries,
  as well as transition and migration services set forth in the
  Settlement Agreement or appended Statement of Work, and the Asia
  JV or its subsidiaries will pay Toys Delaware a $1.5 million
  monthly fee payable as of December 1, 2018.

* Geoffrey and the Asia JV will work in good faith to document
  their future private label relationship, including the Asia JV's
  ability to source private-label goods and use trademarks, based
  on certain agreed-upon principles set forth in the Settlement

* Funds of MAP 2005 Real Estate, LLC ("MAP 2005") will be used to
  resolve certain intercompany fee allocation disputes, including
  through payment to Toys Delaware of $1.25 million, as well as
  payment to the Taj Debtors of $1.25 million.

* The Taj Debtors and Taj Noteholders will provide a $1.25 million
  payment to be contributed to TRU, Inc. as a fund for creditors
  of TRU Inc. (to be distributed in accordance with the
  Intercompany Settlement Agreement and Plan) (the "Taj Settlement

* The Ad Hoc Group of B-4 Lenders and the Creditors' Committee
  will withdraw their objections to the Plan.

* Each Debtor will mutually release each other Debtor of all
  intercompany claims and causes of action (except those
  explicitly reserved).

* The Taj Debtors and the Asia JV and its direct and indirect
  subsidiaries will exchange mutual releases with the TRU Inc.
  Debtors, Toys Delaware Debtors, and Geoffrey Debtors.

                       About Toys "R" Us

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

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

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

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

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

Grant Thornton is the monitor appointed in the CCAA case.

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

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

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

T R I N I D A D  &  T O B A G O

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Most Public Companies Fail Disclosure Standards
Trinidad Express reports that eighteen out of twenty-seven, or
two-thirds of companies publicly listed on the Trinidad and Tobago
Stock Exchange (TTSE), have received a failing grade for corporate
disclosure standards for annual reports.

The failing companies received scores ranging from two to 13 out
of 26, in a study done by the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of
Business, according to Trinidad Express.


CONSORCIO DEL URUGUAY: Moody's Hikes CFR to Ba3, Outlook Stable
Moody's Investors Service has upgraded Consorcio del Uruguay
S.A.'s global scale Corporate Family Rating (CFR) to Ba3 from B1
and Uruguayan national scale CFR to from The
ratings outlook is stable.

This rating action follows the publication of Moody's new finance
company rating methodology, which now is the primary methodology
that Moody's uses to rate finance companies globally, except in
jurisdictions where certain regulatory requirements must be
fulfilled prior to the new methodology's implementation.

Moody's has also withdrawn the outlooks on Consorcio's existing
instrument ratings for its own business reasons. This has no
impact on the issuer level rating outlooks for Consorcio. Over the
course of the next year, Moody's will be withdrawing all
instrument level outlooks for entities rated under the Finance
Companies Rating Methodology.

The following ratings of Consorcio del Uruguay S.A. were upgraded:

  Global Corporate Family Rating: to Ba3 from B1

  Uruguayan national scale Corporate Family Rating: to

Outlook Actions:

  Outlook, Remains Stable


Moody's rating action on Consorcio follows the publication of
Moody's new finance company rating methodology and was driven by
revisions of its standalone profile as reflected by changes to the
company's CFR, resulting from the significant changes and
enhancements from Moody's previous rating methodology for rating
this firm. These changes and enhancements for rating finance
companies include the introduction of new financial ratios such as
a net charge-offs ratio and a debt maturity coverage ratio, the
dynamic weighting of operating environment conditions that can
adversely influence firms' creditworthiness, and the incorporation
of specific qualitative factors as direct notching adjustments to

Moody's said Consorcio's CFR was upgraded to Ba3 as a result of
the improved consolidated score for its Financial Profile in the
new methodology, which more than offsets the greater weighting
accorded to the operating environment. The improved Financial
Profile score reflects Moody's revised assessment of Consorcio's
asset and liquidity risk in line with the revised methodological
framework. With regards to asset risk, the revised methodology
explicitly considers Consorcio's very low level of charge-offs,
which mitigate risks associated with its somewhat higher level of
delinquent loans. However, Consorcio's problem loan ratio remains
below the system's average ratio. The revised assessment of
Consorcio's liquidity risk considers the long-term stability of
its funding, which is derived entirely from members and offsets
its low funds from operations and the absence of a market to raise
additional funds by securitizing its assets.

Consorcio focuses on providing the specialized administration of
saving plans that are commercialized mainly to low- and middle-
income class individuals. Local regulations preclude the company
from offering additional products and services. Consorcio is
regulated by the Uruguayan Central Bank, which also sets
conservative capital requirements for the entity.

Consorcio has access to stable funding in the form of savings
plans, which the entity grants to its clients through an awards
system, based mainly on raffles, auctions or predetermined dates.
Under Consorcio's operating guidelines, fund contributors have no
ability to withdraw their savings, unless they are awarded through
the aforementioned system, therefore, the entity's liquidity risk
is negligible. Moreover, regulations ensure that Consorcio is
allowed to reduce or temporarily suspend clients' awards if
liquidity gets to a low level.

As of September 2018, Consorcio's problem loan ratio went up to
1.37% from 1.13% in December 2017 because of some individual
borrowers that became delinquent. However, asset quality remains
strong. Net charge-offs equaled just 0.05% of average gross loans
during 2016-17, reflecting the fact that the large majority of
delinquent loans are ultimately repaid in full. This results from
Consorcio's policies and procedures to award funds, monitoring and
recovering delinquencies. The high granularity of the entity's
loan book also reduces risk, with the ten largest borrowers
representing just 7% of total loans and 45% of tangible common
equity (TCE). In addition, Consorcio awards funds to its clients
predominantly in local currency, therefore, reducing risks of
currency mismatches that are common among Uruguayan banks.

Consoricio's ratings also consider its consistently strong
profitability and capital metrics. Consorcio's ratio of net income
to average managed assets was 2.35% in September 2018 and averaged
2.04% during the last three years. The entity's main source of
income is fees from the administration of saving plans, which are
deducted from clients' installment payments for savings plans.
Consorcio's capitalization has improved steadily in the past three
years, as measured by Moody's preferred ratio of TCE to total
assets, which went up to 12.52% in September 2018, from 10.70% in
December 2015.

Consorcio's Uruguayan national scale CFR rating of is the
higher of two alternatives on the national scale corresponding to
its Ba3 global scale rating (GSR) and reflects Moody's view that
the entity's GSR is strongly positioned at that level under the
revised methodological framework.


Consorcio's ratings could face upward pressure if the entity
reports improvement in asset quality, profitability and
capitalization. An improvement in operating conditions could also
be positive for the ratings.

Conversely, a substantial deterioration of the entity's earning
generation capacity and capitalization, or of the operating
environment, could add negative pressure to the ratings.


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Creditor Group Starts Legal Process
The Venezuela Creditors Committee has hired Cleary Gottlieb Steen
& Hamilton LLP to advise on strategic alternatives.  The Committee
was formed in April 2018 for the purpose of monitoring the
economic, financial and legal condition of the government of
Venezuela, Petroleos de Venezuela ("PDVSA") and C.A. La
Electricidad de Caracas ("ELECAR"), respectively, to facilitate
communication and coordinate actions among bondholders and other
stakeholders, and to consider financing alternatives for Venezuela
under an appropriate political and economic policy scenario. Its
members include institutional investors holding approximately US$8
billion of bonds issued by the Republic of Venezuela, PDVSA and

Venezuela, PDVSA and ELECAR together have approximately US$62
billion of unsecured bonds outstanding. As of December 13, 2018,
interest and principal due and unpaid on these bonds is
approximately US$9 billion.

Neither Venezuela nor PDVSA or ELECAR has communicated publicly or
to investors with regard to its failure to make these payments or
its intentions to resume payments in the future. To date,
bondholders have shown extraordinary patience, recognizing the
financial difficulties that confront Venezuela, notwithstanding
that these difficulties are in large part of the government's own

Efforts by individual Venezuela and PDVSA creditors to satisfy
their claims have skewed recoveries in their favor to the
detriment of bondholders. Accordingly, the Venezuela Creditors
Committee together with its advisors are exploring options to
ensure that assets located outside Venezuela belonging to
Venezuela, PDVSA or ELECAR are available to satisfy claims of all

Guggenheim Securities, LLC is acting as financial advisor to the

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Aug. 24, 2018, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'SD' global scale
issuer credit rating and 'D' issue-level ratings on Petroleos de
Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA).


* BOND PRICING: For the Week December 10 to December 14, 2018

Issuer Name             Cpn     Price   Maturity  Country  Curr
-----------             ---     -----   --------  -------   ---

Banco do Brasil SA/Cayman 6.25   75.043                 KY     USD
Rio Energy SA             6.875  71.638   2/1/2025      AR     USD
Cia Latinoamericana       9.5    60.447   7/20/2023     AR     USD
CSN Islands XII Corp      7      69.44                  BR     USD
Agua y Saneamientos       6.625  71.982   2/1/2023      AR     USD
Odebrecht Finance Ltd     7.5    39.15                  KY     USD
YPF SA                   16.5    50.96    5/9/2022      AR     ARS
Odebrecht Finance Ltd     4.37   35.715   4/25/2025     KY     USD
Banco Macro SA           17.5    50       5/8/2022      AR     ARS
Odebrecht Finance Ltd     7.12   37.293   6/26/2042     KY     USD
China Huiyuan             6.5    75.1     8/16/2020     CN     USD
Odebrecht Finance         5.125  45.754   6/26/2022     KY     USD
Noble Holding             6.2    74.46    8/1/2040      KY     USD
Noble Holding             5.25   70.444   3/15/2042     KY     USD
Odebrecht Finance         7      58.985   4/21/2020     KY     USD
Noble Holding             6.05   73.508   3/1/2041      KY     USD
Odebrecht Finance         5.25   36.2     6/27/2029     KY     USD
Rio Energy SA             6.875  71.551   2/1/2025      AR     USD
BCP Finance Co            1.751  74.397                 KY     EUR
Provincia del Chubut      4              10/21/2019     AR     USD
YPF SA                   16.5    50.96   5/9/2022       AR     ARS
Argentina                 7.125  76      6/28/2117      AR     USD
Automotores Gildemeister  6.75   62.759  1/15/2023      CL     USD
Odebrecht Finance         6      37.193  4/5/2023       KY     USD
Banco do Brasil           6.25   76.375                 KY     USD
Cia Latinoamericana       9.5    60.621  7/20/2023      AR     USD
Polarcus Ltd              5.6    70      7/1/2022       AE     USD
Argentina                 6.875  74.985  1/11/2048      AR     USD
Provincia del Chubut      7.75   72.304  7/26/2026      AR     USD
Banco Macro SA           17.5    50      5/8/2022       AR     ARS
CSN Islands XII Corp      7      74.375                 BR     USD
Provincia de Rio Negro    7.75   70.153  12/7/2025      AR     USD
Provincia de Entre Rios   8.75   71.083   2/8/2025      AR     USD
Argentina                 4.33   70      12/31/2033     AR     JPY
Provincia de Entre Rios   8.75   72.333   2/8/2025      AR     USD
Odebrecht Finance Ltd     4.375  35.242   4/25/2025      KY    USD
Ironshore Pharma         13      69.621   2/28/2024      KY    USD
Automotores Gildemeister  8.25   60.583   5/24/2021      CL    USD
Odebrecht Finance Ltd     7.125   38.674  6/26/2042      KY    USD
Odebrecht Finance Ltd     5.25    36.187  6/27/2029      KY    USD
Province of Santa Fe      6.9     74.177  11/1/2027      AR    USD
Provincia del Chubut      7.75    71.654  7/26/2026      AR    USD
Argentina                 6.25    72.711  11/9/2047      AR    EUR
Cia Energetica            6.1827   1.105  1/15/2022      BR    BRL
Odebrecht Finance         7.5     43.5                   KY    USD
Argentina                 0.45    31.75  12/31/2038      AR    JPY
SACI Falabella            2               7/15/2020      CL    CLP
Province of Jujuy         8.625   72.788  9/20/2022      AR    USD
Province of Santa Fe      6.9     73.44  11/1/2027       AR    USD
Ironshore Pharma         13       69.621  2/28/2024      KY    USD
Tanner Servicios         3.8      52.42   4/1/2021       CL    CLP
AES Tiete Energia SA     6.78      1.06   4/15/2024      BR    BRL
Odebrecht Finance Ltd    6        37.19   4/5/2023       KY    USD
Provincia de Rio Negro   7.75     70.15  12/7/2025       AR    USD
Odebrecht Finance        7        59.466  4/21/2020      KY    USD
Odebrecht Finance Ltd    5.12     47.298  6/26/2022      KY    USD
Provincia de Cordoba     7.12     74.286  8/1/2027       AR    USD
Argentina                7.125    75.752  6/28/2117      AR    USD
Automotores Gildemeister 8.25     60.583  5/24/2021      CL    USD
Enlasa Generacion        3.558           11/15/2023      CL    CLP
Metrogas SA/Chile       645               8/1/2024       CL    CLP
Automotores Gildemeister 6.75     62.759  1/15/2023      CL    USD
Provincia del Chaco      9.375    72.315  8/18/2024      AR    USD
Fospar S/A               6.53      1.034  5/15/2026      BR    BRL
Sociedad Concesionaria   2.9547           6/30/2021      CL    CLP
Esval SA                 3.453            3/15/2028      CL    CLP
Caja de Compensacion     7.75     35.23   3/27/2024      CL    CLP
Sociedad Austral       318.478            9/20/2019      CL    CLP
Provincia de Neuquen     7.5      74.753  4/27/2025      AR    USD
Caja de Compensacion     5.2              9/15/2018      CL    CLP
Empresa de Transporte    4.341            7/15/2020      CL    CLP
Corp Universidad         5.968           11/10/2021      CL    CLP
Provincia de Cordoba     7.125    74.802  8/1/2027       AR    USD
Provincia del Chaco      9.375    72.585  8/18/2024      AR    USD
Argentine Republic       7.125    75.322  6/28/2117      AR    USD
Sylph Ltd                2.367    61.194  9/25/2036      KY    USD
Banco Security SA      311                7/1/2019       CL    CLP
Sylph Ltd                2.657   73.081   3/25/2036      KY    USD


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

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

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


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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