TCRLA_Public/190111.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, January 11, 2019, Vol. 20, No. 8


                            Headlines



B R A Z I L

JBS SA: Participates In Trump Bailout
OI SA: Agree to End Legal Disputes With Pharol Subsidiary


C H I L E

CHILE: Copper Mines Post Mixed Results Through November 2018


D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Economy to Grow 5.1% in 2019, World Bank Says
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Remittances Jump 10.4% to US$6.5BB in 2018


P A N A M A

* PANAMA: Joins CCRIF as 21st Member


T R I N I D A D  &  T O B A G O

TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES: Faces $1.2BB Loss at March 2019
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Exporters Could Lose US$400 Million in Benefits
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: 'Slight Uplift' in Business Operations


V E N E Z U E L A

VENEZUELA: President Nicolas Maduro Begins Another Six-Year Term


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B R A Z I L
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JBS SA: Participates In Trump Bailout
-------------------------------------
Greg Henderson at Pork Business reports that JBS S.A. will sell
about 1.8 million pounds of pork products through President
Trump's bailout program designed to assist American farmers hurt
by the administration's trade war.

The Washington Post reported that USDA will buy about $5 million
worth of pork from JBS in the bailout program administered by the
Agricultural Marketing Service to purchase surplus commodities
from farmers and ranchers, according to Pork Business.  The Post
cited records and data published by the Agricultural Marketing
Service, the report notes.

The Trump administration's $12 billion bailout program includes
direct cash payments to farmers hurt by trade wars and tariffs,
though the payments have stalled due to the partial government
shutdown, the report relays.  USDA said the deadline for applying
for aid under the program will be extended, the report discloses.

Part of the bailout program includes buying more than $500 million
from pork producers for distribution to food banks across the
country, the report relays.

Buying pork from JBS was criticized by Tony Corbo, senior lobbyist
at Food and Water Watch, according to the Post, the report relays.
"Why is USDA rewarding another foreign-owned meatpacker through
its meat procurement program after the blowback it received from
purchasing pork products form Chinese-owned Smithfield?," Corbo
asked, the report notes.

In response, a USDA spokesman said in an email to the Post, "USDA
only buys American commodities, produced on American farms by
American farmers.  Approved vendors who choose to participate in
USDA food purchasing programs, regardless of their business
structure or domicile, provide direct benefits to U.S. farmers and
ranchers," the report adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Oct. 22, 2018, Fitch Ratings has assigned an expected rating of
'BB-' to a proposed benchmark USD-denominated senior unsecured
notes issued by JBS Investments II GmbH, a wholly-owned subsidiary
of JBS S.A. (JBS). These notes will be unconditionally guaranteed
by JBS S.A. The notes will rank pari-passu with JBS's other
unsecured obligations. The proceeds are expected to be used to
refinance existing indebtedness including JBS's 2020 notes
pursuant to a cash tender offer.


OI SA: Agree to End Legal Disputes With Pharol Subsidiary
---------------------------------------------------------
Jason Neely at Reuters reports that Brazilian telecom group Oi SA
has agreed to end all legal with a subsidiary of shareholder
Pharol SGPS SA, paving the way for its long-awaited operating
turnaround.

The agreement covers all litigation against the parties in Brazil,
Portugal and other jurisdictions, Oi SA said in a securities
filing, according to Reuters.

Oi SA, which in December 2017 received creditors' consent to
restructure about BRL65 billion (US$17.51 billion) of debt, said
it will pay EUR25 million to Pharol as part of the settlement in
exchange for 33.8 million Oi shares held by the company, the
report relays.

The agreement also foresees that Pharol participates in the
carrier's capitalization efforts under the company's
reorganization plan, investing at least 25 million euros, the
filing said, the report notes.

As reported on the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Sept. 27, 2018, S&P Global Ratings assigned its 'B' issue-level
rating to Oi S.A.'s (global scale: B/Stable/--; national scale:
brA/Stable/--) existing $1.6 billion senior unsecured notes due
2025. S&P also assigned a '4' recovery rating to the notes, which
indicates average recovery expectation of 30%-50% (rounded
estimate 40%) in the event of payment default.



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C H I L E
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CHILE: Copper Mines Post Mixed Results Through November 2018
------------------------------------------------------------
Dave Sherwood and Fabian Cambero at Reuters report that Chile's
largest copper mines posted mixed results through November of
2018, with a slight drop in output at state miner Codelco offset
by a surge in production from BHP's Escondida, the world's largest
copper mine.

In all, copper production in the world's top producer of the red
metal reached 5.33 million tonnes, a 6 percent increase over the
same period the previous year, according to Reuters.

Escondida, in northern Chile, produced 1.15 million tons through
November, up 40.7 percent compared with the same period in 2017,
when an historic strike shut down the mine for more than 40 days,
the report relays.

Production from state-run miner Codelco's deposits reached 1.621
million tons in the first 11 months of 2018, a drop of 2.4 percent
over the previous period with downturns at almost all its
facilities, the report relays.

The country's second-largest mine by output Collahuasi, owned by
Anglo American Plc and Glencore Plc, ramped up production by 5.8
percent to 502,600 tons, the report adds.



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


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Economy to Grow 5.1% in 2019, World Bank Says
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Dominican Today reports that the World Bank said that economic
growth in Latin America and the Caribbean will go from 0.6 in 2018
to 1.7% this year, but warned that the regional economy faces a
slump in world trade and other risks.

The World Bank's projection for the region in 2019 is just one
10th higher than the one issued in October by the International
Monetary Fund, according to Dominican Today.

It said Panama will post a 6% growth in 2019, the region's
highest, followed by the Dominican Republic (5.1%) and Guyana
(4.6%), the report notes.

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


DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Remittances Jump 10.4% to US$6.5BB in 2018
-------------------------------------------------------------
Dominican Today reports that preliminary data from Dominican
Republic's Central Bank reveal a robust and sustained economic
performance during 2018.

It said the country received US$6.5 billion in remittances by
yearend 2018, according to Dominican Today.

In its preliminary report on the Dominican economy, the Central
Bank said the figure is a 10.4% jump and an additional US$612.8
million compared with 2017, the report notes.

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



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P A N A M A
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* PANAMA: Joins CCRIF as 21st Member
------------------------------------
RJR News reports that the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance
Facility (CCRIF) disclosed that the Government of Panama has
joined the Facility and purchased parametric insurance cover for
excess rainfall.

Panama joined the Facility as a late entrant this policy year,
which began on June 1, 2018, according to RJR News.

CCRIF's membership now stands at 21 countries -- 19 Caribbean
governments, including Jamaica, and two Central American
governments, the report notes.

CCRIF is a segregated portfolio company, owned, operated and
registered in the Caribbean, the report relays.

It limits the financial impact of catastrophic hurricanes,
earthquakes and excess rainfall events to Caribbean and Central
American governments by quickly providing short-term liquidity
when a parametric insurance policy is triggered, the report adds.



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T R I N I D A D  &  T O B A G O
================================


TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES: Faces $1.2BB Loss at March 2019
------------------------------------------------------------
Anthony Wilson at Trinidad Express reports that regional credit
rating agency, CariCRIS, anticipates that majority state-owned
Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago (TSTT) will
incur a loss before tax of $1.2 billion for its financial year
ending March 2019.

In a 12-page rating review of the local telecommunications
company, dated December 28, 2018, CariCRIS also signaled that TSTT
is proposing to use borrowed money to purchase the minority 49 per
cent stake in the company held by Cable & Wireless Communications
(CWC), according to Trinidad Express.


TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Exporters Could Lose US$400 Million in Benefits
------------------------------------------------------------------
Aleem Khan at Trinidad Express reports that Trinidad and Tobago
exporters to the US could lose up to US$400 million in special
tariff benefits next year if the Caribbean Basin Trade Partnership
Act (CBTPA) fails to be renewed when it crosses US President
Donald Trump's desk this year, senior trade consultants
calculated.

Though it officially expires on September 30, 2020, the CBTPA
renewal is being discussed this year in Washington, as T&T, after
17 years, has still not reciprocated tax-free entry to some agreed
US products, according to Trinidad Express.  The trade consultants
fear T&T could be struck off the list of beneficiary countries, as
some Caribbean countries have already been, the report notes.


TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: 'Slight Uplift' in Business Operations
---------------------------------------------------------
Leah Sorias at Trinidad Express reports that businesses have seen
a "slight uplift" in their operations and an improvement in
accessing foreign exchange.

But they are still not of the view that the economy has turned
around, chief executive officer of the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber
of Industry Gabriel Faria said, according to Trinidad Express.



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


VENEZUELA: President Nicolas Maduro Begins Another Six-Year Term
----------------------------------------------------------------
Paula Newton and Stefano Pozzebon at CNN.com report that
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro begins another six years in
power with a collapsing economy that shows no sign of bottoming
out and a threat from some Latin American neighbors who say they
will not recognize his government.

And still, there are few in or outside of Venezuela who are
predicting Maduro's downfall in 2019 or beyond, according to
CNN.com.

"It seems that Maduro has gained the upper hand in terms of his
control over the key institutions in the country, including the
military, which is most key.  So, in the near term it seems
unlikely that anything from that aspect is going to happen," said
Richard Francis, director of sovereign ratings at Fitch Ratings,
the report notes.

It is an insight long held by Taina Nieves, who has just returned
to Venezuela's capital Caracas after scouring both Peru and
Columbia for a better life and is more disillusioned than ever,
the report relays.

"Now that that man will remain in power, prices will go up again.
He'll most likely raise the minimum wage, but that means the
prices on everything go up also. So we'll be stuck in the same
situation," the report quoted Mr. Nieves as saying.

In fact, the International Monetary Fund predicts inflation will
hit 10 million percent in 2019, the report relays.  The Maduro
regime continually raises the minimum wage, fueling ever more
inflation, so every raise actually buys Venezuelans less and less
every month, the report notes.

"It's a very, very difficult situation with the economy falling by
nearly 50% since 2013.  It's the largest decline we've seen, and
outside of a war, since the fall of the Soviet union, it's a huge,
huge, huge economic crisis," Mr. Francis said, the report relays.

Mr. Maduro blames what he calls US economic terrorism for
Venezuela's misery and as recently as declared that he was
battling an American-led coup to overthrow his government, the
report says.

The Trump administration continues to try and pressure Maduro
using targeted financial sanctions, the report relays.  The latest
sanctions, announced by the US Treasury Department accuse Maduro
insiders of using the currency exchange market to skim millions in
illicit profits, the report notes.

"Our actions against this corrupt currency exchange network expose
yet another deplorable practice that Venezuela regime insiders
have used to benefit themselves at the expense of the Venezuelan
people," US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement
obtained by the news agency.

Through nearly a decade of mismanagement, Venezuela has squandered
its profound oil wealth, leaving its economy in tatters and Latin
America reeling from an unprecedented mass exodus of migrants in
search of food and medicine, the report says.

The UN estimates as many as 3 million Venezuelans have fled since
2014, the report relays.

The Lima Group, a regional bloc trying to coax the Maduro regime
into democratic reform declared Maduro's new mandate
'illegitimate' in a statement obtained by the news agency.  They
urged the President to transfer power to the National Assembly
until new elections could be held, the report relays.

The May election that returned Maduro to power was largely
discredited, the report notes.  Turnout was historically low
according to official figures and the vote was boycotted by
opposition groups, the report says.

For Nieves, a new presidential mandate means only one thing: "I
think things will get worse," she said, the report relays.

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


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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 2019.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

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