TCRLA_Public/190326.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

          Tuesday, March 26, 2019, Vol. 20, No. 61



ITAQUERE: Group Seeks Bankruptcy Protection
MURPHY OIL: Fitch Affirms 'BB+' IDR; Outlook Remains Stable

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: China's Senior Official Visits to Improve Ties
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Claro Says Contractors Caused Internet Crash
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Inflation Remains Contained at 1.2%, IMF Says
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Labor Code Article Imperils Talks w/ Employers


MEXICO: 10% of Mexicans Lack Safe Drinking Water
MEXICO: President Says No to Monopolies in Banking Sector


INRETAIL PHARMA: S&P Affirms 'BB' LT Issuer Rating, Outlook Stable
INRETAIL SHOPPING: S&P Affirms 'BB' Long-Term ICR, Outlook Stable


VENEZUELA: Russian Troops, Advisers Arrive in Country

                           - - - - -


ITAQUERE: Group Seeks Bankruptcy Protection
Ana Mano at Reuters, citing letter from management, reports that
privately owned Brazilian agribusiness group Itaquere has filed for
bankruptcy protection to restructure BRL482 million ($127 million)
of debt.

In the letter dated March 21, the group, based in Brazil's top
grains state Mato Grosso, blames a prolonged economic crisis, along
with adverse climate conditions and currency swings, for its
financial woes, according to Reuters.  The letter was signed by the
group but not by any particular executive, the report notes.

Itaquere and MLuz, named in the letter as the group's financial
adviser, did not respond to requests for comment or to clarify who
the letter was sent to, the report relays.

Reuters discloses that Itaquere is a diversified agribusiness group
cultivating soybeans, corn and cotton in an area totaling 53,531
hectares (132,278 acres), the letter said.  It also has interests
in grain silos, toll-road operations and small power plant
construction, the report relays.

Itaquere's bankruptcy petition is under seal but a court ruling
related to it was seen by Reuters.  In that ruling, a judge in the
town of Primavera do Leste, where the group is based, demanded
additional financial and operational information before the court
can process the request, the report discloses.

Brazilian companies typically get 60 days to present a
reorganization plan once granted protection by a bankruptcy court,
which Itaquere said in the letter it expects within days, the
report says.

Itaquere employs 735 people in the states of Mato Grosso and
Rondonia and hopes to make a deal with its creditors to maintain
jobs and operations, the letter said, without naming creditors, the
report adds.

MURPHY OIL: Fitch Affirms 'BB+' IDR; Outlook Remains Stable
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Murphy Oil Corporation's (NYSE: MUR)
Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BB+' and unsecured debt
ratings at 'BB+'/'RR4'. In addition, Fitch has affirmed the ratings
on MUR's senior unsecured revolver at 'BBB-'/'RR1'. The Rating
Outlook is Stable.

The affirmation follows the announcement that Murphy is divesting
of its Malaysian oil and gas assets for $2.127 billion in cash. The
transaction is expected to close during 2Q'19. These assets
represent approximately 22% of the company's 2019 guided production
and 16% of its reserves.

Proceeds will be used to repay debt of $750 million, increase cash
by $750 million for potential future acquisitions and projects, and
repurchase $500 million of stock. Fitch considers the transaction
to be credit accretive in terms of leverage ratios. This is offset
by a smaller production profile and reserve base, and the need to
grow and develop its core U.S. onshore and offshore assets.

Murphy's leverage profile in terms of credit metrics is of
investment grade quality. In Fitch's view, Murphy still lags
investment grade peers in terms of free cash flow generation and
production and reserve size. Capital allocation has been a concern,
but the two recent transactions (GOM acquisition/Malaysian
divestiture) and capital decisions following show that management
is focused on building out core properties while managing the free
cash flow and leverage profiles. Fitch considers the allocation of
Malaysian sale proceeds towards gross debt reduction as credit
accretive, but the sale also removes a large, countercyclical
component of production, reserves, and cash flow. Fitch would
consider the reinvestment of proceeds into the acquisition, or
development of high-return core assets as opposed to developing
longer-dated, lower-return assets while maintaining recently stated
financial policy, as important to further rating progress.


Sale of Malaysia Assets: On March 21, 2019, Murphy announced the
sale of its Malaysian oil and gas assets for $2.127 billion in
cash. Murphy may also receive up to an additional $100 million
contingent on future drilling results prior to October 2020. The
transaction is expected to close in 2Q'19 with an effective date
Jan. 1, 2019. Production from the Malaysian assets was expected to
range from 45 MBoe/d to 47 MBoe/d in 2019 (22% of total midpoint
production guidance) with a 60% oil cut. 2018 Net 1P reserves were
130 MMBoe (16% of total reserves) with 46% proved developed.

Fitch believes Murphy received a favourable valuation on the asset
sale at 3.5x 2018 EBITDA, which implies a $71 bbl Brent oil price.
The asset sale simplifies Murphy's portfolio, allows for increased
focus on oil-weighted North American assets, and maintains a higher
portfolio oil cut as the Malaysian assets had a growing
gas-weighted production profile.

Favorable Use of Proceeds: Murphy plans to assign asset proceeds to
reduce debt by $750 million, increasing cash on hand for potential
acquisitions or projects by $750 million and a $500 million share
repurchase program. Fitch anticipates gross leverage to be under 2x
at the end of 2019 pro forma for the acquisition. In addition, the
increased cash allows Murphy flexibility to acquire assets to
replace the production lost from the Malaysian assets.

Growing Production Profile: Pro forma for the Gulf of Mexico
offshore assets acquisition and the Malaysian assets divestiture,
Fitch expects organic production to grow 7%-10% CAGR over the next
five years. Murphy is using a portion of its incremental cash flow
from the GOM acquisition to develop its Eagle Ford assets.
Production from the Eagle Ford has declined to 44MBoe/d from
61MBoe/d in 2015 partly due to capital being allocated to other
assets. Murphy plans increase its rig count from two to three or
four in the Eagle Ford and spend approximately $700 million on
average annually over the next five years. Fitch views the
increased development of this core asset and the potential
incremental production as a credit positive.

Near-Term FCF Deficits: Fitch anticipates free cash flow deficits
in the near term from the loss of the Malaysian assets. Fitch
defines FCF after common dividends, which is the primary reason for
the deficits. As production increases, Fitch expects Murphy to
become free cash flow positive in the long term at a $55 oil

Manageable Maturities Profile: The revolver matures in 2023 and the
next bond maturities are not until 2022 when two bonds come due for
a combined $1.1 billion. Fitch expects proceeds from the asset
sales will likely address a portion of these maturities.

Diverse Operations: Murphy has an oil-weighted production profile
with principal positions in the Eagle Ford, Montney, Duvernay as
well as the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, and Canada. In addition, Murphy
has a portfolio of exploratory assets in offshore Mexico, Vietnam,
Guam, Australia, and Brazil. Murphy is managing its exploratory
budget to be no more than 10% of its capital expenditure budget,
although recent history has been closer to 7%-8%. Fitch is
concerned the company's lack of a concentrated portfolio, in
regards to its size, scale and various stages of resource
development, could limit operational focus and capital allocation
efficiency and increase exploration risk. Presently, Fitch believes
the pace and cost of Murphy's exploratory program is manageable.

Light Hedging Position: As of Dec. 31, 2018, Murphy has not hedged
its oil production and has hedged approximately 25% of its Canadian
natural gas production.


Murphy is a mid-sized independent E&P with a diverse, global
resource base in various stages of exploration, development and
growth. Full year average production is approximately 172 mboepd as
of Dec. 31, 2018. Pro forma for the GOM acquisition and Malaysian
divestiture, production should average approximately 160 mboepd.

This will put MUR above QEP Resources Inc. (BB-), but below Concho
Resources (BBB/Stable), Continental Resources (BBB-/Stable), and
Hess Corporation (BBB-/Negative). MUR's netback at $25.1 is above
QEP, Noble Energy Inc. (BBB-/Positive), and Hess, but below
Continental and Concho. Pro forma proved 1P reserves of ~686 mmboe
are more in line with high 'BB' credits such as QEP. MUR's 2018
debt/EBITDA is 1.9x; however, Fitch projects that the divestiture
and organic growth will move the ratio slightly lower, which is
more in line with 'BBB-' issuers, such as Hess and Continental. MUR
has a smaller onshore footprint relative to its peers, including
QEP, Noble Energy, and Continental, while its diverse exploration
and development programs could limit capital allocation


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

  -- WTI oil price of $57.50 in 2019 and 2020, and long-term price
of $55.00;

  -- Henry Hub gas price of $3.25 in 2019 and long-term price of

  -- Production of 161 mboe/d in 2019 and growing at a 7% CAGR

  -- Liquids mix of 65% in 2019 and beyond;

  -- Capex of $1.25 billion in 2019 and $1.3 billion in 2020;

  -- Dividend payments 10% lower than 2018 from a lower share

  -- Expect acquisitions funded by Malaysian asset sales proceeds
over the forecast period.


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

  -- Increased operational focus on core basins (Eagle Ford, GOM)
in terms of growing production;

  -- Clear and conservative capital allocation and financial
that demonstrates capital spending, shareholder return, and M&A

  -- Adhering to management's stated policy of no more than 10% of
the capital budget in exploratory projects;

  -- Increasing production above 200mboepd;

  -- Lease adjusted FFO Gross Leverage below 2.0x.

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

  -- Mid-cycle debt greater than 2.5x or higher;

  -- Change in financial policy that results in capital allocated
away from core assets;

  -- Mid-cycle debt/flowing barrel above $20,000/boe or
developed reserves of over $6.00/boe on a sustained basis.

  -- Lease adjusted FFO Gross Leverage above 2.5x.


Ample Liquidity: The Malaysian divestiture will allow Murphy to
address its 2022 maturities and fund production growth. The company
has a $1.6 billion revolving credit facility with $325 million
outstanding and $25 million under letters of credit. Fitch expects
the outstanding revolver will be repaid over the next 12 months.
Murphy will apply $750 million of the Malaysian asset sale proceeds
to cash, but Fitch expects these proceeds will eventually be used
for an acquisition or other major projects. The company intends to
used $750 million of cash proceeds to reduce debt, and Fitch
believes this will be focused on near-term maturities.


Fitch has affirmed these ratings:

Murphy Oil Corporation

  -- Long-Term IDR at 'BB+';

  -- Unsecured credit facility at 'BBB-'/'RR1';

  -- Senior Unsecured Notes affirmed at 'BB+'/'RR4'.

The Rating Outlook is Stable.

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: China's Senior Official Visits to Improve Ties
Dominican Today reports that accompanied by a delegation of 35
China government officials, Chinese vice premier Hu Chunhua arrived
in the country and will meet with president Danilo Medina to
strengthen trade and diplomatic ties between both countries, among
other matters of interest.

Mr. Hu's visit comes just one day after Medina met with US
president Donald Trump, on which the White House labeled as a
gathering to counter China's "predatory" trade practices, according
to Dominican Today.

The senior official arrived at Las Americas airport on a private
flight from Uruguay, and will meet Medina at the National Palace,
the report notes.

A Police and military motorcade escorted Hu to the city under
strict security as he's the most senior Chinese official to visit
the country, the report relays.

                        One Year of Ties

On April 30, 2018, the Dominican Republic established diplomatic
relations with China, after severing with Taiwan, the report

Seven months later Medina visited China, where Beijing and Santo
Domingo signed 18 commercial agreements and of other areas, the
report adds.

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

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Claro Says Contractors Caused Internet Crash
Dominican Today reports that the telecom Claro said that since
2018, Public Works Ministry contractors have caused 40 damages
which have affected the company's Internet service.

The most recent was the partial outage which it affirms affected a
large part of the users due to the work on the Navarrete-Puerto
Plata and Puerto Plata Nagua roads by Public Works contractors that
severed the national fiber optic network twice, according to
Dominican Today.

In a statement to local media, the America Movil subsidiary
indicates that it coordinates with the authorities to avoid damages
from the work of contractors on the country's roads, the report

"In our case, the network has sustained 40 serious cuts since 2018
to date and so far in 2019, there have been 7 cuts in the Puerto
Plata-Nagua section," Claro said, the report notes.  It adds that
it expects the authorities will take measures to prevent further
damages, the report adds.

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

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Inflation Remains Contained at 1.2%, IMF Says
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Ms. Aliona
Cebotari visited the Dominican Republic from March 12 to 21, 2019,
to conduct the discussions for the 2019 Article IV Consultation.

At the conclusion of the visit, Ms. Cebotari issued the following

"The Dominican economy continues to perform very well, and
substantial progress was made in improving social outcomes. Growth
regained momentum in 2018 with recovering real income and, at 7
percent, growth was the highest in the hemisphere. The expansion
brought many discouraged workers into the labor force, increased
employment, and helped reduce inequality and poverty. Despite rapid
growth supported by monetary policy early in the year, inflation
remains contained at 1.2 percent as of December 2018 and the
external position is strong. The robust economic performance
benefitted from strengthened policy frameworks, competitiveness,
and banking system over the past decade. To sustain this
performance, however, reforms need a fresh push to address the
remaining structural bottlenecks and propel the country towards
faster income convergence to advanced country levels.

"The outlook for the economy is favorable, with risks broadly
balanced. We expect growth to moderate to around 5½ percent in
2019, consistent with potential output growth, inflation to rise to
the central bank's target range as food and oil price shocks fade,
and the external position to remain in line with fundamentals. The
economy may be facing headwinds from a slowing global economy, but
domestic demand can be stronger than expected, supported by solid
income and credit growth. In light of developments and outlook to
date, monetary policy can remain neutral, while being vigilant to
signs of inflationary pressures.

"The mission welcomes recent reforms to strengthen the monetary and
financial policy frameworks. These include the implementation of an
electronic foreign exchange trading platform, the development of
the foreign exchange derivatives markets, forward guidance in
monetary policy communication, and a plan to recapitalize the
central bank. These will help to reinforce the inflation targeting
regime and move towards more efficient foreign exchange markets.
Recent reforms to strengthen cyber security, the AML/CFT framework,
and the micro and macroprudential frameworks will further increase
the resilience of the financial system. Remaining challenges
include strengthening the oversight of the financial cooperatives
on a par with the banking system, and continuing the transition to
international regulatory and accounting standards in the banking

"The authorities have also made important inroads in tackling tax
evasion and improving the business environment. Strong efforts over
the past two years to combat tax fraud and evasion are paying off,
gradually broadening the tax base and creating a more level and
equitable playing field. Policy bottlenecks in trade and doing
business are also being removed by the strong collaboration between
the government and the private sector under the auspices of the
National Competitiveness Council.

"The current growth momentum provides a window of opportunity to
undertake reforms critical to achieving a more sustained and
inclusive growth. Priorities include:

Fiscal consolidation , to create space for needed social and
infrastructure spending and reduce vulnerability to shocks. Despite
several years of robust growth and commendable results in curbing
tax fraud and evasion, debt continues to grow due to large
structural deficits fueled by a narrow tax base, a high interest
bill, and long-standing losses in the electricity sector. In the
absence of reforms to further widen the tax base (including by
reducing tax incentives and exemptions), strengthen the electricity
sector and improve spending efficiency, debt will continue to
increase gradually over the medium-term.

A framework for fiscal responsibility , to remove uncertainty about
policy sustainability. Anchoring fiscal policies in a medium-term
target would clarify the government's objectives, guide policies
towards this anchor and ensure the durability of a strengthened
fiscal position. The framework could also help to improve
management of fiscal risks, including from private-public
partnerships and natural disasters.

A sustainable solution for the electricity sector, which will boost
overall productivity, improve the fiscal position and make space
available for higher social and infrastructure spending.

Ambitious structural reforms, to shift the economy towards a more
sustained inclusive growth and a faster income convergence. The
authorities rightly focused the policy effort on improving the
business climate, facilitating trade, and investing in
infrastructure and human capital, especially with reforms in
education and health. Other reforms that would increase
productivity and growth include simplifying the tax system, moving
towards more efficient, flexible and formal labor markets, and
reducing logistics costs. This year's policy shift towards
innovation -- if focused appropriately on enhancing technological
sophistication, export orientation and competition -- can provide
the necessary gear-shift.

Strengthening the social safety nets, to promote more inclusive
growth. To further reduce inequality and poverty, the authorities
have focused on job creation, increasing the minimum wage, and
strengthening the performance of the social security system; these
reforms will continue to improve social outcomes. Further progress
would be achieved through deeper reforms of the social security
framework to allow broader access to social security, ensure an
adequate retirement income, as well as modernizing labor market

"The mission would like to thank the authorities for their generous
hospitality, and all those we met for frank and open discussions."

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

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Labor Code Article Imperils Talks w/ Employers
Dominican Today reports that National Labor Unions Federation
(CNUS) president Rafael (Pepe) Abreu warned that the talks between
employers and the unions will be broken if the Social Security
reform bill is approved with article 4, which stipulates that the
workers would receive unemployment benefits through the
Occupational Risk Manager.

"That article was put down and is in a paragraph imperceptible
throughout the bill because it's within a reform that proposes
between four and six changes to the law, some favorable and others
not.  The issue is that it seeks to distract the discussions of the
Labor Code and that is going to break the dialogue," he said,
according to Dominican Today.

The union leader asked president Danilo Medina to withdraw the
article referring to the severance pay of that bill that's in
Congress and asked the legislators to look carefully at the content
proposed in that reform, taking into account that the voters of
this country are workers, the report adds.

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


MEXICO: 10% of Mexicans Lack Safe Drinking Water
The Latin American Herald reports that ten percent of the Mexican
population does not have access to safe drinking water, the
National Autonomous University of Mexico's Social Research
Institute says in a report issued on the occasion of World Water

Between 12.5 million and 15 million Mexicans are without a secure,
reliable supply of water, lead researcher Manuel Perlo said in a
statement accompanying the study, according to The Latin American

The shortage of drinking water mainly affects rural areas, but it
is also a problem for low-income, marginalized neighborhoods in
Mexico's major cities, the report notes.

"Those people suffer from health and hygiene problems linked to
lack of water. We have a debt to them," the report quoted Mr. Perlo
as saying.

And even among people who have access to running water, roughly 30
percent of them experience deficiencies in quantity and quality,
the report relays.

"The right to water is in our legislation, but it is not
fulfilled," Mr. Perlo said, the report notes.

An amendment establishing access to water as a human right was
added to Mexico's constitution in 2012, and Congress was supposed
to draft and approve within 365 a General Water Law to make the
measure effective, but the legislation has yet to materialize, the
report relays.

Water resources are distributed unevenly across Mexico, Mr. Perlo
said. "Most are in the south-southeast, but in the center and
north, where the largest part of the population and the economy are
located, there is less," he said, says the report.

The report notes that he also pointed out more than 15 percent of
Mexico's 653 aquifers are overexploited.

Aquifers are underground reserves of water extracted through wells
and pumping systems that penetrate anywhere from 50m (164ft) to
300m below the surface, the report says.

"But much more water is extracted than can be captured naturally,
and the number of overexploited aquifers has increased in recent
years," Mr. Perlo said, the report says.

The number of aquifers classified as overexploited soared from 32
in 1975 to 105 last year, the report discloses.

To address the problem, Perlo recommends making water re-use
official policy, the report relays.

Mexico currently treats only half of the water used by households
and businesses and that proportion should be boosted to 90 percent,
he said, the report notes.

And at least of 40 percent of the water pumped by utilities is lost
to leaks.

Average daily consumption of water per person in Mexico is 322
liters (85 gallons), the report says.

Harvesting rainwater could be a good solution for some elements of
the population, the report discloses.

In places where there are public parks, rainwater can be captured.
These spaces should not only depend on the water they receive from
the general distribution system," Mr. Perlo added, adds the report.

MEXICO: President Says No to Monopolies in Banking Sector
The Latin American Herald reports that Mexico's President Andres
Manuel Lopez Obrador said that the key to bringing down bank
commissions is to ensure that the financial institutions face
sufficient competition.

"Banks (lower their fees) due to other banks, competition . . .
when there's no competition, there are abuses," Lopez Obrador,
leader of the left-leaning National Regeneration Movement (Morena)
party, said at his daily press conference at the National Palace in
Mexico City, according to The Latin American Herald.

The report notes that Lopez Obrador will participate in the closing
ceremony of Mexican banking association ABM's 82nd banking
convention, a gathering of industry leaders that is being held in
the Pacific resort city of Acapulco.

Lopez Obrador said prior to that event that it will serve as an
opportunity to encourage banks to support the country's growth, the
report relays.

On Nov. 8, 2018, shortly before Lopez Obrador took office, two
Morena lawmakers caused share prices on the Mexican stock exchange
to plummet when they unexpectedly introduced a bill to reduce bank
commissions, the report says.

The then-president-elect, however, restored calm to the markets
when he said a day later that he would not support the bill and
also pledged not to make any changes to banks' legal framework for
three years, or the halfway point of his administration, the report

Mr. Lopez Obrador insisted on the need for competition in the
banking sector, the report relays.

"Rather than regulating, there needs to be more competition, less
(industry) concentration . . . In other words, there shouldn't be
monopolies, there should be a free market and real competition," he
said, the report discloses.

The president also called for bringing down fees charged on
remittances and said there is a need for more financial inclusion,
lamenting that many municipal seats do not have bank branches, the
report relays.

Separately, Lopez Obrador disclosed that a preliminary agreement
had been reached with teachers affiliated with the militant CNTE
union, who in recent days had barred entry to the lower house of
Congress in Mexico City to demand the definitive cancelation of a
2013 public education overhaul signed into law by Lopez Obrador's
predecessor, Enrique Pena Nieto, the report notes.

"An initial agreement was reached. The issue hasn't been resolved
because, based on what I've been told, they're going to have
consultations with their rank-and-file, the teachers," he said, the
report notes.

Nevertheless, he characterized as positive a meeting between
members of his administration and the union and vowed to revoke the
overhaul, which, among other things, made hiring, continued
employment and promotions contingent upon educators' performance in
compulsory evaluations, the report says.

CNTE members, who are concentrated in Mexico's poorest states, saw
Pena Nieto's overhaul as an attempt to make them scapegoats for the
shortcomings of chronically underfunded schools, the report adds.


INRETAIL PHARMA: S&P Affirms 'BB' LT Issuer Rating, Outlook Stable
S&P Global Ratings revised its stand-alone credit profile (SACP) on
InRetail Pharma to 'bb+' from 'bb' and affirmed its 'BB' long-term
issuer and issue-level ratings on Peru-based drugstore and
pharmaceutical distribution company, InRetail Pharma (IP),
reflecting the company's role as a highly strategic subsidiary of
InRetail Peru Corp. (not rated). The stable outlook reflects S&P's
expectation that the company will continue strengthening its
drugstore platform and distribution network in Peru. IP's solid
operations will allow it to generate sufficient cash flows to fund
its expansion plan without requiring significant additional debt.
As a result, S&P expects IP's debt-to-EBITDA ratio to be below 3.0x
and its free operating cash flow (FOCF) to debt to be around 20% in
the next 12 months.

IP's rating affirmation continues to reflect S&P's view that the
company remains a highly strategic subsidiary of InRetail Peru Corp
(IPC), an entity owned by Intercorp Retail Inc. (IR; not rated). IR
is the retail division of the holding investment company, Intercorp
Peru Ltd. (BBB-/Stable/--). IR engages in consumer-related
activities such as pharmacies, shopping malls, supermarkets, and
department stores. S&P considers that IP contributes to IR's
diversification through its various retail businesses, and S&P
believes its corporate and growth strategy is highly aligned with
and depends on the group's business goals, correlating IP's growth
to the development of its holding companies. Thus, our credit
quality assessment of IR limits its ratings on IP.

INRETAIL SHOPPING: S&P Affirms 'BB' Long-Term ICR, Outlook Stable
S&P Global Ratings revised its stand-alone credit profile (SACP) on
InRetail Shopping Malls to 'bb+' from 'bb', based on the company's
improved capital structure resulting from an extended debt maturity
profile and prudent risk management to mitigate foreign exchange
risks. S&P is also affirming its 'BB' long-term issuer and
issue-level credit ratings on ISM and its $350 million senior
unsecured notes due 2028 to reflect ISM's role as a highly
strategic subsidiary of Intercorp Retail (not rated).

S&P said, "The stable outlook reflects our view that ISM will
sustain its high occupancy and renewal rates at its stabilized
properties, while it continues to strengthen its competitive
position in Peru's retail space segment by executing its expansion
plan, over the next 12 months. As a result, we expect ISM's
debt-to-EBITDA and debt-to-capital ratios to reach about 6.0x and
below 50%, respectively, by the end of this year.

"The rating affirmation on ISM continues to reflect our view that
that the company remains a highly strategic subsidiary of InRetail
Peru Corp (IPC; not rated), an entity directly owned by Intercorp
Retail Inc. (IR; not rated). IR is the retail division of the
investment holding company Intercorp Peru Ltd (BBB-/Stable/--). IR
engages in different consumer-related activities--it owns several
retail chains, including pharmacies, supermarkets, and department
stores. Given ISM's relevant role as the retail real estate
operator and developer unit for IR, we consider ISM to be a highly
strategic subsidiary for IR given its alignment with and dependence
on the group's strategy and objectives. Thus, ISM's rating is
currently constrained by our credit quality assessment of IR.

"Our SACP revision on ISM reflects the company's solid key credit
metrics, supported by steady EBITDA margins and cash flow
generation, in addition to its prudent debt risk management. ISM's
debt profile benefits from an extended maturity profile, seen in
its weighted-average maturity of about nine years, and a very low
foreign currency risk of debt, since its $350 million
dollar-denominated senior unsecured notes are fully hedged until
maturity. We estimate that the company will continue with its
current investment pipeline without major financing needs, and will
continue to reinvest almost all of its cash flow after debt
repayments. We also expect ISM to keep its profitability levels,
with EBITDA margins above 80%, while it expands."


VENEZUELA: Russian Troops, Advisers Arrive in Country
The Moscow Times reports that Russia sent two planes with dozens of
soldiers and military advisers to Venezuela's capital of Caracas
over the weekend amid growing tensions in the South American
country, an anonymous Venezuelan official has said.

Venezuela's political crisis escalated on Sunday when opposition
leader Juan Guaido, who declared himself interim president in
January, called on his supporters to prepare to take power in the
country, according to The Moscow Times.  Moscow, which backs
President Nicolas Maduro's government, has previously said it would
not allow a U.S.-backed color revolution in the country, the report

Russian military officials arrived in Caracas to discuss strategy,
equipment maintenance and training, an unnamed Venezuelan official
told The Associated Press, the report relays.

The report discloses that the Chief of Staff of Russia's Ground
Forces Vasily Tonkoshkurov, nearly 100 troops and 35 metric tons of
equipment were on board the planes, media reports said.

The flights also carried officials who arrived to "exchange
consultations," the state-funded Sputnik news agency reported,
quoting an unnamed source at the Russian Embassy, the report

"Russia has various contracts that are in the process of being
fulfilled, contracts of a technical military character," Sputnik
cited the source as saying, the report says.

Flight-tracking data showed that an Ilyushin IL-62 passenger jet
and an Antonov AN-124 military cargo plane left from Russia for
Caracas, the report discloses.

The planes landed three months after the two nations held military
exercises in Venezuela that President Nicolas Maduro called a sign
of strengthening relations, but which Washington criticized as
Russian encroachment in the region, the report relays.

High-level U.S.-Russian talks on how to defuse Venezuela's crisis
ended early last week with the two sides still at odds over the
legitimacy of Maduro, the report adds.

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'.


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.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to
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