TCRLA_Public/190725.mbx        T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

          Thursday, July 25, 2019, Vol. 20, No. 148



EMPRESA DISTRIBUIDORA: S&P Affirms 'B' Issuer Credit Rating


JBS INVESTMENTS: Fitch Rates $500MM Sr. Unsec. Notes 'BB'
JBS INVESTMENTS: Moody's Rates Proposed $500M Sr. Unsec. Notes Ba3
JBS INVESTMENTS: S&P Rates New $500MM Senior Unsecured Notes 'BB-'


AVIANCA HOLDINGS: S&P Cuts ICR to SD on Missed Principal Payments

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Account Info Sharing Would Harm Fin'l. Sector


[*] JAMAICA: IMF says Cut in Unemployment Rate an Achievement


TUXTLA GUTIERREZ: Moody's Affirms B1 Global Scale LC Issuer Rating

P U E R T O   R I C O

PUERTO RICO: "Rickyleaks" Scandal Complicates Bankruptcy Process

T R I N I D A D   A N D   T O B A G O

CL FIN'L: Nevicott Fails in Attempt to Prevent Liquidation Process
TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Ramnarine Challenges Imbert on Gas Output


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Files Lawsuit Against Jamaica
PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: No Plans to Leave Isla Refinery

                           - - - - -


EMPRESA DISTRIBUIDORA: S&P Affirms 'B' Issuer Credit Rating
On July 23, 2019, S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'B' issuer credit
and issue-level ratings on Argentina-based electricity distributor,
Empresa Distribuidora y Comercializadora Norte S.A. (Edenor).

S&P said, "The ratings affirmation on Edenor reflects our belief
that its cash flows will remain robust despite the deferral in the
expected implementation date of the next tariff revision, which we
estimated to be about 15%. The industry regulator, Ente Nacional
Regulador de la Electricidad (ENRE), made the announcement on May
2, 2019, that the tariff revision will occur on January 2020
instead of August 2019. In our view, this is because of the
government's aim to control inflation prior to the presidential
election in October. Nevertheless, we expect the company's
internally generated cash flows to be more than enough to cover
marginal debt maturities and the mandatory investments established
under the Integral Tariff Review (ITR), which ENRE approved in
January 2017.

"Our updated base-case scenario also incorporates the May 2019
agreement between Edenor and the Secretary of Energy regarding the
reciprocal claims for 2006-2016 between CompaƱia Administradora
del Mercado Mayorista Electrico (CAMMESA) and the company. (CAMMESA
is a nonprofit company that acts as a clearing house for the
market, and it's EDENOR's main supplier) According to the
agreement, the company will make further investments and tax
payments in the upcoming five years totaling ARP7.6 billion, which
we don't expect to impair the company's financial risk profile or
liquidity position." In return, the federal government will
recognize part of Edenor's claims related to the compensation for
electric energy purchases in the wholesale market for the 10-year
period, investments that CAMMESA required the company to performed,
and the settlement of penalties that the Treasury imposed, all of
which total about ARP6.9 billion.

The agreement also established the transfer of the public
electricity distribution service, which Edenor provides, from the
federal jurisdiction to the province and city of Buenos Aires. S&P
doesn't expect this change to weaken the company's credit quality,
because Edenor will now receive subsidies from the provincial and
municipal governments, which will also grant the tariff increases.
These subsidies enable the company to cover the so-called Social
Tariff (the reduced electricity rates for the lower-income users).

S&P said, "We expect Edenor to post EBITDA in the range of $210
million -$230 million and $270 million-$290 million in 2019 and
2020, respectively, with an EBITDA margin close to 12% in 2019 and
14%-15% in 2020. We don't project incremental debt because the
company will likely finance the mandatory capital expenditures
(capex) mostly with internally generated cash flows. Therefore, we
expect debt to EBITDA below 1.5x and FFO to debt of more than 60%.
However, in the same period, we expect free operating cash flow
generation to be marginal and volatile due to substantial capex to
improve the operating quality of the company's service.

"The ratings on Edenor continue to incorporate the pending
regulatory liabilities of approximately ARP7.6 billion, which we
expect to decrease as the company performs the required capital
investments and make tax payments in the upcoming four years. In
our view, these contingencies put Edenor in a weaker position in
comparison with similarly rated peers."


JBS INVESTMENTS: Fitch Rates $500MM Sr. Unsec. Notes 'BB'
Fitch Ratings has assigned a 'BB' rating to JBS Investments II
GmbH's US$500 million senior unsecured notes offering due in 2028.
JBS Investments II GmbH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of JBS S.A.
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 mainly used to refinance existing
shorter term secured indebtedness.


Solid Business Profile: JBS's business profile is strong due to its
size, geographic and protein diversification, including in pork,
poultry and beef. It is the most geographically diversified company
rated by Fitch in the protein sector due to its strong presence in
North America, South America, Australia and Europe. This geographic
diversity enables the company to mitigate business volatility
inherent to the industry. Exports represented 24% of JBS's global
sales as of 1Q19. Asia represented 49.4% of export sales, primarily
in China, Japan and South Korea. The Middle East and Africa
represented approximately 13.5% of sales in 1Q19.

Lower Leverage Expected: Fitch expects JBS to continue to
deleverage due to substantial FCF generation, given the company's
strong performance at its U.S. operations, including Canada and
Australia. These operations represented about 80% of adjusted
EBITDA of BRL14.9 billion in 2018. The strong U.S. operating
performance is driven by good cattle supply and strong demand for
beef in the domestic market. The U.S. poultry division was
pressured in 2018 due to high supply and lower prices in the
domestic market.

Fitch expects JBS's Brazilian beef division and Seara processed
foods division to benefit from better consumer demand in the
domestic market, the nation's positive cattle cycle and the
favorable Brazilian real, which makes Brazilian protein producers
more competitive in export markets. Fitch expects JBS's net
debt/EBITDA to trend toward 2.5x by YE 2019 from 3.2x as of 1Q19,
or 3.1x in U.S. dollars.

Favorable Protein Outlook: JBS's competitive advantages stem from
its geographic and protein diversification, large-scale operations,
access to export markets from Brazil and the U.S., and long-term
relationships with farmers, customers and distributors. Global beef
fundamentals are expected to remain positive in the near future for
Brazilian and U.S. producers due to increased demand and better
cattle availability. U.S. beef production is forecast to grow by
nearly 2% in 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

An outbreak of the African swine fever virus in China has severely
hurt pork production there. The disease will likely result in more
protein products, including chicken, directed to China in 2019.
Among the significant industry risks are a downturn in the economy
of a given export market, the imposition of increased tariffs or
sanitary barriers, and strikes or other events that may affect the
availability of ports and transportation.

Ongoing Investigation: JBS's rating is constrained by weak
corporate governance due to its shareholder structure, and
uncertainty as several investigations involving JBS and its
shareholders continue. These include administrative procedures by
the Brazilian Securities and Exchange Commission and potential
fines from the U.S. Justice Department. These legal matters create
uncertainty regarding the timing and magnitude of any potential


JBS has a strong business profile as the world's largest beef,
poultry and leather producer and its diversification in chicken,
beef, pork, and prepared food. This allows the company to minimize
risks of operating in one protein or region, placing it in a
favorable position from a business risk perspective versus Marfrig
Global Foods (BB-/Stable) and Minerva SA (BB-/Stable). Minerva is a
pure-play in the beef industry.

With a net debt/ EBITDA ratio at 3.2x as of 1Q19, JBS's net
leverage is lower than Minerva's but in line with Marfirg Global
Foods, assuming the National Beef put option. JBS's leverage
remains higher than Tyson Foods Inc. (BBB/Stable) or Smithfield
Foods Inc. (BBB/Stable). JBS's ratings reflect ongoing litigation
issues related to corruption investigations and uncertainty
regarding potential fines, which could damage the company's credit
profile and access to capital markets.


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

  - High Single-digit revenues growth;

  - Steady EBITDA margin;

  - Net debt/ EBITDA below 2.5x in FYE19.


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

  -- No significant fines from the legal investigations;

  -- Net debt/EBITDA below 2.5x on a sustained basis;

  -- Refinancing or repayment of the normalization secured debt.

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

  -- Large fines that pressure the company's liquidity and ability
to deleverage in the near term;

  -- Net leverage above 3.8x on a sustained basis.


Strong Liquidity: JBS's liquidity is strong, due to a low level of
short-term debt, good access to bank and capital market debt and
positive FCF. Cash and cash equivalents were about USD1.9 billion
at 1Q19, and short-term debt was USD798 million. JBS USA also had
USD1.9 billion in fully committed available credit lines. The
outstanding amount under the debt from the normalization agreement
was USD1.7 billion as of June 2019. This amount was reduced to
USD1.5 billion thanks to USD 200 million cash payment made by the
company in July 2019.


Fitch has assigned the following rating:

JBS Investments II GmbH

  -- Proposed senior unsecured notes guaranteed by JBS S.A. due
2028 'BB'.

Fitch rates JBS and its subsidiaries as follows:


  -- Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency IDRs at 'BB';

  -- National Scale rating 'AA+(bra).

JBS Investments GmbH

  -- Notes due 2023 and 2024 'BB.

JBS Investments II GmbH

  -- Notes due 2026 at 'BB'.

JBS INVESTMENTS: Moody's Rates Proposed $500M Sr. Unsec. Notes Ba3
Moody's Investors Service assigned a Ba3 rating to the proposed
senior unsecured notes to be issued by JBS Investments II GmbH and
fully guaranteed by JBS S.A. Net proceeds will be used primarily
for liability management purposes, addressing shorter maturity and
secured debt instruments, mostly represented by trade finance lines
with Brazilian banks. As a result, the transaction will not have a
material effect on JBS's leverage and will result in a more
comfortable maturity profile, with lower liquidity risk. The
outlook is stable.

The rating of the notes assumes that the final transaction
documents will not be materially different from draft legal
documentation reviewed by Moody's to date and assume that these
agreements are legally valid, binding and enforceable.

Rating action:

Issuer: JBS Investments II GmbH

Proposed $500 million gtd senior unsecured notes: Ba3


JBS's Ba3 ratings reflect the initiatives taken in 2018-19 aiming
at reducing the amount of debt levels through 2021, which have
enhanced the company's liquidity profile. Accordingly, the company
has taken the necessary steps to address refinancing risk by
negotiating, in May 2018, an aggregate amount of BRL 12.2 billion
in short term debt instruments with banks under the so-called
"normalization agreement". In September 2018, JBS pre-paid BRL2
billion of the 2019 and 2020 amortizations under this agreement.
Subsequently, in 2Q2019, the company pre-paid BRL5.1 billion, and,
in July 2019, the company paid an additional BRL750.7 million under
this agreement, which results in a remaining amount due of BRL5.7
billion ($1.5 billion).

JBS liability management initiatives further included the issuance,
in October 2018, of $500 million notes due 2026 primarily to fund
part of the $1.5 billion tender offers for the 2020 ($1 billion)
and 2021 ($488 million) notes, the renewal of $900 million
revolving credit facilities in the US, and a new AUD$200 million
committed line in Australia. In April 2019, JBS issued $500 million
as an add-on to the 2026 notes issued in October 2018, and an
additional $1 billion in notes due 2029 under JBS USA Lux S.A., JBS
USA Finance, Inc and JBS USA Food Company, together with add-ons in
the total amount of $700 million under the same entities. The
amounts raised were used to amortize the 2022 term loan under JBS
USA Lux S.A. In May 2019, JBS USA Lux S.A. raised $1.9 billion in a
new term loan due 2026.

JBS's Ba3 ratings continue to be supported by the strength of its
global operations as the world's largest protein producer and its
substantial diversification across protein segments, geographies
and markets. JBS' strategy to increase its global footprint into
value-added processed food segments improved its business profile
and will lead to stable or higher operating margin and cash flow
over time.

The ratings are constrained by the inherent volatility of the
protein industry, which is subject to risk factors such as weather
conditions, diseases, supply imbalances, and global trade tensions,
along with the company's history of aggressive growth via

The ratings also incorporate the risks regarding a series of
judicial processes and investigations which can directly or
indirectly involve JBS and its shareholders. Still, the
investigations regarding the Cooperation Agreements or Leniency
Agreement have not prevented the company, nor J&F, from executing
asset sales or renegotiating debt with banks.

The stable outlook reflects the expectation that JBS will maintain
a prudent approach to liquidity and continue to generate positive
free cash flow, while maintaining strong operating performance. The
outlook also incorporates its expectation that the evolution of
existing judicial processes and investigations will not jeopardize
JBS liquidity or the company's access to capital markets.

An upgrade of JBS' ratings will require further reduction in event
risks, represented by existing litigations, including the
maintenance of the J&F Investimentos (J&F) Leniency Agreement. An
upgrade would also require additional improvements in the company's
capital structure, most specifically the reduction of its debt
maturities in 2021 and 2022, while maintaining an adequate cash
balance to meet the requirements of its operations and debt
obligations. The ability to growth inorganically without
jeopardizing liquidity or leverage is another important
consideration for an upgrade. Quantitatively, an upgrade would
require JBS adjusted total debt to EBITDA to remain below 3.5x and
the cash flow from operations (CFO)/net debt ratio to be above

The ratings or outlook could suffer negative pressure should events
that can increase liquidity risk occur, or if JBS' operations
deteriorate, weakening cash flows as such CFO/net debt remains
below 15% on a sustained basis. A negative action could be prompted
by persistently high leverage, with total debt to EBITDA above 4.2x
and weakening interest coverage, with EBITA/interest expense
maintained below 2x.

The principal methodology used in this rating was Protein and
Agriculture published in May 2019.

Headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil, JBS S.A. is the world's largest
protein producer in terms of revenues, slaughter capacity and
production. The company is the leader in beef, chicken and leather,
and the second largest pork producer in the US. The company has a
presence in over 100 countries, with large scale and
diversification. In the last twelve months ended March 2019, JBS
S.A. reported consolidated revenues of BRL 186 billion ($49.2
billion), with reported EBITDA margin of 8.2%.

JBS INVESTMENTS: S&P Rates New $500MM Senior Unsecured Notes 'BB-'
S&P Global Ratings assigned its 'BB-' issue-level rating and '4'
recovery rating to JBS Investments II Gmbh's proposed $500 million
senior unsecured notes due 2028. The '4' recovery rating indicates
average recovery expectation of 30%-50% (rounded estimate 40%) in
the event of default.

JBS Investments II is a financial vehicle that JBS S.A. (JBS;
BB-/Positive/--) owns, and the latter will fully and
unconditionally guarantee the notes. JBS will use the proceeds for
liability management purposes, to pay down shorter term debt, which
is in line with our expectations that the group will maintain a
comfortable liquidity cushion.

Recovery Analysis

S&P has assigned a recovery rating of '4' to the proposed senior
unsecured notes, with an average recovery (rounded estimate 40%).

Key analytical factors:

-- S&P's hypothetical default scenario would occur in 2023 amid a
combination of high grain prices, shortages of livestock, high
cattle prices, a weak demand scenario for meat in general, and a
tighter access to credit markets.

-- S&P has valued JBS using a 6x multiple applied to its projected
emergence-level EBITDA of R$2.6 billion, arriving at a stressed
enterprise value (EV) of R$15.6 billion.

Simulated default assumptions:

-- Simulated year of default: 2023
-- EBITDA at emergence: R$2.6 billion
-- EBITDA multiple: 6.0x
-- Estimated gross EV: R$15.6 billion

Simplified waterfall

-- Net EV, after 5% of administrative expenses: R$14.8 billion
-- Priority debt: R$720 million (ACC lines)
-- Senior unsecured debt: R$34.6 billion (including the deficiency
claims from JBS USA's debt, which JBS guarantees)
-- Recovery expectations for unsecured debt: 40%

  Ratings List

  New Rating
  JBS Investments II Gmbh

   Senior Unsecured BB-
    Recovery Rating 4(40%)


AVIANCA HOLDINGS: S&P Cuts ICR to SD on Missed Principal Payments
S&P Global Ratings lowered its issuer credit rating on
Colombia-based airline operator Avianca Holdings S.A. to 'SD' from
'CCC+' and kept the 'CCC' issue-level ratings on CreditWatch with
negative implications. Additionally, S&P lowered its issuer credit
and issue-level ratings on LifeMiles LTD to 'B-' from 'B'.

The issue-level rating on Avianca remains on CreditWatch negative,
reflecting a potential downgrade if Avianca does not complete its
exchange offer. S&P said, "We expect to resolve the CreditWatch
within the next 90 days. The stable outlook on LifeMiles reflects
our view that it will maintain a solid operating and financial
performance in the next 12 months. We also don't believe that
Avianca would have any potential extraordinary intervention in

The downgrade follows Avianca's announcement that it missed the
payments on several long-term leases and on the principal on some
loan obligations, which constitutes an event of default. Moreover,
the company announced an exchange offer proposal on its existing
$550 million 8.375% senior unsecured notes due May 2020. According
to the terms of the senior unsecured notes, Avianca hasn't yet
fallen into an event of default because the total amount of the
principal on the loan obligations, which have been deferred, hasn't
yet reached $50 million. S&P said, "However, we believe Avianca
could reach this threshold if the company doesn't reach an
agreement with its creditors. Avianca has offered to exchange the
notes at par value with a higher coupon rate (9%) and maturing in
May 2023 with additional collateral. The collateral consists of
certain intellectual property, including the "Avianca" brand and
stock representing the residual value after debt and other
liabilities of the company's aircraft fleet estimated at about $1
billion, which we believe could compensate creditors. We believe
that the full terms of the exchange offer are equal or more to the
promise of the original notes and that the transaction is not a
distressed exchange even though the notes mature in less than 12

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Account Info Sharing Would Harm Fin'l. Sector
Dominican Today reports that the economist Antonio Ciriaco Cruz
said that the exchange of bank account information would harm the
sector's operations, since the most relevant participants in the
implementation of that law are the institutions that make up the
Dominican financial system.

"The Dominican financial system will have to adapt to obtain the
information to be reported, such as customer identification
processes and withholding application (to name a few basic
elements); in addition, all this without any direct or indirect
compensation from the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS),
just for the fact of maintaining business relationships with the
most powerful economy in the world," Cruz told Listin Diario,
according to Dominican Today.

He said the measure could cause a process of disintermediation.
"The Dominican financial system will have to adapt to obtain the
information to report," the report notes.

                  About Dominican Republic

The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean nation that shares the island
of Hispaniola with Haiti to the west. Capital city Santo Domingo
has Spanish landmarks like the Gothic Catedral Primada de America
dating back 5 centuries in its Zona Colonial district.

The Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America reported on April 4,
2019 that the Dominican Today related that Juan Del Rosario of the
UASD Economic Faculty cited a current economic slowdown for the
Dominican Republic and cautioned that if the trend continues,
growth would reach only 4% by 2023. Mr. Del Rosario said that if
that happens, "we'll face difficulties in meeting international

An ongoing concern in the Dominican Republic is the inability of
participants in the electricity sector to establish financial
viability for the system.

Standard & Poor's credit rating for Dominican Republic stands at
BB- with stable outlook (2015). Moody's credit rating for Dominican
Republic was last set at Ba3 with stable outlook (2017). Fitch's
credit rating for Dominican Republic was last reported at BB- with
stable outlook (2016).


[*] JAMAICA: IMF says Cut in Unemployment Rate an Achievement
RJR News reports that Dr. Constant Lonkeng Ngouana, Resident
Representative of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), has
described the reduction in Jamaica's unemployment rate to 7.8 per
cent as a tremendous achievement.

Noting that the rate was approximately 16.3 per cent at the start
of Jamaica's current engagement with the organization in May 2013,
Dr. Ngouana contended that slashing the figure by more than half in
six years is significant, according to RJR News.

The report notes that Dr. Ngouana argued that the level of
reduction in unemployment recorded is not something that happens
very often in countries experiencing the extent of economic
challenges Jamaica faced.

He said the trend in the world has been that economies, after their
crises, tend to have jobless recoveries, the report adds.

                          About Jamaica

Jamaica is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. It is
the fourth largest country in the Caribbean.

Standard & Poor's credit rating for Jamaica stands at B with
positive outlook. Moody's credit rating for Jamaica was last set at
B3 with positive outlook. Fitch's credit rating for Jamaica was
last reported at B+ with stable outlook.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on June
27, 2019, RJR News said that Steven Gooden, Chief Executive Officer
of NCB Capital Markets, is warning that the increasing liquidity in
the Jamaican economy might result in heightened risk to the
financial market if left unchecked.  This, he said, is against the
background of the local administration seeking to reduce the debt
to GDP to 60% by the end of the 2025/26 fiscal year, which will see
Government repaying more than J$600 billion which will get back
into the system, according to RJR News.


TUXTLA GUTIERREZ: Moody's Affirms B1 Global Scale LC Issuer Rating
Moody's de Mexico S.A. de C.V. affirmed the b1 baseline credit
assessment and the issuer ratings of the municipality of Tuxtla
Gutierrez at B1/ (Global Scale, local currency/Mexico
National Scale) and changed the outlook to stable from negative.



The change of outlook to stable from negative reflects improvements
in the municipality's operating and financial balances as well as
its liquidity. In 2018, Tuxtla Gutierrez's gross operating balance
(GOB) rose to a high surplus equal to 11.7% of operating revenue,
compared with 4.7% of the previous year, while its cash financing
result climbed to a surplus of 10.2% of total revenues, versus a
3.6% deficit in 2017. These improved results strengthened the
municipality's liquidity position, with its ratio of cash to
current liabilities rising to 0.77 times (x) in 2018 compared with
0.17x of 2017.

Moody's expects these improved results will carry over to 2019,
especially given that a new administration took office in October
2018 that is focusing on controlling spending, boosting revenue and
improving cash management. The municipality is raising property tax
collections and is making monthly contributions to a reserve fund
that can be used to pay yearend employee bonuses, which will help
reduce liquidity pressures. Moody's expects that Tuxtla Gutierrez
will report a gross operating surplus of 8.4% in 2019 and if the
municipality maintains low capital expenditures, it would record a
solid cash financing surplus of 6.9%, supporting further
improvements in liquidity and precluding the need to contract
short-term debt. If the municipality continues to report cash
financing surpluses, its ratio of cash to current liabilities will
increase further to a solid 1.1x between 2019 and 2020.


The affirmation of Tuxtla Gutierrez's B1/ ratings reflects
the municipality's moderate and stable debt level and its adequate
own source revenues collection, as well as financial contingencies
related with pension obligations.

In 2018, Tuxtla Gutierrez's net direct and indirect debt was equal
to a low 21.1% of operating revenues, while its own-source revenues
were equal to 21.4% of total revenues, both in line with B1 median
of Mexican peers. Given that the municipality has no plans to
acquire new short or long-term debt, Moody's estimates that the net
direct and indirect debt to operating revenues will fall to 13.5%
by the end of 2020. Meanwhile, own source revenues will remain
broadly stable at around 21% over the same period, still in line
with the B1 medians.

In terms of pensions, the municipality does not have a pension
system and therefore covers its annual pension obligations through
current expenditures. The municipality doesn't have an actuarial
study and therefore estimates of the size of this contingency are
not available. Nonetheless, the new administration has taken steps
to constitute a trust fund that can be used to cover pension
payments in the future. Moody's will continue to monitor this
important factor to asses its potential impact on the
municipality's ratings.


If Tuxtla Gutierrez's GOB and cash financing balance deteriorate to
levels below historic averages, also causing a deterioration in its
liquidity position, this would exert negative pressure on the
municipality's ratings.

On the contrary, if the municipality maintains the recent positive
operating and financial results, while continuing to strength its
liquidity position, this would exert positive pressure in the
ratings. Also, the constitution of a formal system that will
alleviate the pension contingencies will also exert positive
pressure on the municipality ratings.

The principal methodology used in this rating was Regional and
Local Governments published in January 2018.

P U E R T O   R I C O

PUERTO RICO: "Rickyleaks" Scandal Complicates Bankruptcy Process
Nick Brown at Reuters reports that Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo
Rossello was weighing his political future after almost two weeks
of protests demanding his resignation over the publication of
offensive chat messages and a corruption scandal, his spokesman

The uncertainty over Rossello's future has complicated Puerto
Rico's bankruptcy process, the report notes.  The U.S. territory
filed in 2017 to attempt to restructure about $120 billion of debt
and pension obligations, the report relays.

An attorney for the federally-created oversight board currently
responsible for Puerto Rico's finances told a court hearing on July
24 that "current events" had played a role in delaying the filing
of a plan to restructure the bulk of the territory's debt, the
report says.

The attorney, Martin Bienenstock, said at the hearing in San Juan
that the board was also seeking more data and creditor support and
expected to file the plan in the next few weeks, the report

Rossello, a first-term governor in his first elected office, has
resisted calls to step down over a scandal local media have dubbed
"Rickyleaks," according to Reuters.  Media, including El Nuevo Dia
newspaper, cited unnamed sources as saying his resignation was

"He stated he is in a process of reflection, and listening to the
people," the governor's spokesman Anthony Maceira said in a text
message to Reuters.  "Whichever decision he makes will, as always,
be communicated officially," he added.

Protesters had cheered the reports of a possible resignation but
warned that Rossello's departure would not end the demonstrations
that were now entering their 12th day, the report notes.

The island of 3.2 million people has been rocked by multiple crises
in recent years, including the bankruptcy filing and a devastating
hurricane in 2017 that killed about 3,000 people, the report says.

If Rossello steps down, his replacement as the U.S. territory's
leader would likely be Justice Secretary Wanda Vazquez, whom many
protesters reject because of her ties to the 40-year-old governor,
the report notes.

A string of Rossello's closest aides have stepped down as
prosecutors investigated the scandal, the report notes.  The
governor's chief of staff Ricardo Llerandi resigned, citing
concerns for the safety of his family, the report discloses.

The scandal erupted at about the same time as federal investigators
charged two former high-ranking Puerto Rico government officials
with conspiracy, the report says.

The protests in the capital San Juan were spurred by the
publication on July 13 of chat messages on the messaging app
Telegram, in which Rossello and aides used profane language to
describe female politicians and gay Puerto Rican celebrities,
including Ricky Martin, the report relays.

The "Rickyleaks" scandal also has led to the resignation of the
head of Puerto Rico's fiscal agency, Christian Sobrino, the report
notes.  His interim replacement, Jose Santiago Ramos, has also said
he plans to step down next month, citing the current political

Puerto Rican officials executed search warrants for the mobile
phones of Rossello and 11 top officials involved in the leaked
message group chats, the report relays.

Only Llerandi has so far said publicly he has handed in his phone.

Rossello has apologized several times for the chats and asked
Puerto Ricans to give him another chance. He also has vowed not to
seek re-election in 2020, the report says.

"The people are talking and I have to listen," Rossello said in a

But the island's leading newspaper, as well as prominent U.S.
Democratic officials and Republican President Donald Trump, have
called on him to step down, the report says.

U.S. Representative Raul Grijalva, the chairman of the House of
Representatives Natural Resources Committee, which plays a role in
overseeing U.S. territories including Puerto Rico, said a Rossello
resignation would be a step forward for the island, the report

"The people of Puerto Rico have shown the world what can happen
when a united public demands justice and accountability with a
clear voice," Grijalva said in a statement.  "Now they must choose
what comes next, and Congress must listen," he added.

                         About Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a self-governing commonwealth in association with
the United States that's facing a massive bond debt of $70 billion,
a 68% debt-to-GDP ratio and negative economic growth in nine of the
last 10 years.

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has sought bankruptcy protection,
aiming to restructure its massive $74 billion debt-load and $49
billion in pension obligations.

The debt restructuring petition was filed by Puerto Rico's
financial oversight board in U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico
(Case No. 17-01578) on May 3, 2017, and was made under Title III of
2016's U.S. Congressional rescue law known as the Puerto Rico
Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act ('PROMESA').

The Financial Oversight and Management Board later commenced Title
III cases for the Puerto Rico Sales Tax Financing Corporation
(COFINA) on May 5, 2017, and the Employees Retirement System (ERS)
and the Puerto Rico Highways and Transportation Authority (HTA) on
May 21, 2017.  On July 2, 2017, a Title III case was commenced for
the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority ("PREPA").

U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts has appointed U.S. District Judge
Laura Taylor Swain to oversee the Title III cases.  The Honorable
Judith Dein, a United States Magistrate Judge for the District of
Massachusetts, has been designated to preside over matters that may
be referred to her by Judge Swain, including discovery disputes,
and management of other pretrial proceedings.

Joint administration of the Title III cases, under Lead Case No.
17-3283, was granted on June 29, 2017.

The Oversight Board has hired as advisors, Proskauer Rose LLP and
O'Neill & Borges LLC as legal counsel, McKinsey & Co. as strategic
consultant, Citigroup Global Markets, as municipal investment
banker, and Ernst & Young, as financial advisor.

Martin J. Bienenstock, Esq., Scott K. Rutsky, Esq., and Philip M.
Abelson, Esq., of Proskauer Rose; and Hermann D. Bauer, Esq., at
O'Neill & Borges are on-board as attorneys.

McKinsey & Co. is the Board's strategic consultant, Ernst & Young
is the Board's financial advisor, and Citigroup Global Markets Inc.
is the Board's municipal investment banker.

Prime Clerk LLC is the claims and noticing agent.  Prime Clerk
maintains a case web site at

Epiq Bankruptcy Solutions LLC is the service agent for ERS, HTA,
and PREPA.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP is counsel to the Commonwealth's Puerto Rico
Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (AAFAF), the agency
responsible for negotiations with bondholders.

The Oversight Board named Professor Nancy B. Rapoport as fee
examiner and to chair a committee to review professionals' fees.

                    Bondholders' Attorneys

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP and Toro, Colon, Mullet, Rivera
& Sifre, P.S.C. and serve as counsel to the Mutual Fund Group,
comprised of mutual funds managed by Oppenheimer Funds, Inc., and
the First Puerto Rico Family of Funds, which collectively hold over
$4.4 billion of GO Bonds, COFINA Bonds, and other bonds issued by
Puerto Rico and other instrumentalities.

White & Case LLP and Lopez Sanchez & Pirillo LLC represent the UBS
Family of Funds and the Puerto Rico Family of Funds, which hold
$613.3 million in COFINA bonds.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP, Robbins, Russell,
Englert, Orseck, Untereiner & Sauber LLP, and Jimenez, Graffam &
Lausell are co-counsel to the ad hoc group of General Obligation
Bondholders, comprised of Aurelius Capital Management, LP, Autonomy
Capital (Jersey) LP, FCO Advisors LP, and Monarch Alternative
Capital LP.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP and Reichard & Escalera are
co-counsel to the ad hoc coalition of holders of senior bonds
issued by COFINA, comprised of at least 30 institutional holders,
including Canyon Capital Advisors LLC and Varde Investment
Partners, L.P.

Correa Acevedo & Abesada Law Offices, P.S.C., is counsel to Canyon
Capital Advisors, LLC, River Canyon Fund Management, LLC, Davidson
Kempner Capital Management LP, OZ Management, LP, and OZ Management
II LP (the QTCB Noteholder Group).


The U.S. Trustee formed an official committee of retirees and an
official committee of unsecured creditors of the Commonwealth.  The
Retiree Committee tapped Jenner & Block LLP and Bennazar, Garcia &
Milian, C.S.P., as its attorneys.  The Creditors Committee tapped
Paul Hastings LLP and O'Neill & Gilmore LLC as counsel.

T R I N I D A D   A N D   T O B A G O

CL FIN'L: Nevicott Fails in Attempt to Prevent Liquidation Process
Trinidad Express reports that the National Energy Vehicle
Infrastructure Corporation of Trinidad and Tobago (NEVICOTT) has
failed in its attempt to prevent CL Financial (CLF) from disposing
of Methanol Holdings (Trinidad) Ltd and Holiday Inn at Trincity as
part of its liquidation process.

NEVICOTT has also been denied an application to have CL Financial
release its audited financial statements for the period 2017 to
2019, according to Trinidad Express.  It had filed an application
at the High Court for injunctive relief, seeking an order from the
court to stay the sale of both Methanol Holdings and Holiday Inn,
the report notes.

                         About CL Financial

CL Financial was one of the largest privately held conglomerate in
Trinidad and Tobago. It was originally founded as an insurance
company and has since expanded to be the holding company for a
diverse group of companies and subsidiaries.

CL Financial however experienced a liquidity crisis in 2009 that
resulted in a "bail out" agreement by which the government of
Trinidad and Tobago loaned the company funds ($7.3 billion as of
December 2010) to maintain its ability to operate, and obtained a
majority of seats on the company's board of directors.

The companies to be bailed out were: CL Financial Ltd (CLF);
Colonial Life Insurance Company Ltd (CLICO); Caribbean Money
Market Brokers Ltd (CMMB); Clico Investment Bank (CIB) and British
American Insurance Company (Trinidad) Ltd (BAICO).

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America in July
2017, CL Financial Limited shareholders vowed to pay back a TT$15
billion (US$2.2 billion) debt to the Trinidad Government.

TRINIDAD & TOBAGO: Ramnarine Challenges Imbert on Gas Output
Trinidad Express reports that former Minister of Energy Kevin
Ramnarine is predicting that T&T's natural gas production for this
year and next year will fall short of the projections made by
Finance Minister Colm Imbert.

Speaking in the mid-year budget review, delivered on May 10, 2019,
Imbert said: "Early estimates are indicative of a growth forecast
of 2.0 percent in 2018 and 2.2 percent in 2019, rising to 2.5
percent in 2020.  And contrary to the negative commentary of
uniformed spokespersons, who speak without having any facts, the
turnaround is being driven by economic expansion in both the energy
and non-energy sectors, according to Trinidad Express.


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Files Lawsuit Against Jamaica
Trinidad Express reports that Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. has
filed a lawsuit, demanding that the government of Jamaica, one of
our Caricom partners, pay a total compensation package of around
US$250 million for its takeover earlier this year of its 49 per
cent in the Petrojam refinery.

This development has the effect of further widening the rift
between Jamaica and Venezuela at a time when United States (US)
pressure on all Caribbean nations over Venezuela and sanctions have
halted almost all oil movements and financial transactions between
Venezuela and the rest of the region, according to Trinidad

Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. is the Venezuelan state-owned oil and
natural gas company. It has activities in exploration, production,
refining and exporting oil as well as exploration and production of
natural gas.

As reported in Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on June 3,
2019, Moody's Investors Service withdrew all the ratings of
Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. including the senior unsecured and
senior secured ratings due to insufficient information. At the time
of withdrawal, the ratings were C and the outlook was stable.

PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: No Plans to Leave Isla Refinery
Sailu Urribarri and Deisy Buitrago at Reuters report that Curacao's
prime minister and Venezuela's oil minister discussed the
possibility of Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de Venezuela,
S.A. (PDVSA) remaining as the operator of the Caribbean nation's
335,000 barrel-per-day (bpd) Isla refinery, Curacao's government

PDVSA's contract will expire at year-end, and the government-owned
refinery has been searching for a business partner to replace it,
according to Reuters.  A lack of crude shipments has left the
facility largely idle, the report notes.

In the statement, Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath's office said
he and Venezuelan Oil Minister Manuel Quevedo, who also serves as
PDVSA's president, during a meeting at the refinery "spoke about
the startup of the refinery and the interest of PDVSA to remain as
the operator after 2019," the report relays

Refineria di Korsou, the state company that owns the facility, said
last week that iy would start evaluating up to 10 proposals from
energy companies interested in becoming a partner at the refinery,
the report says.  Its current schedule calls for the negotiations
to start by October and for a deal to be reached by November, the
report notes.

The company said in a statement that it would not divulge the names
of the parties that have delivered proposals, the report relays.

When asked at a press conference whether PDVSA had submitted a
formal proposal to continue operating the refinery, Quevedo said
the company had "manifested publicly and in a formal manner our
desire to continue operations," the report discloses.

"We have no intention to leave," Quevedo said.

OPEC member Venezuela's crude production has fallen since the
United States slapped sanctions on PDVSA in January as part of the
Trump administration's effort to pressure socialist President
Nicolas Maduro to leave office amid a hyperinflationary economic
collapse, the report notes.

Venezuela suffered widespread blackouts in areas across the
country, including the capital Caracas, the report adds.

Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. is the Venezuelan state-owned oil and
natural gas company. It has activities in exploration, production,
refining and exporting oil as well as exploration and production of
natural gas.

As reported in Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on June 3,
2019, Moody's Investors Service withdrew all the ratings of
Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. including the senior unsecured and
senior secured ratings due to insufficient information. At the time
of withdrawal, the ratings were C and the outlook was stable.


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
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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