TCRLA_Public/190926.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, September 26, 2019, Vol. 20, No. 193

                           Headlines



B R A Z I L

BRF SA: S&P Alters Outlook to Positive on Faster Deleveraging
OI SA: Huawei Denies Interest in Acquiring Firm


D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Depends More on U.S. Oil


E C U A D O R

ECUADOR: Fitch Assigns B- Rating on $1.4BB Notes Due 2030


J A M A I C A

JAMAICA: OKs Steps Needed to Complete Review Under SBA


M E X I C O

GRUPO KALTEX: S&P Affirms 'B-' Issuer Credit Rating, Outlook Neg.


P U E R T O   R I C O

LA MERCED LIMITED: Plan Proposes $3MM Distribution to Unsecureds


T R I N I D A D   A N D   T O B A G O

PETROLEUM CO: Gov't Had No Choice But to Accept Patriotic's Bid


V E N E Z U E L A

PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Registers Office in Moscow
VENEZUELA: Rio Treaty Nations to Cooperate on Sanctions on Maduro

                           - - - - -


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B R A Z I L
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BRF SA: S&P Alters Outlook to Positive on Faster Deleveraging
-------------------------------------------------------------
S&P Global Ratings, on Sept. 24, 2019, revised its outlook on the
Brazil-based food producer BRF S.A. to positive from stable,
reflecting the tailwinds for the South American protein exports
amid the outbreak of the African Swine Fever (ASF). The favorable
scenario should boost BRF's cash flows and help to company to
achieve a faster deleveraging. S&P also affirmed its global scale
'BB-' and national scale 'brAA+' ratings on the company.

S&P said, "Also, the outlook revision reflects our view of BRF's
commitment to reduce debt and improve the maturity schedule, while
keeping a healthy liquidity position.

"We could upgrade BRF in the next 12-18 months if it reduces debt
meaningfully, while its debt to EBITDA drops below 3.5x and funds
from operations (FFO) to debt exceeds 20% amid rising free
operating cash flow (FOCF).

"The outlook revision to positive reflects our view that BRF could
achieve rapid deleveraging in the next 12-18 months, reaching debt
to EBITDA below 4.0x in 2019 and close to 3.0x in 2020, versus our
previous forecast of 4.0x-4.5x and 3.5x-4.0x for both years,
respectively. This is mainly due to higher demand for proteins
stemming from the widening impact of the ASF, improving export
volumes and prices, coupled with BRF's disciplined financial
policy. Estimates suggest that the decline in Chinese pork stock
could exceed 30% by the end of 2019 relative to 2018. We believe
such a blow would take China's stock at least two to three years to
recover, but could extend to five to seven years, depending on the
number of culled sows. Therefore, we expect favorable pricing
conditions for meat exporters for the next two to five years. China
has recently granted export permission to additional 25 meat plants
in Brazil, including BRF's two plants, highlighting China's
appetite to ratchet up imports."

The impact of higher prices were already apparent in BRF's
second-quarter international operations, with the average price
increase of about 27% over 2018 average prices, while adjusted
gross margin surged to around 21% from about 5.8% in 2018. BRF's
Halal division also posted stronger margins in the second quarter,
but this was partially due to the significant price adjustment in
Turkey and lower supply from Ukraine to Saudi Arabia. S&P expected
somewhat lower margins as of 2020 as these one-off events
dissipate. The margins mentioned above are excluding the impact of
the IFRS16 for comparison purpose.

BRF's operations in Brazil also improved. In the second quarter,
the in-natura protein prices in Brazil rose 23% compared to 2018
average prices, contributing to stronger margins. However, S&P
still expects a somewhat difficult scenario for BRF's processed
branded operation in the country. The company raised its prices
sharply in this segment, which decreased sales volumes amid
increased marketing expenses to regain brand recognition,
offsetting stronger margins improvement. S&P expects a gradual
volume recovery in BRF's Brazilian operations as economy improves.

S&P said, "Our positive outlook also reflects BRF's disciplined
financial policy to manage its liquidity, maintaining comfortable
cushion and tight working capital management. Additionally,
management has been reducing its debt with the cash proceeds from
asset sales and internal cash flows. Its gross debt was down to
R$20.7 billion in the first half of 2019 from R$22.2 billion in
December 2018. We expect additional prepayments over the next
quarters to lower the amount close to R$18.5 billion in 2020
(nearly a 20% reduction compared to 2018)." In addition, BRF should
strengthen its capital structure with the recent bond issuance of
$750 million, mainly to fund the tender offer for its 2022, 2023,
and 2024 senior unsecured notes, while extending the debt maturity
profile."

Nevertheless, S&P believes BRF faces risks that could undermine its
ability to deliver stronger metrics in the medium term, such as:

  -- Capacity growth in global poultry processing, affecting
pricing levels in the medium term. Also, China is likely to seek to
widen diversification of protein sources, increasing export
authorization and granting access to other global players, which
could heighten competition.

  -- Escalating tensions in Middle East could be harmful to BRF's
operations, given that the Halal operations represent about 28% of
BRF's revenue and 25% of its EBITDA.

  -- Potential contingent liabilities associated with the "Operacao
Trapaca" corruption probe.

S&P said, "The positive outlook reflects our view that BRF should
achieve a steep deleveraging over the next quarters thanks to the
stronger pricing prospects and management's commitment to reduce
debt. Also, the outlook reflects management's strategy of
maintaining a comfortable liquidity position, along with the
strengthening of the capital structure through the recent bond
issuance that should allow the company to better withstand
commodity cycles.

"We could raise our ratings on BRF in the next 12-18 months if it
generates stronger FOCF and uses it to reduce debt meaningfully. We
also expect the company to maintain a conservative financial
policy, with contained dividend payout and no large M&As. In this
scenario, we expect its adjusted debt to EBITDA of less than 3.5x,
FFO to debt above 20%, and FOCF to debt trending to above 10%."

Any positive rating action would also require the company to be
able to withstand a sovereign default scenario of Brazil, where
most of the operating assets are currently located. The large
export volume and its cash position in foreign currency should help
the company to withstand this stress scenario.

S&P could revise the outlook to stable in the next 12 months if the
stronger prices don't materialize, weakening margins and FOCF, and
resulting in a much more gradual develeraging. In this scenario,
debt to EBITDA would be close to 4.0x and FOCF to debt consistently
below 10% in the next 12 months.

-- Brazil's GDP increasing by 1.0% in 2019 and 2.2% in 2020;

-- Brazil's inflation of about 4.0% in 2019 and 2020;

-- Asia-Pacific's GDP growth of 5.0% and Saudi Arabia's GDP growth
close to 2.0% over the next couple of years, affecting BRF's sales
volumes to those regions;

-- End-of-period exchange rate at about R$3.95 per $1 in 2019 and
R$4.00 per $1 in 2020;

-- Revenue growth of about 10% in 2019. As of 2020, we considered
price adjustments in each region according to local inflation
rates;

-- In-natura poultry prices to remain favorable in the next two
years due to impact of the ASF on global trade of protein;

-- Net cash proceeds from asset sales of about R$1.8 billion in
2019;

-- BRF margins in 2019 should benefit from stable grain prices,
thanks to the strong harvests in Brazil and Argentina;

-- For 2020, average grain prices rising according to the future
curve and the foreign exchange rates;

-- Annual capital expenditures (capex) of R$2 billion in 2019 and
2020;

-- No dividend payment in 2019 and 2020, and the payout of 25% on
net income in the following years; and

-- No share repurchases.

Based on the assumptions above, S&P expects the following credit
metrics:

-- EBITDA margins of about 13% in 2019 and 13%-15% in 2020;

-- Debt to EBITDA below 4.0x in 2019 and close to 3.0x in 2020;

-- FFO to debt close to 18% in 2019 and above to 20% in 2020;

-- EBITDA interest coverage of 2.5x-3.5x in 2019 and 3.5x-4.0x in
2020; and

-- FOCF to debt close to 5% in 2019 and to 10% in 2020.

S&P said, "We maintain our view of BRF's liquidity position as
adequate. BRF will hold comfortable liquidity cushion in the next
12 months, with A/B calculation above 1.2x thanks to its larger
cash position. The company also doesn't have financial covenants on
its debt, which increases its flexibility in downturn periods.
Nevertheless, due to concentration of short-term maturities and
lower debt duration, we view BRF's ability to absorb, without
refinancing, severe-impact events as somewhat limited. We expect
the company to improve the average debt term of its capital
structure due to debt refinancing and the recent $750 million bond
issuance. We're not including the issuance in our base-case
scenario because BRF will use most it to tender its 2022, 2023, and
2024 notes."

Principal Liquidity Sources:

-- Unrestricted cash position of R$5.8 billion as of June 2019;
-- FFO of about R$2.8 billion in the next 12 months.

Principal Liquidity Uses:

-- Short-term debt of R$4.7 billion in June 2019;

-- Working capital outflows of R$90 million in the next 12 months
as of June 2019;

-- Seasonal working capital outflows of R$250 million;

-- Capex of R$1.9 billion in the next 12 months; and

-- No dividends or share repurchases.

S&P said, "We rate BRF's senior unsecured debt at 'BB-', the same
level as the issuer credit rating, given our recovery rating of
'3', which reflects our expectation of meaningful recovery of
50%-70% on a hypothetical default scenario. The company's debt
mainly consists of rural loans, export and working capital lines,
agricultural receivables certificates, and unsecured notes. Our
hypothetical default scenario occurs in 2024 that would consist of
prolonged period of higher grain prices, a harsh recession
derailing market demand in Brazil, and lower export prices amid a
tighter access to credit markets. This scenario would impair the
company's cash flow generation and deplete its liquidity position,
leading to a potential default.

"We considers that, following a hypothetical bankruptcy process,
the company would be restructured and continue to operate,
generating higher value to creditors compared to a liquidation. We
value the company using a 5.5x multiple applied to our projected
emergence-level EBITDA of R$2.2 billion, arriving at a stressed
enterprise value of R$12 billion. The multiple is somewhat lower
than we apply to other consumer companies because BRF is not a pure
branded player, with significant exposure to commodity products."
The notes issued by subsidiaries, BRF GmbH and BFF International,
benefit from the parent's full guarantee.

-- Simulated year of default: 2024

-- EBITDA at emergence: R$2.2 billion

-- Implied enterprise value multiple: 5.5x

-- Estimated gross enterprise value at emergence: R$12 billion

-- Net enterprise value after 5% administrative costs: R$11.5
billion

-- Priority claims, priority debt at subsidiaries and other
secured debt: R$1.0 billion

-- Senior unsecured debt: R$19.3 billion

-- Recovery expectations for the unsecured debt: 50%-70% (rounded
estimate: 50%)


OI SA: Huawei Denies Interest in Acquiring Firm
-----------------------------------------------
Reuters reports that Chinese telecoms equipment maker Huawei
Technologies Co. said it was not interested in acquiring struggling
Oi SA or any other Brazilian carrier.

Brazilian newspaper O Globo reported in its online version that
Huawei was joining forces with China Mobile to potentially enter a
dispute to buy Oi SA, according to Reuters.

"Huawei has no plan or interest in acquiring Oi or any other
Brazilian carrier.  In Brazil for more than 20 years, the company
is working with all major Brazilian carriers supplying the best
products and solutions to support digital transformation in
Brazil," the company said in an e-mailed statement obtained by the
news agency.

According to O Globo, the two Chinese companies expect the Brazil
business to grow significantly once the country starts deploying
its fifth-generation wireless technology (5G), and Oi's 360,000 km
(224,000 miles) of fiber infrastructure is seen as an attractive
asset, the report notes.

Brazil's largest fixed-line carrier has been struggling to turn
around its business since it filed for bankruptcy protection in
June 2016 to restructure approximately BRL65 billion of debt.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America on
Sept. 25, 2019, Reuters reported that, while negotiating its mobile
network with Spain's Telefonica SA and Telecom Italia SpA, Oi is
also involved in preliminary talks with AT&T, Inc. and another
Chinese company, the report added.  Gabriela Mello at Reuters,
citing O Globo news, reported that Chinese telecoms equipment maker
Huawei Technologies Co is joining forces with China Mobile
(0941.HK) to potentially enter a dispute to buy struggling
Brazilian carrier Oi SA, in an attempt to boost its footprint in
Latin America's largest market, O Globo news website reported.
According to the media outlet, both Chinese companies anticipate a
significant growth in business once Brazil starts deploying its
fifth-generation wireless technology (5G) and Oi's 360,000
kilometers (224,000 miles) of fiber infrastructure is seen as an
attractive asset, Reuters relays.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America, S&P
Global Ratings, on Sept. 12, 2019, affirmed its global scale 'B'
issuer credit and issue-level ratings and revised the outlook to
negative from stable. At the same time, S&P lowered its national
scale rating to 'brA-' from 'brA' and assigned a negative outlook.




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D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C
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DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Depends More on U.S. Oil
--------------------------------------------
Dominican Today reports that the Dominican Republic is increasingly
dependent on imports of petroleum from the United States, from
which 61.4% of the oil, gasoline and other fuels that have entered
the country between January and August of this year have arrived.
Data from the General Directorate of Customs (DGA) indicate that
purchases of US hydrocarbons represented US$1.4 billion, an amount
that contrasts with the US$1.3 billion that were imported in the
first eight months of last year when deliveries from the United
States represented 56.3% of the total, according to Dominican
Today.

The rest of the hydrocarbon imports come from the Netherlands, from
which 9.7% of the hydrocarbons that are shipped to the Dominican
Republic are delivered, while another 9.1% comes from Trinidad and
Tobago, which is a major exporter of gas to the region, the report
notes.  Nigeria, from where more than one-tenth of the hydrocarbons
that arrived in the country were imported, has lost strength in the
local market and now only 7.9% of the total is derived, the report
relays.

The remaining 12% came from countries such as Bahamas, Puerto Rico,
Virgin Islands (both American and British), Canada and Russia, the
report discloses.  Venezuela, which during the term of the
Petrocaribe agreement was one of the main oil suppliers in the
country, and Mexico, which held the second position, do not appear
in the statistics, the report says.

In total, oil imports represented during the first eight months of
this year some US$2.3 billion, which implied a fall of 1.37% with
respect to last year, when hydrocarbon products worth US $ 2.4
billion were bought, as indicated DGA data, the report notes.

The negative variation was caused by a reduction in the purchase of
barrels, the report relays.  Between January and August 43.60
million barrels of hydrocarbons were purchased, almost one million
barrels less than a year earlier, while the average price at which
oil products were purchased was slightly higher: from US $53.64 the
barrel to which it was imported in Average between January and
August of last year, the figure went to US $ 54.10 in 2019, the
report adds.

                    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
commitments."

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).




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E C U A D O R
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ECUADOR: Fitch Assigns B- Rating on $1.4BB Notes Due 2030
---------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings assigned a 'B-' rating to Ecuador's USD600 million
notes maturing March 2025 and its USD1.4 billion notes maturing
March 2030. The 2025 notes have a coupon of 7.875% and the 2030
notes have a coupon of 9.5%.

Proceeds from the issuances will be used in accordance with local
laws for government programs, infrastructure projects or to
refinance existing debt obligations on more favorable terms.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

The bond ratings are aligned with Ecuador's Long-Term
Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of 'B-'.

RATING SENSITIVITIES

The bond rating would be sensitive to any changes in Ecuador's
Long-Term Foreign-Currency IDR. Fitch affirmed the rating at 'B-'
on August 21, 2019 while revising the Outlook to Stable from
Negative.




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J A M A I C A
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JAMAICA: OKs Steps Needed to Complete Review Under SBA
------------------------------------------------------
An International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff team led by Ms. Uma
Ramakrishnan visited Kingston from September 9-19, to conduct
discussions on the sixth and final review of Jamaica's financial
and economic program supported by the IMF's precautionary Stand-By
Arrangement (SBA). At the end of this review, Prime Minister Andrew
Holness of Jamaica and Mr. Alejandro Werner, Director of IMF's
Western Hemisphere Department, issued the following statement in
Kingston:

"We are happy to announce that the IMF staff team and the Jamaican
authorities agreed on the steps needed to complete the sixth and
final review under the SBA, as Jamaica prepares to exit from IMF
financial support. Consideration by the IMF's Executive Board of
the review is tentatively scheduled for November 2019. Upon
approval, an additional SDR 160.8 million (about US$220 million)
will be made available for Jamaica, bringing the total accessible
credit to about US$1.63 billion. The Jamaican authorities continue
to view the SBA as precautionary. The SBA will expire on November
8, 2019.

"Over the last three years, Jamaica's sustained commitment to a
home-grown economic reform program has resulted in significant
dividends for the people of Jamaica. Unemployment is at an all-time
low of 7.8 percent, taxes have been reduced, business confidence is
high, inflation and the external current account deficits are low,
and the level of foreign currency reserves is comfortable at about
US$3.5 billion.

"The economy is estimated to have expanded by 1.9 percent in
FY18/19, buoyed by mining, construction and tourism. However, the
short-term growth outlook is, unfortunately, clouded by the pending
18 to 24 months closure of Alpart to facilitate investment
upgrades.

"Budget discipline combined with a reorientation of the fiscal
system, including the shift from direct to indirect taxes pioneered
by this government, has helped put public debt on a sustained
downward path. Proactive liability management-as evidenced by the
latest successful swap of existing bonds at relatively low
yield-has also helped Jamaica maintain the path towards reducing
debt to 60 percent of GDP by FY2025/26, in line with the provisions
of the Fiscal Responsibility Law.

"Significant efforts have been made to build monetary institutions
and improve the workings of the foreign exchange market. These
steps have put the Bank of Jamaica firmly on a path toward
operational independence within an inflation targeting framework
that conforms with international best practice.

"Nonetheless, to fully achieve Jamaica's considerable potential
will require renewed attention to supply side reforms to address
crime, support agricultural resilience, and invest in education and
healthcare. The government is also committed to expanding social
assistance for those in need through better coverage of the PATH
program and support for the elderly.

"To make these reforms a reality will require the freeing-up of
fiscal resources through a meaningful transformation of the public
sector that prioritizes government functions and redesigns public
sector compensation. This will necessarily entail the Jamaican
society confronting tough choices, the resolution of which will
require broad social consensus. More also needs to be done to build
public trust in the governance of public institutions.

"As part of its commitment to building durable domestic policy
institutions, the government will table legislation to establish a
Fiscal Council by April 2020. In the interim, the Economic
Programme Oversight Committee has been asked to ensure continued
public accountability for the government's economic policy
commitments.

"The government is also working to strengthen financial sector
oversight through better risk-based and consolidated supervision
and a special resolution regime for financial institutions.

"We are convinced that all these policies will support private
sector development and increase investment opportunities in
Jamaica. It is expected that the partnership between the public and
private sector to expand access to finance for small- and
medium-sized enterprises will help finance such investments.

"The IMF team and the Jamaican authorities look forward to a
continued productive collaboration and partnership as Jamaica exits
from the precautionary SBA. As always, the IMF stands ready to
support Jamaica with policy advice, a cross-country perspective,
technical assistance and investments to train Jamaican government
officials.

"The IMF team would like to thank the Jamaican authorities,
including all the technical teams involved, for making the SBA an
unqualified success for Jamaica."

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.




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M E X I C O
===========

GRUPO KALTEX: S&P Affirms 'B-' Issuer Credit Rating, Outlook Neg.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
S&P Global Ratings affirmed its 'B-' issuer credit and issue-level
ratings on Mexico-based textile and apparel company Kaltex.

The negative outlook reflects Kaltex's tight liquidity in the
context of its relatively short horizon to execute a liability
management plan to address its senior notes that mature in April
2022. Failure to execute such a liability management plan within
six months would result in higher refinancing risk and an
unsustainable capital structure, and therefore would trigger a
downgrade.

In the last 12 months ended June 2019, Grupo Kaltex S.A.B. de
C.V.'s (Kaltex) operating performance and leverage level have
improved. This resulted from a significant positive effect from
International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) 16 on its
amortizations, and to a lesser extent from better cost controls,
lower operating expenses, and lower prices for its main raw
material, cotton, due to the U.S.-China trade dispute. Moreover,
during this period, Kaltex amortized some of its banking lines. As
a result, its debt-to-EBITDA ratio dropped to about 5.0x in June
2019, versus 6.9x in the same period last year.

Nonetheless, Kaltex's tight liquidity remains exposed to the
recovery of its operations to historical levels including stronger
demand from its key customers. It's also exposed to the volatility
of cotton, chemical, and energy prices; the exchange rate; and to
its $320 million senior notes maturing in April 2022. In S&P's
view, Kaltex's refinancing risk could escalate in the next six
months if the company cannot successfully execute a liability
management plan that extends its debt maturity profile and if it
doesn't improve its cash generation and cash position.




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P U E R T O   R I C O
=====================

LA MERCED LIMITED: Plan Proposes $3MM Distribution to Unsecureds
----------------------------------------------------------------
La Merced Limited Partnership S.E. filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy
Court for the District of Puerto Rico a disclosure statement
explaining its Chapter 11 Plan.

It is the intention of the Debtor to make payments to its
creditors
through the Plan primarily consisting of:

   * Payment of 100% of Secured portion of Creditor Condado 5 LLC,
that is for approximately $3,180,425. through the reconfiguration
and/or re-syndication of the original financial structure that
created La Merced.

   * Payment of 100% of the expected allowed amount of priority
claims, such as CRIM, Personal Property, Internal Revenue Service,
Municipality of San Juan (Patente), PR Department of Treasury, PR
State Insurance Fund, for a total expected allowed amount of
$28,000.00. This treatment applies only to those claims recognized
by the debtor and/or those paid in full on the effective date,
and/or those settled with claimants.

   * General unsecured creditors will receive 100% of the amount
allowed by the Plan. This treatment applies only to those claims
recognized by the debtor and/or those paid in full on the
effective
date, and/or those settled with claimants. The approximate amount
in the class is approximately $3,000,000.00.

The Plan is to be funded with the available funds originating from
Debtors operations. The proposed Plan provides for at least
$3,000,000.00 for distribution to general unsecured creditors.

A full-text copy of the Disclosure Statement is available at:
https://tinyurl.com/y4hsxa73 from PacerMonitor.com.

The Debtor is represented by Nelson Robles Diaz Law Offices P.S.C.
as its counsel.

                      About La Merced LP

La Merced Limited Partnership, S.E., is a single asset real estate,
as defined in 11 U.S.C. Section 101(51B)).  Based in San Juan,
Puerto Rico, La Merced LP filed a voluntary petition under Chapter
11 of the Bankruptcy Code (Bankr. D.P.R. Case No. 18-06858) on Nov.
27, 2018. In the petition signed by Luz Celenia Castellano,
administrator, the Debtor disclosed $6,088,228 in liabilities.

Judge Enrique S. Lamoutte Inclan is the case judge.  Nelson Robles
Diaz Law Offices, PSC, led by founding partner Nelson Robles Diaz,
is the Debtor's counsel.




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

PETROLEUM CO: Gov't Had No Choice But to Accept Patriotic's Bid
---------------------------------------------------------------
Ria Taitt at Trinidad Express reports that the Trinidad and Tobago
government had no choice but to accept Patriotic Energies and
Technologies' bid for the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery, formerly ran by
state-owned Petroleum Co. of Trinidad & Tobago (Petrotrin), former
Energy Minister Carolyn Seepersad-Bachan said.

She was commenting on the selection of Patriotic Energies and
Technologies Company Ltd as the preferred bidder for the Guaracara
Refinery, according to Trinidad Express.  The bid was by far the
best, she said.

She said she applauded any initiative to restart the operations of
the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery mainly because of the issues of fuel
security for Trinidad and Tobago and the region, the potential net
inflow of foreign exchange and, most significantly, the opportunity
for employment for the many skill sets that were developed through
the GATE program, not only for Petrotrin but for all the spin-off
industries, that would have had to retrench workers because of the
closure of Petrotrin, the report notes.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on Sept.
24, 2019, Darlisa Ghouralal at looptt.com reports that a company
owned by the Oilfield Workers Trade Union (OWTU) has been named the
preferred bidder to own and operate the Pointe-a-Pierre refinery,
the oil refinery run by state owned oil company Petroleum Co. of
Trinidad & Tobago (Petrotrin).

Patriotic Energies and Technologies Co Ltd, a company wholly-owned
by the OWTU, won the bid to purchase the Guaracara Refining Company
Limited and Paria Fuel Trading Company Limited with a US$700
million offer, according to looptt.com. Finance Minister Colm
Imbert made the announcement during the sitting of Parliament.
Patriotic in its proposal offered upfront cash consideration of
US$700 million, the report noted.  The report said that it was the
only company of the three companies shortlisted -- the other two
named as Beowulf Energy and Klesch -- to do so.

                      About Petrotrin

State-owned Petroleum Co. of Trinidad & Tobago (Petrotrin) closed
it oil refinery in November 2018. Prior to closure, Petrotrin
underwent a corporate reorganization that started in the last
quarter of 2018.  The T&T government insisted that the
reorganization was necessary to improve the company's efficiency.

As a result of the reorganization, Petrorin's refining business was
shut down and new entities were created: three operating
subsidiaries (Heritage Petroleum Company Limited, Paria Fuel
Trading Company and Guaracara Refining Company Limited), and the
new holding company, TPH, to which the international bonds were
transferred from Petrotrin.




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

PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Registers Office in Moscow
--------------------------------------------------
rt.com reports that Venezuelan state-owned oil company Petroleos de
Venezuela, or Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), has registered
its office in Moscow.  The move comes after Russian state oil major
Rosneft last month became the main trader of Venezuelan crude,
according to rt.com.

"We've registered PDVSA in the Russian jurisdiction," Venezuela's
minister for oil Manuel Quevedo told reporters, the report notes.
In July, Quevedo stated that Russia had asked PDVSA to register its
own legal entity in the country to help ensure the work of the
Moscow representative office of the company, the report relays.

The PDVSA office was opened in Moscow in March, on the instruction
of Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro, the report notes.  It
replaces the company's Portuguese branch, the report discloses.

According to the SPARK system, on August 6 PDVSA Rusia LLC was
officially registered in the Unified State Register of Legal
Entities (USRLE), the report says.  Its owners are Venezuelan PDV
EURO-ASIA SA (98%) and its Cuban subsidiary PDVSA Cuba (2%). PDVSA
Rusia's main activity in Russia is registered as business and
management consulting, the report relays.

PDVSA's registry in Moscow comes after Rosneft became the main
trader of Venezuelan crude in August, facilitating shipping of the
country's oil to China and India, the report notes.  It took some
40% of PDVSA's exports in July and over 66% in August, according to
the firm's export programs and the Refinitiv Eikon data, the report
says.  This came as an attempt to help Venezuela, where oil
accounts for more than 95 percent of export revenue, to ease losses
due to US sanctions, the report discloses.

Washington imposed its first batch of sanctions on Venezuela's oil
industry in January, in an attempt to oust President Nicolas
Maduro, whose re-election in late 2018 was viewed by the United
States and some Western governments as illegitimate, the report
relays.  Instead, they recognize Venezuelan opposition leader Juan
Guaido as the country's rightful head of state, the report notes.

Both Russia and China, Venezuela's second largest oil buyer, have
called the US sanctions against the Latin American country
unilateral and illegal, the report says.

In August, Washington imposed a new set of sanctions on Venezuela,
with warnings that it would take measures against any company which
is "materially assisting" Maduro's government, the report recalls.
The US administration also froze all Venezuelan government assets
in the United States, the report relays.

Due to sanctions, overall exports of crude and refined products by
PDVSA and its joint ventures declined last month to some 770,000
barrels per day (bpd) from 992,565 bpd in July and 1.13 million bpd
in June, according to Reuters data, the report adds.

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.


VENEZUELA: Rio Treaty Nations to Cooperate on Sanctions on Maduro
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Courtney McBride at The Wall Street Journal reports that Western
Hemisphere nations voted to employ a regional treaty to impose
sanctions against embattled Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro,
accusing his regime of criminal activity including drug trafficking
and money laundering.

In a meeting convened by the Organization of American States, 16 of
the 19 states party to the Inter-American Treaty of Reciprocal
Assistance, a 1947 pact known as the Rio Treaty, backed using the
pact to collaborate on law-enforcement operations and economic
sanctions against Mr. Maduro and his associates, according to The
Wall Street Journal.

Only Uruguay opposed the resolution, while Trinidad and Tobago
abstained and Cuba was absent, the report notes.

A senior State Department official earlier had expressed confidence
that the resolution would secure the requisite 13 votes for
passage, the report says.

The Wall Street Journal discloses that Colombian Foreign Minister
Carlos Holmes Trujillo, who chaired the session, touted the
"immense majority" by which the resolution was approved, and said
it marks the start of a broader effort to hold Mr. Maduro's regime
accountable.

But in recent weeks, Mr. Maduro and his aides have publicly
denounced the Rio Treaty, warning that the U.S. could use it to
justify military intervention, the report relays.

The approval of the resolution, on the sidelines of the United
Nations General Assembly, follows the initial invocation of the Rio
Treaty by Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó, the U.S. and
10 other countries, the report notes.

The WSJ says that the Rio Treaty was created as a means of mutual
defense for Western Hemisphere countries and was last employed
after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that the invocation of the
treaty signals an understanding that the situation in Venezuela
threatens the security of the entire region and requires a
collective response, the report notes.

The report discloses that many of the countries that are party to
the treaty lack statutes by which they could impose sanctions on
their own. The treaty provides those countries with a mechanism to
sanction Mr. Maduro's regime, absent passing new laws internally.

The Rio Treaty vote followed a meeting earlier by members of the
Lima Group, composed of Latin American countries and Canada, which
has called on Mr. Maduro to resign, the report relays.

Participants didn't address potential military involvement, such as
blockading Venezuelan ships or aircraft.

While some Rio Treaty signatories had called for the insertion of
language explicitly ruling out military action, the U.S. resisted
such a measure, with a senior State Department official calling it
"superfluous," the report relays.

The WSJ says that signatories, whose foreign ministers met in New
York, agreed to ask the OAS to continue monitoring the situation,
and to reconvene within two months.

A senior European diplomat said that the EU will impose very soon
targeted sanctions against members of Mr. Maduro's regime, tied to
the death in custody of naval captain Rafael Acosta Arevalo. Europe
continues to consider broader sanctions if the situation further
deteriorates, the report notes.

While the actions didn't involve measures such as a blockade,
European governments remain concerned that the invocation of the
treaty could entice some of Venezuela's regional neighbors to
consider military interventions-potentially with U.S. approval, the
report discloses.

The senior State Department official disputed contentions that the
U.S. government has lost interest in Venezuela, saying the
administration would "demonstrate through words, through meetings
and through action" its commitment to the effort, the report
relays.

The official predicted that President Trump would address Venezuela
during his General Assembly speech.

                       About Venezuela

Venezuela, officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is a
country on the northern coast of South Ameri ca, consisting of a
continental landmass and a large number of small islands and islets
in the Caribbean sea.  The capital is the city of Caracas.

Hugo Chavez was president to Venezuela from 1999 to 2013.  The
Chavez presidency was plagued with challenges, which included a
2002 coup d'etat, a 2002 national strike and a 2004 recall
referendum.  Nicolas Maduro was elected president in 2013 after the
death of Chavez.  Maduro won a second term at the May 2018
Venezuela elections, but this result has been challenged by
countries including Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Brazil, Canada,
Germany, France and the United States who deemed it fraudulent and
moved to recognize Juan Guaido as president.

The presidencies of Chavez and Maduro have challenged Venezuela
with a socioeconomic and political crisis.  It is marked by
hyperinflation, climbing hunger, poverty, disease, crime and death
rates, social unrest, corruption and emigration from the country.

Standard and Poor's long- and short-term foreign currency sovereign
credit ratings for Venezuela stands at 'SD/D' (November 2017).

S&P's local currency sovereign credit ratings on the other hand are
'CCC-/C'. The May 2018 outlook on the long-term local currency
sovereign credit rating is negative, reflecting S&P's view that the
sovereign could miss a payment on its outstanding local currency
debt obligations or advance a distressed debt exchange operation,
equivalent to default.

Moody's credit rating (long term foreign and domestic issuer
ratings) for Venezuela was last set at C with stable outlook (March
2018).

Fitch's long term issuer default rating for Venezuela was last set
at RD (2017) and country ceiling was CC. Fitch, on June 27, 2019,
affirmed then withdrew the ratings due to the imposition of U.S.
sanctions on Venezuela.



                           *********


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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of the same firm for the term of the initial subscription or
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