TCRLA_Public/191225.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

          Wednesday, December 25, 2019, Vol. 20, No. 257



BRAZIL: Education Crusade Continues With Closure of TV Station
BRAZIL: Farmers Pay the Price of Protecting Insolvent Growers
COMPANHIA DOCAS DO ESTADO: Cuts Costs and Targets Privatization
JBS SA: Bunge Ltd Sells Assets to Seara Alimentos

C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S

COMPASS CAYMAN: S&P Places 'B+' ICR on Watch Pos. on Parent's IPO


CORP GROUP: S&P Cuts ICR to 'CCC' on Challenging Market Conditions

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Commerce Sector Avg. Pay Low v. Large Co. Min.


GRUPO IDESA: S&P Lowers ICR to 'CCC-' on Increased Default Risks

T R I N I D A D   A N D   T O B A G O

CONSOLIDATED ENERGY: S&P Alters Outlook to Neg. & Affirms BB Rating

                           - - - - -


S&P Global Ratings revised its outlook on Banco de Desenvolvimento
de Minas Gerais S.A. – BDMG to stable from negative. S&P also
affirmed its long-term 'B' global and 'brA-' national scale issuer
credit ratings on the company.

S&P said, "The outlook revision takes into account our view that
the risk of BDMG's balance sheet worsening further because of
Brazil's recent economic crisis has decreased. BDMG's delinquency
levels have been improving materially since the first quarter of
2018, thanks to stronger underwriting standards and improving
economic conditions. NPLs and charge-offs decreased to 2.7% and
2.4% as of September 2019, respectively, against 5.0% and 7.4% one
year before. In addition, BDMG's coverage ratio (loan loss
reserves/NPLs) was high, at about 386% as of the same date,
illustrating that bank's capitalization is well protected against
unexpected volatility. Moreover, we expect that the Brazilian
economy will continue to recover in the next two years, supporting
the bank's efforts to stabilize asset quality metrics and reducing
the need for additional provisions. Therefore, we believe that a
deterioration in asset quality that could impair the bank's
bottom-line results and capitalization levels is less likely.

"In our view, the bank's asset risk remains high, given that
restructured loans represented 21% of its credit portfolio as of
September 2019. In addition, the bank's 20 largest exposures
represent 29% of the credit portfolio, which is higher than peers.
However, we believe that the risk of the bank's asset quality
worsening due to restructured loans has decreased, and we forecast
stable asset quality metrics in the next two years.

"On the other hand, we expect BDMG's bottom-line results to remain
weak, with return on equity (ROE) of 0%-3% in the next two years.
We believe it will be a challenge for BDMG to stabilize its
operating revenues, which have decreased because of its
deleveraging and lower interest rates. The bank's loan portfolio
contracted again this year as underwriting standards became more
strict, credit lines with BNDES decreased, and demand for credit
remained low. We also believe that competitive pressures may
continue to threaten its capacity to generate stable revenues,
which may hurt the bank's operating performance in the next few

BRAZIL: Education Crusade Continues With Closure of TV Station
EFE News reports that Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has
written a new controversial chapter in his administration's
cultural and educational crusade with the closure of a public
broadcasting television network.

The rightist head of state, who has a long history of making
offensive comments toward blacks, gays and women, said the move was
taken against the channel because of its "leftist" stance and its
promotion of "gender ideology," according to EFE News.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on Nov.
18, 2019, Fitch Ratings affirmed Brazil's Long-Term Foreign
Currency Issuer Default Rating at 'BB-'. The Rating Outlook is

BRAZIL: Farmers Pay the Price of Protecting Insolvent Growers
Tatiana Freitas and Fabiana Batista at Bloomberg News report that a
Brazilian court ruling allowing individual farmers to seek
bankruptcy protection through proceedings typically used by
companies is having an unwelcome side effect: pricier credit for
all growers.

When Guilherme Scheffer was planning this year's crop, he was
surprised to hear lending rates weren't falling in line with the
nation's benchmark, Bloomberg News says.  Banks told him rates
would be 1 percentage point lower if it weren't for the easing of
bankruptcy protection rules, according to Bloomberg News.

"Banks say the entire sector is at greater default risk," said
Scheffer, whose group grows soybeans, corn and cotton on 165,000
hectares (400,000 acres) in Mato Grosso state and has been
publishing audited balance sheets for a decade, the report notes.

The ruling opens the door to thousands of individual farmers to use
the country's equivalent of Chapter 11 Bloomberg News relates.
Bloomberg News discloses that the decision also affects trading
houses that put up funding for growers in return for crops months
later.  Last season, international firms accounted by 30% of
soybean funding in Mato Grosso, according to the state's rural
economy institute Imea, Bloomberg News says.

"These requests are eroding the legal safety of the model that has
funded this gigantic expansion of Brazil's agriculture," said Andre
Nassar, head of soybean processors group Abiove, an organization
that represents Cargill Inc. and Bunge Ltd. among others, Bloomberg
News notes.

As Brazil's central bank slashes the benchmark lending rate this
year, commercial banks' lending margins in all sectors have fallen
30%, Bloomberg News relays.  But in agriculture, they have remained
little changed, according to Itau BBA, Bloomberg News notes.

"For good payers, it means higher interest rates," Pedro Fernandes,
agribusiness director at the bank, said by telephone. "For
producers with high leverage levels, it means credit scarcity,"
Bloomberg News adds.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on Nov.
18, 2019, Fitch Ratings affirmed Brazil's Long-Term Foreign
Currency Issuer Default Rating at 'BB-'. The Rating Outlook is

COMPANHIA DOCAS DO ESTADO: Cuts Costs and Targets Privatization
Rio Times Online reports that involved in a series of scandals in
recent years, Latin America's largest port complex is undergoing
restructuring with a view to privatization.

Since the beginning of the year, Companhia Docas do Estado de Sao
Paulo (Sao Paulo State's Dock Company - CODESP), now called the
Santos Port Authority (SPA), has implemented several changes to
reduce costs and increase revenues.

The initiatives range from cutting staff, limiting some benefits
and reviewing port contracts, the report notes.

The measures should help the port authority reverse the loss of
R$468 million (US$117 million) last year, the report adds.

JBS SA: Bunge Ltd Sells Assets to Seara Alimentos
Marcelo Teixeira at Reuters reports that commodities trader and
food processor Bunge Ltd said on it agreed to sell its margarine
and mayonnaise assets in Brazil to Seara Alimentos, a subsidiary of
Brazilian meat processor JBS SA.

JBS said in a separate statement that Seara Alimentos will pay
Bunge BRL700 million ($170.64 million) for the assets, which
include three plants in Brazil and brands such as Delicia, Primor
and Gradina, according to Reuters.

"This transaction further streamlines our operations in Brazil
around our core capabilities, while providing good value for a
solid business," Bunge's chief executive, Greg Heckman, said in its
statement, the report notes.

This is the second major deal for Bunge in Brazil this year. In
July, the company decided to put all of its sugar and ethanol
assets in a venture with oil company BP Plc BP.L, in a deal in
which it received $775 million, the report says.

Seara Alimentos is JBS's arm for poultry processing and for a large
food service business in Brazil, the report discloses.  JBS said
the deal strengthens Seara's position in the Brazilian margarine
market and in line with the company's strategy to boost a portfolio
of higher-value branded products, the report relays.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on Dec.
19, 2019, Moody's Investors Service upgraded JBS S.A.'s corporate
family rating to Ba2 from Ba3 and the senior unsecured ratings of
its wholly-owned subsidiaries JBS USA Lux S.A. and JBS Investments
II GmbH to Ba2 from Ba3. The rating of the secured term loan under
JBS USA Lux S.A. was upgraded to Ba1 from Ba2. The outlook for all
ratings is stable.

C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S

COMPASS CAYMAN: S&P Places 'B+' ICR on Watch Pos. on Parent's IPO
S&P Global Ratings placed all of its ratings on Compass Cayman SPV
Ltd., including its 'B+' issuer credit rating, on CreditWatch with
positive implications.

S&P said, "The CreditWatch placement reflects our view of Compass'
improved credit profile following JS Global's public listing on the
HKEX, which raised net proceeds of approximately $300 million. We
estimate Compass' credit metrics will improve with the
extinguishment of the put option, bringing our forecast 2019
leverage down to the 3.5x-4x range from 6.5x-7x with the put
option. JS Global's credit metrics will also improve, with our
forecast 2019 leverage declining to 2.5x-3x from our previously
forecast 6x-6.5x because of the removal of the put option and
partial repayment of a commercial bank term loan."

The listing is pending receipt of further details on the group's
long-term financial policy and governance practices. Upon
resolution of the CreditWatch, S&P could affirm or raise the
ratings. The magnitude of any uplift would depend on our final
review of the group capital structure, financial policy,
governance, and strategic importance and commitment of the parent
to the subsidiary.


CORP GROUP: S&P Cuts ICR to 'CCC' on Challenging Market Conditions
S&P Global Ratings lowered its issuer credit and issue-level
ratings on Corp Group Banking S.A. (CG Banking) to 'CCC' from
'CCC+'. The outlook on the issuer credit rating remains negative.

S&P said, "The rating action is based on increasing pressure on CG
Banking to meet its financial obligations in the next 12 months,
despite our view that the group will continue to support its
interest payments. In our view, persistent low dividend stream from
Itau CorpBanca forces the group to sell other non-strategic assets
in order to honor its coupon payments, subject to unfavorable
discount rates given heightened uncertainty amid large social
protests and unrest in the country." Moreover, the recent deepening
in the Chilean peso's slide weigh on the entity's finances, given
the currency mismatch of cash flows.

The recent unrest is likely to weigh upon GDP growth for the
remainder of 2019 and in 2020, especially on private investment.
Chile's central bank cut its estimate for growth in 2019 to 1% from
a previous forecast of 2.25%-2.75%, and its 2020 forecast to a
range of 0.5%-1.5% from 2.75%-3.75% previously.

Under this scenario, Itau CorpBanca has been able to cope with
protests by early activation of contingency plans, emergency
protocols, and maintaining clients' access to banking internet
platforms and mobile phone applications. In addition, the bank has
the ability to recoup damage costs to its branches through
insurance policies. However, credit provisions should increase in
the short term, given some slippage in asset quality and collection
difficulties, hampering last-quarter results and dividend payments
for 2020.

S&P estimates a $15 million dividend inflow from Itau CorpBanca to
Corp Group next year, considering a dividend payout of 30%, which
is lower than what is established in the shareholders agreement,
supporting the bank's solvency levels because of upcoming higher
capital requirements in light of Chile's Basel III implementation.
However, this is not sufficient to cover the debt service payments
of $33.8 million (paid in two semiannual coupons on March 15 and
September 15) and interest payments on debt at Interhold, which
will continue to rely on support from its ultimate owner (not

CG Banking is a non-operating holding company that participates in
the Chilean banking sector mainly through its direct 26.6% stake in
Itau CorpBanca, following the merger of the latter with Banco Itau
Chile. Corp Group (the owner of CG Banking and Interhold) and Itau
Unibanco Holding S.A. (BB-/Positive/B) agreed to merge their
banking subsidiaries. Corp Group currently owns 28.6% of Itau
CorpBanca, and Itau Unibanco Holding owns 38.1%. Interhold owns
99.9% of CG Banking. In turn, the Saieh family holds a 75.6% stake
in Interhold.

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Commerce Sector Avg. Pay Low v. Large Co. Min.
Dominican Today reports that the cold statistics of the Central
Bank show that the average salary of the Dominican commerce sector
is RD$17,544.49 since an employee of this sector is estimated to
work 41.4 hours per week with an hourly payment of RD$100.90. This
applies in large companies and varies according to the performance
area of said worker.

According to the report, by surveying commercial establishments
such as grocery stores and minimarket, we find that a delivery that
works on extended hours earns approximately RD$8,000 plus tips that
customers give them, a cashier earns between RD$9,000 and
RD$13,000, a sausage dispatcher RD$12,000 and a cleaning officer
between RD$6,000 and RD$7,000, according to Dominican Today.

In stores that sell clothing and household items, if they are large
businesses, they are governed by the minimum wages established by
the National Wage Committee (CNS) and their salaries vary according
to the employee's function, the report notes.

If they are small or medium stores, of which there are many in the
country, salaries fluctuate between RD$8,000 and RD$12,000,
depending on the work performed by the person and if he has a
supervisory position he can earn between RD$20,000 and RD$25,000,
the report relays.

The salary scales in medium, small and micro are smaller. According
to the latest resolution of the National Labor Committee (CNS), the
minimum wage in medium-sized enterprises is RD$12,107 and in small
RD$10,730, but Hotels Bars and Restaurants (sector of great
strength in the economy) the minimum is RD$10,355.75, the report

Merchants have unleashed a whole struggle demanding that Law 187-17
that modifies 488-08 on Reclassification of Micro, Small and Medium
Enterprises be applied, seeking that salaries conform to the
parameters of this law that qualifies as micro to a company that
has up to 10 workers and gross sales of eight million pesos, as
small to those with between 11 and 50 employees and sales of up to
RD$54 million, as medium to those with 51 to 150 and sales of up to
RD$202 millions, the report discloses.

This law would allow companies that today are classified as small
to be considered micro and their minimum wages may be lower, just
as it approves that a group of companies classified as medium-sized
companies become small, or by the number of employees or by their
level of sale, and can lower their minimum salary from RD$12,107 to
RD$10,730 and similarly companies that today fall into the category
of large can be reclassified as medium by decreasing their minimum
salaries from RD$17,610 to RD$12,107, the report says.

Upon approval, by mid-year, a 14% increase in minimum wages, the
Dominican Federation of Traders warned that applying this increase
would lead that sector to lay off hundreds of workers and MSMEs
would have to close their doors, this without analyzing what it
would mean for thousands of workers to see their already small
salaries that are not enough to cover the poorest family basket
(quintile 1) decrease and that, in the fight against poverty,
implies reducing family income levels, the report relates.

Another thing to take into account in this issue of wage
reclassification is that the decrease in the purchasing power of
families seriously affects economic dynamism because it slows
consumption, the report says.

The commercial sector offers employment to almost one million of
the employed population aged 15 years or more in both the formal
and informal sectors, as shown by the statistics published by the
Central Bank, the report notes.

As of the second quarter of 2019, formal commerce registered
386,291 employed persons, 17.2% of the total nationally employed
and at an informal level it records 579,991, 27.07% of those
employed in that sector, 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

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).


GRUPO IDESA: S&P Lowers ICR to 'CCC-' on Increased Default Risks
S&P Global Ratings lowered its issuer credit rating on Grupo IDESA,
S.A. de C.V. (IDESA) to 'CCC-' from 'CCC'. At the same time, S&P
lowered its issue-level rating on the company's senior unsecured
notes to 'CCC-' from 'CCC'. S&P's recovery rating on the notes
remains unchanged at '4'.

S&P said, "The negative outlook reflects our view that there's a
high likelihood of a payment default or a distressed restructuring
in the next six months unless the company's circumstances improve

"The downgrade reflects our view that Mexico-based petrochemical
producer and distributor IDESA faces an elevated risk of a payment
default on its 2020 maturities unless unanticipated events improve
its weak liquidity in the next six months. Moreover, the company's
operational performance has continued declining, resulting in a
funds from operations (FFO) deficit in the last 12 months, further
worsening the company's liquidity profile."

As of Sept. 30, 2019, IDESA had about MXN371 million (about $19
million) in cash and cash equivalents, while it has an upcoming
maturity of about $130 million on June 20, 2020. Currently, IDESA
is actively discussing with some banks the possibility of
refinancing its debt due in 2020, which also includes the company's
senior unsecured notes due Dec. 18, 2020 for $300 million, which
would alleviate its capital structure. However, the resolution is
still uncertain, increasing the possibility of a payment default,
which could ultimately be in form of a conventional default, a
distressed debt exchange, or a similar de-facto restructuring.

T R I N I D A D   A N D   T O B A G O

CONSOLIDATED ENERGY: S&P Alters Outlook to Neg. & Affirms BB Rating
On Dec. 18, 2019, S&P Global Ratings revised its outlook to
negative from stable and affirmed its 'BB' ratings on Trinidad and
US Gulf Coast-based petrochemicals producer Consolidated Energy
Limited (CEL).

S&P said, "The negative outlook reflects our view that the decrease
in methanol prices and operational setbacks at the Natgasoline
plant's ramp-up could erode the credit metrics. The U.S.-based
plant had an unplanned outage of its waste heat boilers, resulting
in a lower-than-expected production. These factors reduced the
company's revenue and EBITDA, raising debt to EBITDA above 6.0x in

"We currently expect a gradual recovery in CEL's credit metrics in
2020, thanks to a gradual rebound in prices and the Natgasoline
plant's ongoing output increase. However, we believe that the
deleveraging could take longer than expected, resulting in a debt
to EBITDA of more than 4.0x in the next 12 months.

"During the first nine months of 2019, methanol price fell about
30% from its 2018 levels. Even though we viewed the last year's
price level as unsustainable, the drop in 2019 was steeper than our
expectations. We believe prices will recover slightly in 2020, but
they will still be below the 10-year historical average. We believe
the methanol demand will continue to grow at 4%-5% during the next
two years, while we don't expect any major methanol projects to
come online during the same period, which will improve the price.
The futures price curve for methanol in China and Europe support
this increase for 2020."

CEL's methanol production rose during 2019, due to a stabilization
in the gas supply in Trinidad and Tobago because of the start of
operations of the DeNovo plan, which allowed the M2 plant to
restart its operations at the end of 2018. S&P said, "Nevertheless,
the company's methanol output was below our expectations due to the
operating setbacks in the Natgasoline project, which caused it to
shut down its operations for 86 days. In our opinion, such events
are to be expected during the plant's first year of operations.
Therefore, we believe the project's ramp-up will continue during
2020, which along with a full capacity production at the M2 plant,
will raise output by double digits, diminishing the effect of price
volatility on the company's results." Nonetheless, the shutdowns
reflect the project's execution risks that, along with lower
prices, could delay CEL from deleveraging.


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.

                  * * * End of Transmission * * *