Brazil

Creditors of Odebrecht’s ethanol unit Atvos have approved a restructuring plan, the Brazilian firm said in a statement late on Wednesday, Reuters reported. Under the plan, Atvos expects to reduce its net debt to three times its earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, a gauge of operational profit known as EBITDA, from the current six times, as it will transfer 46% of its debt to a new vehicle. It will start paying small suppliers in 90 days. Remaining creditors will start receiving partial payments in 2022.

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Bunge’s Brazil unit has signed a contract to acquire two soy crushing plants from Imcopa, according to a statement sent to Reuters on Wednesday, marking another step to consolidate its position as Brazil’s largest soybean crusher, Reuters reported. Imcopa, which is operating under bankruptcy court protection, confirmed the signing of the contract and said the aim of the sale is to keep the plants running and protect jobs, according to a separate statement. Bunge said regulatory approvals for the transaction are still pending.

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At least two Brazilian airlines and planemaker Embraer SA have hired investment banks to help with talks with state development bank BNDES for government support, sources with knowledge of the matter said, Reuters reported. Embraer has hired Itau BBA, the investment banking unit of Itau Unibanco Holding SA, two sources said. Embraer is seeking credit lines between $1 billion and $1.5 billion after a deal with Boeing Co fell through. Brazilian newspaper O Estado de S. Paulo reported earlier on Wednesday that Embraer hired Itau BBA.

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A previously unreported Brazilian court injunction last month has thrown a wrench into Bunge Ltd’s plan to take over two soy processing plants from local crusher Imcopa, according to court filings seen by Reuters. The injunction was granted on behalf of two Panamanian entities identified in the filings as “third parties,” Reuters reported. It effectively suspended a bankruptcy court auction in which Bunge had bid a combined 50 million reais ($9.16 million) for the plants. The Feb.

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Creditors of Brazilian corruption-ensnared conglomerate Odebrecht SA have approved debt restructuring plans of 12 of its subsidiaries, after an online assembly that lasted more than eight hours, Reuters reported. Odebrecht’s lawyer Eduardo Munhoz said the plans approved on Wednesday represent the restructuring of more than 99% of the 53 billion reais ($9.7 billion) of the conglomerate’s debt. Percentages of creditor approval were high for all companies with votes on Wednesday, he added.

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Via Varejo SA, one of Brazil’s largest appliance retailers, is seeking to suspend rent payments for over 1,020 stores to help offset a 50% revenue drop, two people with knowledge of the matter said, Reuters reported. One of the people said the company has already reached an agreement with some landlords and expects to get group agreements with other retailers that would exempt it from paying rent on its stores located in malls for as long as they are shut by the coronavirus lockdowns.

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Brazilian businesses, desperate for government aid to weather the pandemic, aren’t getting much help from a state lender that used to shell out more than the World Bank, Bloomberg News reported. In past crises, state development bank BNDES would have been quick to flood the market, swelling its loan books by 30% a year to keep the economy afloat. Now, the bank’s top executive -- tasked with dramatically scaling back the state’s role -- has to navigate a world where governments are suddenly turning on the fiscal taps like never before.

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Brazilian banks may have to extend a moratorium on loan payments by consumers and small businesses beyond an initial two-month time frame, Banco Bradesco SA’s chief executive said on Wednesday, as the coronavirus crisis squeezes Latin America’s biggest economy, Reuters reported. CEO Octavio de Lazari became the latest top Brazilian banker to warn that existing measures to help the country’s small businesses and consumers may need to last longer given the gravity of the crisis. In March, Brazilian banks paused retail debt payments for two months amid the crisis caused by the coronavirus.

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Latin America’s economy was already going backward when the coronavirus hit. Now it’s at risk of losing a whole decade –- and pushing fragile democracies closer to their breaking points, Bloomberg News reported. Like most of the world, the region is bracing for the deepest recession in its modern history. Bank of America expects a 4.4% slump in output this year as the epidemic spreads. But what’s distinctive about Latin America is that incomes had already been declining for years –- driven in part by lower commodity prices.

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Brazil’s largest fixed-line carrier Oi SA has kicked off a renewable energy project that will cut its operating costs by 400 million reais ($77.09 million) per year, the company said on Tuesday, Reuters reported. The initiative is part of Oi’s efforts to gain efficiency as it strives to revamp its business since filing for bankruptcy protection in June 2016. The renewable project, which involves 25 solar, biomass and hydroelectric mills totaling 123 megawatts in capacity, follows the so-called “distributed generation” model, in which Oi buys clean energy at lower prices.

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