Chile

LATAM Airlines said yesterday that it has received several offers to fund its exit from chapter 11 bankruptcy, each of which are worth more than $5 billion, Reuters reported. LATAM, the largest airline in Latin America, received the offers from creditors and shareholders, according to a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York City. The Santiago, Chile-based company did not reveal the number of offers received or from whom they came, but Delta Air Lines Inc is LATAM’s largest shareholder. Other shareholders include Qatar Airways, with a 10% stake.
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Chile’s economy beat expectations in the second quarter as billions of dollars in fiscal stimulus triggered a retail sales frenzy during the pandemic, Bloomberg News reported. Gross domestic product grew 1% from the first quarter, more than the 0.7% median estimate from analysts in a Bloomberg survey. The economy expanded 18.1% from a year prior, the central bank reported on Wednesday.
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The part owner of Chilean bank Itau Corpbanca on Thursday secured court approval in Delaware to fend off any potential creditor attempts to collect debts owed as it works to restructure in the U.S., Reuters reported. Corp Group Banking SA (CGB), represented by Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, filed for chapter 11 protection on June 25 to restructure nearly $2 billion in debt. That figure includes $500 million in bonds issued under New York law on which the company has defaulted. CGB, which is controlled by Chilean billionaire Alvaro Saieh, holds 26.2% of the bank’s common equity.

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Corp Group Banking SA, a Chilean financial holding company controlled by billionaire Alvaro Saieh, filed for bankruptcy after the coronavirus pandemic sparked an economic slowdown that worsened fortunes in the banking sector, Bloomberg News reported. The Santiago-based company on Friday sought chapter 11 protection from creditors in the Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. The move was expected after the company skipped an interest payment last year on $500 million of 6.75% notes due 2023 and didn’t cure it when a grace period expired Oct. 15.

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Chileans flocked for a third time to withdraw money from their retirement funds this week, draining nearly $10 billion from the country's privatized pension system in a move some billed as a lifeline amid a fierce second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported. Chile's Congress in late April approved a bill allowing citizens a third opportunity to withdraw 10% of savings held in privately held pension funds. Many Chileans have already twice tapped their funds since the pandemic struck in March last year, hobbling a system once hailed by free-market economists worldwide.
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Latin American vehicle importer and distributor Automotores Gildemeister SpA has filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. with a prepackaged reorganization plan to cut about $200 million in debt, WSJ Pro Bankruptcy reported. The Santiago, Chile-based company, along with 12 affiliates, filed for chapter 11 Monday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. The privately held company had warned earlier this month that it would file for reorganization in the U.S. with support from its international noteholders.
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LATAM Airlines Group, the region’s largest airline, on Tuesday reported a loss of $962.5 million in the fourth quarter, hurt by a second wave of the pandemic which has hit Latin America particularly hard, Reuters reported. LATAM filed for bankruptcy protection last May and is still going through a court-supervised reorganization in the United States. Overall in 2020, the airline lost $4.6 billion, compared with a pre-pandemic profit of $196 million in 2019.
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Latin America’s luck will change. Pandemic lockdowns caused more regional corporations to default between early May and June. But yield-starved investors will ignore some of these risks, Reuters reported. There’s a lot of bad news to ignore. The International Monetary Fund expects Latin American and Caribbean economies to contract by more than 8% in 2020, the most of any region, with only a 3.6% improvement in 2021. And non-financial companies with foreign debt have seen revenue dented by a combined $200 billion due to the pandemic, Fitch Ratings estimates.

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LATAM Airlines has presented a new $2.45 billion financing proposal in the middle of its bankruptcy protection process in the United States, replacing a proposed debtor-in-possession loan that prompted the judge to reject the original plan earlier this month, Reuters reported. LATAM, the largest air transport company in Latin America, told the Chilean securities regulator in a letter on Wednesday night that the new debtor-in-possession loan maintained “basically” the structure presented in July.

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A U.S. bankruptcy judge on Thursday rejected a $2.4 billion financing plan for struggling LATAM Airlines on the grounds that a convertible loan included as part of the package would amount to “improper” treatment of other shareholders, Reuters reported. The move is a setback for LATAM, which needs short-term liquidity. But in a lengthy court decision, the judge left the door open for the Chilean carrier to introduce a similar financing plan in the future, this time without the possibility of converting part of the loan into equity. The airline had no immediate comment on the decision.

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