Brazil Court Grants Bankruptcy Protection for Retailer Americanas

A Rio de Janeiro court on Thursday accepted Brazilian retailer Americanas SA's bankruptcy protection request, the firm said, days after the company uncovered nearly $4 billion in accounting inconsistencies and amid a legal feud with creditors, Reuters reported. Americanas, backed by the billionaire trio that founded 3G Capital, said in a securities filing that it will restructure debts of about 43 billion reais ($8.23 billion). The move came "despite the efforts and measures that the management has been taking in the past few days alongside its financial and legal advisers to protect the company from the effects" of the accounting scandal, the company said. Investors had expected the decision, with some deeming it unavoidable, especially after lender BTG Pactual obtained on Wednesday a court decision overturning part of the firm's protection from creditors. In a document filed with the court, law firms Basilio Advogados and Salomao Kaiuca Abrahao attributed the urgency to file for bankruptcy to the creditors' decision to seize the companies' assets. The retailer also mentioned a debt downgrade by ratings agencies, which prevented any new loans from being extended. S&P, Moody's and Fitch all downgraded Americanas' credit ratings following the accounting scandal. Americanas had said earlier on Thursday that it was considering filing for bankruptcy on an emergency basis, noting its current cash position stood at only 800 million reais, down from a previously reported 7.8 billion. Read more.