South America

Avianca Brasil’s battle with its aircraft leasing firms intensified on Friday after Brazil’s aviation regulator said it would no longer ground 10 of the struggling carrier’s planes and another lessor renewed its effort to repossess 10 others, Reuters reported. Aircastle Ltd and General Electric Co’s GE Capital Aviation Services (GECAS) unit, among other lessors, have been trying to repossess planes from Brazil’s fourth largest airline since it fell behind on lease payments, but their efforts were hampered when Avianca Brasil filed for bankruptcy protection in December.

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Brazil’s recent change of government has further delayed the long-awaited finalization of LyondellBasell Industries NV’s plan to buy Brazilian petrochemical company Braskem SA, three sources with knowledge of the matter said this week, Reuters reported. Netherlands-based LyondellBasell first said it had entered into exclusive talks to acquire control of Braskem from Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht SA in June. However, the deal’s price depends on a long-term naphtha supply contract with state-controlled Petroleo Brasileiro SA, which also owns shares in Braskem.

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Brazil’s aviation regulator said on Thursday it was going to ground 10 planes operated by Avianca Brasil, 20 percent of its fleet, prompting the carrier to go to court seeking to prevent the decision being enforced, Reuters reported. The regulator, known as ANAC, said it was acting at the request of one of various lessors involved in a festering legal dispute with Avianca Brasil, which filed for bankruptcy last month after falling behind with lease payments.

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Corruption-ensnared Odebrecht SA has proposed that creditors take over its sugar and ethanol unit, Atvos Agroindustrial Participacoes SA, in exchange for reducing Odebrecht’s huge debt load, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter. The move is the latest sign of the radical way in which Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht, best known for its engineering and construction operations, is remaking itself to renegotiate 70 billion reais (£15 billion) in consolidated debt, Reuters reported.

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Brazilian carrier Avianca Brasil will trim its fleet and return some leased planes to owners trying to repossess them, a lawyer for the airline said on Monday. The attorney, who spoke on condition that he not be identified, also said the aircraft lessors had agreed to grant the airline 15 more days to fly the planes while renegotiating delinquent lease payments, Reuters reported. The lawyer who spoke after a closed hearing in bankruptcy court said that details were not final.

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Aircastle is set to repossess 10 jets from Avianca Brasil, the country’s No. 4 airline, after a bankruptcy hearing on Monday, a source familiar with the matter said, potentially disrupting flights for thousands of passengers, Reuters reported. The 10 Airbus A320 planes represent 20 percent of Avianca Brasil’s current fleet, according to data provided by Brazil’s aviation regulator, raising doubts about the carrier’s ability to fly its full flight schedule if the aircraft are seized. And it could lose more planes in the future.

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Brazilian telecom group Oi SA has agreed to end all legal with a subsidiary of shareholder Pharol SGPS SA, the company said on Wednesday, paving the way for its long-awaited operating turnaround, Reuters reported. The agreement covers all litigation against the parties in Brazil, Portugal and other jurisdictions, Oi said in a securities filing.

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On Thursday Nicolás Maduro will be sworn in for a second term as president after his first term saw an exodus of Venezuelans escaping economic meltdown. The UN says more than 3m people have fled Venezuela since 2014, around 10 per cent of the population, while the IMF expects prices will rise a staggering 10m per cent in 2019, the Financial Times reported.

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Argentina bond investors couldn’t catch a break in 2018, with yields on the country’s debt soaring even after the government took out a record $56 billion credit line with the International Monetary Fund in an effort to bolster public finances, Bloomberg News reported. The average yield on sovereign notes from the country has almost doubled this year to 11 percent, and now tops the 10.9 percent rate on overseas securities from much smaller Ecuador, which has the dubious distinction of having the second-most defaults in the world since 1800.

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