South America

Several insurers have reportedly begun taking action to avoid potential losses from the bankruptcy protection process for the holding company (ODB) of Brazilian construction conglomerate Odebrecht, BNamericas reported. Earlier in the week, ODB and 21 of its subsidiaries filed the bankruptcy protection request with 98.5bn reais (US$25.2bn) in debt. The request was accepted by a local court and became the country’s largest bankruptcy protection proceeding ever, surpassing Brazilian telecom operator Oi, which filed a request in 2016 with a debt pile of more than 64bn reais.

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What good is it to throw a man ten feet of rope if he is drowning in 20 feet of water?” asked Kenneth Rogoff, former chief economist of the IMF, in this newspaper 15 years ago. His question still bothers the institution he used to advise. Last June the fund uncoiled its biggest-ever loan: $50bn for Argentina. Four months later it added $6bn more. It hoped its generosity would rescue Argentina and salvage its reputation in a country that regards it as complicit in the economic disasters of 2001-02. But a year later, Argentina’s economy is still far from safety. Will more rope be needed?

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The Chief Executive Officer of state-controlled Banco do Brasil SA, Rubem Novaes, said on Wednesday that the bank has around 4 billion reais ($1.03 billion) in unsecured debt with construction conglomerate Odebrecht SA, which filed for bankruptcy this week, Reuters reported. “We have set aside provisions for most of the loans,” Novaes said, adding that Banco do Brasil will suffer losses if creditors’ debts are discounted at more than 50% in the restructuring.

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A Brazilian judge on Tuesday granted bankruptcy protection to engineering group Odebrecht, beginning the process of restructuring 51 billion reais ($13 billion) of debt. Odebrecht, which was laid low by a corruption investigation that has rippled across Latin America, filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, kicking off one of Latin America’s largest, in-court debt restructurings, Reuters reported.

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A Brazilian appeals court ruled on Monday that airline Avianca Brasil should be allowed to hold a bankruptcy auction in which it is expected to sell its most coveted airport landing and departure rights, Reuters reported. The bankruptcy auction had been originally scheduled for early May, but was suspended at the last minute after an injunction was issued. Avianca Brasil filed for bankruptcy protection in December after falling behind on lease payments for its fleet and fell victim to high oil prices and a weak local currency.

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Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht SA filed on Monday for bankruptcy protection, aiming to restructure 51 billion reais ($13 billion) of debt in what would be one of Latin America’s largest-ever in-court debt restructurings, Reuters reported. The bankruptcy filing comes after years of struggles for Odebrecht, the biggest of the Brazilian engineering groups caught in a sweeping political corruption investigation that has rippled across Latin America.

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Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht SA’s construction unit expects to speed up talks with Petroleo Brasileiro SA to resume providing services to the state-run oil company and participate in its public auctions in the second half of 2019, an Odebrecht executive said on Thursday, Reuters reported. Olga Pontes, Odebrecht’s compliance director, says Odebrecht Engenharia e Construcao (OEC) should be able to resume its relationship with Petrobras because of steps taken by the conglomerate to improve governance and compliance in the wake of a 2016 leniency deal tied to a corruption scandal.

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Brazilian drugstore operator Brasil Pharma said on Tuesday a Sao Paulo court judge had approved the bankruptcy request it filed on June 6, when the company warned it could no longer obtain the resources to execute a restructuring plan, Reuters reported. According to a securities filing, the bankruptcy court has named Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Consultores as judicial administrator of Brasil Pharma’s in-court restructuring and ordered the sale of all of its brands. Brasil Pharma owns three different drugstore chains: Big Ben, Farmais and Farmacia Sant’anna.

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Prosecutors for the Brazilian northeastern state of Alagoas filed a lawsuit against the country’s largest petrochemical company, Braskem SA, seeking to guarantee compensation for damages caused by the firm, the Alagoas government said on Friday, Reuters reported. In the lawsuit, the state asks a local court to block any attempt from Braskem’s controlling shareholder, the Odebrecht conglomerate, to spin off the business based in Alagoas to facilitate a possible deal to sell the petrochemical company.

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Billionaire Beny Steinmetz’s mining company sought bankruptcy protection in the U.S., two months after losing a $2 billion arbitration award to Brazilian mining giant Vale SA, Bloomberg News reported. The court filing by BSG Resources Ltd. on Monday could stymie Vale’s effort to enforce the award, which stems from an ill-fated joint venture with BSGR at the Simandou iron ore mine in Guinea. The government stripped their venture of its rights to Simandou following a probe that found licenses were obtained through corruption. BSGR lists its only U.S.

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