South America

LATAM Airlines Group, the region's largest carrier, said yesterday that it had secured additional financing of up to $750 million, a key step in a bankruptcy protection process the airline initiated in 2020, Reuters reported. LATAM filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. in May 2020 as world travel came to a halt amid the coronavirus pandemic. At the time, it was the world's largest airline to take such action due to COVID-19.
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Chile's lower congressional chamber on Tuesday approved a bill that would allow citizens to make a fourth withdrawal from their pension funds, and sent it to the Senate for a vote, despite opposition from the government, Reuters reported. The initiative passed with 94 votes in favor, just one more than the minimum needed, while 39 lawmakers voted against and 9 abstained. Chile's government and the Central Bank have warned that passing the bill would negatively affect the economy, as Chileans further deplete funds meant for retirement.
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German industrial inspector TÜV Süd was on Tuesday accused of evading its responsibilities over its alleged role in the 2019 deadly collapse of a dam in Brazil, as Brazilian claimants kicked off the first civil lawsuit in Germany over the disaster, Reuters reported. The municipality of Brumadinho and the family of an engineer killed in the accident allege the company negligently certified the Brumadinho dam in southeastern Brazil, although it did not meet international safety standards.
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Distressed fertilizer-producer Monómeros Colombo-Venezolanos, the Colombian subsidiary of Venezuelan state-owned Pequiven, has filed for bankruptcy protection on the heels of a regulatory intervention, Argus Media reported. Colombian corporate regulator SuperSociedades is expected to accept the company into a reorganization process that would lead to an "expedited rescue plan." The strategic company supplies about 40pc of the Colombian market.

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Unable to sell such assets as its retail outlets and its online domain, Brazil’s Sarava Libraries suffered a new setback in its judicial recovery plan and risks declaring bankruptcy, Lodi Valley News reported. After an action by one of its creditors, technology company Infosys, which questioned the retailer’s plan filed in March, the court has now decided that Sarava will file a new proposal within 30 days, under pain of filing for bankruptcy. However, a few days before this decision the company had already made an adjustment to the plan and is contemplating the failure to sell the assets.

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The airline industry in Latin America continues to deal with vastly divergent travel rules, vaccination rates and political posturing, slowing the region’s widespread recovery from the global pandemic, FlightGlobal reported. From Mexico in the north, which never really shut down even at the height of the crisis, to Argentina in the south, which still caps passenger numbers and maintains high taxes on international travel, the region’s rebound could take much longer than the rest of the world’s. “Airlines are returning,” says Peter Cerda, IATA’s regional vice-president for Latin America.

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Argentina’s dollar bonds and U.S.-traded equities slid on Monday as President Alberto Fernandez swore in new cabinet ministers and moves past a week-long political crisis, Bloomberg News reported. The nation’s $10.5 billion in bonds due 2041 slipped as much as 1.4 cents to 36.8 cents on the dollar, while the unofficial peso exchange rate, known as the blue-chip swap, weakened 1.5% to 184 pesos per dollar. U.S.-traded shares also fell as much as 13%, with the local benchmark index posting the worst returns among indexes in the Americas amid a global selloff.

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Argentina’s monthly inflation eased more than expected in August to a 13-month low as food and living cost increases lost some momentum, Bloomberg News reported. Consumer prices rose 2.5% in August from a month earlier, the lowest level since July 2020 and less than economists’ median estimate for a 2.9% increase. From a year ago, inflation reached 51.4%, one of the highest levels since President Alberto Fernandez took office in December 2019.
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Avianca Holdings SA won court approval to send its reorganization plan to creditors for a vote, bringing the Colombian air carrier one step closer to exiting bankruptcy under new ownership, Bloomberg News reported. Lenders and noteholders who agreed to refinance their debt at the beginning of Avianca’s bankruptcy case last year will get 72% of the airline’s equity in exchange for canceling about $934.7 million, according to court papers. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn said he would approve a disclosure statement that will be sent to creditors in the U.S.
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The Argentine government’s election loss on Sunday weakens Economy Minister Martin Guzman’s negotiating power with the International Monetary Fund over its record $45 billion debt, according to one of the nation’s former representatives with the fund, Bloomberg News reported. President Alberto Fernandez’s coalition was defeated in primary congressional races in the majority of Argentina’s provinces, as well as in the capital, reflecting discontent over rising poverty and 50% inflation ahead of the general midterms on Nov. 14.
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