South America

The once-mighty but now cash-strapped Argentine soy crusher Vicentin said on Thursday that it is starting talks to sell a majority stake to export firms Viterra, Molinos Agro and Argentine cooperative ACA, Reuters reported. Argentina is the world’s No. 1 supplier of soymeal feed, used to fatten hogs and poultry from Europe to Southeast Asia. And family-owned Vicentin was the country’s top exporter of soy byproducts before falling into bankruptcy in 2019.
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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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A Minas Gerais state court has declared bankruptcy for MMX Sudeste Mineração, a subsidiary of MMX, which in turn is still pending its own bankruptcy protection, MMX said this week, SteelOrbis.com reported. MMX is an iron ore producer which depends on its subsidiary, MMX Sudeste Mineração, to carry own its bankruptcy protection plan. MMX said it wasn’t officially notified of the court decision, adding that it will strategically review its options.
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London's Court of Appeal will hear a request to revive a 5 billion pound ($6.95 billion) lawsuit against Anglo-Australian mining group BHP (BHPB.L), (BHP.AX) over a 2015 dam failure in Brazil, a court order showed, Reuters reported. Judge Nicholas Underhill has agreed to an oral hearing that could help to overturn a previous Court of Appeal decision which denied a 200,000-strong Brazilian claimant group permission to appeal against a judgment to strike out the landmark case.
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Banco Bradesco's loan defaults are under control despite the Brazilian lender's decision to set aside an extra 1 billion reais ($185.31 million) in the first quarter to blunt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Chief Executive Octavio de Lazari said on Wednesday, Reuters reported. The CEO told analysts the bank is likely to end 2021 with between 15-16 billion reais in loan-loss provisions, roughly the mid-point of the annual outlook it unveiled in February.
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Argentine President Alberto Fernandez in late March sent Economy Minister Martin Guzman to hold meetings with U.S. officials and the International Monetary Fund over its $45 billion loan, Bloomberg News reported. Back home, Fernandez’s populist vice president took to the microphone to make one thing clear. “We can’t pay because we don’t have the money,” said Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, who held the nation’s top job from 2007 to 2015. The IMF’s terms are “unacceptable.” It was a telling moment. When Fernandez, 62, took office in the final days of 2019, he presented himself as pragmatic.
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Brazilian iron ore miner Samarco Mineração SA filed for U.S. bankruptcy protection Monday, after initiating similar proceedings in Brazil earlier this month amid mounting creditor litigation, WSJ Pro Bankruptcy reported. Samarco needed to seek protection under chapter 15 of the U.S. bankruptcy code, as well as Brazilian insolvency laws, after bondholders and bank lenders filed lawsuits in both countries to freeze and start the process of seizing the company’s assets, according to a sworn declaration by Chief Financial Officer Cristina Morgan Cavalcanti.
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Peru’s currency and bonds tumbled Monday after an opinion poll showed leftist presidential candidate Pedro Castillo as the clear favorite ahead of June’s presidential runoff, Bloomberg News reported. The Peruvian sol turned in the worst-performance in the developing world. Castillo, whose party has praised Fidel Castro and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, is leading Keiko Fujimori by 11 percentage points, according to the survey by Ipsos Peru carried out between April 15 and 16. Fujimori is the polarizing right-wing daughter of a jailed former president.
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Avianca Holdings SA plans to raise $1.8 billion to repay debt and provide new financing as the Colombian airline eyes an exit from the bankruptcy reorganization it was forced into last year during the pandemic-driven travel collapse, Bloomberg News reported. The air carrier retained Seabury Securities LLC to help raise the exit financing, likely a combination of debt and equity, the company said in a regulatory filing Wednesday. Avianca said it will repay $1.4 billion in bankruptcy loans and have around $1 billion in liquidity when it emerges from the reorganization at some point this year.
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