South America

Venezuela’s opposition plans to treat equally creditors ensnared in the country’s $150bn web of defaulted debt if President Nicolás Maduro is removed — after weeding out inflated, fraudulent, or corrupt claims, the Financial Times reported. In a new policy paper, advisers to US-backed opposition leader Juan Guaidó sketch out how his administration would go about restructuring Venezuela’s huge and varied stock of debt, which includes unpaid supplier invoices, expropriation claims and defaulted bonds, among other instruments.

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Brazil’s state-controlled bank Caixa Economica Federal SA is challenging a decision by corruption-ensnared conglomerate Odebrecht SA to include one of its units’ foreign bondholders in its bankruptcy protection filing, according to a document filed in the court case, Reuters reported. Among the 21 Odebrecht affiliates that filed for the bankruptcy proceeding two weeks ago was Odebrecht Finance, the issuer of $3 billion in bonds guaranteed by the group’s construction unit OEC.

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Brazilian bank Itaú Unibanco Holding SA is questioning a decision by the judge in charge of Odebrecht bankruptcy related to a stake owned by the conglomerate in petrochemical producer Braskem SA, Brazilian newspaper Valor Economico reported on Tuesday. Itaú has not formally challenged the judge decision, but just asked the judge to reconsider it, Valor said, citing people with knowledge of the matter, Reuters reported. Odebrecht and Itau did not immediately reply to requests for comment. The case is under seal and not publicly available.

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Brazil’s antitrust regulator wants new rules for allocating airplane landing and departure rights, known as slots, in Sao Paulo’s crowded domestic airport, saying they are too concentrated among two main airlines, Reuters reported. The recommendation comes as the country’s civil aviation regulator ANAC has announced it will take back the slots held by grounded airline Avianca Brasil in the airport, known as Congonhas, as part of a plan to redistribute them later.

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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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