South America

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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Latin American vehicle importer and distributor Automotores Gildemeister SpA has filed for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. with a prepackaged reorganization plan to cut about $200 million in debt, WSJ Pro Bankruptcy reported. The Santiago, Chile-based company, along with 12 affiliates, filed for chapter 11 Monday in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. The privately held company had warned earlier this month that it would file for reorganization in the U.S. with support from its international noteholders.
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Samarco Mineracao SA, a joint venture between Brazilian miner Vale SA and BHP Group Ltd, has filed for bankruptcy protection to prevent creditors’ claims from affecting its operations, Vale said in a Friday securities filing, Reuters reported. The collapse of a dam at the Samarco mine complex in 2015 killed 19 people and severely polluted the Doce River with mining waste, one of Brazil’s worst environmental disasters. The facility, which resumed production in December, is the focus of significant litigation from bondholders holding nearly $5 billion in debt.
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Stoneway Capital Ltd., the owner of four power plants in Argentina, filed for bankruptcy in New York on Wednesday after an Argentine Supreme Court ruling against the company prolonged the closure of one of its generation facilities, WSJ Pro Bankruptcy reported. Stoneway missed an interest payment on March 1, 2020, and soon after entered forbearance agreements with its creditors, according to a declaration filed in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York by David Mack, Stoneway’s sole director.
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Argentine Finance Minister Martin Guzman said finalizing a plan with the International Monetary Fund to repay $45 billion in debt likely won’t happen by May or June, Bloomberg News reported. Changing the terms of a previous repayment program would require the support of nations like the U.S., China, Germany, Japan and France, the finance minister said in an interview with CNN Espanol. The Argentine government is unable to pay the IMF the $45 billion required between September 2021 and 2024, he said.
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Suriname skidded into default after the government ran out of time to convince bondholders to yet again push back bond payments, Bloomberg News reported. Fitch Ratings downgraded the nation to RD from C and declared default on the $675 million of dollar bonds due in 2023 and 2026 after the country failed to make an already delayed debt payment on March 31. That’s Suriname’s third default event of the Covid era per Fitch’s criteria.
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Net losses at airline Avianca Holdings increased 22% to $1.09 billion in 2020, due to the near-paralysis of global air travel because of COVID-19, Reuters reported. The airline, which is carrying out a restructuring process under the chapter 11 bankruptcy law, had losses of $894 million in 2019. Operations contracted 74% year-on-year, the airline said in a filing to Colombia’s financial regulator, while operating income was down to $1.71 billion, from $4.62 billion in 2019.
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Bondholders filed suit in New York on Tuesday against Argentina's Buenos Aires province after talks broke down over restructuring $7.1 billion in provincial debt as the country’s leftist government seeks a larger accommodation with the International Monetary Fund to regain market access, WSJ Pro Bankruptcy reported. GoldenTree Asset Management LP and other investment firms sought a judgment in the U.S. District Court in New York over the province’s failure to make debt payments stretching back to April of last year.
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A unit of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA on the Dutch Caribbean island of Bonaire has declared bankruptcy, citing the impact of U.S. sanctions on Venezuela, a court filing showed, Reuters reported. In a March 9 filing published last week by the Court of First Instance of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, PDVSA-owned Bonaire Petroleum Corporation (BOPEC) said it could no longer pay its debts because sanctions had cut off its “access to international trade,” as well as cash held in bank accounts.
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