South America

Argentina, the world’s biggest seller of processed soybean meal and oil, raised export taxes on Saturday as the government seeks to fund spending under new President Alberto Fernandez, Bloomberg News reported. After the peso’s 37 percent slump this year, his administration is replacing a levy of 4 pesos per dollar for many exports with a fixed charge of 9 percent, according to a decree in the official gazette.
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The IMF is waiting for the details of the new Argentine government’s economic plans to review its $56 billion credit line, its chief spokesman said, Bloomberg News reported. “I don’t have anything on dates or planned meetings,” with Argentine officials over the $56 billion loan, the International Monetary Fund’s Gerry Rice said yesterday. Economy Minister Martin Guzman had said on Wednesday that he had held a preliminary meeting with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva before taking office.
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Brazil’s Odebrecht creditors have delayed the vote on the conglomerate’s new bankruptcy plan to Dec. 19, according to representatives for the conglomerate, Reuters reported. The company said in a statement that 20 of the 21 subsidiaries have agreed to delay the vote on the restructuring to Dec. 19. Creditors of one last subsidiary, Atvos Investments, are still discussing the delay. Odebrecht presented the new restructuring plan to creditors yesterday.
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Avianca Holdings SA said yesterday that it reached agreements with creditors and secured fresh financing, completing a restructuring of its debt that will free up cash as it pursues a turnaround plan, Bloomberg News reported. The Bogota-based carrier received approval from major creditors with whom it had been negotiating since June, when it began to defer principal payments and announced a “re-profiling” of its debt. The company said it secured extensions of bank lines, letters of credit, and other agreements with more than 125 creditors and suppliers.
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Argentina President Alberto Fernandez said that the country is willing but unable to pay its debts under current conditions and needs the economy to grow again before meeting its obligations, Bloomberg News reported. The government will seek “constructive and cooperative” dialogue with the International Monetary Fund and bondholders to address the debt load, Fernandez said, without giving additional details. The outgoing administration of Mauricio Macri left Argentina in “virtual default,” he said.
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A Brazilian bankruptcy judge has pushed back the sale of two soy crushing plants after U.S-based grain trader Bunge Ltd alleged the seller provided insufficient information about the assets, according to court filings seen by Reuters on Friday. The auction of the two plants by privately owned Imcopa group, rescheduled to Feb. 17 from Dec. 4, is part of the seller’s plan to emerge from bankruptcy. Imcopa and a court-appointed judicial administrator agreed to cancel this week’s auction of the two strategic plants in Paraná state, court documents showed.

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Argentine soy crushing giant Vicentin is struggling to repay over $350 million in debt and some plants are likely to halt production while it seeks relief amid an economic slowdown in the country, a source close to the firm said on Thursday, Reuters reported. The grains crusher, Argentina’s top exporter of processed soy last year according to government data, said it had been hurt by increasing financing costs and rising country risk, and was looking at how to meet its obligations.

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Bondholders are gearing up for a nasty fight as Argentina’s largest province stares down a debt payment it may not be able to make, Bloomberg News reported. The Province of Buenos Aires will owe investors $571 million in January, and is unlikely to be able to come up with the cash amid a sharp devaluation in the currency and severe economic recession. The region has few dollar-generating industries, and tax revenue has dropped 14% in inflation-adjusted terms this year. Refinancing isn’t a realistic option amid plans by the federal government to restructure its debt.

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Creditors for Brazilian conglomerate Odebrecht SA decided on Wednesday to postpone a vote on the company’s bankruptcy restructuring proposal to Dec. 10, until after it submits a revised restructuring plan, Reuters reported. Reuters reported earlier this week that Odebrecht and its larger creditors, local lenders, are close to reaching an agreement on a revised plan. Odebrecht lawyer Eduardo Munhoz said he expects to deliver the revised plan before Dec. 10.

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Argentine President-elect Alberto Fernandez said on Thursday he did not want to fall short on debt obligations even as his government puts a premium on growth. Fernandez, who takes office on Dec. 10, will need to negotiate with creditors including the International Monetary Fund as Argentina buckles under the weight of about $100 billion in sovereign debt, KFGO reported. "I do not want to give haircuts to anybody, I do not want to stop paying what we owe," Fernandez said while speaking at an Argentine industrial chamber event in Buenos Aires.

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