In just over a week, the almost century-old Americanas went from one of the main retail chains in Brazil to the top of the ranking of the largest judicial recoveries ever carried out in the country.
The company filed its recovery request this Thursday (19th), just eight days after announcing to the market that, under new management since the beginning of the year, it had detected a billionaire gap resulting from accounting errors in its balance sheets.
With a declared debt of BRL 43 billion, Americanas’ judicial reorganization has already become the fourth largest in the country, in the year in which the judicial reorganization law (Law 11.101), from 2005, completes 18 years.
The list goes handily led by Odebrecht, which, after the Lava Jato storm over its business, went to court in 2019 with a debt of R$ 98.5 billion to renegotiate.
Next comes Oi, with a debt of BRL 65.4 billion declared in 2016, and Samarco, which requested its judicial recovery in 2021 for debts of BRL 50 billion, after seeing its businesses collapse next to its dam that covered the city of Mariana (MG) with mud in 2015.
The survey was carried out by lawyer Guilherme Marcondes Machado, from Marcondes Machado Advogados, a firm specializing in judicial recovery and business law. Values are not updated for inflation.
Petrobras’ partner in the construction of rigs Sete Brasil, the construction company that is also a pivot of Lava Jato OAS, the developer PDG and the sisters of Eike Batista’s former group OGX and OSX are other notorious giants that appear on the list of the 20 largest judicial reorganizations that news in Brazil in the last two decades.
“Too big to fail”
According to specialists in the field consulted by the CNN the law of judicial reorganizations, as well as the update and modernization it underwent in 2020, provide mechanisms that seek to favor the survival of the business – which, in the case of giant recoveries, involves even more bargaining power for the debtor company.
On the other hand, the larger the size of the business, the more complex the process of renegotiating and approving the proposed plans also tends to be with its network of dozens or hundreds of employees, customers, suppliers and banks to which it owes.
“As there are many creditors, negotiation is complicated”, says Machado, Marcondes Machado Advogados.
“But the big company usually has a higher success rate to recover, because the creditors have more to lose in a bankruptcy scenario. For the supplier of a company the size of Americanas, it is more interesting to have a discount on their credit, but for them to continue to live and do business with them.”
According to attorney F.ernando Brandariz, president of the Business Law Commission at OAB Pinheiros, in São Paulo, both the law of judicial reorganizations and its 2020 update “have helped entrepreneurs a lot”.
It was with the new Bankruptcy Law, for example, in 2020, that precautionary relief was introduced, used by Americanas days before actually requesting its recovery.
The mechanism prevents creditors of the company in crisis from collecting its debt or blocking its assets before the judicial reorganization is opened.
“See how the legislation is helping Americanas, banks [a quem ela deve] they’re kind of upset, but there’s not much to do”, explains Brandariz, who is a partner at Mingrone e Brandariz.
“The spirit of the law is to maintain business activity, keep the company public, its tax collection. It is not that it is favorable to the debtor; is conducive to economic activity.”
Lawyer Marcelo Tapai, from Tapai Advogados, who monitors judicial recovery processes in the real estate market, criticizes, on the other hand, the ease of legislation regarding the debtor company.
“Companies have been learning that judicial reorganization is good business: it doesn’t pay anyone, it defaults, and it continues to work,” he said.
Among the developers, he says, who went through a wave of financial difficulties at the end of the real estate boom in 2014, agreed payments reached discounts of 80% to 90% on the original value of debts with their creditors, a mass that also includes dozens of people who bought their real estate and didn’t receive it.
In a judicial recovery process, the company must present a recovery plan, stating how much, how and when it will pay its debts. The plan only becomes effective if approved by the majority of its creditors, who are all invited to participate in negotiation meetings.
Source: CNN Brasil
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