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Brazil court approves Americanas payment of wages, some debts

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Americanas store logo is seen in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil May 10, 2018. REUTERS/Sergio Moraes/File Photo

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) – A Brazilian court on Tuesday granted a request by bankrupt retailer Americanas that it be allowed to immediately pay workers’ wages and settle small supplier debts, for a total of about 192 million reais ($36.7 million).

Rio de Janeiro Judge Paulo Assed Estefan said in his ruling the payments would help small suppliers and “meet the needs of workers, many in extremely vulnerable situations.”

The ruling comes weeks after Americanas, backed by the billionaire trio that founded investment firm 3G Capital, entered into bankruptcy protection after around 20 billion reais in “inconsistencies” were uncovered, sparking a legal feud with creditors and investors.

Americanas, a 93-year-old company with stores all over Brazil and a major e-commerce unit, said in a securities filing in January that it would restructure debts of about 43 billion reais.

Wages owed to workers, employee benefits, and payments to small suppliers amount to “a tiny portion” of Americanas’ overall debt and “do not represent any loss” to other creditors, the judge wrote.

($1 = 5.2367 reais)

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