Venezuela’s Polar Restarts Beer Production with Risky Loan
EspañolThe Venezuelan government has ignored petitions from hundreds of workers at Empresas Polar, the country’s largest food and beer producer, to provide them with the necessary supplies to restart production.
Faced with this situation, the company run by Lorenzo Mendoza obtained a loan from the Spanish bank BBVA to finance the purchase of imported, raw materials that would allow for the production of beer to start back up.
The company has received almost constant threats from Nicolás Maduro’s administration and from former President Hugo Chávez’s adminstration before that. In July, it can resume business while waiting for the state to provide the money to pay off that debt.
According to documents, Polar managed its loans using its property as collateral. The document also showed that the company will be able to produce beer through the end of 2016.
“It’s necessary that the national government gaurentees a system of access to ways that will allow us to fulfill the obligatory payment. Empresas Polar is proving with facts that it is committed to the Venezuelan people,” Mendoza said.
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Empresas Polar has sought the government’s authorization of foreign exchange of raw materials, but those requests have never been adjudicated by anyone in the government.
International suppliers are reluctant to do so, as the government is more than 550 days overdue on its debt payments.
According to Mendoza, Polar obtained a loan of US$35 million from the international bank BBVA, using as collateral its investments in Banpro International Inc. N.V. Curacao — in which it has had a stake since 1984.
The loan must be paid back within six months, and the only way for this to happen is for the government to guarantee that payment.