Puerto Rico bankruptcies drop 2% in July, up 3% Y-T-D

Most filings came from San Juan, Caguas, Guaynabo and Mayagüez, the report showed. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual) Most filings came from San Juan, Caguas, Guaynabo and Mayagüez, the report showed. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

Puerto Rico bankruptcies were down 2 percent in July, when 821 cases were filed at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, research firm Boletín de Puerto Rico disclosed Monday. However, during the first seven months of the year, the number of filings is up 3 percent year-over-year, with 6,274 cases on record.

More than half of the cases filed so far this year, or 3,980, sought Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy protection, up 3 percent when compared to the filings on record for the same period in 2012.

Meanwhile, 2,161 companies and individuals have sought full liquidation proceedings via the Chapter 7 filing option, up 2 percent from the same seven-month period last year.

The report also showed that while there are 122 Chapter 11 filings on record through July; the figure represents a 16 percent year-over-year increase in cases that allow petitioners to keep their businesses running while reorganizing their finances.

Finally, there are 11 Chapter 12 filings on record for the January to July period, representing farmers who turned to the court to address their financial problems. That number was down 42 percent when compared with the same period in 2012.

The highest number of commercial filings through July came from construction companies (34), restaurants (24), cafeterias (19), mechanics (16), gas stations (12), dairy farms (10), and doctors (14), Boletín de Puerto Rico noted.

“As of July 2013 there were approximately 395 commercial filings, a 10 percent drop from 2012, when 439 cases were submitted,” Boletín de Puerto Rico said.

In terms of the debt associated with the total number of filings so far this year, the breakdown is as follows: total debt, $1.02 billion, down 13 percent year-over-year; $561.1 million in secured debt, down 17 percent; $433 million in unsecured debt, down 7 percent; prioritized debt came in a $26.1 million, which remained flat year-over-year; and, unspecified debt, $797,171.

The report also showed that individual debt for the seven-month period totaled more than $567 million, down 2 percent year-over-year. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico businesses in trouble reported $459.4 million in total debt, down 22 percent when compared to the January-July 2012 period.

The most notable bankruptcy filings during the period are Cupey Professional Mall, with $35.7 million in debt, JVMW Properties Management Corp, with $25.7 million in debt, Ramón A. Martínez-Pérez, with $25.7 million in debt, and Hill Construction, with $15.1 million in debt. Most filings came from San Juan, Caguas, Guaynabo and Mayagüez, the report showed.

Author Details
Business reporter with 25 years of experience writing for weekly and daily newspapers, as well as trade publications in Puerto Rico. My list of former employers includes Caribbean Business, The San Juan Star, and the Puerto Rico Daily Sun, among others. My areas of expertise include telecommunications, technology, retail, agriculture, tourism, banking and most other areas of the economy.

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