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Puerto Rico bankruptcies up 10.2% YOY in April

The number of bankruptcy cases filed in Puerto Rico increased by 10.2% last month, with 324 petitions filed compared to the 294 cases recorded in April 2022, according to a report by research firm Boletín de Puerto Rico.

During the first four months of the year, a total of 1,314 petitions were filed at the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Puerto Rico, representing a 4.5% increase when compared to the 1,257 cases filed in April 2022, the data provided by the independent firm shows.

So far this year, corporate filings under Chapter 11 more than doubled to 15, when compared to the seven cases filed during the same four-month period in 2022. That is an increase of 114.3% year over year.

Chapter 13 cases, a relief mechanism used by individuals to get protection from creditors under a court-approved debt repayment plan, totaled 898 so far this year, down 15.7% from the 776 cases on record for the same year-ago period, the report shows. Chapter 13 cases represented 68.3% of all filings accrued during the January-to-April period.

Chapter 7 cases, or total liquidation of assets, totaled 399 from January to April, a 15.3% drop when compared to the 471 cases filed through April 2022. The most recent cases represented 30.4% of the total number of filings so far this year, the report confirmed.

So far this year, the island’s farming sector filed two Chapter 12 petitions for bankruptcy protection, representing a 33.3% year-over-year drop in court activity, when compared to the same period in 2022.

The largest bankruptcy petitions filed by businesses and professional services from January to April were three dairy farms with $4.1 billion in combined debt, and three pharmacies followed with $1.9 billion in total debt. Eight restaurants reported nearly $1.4 billion in debt, followed by three real estate firms, with $1.2 billion in debt, and two security companies, with $1.1 billion in debt, Boletín de Puerto Rico confirmed.

Globally, all the companies and individuals that sought protection from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court reported nearly $70 billion in secured debt and $73 billion in unsecured debt during the January to April period.

The towns with the most filings during the period were San Juan (117), Bayamón (95), Caguas (71), Carolina (57) and Ponce (56).

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 30 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 segments of Puerto Rico’s economy.

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