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Report: P.R. bankruptcy cases up 13% YOY in Feb.

Bankruptcy cases spiked year-over-year in February. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

Bankruptcy cases spiked year-over-year in February. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy filings were up 13 percent in February, when 930 cases were submitted to the court, versus the same month in 2015, according to numbers released Thursday by research company Boletín de Puerto Rico.

During the first two months of the year, total filings were up 9 percent year-over-year. A total of 2,114 Puerto Rico residents have sought the court’s protection so far this year, the data showed.

The report showed increased activity in all four categories, with a marked jump in Chapter 11 cases, with 56 on record through February, reflecting a 273 percent increase when compared to the same month in 2015.

When broken down, the majority of the cases, or 909, were filed under the Chapter 13 category, which gives individuals the chance to reorganize their finances. That represents a 4 percent increase from the prior year.

Coming in second are the 675 Chapter 7, or total liquidation cases, tallied through February. That figure is 9 percent higher than those on record for February 2015. Meanwhile, six farming operations filed for Chapter 12 protection, a category that is reserved exclusively for troubled agriculture businesses.

Through February, 149 commercial bankruptcy filings across several categories were filed, with restaurants, grocery stores, beauty salons, cafeterias and construction contractors topping the list of troubled businesses.

More than $355.2 million in debt is associated with the filings on record through February, which is 55 percent higher than the amount reported for the same period last year. Of that amount, $159.7 million is secured, $185.1 million is unsecured — which represents a 125 percent jump from the first two months of 2015 — and $9.7 million is prioritized. Unspecified debt of $693,782 is also in the books this year.

Individuals filing for bankruptcy hold $144.5 million of the reported total debt, while the other $210.7 million belongs to failing businesses, the data shows.

Author Details
Author Details
Business reporter with 27 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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