Venezuela's Restructuring: A Realistic Framework

32 Pages Posted: 21 Sep 2017

See all articles by Mark Walker

Mark Walker

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Richard Cooper

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP - New York Office

Date Written: September 19, 2017


Venezuela is confronting an economic and financial crisis of unprecedented proportions. Its economy remains on a precipitous downward trajectory, national income has more than halved, imports have collapsed, hyperinflation is about to set in and the government continues to follow a policy of prioritizing the payment of external debt over imports of food, medicine and inputs needed to allow production to resume. Bad policies are complemented by bad news as oil production and prices have declined dramatically from previous highs. On the financial side, the country is burdened with an unsustainable level of debt and has lost market access. Venezuela will be unable to attract the substantial new financing and investment required to reform its economy without a comprehensive restructuring of its external liabilities.

The Republic and its national oil company, PDVSA, are facing what may be the most complex and challenging sovereign debt restructuring to date. This paper, authored by Mark A. Walker, Managing Director and Head of Sovereign Advisory at Millstein & Co., and Richard J. Cooper, a Senior Partner in the Restructuring Group at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, LLP, proposes a framework for restructuring and discusses the key issues that will arise during the restructuring process, including the vulnerability of PDVSA assets outside Venezuela to actions by creditors, whether the restructuring should be implemented in one or two steps, the use of nontraditional techniques to seek to address sovereign and quasi-sovereign debt, incentives to and disincentives that may persuade would-be holdout creditors to join a restructuring and the admissibility and treatment of various claims.

Keywords: Venezuela, Debt Restructuring, Bankruptcy, Insolvency, Debt Crisis, Sovereign Debt, Sovereign Debt Restructuring, Restructuring, PDVSA

Suggested Citation

Walker, Mark and Cooper, Richard, Venezuela's Restructuring: A Realistic Framework (September 19, 2017). Available at SSRN: or

Mark Walker

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Richard Cooper (Contact Author)

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP - New York Office ( email )

One Liberty Plaza
New York, NY 10006
United States

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