AT&T LatAm starts voluntary bankruptcy

AT&T Latin America Corp. has converted an involuntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing to a voluntary process initiated by the company, the company announced Monday.

AT&T Latin America, in Washington, D.C., is a subsidiary of AT&T Corp. that provides communications services to companies in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru. Its services include data, Internet, voice, videoconferencing and e-commerce services. The voluntary filing includes the U.S. entities of AT&T Latin America, according to a statement released Monday.

Last Monday, investment company Matlin Patterson, one of AT&T Latin America’s secured creditors, filed a petition in Florida to re-organize the carrier under Chapter 11. That petition applied to AT&T Latin America and its Argentine subsidiary. AT&T Latin America has now converted that to a voluntary filing.

The carrier last year blamed its financial woes on a worsening economy in South America, especially in Brazil, and several business decisions by parent AT&T Corp. Those included the decision not to help the Latin American company with its taxes or provide it with additional financing or credit support, and to deal directly with some of its clients in Latin America, diminishing AT&T Latin America’s revenue from those clients.

The company had been preparing its own Chapter 11 filing when Matlin Patterson took action, AT&T Latin America said in a filing last week. It continues to pursue a potential new owner or investor and does not expect the voluntary filing to affect the timing of the sale process, it said Monday. The company is currently assessing various options for its Argentine subsidiary, according to the statement.