Lula to urge Venezuela speeds up payments-paper

* Venezuela falls behind in payments to Brazil firms

* Marcopolo, Kepler among companies affected

* Lula, Chavez to meet on Wednesday to discuss issue

SAO PAULO, April 28 (BestGrowthStock) – Venezuela has fallen behind
in payments to Brazilian exporters for the second time in less
than a year, hampering revenue for bus and industrial goods
manufacturers and mid-sized firms, Valor Economico newspaper
reported on Wednesday.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva will ask his
Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez at a meeting in Brasilia on
Wednesday to help speed up some overdue payments, Valor
reported, without citing its sources.

Lula is particularly worried about delays in disbursements
for small- and medium-sized companies and will demand a prompt
solution to the matter, the daily added. Venezuela implemented
foreign exchange controls in 2005 under which companies and
individuals can only buy hard currency from the government.

Venezuelan clients have been unable pay Kepler Weber
(KEPL3.SA: ), a grain producer, for their imports, Valor said.
Marcopolo (POMO3.SA: ), the largest Brazilian maker of bus
chassis, has also been hampered by the payment delays, the
paper added.

While the funds owed to the companies are not significant,
the risk is that some of the firms may run out of working
capital to honor other contracts, one senior Brazilian diplomat
told the newspaper.

Venezuela’s economy, South America’s third largest, is
currently struggling with persistently high inflation rates, an
economic recession and broadening Dutch disease symptoms from
its dependence on oil as key source of export revenue.

Brazil’s exports to Venezuela totaled about $778 million in
the first quarter, Valor said.

Stock Report

(Reporting by Guillermo Parra-Bernal; editing by Jeffrey
Benkoe)

Lula to urge Venezuela speeds up payments-paper