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155B reais Brazilian lawsuit credit negative for BHP, Vale, JV

Moody's said the credit rating of BHP Billiton Group, ValeSA and their joint venture SamarcoMineração SA would take a hit if the Brazilian federal court ratifiesthe 155 billion Brazilian reais lawsuitfiled by prosecutors, Business News Americas reported May 9.

According to the rating agency, the lawsuit will be credit negativefor the companies as it would require them to almost immediately pay US$2.2 billionand make commitments for the total US$44 billion amount.

Brazilian prosecutors filed the civil lawsuit, which demandsan initial payment of 7.8 billion reais to be made within 30 days, over the damburst in November 2015 at the Samarcoiron ore mine, which claimed 19 lives.

The joint venture has begunthe process of seeking approvals with a view to restarting operations at the mine.

As of May 9, US$1 was equivalentto 3.55 Brazilian reais.