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Ambac CEO: Puerto Rico board must 'act responsibly' as recovery continues

Ambac Financial Group Inc. President and CEO Claude LeBlanc is urging the PROMESA oversight board to incorporate recent economic and political progress in Puerto Rico in its fiscal plan for the commonwealth.

In remarks made during the company's second-quarter earnings call, LeBlanc pointed to recent economic improvement in the commonwealth, including a $2 billion year-over-year increase in its general revenue and an uptick in business and consumer activity. Puerto Rico's recovery is generally gaining steam and has been helped by hurricane disaster-related payments by both private insurers and the federal government, he said.

LeBlanc said those improvements have not been "properly reflected" in Puerto Rico's fiscal plan. He urged the PROMESA board to "act responsibly and effectively" to make its plan reflect actual recent performance so that there can be "acceptable and conceptual restructuring deals" to wrap up the commonwealth's bankruptcy proceedings.

He also discussed recent political changes that started with the July 24 resignation of Ricardo Rosselló as Puerto Rico's governor and ended with the swearing-in of Wanda Vázquez on Aug. 7. LeBlanc said he hoped the new governor has a "renewed focus on long-term economic development and reestablishing credibility" with both the federal government and the capital markets.