Judging by the typical indicators, mammoth oil company Petroleos de Venezuela quickly shook off a massive strike that ran from November through January. Production bounced back, collections to the structured finance vehicle have correspondingly edged up, and labor strife has dispersed into impotent pockets of discontent. PDVSA Finance made February and May payments on US$3.3 million in cross-border bonds and, despite severe stress, the vehicle never touched a reserve account.
But under the surface, it is clear that the damage done to the corporate's capacity, management and reputation runs deep; so deep, say some observers, that the company cannot resurrect its old self as an enviably well-run state enterprise. "This is a different company," said Maria Muller, senior credit officer at Moody's Investors Service.