TCRLA_Public/010320.mbx        T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

                   L A T I N   A M E R I C A

            Tuesday, March 20, 2001, Vol. 2, Issue 55

                           Headlines



A R G E N T I N A

ALPARGATAS: Posts 49-Percent Decrease In Losses In Year 2000
LIAT: To Convert Debt Into Preferential Shares


B R A Z I L

CVRD: Formally Ends Cross-Ownership With CSN
CVRD: Cenibra Sale To Be Concluded April
SUPER11.NET: Brazilian Justice Considers iG A Joint Debtor


C H I L E

AVANT AIRLINES: Ceases Air Passenger Transportation Services
GENER: Begins Chilean Asset Sell-Off
TELEX-CHILE SA: Seeks 12-Month Extension On $8.9 Million Due


C O L O M B I A

DISTRAL INDUSTRIAL: Likely To Face Liquidation


M E X I C O

BANCRECER: Septien Makes Bank Sale Price Clarification
BANCRECER: Banorte Confirms Interested But No Final Decision
BUFETE INDUSTRIAL: Expects To Regain Financial Health Soon
GREASE MONKEY: Refutes Rumor Suggesting U.S. Bankruptcy Filing
GRUPO DINA: Plant Likely To Face Permanent Shutdown


P A R A G U A Y

ANTELCO: Intervenor Wants Privatization Before Year-End


V E N E Z U E L A

VENEPAL: Smurfit Has Two Months To Decide On Venepal Stake


     - - - - - - - - - -


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A R G E N T I N A
=================

ALPARGATAS: Posts 49-Percent Decrease In Losses In Year 2000
------------------------------------------------------------
Argentine footwear and textile maker Alpargatas SA posted losses
of US$118.75 million in 2000, a 49-percent decrease compared to
the previous year's US$231.30 million in red ink, South American
Business Information said Friday. The company attributed loss
reduction to the conclusion of restructuring most of its
financial debt. The process translated to a capital increase of
US$471 million.

Currently, the company is contemplating restarting operations at
its two plants, which have been dormant since the beginning of
the year. Management is studying two possibilities for restarting
operations: to refinance its operating capital or overhaul its
commercial structure.

Alpargatas produces and distributes sports shoes and clothing for
international giants such as Nike Inc (NKE), Italy's Fila Sport
SpA (FLH) and Converse Inc (CVE). The company carries debt of
US$400 million among several creditors. Previously, the company
reported it would fire 850 of its 2,100 employees in its plant in
Tucuman province.


LIAT: To Convert Debt Into Preferential Shares
----------------------------------------------
In an effort to reduce debts owed to shareholder governments and
staff, cash-strapped regional airline LIAT (1974) Ltd. is
converting its debts into preferential shares. The company
revealed its plans Friday in a Caribbean News Agency report.

"There were a number of resolutions passed by shareholders,
primary of which was a resolution for the Board of LIAT to offer
preference shares to each of its shareholder governments in lieu
of debts owed to them. A similar resolution to offer redeemable
preference shares to LIAT staff as part of any agreement writing
off salary and outstanding vacation provision was also passed,"
the airline said in a statement.



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B R A Z I L
===========

CVRD: Formally Ends Cross-Ownership With CSN
--------------------------------------------
Rio de Janeiro-based CVRD (mining-transport) and CSN (steel)
formally untangled Thursday their cross-ownership, Business News
Americas reported Friday. Consequently, both companies can now
concentrate on their core businesses, attract foreign investment
and invest abroad themselves. The bind of cross shareholding - a
legacy of CVRD's 1997 privatization - was often seen as a barrier
to attracting fresh capital to the companies.


CVRD: Cenibra Sale To Be Concluded April
----------------------------------------
Companhia Vale do Rio Doce's (CVRD's) sale of a 51.48-percent
stake in paper and pulp company Cenibra, has drawn interest from
at least six companies. Roger Agneli, head of CVRD's managing
board, said Friday in a Brazil Financial Wire report the
transaction is expected to be completed by April. However, Agneli
didn't provide the names of the interested firms. TCR-LA earlier
mentioned listed Aracruz, VCP (Votorantim Celulose e Papel),
Suzano and JBP (Japan Brazil Paper and Pulp Resources
Development) as among those companies which are expected to
render proposal for the acquisition of the pulp and paper
company. JBP has the balance of the 48.52 percent equity in
Cenibra and has the first refusal right.

Cenibra is currently valued at an estimated US$500 to US$600
million. The sale of Cenibra is part of CVRD's divestiture
strategy designed to re-focus the company on mining activities.
Earlier this year, CVRD sold its holdings in Bahia Sul Suzano de
Papel e Celulose for US$320 million.


SUPER11.NET: Brazilian Justice Considers iG A Joint Debtor
----------------------------------------------------------
The Brazilian justice department considers the Internet access
provider iG a joint debtor for the liabilities with the former
employees of Super11.net, according to a South American Business
Information report released Friday. Super11.net, which collapsed
just seven months after it began operations, is reportedly facing
debts totaling between R$600,000 to R$700,000. iG absorbed
Super11.net's 800,000 registered users in September 2000.



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C H I L E
=========

AVANT AIRLINES: Ceases Air Passenger Transportation Services
------------------------------------------------------------
Chilean Company Avant Airlines said it would stop providing air
passenger transportation services, according to a South American
Business Information report released Friday. The airline's
operations have been negatively affected by Aerocontinente, its
newest competitor, charging lower prices as well as the sharp
increase in fuel prices. The company, however, will continue
providing maintenance services for other companies operating in
South America. In 2000, the company, which began Chilean
operations in January 1997, posted an 8-percent decline in
passenger transportation traffic.


GENER: Begins Chilean Asset Sell-Off
-------------------------------------
Chilean electricity generator Gener finally commenced the sell
off of its Chilean water transportation assets, South American
Business Information reported Friday. Reportedly 30 potential
bidders were invited earlier this month to participate in the
auction. Gener has a 79.87 percent stake in Puerto Ventanas,
21.18 percent in Cabo Forward, 26.7 percent in Agunsa and 26.01
percent in Compania Chilena de Navegacion Interoceanica (CCNI).
Potential bidders are to submit their bids on May 16, 2001.
Copec, a Chilean holding company, previously confirmed its
interest in acquiring Puerto Ventanas and is expected to formally
express its interest to Gener on March 21. Fuel distributors such
as Shell and the Von Appen group are also widely believed to be
likely bidders.


TELEX-CHILE SA: Seeks 12-Month Extension on $8.9 Million Due
------------------------------------------------------------
In a letter sent to the Chilean securities regulator SVS,
telecoms holding company Telex-Chile SA (NYSE: TL) has asked for
a 12-month postponement for the payment of an US$8.9-million
credit facility due April 5. The request was made through its
subsidiary, Chilesat Servicios Empresariales S.A., seeking to
extend the time to repay creditors. In a Business News Americas
report released Friday, the company stated it doesn't have the
resources to carry out the amortization. In the letter, the
company also mentioned a scheduled April 27 extraordinary
shareholders meeting, where a US$60 million capital increase will
be put to a vote.

Early last week, the Santiago Stock Exchange suspended trading in
the "B" shares of Telex-Chile SA after the telecommunications
company's stock had fallen 12.9 percent on the local market.
Telex-Chile shares were trading at 175.00 pesos ($1=CLP592.60)
when the halt was imposed. The local exchange's policy is to
suspend trading in local companies with American Depositary
Receipts after a 10-percent move in price in either direction,
pending a response from the company's management as to reasons
for the sharp swing.

In October 1999, investment banks and creditors took over 51
percent of Telex from the Ibanez and Radic families as part of a
series of measures designed to recoup their investments. Telex
posted debts of some US$220 million and was prompted to sell its
mobile and local telephony subsidiaries as part of its financial
restructuring.



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C O L O M B I A
===============

DISTRAL INDUSTRIAL: Likely To Face Liquidation
----------------------------------------------
The Barranguilla capital goods producer Distral Industrial is
likely to face liquidation as it struggles to resolve its cash
flow problems, South American Business Information reported
Friday. The company currently has liabilities of Pesos$50,000mil,
surpassing its assets which stood at only Pesos$41,000mil, making
liquidation justifiable. Its largest shareholder, Distral, has
already been ruled to be liquidated by the Colombian authorities.
However, Distral Industrial is rather optimistic about its
chances for staying afloat. With plans to rescue it is FMA
(Fabricaciones Metalmecanicas Andinas) backed by foreign
investors, the company can rent the facilities of Distral and
take over its contracts & labor force. The rent payment would
help Distral Industrial gradually settle its debts over the next
20 years, while introducing up-to-date technology in the plant.



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M E X I C O
===========

BANCRECER: Septien Makes Bank Sale Price Clarification
------------------------------------------------------
Reforma/Infolatina on Friday said it incorrectly quoted Carlos
Septien on Thursday as having stated that the Mexican bank
bailout agency IPAB expects to sell government-intervened
Bancrecer at around $400 million. What Septien, a Bancrecer top
executive, precisely said was as follows: "The capital (of the
bank) is around 400 million dollars."

The sale of Bancrecer, which is likely to happen in several
weeks' time, has drawn interests from six potential bidders.
Septien, in a previous report, refused to name the interested
companies, however, he said the list is comprised of two
European, two Mexican and two U.S. institutions. Mexico's Grupo
Financiero Banorte and Canadian-owned Scotiabank-Inverlat have
already publicly expressed their interest in Bancrecer.


BANCRECER: Banorte Confirms Interested But No Final Decision
------------------------------------------------------------
Mexico's Grupo Financiero Banorte, which operates the country's
fifth-largest bank, is interested in bidding for government-
intervened Bancrecer when bank bailout agency IPAB puts it on the
auction block, Reforma/Infolatina reported Friday. However, the
bank has not made a final decision yet on whether it will bid for
Banorte. According to Banorte top executive Othon Ruiz
Montemayor, before the bank makes a final decision, it will have
to determine first what IPAB is actually going to sell and what
owning Bancrecer really entails.

"We still don't know if the bank is just a branch network,
whether or not it will include a current loan portfolio and/or a
bad-loan portfolio, and whether or not it will need to be
capitalized," he said.

Last week, a report in the TCR-LA suggested that Banorte is
making efforts to upgrade its computer systems, spending 4
million dollars on a new system to handle the sale of its banking
products and services. The move was reportedly part of the bank's
preparation for its impending decision to bid for government-
intervened Bancrecer.


BUFETE INDUSTRIAL: Expects To Regain Financial Health Soon
----------------------------------------------------------
Mexican construction group Bufete Industrial sees recovery in the
wings as it nears completion of its financial restructuring
process, according to a South American Business Information
report published Sunday. The company holds a positive outlook for
its future since Corporation Serbo is set to award a major
contract for constructing a petrochemical complex in Altamira.
Additionally, Serbo, along with other investors, will help
capitalize the company in late April. Bufete, which currently has
debts of US$400 million, hopes to have its temporary receivership
lifted in May or June of this year.


GREASE MONKEY: Refutes Rumor Suggesting U.S. Bankruptcy Filing
--------------------------------------------------------------
Contrary to reports published by Reforma Thursday, Grease Monkey
International Inc. did not apply for bankruptcy protection in the
United States, Reforma/Infolatina reported Friday. The company's
legal representatives in Mexico Victor M. Decrescenzo and Victor
M. Hinojosa Rodriguez, in a letter published in Mexico City daily
Reforma, stated they wished "to refute and deny categorically and
emphatically" a report published Thursday by Reforma that
suggested Denver, Co.-based Grease Monkey, a franchise of express
auto-repair shops, had filed for bankruptcy. According to
Decrescenzo and Hinojosa, Grease Monkey has 22 franchisees in
Mexico and expects five new franchisees to open their doors in
the country by the end of the year.


GRUPO DINA: Plant Likely To Face Permanent Shutdown
---------------------------------------------------
Dina Camiones, a plant operated by Mexican heavy-vehicle maker
Dina located in Ciudad Sahagun in the central Mexican state of
Hidalgo, could likely face a permanent shutdown. Raymundo Gomez
Florez, a Dina top executive, made the announcement in a  
Reforma/Infolatina report Friday edition. Flores said the
forthcoming plant closure means some 2,000 workers are at a grave
and imminent risk of losing their jobs. The company attributed
its impending decision to a major slump in domestic and export
vehicle markets.



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P A R A G U A Y
===============

ANTELCO: Intervenor Wants Privatization Before Year-End
-------------------------------------------------------
Government-appointed Antelco manager, Oscar Stark, suggested that
the Paraguayan state operator should be privatized before the end
of the year. Stark says that the sell-off process should take
place on the 28th of September, according to a South American
Business Information report Friday. Several companies have
expressed interest in Antelco, one of which is Spain-based
Telefonica. The government is already getting proposals from law
firms that will coordinate the legal aspects of the
privatization. According to reports, a US$931,254 offer made by
Baker & McKenzie, including services for the sanitary services
Corposana (also to be sold off), is the best offer the company
has received so far.  



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V E N E Z U E L A
=================

VENEPAL: Smurfit Has Two Months To Decide On Venepal Stake
----------------------------------------------------------
Smurfit Carton de Venezuela has two months from last Thursday,
when it signed a letter of intent with Venezuelan paper maker
Venepal, to decide whether or not to buy a controlling stake in
the struggling paper maker, South American Business Information
said Friday. The paper and cardboard subsidiary would convert
bonds worth US$37 million for control of the troubled Venezuelan
group Venepal. Smurfit, whose Colombian subsidiary also has links
with Venepal, is looking to buy Venepal's Bogota-based corrugated
cardboard plant. Packing Venepal de Colombia, which is 58-percent
owned by Venepal, has annual sales of approximately $15 million.




S U B S C R I P T I O N   I N F O R M A T I O N

Troubled Company Reporter Latin American is a daily newsletter
co-published by Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Trenton, NJ,
and Beard Group, Inc., Washington, DC. John D. Resnick, Edem
Psamathe P. Alfeche and Janice Mendoza, Editors.

Copyright 2001.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to
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delivered via e-mail.  Additional e-mail subscriptions for
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