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

            Monday, April 30, 2001, Vol. 2, Issue 84



DAPSA: To Be Put Up For Sale To Settle Debts


BANESPA: 37% Of Workers Accept Plan; Union Files Complaint


TELEX-CHILE: Shareholders, Creditors In Classic Battle Over Cash


ATLANTICO: Bital's Acquisition Yet To Be Completed
CINTRA: National Airline Concept Obsolete, Says Aeromexico CEO
GRUPO PULSAR: To Divest Assets To Help Pay Down Debts
HYLSAMEX: Posts P$239.7-Million Net Loss In 1Q01
HYLSAMEX: Hylsa Corporation Selects Cognex For Web Inspection
MINERA AUTLAN: To Strike Deal With Creditors In May Or June
TELEVISA: Announces P$125 Million Net Loss In 1Q01
TELEVISA: To Sell Stake In Paging Firm SkyTel

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DAPSA: To Be Put Up For Sale To Settle Debts
Having averted imminent bankruptcy for more than eight months,
Argentine Petroleum Distillery (Dapsa) is to be put on the
auction block, The Oil Daily reported recently. Dapsa is
currently battling with mounting pressures from its creditors,
and has clothed itself in a legal figure known as "preventive
bidding" that will allow banks to recoup some of their losses
through a partial sale. Dapsa owes private banks $54 million and
its suppliers another $16 million. According to insiders, the
company's main asset is a strong brand name that can be used to
penetrate the Argentine market. A New York analyst pointed out
that Dapsa's sale is significant in the sense that it points to
the broader trend in Latin America of opening once-protected
markets to international competition. Dapsa Director-General
Hector Sidiropulos emphasized that, for the time being, the
objective is not to sell the whole company, but only a majority
stake of 51 percent. Dapsa is currently owned by Argentina's
Lottero family.


BANESPA: 37% Of Workers Accept Plan; Union Files Complaint
Banco Santander Central Hispano SA (STD), the new owner of Banco
do Estado de Sao Paulo (Banespa) announced earlier Thursday that
some 8,200 staff, or 37 percent, out of a total 22,000 working at
Banespa accepted its redundancy program, according to a report in
Dow Jones Newswires. The announcement comes after 15,000 held a
partial strike Monday against BSCH's voluntary redundancy package
that was offered to nearly 80 percent of all staff last week.

However, on Wednesday, the Union of Banespa Employees lodged a
formal complaint to the Sao Paulo branch of the Labor Ministry
accusing Banespa of using strong arm tactics to encourage a
significant number of its workforce to accept the redundancy
program. According to a spokeswoman for the Labor Ministry in
Brasilia, any official complaint made by a union or a member of
staff would lead to an investigation, adding that such an event
was a "serious matter."

The voluntary redundancy package offers staff three to eight
months of severance pay depending on how long they have been with
Banespa. Also, the bank will pay for medical assistance for a
year after the employee has left the bank. Last year, the Spanish
bank told analysts that it expects the cost of its reorganization
program to total some $200 million. Analysts say this could
translate into a staff reduction of between 10,000 and 12,000

Meanwhile, reports are circulating that Herbert Steinberg, the
vice president of human resources at Banespa, would be fired
because of his alleged handling of the voluntary redundancy
program. The board of BSCH apparently didn't like the way he
handled the program and may require him to join the exodus.


TELEX-CHILE: Shareholders, Creditors In Classic Battle Over Cash
The discrepancies among the majority shareholders, creditors and
minority shareholders of Telex and Chilesat are peaking, as each
party is seeking to obtain the largest amount of cash possible,
South American Business Information said Thursday. The subject at
hand is the future of Telex once Chilesat, its most valuable
asset even with debts of US$76 million, is put up for sale.
Telex, which currently has total liabilities of US$142 million,
was once valued at US$1 billion. Creditor banks control 51
percent of it, while Southern Cross fund and Ibanez family have
36.5 percent, with the remainder held by minority shareholders.
Telex hopes to sell-off Chilesat in order to meet its financial


ATLANTICO: Bital's Acquisition Yet To Be Completed
Grupo Financiero Bital's drawn-out acquisition of government-
intervened bank Atlantico from Mexican bank bailout agency IPAB
is yet to be completed as it recently has suffered another
setback, according to Reforma/Infolatina report published
Thursday. The delay is reportedly caused by a "slackness" on the
part of the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV),
which Bital began negotiated with on the exact timetable it will
follow in providing the 400 million dollars to recapitalize
Atlantico. The new funding talks have further stalled the
completion of the acquisition.

More than a month ago, Bital and IPAB struck a final deal on the
drawn-out acquisition. IPAB reportedly agreed to inject almost
$1.3 billion into Atlantico, while Bital will inject $400 million
into the bank, $100 million of which must be provided

CINTRA: National Airline Concept Obsolete, Says Aeromexico CEO
The "national airline" concept, which the Mexican opposition-
controlled Congress is fighting for to prevent the breakup and
sale of government-owned airline holding company Cintra, is
referred to by Aeromexico CEO Alfonso Pasquel as "obsolete,"
Reforma/Infolatina reported Thursday.

"In the current environment, I just don't know where this concept
could come from. I don't know of any country in which this
concept is applied," Pasquel related.

Opposition parties, which have a majority in both houses of
Congress, were set to pass an amendment to the federal Economic
Competition Act that effectively would permit a monopoly to exist
in the airline industry. This attempt by the Congress is putting
the potential sale value of Cintra's assets at risk. If such
amendment will be implemented, the government would be forced to
subsidize the airline industry heavily.

Cintra, which controls leading carriers Aeromexico and Mexicana,
corners more than 70 percent of the country's air transport
industry. Late last year, it was declared a monopoly and ordered
to be broken up and sold by Mexico's antitrust agency, the
Federal Competition Commission (CFC).

GRUPO PULSAR: To Divest Assets To Help Pay Down Debts
Monterrey-based conglomerate Grupo Pulsar is implementing a
divestment program in an attempt to restructure its assets to
help fulfill a series of impending debt repayments,
Reforma/Infolatina reported Wednesday. Part of the program is to
divest its package-delivery and technology businesses along with
a stake in insurance firm Seguros Comercial America.

The main holders of the bonds on which major payment are due
shortly are Deutsche Bank and Standard Bank of London. Standard
Bank of London previously handled restructuring of Pulsar's debt.

HYLSAMEX: Posts P$239.7 Million Net Loss In 1Q01
Hylsamex, Mexico's third-largest steelmaker, posted a first
quarter net loss of P$239.7 million, versus a net profit of
P$175.4 million in the same period of the previous year,
Reforma/Infolatina said in a report Thursday. Operating losses
for the quarter amounted to P$5.3 million, compared to operating
profit of P$471 million in the year-ago period. Sales during the
period reached P$2.74 billion, down 27.6 percent from the year-
ago period, while integrated financial costs stood at P$209.8
million pesos, compared to negative integrated financial costs of
302.9 million pesos in the year-ago period. Hyslamex is a
subsidiary of Grupo Alfa and is currently facing liabilities
totaling US$1.3 billion.

HYLSAMEX: Hylsa Corporation Selects Cognex For Web Inspection
Cognex Corporation (NASDAQ: CGNX), the world's leading supplier
of machine vision systems, announced today that Hylsa
Corporation, a leading North American steel producer, has
selected Cognex's SmartView? ICN web inspection system to perform
automated quality inspection on its steel strip manufacturing
line in Mexico.

SmartView ICN is a state-of-the-art web inspection system that is
used to automatically detect, identify, and visualize defects in
metals and other materials as they are being produced. Hylsa will
use the Cognex machine vision system at the exit of its pickling
line to accurately detect, classify, and provide picture-quality
images of defects such as scales, dents, scratches, and slivers,
resulting from the hot rolling process. SmartView is also being
used to look for defects caused by underpickling. The inspection
data is then used to provide feedback to hot mill operations and
to downstream processes.

SmartView's ability to provide reliable image data provides
tremendous value to the manufacturer by certifying quality for
all shipments, said Markku Jaaskelainen, General Manager of
Cognex's Surface Inspection Systems Division. And, steel
manufacturers can also use SmartView to monitor the production
process by sending a warning to downstream operations to reroute
any defective material, thereby improving process control and
reducing downgrades and rejects.

Cognex has sold over 100 SmartView ICN systems since its release
in February, 2000, making it the most successful product launch
in the history of Cognex's Surface Inspection Systems Division.

One of four industrial subsidiaries of Hylsamex, Hylsa consists
of five operating units--Flat Products Division, Bar and Rod
Division, Tubular Products Division, HYL, and Raw Materials
Division. Steel products offered by Hylsamex include hot and cold
rolled coils, galvanized and painted coils and sheets, rebar and
wire rod, pipe and tubing, light structural profiles, and foam-
insulated panels.

MINERA AUTLAN: To Strike Deal With Creditors In May Or June
Mexican mining company Minera Autlan anticipates reaching an
agreement with creditors in May or June, Infolatina reported
Thursday. With debts of approximately $75 million, Autlan has
recently defaulted on an interest payment to creditors. The
company is actively searching for a major financial partner to
help it fulfill its debt obligations. The Mexican mining and
minerals group has been buffeted by increases in the price of
natural gas and electricity, which account for one-third of its

TELEVISA: Announces P$125 Million Net Loss In 1Q01
Televisa, Mexico's largest media empire, posted Wednesday a P$125
million net loss in the first quarter of this year, compared to a
P$31.7 million net gain in the same period of the previous year,
according to a BridgeNews Bulletin report. In a filing to the
Mexican Stock Exchange, Televisa also revealed a 27.3-percent
drop in its operating profits, and a 3.1-percent decrease in net
sales. According to the company, the first quarter net loss was
brought about by the decline in operating profit, an increase in
financing costs and accounting changes.

Televisa will undertake a cost-cutting program, which will take
effect April 30, to save a projected P$570 million over 12
months. The new program calls for slashing payroll by 750 jobs,
closing two television forums on the open network, replacing off-
peak programming with video, and the termination of cable news
channel ECO.

TELEVISA: To Sell Stake In Paging Firm SkyTel
Mexico's Grupo Televisa plans to sell its 49-percent stake in
paging firm SkyTel and hopes to conclude the process by the end
of June, Reforma/Infolatina reported Thursday. The move is part
of a cost-cutting program currently being implemented at the
company. The most likely buyer for the said stake is the other 51
percent owner of SkyTel, U.S.-based MCI WorldCom.

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.

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