TCRLA_Public/020205.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, February 05, 2002, Vol. 3, Issue 25

                           Headlines


A R G E N T I N A

AUTOPISTAS DEL SOL: S&P Drops Foreign Currency Rating to 'D'
REPSOL-YPF: Officials Rethink 2002 Investment Plans
SIDECO: S&P Cuts Sr. Debt Ratings, Credit Set to Default
TGN: Fitch Downgrades CRIBs, IFC Trust Certs; Defaults Loom


B E R M U D A

GLOBAL CROSSING: Green Fauth & Jigarjian Files Securities Suit
GLOBAL CROSSING: Debt To Lucent Totals $123 Million


B R A Z I L

ENRON: Petrobras Must Give Up Bolivian Pipeline Buy New Stakes
TRANSBRASIL: Fonseca Ousted, New President On Board


C H I L E

TELEFONICA CTC: Restructuring Yields Positive Results
TELEFONICA CTC: Plans To Take Legal Action Over Tariffs


C O L O M B I A

HORNASA: Slowly Making Its Way To Recovery
PAZ DEL RIO: Authorities Yet To Decide On Creditors' Objections


M E X I C O

CYDSA: Bondholders Skeptical On US$200MM Planned Restructuring
EMPRESAS ICA: Fitch Lowers Debt Ratings; Rating Watch Negative
STARMEDIA NETWORK: Nasdaq delists; Accounting Issues Remain


P A R A G U A Y

CORPOSANA: Another Spanish Firm Plans To Buy Bidding Rules


U R U G U A Y

BANCO COMERCIAL: Fitch Downgrades Long-term Debt Rating
BANCO COMERCIAL: Moody's Reviews Ratings For Possible Downgrade
BANCO COMERCIAL: S&P Puts Rtgs On CreditWatch; Neg Implications


V E N E Z U E L A

IBH: Sinks Deeper Into Red Due To Orinoco Iron Woes


     - - - - - - - - - -

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

AUTOPISTAS DEL SOL: S&P Drops Foreign Currency Rating to 'D'
-----------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's lowered Friday its foreign currency rating on
Argentina-based Autopistas del Sol S.A.'s (Ausol) senior
unsecured US$170 million series A and US$210 million series B
notes to 'D' (default) from double-'C'.

The rating action follows the company's missed interest payments
of US$7.9 million on its series A notes and US$10.8 million on
its series B notes, both due on February 1, 2002.  Ausol could
not meet the interest payments due to the combined negative
impact that the unsettled currency devaluation following the end
of convertibility and the "pesofication" of tolls had on the
company's cash flow.  This situation was compounded by a steep
decline in traffic caused by the deep economic crisis, which
affects Argentina and the lack of liquidity in the financial
system.

Ausol holds the concession to operate and collect tolls on the
Autopistas Highway System, one of the most important access roads
to the city of Buenos Aires.  The concession includes 95
kilometers of the northern access road (Ruta Panamericana) and 24
kilometers of the General Paz Avenue (the Buenos Aires
metropolitan area beltway).  The northern access road consists of
a toll road and parallel toll-free lanes.  The General Paz Avenue
is toll free.  The concession requires the operation and
maintenance of the toll road, the parallel toll-free lanes, and
the Avenida General Paz.  The toll road provides an important
link with the suburbs northwest of downtown Buenos Aires, with
average daily traffic of about 250,000 vehicles.

CONTACT:  STANDARD & POOR'S
          Matias Badia
          Tel. +54-114-891-2129

          Lidia Polakovic
          Tel. +54-114-891-2130


REPSOL-YPF: Officials Rethink 2002 Investment Plans
---------------------------------------------------
Executives of the Spanish oil and gas company Repsol-YPF are now
working on the details of a plan that contemplates a 15-percent
cut in the Company's worldwide investments during the year.

In a Business News Americas report, Repsol-YPF chairman and CEO
Alfonso Cortina explained that the Company is mulling over the
plan due to low oil prices and its exposure to the Argentine
crisis.

Two thirds of Repsol-YPF's production comes from Argentina. The
Company invested a total of some US$2.86 billion (EURO3.32
billion) in the first nine months of 2001, but has not yet
disclosed full year 2001 figures.

The plan, according to Business News Americas, will be revised in
the middle of the year, once earnings visibility becomes clearer.
The plan also includes controlling costs, a "substantial"
reduction of debt levels, and the strengthening of the company's
own resources.

Repsol-YPF has faced considerable debt since Repsol bought YPF
for US$15 billion in 1999. Meanwhile, the company is also
negotiating with the Argentine government to pay a proposed tax
on oil exports as a single payment, which would represent a
"considerable" outlay.

Analysts suggested Repsol-YPF would not have enough capital to
maintain all its investments, and may have to sell assets such as
its natural gas operations in Trinidad and its stake in natural
gas distributor Gas Natural. However, according to an unnamed
company spokesperson, these divestments are "mere speculation."

CONTACTS:  REPSOL YPF/YPF
           Alfonso Cortina De Alcocer, Chairman & CEO
           Ramon Blanco Balin, Vice Chairman
           Carmelo De Las Morenas Lopez, CFO

           Their Address:
           Paseo de la Castellana 278
           28046 Madrid, Spain
           Phone   +34 91 348 81 00
           Home Page: http://www.repsol.com

           or
           Av. Roque S enz Pe a, 777.
           C.P 1364. Buenos Aires
           Argentina


SIDECO: S&P Cuts Sr. Debt Ratings, Credit Set to Default
--------------------------------------------------------
Sideco Americana's senior unsecured debt ratings were downgraded
by international credit rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P).
The downgrade, according to a report released by Business News
Americas, affects the Company's US$125-million notes that mature
in August.

The rating action follows the acceleration of Sideco's US$125
million in senior unsecured notes, as requested by a group of
bondholders representing more than 25 percent of principal, S&P
said in a statement.

The agency also downgraded Sideco's foreign and local currency
corporate credit ratings to D from SD (selective default) and CC,
respectively, reflecting low cash-generation capacity and
restricted financial flexibility, S&P said.

Sideco is focused mainly on postal services and toll roads, as
well as waste management and also has operations throughout the
Mercosur countries, including Chile and Colombia.


TGN: Fitch Downgrades CRIBs, IFC Trust Certs; Defaults Loom
-----------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has downgraded the foreign and local currency
ratings of Transportadora de Gas del Norte S.A. (TGN) to 'DD'
from 'CC' and 'B-', respectively. TGN's structured transactions,
including the CRIBs and IFC Trust I & II certificates, are
concurrently downgraded to 'C' from 'B-' while maintaining the
Rating Watch Negative status. A 'C' rating indicates an imminent
default.

The rating action reflects the non-payment (i.e., non-
replenishment) of two letters of credit that have been drawn in
late January to meet debt service on the structured transactions
and recent deferral of minor interest payments to other lenders.
None of the company's creditors have given notice of default. TGN
is not in payment default on either the CRIBs or the IFC Trust I
& II certificates as recent maturities of principal and interest
on January 23 and January 28, respectively, were paid with the
respective letters of credit. The next payment date for the IFC
Trust Certificates is February 25. Currently, there is no letter
of credit or reserve account to cover this maturity.

The company is attempting to honor all creditors, and is not
expected to replenish the reserve funds (letters of credit) at
the expense of paying interest to its other creditors. TGN
continues to negotiate with lenders to reach a financing solution
to improve its cash position and allow it to continue operating
as a viable commercial concern.

TGN's financial flexibility has been adversely affected
reflecting the impact of the devaluation, restrictions on bank
withdrawals, implementation of the currency transfer controls as
well as the prolonged recession and government default. TGN and
other market participants are expected to negotiate some type of
revenue recovery or renegotiate their concession agreements to
provide compensation for the government's actions with the goal
of generating sufficient cash flow to service all debt
obligations.

The result and timing of the negotiations is uncertain. What is
clear is that under existing conditions, TGN will find it nearly
impossible to make timely principal and interest payments in the
short term. In such a case, TGN would be expected to have
sufficient cash flow to meet interest payments while deferring
principal payments.

Transportadora de Gas del Norte, S.A. (TGN) is a natural-gas
pipeline company serving the Northern and Central regions of the
Republic of Argentina. The company is 70.4% owned by Gasinvest
S.A., a consortium of TotalFinaElf (27.2%), Compania General de
Combustibles (27.2%), Organization Techint (27.2%), and Petrolium
Nasional Berhad (18.4%). CMS Energy also owns a large stake in
the company (29.4%).

CONTACTS:  FITCH (Chicago)
           Jason T. Todd 1-312-368-3217

           FITCH (New York)
           Alejandro Bertuol 1-212-908-0393, New York

           FITCH (Buenos Aires)
           Ana Paula Ares
           Cecilia Minguillon +54 11 4327-2444

           FITCH (Media Relations, New York)
           James Jockle 1-212-908-0547



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B E R M U D A
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GLOBAL CROSSING: Green Fauth & Jigarjian Files Securities Suit
--------------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Green Fauth & Jigarjian, LLP issued the following
statement Friday. The contact person is Robert A. Jigarjian (415)
477-6700.

A class action lawsuit on behalf of investors in the publicly
traded common stock of Global Crossing, Ltd. (NYSE: GX), who
object to the transaction announced on January 28, 2002, filed
suit Friday in Los Angeles County Superior Court. According to
the Complaint, Global Crossing's directors entered into a
preliminary agreement with Hutchison Whampoa Ltd. and Singapore
Technologies Telemedia Pte. Ltd., to invest $750 million in
Global Crossing, subject to a restructuring through bankruptcy
which will wipe out the equity of current shareholders,
essentially transferring billions of dollars of valuable assets,
including a state-of-the-art intercontinental fiber optic
network, to those entities at bargain-basement prices ("the
Transaction"). Current shareholders have been told that their
entire equity stake in Global Crossing is expected to be wiped
out by this transaction.

The Complaint names as Defendants the directors of Global
Crossing, including founder and chairman Gary Winnick, and chief
executive officer John Legere. The Complaint alleges that
Defendants' actions, including the attempted Transaction,
breached fiduciary duties Global Crossing's directors owed its
shareholders. The Complaint alleges that Defendants breached
fiduciary duties of loyalty and good faith by acting to deprive
shareholders of equity in Global Crossing, by failing to allow
shareholders to vote on the contemplated transfer of assets, and
by failing to pursue alternatives to the Transaction which would
have maximized value for shareholders. Accordingly, the Complaint
seeks damages and an order enjoining consummation of the
Transaction.

According to the allegations of the Complaint, there was no need
for a restructuring destroying shareholder equity, and the
Defendants failed adequately to explore alternatives, including
the divestiture of "non-core" assets such as Global Marine,
estimated to be worth some $500 million alone. The Complaint
quotes a company spokesperson as saying in August 2001, that "Our
cash position remains solid. Based on our reconfirmed guidance we
expect to end 2001 with approximately $1.7 to 2.1 billion in cash
and liquidity. In addition, our capital expenditures will
continue to decrease significantly in 2002, reflecting the
completion of our core network..." The Complaint also quotes CEO
Legere as saying, in a November 7, 2001 interview that, "We
exceeded every bit of guidance... It's all on track... the Global
Crossing team could not have done better... Shareholders should
feel confident that we do what we say." The complaint says that,
when asked about bankruptcy, Mr. Legere stated that, "Global
Crossing has no situation pending where that's something we have
to worry about."

The action is brought on behalf of all persons who owned Global
Crossing securities as of January 28, 2002. Excluded from the
Class are Global Crossing, Hutchison Whampoa and Singapore
Technologies Telemedia, the Defendants and members of the
immediate families of the Defendants; any entity in which any
excluded person or entity has a controlling interest; and, the
legal representatives, heirs, successors or assigns of any
excluded person or entity.

The attorneys of Green Fauth & Jigarjian, LLP have extensive
nationwide experience in prosecuting class actions and other
complex litigation involving breach of fiduciary duty and other
violations of the rights of investors.

CONTACTS:  Green Fauth & Jigarjian, LLP, San Francisco
           Robert A. Jigarjian, 415/477-6700


GLOBAL CROSSING: Debt To Lucent Totals $123 Million
---------------------------------------------------
Global Crossing Ltd. owes at least $123 million to Lucent
Technologies instead of US$31 million as stated in the Bermuda-
based company's recent bankruptcy filing.

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, Lucent, in a
recent court filing, stated that accounts receivable actually
total US$83 million. Lucent also said it had not yet billed for
goods and services valued at about $40 million which were already
provided, the Journal said.

Lucent, which is yet to comment on the report, said it expected
to provide US$45 million in additional goods and services by June
30, under existing purchase orders and arrangements. Lucent asked
the court to force Global Crossing to either accept or reject
outstanding contracts, according to the report.

On January 28, 2002, Global Crossing and certain of its
affiliates (excluding Asia Global Crossing and its subsidiaries)
commenced Chapter 11 cases in the United States Bankruptcy Court
for the Southern District of New York and coordinated proceedings
in the Supreme Court of Bermuda.

CONTACT:  Global Crossing
          Press Contact
          Becky Yeamans
          +1 973-410-5857
          rebecca.yeamans@globalcrossing.com

          Analysts/Investors Contact
          Ken Simril
          +1 310-385-5200
          investors@globalcrossing.com



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

ENRON: Petrobras Must Give Up Bolivian Pipeline Buy New Stakes
--------------------------------------------------------------
The national petroleum regulator (ANP) advised Petroleo
Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) to relinquish control of its natural
gas pipeline from Bolivia if it wants to proceed with the
purchase of Enron Corp.'s ownership in two gas distributors.

According to Sebastiao do Rego Barros, ANP's director-general,
the Brazilian state-controlled oil company, which controls 51
percent of the Bolivia-Brazil pipeline (Gasbol), should sell at
least 2 percent of the company if it wants to move ahead with the
purchase of gas distributors CEG and CEG Rio.

The Brazilian segment of the pipeline is controlled by Petrobras
unit Gaspetro, which owns 51 percent of TBG, the owner of Gasbol.

The ANP sent its opinion to the justice ministry's competition
department, the SDE, and antitrust agency CADE.  The ANP has only
issued a provisional opinion, Barros said, adding that a final
position on the matter will be defined very soon.

Enron has stakes in seven other Brazilian national gas
distributors. Petrobras has recently resumed talks with Enron
after breaking off an agreement to buy the gas distributors
following Enron's bankruptcy declaration in December.

CONTACTS:  Mark Palmer of Enron Corp., +1-713-853-4738
           Enron Corp.
           Investor Relations Dept.
           P.O. Box 1188, Suite 4926B
           Houston, TX 77251-1188
           (713) 853-3956
           Email: investor-relations@enron.com

           Enron Corp.
           Public Relations Dept.
           P.O. Box 1188, Suite 4712
           Houston, TX 77251-1188
           (713) 853-5670


TRANSBRASIL: Fonseca Ousted, New President On Board
---------------------------------------------------
Michel Tuma Ness took over the Brazilian airlines Transbrasil
SA's presidency, toppling businessman Dilson Prado da Fonseca,
whose recent purchase of the airline for the symbolic price of
one real was scrapped.

Fonseca was removed from the deal because he was unable to comply
with necessary legal requirements to seal the acquisition.
Fonseca failed to provide sufficient proof that he had the funds
to help the grounded carrier take flight again and never told
regulators about the sources of his investment.

The newly appointed chairman pledged to resume the operations of
the airline which, since December 3, has been grounded.
Transbrazil's fuel suppliers refused to extend further credit to
cover its bills.

Since 1999, the country's fourth-largest carrier has posted
losses of BRL365.5 million (US$155 million). The airline has
liabilities of more than BRL1 billion (US$416.7 million)

Transbrasil spokesman Carlos Augusto Bagra had said previously
that the Company would meet the government's February 3 deadline
to resume flights, or lose its routes.

Bagra said Transbrasil would receive US$25 million in foreign
financing and an additional US$200 million will be pumped into it
over the next 180 days. Bagra didn't disclose where the money
would come from.

CONTACT:  Antonio Celso Cipriani, CFO
          Rua Geral Pantaleao Telles, No. 4,
          Jardim Aeroporto
          04355-040 Sao Paulo, Brazil
          Phone: +55-11-533-7111
          Fax: +55-11-543-9083



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C H I L E
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TELEFONICA CTC: Restructuring Yields Positive Results
------------------------------------------------------
Chile's No. 1 telephone company, Telefonica CTC Chile, said it
had a fourth-quarter profit on lower costs, reports Bloomberg.
The Chilean unit of Spain's Telefonica SA had a net income of
CLP13.5 billion (US$20.4 million) compared with a loss of CLP72
billion just a year earlier.

"The profits of the company are the result of what we've done in
the long-distance business and how we've reduced our losses in
the mobile phone business as well as what we've achieved in data
service," related Chief Executive Officer Claudio Munoz.

Last year, the Company undertook a corporate restructuring that
required laying off 1,600 employees.

According to Barbara Angerstein, an analyst at Celfin SA, the
Company's profit also reflects an increase in the value of its
stake in Internet company Terra Networks SA. Telefonica CTC's
fourth-quarter profit was below Angerstein's estimate of 16.5
billion pesos.

Net income for 2001 was CLP4.1 billion, the first annual profit
since 1998. The former state-run monopoly reversed losses partly
by reducing costs after the government decreased its calling
rates and revenue in May 1999.

CONTACTS:  Bruno Phillippi Irarr zabal, Chairman
           Claudio Mu oz Zuniga, CEO
           Julio Covarrubias Fernandez, CFO
           Ver›nica Gaete, Financial Analyst
           Mar­a Jos, Rodr­guez, Financial Analyst
           Florencia Acosta, Financial Analyst
           Gisela Escobar, Head of Investor Relations

           THEIR ADDRES:
           Compa ­a de Telecomunicaciones de Chile S.A.
           Av. Providencia 111, Piso 2
           Santiago, Chile
           Phone: +56-2-691-2020
           Fax: +56-2-691-2392
           URL: http://www.ctc.cl


TELEFONICA CTC: Plans To Take Legal Action Over Tariffs
-------------------------------------------------------
Telefonica CTC may file a suit against the government after it
rejected the company's bid to rescind a reduction in calling
rates. According to an AFX report, the lawsuit will seek US$300
million in compensation for losses Telefonica CTC claims it has
accrued under the current tariff system.

The decree took effect in 1999 and expires in May 2004.
Telefonica CTC was seeking a series of amendments to fixed-rate
charges, access fees to its network and taxes.

The request for a revision, according to Telefonica CTC, was
based on what it claims are technical anomalies in the decree
acknowledged by the government, but to which the government has
yet to respond.

On the other hand, the government has said if Telefonica CTC
decides to pursue the matter in court, it will respond in kind.
Economy Minister Jorge Rodriguez explained that the rejection of
Telefonica CTC's request was based on the "law, prudence and the
need to move ahead with a solution, positive or negative."

Telefonica CTC's petition to revise its tariff system was
strongly opposed by its competitors, who argued it would increase
their costs and the final cost for consumers.

Rodriquez acknowledged that the government has still to respond
to the technical arguments advanced by Telefonica for the
revision of its tariff decree, but will do so eventually.



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

HORNASA: Slowly Making Its Way To Recovery
------------------------------------------
Colombian steelmaker Hornos Nacionales (Hornasa) is beginning to
see some improvements, despite the lingering crisis, CEO Ricardo
revealed in a Business News Americas report.

According to Prada, the Company was able to produce 39,000 tons
in 2001. Although the figure is substantially better than the
previous year, it is still far from the Company's total capacity.

Furthermore, Hornasa is now operating three shifts a day and
employs 60 workers, compared to one shift using 20 workers
previously.

"For the moment we are producing what the market demands, and we
have been able to pay several debts, especially some of what we
owed our workers," Prada said.

The company has cut its costs and paid off US$10.7 million in
debts, he said. Its largest creditors are currently the National
Tax and Customs Service (DIAN), the Industrial Development
Institute (IFI), the Bank of Colombia (Bancolombia) and its
employees.

For this year, Hornasa expects similar results to last year,
depending on how the market behaves, whether the US imposes
safeguards on steel imports and especially on the dollar exchange
rate.

The Colombian peso has strengthened against the dollar in recent
days, "and if this trend continues, probably imports will start
to affect us," Prada said.


PAZ DEL RIO: Authorities Yet To Decide On Creditors' Objections
---------------------------------------------------------------
Colombian securities regulators were supposed to deliver a ruling
January 29 on the objections made by the creditors of steel
company Paz del Rio concerning its financial restructuring.

However, the regulators have ordered fresh accounting tests and
information to resolve the objections, thereby holding up the
decision indefinitely.

Gilberto Gomez, the official in charge of the process, remains
optimistic that the financially-troubled company will be able to
keep operating, but according to him, nothing is certain.

"Projects, cash flows and forecasts have already been made but so
far nothing has been accomplished," he said.

Paz del Rio needs an estimated US$60 million to update equipment
and wants the government to guarantee the Company so it can
secure credits in the international market.

According to Gomez, four months will be enough to see if the
rescue plan is working, once it gets underway.



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

CYDSA: Bondholders Skeptical On US$200MM Planned Restructuring
--------------------------------------------------------------
Cydsa SA, a Mexican chemical producer, presented a plan dated
January 25 to restructure $200 million in bonds. According to a
copy of the proposal obtained by Bloomberg, the plan calls for
extending the maturity of Cydsa's 9 3/8 bond maturing in June by
seven years at the same interest rate.

Cydsa already restructured $200.5 million of bank debt in
November. Now the company is asking bondholders to approve the
plan at a February 22 meeting in London.

However, the plan has raised apprehensions among bondholders for
fear they may be forced into an agreement on which they were
never consulted.

"We were never informed" about the restructuring of bank debt and
the formation of the bond plan, said Julio Herrera, managing
director of Fintech Advisory Inc. in New York, which holds an
undisclosed amount of Cydsa bonds. "Clearly bondholders would
have had a lot of interest in participating."

The bank restructuring is contingent on an agreement to refinance
the bonds by May 31, meaning that bondholders may force changes
in the offer or push Cydsa into bankruptcy if they can gather
enough opposition to the plan.

Cydsa fell into debt problems after an Asian economic slowdown in
the late 1990s caused demand and prices for its chemical and
textile products to plummet. The company's earnings before
interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or cash flow, was
$169 million in 1997, the year the bonds were sold. Ebitda
tumbled to $73 million in 2000 and fell by a third in the first
nine months on 2001 compared with the same period in the previous
year, according to the proposal.

The company has sold assets, including its corporate headquarters
in Monterrey, and signed an agreement to restructure the $200.5
million with banks on November 2 to keep from defaulting on debt.

Bondholders are unhappy because some banks sold their Cydsa debt
before the restructuring at a higher price than what bondholders
are being offered, Herrera said. Cydsa will pay principal on the
bank debt after three years, while the bond's principal will be
paid in a lump sum at maturity. The bank debt is also guaranteed
by almost all of Cydsa's assets, the proposal said.

According to Luis Carlos Nunez, director of Latin American fixed
income and capital markets at Salomon Smith Barney Inc. in New
York, the plan is as good as it gets for bondholders because they
are unsecured creditors at Cydsa's holding company level whereas
the bank debt is secured and held at the company's operating
units. Nunez is advising Cydsa on the bond restructure.

CONTACTS:  CYDSA, S.A. DE C.V.
           Tom s Gonz lez Sada, Chairman & CEO
           Ces reo Frˇas Mendoza, CFO

           Avenida Ricardo Margain Zozaya 325,
           Colonia Valle del Campestre
           66220 San Pedro Garza Garcˇa,
           Nuevo Le˘n, Mexico
           Phone: +52-(0)81-8152-4699
           Fax: +52-(0)81-8152-4800
           URL: http://www.cydsa.com


EMPRESAS ICA: Fitch Lowers Debt Ratings; Rating Watch Negative
--------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has downgraded the senior unsecured long-term
foreign currency and senior unsecured local currency debt ratings
of Empresas ICA Sociedad Controladora, S.A. de C.V. (ICA) to 'B'
from 'BB-'. The ratings remain on Rating Watch Negative.

The rating action reflects ICA's limited financial flexibility,
stressed credit protection measures, changing operating
environment, increased competition and an uncertain regional
economic outlook. The assigned ratings consider ICA's position as
Mexico's leading EPC company, management's demonstrated
commitment to capital discipline, including the successful
divestment of non-core assets and debt reduction efforts,
industrial construction partnership with Fluor Daniel, geographic
revenue diversification and the coming ramp-up of key backlog
projects.

ICA's financial profile has been adversely affected by the
changing environment in the Mexican construction industry, under
performing regional concessions, various contract disputes,
Argentine recession, severance costs and completion of the
Cantarell and Esti projects. These factors, coupled with a
weakening domestic macroeconomic environment and delayed public
spending, have hurt the company's profitability and limited its
financial flexibility. Even though credit protection measures
have improved, they remain under considerable pressure. For the
nine-month period ended Sept. 30, 2001, the EBITDA-to-interest
expense coverage ratio was 0.8 times (x) and its total debt-to-
EBITDA ratio was 8.4x. It is important to know that the 3Q01
coverage ratio was influenced by Ps$108 million of one time
charges reflecting severance payments.

The performance of the company's construction segment,
representing 74% of ICA's total 3Q sales, reflects the completion
of the Cantarell project, cancellation or downsizing of various
Argentine projects, increased domestic competition from foreign
EPC contractors and provisions for projects in arbitration and/or
termination. In response to the difficult environment, ICA has
adopted strict return on investment criteria, withdrawn from non-
performing projects, identified non-core assets for divestment,
aggressively reduced headcount (38% since June 2000), focused on
debt reduction and selectively bid on new projects.

In December 2001, management announced a number of actions aimed
at improving the company's financial position and strengthening
its balance sheet. Measures included the repayment of Ps$633
million in short-term bank debt and the refinancing of Ps$315
million in short-term debt; adjustment in the carrying value of
assets to be divested, totaling Ps$2,163 million in write-downs;
a Ps$674 million write-off in the goodwills of its Alsur and CPC
subsidiaries; creation of a Ps$354 million contingent reserve for
overdue accounts receivable over 120 days; and a PS$100 million
provision for expenses resulting from continuing downsizing.
These actions are expected to result in a Ps$3,441 million
reduction in shareholders' equity. These measures are non-
recurring and do not represent a cash outlay for the company.
Fitch views these actions as positive, reflecting management's
commitment towards improving ICA's financial health and long-run
competitiveness.

Management has demonstrated strong discipline in managing its
debt and capital structure. Since the tequila crisis, ICA has
made debt reduction a key priority. Over the past six years,
leverage has fallen by 72% to Ps$6.4 billion. Proceeds from asset
sales, most recently US$122.4 million for its aggregates
business, have also been applied for debt reduction. The company
plans to continue reducing debt, mainly through divestment of
non-core assets, which are expected to total US$125 million in
2002 and US$125 million in 2003. As of September 2001, ICA's debt
was comprised of 59% non-peso denominated obligations, naturally
hedged by its non-peso revenue generation, representing 64% of
total sales. The company's US$220 million convertible debentures
due in March 2004 account for the majority of its hard currency
leverage. Approximately 43% of the debt profile is categorized as
short-term. The company's near-term maturity schedule is
manageable.

ICA's current construction backlog represents 12 months of sales,
with the main projects being the Altamira III & IV power plants
worth US$192 million and the Mexicali thermoelectric plant worth
US$157 million. Work on both of these projects will accelerate
during 2002, benefiting cash flow generation. Pemex's proposed
2002-2003 US$14 billion investment program, the new US$2.8
billion Mexico City airport and various CFE power projects
scheduled for start-up this year should afford new and
significant EPC contract opportunities. Fitch believes ICA is
well positioned to bid on these projects, and should be able to
participate in a number of them in some form.

ICA's Argentine exposure is not significant. CPC, its Argentine
subsidiary, only accounted for 5% of total revenues as of 3Q01
and generated negative operating revenues. Given the Southern
Cone nation's uncertain macroeconomic environment and sharp
contraction in construction activity, ICA is currently downsizing
its Argentine operations. The AES-sponsored 'Los Caracoles'
hydroelectric plant constitutes the company's principal local
project. ICA has already received an advanced payment of US$25
million covering work for 2002 on the $110 million project.

Empresas ICA (ICA) is Mexico's largest engineering, procurement
and construction company in terms of revenues and assets.
Established in 1947, the company is engaged in a full range of
construction and related activities, including the construction
of infrastructure, industrial, urban and housing facilities. ICA
also participates in the development and marketing of real
estate, the construction, maintenance and operation of highways,
bridges and tunnels and in the management and operation of water
supply systems and automobile parking facilities under
concessions granted by governmental authorities.

CONTACT:  FITCH (New York)
          Alejandro Bertuol 1-212-908-0393

          FITCH (Chicago)
          Roberto Guerra 1-312-368-3343

          FITCH (Media Relations, New York)
          James Jockle 1-212-908-0547

          EMPRESAS ICA SOCIEDAD CONTROLADORA S.A. DE C.V.
          Bernardo Quintana Isaac, Chairman/Pres/CEO
          Jos‚ L. Guerrero Alvarez, EVP Finance and CFO

          THEIR ADDRESS:
          Mineria No. 145, Colonia Escand˘n
          11800 M‚xico, D.F., Mexico
          Phone: +52-55-5272-9991
          Fax: +52-55-5227-5012
          URL: http://www.ica.com.mx


STARMEDIA NETWORK: Nasdaq delists; Accounting Issues Remain
-----------------------------------------------------------
StarMedia Network (http://www.starmedianetwork.net), an
integrated Internet Media and Business Solutions company
targeting Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking audiences, announced
Friday that the Nasdaq has informed the Company that its
securities will be delisted from The Nasdaq Stock Market
effective February 1, 2002.

The reason stated by the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Panel for
its action was that StarMedia Network was not in compliance with
Nasdaq's Marketplace Rule 4310c(14) as a result of the Company's
failure to file its Form 10-Q for the fiscal quarter ended
September 30, 2001.

As previously disclosed, StarMedia Network has determined to
delay filing such financial statements until it has concluded its
investigation into certain revenue recognition issues concerning
its Mexican subsidiaries.

StarMedia Network is evaluating alternative courses of action
available to the Company.

StarMedia Network is an integrated Internet Media and Business
Solutions company targeting Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking
audiences, providing technology and services that enable
consumers and businesses to take full advantage of the
Internet.  The company has operations in Argentina, Brazil,
Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Spain, Venezuela, and
throughout the United States.

CONTACT:  STARMEDIA NETWORK
          Media - Romi Schutzer
          Tel. +1-212-905-8269
          romi.schutzer@starmedia.net

          Mariana Cavin
          Tel. +1-212-905-8267
          mariana.cavin@starmedia.net

          INVESTORS:
          Daniel Oehl of Zemi Communications
          for StarMedia Network
          Tel. +1-212-689-9560
          djoehl@zemi.com



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

CORPOSANA: Another Spanish Firm Plans To Buy Bidding Rules
----------------------------------------------------------
Aguas de Bilbao operations director Juan Antonio Hernando
revealed that the Spanish water utility would buy the rules for
the privatization of Paraguayan utility Corposana, reports
Business News Americas.

According to Hernando, Aguas de Bilbao would buy the rules in
order to find out in greater detail the contractual obligations
that come with the sale rather than simply registering interest.

The upcoming sale of Paraguay's state water utility Corposana has
manged to attract one more company, reports Business News
Americas.

Aguas de Bilbao will join with fellow Spanish company Canal de
Isabel II; UK-based companies Anglian Water and International
Water; France's Proactiva Medio Ambiente (Vivendi-FCC) and Ondeo;
a consortium made up of Uruguay's state water utility OSE and
Spain's Aguas de Valencia; and Paraguayan firms Compania
Internacional de Aguas, Consorcio EMSA-ECOMIPA, Fluoder and
Consorcio EDB.

Corposana's workers union and capital Asuncion may also form a
consortium to compete for the utility, but there's still no word
about the plans.

February 8 is the deadline to purchase the guidelines package for
a fee of US$3,000 and February 21 is the last day for companies
to deliver qualification documents.

Qualified Companies will then gain access to the Corposana data
room, with final bids tentatively scheduled for opening on June
27.

Chicago-based firm Baker & McKenzie is the sale's legal adviser.
Spanish banking group Santander Central Hispano is the financial
consultant and Spanish consulting firm Nmas1 is managing the sale
process.

CONTACTS:  CORPOSANA LEGAL ADVISER:
           Baker & McKenzie
           Latin America Regional Council
           c/o Eduardo de Cerqueira Leite - Chairman
           Av. Dr. Chucri Zaidan 920, 8th floor
           Market Place Tower I
           04583-904 Sao Paulo, SP, Brazil
           Tel: (55-11) 3048-6800
           Fax: (55-11) 5506-3455
           Email: info-latinamerica@bakernet.com
           Marketing Manager: Ellen Van-Waveren

           Baker & McKenzie Headquarters:
           1 Prudential Plaza, 130 E. Randolph Dr., Ste. 2500
           Chicago, IL 60601
           Phone: 312-861-8800
           Fax: 312-861-2899
           Bakerinfo.com

           FINANCIAL CONSULTANT:
           Banco Santander Central Hispano
           Plaza de Canalejas,1
           28014 Madrid, Spain
           Phone: +34-91-558-10-31
           Fax: +34-91-552-66-70

           CORPOSANA:
           Emilio Botn-Sanz, Chairman
           Angel Corc>stegui Guraya, First Vice-Chairman and CEO
           Jos, Luis del Valle, EVP Finance



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

BANCO COMERCIAL: Fitch Downgrades Long-term Debt Rating
-------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings announced Friday that it has downgraded Banco
Comercial del Uruguay's (BCU) Long-term debt rating to 'BB+',
Rating Watch Negative from 'BBB-', Negative Rating Outlook. The
downgrade reflects concerns with BCU's substantial exposure to
Argentine public and private sector borrowers, as well as with
possible negative repercussions for the bank following fraud
allegations made in Argentina against two members of BCU's board,
Carlos Rohm, BCU's general manager, and Jose Rohm, both indirect
minority shareholders of BCU. The Rating Watch reflects the
continued uncertainty surrounding the bank's current situation,
which could lead to further rating actions in the near future.

Uruguay's largest private sector bank and leading retail bank,
BCU is controlled by a group of three strong international
financial institutions, JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse First
Boston, and Dresdner Bank Lateinamerika, which jointly control
74% of BCU's voting shares.

The Central Bank of Uruguay announced Thursday that the Rohm
brothers had resigned their positions in BCU's management, and
that a new general manager would be appointed within 48 hours.
These events unfolded in the wake of allegations of potentially
substantial fraud at Argentina's Banco General de Negocios, which
was indirectly controlled by the Rohm brothers, and in which the
three financial institutions named above are minority
shareholders.

BCU's Argentine exposure, well in excess of its current equity
base, will be heavily affected by that country's moratorium on
most foreign payments, and results at the bank will reflect this
negative effect. Conservative provisioning for this exposure
would be in excess of BCU's current earnings, and the bank has
yet to announce the measures it will take with regard to its
exposure. Given the need to provide against this exposure, and
the potential that the allegations of fraud may affect the bank,
shareholders may face a difficult decision as to further support
for the bank. Given BCU's prominent position in the Uruguayan
market, though, Fitch says it is confident that Uruguay's Central
Bank can and will provide BCU with support, should it prove
necessary.

CONTACT:  FITCH (New York)
          Peter Shaw 1-212-908-0553
          FITCH (Buenos Aires)
          Lorna Martin (5411) 4327 2444, ext. 31
          Ana Gavuzzo(5411) 4327 2444, ext. 73

          FITCH (Media Relations, New York)
          Matt Burkhard 1-212-908-0540


BANCO COMERCIAL: Moody's Reviews Ratings For Possible Downgrade
---------------------------------------------------------------
The ratings of Banco Comercial S.A., the largest private bank in
Uruguay, are now under Moody's Investors Service's review for
possible downgrade.

The ratings affected are the Uruguayan bank's Baa3 long-term, P-3
short term, Ba1 Subordinate, and D+ Bank Financial Strength
ratings.

The action came amid Argentine authorities' allegations that the
Vice Chairman and general manager of Banco Comercial, Carlos
Rohm, and his brother Jose Rohm, a Director of the bank, have
been involved in fraudulent practices.

The allegations have been made in their capacity as controlling
owners of Banco General de Negocios in Argentina (BGN). The fraud
charges have been made in relation to illicit operations
totalling some US$260 million at BGN. While there is no direct
equity relationship between Banco Comercial and BGN, the two
banks share similar owners and through the brothers Rohm, similar
senior management.

Moody's said that the review will focus on the degree to which
Banco Comercial's financial strength and creditworthiness may be
made vulnerable by the alleged improprieties of Messrs. Rohm, as
well as on any exposure, either direct or indirect, it may have
to BGN.

Moody's further noted that a majority of the bank is owned by
leading multinational banks, which in the past have provided it
with financial support. The present allegations were made after
one of the multinational banks advised the Argentine authorities
of possible improprieties.

New York
Philip J. Guarco
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

New York
Gregory W. Bauer
Managing Director
Financial Institutions Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653


BANCO COMERCIAL: S&P Puts Rtgs On CreditWatch; Neg Implications
---------------------------------------------------------------
Following the moves made by Fitch and Moody's, international
credit rating agency Standard and Poor's (S&P) also took rating
actions on Uruguayan bank Banco Comercial SA.

S&P has placed the long-and short-term counterparty credit and CD
ratings of Banco Comercial on creditwatch with negative
implications following fraud allegations made in Argentina
against two indirect owners and executive board members of
Comercial.

Simultaneously, the 'SD' counterparty credit rating on the
Argentine bank Banco General de Negocios (BGN) - which is the
center of the fraud allegations - is unchanged, since (like all
Argentine banks) it is already in default on its deposit
obligations.

With total assets of US$2.3 billion and equity of US$174 million
as of September 31, 2001, Comercial is the largest Uruguayan
private-sector bank. It maintains 50 full-service branches
nationwide. The bank is engaged mainly in commercial banking to
individuals and small and midsize companies.



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

IBH: Sinks Deeper Into Red Due To Orinoco Iron Woes
---------------------------------------------------
Ongoing problems at its Orinoco Iron unit dragged Venezuelan iron
company International Briquettes Holding (IBH) deeper into the
red in the quarter ended December 31, 2001.

According to a Bloomberg report, IBH's losses during the fiscal
first quarter amounted to US$17.9 million, compared to US$13.6
million in the year-ago period.

The Company, which makes hot iron briquettes that are used to
boost the iron-ore content of the scrap steel used by mini-mills,
didn't break out per share results.

Orinoco Iron reportedly suffered two production outages during
the quarter, one of which resulted in a 10-day shutdown.

IBH posted sales of US$13.5 million during the quarter, a 3.5
percent up from $13.1 million posted during the same period in
2000.

IBH's Orinoco Iron joint venture earlier defaulted on a $623.4
million loan. The unit's overall debt now totals $658 million as
restructuring talks continue, according to a statement issued by
the Company.

IBH is majority-owned by Venezuela's Siderurgica Venezolana
Sivensa SA.

CONTACTS:  INTERNATIONAL BRIQUETTES HOLDING
           Henrique Machado Zuloaga, Chairman
           Oscar Augusto Machado, CEO
           Gustavo Machado, CFO

      THEIR ADDRESS:
           Av. Venezuela, Edificio Torre America, Piso 11.,
           Urbanizacion Bello Monte.
           Caracas, Venezuela
           Phone: +58-(0)2-707-6145
           Fax: +58-(0)2-707-6335
           URL:
http://www.sivensa.com.ve/espanol/english/corpo/ibh.htm


               ***********


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 Fe Ong Va¤o, Editors.

Copyright 2002.  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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