TCRLA_Public/020222.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

            Friday, February 22, 2002, Vol. 3, Issue 38

                           Headlines



A R G E N T I N A

AGUAS ARGENTINAS: S&P Lowers Rating On IADB B Loan
BANCO GALICIA: Government May Consider Bailout
BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Moves To Prevent Default By Swapping Debt
BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Company Profile
ELECTRICITY SECTOR: S&P Views Argentine Law As Negative
REPSOL YPF: To Increase Prices Of Fuel In Argentina


B E R M U D A

GLOBAL CROSSING: Keller Rohrback LLP Files ERISA Fraud Suit
GLOBAL CROSSING: Milberg Weiss Commences Class Action Suit
GLOBAL CROSSING: SEC Drags 360networks Into Investigation
GLOBAL CROSSING: Cohen, Milstein Files Securities Class Action
GLOBAL CROSSING: Law Firm Accuses Execs of Inflating Earnings


B R A Z I L


EMBRAER: Brazil Has WTO Backing For Reprisal Against Canada


C O L O M B I A

SEVEN SEAS: Chairman and CEO Establishes 10b5-1 Sales Plan


H O N D U R A S

GEOMAQUE EXPLORATIONS: Closes Stock Private Placement


M E X I C O

AHMSA: Begins Operations At Blast Furnace No. 3
BANCA QUADRUM: IPAB To Pay Depositors
GRUPO DESC: Shares Up On Announcement Of Investment Plans
NII HOLDINGS: Nextel Opens Main Telecommunications Center


N I C A R A G U A

ENITEL: Sale Of Stake To Employees Awaits HR, Regulatory OK


U R U G U A Y

BANCO COMERCIAL: Govt., Foreign Owners Buying Shares To Rescue


V E N E Z U E L A

AES CORP.: S&P Maintains Watch Negative Status


     - - - - - - - - - -


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

AGUAS ARGENTINAS: S&P Lowers Rating On IADB B Loan
--------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's lowered its rating Wednesday on Aguas
Argentinas S.A.'s $140 million fixed-rate IADB B loan to double-
'C' from triple-'C'-minus, following the downgrade of the local
currency rating of the underlying obligor for this transaction,
Argentina's largest water utility, Aguas Argentinas S.A. (Aguas)
to selective default from triple-'C'-minus, on Feb. 19, 2002. The
foreign currency rating of Aguas remains at selective default.

The downgrade of Aguas' local currency rating was triggered by
its inability to make interest payments on the $108 million
senior unsecured bank loan due in 2005. Aguas' financial and
economic performance has been negatively affected by the
pesification of tariffs and the unsettling devaluation of the
Argentine peso during 2002. This caused Aguas' debt repayment
capacity to weaken dramatically due to the mismatch between the
now peso-denominated generated cash and the mostly dollar-
denominated debt.

Aguas has a 30-year exclusive concession, which was granted in
1993, to operate the largest water and sewage system in
Argentina, serving a densely populated area of approximately 9.5
million people in the city of Buenos Aires and 17 districts of
the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires.

Aguas Argentinas S.A.'s $140 million fixed-rate IADB B loan
transaction benefits from Inter American Development Bank's
preferred creditor status umbrella. The next payment for the
transaction is due in May 2002, and the continued performance of
the deal will depend on Aguas' ability and willingness to make
the respective payment in U.S. dollars.

CONTACT:  STANDARD & POOR'S
          Jorge Solari, +54-114-891-2114
          Juan Pablo De Mollein, +54-114-891-2113
          Diane Audino, +1-212-438-2388
          Lidia Polakovic, +54-114-891-2130


BANCO GALICIA: Government May Consider Bailout
----------------------------------------------
Argentine bank Banco de Galiciay y Buenos Aires SA, which is now
on the brink of collapse, may get financial assistance from the
government, reports Bloomberg.

Already, the country's central bank has lent Banco Galicia ARS2
billion (US$969 million) to cover withdrawals, more than any
other non-state bank in Argentina.

Economy Ministry and central bank officials were expected to meet
Wednesday to discuss ways to save Galicia, Silvia Mercado, a
ministry spokeswoman said.

"They will probably not survive without help from the
government," said Magali Bim, a banking analyst at Credit
Lyonnais Securities in Sao Paulo. "Things could only get worse."

The government may appoint an administrator and leave management
in place, people familiar with the plans said.

"The government will likely rescue Galicia, but that doesn't mean
they are going to save the shareholders," said Robert
Lacoursiere, a Lehman Brothers Inc. analyst in New York.

With 260 branches across Argentina, Galicia has seen deposits
fall by ARS1.2 billion, or a fifth of its total, since December,
according to bank officials. The bank lost ARS2.1 billion of
deposits between early July and November, central bank documents
revealed. The bank indicated the extent of its losses last week
when it closed a Uruguayan bank because a wave of withdrawals
left it short of cash.


BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Moves To Prevent Default By Swapping Debt
------------------------------------------------------------
In a move to stave off a default in the wake of the Argentine
government's decision to devalue currency and ban overseas money
transfers, Banco Hipotecario SA offered to swap its debt due this
year for securities maturing in three years, says Bloomberg.

Banco Hipotecario, which has some $315 million in dollar- and
euro- dominated debt due this year, offered to repay 15 percent
of the principal in cash, while rolling over the remaining 85
percent through the issuance of new three-year bonds.

The bank also offered to swap the US$133 million of 12.5 percent
debt due March 15 for a bond that pays 9 percent interest.
Additionally it offered to exchange its two payments of EUR100
million issued at 9 percent and due March 27 and Oct. 18, at 8
percent, Bloomberg adds.

The euro debt was issued by France's BNP Paribas SA, mostly in
Italy, while the dollar-denominated debt was issued by Salomon
Smith Barney in the U.S.

Banco Hipotecario is an affiliate of Inversiones y
Representaciones SA (IRSA) and is Argentina's No. 1 mortgage
lender. Its largest shareholder is Banco de la Nacion Argentina,
while the state holds a golden share. The other shareholders
include George Soros' investment vehicles Quantum Industrial
Partners LDC and Quantum Dolphin PLC.


BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Company Profile
----------------------------------
NAME: Banco Hipotecario Sociedad Anonima
      151 Reconquista
      Buenos Aires
      Argentina

PHONE: +54 011 4347 5546

WEBSITE: http://www.hipotecario.com.ar

EXECUTIVE MANAGEMENT TEAM:

     Eduardo Sergio Elztain, Chairman
     Harold Joseph Freiman, Vice Chairman
     Marta H.M. De Lopez Saenz, Secretary

INVESTOR RELATIONS:  Tel. (54-11) 4-347-5115/5759
                     Fax  (54-11) 4-347-5874
                     email: ri@hipotecario.com.ar

TYPE OF BUSINESS: Founded in 1886, Banco Hipotecario S.A. is
Argentina's biggest mortgage lender.  The BHN was established to
assist in developing financing for housing construction and
purchase money mortgages. Refocused strictly as a wholesale bank
in 1990, the BHN now operates through some 20 non-banking
agencies located nationwide.

SIC: Banking and mortgage financing

EMPLOYEES: 1,474

TOTAL ASSETS: 5,188,740 (in thousands of pesos, for the yr ended
                 12/31/2000)

TOTAL LIABILITIES: 3,231,285 (in thousands of pesos, for the yr
                       ended 12/31/2000)

PUBLIC SECURITIES: 150,000,000 Total Shares Outstanding

FINANCIAL ADVISOR:

      AGS Financial LLC- New York
      350 Theodore Fremd Ave
      Rye, New York, NY 10580
      Phone: 914-925-3472
      Contact: Randy Appleyard
      e-mail: rappleyard@agsfinancial.com

      AGS Financial LLC- Raleigh
      5608 Cooper Beech Lane
      Wake Forest, NC 27587
      Phone: 919-570-8126
      Contact: Deborah Grissom
      e-mail: dgrissom@agsfinancial.com

      AGS Financial - CHILE
      Administraci˘n de Activos Financieros
      San Francisco de Asis 0284, El Golf
      Las Condes
      Santiago, Chile
      Phone: 56-2-242-9600 Fax: 56-2-207-7371
      Contact: Patricio Diaz
      e-mail: pdiaz@acfin.cl


REGISTRAR & TRANSFER AGENT: Caja de Valores S.A.
                            Sarmiento 299 P.B.
                            Buenos Aires (1353) Argentina

AUDITORS: Price Waterhouse Coopers
          Haterneck, Lopez y Cia, Partner
          Avenida A Moreau de Justo 270, Piso 2
          Puerto Madero
          C1107AAF Buenos Aires
          Argentina
          Telephone: [54] (11) 4319 4600

DEPOSITORY AGENT: Bank of New York
                  One Wall Street
                  New York, NY 10286
                  Tel. 212-495-1784
                  www.bankofny.com


ELECTRICITY SECTOR: S&P Views Argentine Law As Negative
-------------------------------------------------------
Argentina's recently passed Public Emergency and Reform of the
Foreign Exchange Regime Law creates a large imbalance between
electric companies' operating costs and their revenues, which
jeopardizes the sector's short-term economic prospects, said a
recently released Standard & Poor's report.

The report, "Argentine Electricity Industry: Is There Light at
the End of the Tunnel?," added that the "pesification" and
"disindexation" of the transportation and distribution companies'
tariffs, together with the local currency's devaluation, caused
an unsettling economic and financial imbalance for such
companies.

"The real effect, however, is still uncertain because the terms
in which concession contracts will be renegotiated, such as
tariff adjustments and service quality, are still unknown," said
Sergio Fuentes, an associate with Standard & Poor's Industrial
Ratings group in Buenos Aires. The fate of Argentina's
electricity industry, hit hard by pesification and the change in
relative prices resulting from the peso devaluation, lies in the
evolution of two areas:

-- The definition of a new tariff system for the regulated
sectors --transportation and distribution--and a pricing system
for the generation sector, to allow companies to recover new
levels of operating costs on the basis of an efficient operation;
and

-- The definition of an adequate mechanism to restore economic
equilibrium after the devaluation for companies with large
foreign debt. The tariffs of regulated companies in the Argentine
electric sector were "pesified" and no longer indexed in January
2002 by the passage of the Law of Public Emergency and Reform of
the Foreign Exchange Regime, No. 25,561 (Section 8), the report
said. These measures were taken in connection with a peso
devaluation that altered the Currency Board regime that Argentina
had for 10 years. The law also established the renegotiation of
the concession contracts on the basis of very general criteria
(Section 9).

CONTACT:  STANDARD & POOR'S
          Sergio Fuentes, Buenos Aires +54-114-891-2131
          Lidia Polakovic, Buenos Aires, +54-114-891-2130


REPSOL YPF: To Increase Prices Of Fuel In Argentina
---------------------------------------------------
Repsol YPF President Alfonso Cortina announced Wednesday that the
oil giant would raise the price of its fuels in Argentina, a
decision which came after Exxon and Shell announced the same
measures.

Cortina said oil companies and the Argentine government are still
in negotiations, adding that for now, talks "are going well for
everyone involved."

Last week, Argentine President Eduardo Duhalde approved a new
five-year 20-percent tax on crude exports and a 5-percent tax on
exports of some petroleum derivatives.

However, Repsol is not raising its prices in reaction to the
President's decision. According to Cortina, the hike of Repsol
YPF's fuels in Argentina is due to the rising cost of crude oil.

Repsol YPF estimates it will have to pay an additional EUR500
million (US$430 million) in taxes over the five years the new
taxes are expected to be in effect.



=============
B E R M U D A
=============

GLOBAL CROSSING: Keller Rohrback LLP Files ERISA Fraud Suit
-------------------------------------------------
Keller Rohrback LLP of Seattle, WA has filed an ERISA fraud class
action in the United States District Court for the Central
District of California, Western Division, on behalf of
participants and beneficiaries of the Global Crossing Ltd.
Employees' Retirement Savings Plan (NYSE:GX) from Sept. 28, 1999,
to the present (the "Class Period").

Under the law interpreting ERISA, the defendants (the Plan's
directors and administrators and the Company's officers and
directors) may have breached their fiduciary duties of loyalty
and prudence by failing to disclose and inform the Plan
participants and beneficiaries with respect to the Company's
operations and prospects. Rather than providing complete and
accurate information to the Plan's participants, it is alleged
that the defendants may have withheld and concealed material
information, thereby encouraging participants and beneficiaries
to continue to make and maintain substantial investments in
company stock and the Plans.

CONTACT:  Keller Rohrback L.L.P.
          Jennifer Tuato'o, 800/776-6044
          Email: investor@kellerrohrback.com


GLOBAL CROSSING: Milberg Weiss Commences Class Action Suit
----------------------------------------------------------
Milberg Weiss announced Wednesday that a class action has been
commenced in the United States District Court for the Central
District of California on behalf of all persons who purchased or
otherwise acquired Global Crossing Ltd. ("Global Crossing")
(NYSE:GX) publicly traded securities during the period between
February 14, 1999 and October 4, 2001 (the "Class Period"),
including those persons who acquired Global Crossing common stock
pursuant to a merger which closed on September 28, 1999 between
Global Crossing and Fronteir Corporation.

The complaint charges certain of Global Crossing's officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
Due to its recent bankruptcy filing, Global Crossing is not named
as a defendant in the action. The complaint alleges that during
the Class Period, defendants issued false and misleading
statements and press releases concerning Global Crossing's
financial statements, their ability to offset declining wholesale
demand for bandwidth capacity with higher-margin, customized data
services and the Company's ability to generate sufficient cash
revenue to service its debt. During the Class Period, before the
disclosure of the true facts, the Individual Defendants and
certain Global Crossing insiders sold their personally held
Global Crossing common stock generating more than $1.5 billion in
proceeds and the Company raised over $7 billion in debt and
equity offerings.

However, the full extent of Global Crossing's cash flow crisis,
and its failure to compete in the market for customized
communications services, began to emerge on October 4, 2001. On
that date, the Company issued a string of stunning announcements:
cash revenues in the third quarter would be approximately $1.2
billion, $400 million less than the $1.6 billion expected by a
consensus of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call.
The cash revenue shortfall was purportedly the result of a "sharp
falloff" in wholesale IRU sales to carrier customers. The Company
further announced that it expected recurring adjusted EBITDA to
be "significantly less than $100 million" compared to forecasts
of $400 million. Following these announcements, Global Crossing's
share priced plunged by 49% to $1.07 per share.

Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of all purchasers of
Global Crossing publicly traded securities during the Class
Period (the "Class"). The plaintiff is represented by Milberg
Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP, who has expertise in
prosecuting investor class actions and extensive experience in
actions involving financial fraud.

CONTACT:  Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach LLP, San Diego
          William Lerach, 800/449-4900
          wsl@milberg.com


GLOBAL CROSSING: SEC Drags 360networks Into Investigation
---------------------------------------------------------
360networks announced Wednesday that it has received a third-
party subpoena from the United States Securities and Exchange
Commission ("SEC") seeking documents in connection with the SEC's
investigation of Global Crossing Ltd. The Company intends to
cooperate fully with the SEC's request for such documents.

About 360networks

360networks offers optical network services to telecommunications
and data communications companies in North America. The company's
optical mesh fiber network spans approximately 36,000 kilometers
(22,000 miles) in the United States and Canada.

On June 28, 2001, the company and several of its operating
subsidiaries voluntarily filed for protection under the
Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) in the Supreme Court
of British Columbia. Concurrently, the company's principal U.S.
subsidiary, 360networks (USA) inc., and 22 of its affiliates
voluntarily filed for protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S.
Bankruptcy Code in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern
District of New York. In October 2001, four operating
subsidiaries that are part of the 360atlantic group of companies
also voluntarily filed for protection in Canada. Insolvency
proceedings for several subsidiaries of the company have been
instituted in Europe and Asia.

For more information, please contact:

    Nancy Bacchieri
    Director of investor relations
    360networks
    206.239.4064
    ir@360.net


GLOBAL CROSSING: Cohen, Milstein Files Securities Class Action
--------------------------------------------------------------
On February 11, 2002 Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C.
(cmht.com) filed a class action against certain Global Crossing,
Ltd. (NYSE: GX) ("Global Crossing") officers and directors in the
United States District Court for the Southern District of New
York. The suit is brought on behalf of all persons or entities
who purchased the common stock of Global Crossing between January
2, 2001 and October 4, 2001, inclusive (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges certain of Global Crossing's officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
The complaint alleges, among other things, that during the Class
Period defendants improperly recorded revenue on the Company's
bandwidth trading contracts, in violation of GAAP, thereby
substantially overstating earnings. It also alleges that while
the Company's shares were artificially inflated, certain
defendants engaged in heavy insider trading, selling a total of
more than $135 million of their personal shares.

Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of the Class and is
represented by Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C. For
questions about this notice or the action please contact either
of the following:

               Steven J. Toll, Esq.
                    or
               Lisa Polk
               Cohen, Milstein, Hausfeld & Toll, P.L.L.C.
               1100 New York Avenue, N.W.
               West Tower, Suite 500
               Washington, D.C.  20005-3964
               Telephone:  888-240-0775 or 202-408-4600
               E-mail: stoll@cmht.com or lpolk@cmht.com


GLOBAL CROSSING: Law Firm Accuses Execs of Inflating Earnings
-------------------------------------------------------------
Several top officers of Global Crossing Ltd. (NYSE: GX) (OTC
Bulletin Board: GBLXQ) are subjects of a shareholder class action
accusing them of releasing false and misleading financial
statements to the public, Berman DeValerio Pease Tabacco Burt &
Pucillo said today.

The complaint was filed February 11, 2002 in the U.S. District
Court for the Southern District of New York and seeks damages for
violations of federal securities laws on behalf of all investors
who bought Global Crossing stock from January 2, 2001 through
October 4, 2001 (the "Class Period").

The complaint charges five top Global Crossing managers with
artificially inflating earnings by improperly recording and
reporting cash and revenue from certain long-term lease contracts
for the rights to use the company's fiber optic cable network.
Simultaneously, the complaint says, Global Crossing entered into
substantially similar agreements with the same companies to
purchase bandwidth capacity from them in a different area. In
essence, the complaint alleges that these swap transactions were
improperly recorded to artificially inflate the company's
financial results.

At the same time, the company was carrying an increasingly heavy
debt burden that was exacerbated by an ever-shrinking market for
bandwidth. This forced the company to drastically lower its
prices. The company was unable to offset the declining demand for
bandwidth capacity with the sale of customized provider services
because, unknown to investors, the defendants had no viable plan
for establishing Global Crossing as a provider of these services,
the complaint says.

Also during the Class Period, the complaint says, the individual
defendants and other Global Crossing insiders generated more that
$149 million from insider stock sales.

The full extent of Global Crossing's financial crisis began to
emerge on October 4, 2001 when the company announced that its
third quarter 2001 cash revenues were $400 million below
expectations and that it was selling off its desktop trading
systems division. The complaint says that investors were also
stunned by the announcement that the company's expected recurring
adjusted EBITDA would fall almost $300 million less than analyst
expectation. In reaction to these statements, Global Crossing
stock plunged 49% to $1.07 per share.

CONTACT:

    Jeffrey C. Block, Esq.
    Michael G. Lange, Esq.
    Patrick T. Egan, Esq.
    One Liberty Square
    Boston, MA 02109
    (800) 516-9926
    law@bermanesq.com



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

===========


EMBRAER: Brazil Has WTO Backing For Reprisal Against Canada
-----------------------------------------------------------
The government reserves the right to seek reprisals under the
auspices of the WTO if Canada does not remove subsidies to
Bombardier Inc to the detriment of Empresa Brasileira de
Aeronautica SA (EMBRAER), foreign ministry under-secretary for
external trade Jose Alfredo Garca Lima said in AFX report.

Canada on Tuesday decided against appealing a WTO ruling that
loans it provided to Bombardier Inc. were illegal, saying it
preferred to negotiate a settlement of its long-running dispute
with Brazil on the issue.

"This does not imply that Canada agrees with all of the
findings," said Canadian Ambassador Sergio Marchi. But, he added,
"we believe it is preferable now to seek a solution through
negotiation rather than through continued WTO litigation."

Canada claims that its cut-rate loans to finance sales by
Quebec's regional jetmaker Bombardier Inc. were to match
Brazilian aid to its own jet manufacturer, Embraer SA.

A WTO investigation panel ruled last month that the Canadian
government support that helped Bombardier clinch three recent
contracts with U.S. and Spanish airlines worth about $4 billion
had violated trade rules. It urged Ottawa to "withdraw the
subsidies ... without delay."

CONTACTS:  EMBRAER
           Bob Sharp, Press office mgr.
           bob.sharp@embraer.com.br
                  OR
           Wagner Gonzalez, Press officer
           wagner.gonzalez@embraer.com.br
           Phone +55 12 3945 1311
           Fax + 55 12 3945 2411



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

SEVEN SEAS: Chairman and CEO Establishes 10b5-1 Sales Plan
----------------------------------------------------------
Seven Seas Petroleum Inc. (Amex: SEV) announced that Robert A.
Hefner III, Chairman and CEO of Seven Seas, has established a
plan under U.S. Securities and Exchange (SEC) Rule 10b5-1 to sell
1,000,000 shares of Seven Seas common stock at various prices
above the current market price. Under the sales plan, Mr. Hefner
expects to sell 300,000 shares at prices between $4.00 and $6.99
per share, 350,000 shares between $7.00 and $9.99 per share, and
350,000 shares at $10.00 per share or above. Mr. Hefner currently
owns 4,783,251 shares and, through the exercise of warrants and
stock options, has the right to purchase an additional 8,699,402
shares. In accordance with SEC Rule 10b5-1, Mr. Hefner's sales
plan was designed to assure that all sales of common stock sold
under the plan will not be influenced by, or made on the basis
of, material non-public information of which Mr. Hefner or any of
his affiliates may be in possession.

Seven Seas Petroleum Inc. is an independent oil and gas
exploration and production company operating in Colombia, South
America. The Company's primary emphasis is on the development and
production of the Guaduas Oil Field and exploration of the
Subthrust Dindal Prospect, both of which are located in
Colombia's prolific Magdalena Basin.

Statements regarding anticipated oil and gas production and other
oil and gas operating activities, including the costs and timing
of those activities, are "forward looking statements" within the
meaning of the Securities Litigation Reform Act. The statements
involve risks that could significantly impact Seven Seas
Petroleum Inc. These risks include, but are not limited to,
adverse general economic conditions, operating hazards, drilling
risks, inherent uncertainties in interpreting engineering and
geologic data, competition, reduced availability of drilling and
other well services, fluctuations in oil and gas prices and
prices for drilling and other well services and government
regulation and foreign political risks, as well as other risks
discussed in detail in the Seven Seas Petroleum Inc.'s filings
with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

CONTACT:  Bryan Sanchez, Investor Relations, +1-713-622-8218



===============
H O N D U R A S
===============

GEOMAQUE EXPLORATIONS: Closes Stock Private Placement
-----------------------------------------------------
Geomaque announced that at an extraordinary general meeting of
shareholders held Wednesday, the previously announced private
placement of 39,700,000 common shares, at Cdn. $0.05 per share,
to raise gross proceeds of Cdn. $1,985,000 was approved and the
transaction has closed. In connection with the closing of the
private placement, the documentation in respect of the
restructuring of the Company's credit and security arrangements
with its principal lender, Resource capital Fund II L.P. of
Denver ("RCF"), has been completed.

As a result of the completion of the private placement and the
issuance of 720,000 shares to RCF as a fee in connection with the
restructuring, including the first tranche, which was not subject
to shareholder approval, a total of 40,420,000 common shares have
been issued. After also taking into account recent exercises of
options by former insiders, the current issued and outstanding
share capital of the Company is 116,630,630 shares.

At the Company's Vueltas del Rio Mine in Honduras, construction
of the new leach pad ("Pad 2") was completed earlier in February
and loading of the pad is underway from existing stockpiled ore.
Mining recommenced on February 18, 2002. Currently, between 1,500
and 2,000 tonnes/day of ore are being placed on Pad 2. It is
expected that tonnages may be increased in the future as
equipment and personnel are optimized. Cyanidation of Pad 2 will
commence at the end of February resulting in gold production
starting in late March.

CONTACT:  John Hick, President & CEO
          TEL:  (416) 956-7470
          FAX:  (416) 956-7471
          WEBSITE: www.geomaque.com



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

AHMSA: Begins Operations At Blast Furnace No. 3
-----------------------------------------------
In preparation to surpass 3Mt of raw steel production this year,
Mexican iron and steel company Ahmsa commenced operations at its
no. 3 blast furnace, reports Business News Americas.

The furnace, according to a company spokesperson, has a capacity
of 1,600t/d of pig iron - which is later refined to steel - and
is due to start commercial production on March 4.

In anticipation of an increase in demand from its two key
markets, Mexico and the US, Ahmsa is also stepping up production
at its iron ore mines in northern Mexico's Durango and Coahuila
states.

Over the last two years, Ahmsa has struggled with debts totaling
US$1.85 billion, and has worked with a steering committee
representing its creditor banks over that time to come to an
agreement that will allow the company to remain in operation.

The banks, last month, agreed to a plan that would hand them a 40
percent stake in the Company in exchange for writing off US$660
million in debt. The GAN industrial group would maintain control
of Ahmsa with 50.1 percent.

A recent TCR-LA report revealed that Ahmsa is close to securing a
US$9-million loan from Banca Afirme. The loan will be used to pay
off its suppliers in order to insure its future supply of raw
materials and services.

CONTACTS:  Alonso Ancira Elizondo, CEO, Vice Chairman, Pres.&CEO
           Jorge Ancira Elizondo, Chief Financial Officer
           Manuel Ancira Elizondo, Chief Operating Officer

           Their Address:
           Prolongacion B. Juarez s/n,
           Monclova , Coahuila 25770
           Mexico
           http://www.ahmsa.com
           Phone: +52 86 33 81 72
           Fax: +52 86 33 65 66


BANCA QUADRUM: IPAB To Pay Depositors
-------------------------------------
The Bank Savings Protection Institute (IPAB), for the first time
in Mexican history, will cover depositors' money. In a report
released by Mexico City daily El Universal, Jonathan Davis Arzac,
President of the National Banking and Securities Commission
(CNBV), the IPAB will pay Banca Quadrum's depositors but warned
this would be the acid test for the industry.

"If Quadrum is not capitalized, which seems likely, IPAB will
cover the depositors' capital. I think the worst thing that could
happen is that savers will receive the wrong amount," Davis said.

Banca Quadrum Board of Directors recently issued a second call
for a general ordinary and extraordinary shareholders' meeting
scheduled to be held on February 28, 2002. If the required quorum
of shareholders is not represented at the meeting, the Company's
authorization to operate as a Mexican bank will be revoked and
the Company will be liquidated in accordance with Mexican law.

At the meeting, shareholders will be asked to review and approve
(i) the Board of Director's annual report and the Company's
audited financial statements for the calendar year ended December
31, 2000 and (ii) the Company's unaudited financial statements
for the period January 1, 2001 through November 30, 2001. The
Company's financial statements reflect total capital losses in
the amount of 733,886 thousands of Mexican pesos (approximately
U.S. $79.2 million). Shareholders will also be asked to (i)
approve the Company's total capital losses and (ii) consider a
proposal to raise 918,875 thousands of Mexican pesos
(approximately U.S. $99.1 million) in new capital for the
Company. If shareholders do not vote in favor of the proposal to
raise new capital, or if shareholders vote in favor of the
proposal to raise new capital but the Company is unable to raise
sufficient new capital, the Company's authorization to operate as
a Mexican bank will be revoked and the Company will be liquidated
in accordance with Mexican law.

To see company's financial statements:
http://bankrupt.com/misc/Bancaquadrum.doc

CONTACT:  Ernesto Rodriguez, Investor Relations
          Tel. +011-52-55-5284-5693
          Email: erodrigu@quadrum.com.mx


GRUPO DESC: Shares Up On Announcement Of Investment Plans
-----------------------------------------------------------
Shares of Desc SA, an industrial group with subsidiaries in auto
parts, petrochemicals, food and real estate, jumped MXN0.20, or
4.8 percent to MXN4.36, says Bloomberg.

Luis Tellez, vice president in charge of Desc's finances, said
that the company plans to invest US$120 million this year and
sell assets worth US$25 million.

Last year, the company spent $179 million. Desc closed six
unprofitable businesses this year.

CONTACTS:  DESC, S. A. DE C. V.
           Paseo de los Tamarindos # 400-B
           Mexico, D.F. 05120
           Phone: (5255) 261-80-00
           Fax: (5255) 261-80-96
           desc@mail.desc.com.mx

           Arturo D'Acosta Ruz, Chief Financial Officer
           Tel: (5255) 261 8000

           Alejandro de la Barreda, Investor Relations
           Tel: (5255) 261 8000 ext 2806
           abarredag@mail.desc.com.mx

           Adriana Estrada Vergara, Investor Relations
           Tel: (5255) 261 8000 ext 2846
           aestradav@mail.desc.com.mx


NII HOLDINGS: Nextel Opens Main Telecommunications Center
---------------------------------------------------------
The telecommunications firm Nextel inaugurated Wednesday its main
telecommunications center, Nextel Megacenter, where it invested
more than US$24 million.

The firm, according to an EFE report, has the capacity to handle
160,000 users, and is equipped with technical offices and a
customer service department, along with a data center.

The Megacenter will control the "packaging of data" in its branch
offices in Peru, the Philippines and Mexico, and will monitor
calls from the branches of NII Holdings, Nextel's international
subsidiary, in Argentina, Brazil, Chile and Japan.

"We are very proud to see this effort come to fruition. It will
permit us to continue offering to our customers a quality
service," Peter Foyo, the president and general director of
Nextel Mexico, said.

Nextel said previously that NII was in discussions with various
creditors regarding a restructuring of debt. It said options
included a sale of strategic assets, Chapter 11 bankruptcy
protection or other measures.

NII was expected to finish 2001 with operating revenues of US$680
million and negative operating cash flow of US$100 million. It
expected fourth-quarter revenues of US$194 million and a cash
flow loss of US$4 million.

CONTACTS:  FINANCIAL ADVISOR:
           Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin Capital
           Franklin W. "Fritz" Hobbs, CEO
           1-800-788-5300 toll free
           Website: www.hlhz.com

           AUDITOR
           Deloitte & Touche LLP
           1750 Tysons Boulevard
           McLean, VA 22102
           Tel: 703-251-1238
           Fax: 703-251-3400

           LEGAL ADVISOR
           Jones Day Reavis & Pogue
           North Point
           901 Lakeside Avenue
           Cleveland, OH 44114
           Tel: 216.586.3939
           Fax: 216.579.0212
           Robert H. Rawson, Partner



=================
N I C A R A G U A
=================

ENITEL: Sale Of Stake To Employees Awaits HR, Regulatory OK
-----------------------------------------------------------
The human resource department at Nicaragua's incumbent telco
Enitel and public services regulator Telcor are yet to approve
the sale of a 10-percent stake in the Company to current and
former employees, reports Business News Americas.

Once the transaction is approved, the government will contact
eligible employees and begin calculating the number of shares to
be issued to each individual, said Salvador Quintanilla, an
Enitel executive and former chairman. Subsequently, the
government will set a start date for the 60-day sale period,
Quintanilla added.

Telia Swedtel-Emce, a Swedish-Honduran consortium, bought 40
percent stake of Enitel in mid-December 2001 for US$33 million.
The consortium agreed to pay US$50 million over five years for
the rights to manage the Company. Telia Swedtel-Emce will have
the opportunity to buy outstanding shares that are not purchased
by employees.

Meanwhile, authorities are getting more apprehensive that Telia-
Emce has put equipment purchases and public works tenders on hold
until the 10 percent stake is sold on reason that they are not
restricted by procurement laws that must be observed while the
government has a 60 percent stake.

The government is beginning to suspect that Telia is leaving many
of the management decisions to Emce, which has little telecoms
experience and would like to see Telia take a more active role.

Emce executives Freddy Nasser and Carlos Ramos now hold the posts
of chairman and CEO, respectively.



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

BANCO COMERCIAL: Govt., Foreign Owners Buying Shares To Rescue
--------------------------------------------------------------
Uruguay said suspected fraudulent bond purchases drained $125
million from Banco Comercial SA, steering the bank to the brink
of insolvency, reports Bloomberg.

In order to save the bank from its impending breakdown, its
owners, Credit Suisse First Boston, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and
Dresdner Bank AG, which own 57 percent of the bank, as well as
the Uruguayan government will each buy $33.3 million of new
shares in the bank, Economy and Finance Minister Alberto Bension
said.

The new shares will reduce or eliminate a stake controlled by
Jose and Carlos Rohm, who manage a bank in Argentina that is
being investigated for alleged illegal money transfers and is
involved in the suspected fraudulent bond transactions.

J.P. Morgan Chase spokeswoman Brooke Harlow and CSFB spokeswoman
Cristina Von Bargen confirmed the two banks would inject funds
into Banco Comercial, which had $2.3 billion in assets as of
September. Dresdner, for its part, is yet to make a comment.

As reported previously, Credit Suisse Group Chief Executive Lukas
Muehlemann, J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. Chairman William Harrison and
Dresdner Bank AG Chief Executive Bernd Fahrholz will resign from
the board of the Argentine bank.



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

AES CORP.: S&P Maintains Watch Negative Status
----------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's views AES' plans to shore up its liquidity
position in the short term and to boost credit quality by
divesting riskier assets and growing its cash flow cushion in the
longer term as positive for the company's credit. AES remains on
CreditWatch with negative implications due to pressure on the
bolivar and the resulting potential impact on parent-level cash
flows. The successful implementation of AES' plans to boost
liquidity would diminish the potential for a downgrade resulting
from the Venezuelan situation.

Assuming no asset sales, AES is projecting no requirement for
parent-level capital market financing in 2002. These projections
assume $1.25 billion of distributions, net of corporate expenses,
$300 million in project level debt proceeds, and $490 million in
construction deferrals. Standard & Poor's will closely monitor
all these liquidity sources as well as impending asset sales as
part of its evaluation of the impact of any reduction in
distributions from Venezuela. It should be noted that AES does
not require nearly as much liquidity as some of its competitors
because it does not have a trading operation.

Standard & Poor's will also evaluate any longer-term effects on
distributions from Venezuela and the potential impact of sales of
more stable assets to shore up liquidity as they relate to AES'
longer-term credit profile as part of the CreditWatch evaluation.

Standard & Poor's does not believe that the extent of the
measures announced by AES is a sign of panic, and believes that
the market's response to recent events has been somewhat
overblown. While a credit downgrade could result in the need to
post additional collateral at some subsidiaries, in higher
interest rates on the $750 million notes recently issued at
IPALCO (up to 50 basis points), and on the corporate revolver (up
to 50 basis points), Standard & Poor's knows of no significant
rating triggers that would result in immediate cash calls on
outstanding debt or any other trigger that would result in an
immediate liquidity crisis. AES has secured equity-linked loans
(SELLs) coming due in 2003 ($350 million) and 2004 ($300
million). The company is required to maintain as collateral 2.25
times (x) the amount of the SELLs in the form of unregistered
shares. Registration of the shares can only occur in the event of
nonpayment or failure to maintain adequate collateral levels. We
understand that sufficient shares are posted as collateral and
that the company intends to maintain the required collateral
levels.

Standard & Poor's looks favorably on AES' long-term plan, which
is aimed at increasing the company's creditworthiness, not simply
maintaining it. Although details of the plan were scarce, the
fact that AES is focusing on credit as part of an overall long-
term strategy is encouraging. The general strategy incorporates
reducing exposure to the merchant market and to Latin America and
reducing corporate debt. Standard & Poor's has been concerned
about AES' increasing concentration in Latin America, and the
reduction of that concentration would be positive for AES. While
Standard & Poor's does not view AES' merchant exposure as
particularly troubling, Standard & Poor's does acknowledge that
these assets may have slightly more value to a company with a
trading operation. The establishment of a detailed plan and signs
of successful implementation would be prerequisites for any
future credit upgrades.

CONTACT:  STANDARD & POOR'S
          Scott Taylor, +1-212-438-2057
          Arthur F. Simonson, +1-212-438-2094




               ***********


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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