TCRLA_Public/020326.mbx        T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

            Tuesday, March 26, 2002, Vol. 3, Issue 60



BANCO GALICIA: Concludes Bailout Talks With Other Banks
BANCO ITAU: Losses Prompt Closure Of 10 Argentine Branches
BANCO RIO: Executive Testimony Calms Insolvency Fears
REPSOL-YPF: To Contribute ARS110 Mln To Oil Producing Provinces
REPSOL YPF: Ups Gasoline, Diesel Prices In Argentina


GLOBAL CROSSING: Execs Admit `Misleading' Disclosure Debatable
TERRA NOVA: S&P Lowers Ratings on Performance, Capital Concerns


ANDERSEN: Local Clients Drop Services On Parent's Woes
CEMAR: Reduces Investments Due To Liquidity Problems
EMBRAER: Strong Real Should Mean Better 4Q01 Results
EMBRAER: Expects First Loan Installment for Super Tucano
VARIG: Looks To Speed Up Capitalization
VESPER: Qualcomm To Sell Stake, Will Wait for Decent Pricing

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

SMITH-ENRON: Government To Buy Plant Thru CDE or Creditors


SiTV: Disappointed CEE Announces Sale Plans


AEROMEXICO: May Lose Money In Airbus Deal
PEMEX: Future Oil Revenues Overshadowed by Mounting Debts
PEMEX: Authorities Advance In Money Laundering Probe


BANCO COMERCIAL: Moody's Confirms Ratings, Outlook Positive


LEEME: Shutters Operations, No New Investor Interest

     - - - - - - - - - -


BANCO GALICIA: Concludes Bailout Talks With Other Banks
Banco Galicia, Argentina's largest private bank, managed to
negotiate for US$800 million to help it escape from bankruptcy,
as rescue talks with other banks concluded Wednesday.

Half of the US$800 million will come from the sale of parts of
Galicia's mortgage portfolio to a group of 18 banks operating in

The remaining US$400 million will come from different government
institutions such as the Central Bank, the deposit insurance
agency and the bank capitalization fund.

Galicia will also receive some US$110 million from its
international creditors, which have agreed to help Galicia by
exchanging their debt for equity.

International players such as Germany-based Dresdner and UK's
Barclays will add an image of solvency that Galicia has been
lacking during the country's financial crisis because of its lack
of a strong foreign parent.

The deal with the foreign creditors also requires that Galicia
chairman Eduardo Escasany will step down at the next
shareholders' meeting in May as executives from the foreign
creditors take seats on the Galicia board.

Escasany and the Argentine families Ayerza and Braun control
Galicia through financial group Grupo Financiero Galicia (Nasdaq:

          Teniente General Juan D. Peron 456, Piso 3
          1038 Buenos Aires, Argentina
          Phone: +54-11-4343-7528

BANCO ITAU: Losses Prompt Closure Of 10 Argentine Branches
Banco Itau SA, Brazil's fourth-largest bank with has more than 80
branches in Argentina, disclosed plans to close about 10 branches
in the recession-plagued country, reports Bloomberg. The closures
come after Banco Itau incurred staggering losses when the
Argentine government forced banks to convert loans and deposits
to pesos.

"In 2002, we'll reduce the number of branches we have in
Argentina by around 10," said the bank's investor relations
director, Henri Penchas.

The so-called "pesofication" of the Argentine economy reduced
Banco Itau's equity by about BRL122 million (US$51 million), an
amount more than covered by about BRL200 million in provisions
set aside for Argentine-related losses, Penchas said.

Itau said profit from overall operations fell 21 percent in the
fourth quarter as an increase in the Brazilian real lowered the
value of the bank's foreign currency-denominated assets. In the
fourth quarter, provisions for losses in Argentina rose by BRL50
million to BRL200 million reais, the bank said.

The conversion of Argentine bank liabilities and assets was
decreed in February, yet depositors have until April 15 to decide
if they want to convert former dollar deposits into dollar-
denominated bonds.

          Rua Boa Vista, 176
          01014-919 Sao Paulo, Brazil
          Phone: +55-11-237-3000
          Fax: +55-11-5582-1133
          Home Page:
          Olavo Egydio Setubal, Chairman of the Board
          Roberto Egydio Setubal, President and CEO

BANCO RIO: Executive Testimony Calms Insolvency Fears
Banco Rio de la Plata Vice President Jose Luis Cristofani
testified before an Argentine judge a week ago, saying that his
bank is in a position to return clients' deposits trapped by
banking restrictions since December, relates EFE. However, due to
the government-imposed restrictions, the deposits currently
cannot be released.

Cristofani testified before Judge Mariano Berges on Thursday as
part of an investigation to determine whether half a dozen banks
had committed fraud against their customers by failing to return
their savings.

The probe is focused primarily on banks, which refused to return
deposits, even after being ordered to do so by the courts.

Banco Rio is the Argentine subsidiary of Spanish financial group
Santander Central Hispano (SCH).

CONTACTS:  BANCO RIO - Investor Relations:
           Ana Patricia B. S. de Sautuola y O'Shea, Chairman
           Jose L. E. Cristofani, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO
           Pablo Caride, Corporate Finance
           Bartolome Mitre 480
           1036 Buenos Aires, Argentina
           Phone: +54-(0)14-341-1081-1580
           Fax: +54-(0)14-341-1074-1084

           LEGAL ADVISOR
           Shearman & Sterling
           599 Lexington Avenue
           New York, NY 10022-6069, USA
           Telephone: (+1 212) 848-4000
           Fax: (+1 212) 848-7179
           Contact: Robert C. Treuhold, Firm Managing Partner

REPSOL-YPF: To Contribute ARS110 Mln To Oil Producing Provinces
Repsol-YPF plans to pump ARS110 million into Argentina's oil
producing provinces. The funds are part of an advanced payment of
ARS240 million pesos that oil companies have agreed to deliver to
the government on April 29 in return for a lower rate on the
country's recently-implemented crude oil export tax.

Argentina's oil producing provinces want guarantees from oil
companies on royalty levels, investments and employment levels
following an agreement with the national government that would
reduce the sting of a controversial new tax in the sector.

The agreement between the government and oil producers would cut
the 20 percent tax on crude exports in half to 10 percent in

Other leading companies in Argentina such as Pecom Energia, Pan
American Energy and Chevron San Jorge are expected to contribute
the remaining amounts under the terms of the deal.

Recent reports have suggested that Repsol, which purchased
Argentina's YPF in 1999 for US$15 billion, may have to sell more
assets in order to offset plunging profits and to reduce swelling

Repsol stock is the worst performer in the 12-member European Oil
and Gas Producers Index this year, trading at a 20 percent
discount since it bought 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:
           Av. Roque S enz Pe a, 777.
           C.P 1364. Buenos Aires

REPSOL YPF: Ups Gasoline, Diesel Prices In Argentina
Spain's largest oil company, Repsol YPF SA, began implementing a
4-percent price hike on its gasoline and diesel in Argentina in
order to offset Argentina's currency devaluation, reports

According to Repsol YPF, the price increases would only partially
offset losses at its refining and other operations since
Argentina devalued its peso January 6.

Argentina's government is seeking to prevent price increases that
could spark inflation and rekindle the kind of social unrest that
toppled two presidents in December. But companies with revenue in
pesos are forced to raise prices to keep current on dollar
denominated debts and pay for imported machinery and raw


GLOBAL CROSSING: Execs Admit `Misleading' Disclosure Debatable
The chief executive of Global Crossing acknowledged to a House
panel that "there is now a debate" as to whether disclosures
about some transactions by the Company "may in some fashion have
misled the market," relates The New York Times.

The Company's executives maintained that their business practices
did not cause Global Grossing's collapse and were accurately

The Company is now being investigated by federal prosecutors and
the Securities and Exchange Commission because of its deals,
which involved swapping fiber optic capacity with other
telecommunications companies.

Investigators, according to The Times, are examining whether
these were honest transactions or sham deals that allowed Global
Crossing to inflate its revenue significantly.

In a written testimony submitted Friday to the subcommittee on
oversight and investigations of the House Financial Services
Committee, the Company's chief executive, John J. Legere, and its
chief financial officer, Dan J. Cohrs, said there were "fewer
than two dozen" of these deals in 2000 and 2001.

"Neither these transactions nor our accounting for them have
anything to do with the telecommunication industry's or our
company's difficulties," they said.

They acknowledged, however, that "there is now a debate as to
whether the disclosures concerning these transactions may in some
fashion have misled the market."

They noted that the Company's board was reviewing the deals with
the Company's lawyers and auditors, examining in particular
"their business justification as well as the manner in which
revenue and expenses were recorded and disclosed."

          Press Contact:
          Cynthia Artin
          + 1 973-410-8421

          Tisha Kresler
          + 1 973-410-8666

          Analysts/Investors Contact:
          Ken Simril
          + 1 310-385-5200

TERRA NOVA: S&P Lowers Ratings on Performance, Capital Concerns
Standard & Poor's said Friday it removed from CreditWatch and
lowered its counterparty credit ratings on property/casualty
specialty writer Markel Corp.'s London subsidiary, Terra Nova
Insurance Co. Ltd., and Markel Corp.'s international operations
holding company, Terra Nova (Bermuda) Holdings Ltd., because of
poor operating performance and a deterioration in capital
adequacy at the units.

Concurrently, Standard & Poor's said it removed from CreditWatch
and affirmed its triple-'B'-minus counterparty credit rating on
Virginia-based Markel Corp. and its single-'A'-minus counterparty
credit and financial strength ratings on Markel Corp.'s North
American subsidiaries.

Also, with these actions, Standard & Poor's said it removed from
CreditWatch and affirmed its triple-'B' counterparty credit and
financial strength ratings on Markel's run-off subsidiary, Terra
Nova (Bermuda) Insurance Co. Ltd. Standard & Poor's withdrew
these ratings at the company's request.

The counterparty credit and financial strength ratings on Terra
Nova Insurance Co. Ltd. is triple-'B'-minus and the counterparty
credit rating on Terra Nova (Bermuda) Holdings Ltd. is single-
'B'. The outlook on Markel Corp. and all its subsidiaries is

"Although Markel has taken positive restructuring actions and
implemented management changes at Markel International, the group
still faces operational challenges in this operation in light of
the magnitude of changes implemented as well as the size of the
losses reported at this division," said Standard & Poor's analyst
Laline Carvalho.

Thus, significant improvements in operating performance and
capitalization at Markel International will be necessary to
return the group's outlook to stable.

          Laline Carvalho, New York, +1-212-438-7178
          Marcus Rivaldi, London, +1-44-20-7847-7056


ANDERSEN: Local Clients Drop Services On Parent's Woes
Some Brazilian affiliate's clients are releasing the firm as
auditor while Andersen's parent company fights a criminal charge
brought against it by the U.S. Justice Department. According to
an O Estado de Sao Paulo report, Copene, Votorantim, Gerdau and
Embraer are now looking for contracts with Andersen's

Auditing and consulting firm Andersen, which is facing charges
with obstruction of justice for shredding documents relating to
its audit of collapsed energy trader Enron Corp., has been losing
clients and foreign affiliates at a brisk pace because of
uncertainty about its future.

Previous reports revealed that Andersen was negotiating to merge
with KPMG in Brazil. If concluded, Andersen will create the
largest auditing firm in Brazil, with 37 percent market share.


           Belo Horizonte
           Av. Alvares Cabral, 1741 - 9  andar
           Belo Horizonte - MG Brasil
           CEP: 30170-001
           Phone: 55 31 3330 1300
           Fax: 55 31 3330 1400

           R. Marechal Deodoro, 717 - 7  andar
           Curitiba - PR Brasil
           CEP: 80020-912
           Phone: 55 41 223 9511
           Fax: 55 41 232 6714

           Porto Alegre
           Av. Carlos Gomes, 403 - 10 , 11  e 12  andares
           Porto Alegre - RS Brasil
           CEP: 90480-003
           Phone: 55 51 3327 8800
           Fax: 55 51 3328 3031

           Rio de Janeiro
           Praia de Botafogo, 300 - 7  andar
           Rio de Janeiro - RJ Brasil
           CEP: 22250-040
           Phone: 55 21 2559 4141
           Fax: 55 21 2552 3253

           Sao Paulo
           R. Alexandre Dumas, 1981 - Chacar  de Santo Ant"nio
           Sao Paulo - SP Brasil
           CEP: 04717-906
           Phone: 55 11 5185 2444
           Fax: 55 11 5181 2911

CEMAR: Reduces Investments Due To Liquidity Problems
Battling its current liquidity problems, Brazil's Maranhao state
distributor Cemar (Companhia Energetica do Maranhao) cut pending
investments for this year from BRL121 million to BRL50 million.
The reduction comes in sharp contrast to original expectations of
BRL280 million between 2001 and 2003.

The Company has also decided to appeal to Aneel (Agencia Nacional
de Energia) concerning the reduction of the extra tax.

Cemar, which was privatized for a minimum price of R$522.8
million, had its liquidity hampered by the combined affects of
power rationing, the delay in the wholesale power market (MAE)
being implemented and less-than-expected financial flexibility.

The Company recently had its credit rating downgraded by credit
rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) to 'brSD' (Selective
Default) on the Brazilian national scale from 'brBBB.' S&P also
cut the Company's BRL150-million bond emission's rating to 'brCC'
from 'brBBB-.'

The rating actions reflected Cemar's failure to meet its
financial obligations on time and the fact that negotiations for
new terms and conditions are continuing with certain creditors.

Additionally, U.S.-based company PPL Corp., which purchased 84.7
percent of Cemar in June 2000, announced it will write-off its
investment in the state distributor. The total investment figure
amounts to US$317 million, from which US$217 million has already
been written off.

Cemar, employs about 1,500 people and delivers electricity to
about 1.04 million customers in the northeastern state of
Maranhao from its headquarters in Sao Luis, Brazil.

          11350 Random Hills Road
          Suite 400
          Fairfax, VA 22030
          Phone: 703-293-2600
          Fax: 703-293-2659

EMBRAER: Strong Real Should Mean Better 4Q01 Results
Brazil's Embraer, the world's No. 4 maker of commercial aircraft,
is likely to see an improvement in its fourth-quarter performance
as a 15 percent appreciation of the local currency, the real,
helped decreased the Company's debt costs, reports Reuters.

The average forecast among six analysts polled by Reuters was
that Embraer would post a net profit of BRL292 million for the
fourth quarter, up from BRL247 million in the same period of 2000
and above the BRL253 million in the third quarter of 2001.

However, Embraer's operating gains should suffer, given the sharp
decline in demand for Embraer's small and mid-sized aircraft
after the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States threw the world's
aviation industry into crisis.

According to analysts, Brazil's leading exporter delivered only
32 jets in the last three months of 2001, down from 41 in the
third quarter and 44 in the fourth quarter of 2000.

As measured by earnings before interest taxes, depreciation and
amortization (EBITDA), Embraer is expected to post BRL401
million, up from BRL304 million a year earlier but down from
BRL659 million in the third quarter of 2001.

Analysts said that while the real's appreciation during the
period helped Embraer lower its costs, it squeezed margins due to
the foreign exchange difference between the dollar cost of parts
like jet engines and the sale price of its finished jets months

The real was trading at 2.67 to the U.S. dollar at the start of
the fourth quarter but ended the year at 2.32.

But for the full year 2001, the real depreciated 16 percent, a
foreign exchange difference that in the end should bring strong
benefits for Embraer.

For the full year, Embraer should almost double its net profit
and EBITDA. Net profit is expected to rise to BRL1.1 billion vs.
BRL645 million in 2000, while EBITDA should jump to BRL2.2
billion from BRL1.1 billion.

Analysts say 2002 will still be a recovery year for Embraer.

           Press office:
           Phone +55 12 3927 1311
           Fax + 55 12 3927 2411
           Press office mgr. Bob Sharp
           Press officer Wagner Gonzalez

EMBRAER: Expects First Loan Installment for Super Tucano
Embraer expects to get US$30 million, as first installment from a
total of US$420 million loan, to be used in the production of
Super Tucano.

The US$420-million loan consists of a credit line worth US$156
million offered by Deutsche Bank, Lloyds and Banco Latino
Americano de Exportaciones. Another US$126 million will come from
the government budget while the remaining US$150 million is
guaranteed by four international exports credit agencies.

The international agencies will finance the orders for imported
components such as US$50 million to Pratt & Whitney, US$65
million to Elbit, US$20 million to Martin Baker and US$9 million
to Rohde & Schwarz.

CONTACT:  Deutsche Bank AG
          Taunusanlage 12
          60262 Frankfurt, Germany
          Phone: +49-69-910-91000
          Fax: +49-69-910-34227
          Home Page:
          Investor Relations in New York:
          Libor Vincent
          Deutsche Bank AG
          31 West 52nd Street
          29th Floor
          New York, NY 10019-6160
          Tel.: +1-212-469-7125
          Fax: +1-212-469-7322

          LLOYDS TSB
      71 Lombard St.
          London EC3P 3BS, United Kingdom
          Phone: +44-20-7626-1500
          Fax: +44-20-7356-1731
          Home Page:
          Maarten A. van den Bergh, Chairman
          Peter B. Ellwood, Group Chief Executive
          M. Kent Atkinson, Group Finance Director and Investor

          Calle 50 and Aquilino de la Guardia
          P.O. Box 6-1497, El Dorado Panama,
          Republic of Panama
          Phone:  (507) 210-8500
          Jose Castaneda, CEO
          Sebastiao Toledo Cunha, Chairman of the Board
          Tatiana Calzada, Legal Counselor

          PRATT & WHITNEY
          400 Main Street
          East Hartford, CT 06108
          Phone: 860-565-4321
          Home Page:
          General Inquiries:
          Pratt & Whitney Operator, Connecticut
          Phone: 860-565-4321

          Advanced Technology Center,
          P.O.B. 539, Haifa 31053
          Phone: 972-4-8315315
          Fax: 972-4-8550002
          Israel Farchi - Executive V.P., Commercial Affairs
          Joseph Gaspar - V.P. Chief Financial Officer
          Investor Relations

          MARTIN BAKER
          Home Page:
          Brian A. Miller, Executive Vice President
          Martin Baker America Inc.
          PO Box 2223
          Virginia 22202-0223
          Phone: 1-703-599-5049
          Fax:  202 248 0785

          William D Harrison, San Antonio Representative
          Martin Baker America Inc
          2806 Oak Leigh
          San Antonio
          Texas 78232-4212
          Phone: 210 490 6503
          Cell Phone: 210 286 5831
          Fax: 210 490 6504

          ROHDE & SCHWARZ
          Muhldorferstr. 15
          81671 Munchen
          Phone number: +49 (0)89 4129-0
          Fax: +49 (0)89 4129-2164
          Home Page:
          Friedrich Schwarz, President and CEO
          Hans Wagner, Co-President and Co-COO
          Reinhard Bruckner, Co-President and Co-COO

VARIG: Looks To Speed Up Capitalization
The Brazilian air transportation company Varig is pushing for a
speedy transaction involving a capital increase, says a report by
Jornal do Commercio. The Company is preparing for a global stock
offering to be launched by June and has hired the banks, Fator
and Credit Lyonnais, to support the deal.

The upcoming transaction has drawn the interest of foreign
companies like the German Lufthansa, as well as other foreign

The Rubem Berta Foundation, which owns 87 percent of Varig, is
prepared to give up its majority stake in an effort to raise some
US$400 million to cut the carrier's debt load.

Meanwhile, Varig commenced a new marketing policy, with the
launching of e-ticket. The move came after the Company announced
last week that it would begin to offer additional flights and
shift some aircraft in its fleet in an effort to boost passenger
numbers without inflating costs.

Hit by last year's aviation crisis, an overall economic slowdown
and a weak Brazilian real currency that hiked dollar-denominated
costs, Varig had cut 10 percent of its flights and fired 1,700

CONTACT:  VARIG (Viacao Aerea Rio-Grandense, S.A.)
          Rua 18 de Novembro No. 800, Sao Joao
          90240-040 Porto Alegre,
          Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
          Phone: (51) 358-7039/7040
                 (51) 358-7010/7042
          Fax: +55-51-358-7001
          Home Page:
          Dorival Ramos Schultz, EVP Finance and CFO

          Investor Relations:
          Av. Almirante Silvio de Noronha,
          n  365-Bloco "B" - s/458 / Centro
          Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

          19, Boulevard des Italiens
          75002 Paris, France
          Phone: +33-1-42-95-67-89
          Fax: +33-1-42-95-94-37
          Home Page:
          Jean Peyrelevade, Chairman
          Dominique Ferrero, Chief Executive Officer

          BANCO FATOR S.A.
          Rua Amauri 255
          Sao Paulo
          Phone: (11) 30681000
          Fax: (11) 8530328

VESPER: Qualcomm To Sell Stake, Will Wait for Decent Pricing
A top executive of Qualcomm Inc. maintained his plans to sell a
majority stake in Brazilian CDMA wireless service provider
Vesper, saying that Qualcomm has "no tradition as an operator,
our business is technology," reports AFX.

However, Qualcomm Inc chairman and CEO Irwin Mark Jacobs said
that he is not selling the stake at any price.

"But we are in no hurry. It is a difficult time for any business
and we will not sell at any price," he said.

In November last year, Qualcomm directed the restructuring of
Vesper, and renegotiated the Company's debt, injecting BRL266
million and increasing its ownership in Vesper from 16 percent to
70.5 percent.

          Sao Paulo, Brazil
          Av. Engo. Luis Carlos Berrini, 550
          8 floor
          Sao Paulo, Brasil
          Phone: 55-11-5503-4500
          Fax: 55-11-5505-9362

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

SMITH-ENRON: Government To Buy Plant Thru CDE or Creditors
The Dominican Republic government's purchase of the 175MW Smith-
Enron generation plant would be made through state power company
Dominican Electricity Corporation (CDE), reports Business News
Americas. But according to Smith-Enron's Dominican head Otto
Gonzalez, the government could try to negotiate the purchase
directly with the Company's creditors.

The plant currently lays dormant as the government reportedly
owes US$24 million to the Company. But according to Gonzalez, the
government's desire to own the Company is the reason behind
consistently late power purchase payments.

With the purchase, the government would take advantage of the
available capacity, restructure the PPA between the plant and the
government, and then sell the plant, according to the Trade &
Industry Department's energy director Milton Morrison.

"The PPA cannot be renegotiated now," said Morrison, "as it was
already reworded in 1999 and is valid through 2015, and it would
therefore be easier to bring the plant under state control."

Morrison did not reveal the price offered or the timeframe in
which the government proposal is valid. He added that a Smith-
Enron executive will soon be traveling to the Dominican Republic
to discuss the proposal in more detail.

          Avenida Winston Churchill #1100
          Edificio La Universal de Seguros
          4to. Piso
          Santo Domingo, D.R.
          Sr.Edgar Pichardo
          Phone: (809)5638182


SiTV: Disappointed CEE Announces Sale Plans
Financial problems and the lack of knowledge about the
broadcasting industry have prompted the Ecuadorian Bishops'
Conference (CEE) to sell the Church's "SiTV" television network,
revealed CEE chairman Mario Ruiz in a report released by EFE.

"We're not allowed to air political ads or erotic or sexual
programming, which are the profitable areas," Ruiz said, adding,
"we are aware that we (the Church) know nothing about

The transaction, according to Ruiz, does not represent a good
deal for the Church, because "we're not going to make so much as
five cents and might lose some money."

The bidders for SiTV include Pichincha Bank President Fidel Egas
and GamaVision Executive President Marcel Rivas, said Ruiz,
without revealing figures.

The CEE could reveal SiTV's final buyer before the close of
business Friday.

          Kennedy Norte y Av. del Bosque
          Phone: 298200
          Fax: 288192


AEROMEXICO: May Lose Money In Airbus Deal
Aeromexico could lose money if it proceeds with a plan to
exchange 15 of its Boeing DC-9 planes for Airbus equivalents,
analysts warned in a Mexico City daily Reforma report.

Aeromexico officials have already met with the French company to
discuss the deal, which is scheduled for the third quarter of
this year.

Analysts believe that the exchange could be more expensive that
first thought, since Aeromexico has dealt with Boeing for 30
years. At issue are potential hidden costs to the conversion,
including maintenance and pilot training expenses.

Aeromexico is owned by holding company Cintra, which is heading
for the auction block this year.

           Jaime Corredor Esnaola, Chairman
           Juan Dez-Canedo Ruiz, CEO
           Rodrigo Ocejo Rojo, CFO

           Xola 535, Piso 16, Col. del Valle
           03100 M,xico, D.F., Mexico
           Phone: +52-5-448-8050
           Fax: +52-5-448-8055

           C.P. Francisco Cuevas Feliu, Investor Relations
           Xola 535, Piso 16
           Col. del Valle
           03100 M,xico, D.F.
           Tel. (52) 5 448 80 50
           Fax (52) 5 448 80 55

           Mayte Sera Weitzman of AeroMexico, +1-713-744-8446, or

PEMEX: Future Oil Revenues Overshadowed by Mounting Debts
Petroleos Mexicanos' (Pemex) swelling debt burden is putting at
risk the government's future oil revenue.

According to a report released by Mexico City daily El Universal,
Pemex's Projects of Long-term Productive Infrastructure
(Pidiregas) debts now surpass MXN800 billion (US$88.5 billion).

Data from the Expenditure Department of the Treasury reveals that
large contracts the Company will sell for projects in the
Cantarell and Burgos fields and strategic gas program will cover
Pemex's financial commitments from 1998 to 2023, including
interest payments and debt contracted under Pidiregas.

These last debts have risen from MXN353.3 billion (US$ 39.1
billion) at the end of the Zedillo administration in 2000 to
MXN850.3 billion (US$94.1 billion) today.

The unprecedented debt level at Pemex now greatly surpasses the
value of the Company, estimated at MXN565.3 billion (US$62.5

The debt may lead to forfeiting important sectors to private
capital without privatizing.

PEMEX: Authorities Advance In Money Laundering Probe
Mexican authorities have opened up new lines of inquiry into
possible money laundering and tax fraud. The investigation is
part of an ongoing probe surrounding the illegal diversion of
money from Petroleos Mexicanos to Franciso Labastida's failed
presidential campaign.

The investigation advanced to a higher level after the United
States began to provide names and account information from banks
through which money may have been rerouted.

Mexico's Attorney General Rafael Macedo de la Concha said that
the discovery efforts had not tailed off, rather "I do not charge
anybody with anything until I have the elements needed for


BANCO COMERCIAL: Moody's Confirms Ratings, Outlook Positive
Moody's Investors Service confirmed Banco Comercial S.A's long
term foreign currency debt and deposit ratings of Ba3 and Ba2,
respectively, its foreign currency subordinated debt of B1, and
its short term foreign currency deposit rating of Not Prime.

The ratings agency changed the outlook for the debt and deposit
ratings to positive.

The rating actions follow a re-capitalization of the bank for a
total of US$133 million by its international bank shareholders,
JP Morgan Chase, Credit Suisse First Boston, and Dresdner Bank
Lateinamerika, together with the Uruguayan Central Bank, which
has become a major shareholder.

The confirmation and positive outlook for Banco Comercial's
foreign currency debt and deposit ratings reflects Moody's view
that the Central Bank of Uruguay would make every effort to avoid
a default by Banco Comercial on its local currency obligations,
given its importance as the largest private sector bank in

However, Moody's believes that Banco Comercial is likely to need
additional financial assistance to support its significant
exposure to Argentina as well as other costs that may arise in
connection with the alleged improprieties at its Argentine
affiliate, Banco General de Negocios.

At the same time, Moody's maintained Banco Comercial's E rating
for bank financial strength, with a stable outlook, reflecting
the bank's continuing need for outside support. The required
level of support remains unclear, pending completion of the
bank's ongoing audit by the Central Bank and its international
auditors, which is expected to include a final assessment of the
bank's Argentine exposure.

The bank financial strength rating is Moody's opinion of a bank's
stand-alone creditworthiness, and measures the likelihood that a
bank will require financial assistance from third parties.

Banco Comercial is Uruguay's largest private sector bank and the
third largest overall with $2.3 billion in assets and $169
million in equity as of September 30, 2001.

New York
Jeanne Del Casino
Vice President - Senior Analyst
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

           P.O. Box 1
           CH-8070 Zrich
           Tel. +41 (1) 212 16 16
           Fax. +41 (1) 333 25 87
           Contact: Lukas Muehlemann, chairman & CEO

           J.P. MORGAN CHASE & CO.
           Investor Relations
           J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.
           270 Park Avenue
           New York, NY 10017-2070
           (1-212) 270-6000

           Neuer Jungfernstieg 16
           20354 Hamburg, Germany
           Tel.:   (+49 40) 3595-0
           Fax:   (+49 40) 3595 3314
           Telex:   214 236-0 dl d
           S.W.I.F.T. DRES DE HL


LEEME: Shutters Operations, No New Investor Interest
After a fruitless attempt to find a strategic investor to fund
operations, Venezuela-based online Spanish language library Leeme
( will shut down for an undetermined period
starting April 2, according to Leeme founder and CEO Ali

In a Business News Americas report, Johnston said the firm is
offering all of its books at a 50 percent discount until
Wednesday, March 27, when it will stop taking orders. The site
will continue to function until the end of the month, revealed

Moreover, the Company is negotiating the sale of its databases,
which include the names of 5,000 registered clients and 22,000
newsletter subscribers.

Leeme was launched in October 1999 by a group of private
investors. In 2000 it achieved "important" growth, according to
Johnston, but failed to meet expectations in 2001.


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 Ma. Cristina Canson, Editors.

Copyright 2002.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

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