TCRLA_Public/020405.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, April 5, 2002, Vol. 3, Issue 67



BANCO RIO: Parent Says Liquidity Not At Issue
BELLSOUTH MOVICOM: Technical Default May Cause Financing Trouble
TELECOM ARGENTINA: Looks To Restructure Operations
TELECOM ARGENTINA: Parent Company Unconcerned Over Default


EMBRATEL: Completes Major Financing Program for 2002
GLOBO CABO: BNDES Gets Authority For BOD Board Seat
LIGHT: Net Loss Prompts `Sell' Downgrade, Shares Under Pressure


MANQUEHUE NET: Hires ABN to Explore Alternatives


VALORES BAVARIA: Avianca-Aces Merger Favorable for Stock Prices

C O S T A   R I C A

RICA FOODS: Company Profile


AHMSA: Shuns NAFIN Refinancing Following Grupo Villacero Deal
CINTRA: Searching For Financial Agent to Handle Sale
GRUPO BITAL: Banco Comercial Portugues Sells $85M Interest
GRUPO MEXICO: Dispute With Workers Eludes Solution
NEXTEL COMMUNICATIONS: Won't Desert Latin American Operations
OPEN INVITATION: Home Interiors Wants Mexican Warehouse Lease

     - - - - - - - - - -


BANCO RIO: Parent Says Liquidity Not At Issue
Spanish financial group Santander Central Hispano (SCH) believes
it won't need to pump fresh funds into its Argentine subsidiary
Banco Rio de la Plata for now. SCH says it doesn't see liquidity
problems at the unit that would require such a move.

"As things stand, there is no need to inject fresh capital into
Banco Rio," a spokesman said.

The announcement came after Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA
revealed plans to lend US$150 million to its Argentine unit BBVA
Banco Frances aimed at "helping to ease possible liquidity
problems in the Argentine market."

Previously, SCH President Emilio Botin said that its Argentine
subsidiary is "the most solvent, best managed and most efficient"
bank in the country.

The "accountable value" of Banco Rio "is covered in totality" by
SCH's Argentine fund, in which it now maintains EUR1.29 billion
(US$1.14 billion), up from EUR1 billion it had set aside by the
end of last year's third quarter.

Given the uncertainty arising from Argentina, SCH said that this
year, it would concentrate on improving resources, strengthening
its balance sheet and prudently managing credit risk.

           Emilio Botin-sanz De Sautuola Y Garcia De Los Rios -
           Chairman, OR
           Angel Corcostegui Guraya - First Deputy Chairman, OR
           Jaime Botin-sanz De Sautuola Y Garcia De Los Rios -
           Second Deputy Chairman, OR
           Matias Rodriguez Inciarte - Deputy Chairman, OR
           Angel Corcostegui Guraya - Deputy Chairman & Chief

           SCH Address:
           Paseo De Pereda, Numeros 9 AL 12
           Santander, Spain
           Phone   +34 94 2206100

           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

BELLSOUTH MOVICOM: Technical Default May Cause Financing Trouble
US-based telco Bellsouth faces debt financing troubles in
Argentina, according to Merrill Lynch, Business News Americas
says in a report.

Bellsouth operates in Argentina through Movicom.

"With US$500 million in net debt, the 9.25 percent coupon bonds
due 2008 of Bellsouth's Movicom have a YTM [yield to maturity] of
over 40 percent - and are technically in default of their
interest covenants," according to a Merrill Lynch report.

However, Standard and Poor's telecoms analyst Marta Castelli said
that Bellsouth is not really in financing problems in Argentina
because the debt referred to in the Merril Lynch report does not
mature until 2008.

According to Castelli, the long-term debt - while relevant in
another, more normal financial picture - is not so pressing in
the present Argentine scenario.

Ms. Castelli says, until the economic "storm" clears in
Argentina, worrying about the long-term debt of Movicom or any
other company in the country is pointless. She added that it
would not require a "truckload" of money from Bellsouth to
support Movicom, since the Argentine subsidiary only has US$146
million in short-term debt.

"What is important for Bellsouth is that Movicom, in which it
holds a 65 percent stake, is an essentially profitable company
with a low level of short-term debt," Castelli said.

Movicom's 2001 EBITDA reportedly covered interest payments three
times over.

In view of that fact, Bellsouth has indicated in previous
statements that Movicom has not and will not miss any of its
interest payments.

However, Merril Lynch called into question these affirmations
given Bellsouth's apparent willingness to let its Brazilian
mobile operator BCP default.

On March 28, Bellsouth announced that BCP would default on the
payment of a US$375 million note, a move, which according to S&P,
will trigger an acceleration in the payment of nearly all of
BCP's debt, about US$1.6 billion, due to cross-default clauses in
the company's other debt contracts.

"We are working with our partners there within BCP and also with
the banks in trying to reorganize and rework the current loan
that we have in place," BellSouth spokesman Jeff Battcher said.
"We feel the overall viability and health of our ownership
requires that loan to be reworked in more favorable terms."

BCP - in which Bellsouth and Banco Safra each own a 44.5 percent
stake - is Brazil's fifth largest mobile operator and operates in
the city of Sao Paulo.

The decision to default was the result of a disagreement between
Bellsouth and Banco Safra. The latter had argued that each
shareholder should front half the amount owed by the deadline,
while Bellsouth believed a default would secure more favorable
renegotiation terms, said Banco Safra CEO Carlos Alberto Vieira.

          World Financial Center,
          North Tower, 250 Vesey St.
          New York, NY 10281
          Phone: 212-449-1000
          Toll Free: 800-637-7455
          Home Page:
          David H. Komansky, Chairman and CEO
          E. Stanley O'Neal, President, COO, and Director
          Thomas H. Patrick, EVP and CFO

          1155 Peachtree St. NE
          Atlanta, GA 30309-3610
          Phone: 404-249-2000
          Fax: 404-249-5599
          Home Page:
          Investor Relations
          Phone (US): 800.241.3419
          Fax: 404.249.2060

          Ingeniero Enrique Butty 240
          1001 Buenos Aires
          Phone: 541-15-321-0000
          Fax: 541-14-321-0334

          Rua Florida, 1970 4o andar
          Sao Paulo - SP
          Tel: 55 11 5509-6428
          Fax: 55 11 5509-6257
          Home Page:

TELECOM ARGENTINA: Looks To Restructure Operations
Telecom Argentina, which recently defaulted on close to US$3.2
billion in debt, is taking steps to keep the Company afloat.
The telecom company, a joint venture between France Telecom and
Telecom Italia, said it would restructure its operations in
Argentina citing the nation's economic crisis and the freeze on
utility rate hikes imposed by the central government in an effort
to curb inflation.

The Company's executives were quick to add that they had no plans
of abandoning the country entirely.

"We have to be very responsible and in this context, take steps
to maintain the Company's operations," Telecom Argentina Director
Susana Malcorra said.

"We have to sit down with creditors and propose a feasible
business plan so that we can restructure the debt that we have
every intention of honoring," Malcorra added.

According to the director, Telecom Argentina would need to adjust
its level of operations to reflect this new economic reality and
find ways to strengthen its balance sheet.

"It is unthinkable that the Company cease to operate in
Argentina. We have invested close to US$9 billion in this country
and we cannot just pull those funds out and invest them
elsewhere," Malcorra explained.

Malcorra noted that the debt default was necessary to maintain
Telecom Argentina's operating cash flows and guarantee
uninterrupted service to consumers.

Telecom Argentina said it would continue making interest
payments. The Company's debts are roughly split between bonds and
bank loans. According to a spokesman, US$900 million in principal
and $200 million in interest payments are due in 2002.

Telecom Argentina's default marks the biggest corporate default
yet amid a growing tide of firms that find themselves caught in
Argentina's harsh economic downturn.

          Alicia Moreau de Justo 50, 10th Floor
          Capital Federal (1107) Repœblica Argentina
          Phone: +54 11 4968 4000
          Home Page:
          Alberto J. Ricciardi, Chief Financial Officer
          Elvira Lazzati, Finance Director
          Pedro Insussarry, Investor Relations Manager
          Phone: (5411) 4968-3626/3627
          Fax: (5411) 4313-5842/3109

TELECOM ARGENTINA: Parent Company Unconcerned Over Default
Telecom Argentina's recent default does not pose as a problem to
Telecom Italia, which owns 14 percent in the Argentine telecom.

According to a report by AFX, Telecom Italia said it has already
provided EUR406 million against its investment in its 2001

"At the moment, we are not worried by the situation. Our 14 pct
stake has already been written down in the 2001 accounts," a
spokesman from the Company said.

"In addition, the Company no longer appears in the consolidated
accounts and we expected an insignificant impact on the 2002
accounts," the spokesman said.

          Registered Office:
          Piazza degli Affari n. 2
          20123 Milano

          General Management and Secondary Office:
          Corso d'Italia 41
          00198 Roma
          Phone: 0636881
          Fax: 0636882965
          Home Page:
          Investor Relations:
          Phone: +39 06 36882381
                 +39 06 36883378
                 +39 06 36882119


EMBRATEL: Completes Major Financing Program for 2002
In an official company press release, Embratel Participacoes S.A.
(Embratel Participacoes or the "Company"), owner of 98.8 percent
of Empresa Brasileira de Telecomunicacoes S.A. ("Embratel"),
announced Wednesday the conclusion of its main 2002 financing

The major part of this program consists of a syndicated loan of
US$270 million. A total of US$240 million has already been
internalized by the company, and another US$30 million is being
finalized. An additional US$35 million of trade-related financing
is being structured and will complete Embratel's core financing
needs for 2002. The company ended the first quarter of 2002 with
a cash position of R$662 million, having paid approximately
US$409 million of interest and principal during the quarter.

"The conclusion of these transactions at prices and conditions
established in early January is evidence of Embratel's credit
quality and financing ability even in an unfavorable financing
environment for telecoms," said Jose Maria Zubiria, Embratel's
Finance Vice President and CFO.

The syndicated loan is composed of three tranches: US$100 million
maturing in one year; US$170 million with average two year
maturity, of which US$20 million carries Political Risk Insurance
(PRI). US$120 million has been hedged, including the entire one-
year tranche, at an average rate of 98.2% of CDI. "While this
loan enables us to fulfill our refinancing needs for the year,
our cash generation will fund most of the 2002 R$1.1 billion
investment plan," said Jorge Rodriguez, Embratel's President and
CEO. "Embratel is focused on improving its EBITDA and overall
cash generation throughout 2002. This will allow us to accomplish
our goal of maintaining total debt at 2001 US dollar equivalent

Embratel is the premier communications provider in Brazil
offering a wide array of advanced communications services over
its own state-of-the-art network. It is the leading provider of
data and Internet services in the country. Service offerings
include: advanced voice, high-speed data communication services,
Internet, satellite data communications and corporate networks.
Embratel is uniquely positioned to be the all-distance
telecommunications network of South America. The Company's
network has countrywide coverage, with 28,868 km of fiber cables
comprising 1,068,657 km of optic fibers.

Contact:  Investor Relations
          Silvia M.R. Pereira
          Phone: 55-21-2519-9662
          Fax: 55-21-2519-6388

         Press Relations
         Helena Duncan
         Phone: 55-21-2519-3653
         Fax: 55-21-2519-8010
         Mariana Palmeira
         Phone: 55-21-2519-3654
         Fax: 55-21-2519-8010

GLOBO CABO: BNDES Gets Authority For BOD Board Seat
Brazilian market regulator Anatel (Agencia Nacional de
Telecomunicacoes) gave the Brazilian development bank BNDES
(Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social) authority
to have a position on Globo Cabo's board of directors.

Globo Cabo presently expects to conclude a capitalization
operation worth BRL1 billion. As one of its shareholders, BNDES
promised to guarantee up to BRL284 million of the offer.

Most of the capital will be subscribed by Latin America's largest
media company Organizacoes Globo, which holds 44 percent of Globo
Cabo, while minority shareholder Microsoft has so far opted to
sit out on the deal.

Globo Cabo currently has debt totaling BRL1.6 billion. With the
capital increase, its liabilities should be reduced to about
BRL800 million.

To see financial statements:

          Investor Relations:
          Luis Henrique Martinez, +5511-5186-2684,

          Marcio Minoru, +5511-5186-2811,

          Main Office
          Av. Republica do Chile,
          100 Rio de Janeiro - RJ
          Phone: (021) 2277-7447/6978
          Home Page:

          Contacts: Enterprise Information Center
          Main Office
          Av. Republica do Chile,
          100 - 13  andar - Sala 1301
          Tel.: (21)2277-8888
          Fax: (21) 2220-2615

LIGHT: Net Loss Prompts `Sell' Downgrade, Shares Under Pressure
Shares of Light Servicos de Eletricidade SA are expected to fall
after Marcos Brandao, an analyst at Fator Doria Atherino
brokerage, downgraded the shares to "sell" from "not rated."

The downgrade came after the power distributor posted a net loss
of BRL197.5 million in the fourth quarter. In his report, Brandao
was forecasting a BRL65.7-million net profit in the period.

Shares of the Brazilian power distributor fell 0.5 percent
Tuesday to close at BRL102.50.

Light recently confirmed that its controlling shareholder,
Electricite de France (EDF), will pump up US$1 billion into the
Company via an equity-for-debt swap as well as additional cash.

The agreement, which is part of Light's restructuring, will call
for the French power giant EDF converting a US$550-million inter-
company loan granted to Light in September of last year and
another inter-company loan of US$250 million granted last month.
The balance of US$200 million will come in the form of a cash

          Avenida Marechal Floriano, 168
          20080-002 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
          Phone: +55-21-2211-2794
          Fax:   +55-21-2211-2993
          Home Page:
          Bo Gosta Kallstrand, Chairman
          Michel Gaillard, President and CEO
          Joel Nicolas, Executive Director, Operation
          Paulo Roberto Ribeiro Pinto, Executive Director,
                                 Investor Relations and CFO

          Rue Louis-Murat
          75384 Paris Cedex 08,
          Phone: +33-1-40-42-54-30
          Fax:   +33-1-40-42-79-40
          Home Page:
          Francois Roussely,  Chairman and CEO
          Yannick d'Escatha, COO, Industry Branch
          Jacques Chauvin, Chief Financial Officer

          30, Rue Jacques Ibert
          75017 Paris
          Phone: 33 (0) 1 40 42 22 22
          Fax :  33 (0) 1 40 42 31 83
          Home Page :
          Contact :
          M. Fang Deyi
          Phone: 33 (0) 1 40 42 18 68
          Fax :  33 (0) 1 40 42 18 89
          E-mail :


MANQUEHUE NET: Hires ABN to Explore Alternatives
Chilean telecommunications company Manquehue Net announced it has
hired investment bank ABN Amro (ABN) to help it find a "strategic
partner," relates Dow Jones.

The Company's announcement comes after its foreign shareholders,
U.K. utility National Grid Group PLC (NGG) and Williams
Communications Group (WCGR) revealed plans to sell their 30
percent and 16.4 percent stakes, respectively.

NGG has already written off its Latin American telecommunications
operations, while WCGR is currently undergoing a debt
restructuring and includes among its current options a Chapter 11
bankruptcy filing in the US.

Though international holders are likely the most interested in
backing out of Manquehue Net, local shareholders are also
expected to sell if the price is right.

Natural-gas distributor Metrogas owns 25.6 percent of Manquehue
Net, and Chile's Rabat family owns 21.2 percent.

Manquehue Net, which provides local and long distance, internet,
and cable television services, registered a net loss of CLP11.34
billion in 2001, compared with net profit of CLP224 million in


VALORES BAVARIA: Avianca-Aces Merger Favorable for Stock Prices
Shares of Valores Bavaria SA, the non-beverage holding company
for the Santo Domingo Group, are expected to respond positively
to prospects the planned operational merger of its airline
Avianca SA with another Colombian airline ACES will cut losses.
Valores Bavaria, which controls 91 percent of Avianca, has seen
its stock lose 88 percent of its value in the past 12 months.

In the fourth-quarter of 2001, the Company posted a loss of
COP738.6 billion (US$319.7 million), compared to a profit of
COP46.3 billion in the same period in the previous year. The
Company also revealed a 68-percent drop in its revenue to COP13.7
billion from COP42.5 billion a year earlier.

The planned merger between Avianca and Aces is the current
glimmer of hope that may yield better results for the Bogota-
based group.

Avianca and Aces received approval to merge from the Colombian
anti-trust regulators on December 12. The decision provided the
airlines with a much-needed lifeline. Analysts say the deal will
help them cut costs and compete against encroaching international

The merged company will have a fleet of 56 aircraft, combined
assets of US$700 million and a near-monopoly on domestic routes.
Savings gained from the merger were forecast at between US$60
million and US$100 million annually.

Shares of Valores Bavaria were up 2 percent Tuesday to COP219.

CONTACT:  Valores Bavaria SA
          No 7A-47 Calle 94
          Santafe de Bogota DC
          Phone: +57 1 600 2100
          Home Page:
          Javier Aguirre Nogues, Chairman
          Leonor Montoya Alvarez, President
          Victor Alberto Machado Perez, Secretary

C O S T A   R I C A

RICA FOODS: Company Profile
NAME:  Rica Foods, Inc.
       240 Crandon Blvd., Ste. 150
       Key Biscayne, FL 33149

PHONE: (305) 365-9694

FAX: (305) 365-8665



     Calixto Chaves, Chairman, Pres, Chief Executive Officer
     Nestor Solis, Interim Chief Financial Officer
     Carlos Zamora, Chief Operating Officer

TYPE OF BUSINESS: Through its As de Oros and Pipasa subsidiaries,
Rica Foods is Costa Rica's largest poultry producer. The Company
operates hatcheries, feed plants, processing plants, and its own
distribution fleet. It markets fresh broiler chickens, processed
chicken products, animal feed, and eggs. Its customers include
restaurants (Burger King, McDonald's, Taco Bell), supermarkets,
and food service clients in Central America. Rica Foods is
selling off its 27 fried chicken fast-food restaurants and is
buying a Brazilian poultry company. Founder Calixto Chaves owns
44% of Rica Foods.

TRIGGER EVENT:  Rica Foods' problems started after it disclosed a
violation of its debt agreement terms with its largest creditor.
Specifically, the Company exceeded a debt limit set by lender
Pacific Life, while making loans to Chairman and CEO Calixto
Chaves that also breached certain lending conditions. The
December 28 disclosure sparked a spate of class-action lawsuits,
the resignation of Rica Food's chief financial officer and even
the departure of the Scion family that controls the Company.

SIC: 2015 - Poultry slaughtering and processing

EMPLOYEES: 3,200 (as of 2001)

TOTAL REVENUE: $34.8 million (Q ended Dec. 2001)

TOTAL CURRENT ASSETS: US $37.1 million (Q ended Dec. 2001)

TOTAL CURRENT LIABILITY: US $45.1 million (Q ended Dec. 2001)


AUDITOR: Arthur Andersen
         33 W. Monroe St.
         Chicago, IL 60603
         Phone: 312-580-0033
         Fax: 312-507-6748

CREDITOR: Pacific Life
          700 Newport Center Drive
          Newport Beach, CA 92660
          Phone: (949) 219-3011
          Fax: (949) 219-7614
Last TCRLA Headline DATE:  April 04, 2002, Vol. 3, Issue 66


AHMSA: Shuns NAFIN Refinancing Following Grupo Villacero Deal
Altos Hornos de Mexico (AHMSA) rejected financing of US$9 million
in Nacional Financiera (NAFIN) resources through Banca Afirme
following an agreement with Grupo Villacero.

Grupo Villacero, which is owned by Banca Mifel, agreed to supply
AHMSA with materials in order to process large orders recently
placed by Grupo Villacero's subsidiary.

The resources would have helped AHMSA pay off maturing debt.

AHMSA has been protected for more than two-and-a-half years by a
suspension of payments order - a kind of bankruptcy protection -
and has accrued debts of more than US$1.85 billion.

In February, the Company announced it was restarting debt
repayments that were over three months behind schedule thanks to
a guarantee fund offered by Banca Mifel/Nacional Financiera.

AHMSA has since paid back about US$14.1 million, roughtly 10
percent of its debts to its suppliers.

Despite the Company's financial situation, it remains operative
and is one of Mexico's largest steel producers, as well as
operating coal and iron ore mines.

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
           Phone: +52 86 33 81 72
           Fax: +52 86 33 65 66

CINTRA: Searching For Financial Agent to Handle Sale
Cintra, which controls leading Mexican airlines Aeromexico and
Mexicana, is progressing to the next level in the sale of its

According to a report by Mexico City daily el Economista, the
holding company is now accepting bids from domestic and
international investment banks to decide who will manage the

Among the candidates include Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan and Salomon
Smith Barney, as well as Chase, UBS and Societe Generale.

Last month, Cintra's shareholders approved a corporate
restructuring aimed at reorganizing Cintra's subsidiaries
into two sub-holdings, Grupo Aeromexico S.A. and Grupo Mexicana
de Aviacion, S..A., which will each have control of operating and
service businesses for the airlines.

The two airlines will be sold separately, as recommended by the
Federal Competition Commission.

          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

          Jenny Jenks, Marketing Director, International
          Division of Mexicana Airlines, +1-210-491-9764, or

          MERRILL LYNCH & CO., INC.
          World Financial Center,
          North Tower, 250 Vesey St.
          New York, NY 10281
          Phone: 212-449-1000
          Toll Free: 800-637-7455
          Home Page:
          David H. Komansky, Chairman and CEO
          E. Stanley O'Neal, President, COO, and Director
          Thomas H. Patrick, EVP and CFO

          J.P. MORGAN CHASE & CO.
          270 Park Avenue
          New York, NY 10017
          Phone: (212) 270-6000
          Fax: (212) 270-1648
          Home Page:
          William Harrison, Jr., Chairman and CEO
          Dina Dublon, Chief Financial Officer
          Geoffrey Boisi, Co-CEO of the Investment Bank

          Investor Relations
          Phone: (1-212) 270-6000

          388 Greenwich St.
          New York, NY 10013
          Phone: 212-816-6000
          Fax: 212-793-9086
          Home Page:
          Michael A. Carpenter, Chairman and CEO
          Michael J. Day, EVP and Controller

          280 Trumbull 24th Fl.
          Hartford, CT 06103
          Phone: 860-549-1674
          Fax: 860-293-4289
          David T. Chase, Chief Executive Officer
          John Redding, Chief Financial Officer

          UBS AG
          Bahnhofstrasse 45
          CH-8098 Zurich, Switzerland
          Phone: +41-1-234-4100
          Fax: +41-1-234-3415
          Home Page:
          Investor Relations in Zurich
          Phone: +1 212 713 3641
          Fax: +1 212 713 1381

          Christian Grutter
          Phone: +41 1 234 4360

          Mark Hengel
          Phone: +41 1 234 8439

          29, Boulevard Haussmann
          75009 Paris, France
          Phone: +33-1-42-14-20-00
          Fax: +33-1-42-14-54-51
          Home Page:
          Pierre-Guillaume de Pompignan, Investor Relations
          Carole Noel, Investor Relations Assistant

GRUPO BITAL: Banco Comercial Portugues Sells $85M Interest
Banco Comercial Portugues (BCP) reached an agreement with Banco
Santander Central Hispano S.A. (BSCH) for the sale of all its
economic interests in Grupo Financiero Bital S.A. of Mexico, for
a total consideration of US $85,000,000, corresponding to
42,650,000 series "O" shares, representing 8,276 percent of the
share capital of the company, and 66,666,000 convertible bonds.

The transaction, pending authorization from the relevant
authorities, should have a minor positive impact on BCP's profit
and loss account, but a favorable effect in the capital base of
Banco Comercial Portugues.

"Santander's existing presence in Mexico would obviously benefit
by the acquisition of Bital," said Robert Lacoursiere, a banking
analyst at Lehman Brothers Inc. in New York.

BSCH would also have to contend with Amsterdam-based ING Groep
NV, the largest Dutch financial services company, which owns a
17.5 percent stake in Bital.

The Dutch group last month paid US$200 million to acquire its
stake in Bital as part of a capital increase aimed at raising
cash needed to acquire the failed Banco del Atlantico SA. ING
also has an insurance joint venture with Bital.

          Paseo De La Reforma
          No. 243, Cuauhtemoc,
          06500, Mexico ,D.F.
          Home Page:
          Investor Relations
          Act. Ricardo Garza Galindo Salazar

          Miguel Duarte

          Patrick Hughes or Paul Hebert
          +1 212-688-6840

          Plaza de Canalejas, 1
          28014 Madrid, Spain
          Phone: +34-91-558-10-31
          Fax: +34-91-552-66-70
          Home Page:
          Emilio Botin-Sanz, Chairman
          Ana Patricia Botin, Chairman, Banesto
          Alfredo Saenz, CEO, Chairman BSN, Banif,
                              Deputy Chairman SCH Investment
          Jose Luis del Valle, EVP Finance

          ING GROEP N.V.
          Strawinskylaan 2631
          1077 ZZ Amsterdam,
          The Netherlands
          Phone: +31-20-541-54-11
          Fax: +31-20-541-54-44
          Home Page:
          Ewald Kist, Chairman
          Cees Maas, Chief Financial Officer

GRUPO MEXICO: Dispute With Workers Eludes Solution
A nearly month-old strike at two mining complexes of Mexican
copper producer Grupo Mexico SA continued Wednesday as talks
between the National Mining, Metallurgical, Similar Workers Union
and the Company continue with no apparent progress, reports Dow

Workers at La Caridad and San Martin mines remain intransigent to
the 5.25-percent direct wage increase and 0.5 4 percent in
additional benefits offered by Grupo Mexico. The settlement has
been accepted by local union chapters in San Luis Potosi and
Coahuila states, where workers ended their walkout mid-March.

Grupo Mexico has already called for labor authorities to rule in
the matter, saying that workers at La Caridad and San Martin
failed to honor the agreement reached with the union's executive

However, the union responded saying that the move was an
opportunity for the federal government "to make its offer to
respect the autonomy of the unions a reality" by rejecting the
Company's intentions.

A lengthy work stoppage at Group Mexico could worsen its earnings
outlook after a decline in copper prices last year hurt the
Company's finances and raised doubts about its capacity to pay
its debts. La Caridad mine is a key source of Grupo Mexico copper
exports, and without production from that mine, the Company's
supply of cash may not be enough to cover its obligations.

NEXTEL COMMUNICATIONS: Won't Desert Latin American Operations
Despite its ongoing financial challenges, NII Holdings, the
international arm of Nextel Communications, is not abandoning its
other Latin American markets, an executive said in a Business
News Americas report.

NII Holdings marketing and corporate communications VP Mario
Carotti made the announcement after revealing plans that US-based
digital trunking operator Nextel Communications is looking to cut
operating costs and capital expenditures in all Latin American
markets with the exception of Mexico.

According to Carotti, available funding will be focused on
continuing growth of the Company's Mexican operations.

In its filing, Nextel Communications stated that it could make
US$250 million available to NII Holdings in the long-term, should
NII succeed in restructuring its US$2.67 billion debt.

"If NII Holdings is unable to obtain additional funding and
negotiate a successful restructuring, it may be required to
further write-down assets, sell strategic assets, reorganize
under Chapter 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code or take
other measures, including liquidation of its assets," according
to the Nextel filing.

During 2001, NII Holdings recorded non-cash pretax impairment
charges and pretax restructuring and other charges of about
US$1.75 billion resulting from the write-down of the carrying
values of its long-lived assets and the restructuring of some of
its operations to reduce its operating costs and efficiencies.

Nextel Communications' net loss widened dramatically to US$2.85
billion in 2001, compared to US$1 billion in 2000.

NII Holdings has digital trunking operations in the Philippines,
Argentina, Brazil, Peru, and Mexico plus analog radio services in

OPEN INVITATION: Home Interiors Wants Mexican Warehouse Lease
Carrollton, Texas-based Home Interiors & Gifts said it is hoping
to take over Open Invitation's warehouse lease in Monterrey,
Mexico after a federal bankruptcy judge approved the sale of the
latter's non-real-estate assets.

According to a report by The Kansas City Star, U.S. Bankruptcy
Judge Arthur Federman approved the sale of the assets of Open
Invitation, formerly known as House of Lloyd, to Home Interiors,
saying it was in the best interest of creditors.

Home Interiors bid US$5.6 million for the assets topping the
US$5.32-offer submitted by Richmont Holdings of Plano, Texas.

House of Lloyd, which was renamed Open Invitation after it was
sold in late 1999 to Kier Group Holdings of New York and SG
Capital Partners for US$50 million, filed for bankruptcy in
January of this year.

The sale agreement approved by Federman calls for Home Interiors
to pay US$3.86 million for Open Invitation's inventory and
intangible assets and to give the sales representatives US$1.2
million in vouchers toward the purchase of merchandise.

Sales representatives who accept vouchers from Home Interiors
would agree to relinquish claims for their unpaid commissions and
royalties. Those who don't would be free to submit their claims
to the bankruptcy estate.

Virtually all the proceeds from the sale to Home Interiors will
be used to repay Open Invitation's lending group, led by PNC Bank
of Pittsburgh. The group is owed about US$16 million, meaning
that other creditors, including the sales representatives, will
get no money unless Open Invitation manages to sell its huge
warehouses in Grandview.

The warehouses, which total about 1.5 million square feet, are
being marketed separately and are not among the assets being
purchased by Home Interiors.

          1649 Frankford Rd. West
          Carrollton, TX 75007
          Phone: 972-386-1000
          Fax: 972-386-1112
          Home Page:
          Donald J. Carter Jr.,  Chairman and CEO
          Michael D. (Mike) Lohner, President and COO
          Kenneth J. (Ken) Cichocki, SVP Finance/CFO/Director


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.

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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