TCRLA_Public/020716.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, July 16, 2002, Vol. 3, Issue 139


A N T I G U A   &   B A R B U D A

LIAT: Another Engine Failure Grounds Plane


EDEMSA: Suspends Debt Payments Over Peso Devaluation
IMPSAT FIBER: Turns to Houlihan Lokey for Restructuring Advice
IMPSAT FIBER: Schedules, Statements To Be Filed By July 26
IMPSAT FIBER: U.S. Trustee Names Unsecured Creditors' Committee


GLOBE-X: Cinar Demands Liquidation Over Debt Dispute


TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Johnson & Perkinson Expands Class Period
TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Reviews All Top Executives' Retention Deals


BELL CANADA: Shareholders Approve Plan of Arrangement
BELL CANADA: Put Option, Warrants Cancelled Over Comcel Deal
BELL CANADA: Shareholders Criticize Directors For Windup Plan
BELL CANADA: Moody's Downgrades Ratings On Debt Concern
CEMIG: Government Offers Bonds As Debt Payment Aid
CESP: Debt Level Surpasses Annual Turnover
CSN: Bethlehem Steel Persistent On JV Plans


CHIQUITA BRANDS: Warns of Honduran Exit On Workers' Absenteeism


AVANTEL: CEO On Spin Control Road Trip Over WorldCom Fears
BANCA MIFEL: Disagreement Over Sale Price Leads To Impasse
CINTRA: To Define Base Price By September
GRUPO BITAL: Needs $550M Minimum In New Money Provisions
GRUPO MASECA: Improves Debt Profile After Making Early Payment
ISPAT INTERNATIONAL: Extends Exchange, Consent Solicitation Time

     - - - - - - - - - -

A N T I G U A   &   B A R B U D A

LIAT: Another Engine Failure Grounds Plane
A LIAT aircraft, which bears the registration number V2 LDU, has
been grounded for several days now since it encountered
mechanical problems, Caribbean Airnews reports, citing LIAT
Commercial Director Daniel Oliver. This is the fifth engine
failure that has plagued the airline in three months.

"As a result of the setback we had to reorganize our schedule and
make arrangements with Carib Aviation to service our passengers,"
Oliver said.

According to Oliver, efforts are being made to get the plane up
and running by this weekend.

LIAT has been short of cash for the last couple of years but got
a shot in the arm in March after it received an EC$31-million
(US$11 million) loan to replace aging planes, finance its
voluntary severance program and boost marketing initiatives.


EDEMSA: Suspends Debt Payments Over Peso Devaluation
Argentine distributor Edemsa has decided to suspend payments on
all financial obligations as a result of the devaluation of the
peso, reports Business News Americas, citing company accountant
Horacio Marchessi.

In a statement to the Buenos Aires stock market, the Company said
it is delaying payments of the series II debentures capital
(US$9.8 million) that expired Friday and the series III interest
(US$2.2 million).

With half of its total US$120 million in debt denominated in
dollars, Edemsa admitted that its peso-denominated income cannot
match dollar-denominated expenses. Furthermore, the outcome of
negotiations with the provincial government over rates are far
from certain.

The company did say it will continue day-to-day operations, and
honor commercial debts.

Edemsa is controlled by the French EDF through direct and
indirect holdings. The Argentine province of Mendoza also holds a
stake in the utility.

IMPSAT FIBER: Turns to Houlihan Lokey for Restructuring Advice
Impsat Fiber Networks, Inc. received authority from the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York to employ
Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin Capital as its financial advisor.

On or about August 31, 2001, the Debtor retained Houlihan Lokey
to serve as its financial advisor in connection with its
restructuring efforts. Since then Houlihan Lokey has developed
extensive knowledge of the Debtor's businesses, operations and
financial condition.

Under the terms of its engagement, Houlihan Lokey will continue

     A. Advise the Debtor generally of available capital
        restructuring and financing alternatives, including
        recommendations of specific courses of action and assist
        the Debtor with the design of alternative transaction
        structures and any debt and equity securities to be

     B. Assist the Debtor with the development, negotiation and
        implementation of a transaction, including participation
        as a representative of the Debtor in negotiations with
        creditors and other parties involved in a transaction;

     C. Assist the Debtor in valuing the Debtor and/or, as
        appropriate, valuing the Debtor's assets or operations;
        provided that any real estate or fixed asset appraisals
        needed will be performed by outside appraisers retained
        directly by the Debtor;

     D. Provide expert advice and testimony, in any legal
        proceeding occurring prior to consummating a
        transaction, or prior to any termination of the
        Engagement Letter, related to a transaction, including
        the feasibility of any transaction, the valuation of any
        securities issued in connection with a transaction, and
        any other matter as to which Houlihan Lokey is rendering
        services under the Engagement Letter;

     E. Advise the Debtor with respect to certain potential debt
        or equity financings;

     F. Prepare proposals to creditors, employees, shareholders
        and other parties-in-interest in connection with any

     G. Provide a fairness opinion to the Debtor in connection
        with any out-of court transaction; and

     H. Render such other financial advisory and investment
        banking services as may be mutually agreed upon by the
        Debtor and Houlihan Lokey.

Houlihan Lokey will be entitled to receive:

     a. a Monthly Fee of $200,000;

     b. a Transaction Fee payable in cash and equal to the sum

          i) 1% of $650,000,000 (being the aggregate face amount
             of the 2003 Notes, the 2005 Notes and the 2008
             Notes) and
         ii) .50% of any and all vendor financing principal and
             accrued interest of the Debtor's Non-debtor
             Subsidiaries outstanding as of the date of the
             consummation of the Transaction that is either
             reduced, retired, satisfied, extended or converted
             to equity or as to which the debt service
             requirements are reduced or extended, less
        iii) 100% of all Monthly Fees paid to Houlihan Lokey up
             to and including the date of the consummation of
             the Transaction; and

     c. the reimbursement of reasonable out-of-pocket expenses.

Impsat Fiber, a provider of broadband Internet, data, and voice
services in Latin America, filed for chapter 11 protection on
June 11, 2002. Anthony D. Boccanfuso, Esq., and Michael J.
Canning, Esq. at Arnold & Porter represent the Debtor in its
restructuring efforts. When the Company filed for protection from
its creditors, it listed $667,189,368 in total assets and
$1,334,732,793 in total debts.

To see Financial Statement:

CONTACT:  IMPSAT Fiber Networks, Inc.
          Home Page:

          Hector Alonso
          Gonzalo Alende Serra
          Phone: 54.11.5170.3700

DEBTORS' COUNSEL: Anthony D. Boccanfuso, Esq.
                  Michael J. Canning, Esq.
                  Arnold & Porter
                  399 Park Avenue
                  New York, New York 10022
                  (212) 715-1315
                  Fax : (212) 715-1399

FINANCIAL ADVISOR:  Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin Capital
                    John McKenna
                    Lily Chu
                    Phone: 212/497-4100

IMPSAT FIBER: Schedules, Statements To Be Filed By July 26
By order of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District
of New York, Impsat Fiber Networks, Inc. obtained an extension on
its time period to file its schedules and statement of financial
affairs to the Court.

The Court gives the Debtor until July 26, 2002 to file a list of
creditors, a list of equity security holders, schedules of assets
and liabilities, a schedule of current income and expenditure,
schedules of executory contracts and unexpired leases, and a
statement of financial affairs.

IMPSAT FIBER: U.S. Trustee Names Unsecured Creditors' Committee
The United States Trustee appointed creditors to serve at the
Official Unsecured Creditors' Committee of the chapter 11 case of
Impsat Fiber Networks, Inc. The appointed creditors are:

     1) The Bank of New York, as Indenture Trustee
        6 Pennsylvannia Plaza
        New York, NY 10001
        Attn: Irene Siegel, 13th Floor
        Tel No.: 212 896 7258
        Fax No.: 212 328 7302

     2) Nortel Networks, Ltd.
        c/o Nortel Networks de Argentina, S.A.
        Larrea 1079
        (C1117 ABE) Buenos Aires, Argentina
        Attn: Ramiro Angle, Sr.
        Manager Customer Finance
        Tel No.: 5411 4827 7275
        Fax No.: 5411 4827 7272


        Piper & Rudnick LLP
        1200 19th Street N.W.
        Washington, DC 20036
        Attn: Mitchelle S. Mardner, Esq.
        Eric B. Miller, Esq.
        Tel No.: 202 861 3970
        Fax No.: 202 689 7670

     3) Sirti Argentina SA
        Av. Presidente Hipolito Yrigoyen 4848
        (B1604CMV) Florida
        Provinca de Buenos Aires, Argentina
        Tel No.: 0054 11 8800
        Fax No.: 4730 881707 8818


        Solomon, Eavderer, Ellenhorn, Frischer & Sharp
        45 Rockefeller Plaza
        New York, NY 10111
        Attn: Harry Frischer, Esq.
        Tel No.: 212 956 3700
        Fax No.: 212 956 4068

     4) Harris Canada Inc.
        3 Holet de Ville
        Dollard ded Ormeuvx, Quebec
        Canada H913 3G4
        Tel No.: 514 421 8400
        Fax No.: 514 421 2952


        Marie Wilson, Esq.
        350 Twin Dolphin Drive
        Redwood Shoes, CA 94065
        Tel No.: 650 594 32106

     5) UBS Warburg (UBS AG)
        677 Washington Blvd.
        Starnford, CT 06901
        Attn: Michael Gelhard, Exe Director
        Tel No.: 203 719 7444
        Fax No.: 203 719 4836

     6) WRH Partners Global Securities, LP
        1776 On the Green
        67 park Place
        Morristown, NJ 07960
        Attn: Joe Thornton, Esq.
        Tel No.: 973 984 1233
        Fax No.: 973 984 1196

     7) Vision Advisors
        Isidora Goyemechea 3642, 2nd Floor
        Las Condez, Santiago, Chile
        Attn: Boris Garafulich
        Tel No.: 56 2 290 9999
        Fax No.: 56 2 290 9900


GLOBE-X: Cinar Demands Liquidation Over Debt Dispute
CINAR Corporation has petitioned the Supreme Court of the Bahamas
for permission to wind-up Globe-X Canadiana Limited and Globe-X
Management Limited and to appoint PricewaterhouseCoopers as
liquidator. This action is being taken due to the failure by
Globe-X to pay the balance of US $39,368,000 plus interest of US
$4,700,000 still outstanding from an original principal amount of
US $122,000,000 invested with Globe-X.

Under an Agreement dated October 20, 2000, Globe-X had committed
to make weekly payments until August 17, 2001 at which time the
entire amount was required to be paid. Since October 24, 2000, a
total of US $11,600,000 has been repaid, however, as has been
previously announced, Globe-X defaulted in making the agreed
weekly payments and failed to make the final payment called for
in August 2001.

In addition, despite repeated representations from Globe-X
representatives that they were attempting to raise funds or to
monetize assets to cure the situation, Globe-X has failed to
effect full repayment to CINAR or to make any repayment of
principal during the past two months.

CINAR Corporation is an integrated entertainment and education
company involved in the development, production, post-production
and worldwide distribution of non-violent, quality programming
and educational products for children and families. CINAR's web
site is

CONTACT:  CINAR Corporation
          Louise Sansregret, VP Corp. affairs & Corp. Sec.
          TEL:  (514) 843-7070


TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Johnson & Perkinson Expands Class Period
Johnson & Perkinson gave official notice that the Class Period in
its Tyco Fraud Suit is being expanded. The revised dates are:
April 25, 2002 through June 12, 2002. The Class consists of all
those who purchased Tyco common stock, call options, or debt
investments and who sold Tyco put options during the period.

The complaint asserts claims against Tyco; its former CEO,
Kozlowski; and its former Chief Counsel, Belnick, for violations
of Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934 and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder.

Plaintiffs allege: 1) Tyco's financial results announced on April
25, 2002 overstated the value of CIT Group, a wholly owned Tyco
subsidiary, by $4.5 to $6.5 billion, thereby materially inflating
the reported financial results of Tyco; 2) Defendants failed to
reveal the material risk that the public offering of CIT stock by
Tyco would not be able to be competed once the criminal
investigation of Kozlowski became public or, if it were, would
only occur at a value far below that represented Defendants; and
3) Defendants failed to reveal the ongoing criminal
investigations of Kozlowski. As a result, Tyco's securities were
artificially inflated throughout the Class Period, causing
plaintiff and other members of the Class to purchase or sell such
securities at prices skewed by Defendants' conduct.

At the end of the Class Period, Tyco announced the need to
restate its financial results to write down $4.5 billion of CIT's
goodwill. Purchasers or sellers of the designated securities
during the redefined Class Period may, no later than August 5,
2002, move to be appointed as Lead Plaintiff.


1690 Williston Road
South Burlington, Vermont 05403
Toll free: 1-888-459-7855
Contacts: Dennis J. Johnson, Esquire
          Jacob B. Perkinson, Esquire

TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Reviews All Top Executives' Retention Deals
Tyco International Ltd. is scrutinizing employment agreements of
all senior executives as part of its ongoing internal
investigation, company spokesman Gary Holmes said in a Reuters

One particular top executive under investigation is Richard
Meelia, who is involved in a deal that grants him an equivalent
of nearly 90 US cross-country flights on company jets in case of
resignation from the Company.

In his retention agreement, Meelia, who received total direct
compensation of US$21.5 million in 2001, was granted a severance
package potentially worth several million dollars, as well as up
to 150 hours a year access to company planes for three years
should he be fired without cause or should he resign for a good
reason before Feb. 28, 2005.

According to Reuters, Meelia's retention agreement could be
controversial, as the Company probes undisclosed transactions
done under ex-CEO Dennis Kozlowski's term.

A month ago, the industrial conglomerate dismissed chief
corporate counsel Mark Belnick on grounds of conspiracy with
Kozlowski to hide retention deals that would have paid him
US$10.6 million. A suit followed on improper compensation of
US$35 million for Belnick.

Tyco lost more than US$90 billion in market capitalization this
year on the controversy involving use of company funds for real
estates and costly paintings.

CONTACT:  Tyco International Ltd.
          The Zurich Centre, Second Floor
          90 Pitts Bay Road
          Pembroke HM 08, Bermuda
          Phone: 441-292-8674

          Tyco International (U.S.) Inc.
          One Tyco Park
          Exeter, NH 03833
          Phone: 603-778-9700
          Home Page:


BELL CANADA: Shareholders Approve Plan of Arrangement
Bell Canada International Inc. ("BCI") announced Friday that BCI
shareholders approved BCI's Plan of Arrangement at a special
meeting of shareholders held Friday afternoon in Montreal. The
Plan of Arrangement was approved by in excess of 99% of the votes
cast in person or by proxy by BCI shareholders at the special
meeting. As announced earlier on the same day by BCI, holders of
BCI's 11% senior unsecured notes approved the Plan of Arrangement
at a meeting of noteholders held that morning.

A hearing on the matter is set July 17, 2002 at 10:00 a.m. before
the Ontario Superior Court of Justice at which time BCI will seek
court approval of the Plan of Arrangement. If court approval is
obtained, BCI intends to complete the sale of its interest in
Telecom Americas on July 24, 2002; thereafter, BCI will proceed
with the disposition of its remaining assets in an orderly
fashion and seek expeditious resolution of claims against BCI in
order to accelerate final distributions to BCI stakeholders. In
addition, shortly after court approval of the Arrangement, BCI
will effect the consolidation of its outstanding common shares
such that, following the consolidation, BCI would have 40 million
common shares outstanding. BCI confirms that the proposed
consolidation ratio will be approximately one to 120.

BCI, through Telecom Americas, owns and operates 4 Brazilian B
Band cellular companies serving more than 4.3 million subscribers
in territories of Brazil with a population of approximately 60
million. BCI is a subsidiary of BCE Inc., Canada's largest
communications company. BCI is listed on the Toronto Stock
Exchange under the symbol BI and on the NASDAQ National Market
under the symbol BCICF.

          Marie-Lise Gauthier, 514/392-2318
          Web site:

BELL CANADA: Put Option, Warrants Cancelled Over Comcel Deal
Bell Canada International Inc. ("BCI") announced Friday that it
had received notice from American International Underwriters
Overseas, Ltd. and American International Reinsurance Company,
Ltd. (collectively the "Holders") that the Holders have sold
their indirect interest in Comunicacion Celular - Comcel S.A.
("Comcel") to a wholly owned subsidiary of America Movil S.A. de
C.V. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.

Accordingly, the Holders' right to put this interest in Comcel to
BCI pursuant to a December 10, 1998 Put Option Agreement, an
obligation BCI has previously announced it would settle through
the issuance of BCI common shares, has terminated pursuant to its
terms. As a result, no BCI common shares will be issued to the
Holders. As a further consequence of the termination of the Put
Option, the secondary warrants issued on January 11, 2002 in
connection with BCI's Recapitalization Plan have automatically
expired. The termination of both the Put Option and the secondary
warrants eliminates the risk of significant dilution facing BCI's
shareholders, which would have resulted from the Put Option being

As of the date hereof, BCI has 4,797,313,658 outstanding common
shares. As announced on June 10, 2002, BCI is proposing, as part
of a Plan of Arrangement, a share consolidation that will result
in BCI having 40 million common shares outstanding following the
consolidation. BCI confirms that the proposed consolidation ratio
will be approximately one to 120. The share consolidation is
subject to required shareholder and court approvals.

BELL CANADA: Shareholders Criticize Directors For Windup Plan
Elderly shareholders of Bell Canada International (BCI) were
enraged about a plan to wind up the BCE Inc. subsidiary, claiming
they have been treated unfairly. At a meeting held Friday,
noteholders owed millions of dollars voted by the same margin --
99% -- to approve a plan, which, among other things, would
approve the sale of BCI's assets so the proceeds could be
distributed to its creditors and shareholders.

"This meeting is a farce because BCE holds more than 50% of the
shares," said shareholder Morton Cherad. BCE, which owns 62% of
BCI's shares has earlier indicated it would vote in favor of the

Another shareholder, Roland Sperlich, described BCI's directors
as "a bunch of yes men to the whims of the BCE board," and
accused them of being in a conflict of interest because some
board members had ties to BCE at one time. Mr. Sperlich
contemptuously called the plan a "giveaway" and a "scandal."

BCI president William Anderson however said he was sympathetic to
the shareholders' anger.

"But as a practical matter, I think when they look at the
circumstances as they exist, they recognize in fact that this is
the right thing for the Company to do and the best opportunity --
if not the only opportunity -- that they have to recover some of
their investment."

BELL CANADA: Moody's Downgrades Ratings On Debt Concern
Moody's Investors Service downgraded the ratings of BCE Inc. and
Bell Canada, citing concerns about BCE's increased debt load
following its decision to re-purchase 20% of Bell Canada.

Moody's said it lowered BCE's senior unsecured rating to A3 to
Baa1 while confirming its commercial paper at P2. Bell Canada's
issuer and senior unsecured debt was dropped to A3 from A2, while
its subordinate debt was dropped to Baa1 from A3. Its commercial
paper was also lowered to P2 from P1.

"The outlook for all ratings is negative due to the potential
inability of Bell and BCE, combined, to repay debt within a
reasonable number of years from free cash flow. The ratings may
be subject to future downgrades over time unless Bell and BCE can
demonstrate a strong improvement in combined free cash flow
generating ability and also reduce their combined debt level. The
outlook reflects the potential for additional downgrades should
BCE fail to execute on its planned equity issue, bond issue and
sale/monetization of Bell's directories business," said Moody's.

Despite Bell's efforts to reduce capital spending, Moody's said
the country's largest telephone carrier will continue to incur
negative free cash flow owing to the high dividend payout level
to BCE.

BCE has reduced its own negative free cash flow through recent
decisions to stop funding Teleglobe and Bell Canada

Moody's also believes that other investments should not require
funding other than Expressvu in manageable amounts. Moody's
believes however that BCE's decision to maintain its dividend at
current levels for its equity stakeholders weakens the position
of its credit stakeholders at both Bell and BCE.

CEMIG: Government Offers Bonds As Debt Payment Aid
The Brazilian government is expected to give Cia. Energetica de
Minas Gerais, the country's largest power generator and
distributor, government bonds in the coming weeks.

In a Bloomberg report, Cristiano Correa de Barros, Cemig's chief
financial officer, said Brazil will give the utility government
bonds to make up for limits on power rate increases in recent
years. The Company is expecting to get the bonds at the end of
July or early next month. Cemig will then sell these bonds to pay
BRL1.1 billion to BRL1.2 billion it owed to power distributors
and generators when nine months of power rationing, which ended
in March, reduced its own energy output, forcing it to buy
electricity from the utilities.

Cemig expects to raise BRL1.5 billion ($527 million) from the
sale of the bonds.

Correa de Barros said he expects Cemig's net income to increase
this year over 2001, though earnings will depend on demand for
energy and the exchange rate.

The real has plunged 19% this year against the dollar but Cemig
is forecasting a rebound in the currency to BRL2.6 to the dollar
by year-end. Every 1% decline in the real adds BRL15 million to
Cemig's costs of paying its almost US$700 million in dollar debt,
Correa de Barros said.

"We think the dollar is overvalued," said Correa de Barros. "We
expect more calm in the markets in coming months."

Cemig has about a quarter of its dollar debt protected against
declines in the real. The Company has the right to raise that
hedging to cover all of the debt, though it has no plans to do so
because of the cost, he said.

"Hedging is very expensive right now," Correa de Barros said.

          Avenida Barbacena, 1200
          Sto Agostinho  30123-970 Belo Horizonte - MG
          Phone   +55 31 299 4900
          Home Page
          Djalma Bastos De Morais, Chairman
          Geraldo De Oliveira Faria, Vice Chairman
          Cristiano Correa De Barros, Finance Director

CESP: Debt Level Surpasses Annual Turnover
Worries are mounting at Cia. Energetica de Sao Paulo (Cesp),
Brazil's third-largest power generator.  According to a report by
O Estado de Sao Paulo, the Brazilian utility has liabilities
greater than its total revenues.

In 2001, the Company posted gross sales of BRL2.3 billion, but
has to pay off a BRL2.5-billion debt, which expires within 6
months. This year, the debt maturity stands at BRL955 million.
The largest part of the Company's short-term (2002) maturities
were already rolled-over.

Cesp is negotiating a guarantee resource with BNDES (Banco
Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social) for the next

Cesp ended 2001 with net losses of BRL813.3 million, up by 196%
from the BRL414.3 million recorded in the previous year.
Operating cost also widened to BRL1.49 billion from BRL739.5
million. Results were hurt by the energy-rationing program
introduced in June last year to help replenish depleted reservoir
levels, and by its dollar-denominated debt, which totaled BRL6.53
billion at the end of 2001.

          Rua da Consolacao, 1.875
          CEP 01301 -100 Sao Paulo, Brazil
          Phone: +55-11-234-6322
          Fax: +55-11-287-0871
          Home Page:
          Mauro G. Jardim Arce, Chairman
          Ruy M. Altenfelder Silva, Vice Chairman
          Vicente Kazuhiro Okazaki, Finance Director

CSN: Bethlehem Steel Persistent On JV Plans
US steel company Bethlehem Steel Corporation is not giving up on
its plan to form a joint venture between its Sparrow Points unit
and Brazilian steel firm Cia. Siderurgica Nacional (CSN),
financial daily Gazeta Mercantil reports, citing Bethlehem Steel
Chairman Robert Miller. The announcement comes amid talks that
are ongoing between CSN and Corus Group PLC.

CSN and English-Dutch company Corus confirmed last week that they
were both in negotiations, which market sources speculated
involved a share swap between the companies.

CSN would have 10% less than the 20% stake that Corus would have
in the Brazilian company and Corus would take over part of CSN
debt. Corus would also have access to CSN raw material and would
compete with the European group Arcelor, which owns Acesita in
Brazil and makes part of controller group of CST (Companhia
Siderurgica de Tubarao). CSN, which production reaches 5mil m
tons of steel per year, would penetrate Europe easier through the

However, state-owned national development bank BNDES, is unsure
whether to allow the Vincunha group swap its shares in CSN for
Corus shares. BNDES and other creditors lent US$600 million to
Vincunha group, which used its 46.5% stake in CSN as collateral.
According to a BNDES source, BNDES and the other lenders want to
make sure they do not lose out in the exchange.

Bethlehem, headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, is the
nation's second largest integrated steel producer with revenues
of about US$4.2 billion and shipments of 8.5 million tons of
steel products in 2000. Bethlehem, which filed for bankruptcy
protection in October, has been in negotiations with CSN since
the end of last year.

          Rua Lauro Muller 116-36 Andar, PO Box 2736
          Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, 22299-900
          Phone: 55 21 5451707
          Fax: 5521 5451529
          Home Page:
          Benjamin Steinbruch, CEO (interim basis)
          Antonio Mary Ulrich, Exec. Officer - Investors

          1170 Eighth Avenue
          Bethlehem, PA 18016
          Phone: 610-694-2424
          Home Page:
          Contact: Robert S. Miller, Jr., Chairman/CEO
                   Leonard M. Anthony, Senior VP/CFO

          Main Office Building
          Sparrows Point, MD 21219-1014
          Phone: 1-800-521-4789
          Fax: 1-800-626-1279
          City Phone: (410) 477-8484
          City Fax: (410)388-3611


CHIQUITA BRANDS: Warns of Honduran Exit On Workers' Absenteeism
Chiquita Brands International, which emerged from bankruptcy
reorganization in March, could be forced to leave its banana
plantations in Honduras. However, the impending exit is not
attributed to financial problems or strikes that have plagued the
Company before, but to a new problem: employee absenteeism.

About 20% of the employees of Tela Railroad Company, the Honduran
subsidiary of Chiquita Brands, were failing to show up for work
on an average day, revealed the unit's vice president, Fernando

"We're worn out, because a large portion of our 2,200 employees
don't show up for work," said Sanchez. "The situation is creating
a drop in banana production, which could force us to close the

Leonel Ortiz, spokesman for the union that represent the
Company's workers, blamed the absenteeism on allergies,
headaches, and circulation problems he claimed were caused by the
Company's use of pesticides.

Chiquita Brands emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in
March and began a restructuring plan that would reduce its debt
by US$700 million. The Company filed its case last November.

          James B. Riley, Senior Vice-President/CFO
          Tel. +1-513-784-6307
          William T. Sandstrom, Director of Investor Relations
          Tel. +1-513-784-6366


AVANTEL: CEO On Spin Control Road Trip Over WorldCom Fears
Avantel CEO Oscar Rodriguez has busied himself over the past two
weeks visiting the telecom company's most important clients in an
effort to allay their fears spurred by the recent scandal of
WorldCom Inc., reports Mexico City columnist Eduardo Torreblanca.

Avantel, which is 49% owned by WorldCom has 250 very large
clients, of which Rodriguez has visited 60. Avantel also lists
3,000 medium-sized clients and 1 million residential customers.

WorldCom is currently mired in an accounting scandal stemming
from a $3.8-billion earnings restatement. The company is working
frantically to raise up to US$1 billion by selling its assets
world-wide that could include its stake in privately held

Avantel for its part has repeatedly insisted that the accounting
woes of WorldCom will not affect the unit's services, operations
and investments, saying it is a Mexico-based corporation with
autonomous administrative, financial and accounting structures.

Avantel said its financial reports complied with U.S. and Mexican
generally accepted accounting standards and had been audited by

Avantel operates an 8,000 kilometer fiber optic network in Mexico
through which provides long distance and broadband services to
corporate and residential customers in the country.

          500 Clinton Center Drive
          Clinton, MS 39056
          Phone: (601) 460-5600
          Fax: (601) 460-8350
          John Sidgmore, President and CEO

          Reforma No. 265, 6o piso, Col.
          Cuauhtemoc, 06500, M,xico, D.F.
          Tel: 5242-1004
          Fax: 5242-1060
          Home Page:

          1301 Avenue of the Americas
          New York, NY 10019
          Phone: 646-471-4000
          Fax: 646-394-1301
          Home Page:

BANCA MIFEL: Disagreement Over Sale Price Leads To Impasse
Talks between Banca Mifel and the Del Valle family over the
latter's purchase of the control of the bank were expected to end
last June after the results of the audits were released. But a
conflict over the final price has created an impasse on the
negotiations, raising speculations that the talks could be broken

However, Antonio del Valle said that the talks would resume this

"The interest in associating is still there. The problem is that
we have not been able to agree a price, because in due diligence
the accounts were fine and everything is very clear, but neither
of the two parties find it easy to put figures on the matter,"
the banker said.

Although Del Valle refused to discuss detailed figures, the Del
Valle family is thought at first to have offered around MXN600
million (US$61.71 million) for 80% of Banca Mifel. The bank's
book value currently stands at approximately MXN484 million
(US$49.8 million).

CINTRA: To Define Base Price By September
The base price for the proposed sale of Cintra, the holding
Company for Mexicana and Aeromexico airlines, will be established
by September, says Mexico City daily el Economista.

Still unclear is the date at whick further details of the sale
will be released. Transparencia Mexicana, the Mexican division of
Transparencia Internacional which will oversee the sale process,
will be the one to decide on the matter in collaboration with
Cintra. The final decision, however, must come within the
previously stipulated timeframe.

Cintra, which is 65%-owned by the Mexican government, has seen
its value plunge 42.06% since the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Its "A" series shares quoted on the BMV have declined since
August 31, 2001, when they were at MXN6.80 (US$0.68) each, to
just MXN3.94 (US$0.39) by June this year.

In August 2001, the value of Cintra's stock was MXN6.74 billion
(US$677 million), but now, it's only worth MXN3.91 billion
(US$393 million), reflecting a loss of MXN2.83 billion (US$283
million) in just 10 months.

Cintra's stock price has been dropping since September, reaching
MXN6.09 in October, MXN5.50 in December, MXN3.00 in January,
MXN4.00 in February, March and April and slipped to MXN3.94 in

Luis Gutierrez Ruvalcaba, president of Cintra, vowed that
although there have been several missed opportunities to sell
over the last seven years, the Company will not be sold cheaply.

Cintra is coveted by major airlines as Delta and Continental, as
well as by Mexican investors, for its strategic significance.
Since 1995, around 85% of Cintra's shares are in the hands of the
bank deposits safety institute IPAB.

Merrill Lynch is the financial agent for the sale of Cintra.

To see Cintra's financial statements:

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

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

          Xola 535, Piso 16, Col. del Valle
          03100 M,xico, D.F., Mexico
          Phone: +52-5-448-8050
          Fax: +52-5-448-8055
          Jaime Corredor Esnaola, Chairman
          Juan Dez-Canedo Ruiz, CEO
          Rodrigo Ocejo Rojo, CFO
          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

          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

          Paseo de las Palmas No. 405
          Piso 8
          Col. Lomas de Chapultepec
          11000 Mexico City, Mexico
          Phone: 5255-5201-3200
          Fax: 5255-5201-3222

          Dulce Olivia 71
          Colonia Villa Coyoac n
          DF, 04000
          Federico Reyes Heroles, President
          Eduardo A. Boh>rquez, Executive Secretary

          National Chapter
          Phone/Fax: +52-5-5668 0955
          Home Page:

GRUPO BITAL: Needs $550M Minimum In New Money Provisions
A recently-concluded revision of Grupo Financiero Bital's
commercial credits portfolio by the National Banking and
Securities Commission (CNBV) showed that the Mexican institution
needs an equity injection of between US$550 million and US$600

CNBV does this kind of analysis every year for all banks. The
agency was able to evaluate 51% of Bital's commercial portfolio,
which gave it a good overview of the bank's needs for provision.

According to CNBV Vice President Patricio Bustamante, the amount
that Bital needs significantly goes beyond US$400 million, which
the authorities and the bank itself estimated a few months back.

After boosting its stake stake in Bital to 30% of voting rights
in a surprise move in April, Banco Santander Central Hispano
(BSCH) had its auditors examine the Mexican bank's loan portfolio
to decide whether to attempt to buy the bank or withdraw.

Directors of BSCH and its Mexican subsidiaries Santander Mexicano
and Serfin were due to meet in Spain over the weekend to decide
whether to increase its share or pull out of Bital.

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

          Plaza de Canalejas,1
          28014 Madrid, Spain
          Phone: +34-91-558-10-31
          Fax: +34-91-552-66-70
          Home Page:
          Ana P. Botin, Chairman, Banesto
          Emilio Botin-Sanz, Chairman
          Francisco G. Rold n, Financial Division General Manager

          Investor Relations:
          Phone: + 34.91.558.13.69
                 + 34.91.558.10.05
          Fax: + 34.91. 558.14.53
               + 34.91.522.66.70

GRUPO MASECA: Improves Debt Profile After Making Early Payment
Grupo Industrial Maseca SA (Gruma SA), the largest producer of
tortillas in the U.S., reduced its debt by 7% after it made an
early payment of US$50 million.

The debt paid is part of the US$100-million liability coming due
in February 2003, which is also part of a syndicated credit for
US$400 million the group obtained in February. The debt expires
in February 2004.

All of the funds obtained through that credit line were used to
refinance short- and medium-term liabilities, which allowed the
Company to improve its debt profile.

Gruma revealed that reductions in investment have improved the
firm's generation of cash and that any portion of the debt that
was not covered by the generation of cash would be covered with
money coming from the sale of non-strategic assets.

CONTACTS:  Rogelio S nchez
           Tel. (52)81 8399-33-11

           Lilia G›mez
           Tel. (52)81 8399-33-24

           Cecilia Rodr­guez
           Tel. (52)81 8399-33-49

           Gruma S.A. de C.V. y Subsidiarias
           Calzada del Valle 407 Ote.
           San Pedro, Garza Garc­a, N.L. M,xico CP 66220
           (52)81 8399-33-00

           Citibank N.A., A member of Citigroup
           Depositary Receipts Department
           111 Wall Street, 20th Floor/ Zone 7
           New York, New York 10043
           Tel. (212) 657.4665
           Fax. (212) 825.5398/2103

ISPAT INTERNATIONAL: Extends Exchange, Consent Solicitation Time
Ispat International N.V. ("Ispat"), announced Friday that Ispat
Mexicana, S.A. de C.V. ("Imexsa"), Ispat's Mexican operating
subsidiary, has extended its exchange offer for all outstanding
10-1/8% Senior Structured Export Certificates due 2003 of Imexsa
Export Trust No. 96-1 (the "Senior Certificates"). The exchange
offer will now expire at 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on July
29, 2002, unless otherwise extended or terminated by Imexsa (the
"Expiration Date").

The exchange offer had been scheduled to expire at 5:00 p.m., New
York City time, on July 12, 2002. The exchange offer is being
extended to allow for additional time to complete documentation
required under the agreed upon terms of the exchange. Under the
terms of the exchange offer, Imexsa will offer to exchange 10-
5/8% Senior Structured Export Certificates due 2005 to be issued
by Imexsa Export Trust No. 96-1 (the "New Senior Certificates")
for Senior Certificates validly tendered and accepted for
exchange. The New Senior Certificates will be fully and
unconditionally guaranteed by Ispat, Grupo Ispat International
S.A. de C.V. ("Grupo") and certain of the subsidiaries of Imexsa
on a senior basis. The New Senior Certificates will also be
secured on a pro rata basis with Imexsa's bank loans by liens on
certain assets of Imexsa and by a pledge of the stock of Imexsa
and Grupo.

The exchange offer is conditioned upon the holders of not less
than 96% of the outstanding principal amount of Senior
Certificates having validly tendered and not withdrawn their
Senior Certificates prior to the Expiration Date and upon the
other terms and conditions set forth in Imexsa's Supplemental
Offering Memorandum and Consent Solicitation Statement dated June
17, 2002, which is supplemental to the Offering Memorandum and
Consent Solicitation Statement dated January 24, 2002.

In connection with the exchange offer, Imexsa is also soliciting
consents from holders of Senior Certificates to, among other
things, amend certain agreements governing the Senior
Certificates. Holders tendering their Senior Certificates in the
exchange offer must also deliver consents. Consents may not be
following the Expiration Date, unless the exchange offer is

Requests for documentation should be made to the Information
Agent for the exchange offer, D.K. King & Co., Inc., at (800)
847-4870. Questions regarding the transaction should be directed
to financial advisor to Imexsa, Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein at
(212) 969-2700.

This announcement is not an offer to purchase or a solicitation
of consents with respect to any Senior Certificates or an offer
of New Senior Certificates for sale. Securities may not be
offered and sold in the United States absent registration or an
exemption from registration. Any public offering of securities to
be made in the United States must be made by means of a
prospectus that may be obtained from the issuer or selling
security holder and will contain detailed information about the
company and management, as well as financial statements.

To see latest financial statements:

          Annanya Sarin, Head of Communications
          Tel.: + 44-20-7543-1162 / +31-10-404-6738

          T.N Ramaswamy, Director - Finance
          Tel.: + 44 20 7543 1147

          John McInerney, Investor Relations
          Tel.: +1 212 419 4219


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
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
re-mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without prior
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to
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