TCRLA_Public/030106.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

           Monday, January 6, 2003, Vol. 4, Issue 3



ARGENTINE OIL COMPANIES: Agree To Three Months' Price Stablility
CLISA: S&P Lowers Ratings to 'D' as Grace Period Starts
ECOGAS: Dodges Bullet on $38M Debt
IMPSAT: S&P Ceases Continued Rating
REPSOL YPF: Shares Rise On Ruling To Maintain Export Funds Limit
ROYAL AHOLD: Chilean Firm May File Suit To Get Payment


ANNUITY & LIFE: Reduces Year-End Collateral Obligations
SAGE: Awaits Outcome After Dec 31 Deadline


TELESP CELULAR: Holiday Sales Up 20% YOY


ADEXUS: Denies $18M Debt Led To Italian Venture's Collapse
EDELNOR: Norandino Waives GTA Non-Compliance On Credit Rating
SQM: Gets New Amortization Schedule Through 2006 on $60M Debt

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

TRICOM: Completes $70M Equity Investment to Pay Down Debts


PACIFICTEL: May Ask Directors To Scrap $60M In Contracts


CFE: New Bidding Rules Postpone El Cajon Bidding Deadline
CNI: 51% Stake May Cost Azteca Only $21M
HYLSA: S&P Assigns New Ratings After Debt Restructuring


ANDE: Seeks Government Approval For Rate Hikes

     - - - - - - - - - -


ARGENTINE OIL COMPANIES: Agree To Three Months' Price Stablility
Argentina announce that oil companies in the country would keep
retail oil prices stable for the next three months, reports
Bloomberg. Oil Price per barrel would be pegged at US$28.50.

"The first stage is just three months, and when that's up we'll
return to the negotiating table," said Cabinet Chief Alfredo

Oil companies in Argentina, including Repsol YPF, Royal
Dutch/Shell Group gave their nod to the agreement, which may be
amended if the local currency goes down by 9 percent to about
ARS3.65 to the dollar, or if international oil prices go higher
than US$35 per barrel.

In return, the government would allow the companies to sell oil
at US$28.50 per barrel even if international oil prices go lower
than that.

Meanwhile, the international oil price is pegged at US$31.99 per
barrel. The increase was triggered by the tension between the
United States and Iraq, which is the fourth-largest oil producer
in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The month-
long national strike in Venezuela spurred the price increase.

Earlier, oil companies have threatened to pull out of Argentina
if the president imposed the price caps. Duhalde had turned down
the companies' request for a price increase as it may add to the
escalating inflation, which has reached as much as 40 percent
last year.

This week, oil companies had raised prices by as mush as 6
percent to recover losses from the currency devaluation. Last
year, the local currency lost about 72 percent of its value to
the dollar.

CLISA: S&P Lowers Ratings to 'D' as Grace Period Starts
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said Thursday that it lowered
its senior unsecured debt ratings (including a US$100 million
senior notes issue that matures in June 2004) on Argentine
holding company Compania Latinoamericana de Infraestructura &
Servicios S.A. (CLISA) to 'D' from 'CC' after the company did not
comply with the interest coupon on the above mentioned securities
within a 30-day grace period expired on Jan 1, 2003.

In addition, Standard & Poor's lowered its local and foreign
currency corporate credit ratings to 'D' from 'CC' and 'SD'
(selective default), respectively.

"The company had deferred the interest coupon payment on its
US$100 million 11.625% senior notes, originally due on Dec. 1,
2002, taking advantage of the grace period to negotiate a
restructuring agreement with its bondholders," said Standard &
Poor's credit analyst Ivana Recalde. "As part of this process,
CLISA held meetings with bondholders on Dec. 10, 2002 in New York
and Dec. 17, 2002 in Buenos Aires to discuss its current
financial position and a preliminary restructuring plan. However,
no final agreement has been reached yet and, therefore, the
coupon payment was not made on Jan. 1, 2003."

Argentina-based CLISA is a holding company mainly devoted to mass
transportation, construction, and toll roads and also
participates in waste management. As of September 2002, the
company's total debt was US$147 million, including the mentioned
US$100 million notes. About 18% of total debt matures before
September 2003.

ANALYST:  Ivana Recalde, Buenos Aires (54) 114-891-2127

ECOGAS: Dodges Bullet on $38M Debt
Argentine gas distributor Ecogas (Distribuidora de Gas del
Centro) gained more breathing room after completing a debt swap
deal to pay a US$38 million loan with BankBoston and the New York
branch of Spanish banking group BBVA, reports Business News
Americas, citing an Ecogas executive.

"Refinancing this loan has given us some breathing room and now
we can start looking toward the future with more financial
security," Ecogas administration manager Hector Diaz said.

Ecogas covered the payment with a two-year US$35 million loan
from Italy's Sanpaolo-Imi bank, which at Libor plus 0.4% is a
much lower interest rate than BankBoston and BBVA, and US$3
million in cash.

The Company will also pay BankBoston and BBVA some US$600,000 in
overdue interest on the loan, Diaz said, adding that Ecogas will
also pay an undisclosed sum to cover legal fees.

Ecogas only had until September 27 to pay the loan, but the
Company missed on the payment due to the devaluation of the
Argentine currency.

Meanwhile, the Company, which operates in Catamarca, Cordoba and
La Rioja provinces, will hold off making any new investments this
year until the exchange rate stabilizes and the new government
defines its position on public utility rates, which have been
frozen since January 2002.

IMPSAT: S&P Ceases Continued Rating
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said Thursday that it withdrew
all its ratings, including the 'D' local and foreign currency
corporate credit ratings, on Impsat Fiber Networks Inc. (IMPSAT),
at the company's request.

Impsat provides private network, integrated data, and voice
telecommunications services in Latin America.

ANALYST:  Ivana Recalde, Buenos Aires (54) 114-891-2127

CONTACT:  IMPSAT Fiber Networks, Inc.
          Hector Alonso or Gonzalo Alende Serra

          John McKenna or Lily Chu

          John McInerney or Robin Weinberg

REPSOL YPF: Shares Rise On Ruling To Maintain Export Funds Limit
News that the Argentine government will maintain the current
limit on export earnings boosted the shares of Spanish Argentine
oil company Repsol YPF. Currently, Argentine oil companies are
allowed to keep 70% of their export earnings offshore.

According to Bloomberg, the stock rose as much as 59 cents, or
4.7%, to EUR13.19 after the Argentine government said it won't
force oil companies to reduce the amount of export revenue they
can take out of the Latin American country.

The latest news reverses last month's reports that Argentina's
central bank wanted oil companies to keep 100% of their export
revenue in the country.

Repsol YPF generate an average of 445,00 barrels of oil per day
in Argentina. About a quarter of this figure is exported at about
US$20 per barrel. This converts to around US$812 million in
export earnings for the Company every year.

         Head Office
         Paseo de la Castellana 278
         28046 Madrid
         Tel  +34 91 348 81 00
         Fax  +34 91 348 28 21
         Telex  48162 RESOLE
         Alfonso Cortina de Alcocer, Chairman
         Jose Vilarasu Salat, Vice Chairman
         Antonio Hernandez, Vice Chairman

ROYAL AHOLD: Chilean Firm May File Suit To Get Payment
Distribucion y Servicio DyS SA, Chile's biggest supermarket
chain, is threatening to file legal action against Royal Ahold NV
for refusing to pay debt owed to it, relates Bloomberg. DyS
disclosed that Ahold owes it US$90 million after buying the
Chilean company's stores in Argentina and has told investors and
analysts for months that it expected to receive full payment from
the Netherlands-based company.

Ahold, on the other hand, refuses to pay the full amount,
insisting that its Argentine unit, Disco SA, owes DyS US$38
million under Argentine laws that reduced the value of companies'
dollar-denominated debt after a currency devaluation in January
2002. The peso slid more than 70% last year against the dollar.

As a result, DyS, in a statement to Chilean securities
regulators, said it would "take all actions available to ensure
the full compliance of obligations under contract."

Argentine laws aren't applicable as an Ahold unit outside of
Argentina acted as a guarantor for Disco, DyS said in the
statement. The payment is due in May, the statement added.

Ahold, the world's largest food distributor, has struggled to
keep Argentina's devaluation and debt default in December 2001
from further hurting earnings. In the second quarter, the company
said that Disco cost it EUR490 million (US$482 million), as the
company had to buy out its Argentine partner in Disco, the Velox

          Head Office
          Albert Heijnweg1
          1507 EH Zaandam
          Tel  +31 75 6599111
          Fax  +31 75 6598350
          Telex  1 9010

          DISCO S.A.
          Larrea 847, Piso 1
          1117 Buenos Aires, Argentina
          Phone: +54-11-4964-8000
          Fax: +54-11-4964-8039
          Home Page:
          Eduardo R. Orteu, Chief Executive Officer
          Jose Sanch


ANNUITY & LIFE: Reduces Year-End Collateral Obligations
Annuity and Life Re (Holdings), Ltd. (NYSE: ANR) announced
Thursday that its subsidiary, Annuity and Life Reassurance, Ltd.,
reached an agreement with a subsidiary of XL Capital Ltd ("XL")
pursuant to which the Company has transferred certain blocks of
life reinsurance business to XL, enabling the Company to satisfy
a substantial portion of the collateral requirements under its
reinsurance contracts. Under the agreement with XL, the Company
has transferred five blocks of life reinsurance business to XL,
which has in turn entered into a 50% quota share reinsurance
contract with the Company with respect to four of those blocks of

In addition to certain expenses associated with completing this
transaction, the Company expects to record a non-cash charge in
the fourth quarter of 2002 of at least $20 million in connection
with the write down of deferred acquisition costs associated with
the contracts transferred to XL. Following the transfer of these
blocks of life reinsurance to XL, the Company expects to have
approximately $125 billion of in-force life reinsurance as of
December 31, 2002. In an effort to further reduce the Company's
year-end collateral requirements, the Company and XL have also
discussed the assumption by XL of certain additional small blocks
of life reinsurance subject to the completion of due diligence by
XL and other conditions.

The agreement with XL provides that XL will receive an additional
payment of $5 million if, during the next 18 months, the Company
receives new capital funding of at least $35 million and the
Company's stock price trades at or above $5.00 per share for a
period of 20 out of any 30 consecutive trading days. In
connection with the transaction, the Company's collateral funding
facility has been terminated and the Company has repaid the
amounts it owed under that arrangement. The transaction was
reviewed and approved by a special committee of disinterested

Frederick S. Hammer, non-executive Chairman of the Board of
Directors of the Company and Co-Chairman of its Transition
Committee, commented: "This transaction, together with other
actions taken by the Company in the fourth quarter, is an
important first step in our continuing efforts to stabilize our
business and address the challenges that confront us. The
transaction with XL will allow the Company to meet a substantial
portion of its year-end collateral obligations and to reduce
those obligations in future periods on satisfactory terms. In
addition to the collateral requirements associated with the
additional blocks of life reinsurance the Company has discussed
transferring to XL, we continue to negotiate with one of our
ceding companies regarding the satisfaction of its year-end
collateral requirements, which such ceding company has indicated
are approximately $50 million. During 2003, the Company will
continue its efforts to raise capital and otherwise address the
ongoing collateral requirements of its business."

Annuity and Life Re (Holdings), Ltd. provides annuity and life
reinsurance to insurers through its wholly owned subsidiaries,
Annuity and Life Reassurance, Ltd. and Annuity and Life
Reassurance America, Inc.

Moody's Investors Service lowered the debt ratings of US-
Caribbean wireless/broadband operator Centennial Communications,
Business News Americas reports, citing a statement from the
credit ratings agency. The cuts affected US$1.6 billion of debt
issued by Centennial.

The ratings downgraded were:

- Senior implied rating from B1 to B3

- US$1.2 billion senior secured credit facility from B1 to B3

- US$370 million 10.75% senior subordinated notes due 2008 from
B3 to Caa2.

The outlook for these ratings is stable.

Moody's attributed the downgrades to Centennial's higher default
risk as cash flow growth slows due to slowing domestic wireless
subscriber growth, declining roaming revenues, and the pressure
on operating profits from a tougher competitive environment in
the Caribbean. Pressure on cash generation comes just as
principal amortization of the secured credit facility increases.

The stable ratings outlook reflects Moody's opinion the Company
can remain liquid through continued access to undrawn amounts of
its revolving credit facility, and that financial performance
will continue to improve.

The B3 rating on the US$1.2 billion senior secured credit
facility reflects its consumption of the vast majority of the
company's value. This credit agreement is secured by nearly all
the assets of the company's subsidiaries and guaranteed by those

The Caa2 rating on the subordinated notes reflects its
contractual subordination to outstandings under the secured
credit facility (about US$1.2 billion outstanding at the end of
August 2002), and the likely impairment these creditors will
suffer after the senior secured claims have been met.

Centennial has seen most of its operations experience
difficulties due to slumping roaming revenues and negative
subscriber growth. But even so, the Company has been able to
improve its free cash flow as cash provided by operations began
to exceed capital expenditures in the quarter ended May 31, 2002,
due both to cash flow growth and reduced capital spending.

But Moody's sees these amounts of free cash flow as being
insufficient to meet upcoming term loan amortizations that total
US$73.5 million in 2003 and US$96 million in 2004, thus requiring
draws on the Company's US$250 million revolving credit facility
(US$190 million of which was drawn at the end of August 2002).
The rating agency believes Centennial will maintain compliance
with its bank covenants and thereby maintain access to that
revolver over the agency's 12 to 18 month ratings horizon.

However, Moody's believes this will be unsustainable in the long
term unless the Company shows much faster cash flow growth, as
amortization will continue to increase and revolver capacity

Centennial's Caribbean operations offer service to a population
of approximately 13 million people in Puerto Rico, the Dominican
Republic, and the U.S. Virgin Islands using digital wireless and
terrestrial broadband telecommunications technologies.

The U.S. Wireless operations, on the other hand, serve markets
with six million people in six states in two clusters: Indiana,
Michigan and Ohio, and Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.

Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe and an affiliate of The
Blackstone Group are controlling shareholders of Centennial.
Approximately 9% of Centennial's common stock is publicly traded
on Nasdaq under the symbol CYCL.

          3349 Route 138, Bldg A.
          Wall, NJ 07719
          (732) 556 2200

SAGE: Awaits Outcome After Dec 31 Deadline
Financial services group Sage is waiting to see if it can meet
its self-imposed deadline to raise enough funds to continue
operations, according to an article from Moneyweb. If the Company
fails to do so, it will be forced to suspend sales and marketing
operations of its international services.

Suspension of operations would mean that the Company would no
longer be selling policies in Bermuda and the US, though clients
are assured that the Company will maintain its administrative
capacity to continue serving its customers.

In the meantime, the Company's executive director Bernard Nackan
said that he has not heard if the US unit had secured funding.

In the announcement of the Dec 31 deadline, Sage chairman Louis
Shill said the deadline might "focus the minds" of potential
investors, who had previously expressed interest to invest in the

He added that the Company would not be paying a dividend in the
current financial year. He said that the Company was writing off
startup costs of the US and Bermuda ventures and was writing down
the value of its unit trust business by R100 million, according
to the article.

CONTACT:  Sage Group Limited
          Robin Marsden
          Tel: +1-203-602-6510


TELESP CELULAR: Holiday Sales Up 20% YOY
Brazilian celular operator Telesp Celular Participacoes S.A.
(TCP) posted an increase in sales last month, selling more than
240,000 lines, Business News Americas reports, citing local
financial daily Gazeta Mercantil. The increase is about 20% more
than that of December 2001.

Business News Americas reports that a total of about 1 million
subscribers were signed up last year, bringing the Company's
client base to the 6 million mark.

TCP's sales manager Nicolau Jorge Netto said the increase was
mainly due to parents buying phones for their children, or young
adults buying them independently during the holidays. He said
that families are buying third handsets after parents have their
own phones.

Netto added that handset manufacturers also helped boost sales by
making it easier for operators to import value-added components
that make up 80% of the price of the handsets made in Brazil.

However, Netto conceded that it is not only TCP that has expanded
sales in the previous year, admitting that other operators also
had increased sales throughout last year's second half.

TCP faces competition from other Sao-Paulo based operators such
as TIM, BCP and Tess.

CONTACT:  Telesp Celular Participacoes, Sao Paulo
          Investor Relations:
          Edson Alves Menini, (55 11) 3059-7531

          BCP S.A.
          Rua FlĒrida, 1970 4o andar
          Sao Paulo - SP
          Tel: 55 11 5509-6428
          Fax: 55 11 5509-6257
          Home Page:


ADEXUS: Denies $18M Debt Led To Italian Venture's Collapse
Chilean systems integrator and e-commerce solutions provider
Adexus slammed a report that linked a US$18-million debt to the
demise of a partnership with Italian computer firm Olivetti
(, relates Business News Americas. A report by
local daily El Diario suggested that Adexus had defaulted on its
bank debt and was forced to lay off 100 employees after the
Olivetti venture, which would have included a US$43-million
capital increase, fell through.

In response to the report, Adexus chairman Carlos Busso said: "We
had that debt before we started talks with Olivetti and it stems
from our own operations."

"We went into debt with local banks in order to develop internal
projects and offer services to corporations and institutions,
such as [the public health system] Fonasa and the registry
office," he added.

Busso said much of the debt was a result of investments in 2001
and the creation of the Company's global Internet services center
in 2000.

Adexus recently reached an agreement with principal creditors -
including First International Bank, BankBoston, Cisco Systems,
Sun Microsystems y Banco de Chile - to restructure the US$18-
million debt.

Under the agreement, the Company will pay off the debt in five
years, with grace periods of six months on interest and 12 months
on the principal.

EDELNOR: Norandino Waives GTA Non-Compliance On Credit Rating
Chilean power generator Edelnor won't face a fine even though it
failed to comply with the terms of a gas transport agreement
(GTA) it signed with gas transport company Gasoducto Norandino in
1997. The GTA required Edelnor to maintain a credit rating of BB+
or higher with credit rating agency Standard & Poor's (S&P).
However, in 1999, the credit rating fell below the stipulated
level. This non-compliance demanded that Edelnor provide
guarantees for the contract.

However, just recently, Norandino, which is controlled by Belgian
power company Tractebel (also Edelnor's new owner), issued
Edelnor a waiver regarding the GTA, Edelnor CFO Cristian
Bernstein said. Tractebel already owned Norandino, "so we don't
have to pay a fine, it's really just a contractual formality,"
Mr. Bernstein said.

"Although both companies have the same owner, it is more
complicated to revise the terms of the contract than it is to
leave it as is," Mr. Bernstein explained.

"Our credit rating is not good right now, but we are in the
process of re-negotiating our foreign debt and our rating should
improve in 2003," Bernstein said.

Tractebel together with Chile's state copper corporation Codelco
- thru the Inversiones Mejillones consortium - bought Edelnor in
November for US$5.7 million from Chilean businessman Fernando del
Sol's FS Inversiones.

Edelnor owns the 166MW Mejillones I and 175MW Mejillones II coal-
fired plants and the 250MW Mejillones III natural gas-fired
plant, all of which are situated in the city of Mejillones in
northern Chile's Region II.

CONTACT:  Empresa Electrica Del Norte Grande SA
          Avenida Grecia 750
          Antofagasta, Chile
          Phone: +56 55 248500
          +56 55 248094
          Contact: Fernando del Sol, Chairman

          Tractebel Energia SA
          Registered Office
          Rua Antonio Dib Mussi, no 366
          88015 - 110 Florianopolis - SC
          Tel  +55 48 221-7016
          Fax  +55 48 221-7015
          Mauricio Stolle Bahr, Chairman
          Eric L.J. de Muynck, Vice Chairman

SQM: Gets New Amortization Schedule Through 2006 on $60M Debt
Chilean industrial minerals producer SQM said it struck an
agreement with creditors to restructure half of a US$120-million
debt taken out in February 1998 with a syndicate of banks formed
by ING Baring Capital Corporation, Banque Paribas, Banque
Nationale de Paris and the Royal Bank of Canada.

According to Business News Americas, the recent debt agreement
gives SQM an extension to pay half of the loan from Feb. 23, 2003
to 2006.

Under the new terms of the loan, SQM is due to pay back US$30
million in 2005 and the final US$30 million in 2006. Interest
will be calculated on the basis of Libor plus 1% and adjustable
according to SQM's rating, as under the original terms.

SQM, one of the world's largest producers of natural fertilizers,
iodine and lithium, said it has already pre-paid the other half
of the debt.

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

TRICOM: Completes $70M Equity Investment to Pay Down Debts
TRICOM (NYSE: TDR), a regional integrated communications provider
in the U.S., Caribbean and Central America, announced Thursday a
$70 million equity investment from a group of private investors,
led by Arturo Pellerano, the company's chairman and chief
executive officer.

The full amount of the proceeds will be used to repay short-term
debt reducing the company's interest requirements. Tricom will
issue 21,212,121 shares of the company's Class A common stock at
a price of $3.30 per share. After the investment, the company
will have 64,602,585 total shares outstanding, including
45,458,041 Class A shares. The new equity investment is part of a
comprehensive effort to strengthen the company's capital

During 2002 the company refinanced approximately $118 million of
short- term debt to long-term debt. On December 18, 2002, the
company announced that it intends to offer to exchange new debt
securities for the entire $200 million aggregate outstanding
principal amount of its 11-3/8% Senior Notes due 2004. A
registration statement relating to the securities offered in the
exchange offer has been filed with the Securities and Exchange
Commission but has not yet become effective.

The Company's press release is not an offer to sell or the
solicitation of an offer to buy any of the securities to be
issued in the exchange offer described above nor shall there be
any sale of these securities in any jurisdiction in which such
offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to
registration or qualification under the securities laws of any
such jurisdiction. The company expects to commence the exchange
offer promptly after the registration statement is declared
effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The securities to be sold in the private placement have not been
registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the
"Securities Act"), and may not be offered or sold in the United
States unless registered under the Securities Act or an
applicable exemption from registration is available. This press
release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation
of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these
securities in any state in which such offer, solicitation or sale
would be unlawful prior to the registration or qualification
under the securities laws of any such state.


TRICOM, S.A. is a full service communications services provider
in the Dominican Republic. We offer local, long distance, mobile,
cable television and broadband data transmission and Internet
services. Through TRICOM USA, we are one of the few Latin
American based long distance carriers that is licensed by the
U.S. Federal Communications Commission to own and operate
switching facilities in the United States. Through our
subsidiary, TCN Dominicana, S.A., we are the largest cable
television operator in the Dominican Republic based on our number
of subscribers and homes passed. We also offer digital mobile
integrated services including two-way radio and paging services
in Panama using iDENr technology. For more information about
TRICOM, please visit

          Investor Relations
          Ph (809) 476-4044


PACIFICTEL: May Ask Directors To Scrap $60M In Contracts
Ecuadorian state-owned fixed line operator Pacifictel may seek
approval from the Company's directors to scrap US$60 million in
contracts with international network and IT vendors Cisco Systems
and Oasis Silicon Systems, reports local daily El Universo. The
report indicates that Cisco and Oasis manage Pacifictel's data

"The conditions in which these contracts were signed are bad, and
unfair to state-owned Pacifictel. Everyone is looking to take
advantage of their equipment and make money," an unnamed source

Pacifictel, which has 575,000 lines in service, is currently
struggling to stay afloat and is at risk of being intervened by
telecom council, Conatel, for not fulfilling expansion plans and
improving service quality.

The Company's sole shareholder, Ecudorian fund Fondo de
Solidariedad, is seeking for a foreign administrator to run the

Interested parties include Spain's Telefonica, Mexico's America
Movil; Bell Canada; Swedtel and Andrade Gutierrez (AG) Telecom,
consultancies linked to Swedish operator Telia and Brazilian
operator Telemar, respectively; and a consortium between US
carrier Sprint and Washington-based telecoms management and
technical consulting firm Taylor McKenzie.


CFE: New Bidding Rules Postpone El Cajon Bidding Deadline
The deadline for receiving bids on the construction of the 750MW
El Cajon hydro project is postponed to February 7, Business News
Americas reports, citing El Cajon project engineer Antonio

According to him, a revised set of bidding rules, which would
include more geological and technical data for interested
companies, had caused the deadline extension for the US$1.04
billion project in Nayarit state. The project, which is scheduled
to be started on March 26, is aimed to be done by the end of
August 2007.

Initially, CFE had planned to open technical bids Jan. 9, but the
process will be moved to Feb. 7. Economic bids from qualifying
consortiums will be opened on March 3. Business News Americas
said that a final decision may be made by March 10.

Companies that are reported to have bought bidding rules are
Mexico's ICA Group, Sweden's Skanska, Italy's Impregilio, Spain's
Dragados, Brazil's Camargo Correa and Argentina's Techint.

Garcia, however, would not confirm whether the said companies are
still interested or have formed consortia.

          Rio Rodano 14, Col. Cuauhtemoc
          06598 Mexico, D.F., Mexico
          Phone: +52-55-5229-4400
          Fax: +52-55-5310-4614

          Alfredo Elias Ayub, General Director
          Arturo Hernandez Alvarez, Director of Operations
          Francisco J. Santoyo Vargas, Director of Finance

CNI: 51% Stake May Cost Azteca Only $21M
TV Azteca SA, Mexico's second largest broadcaster, may have to
pay only US$21 million for 51% of the stocks of Mexico City TV
company CNI Canal 40 if the authorities of the Transport and
Communications Secretariat (SCT) and the Attorney General's
Office (PGR) uphold the decision of the International Court of
Arbitration in Paris.

CNI Canal 40's 100% shares are valued at nearly US$110 million,
minus debts of US$6 million, estimates made by financial group
IXE indicate. Therefore, the 51% majority shareholding would be
worth some US$53 million. From that amount, some US$25 million
and US$7 million in interest that Televisa handed CNI as an
advance payment for the association agreement and company
president Javier Moreno Valle's share must be deducted. This
would leave just US$21 million to pay.

HYLSA: S&P Assigns New Ratings After Debt Restructuring
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said Thursday that it assigned
its 'CCC+' local and foreign currency corporate credit ratings to
Mexican steelmaker Hylsa S.A. de C.V.

Standard & Poor's also assigned its 'CCC-' rating to the
company's $139 million senior unsecured bonds due 2007 and $161
million senior unsecured bonds due 2010 reflecting their
structural subordination to the company's secured debt.

The outlook is positive.

These actions follow the completion of Hylsa's debt restructuring
and exchange offer of the company's US$300 million senior
unsecured bonds due 2007. The company obtained consent to extend
the maturity of US$161 million under this obligation to 2010.
This occurred after Hylsa failed to make the March 15, 2002,
$13.9 million coupon payment on its eurobond, as a result of the
company's extremely low liquidity position.

"The company's financial profile should improve in the near term
due to the improvement in the steel-price environment, evidenced
by the recovery of flat product prices and the stabilization of
long products prices; the improvement of Hylsa's product mix
through the company's focus on increasing the sale of high-value
added products; and the company's cost reduction initiatives,"
said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Patricia Calvo.

Standard & Poor's also said that the positive outlook is
supported by an improved financial profile as a result of its
debt restructuring and good operating prospects. A somewhat
higher rating could be achieved if current stabilizing trends in
U.S. and Latin American steel industry conditions continue or

The adverse economic environment in 2000 and 2001 for the steel
industry worldwide affected the company's performance. As a
result, the company's EBITDA fell by 48% to $101 million in 2001
as the recession in the U.S. and Mexico, the company's two
biggest markets, hurt demand and prices for steel products.

ANALYST:  Patricia Calvo, Mexico City (52) 55-5279-2073


ANDE: Seeks Government Approval For Rate Hikes
Paraguay state power company will ask for government permission
to increase utility rates by 12-18% in the next few days,
according to local newspaper La Nacion, citing Ande president
Angel Maria Recalde.

The country's Public Works and Communications Minister Antonio
Adam Nill said that power rates must increase, adding that it is
ridiculous to think otherwise.

Last year, the Company had increased rates by 30%. Business News
Americas reported that a 10% increase was imposed in March, while
2.5% more were added every month until December.

Business News Americas reports that the rates were still
insufficient to make up for the losses caused by the 50%
depreciation of the local currency, the guarani. More than two-
thirds of Ande's costs are in dollars, while it earns in the
local currency.

Ande's troubles were compounded with the news that royalties
received by Paraguay's treasury from operations at the bi-
national hydroelectric plants Itaipu (shared with Brazil) and
Yacyreta (shared with Argentina) had slumped to US$201 million in
the first 11 months of 2002, compared to US$346 million in the
same period 2001.

According to Business News Americas, the Itaipu operator cut
royalty payments after the treasury stopped covering Ande's


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 Oona G. Oyangoren, Editors.

Copyright 2003.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

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