TCRLA_Public/030131.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, January 31, 2003, Vol. 4, Issue 22



AES: Reaches US$30 Million Out of Court Settlement With PSEG
AOLA: Ted Turner Resigns as Group Books Enormous Losses
DIAL ARGENTINA: Former Parent Posts US$29.2 MM Loss Due to Sale
MACRO BANSUD: Expects Successful Capital Boost this Week
TELECOM ARGENTINA: Fitch Argentine Rates Bonds `C', Stock `3'

* Argentina Receives US$1.627 Billion from IMF, World Bank


GLOBAL CROSSING: Court Approves Asia Global Crossing Sale
GLOBAL CROSSING: Sets Sights on Expanding Empire Once More
TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Indicted Officials Got Millions In Pay


CEMIG: Moody's Downgrades Ratings to from
CSN: To Borrow US$35 Million from Banks
GERDAU: Ends Year with 49% Jump in Profit
TELEMAR: Declines Potential Net Servicos Purchase


ENDESA: Unlikely to Offload SmartCom as Results Improve
ENERSIS: Rio Maipo Posts CLP11.7 Billion Profit for 2002


FILANBANCO: Creditors Seek Expert Help in Debt Recovery Plan
VINTAGE PETROLEUM: Buyer Expects Completed Sale Within Weeks


JAMAICA URBAN: Union Fails to Dissuade Management; Layoffs Come


AHMSA: Maintains 10% Forecast as New Boiler Nears Completion
ALFA S.A.: Fourth Quarter Losses Drop as Sales, Prices Improve
CFE: Confirms Interest in Usumacinta, Denies Dam Construction
GRUPO MEXICO: Losses Due to Strike Hit US$4.9 Million
HYLSAMEX: 2002 Net Loss Down to MXN731.1M from MXN2.67B in 2001
UNEFON: Says Legal Fees Charged by Baker and McKenzie 'Illegal'

T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

BWIA: Cuts 600 Workers, Maintenance Division to Keep Flying
BWIA: To Receive Letter of Comfort on Government Loan


VENEZUELAN BANKS: To Resume Normal Operations on Monday

     - - - - - - - - - -


AES: Reaches US$30 Million Out of Court Settlement With PSEG
AES arrived at a mutually acceptable sum of US$30 million in an
out of court settlement with U.S.-based energy company PSEG.
PSEG spokesperson Paul Rosengren told Business News Americas
that PSEG has agreed to sell to AES 100 percent of its holdings
in five jointly held businesses in Argentina.

According to the report, AES will buy PSEG's 30 percent stakes
in distributors Eden, Edes and Edelap, its 19 percent stake in
the 650MW San Nicolas thermo plant and its 33 percent stake in
the 850MW Parana thermo project.

PSEG took legal action after AES backed out in February 2002 on
a stock purchase agreement. In the agreement made in August
2001, AES agreed to buy PSEG Global, PSEG's international
operations subsidiary, for US$376 million.

The two companies reached the settlement last month. Mr.
Rosengren commented that PSEG took a huge loss on the said
assets. PSEG has received US$15 million from AES, and expects to
get three additional US$5 million payments from AES this year.

CONTACT:  AES Argentina
          Talcahuano 141
          Buenos Aires, Argentina
          Tel./Fax +54 1 4 375 0116
          Maria Mercedes Onorato, Chairman
          Andres Mayo, Vice Chairman

AOLA: Ted Turner Resigns as Group Books Enormous Losses
AOL Time Warner Inc., the American parent of American Online
Latin America, Inc., booked a US$44.9 billion loss in the fourth
quarter, largely due to huge write-offs related to its America
Online unit and cable television systems.

According to the New York Times, the latest write-down
contributed to a loss of US$98.7 billion for all of 2002, the
biggest in the history of American business.  The company said
the plunging value of America Online and other businesses
necessitated the 4th-quarter charge of US$45 billion.

The paper said the loss came to US$10.04 a diluted share, far
larger than the loss of US$1.8 billion, or 41 cents a share,
that the company reported in the fourth quarter of 2001.
Revenue, however, rose 7.7 percent to US$11.4 billion, in the
latest quarter from US$10.6 billion a year earlier, the paper

The US$45.5 billion charge in the fourth quarter follows a US$54
billion charge that Time Warner took in the first quarter of
2002, also to account for the company's declining value,
especially at America Online, the New York Times said.

The announcement of the huge 4th-quarter charge coincided with
Ted Turner's pronouncement that he will step down as vice
chairman of AOL Time Warner effective May 16, the date of the
group's annual shareholders meeting.

Mr. Turner did not say whether his resignation had anything to
do with the sagging fortunes of the media group he helped built
into a global empire.

"I have not come to this decision lightly," Mr. Turner said in a
statement. "As you know, this company has been a significant
part of my life for over 50 years."

He added: "As you know, I have devoted much of my life to
philanthropic interests and, more recently, to several socially
responsible business efforts. Over the last five years, it has
become even clearer to me how much personal satisfaction I
derive from these activities. Therefore, I would like to now
devote even more time, effort and resources to them."

The paper said Mr. Turner signified his interest to resign as
early as Tuesday.

In a tribute to Mr. Turner, AOL Time Warner CEO Richard D.
Parsons, said in a statement: "Ted's leadership role in the
formation of global media in general and AOL Time Warner in
particular is uniquely significant. His values of journalistic
independence and public service are a permanent part of who we
are and what we do."

According to the paper, Mr. Turner, 64, became the vice chairman
of Time Warner in October 1996 when the company acquired Turner
Broadcasting System.  He initially oversaw Time Warner's cable
network division, including the Turner Broadcasting assets, CNN,
HBO, Cinemax and the company's interest in Comedy Central and
Court TV.  He also oversaw New Line Cinema and the company's
three professional sports teams -- the Atlanta Braves, the
Atlanta Hawks and the Atlanta Thrashers.

He began his business career as an account executive for his
father's advertising business, the Turner Advertising Company,
which is now the Turner Broadcasting System Inc., the paper
said.  He entered the television business in 1970 when he bought
Channel 17, an independent UHF station in Atlanta.

In 1976, he diversified the company when he bought the Atlanta
Braves.  Later that year, he originated the "superstation"
concept, transmitting the station's signal to cable systems
nationwide via satellite, the report said.

On June 1, 1980, Mr. Turner inaugurated the Cable News Network,
the world's first, live, in-depth, round-the-clock news
television network. A second all-news service, Headline News,
began operations on January 1, 1982, offering updated newscasts
every half hour.  A third service -- CNN International -- was
introduced in September 1985, the paper said.

AOL Time Warner wholly owns America Online Latin America, which
is based in Argentina.  The subsidiary is the exclusive provider
of AOL-branded services in Latin America and has become one of
the leading Internet and interactive services providers in the
region.  The U.S. company also owns America Online Brazil and
also operates services in Mexico and Puerto Rico.

America Online Latin America has just been granted a 180-day
extension to comply with NASDAQ's US$1 minimum bid price, a
requirement for continued listing of its Class A common stock on
the NASDAQ SmallCap Market.

CONTACT:  AOL Latin America, Fort Lauderdale
          Financial Community:
          Monique Skruzny
          Tel: 954/689-3256
          News Media:
          Fernando Figueredo
          Tel: 954/689-3256

DIAL ARGENTINA: Former Parent Posts US$29.2 MM Loss Due to Sale
The sale of Dial Argentina to investment group, Southern Cross
Group, has resulted in an after-tax loss of US$62.4 million for
Dial Corporation, Dow Jones Newswires said Wednesday. In its
earnings report, the U.S. manufacturing group -- maker of Dial
soap, Purex detergents, among others -- said it booked a fourth-
quarter net loss of US$29.2 million, or 31 cents a share, as a
result of the Argentine unit's sale.

The company cited the faltering Argentine economy as reason for
selling the subsidiary.  The company is optimistic, however,
that earnings for the first quarter this year will increase to
28 cents a share compared with 25 cents for the same quarter a
year ago.  Overall, Dial expects 2003 earnings from continuing
operations of about US$1.31 a share, a bit below Wall Street's
forecast of US$1.33 a share. The company sees 2003 sales rising
about 3% to 4%.

For full-year 2002, Dial reported net income of $16.9 million,
or 18 cents a share, compared to a loss of US$132.3 million, or
US$1.43 a share, in 2001. Excluding a loss from discontinued
operations, a charge and other items, earnings from continuing
operations were US$112.4 million or US$1.19 a share, up from
US$81.9 million or 89 cents a share in 2001.  Sales increased
7.8% to US$1.28 billion from US$1.19 billion, Dow Jones said.

In December, Dial said sales in Argentina, on a dollar basis,
declined from US$63 million in the first nine months of 2001 to
US$39.4 million in the same period in 2002, largely because of
the devaluation of the peso.

Dial Corporation entered the Argentina market in 1997 when it
purchased personal care products maker Nuevo Federal, S.A. and
several Procter & Gamble soap brands. The Company also purchased
the Plusbelle hair care brand from Revlon in 2000.

Dial Corporation is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona.  For
more information, visit the company's Web site at

MACRO BANSUD: Expects Successful Capital Boost this Week
A US$44.4 million capital increase to be undertaken by Banco
Macro Bansud is slated to be completed this week, according to
Business News Americas, citing local daily La Nacion. The report
did not say the reason for the infusion, but it indicated that
the bank is set to begin distribution of all its frozen time
deposits on February 3.

The bank holds around ARS350 million in frozen deposits as a
result of the government's ban imposed at the height of the
country's financial woes last year.  The government has pledged
to completely lift the freeze in May, following the election of
a new President this April.

Macro Bansud Chairman Jorge Brito says the success of the
capital hike will mirror the renewed confidence in the financial

Banco Macro acquired Bansud at the end of 2001, after US-based
financial group Citigroup (NYSE: C) acquired Bansud's Mexican
parent bank Banamex.  Macro Bansud has some US$2 billion in
assets and a nationwide distribution network of 148 branches,
according to the report.

TELECOM ARGENTINA: Fitch Argentine Rates Bonds `C', Stock `3'
Four different corporate bonds of Telecom Argentina Stet-France
Telecom S.A., were given a rating of `C' by local rating agency
Fitch Argentina Calificadora de Riesgo S.A. on Jan 15, according
to postings in the official website of the National Securities
Commission of Argentina.

The rating, which is based on the company's performance as of
September 30, 2002, means the bonds have a high default risk.
Capacity for meeting financial commitments is solely reliant
upon sustained, favorable business or economic developments.

"Default is a real possibility," according to the rating's
definition posted in Fitch's website.

The company's bonds affected are the following:

-- Corporate bonds described as "Programa de obligaciones
negociables", worth US$1.5 billion with unknown due date.

-- Corporate bonds described as "Programa Global de ONs
autorizado por Asamblea de fecha 16.3.99", worth US$1.5 billion,
coming due in August 2004.

-- Under the type "Series and/or Class", bonds described as
"Serie F emitida bajo el Programa Global de Obligaciones
Negociables vencido en agosto de 1999", which matures in May
2007 and is worth ITL40 billion.

-- Bonds worth EU200 million, coming due on April 2004, and is
described as "Serie I emitida bajo el Programa Global de
Obligaciones Negociables vencido en agosto de 1999."

In related news, Fitch's local division rated the company's
stocks, described as "Acciones Ordinarias en Circulación Clase
A, B y C de 1 voto c/u, V/N $ 1 ", were given a rating of `3' on
Jan 15. The rating agency did not indicate the reasons for the
given ratings.

CONTACT:  Telecom Argentina Stet France Telecom SA
          Head Office
          10th Floor
          Alicia Moreau de Justo 50
          Buenos Aires
          Tel  +54 11 4968 4000
          Fax  +54 11 4313 5842
          Web Site
          Juan Carlos Masjoan,  Chairman
          Christian Chauvin, Vice Chairman
          Franco Bertone, Vice Chairman
          Susana Malcorra, Chief Executive

* Argentina Receives US$1.627 Billion from IMF, World Bank
Argentina got a much-needed loan totaling US$1.627 billion from
the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday,
according to a report from Xinhua News Agency, citing the
country's Economy Ministry. The Associated Press reported that
World Bank President David de Ferranti authorized a US$600
million disbursement to the country. The loan is payable in 15
years, with a five-year grace period and fixed-spread interest

The World Bank capital will be used to support the country's
"Head of Households" Program. Families that join the program
will be given US$45 monthly by enrolling in professional
training programs or working in community projects.

Argentine Economy Ministry spokesman Armando Torres confirmed a
US$1.027 disbursement from the IMF. This is part of a US$2.98
billion loan extended to the country to help it repay debts. The
lender also approved a deadline extension on US$3.8 billion the
country owes the IMF.


GLOBAL CROSSING: Court Approves Asia Global Crossing Sale
Asia Global Crossing announced that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court
for the Southern District of New York approved the Asia Netcom
transaction on Wednesday. Under the terms of the transaction,
Asia Netcom, a new company organized by China Netcom (Hong Kong)
and including Newbridge Capital and Softbank Asia Infrastructure
Fund, will acquire substantially all of Asia Global Crossing's
operating subsidiaries, excluding Pacific Crossing Ltd. and
related entities.

The Asia Netcom transaction is currently expected to close by
mid-March. Consummation of the transaction remains subject to
certain additional conditions.

Following completion of the sale, the company intends to submit
a plan of reorganization to the Bankruptcy Court for the purpose
of selling any remaining assets and distributing the value of
such remaining assets among its creditors.

About Asia Global Crossing

Asia Global Crossing provides city-to-city connectivity and data
communications solutions to pan-Asian and multinational
enterprises, ISPs and carriers. On November 17, 2002, Asia
Global Crossing Ltd. and its subsidiary, Asia Global Crossing
Development Company, commenced Chapter 11 cases in the United
States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York
and coordinated proceedings in the Supreme Court of Bermuda. No
recovery is expected for Asia Global Crossing shareholders.

Statements made in this press release that state the Company's
or management's intentions, beliefs, expectations, or
predictions for the future are forward-looking statements. Such
forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks,
assumptions and uncertainties that could cause the Company's
actual results to differ materially from those projected in such
forward-looking statements. These risks, assumptions and
uncertainties include: the ability of the Company to complete
the Asia Netcom transaction and its plan of reorganization; the
claims or costs in the restructuring are greater than
anticipated; the ability to complete systems within currently
estimated time frames and budgets; the ability to compete
effectively in a rapidly evolving and price competitive
marketplace; changes in the nature of telecommunications
regulation in the United States, Asia, and other countries and
regions; changes in business strategy; the successful
integration of newly-acquired businesses; the impact of
technological change; and other risks referenced from time to
time in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange
Commission. One is cautioned not to put undue reliance on such
forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of
this press release. Asia Global Crossing expressly disclaims any
obligation to update or alter any forward-looking statements,
whether as a result of new information, future events or

          Press contacts:
          Madelyn Smith
          Los Angeles, CA
          Tel: +1 310 481 4716, +1 310 962 9644

          Selene Lo
          Hong Kong
          Tel: +852 2121 2936, +852 9127 9038

          Investor contacts:
          Asia Global Crossing Investor Relations
          Los Angeles, CA
          Tel: +1 310 481 4783

GLOBAL CROSSING: Sets Sights on Expanding Empire Once More
Nearly ready to emerge from bankruptcy protection this quarter,
Bermuda-based Global Crossing plans to add 100 people to its
salesforce every quarter, Reuters reported early this week.
Citing CEO John Legere, the news agency said the company aims to
grow its business again after filing one of the largest ever
U.S. bankruptcies a year ago.

"I'm putting 100 people on a quarter... You can't have a growth
plan without putting new people on," Mr. Legere told Reuters in
an interview.  He said the aim was to "go out and get (sales)
people and take them away from our competitors."

At the peak of its business, the company employed around 15,000
workers, a far cry from the today's 5,000.  Mr. Legere did not
detail the current size of the salesforce, Reuters said.

Weighed down by US$12.4 billion of debts, Global Crossing filed
for creditor protection in January last year.  In December, a
federal judge approved its reorganization plan, allowing it to
emerge from bankruptcy some time this quarter.

Reuters says what remains is for federal regulators to sign off
on the sale of a 61.5 percent stake of Global Crossing's high-
speed network to two Asian investors, Hutchinson Wham-O Ltd
1800S and Singapore Technologies Teemed Pe, for US$250 million.
Mr. Legere does not foresee any major hurdles to the deal being

TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Indicted Officials Got Millions In Pay
Bermuda-based conglomerate Tyco International, Ltd. paid
millions of dollars in salary and other benefits to its former
executives charged with looting some US$600 million from company
coffers, according to a report from Knight Ridder Business News.

In its amended annual report in Tuesday, Tyco said it paid
former chief executive Dennis Kozlowski US$1.33 million in
salary for 2002, and US$2.72 million in "other" compensation,
which includes US$649,217 for use and maintenance of an
apartment in New York, US$107,114 for personal use of cars and
aircraft, and US$430,740 in "personal benefits." The company
also paid US$5.14 million in life insurance premiums for him.

On the other hand, for finance chief Mark Swartz, for whom Tyco
paid US$2.61 million in life insurance premiums, was paid
US$971,122 in last year's salary, and US$1.27 million in "other"
benefits enumerated as: US$130,661 for a New York apartment,
US$100,827 for use of cars and aircraft, and US$39,241 in
personal benefits.

He reportedly received US$9.08 million in severance pay last
year, aside from US$756,250 in consulting fees. The company had
agreed to give Mr. Swartz a severance package worth US$44.8
million, reported the New York Times.

Mr. Swartz also received a lump sum payment of $24.55 million in
a buyout of future funding obligations under his executive life
insurance policy, said the report.

Both men, however, did not receive bonuses. The two, currently
out on bail, were accused of stealing US$170 million in
unauthorized compensation and US$430 million through stock

Earlier, Mr. Kozlowski was charged with evading US$1 million in
New York taxes on art he bought. He also faces charges of breach
of fiduciary duty and wrongful conduct.

The company is seeking the return of certain amounts paid to Mr.
Kozlowski in 2000 to 2002. Tyco has also filed as arbitration
claim against Mr. Swartz to recover damages related to his
alleged misdeeds.


CEMIG: Moody's Downgrades Ratings to from
Moody's Investors Service lowered its ratings of Companhia
Energetica de Minas Gerais (CEMIG) on Wednesday. Cemig's
debenture and Issuer Rating were downgraded to from on the Brazil National Scale, said Moody's.

The company's was also downgraded to B1 from Ba1 on the Global
Local Currency Scale, while the outlook is negative. A statement
from the rating agency said that approximately BRL625 million of
debt securities are affected.

Moody's said that the rating action reflects CEMIG's weak cash
flow relative to its increasing leverage and sizeable foreign
currency debt burden. Total debt of the company is approximately
BRL 3.5 billion as of September 30, 2002. More than half of this
debt is tied to the U.S. dollar.

Although the company posted a 33 percent increase in revenues,
higher interest expense has resulted in a nine-month net loss of
BRL268 million in the first three quarters of 2002. This is
significantly higher than the previous year loss of BRL195
million, over the same period.

The downgrade also considers CEMIG's significant refinancing
requirements in 2003. BRL1.1 billion of the company's debt will
mature in 2003, including BRL757 million of foreign currency
debt. The company plans to fund its maturing debt with BRL400
million of cash on hand, borrowings under a BNDES credit
facility, and the proceeds of incremental debt issuance, said

The negative outlook signifies execution risk surrounding the
company's plans to raise capital.  It also considers the
potential for intervention of the company's controlling
shareholder, the state of Minas Gerais.

CONTACT:  Cia Energetica de Minas Gerais Cemig
          Registered Office
          Edificio Julio Soares
          Avenida Barbacena, 1200
          Sto Agostinho
          30123-970 Belo Horizonte - MG
          Tel  +55 31 3349-2111
          Fax  +55 31 3299-4691
          Djalma Bastos de Morais, Chairman

          Moody's Investor Service
          New York
          Daniel Gates
          Managing Director
          Corporate Finance Group
          JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
          SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

          New York
          Robert Johnson
          VP - Senior Credit Officer
          Corporate Finance Group
          JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
          SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

CSN: To Borrow US$35 Million from Banks
Shares of Brazilian steelmaker, Cia. Siderurgica Nacional, (CSN)
will seek a total loan of US$35 million from a syndicate of
three banks; according to local paper Valor Economico on
Wednesday. The loan is backed by the company's export revenue.

Bloomberg News reported that France's Societe Generale, which
led the group, lent US$20 million to CSN. The other two banks
are Bank of America Corporation, which lent US$10 million, and
Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich A.G., which contributed US$5

CSN will pay the banks the London Interbank Offer Rate (LIBOR)
plus 3.75 percentqage points a year for the 18-month loan, said
Francois Dossa, chairman of Societe Generale's unit in Brazil.
The company's shares were up modestly on the announcement to
BRL55.5 in the Sao Paulo stock exchage, said the Bloomberg.

CSN is a steel complex that combines in its operation captive
mines, an integrated steel mill, service centers, ports and
railways, with a total annual production capacity of 5 million
tonnes of crude steel.

          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, Chief Executive Officer
          Antonio Mary Ulrich, Executive Officer - Investors

GERDAU: Ends Year with 49% Jump in Profit
Increased sales in Brazil, growing exports and the conversion of
revenues from the United States, Canada, Chile, Argentina and
Uruguay generated profit of R$821 million. Sales revenue also
experienced growth, up 57% to R$11.1 billion. Production of
crude steel reached 9.4 million metric tons, 30% higher than the
previous year.

"The Gerdau Group's good performance in 2002 reflects increased
demand in the Brazilian market, growing exports and the impact
of the exchange rate on revenues generated in other countries,"
stated senior vice president Frederico Gerdau Johannpeter. From
January through December, consolidated net profit reached R$ 821
million, a total 49% higher than the 2001 result of R$ 551

Sales revenue reached R$ 11.1 billion, up 57% on the previous
year. Operations in Brazil were responsible for 59% of the
total, the North American units for 36%, and the mills in
Argentina, Chile and Uruguay for 5%.

Export revenues were up 75% to a total of US$ 350 million,
mainly as a result of the performance of Açominas, 67% of whose
production was sold on the international market. Shipments from
Brazil totaled 1.9 million metric tons, a growth of 77%.

During 2002, Gerdau completed the consolidation of 100% of
Açominas (process begun in November of the previous year),
acquired its fifth mill in the United States, and carried out
the merger of its North American operations with Co-Steel of
Canada. As a result, its assets grew by 49%, to R$ 14.6 billion
up from R$ 9.8 billion.

Sales - 9.2 million metric tons sold, up 24%

Total shipments were up 24%, lifting sales to 9.2 million metric
tons of steel products. The Brazilian domestic market and
exports from Brazil were responsible for 63% of consolidated
sales, or 5.8 million metric tons, a growth of 22%. The growth
of Brazilian agriculture contributed to the 6% increase in
Gerdau sales in the domestic market, which totaled 3.9 million
metric tons.

Sales in the North American market reached 3 million metric tons
(up 32%), mainly in the civil construction and industrial

The Argentinean, Chilean and Uruguayan markets together suffered
a retraction of 6%, reducing shipments to 352 thousand metric
tons. During 2002, the Chilean operations increased sales by
12%, while the Group's units in Argentina and Uruguay were
adjusted to reduced local demand.

Production - Volume of rolled products grows to 7 million metric

Consolidated production of crude steel grew 30%, reaching 9.4
million metric tons, up from 7.3 million metric tons in the
previous year. Production in Brazil increased 28% to 6 million
metric tons. The North American units totaled 3.1 million metric
tons, up 36%, and the operations in Chile and Uruguay reached
312 thousand metric tons, a growth of 9%.

The Gerdau Group's rolled steel production grew 17%, reaching 7
million metric tons. Of this total, 3.7 million metric tons were
produced in Brazil (up 7%), 3 million metric tons in North
America (up 35%) and 341 thousand metric tons in Argentina,
Chile and Uruguay (up 1%).

Investments -

Group invests US$ 197 million in modernization and expansion of
mills Resources for the technological modernization and
expansion of Gerdau operations totaled US$ 197 million, of which
US$ 160 million was invested in Brazil.

The North American units received US$ 29 million in investments,
and the mills in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay received a total
of US$ 8 million.

Share Market - Payments to shareholders total R$ 290 million

On February 18, shareholders of the Group's two publicly listed
companies, Metalúrgica Gerdau S.A. and Gerdau S.A., will receive
R$ 290 million in the form of interest on own capital and
dividends for the second semester of 2002. Metalúrgica Gerdau
S.A. will pay R$ 104 million and Gerdau S.A. R$ 186 million,
representing R$ 5.00 and R$ 1.63 per lot of one thousand shares,

Gerdau S.A. shares, under the symbol GGBR, moved R$ 1.4 billion
(up 114%) on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange in 54,716 trades,
reaching a daily average of R$ 5.5 million.

On the New York Stock Exchange, Gerdau S.A. ADRs (GGB) moved US$
144.1 million, averaging US$ 569,700 per day.

Since December, European investors have had access to Gerdau
S.A. shares (XGGB) on the Latibex, the sector of the Madrid
Stock Exchange devoted to Latin American companies.

Metalúrgica Gerdau S.A. (GOAU) shares were traded 9,759 times on
the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange, moving R$ 1.1 million per day and
a total of R$ 303 million (up 23%).

Corporate Governance - Teleconferences to take place on February

Teleconferences to discuss these results with Osvaldo Schirmer,
Gerdau executive vice president and director of Investor
Relations, will be held on Thursday February 6. The meeting in
Portuguese will be held at 10 a.m., and the meeting in English
at 12 noon. Both presentations can be accessed in real time at
the website.

          Avenida Farrapos, 1811
          90220-005 Porto Alegre
          Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
          Phone: +55-51-3323-2000
          Fax: +55-51-3323-2080

          Jorge Gerdau Johannpeter, President
          Osvaldo Burgos Schirmer, EVP Finance/Investor

TELEMAR: Declines Potential Net Servicos Purchase
Brazilian fixed line operator Tele Norte Leste Participacoes
S.A. (Telemar) denies rumors that it is interested in acquiring
a controlling stake in broadband services provider Net Servicos
de Comunicacao, said Telemar chairman Carlos Jereissati.

Business News Americas quoted Mr. Jereissati saying, "This piece
of news is wrong and lacks foundation."

Jereissati's comments were made after a meeting with Brazil's
communications minister Miro Teixeira and Telemar CEO Ronaldo
Iabrudi to discuss a Telemar proposal to use money from Brazil's
universal service fund Fust for Internet connectivity in
schools, said the report.

Earlier this week, the company secured a US$550 million loan
from European and Japanese lenders.

Meanwhile, Net Servicos is expected to submit to creditors a
debt renegotiation plan today, after defaulting on BRL23.5
million interest payment that came due on December 1 last year.
The company also failed to make a US$6 million coupon payment
due on December 16, 2002 for a set of notes issued in 1996.

Net Servicos faces a US$900,000 debt payment due today.

          Roberto Terziani
          Tel: 55 21 3131 1208

          Carlos Lacerda
          Tel: 55 21 3131 1314
          Fax: 55 21 3131 1155

          NET SERVICOS
          Marcio Minoru Miyakava
          (5511) 5186-2811

          Lu Yuan Fang
          (5511) 5186-2637


ENDESA: Unlikely to Offload SmartCom as Results Improve
Endesa is unlikely to sell its Chilean mobile telecoms
subsidiary Smartcom PCS, after the operator showed strong growth
and reached operational profitability last year, reported local
daily El Diario. The report dispelled some rumors saying that
Endesa may sell off SmartCom.

Smartcom chief executive Jaime Gros said, "I don't believe
Endesa will let go of Smartcom in the short-term, and even less
now that it is profitable. Endesa has never said it is going to
sell Smartcom."

He added, "We are small enough not to affect the Endesa's
results. Our support could be around US$1.2 billion."

Endesa has already spent US$640 million on Smartcom, which will
be receiving another US$55 million for capital expenditure this
year, said Mr. Gros. The company had posted a 55 percent
increase in customer base last year.

Enersis, the primary Latin American subsidiary of the Spanish
giant Endesa Spain, is selling its electric power distribution
subsidiary Rio Maipo as part of a restructuring plan. The
company intends to reduce the holding's debt by US$2.6 billion.
Enersis' debt until the second half of 2002 totaled US$9.2

Other assets put up for sale are the Manso de Velasco real
estate company, the Infraestructura 2000 hughways operator, the
Canutillar hydroelectric power generator and some electric
transmission lines.

Enersis plans to recover US$500 million in loans to its
subsidiaries. The company's plans also include a capital
increase of US$1.5 billion. The sale of assets is expected to
raise between US$900 million and US$1 billion.

          Investor Relations:
          Ricardo Alvial
          Chief Investments & Risks Officer of Enersis
          Phone: (562) 353-4682
          Susana Rey,
          Ximena Rivas,
          Pablo Lanyi-Grunfeldt,

ENERSIS: Rio Maipo Posts CLP11.7 Billion Profit for 2002
After news of being put up for sale, Chilean distributor Rio
Maipo posted a CLP11.7 billion (US$16.3 million) net profit for
2002. In a statement to country's securities commission, SVS,
Rio Maipo said its profits rose 26.6 percent from 2001.

Business News Americas reported that the company's operating
profits increased 2.23 percent to CLP10.3 billion. The increase
is seen as a result from a 2.91 percent increase in physical
sales and a reduction in administration and sales costs to
CLP3.97 billion.

Non-operating profits went up 196 percent to CLP3.47 billion,
due to an increase in non-operating income and a reduction in
financial costs, said the report.

Earlier this week, parent company, Enersis, said it received 13
bids for Rio Maipo and the Canutillar hydro plant. Final bids
will be invited on March, said Enersis.

Enersis, a unit of Spanish utility Endesa SA, is looking to cut
its debt by some US$2.6 billion in the coming year, while Endesa
Chile expects to raise US$600 million to US$700 million to cut

          Investor Relations:
          Ricardo Alvial
          Chief Investments & Risks Officer of Enersis
          Phone: (562) 353-4682
          Susana Rey,
          Ximena Rivas,
          Pablo Lanyi-Grunfeldt,


FILANBANCO: Creditors Seek Expert Help in Debt Recovery Plan
Creditors of failed Ecuadorian bank, Filanbanco, are set to hire
a professional firm to help recover some US$950 million in bad
loans, Business News Americas said recently. An official of
banking authority, Superban, told the paper recently that
creditors are currently considering at least four companies that
have expressed desire to handle the recovery.  The four
allegedly include US firms Prowill and Hunton & Williams,
Mexico's Thesis, and Panama's Gomez Giraldo & Asociados.

A professional firm was supposed to have been chosen in the
first half of January, but the selection has taken awhile due to
differences over the commission proposals submitted by the four
competing firms.  According to the unnamed Superban official,
the collection commissions ran from 3% to 17% of the total
amount recovered.

Authorities intervened Filanbanco, one of Ecuador's largest
banks, during the 1998-1999 financial crisis and ran the loss-
making operation until the bank's closure on July 17, 2001,
Business News Americas said.  The recovered funds will be used
to pay off Filanbanco creditors, mainly former depositors, who
are owed an estimated US$480-600 million, the official said.

VINTAGE PETROLEUM: Buyer Expects Completed Sale Within Weeks
The sale of Vintage Petroleum's assets in Ecuador is expected to
be completed "in the next few weeks," says Business News
Americas, citing a spokesman of Encana, the Canadian buyer.

"These things take some time and right now we're working through
the closing stages of the agreement," Encana's Alan Boras told
the paper in an interview recently.  He said some slight
adjustments might be made to the purchase price.

The original sale price is US$141.7 million, according to the
report, and involves the wholly owned subsidiary, Vintage Oil
Ecuador.  The deal was scheduled for completion by the end of
the month.  The paper said the sale is part of Vintage
Petroleum's US$200 million debt reduction plan.

Encana will get the Ecuadorian unit's 70% working interest in
block 17 and a 15% working interest in block 14, the concessions
held by the unit in the Oriente basin.  Vintage Oil Ecuador had
working capital of approximately US$25.7 million at June 30,
2002, the paper said.


JAMAICA URBAN: Union Fails to Dissuade Management; Layoffs Come
The sacking at Jamaica Urban Transit Company was expected to
begin yesterday, as the firm had indicated earlier that
redundancy letters were due for distribution Thursday. According
to, a request by the University and Allied
Workers Union to delay the job cuts Tuesday night was rejected
by the state-owned bus company, setting in motion the redundancy
plan as scheduled.

The union represents majority of the nearly 300 workers who are
slated to lose their jobs under the company's restructuring
exercise, the report said. Around 200 bus washers, drivers,
conductors and other categories of workers represented by the
UAWU are expected to be sent home.

Meanwhile, the Union of Clerical, Administrative and Supervisory
Employees, also met Wednesday with the management of the JUTC to
present proposals for a special redundancy package.  UCASE Vice-
President, Danny Roberts has proposed that workers with less
than two years of service be paid four weeks pay in lieu of
notice while those with more than two years of service be paid
six weeks notice pay, the report said.

It has also been proposed that three weeks redundancy pay be
given for each year of service for persons with less than two
years and five weeks pay for persons with two years and more
service, RadioJamaica added. But JUTC management rejected the

About 50 employees represented by UCASE will also be sacked, the
report said.


AHMSA: Maintains 10% Forecast as New Boiler Nears Completion
Integrated steel-maker, Alto Hornos de Mexico S.A., reports its
fourth boiler at blast furnace No. 5 will be operational by
April, giving it enough reason to keep its 10% growth forecast
this year. According to Business News Americas, the boiler is
already 85% complete.

Just recently, the company allocated US$3 million for
maintenance work at its blast furnace No. 1 and rolling mill.
The company also plans maintenance checks on furnace No. 4, and
reheating furnaces numbers 3 and 4.

The company plans to increase liquid steel output this year by
10%, in order to meet expanding export demand from Nafta
countries -- Mexico, United States and Canada.  The company has
noted that prices for products like wire rod and rebars have
gone up.

AHMSA has four functioning blast furnaces, of which two --
numbers 4 and 5 -- are used permanently while 2 and 3, with
lower capacity, are used as back-ups during maintenance periods
or to boost output.

The company is scheduled to meet with creditor banks in February
to discuss yet another restructuring plan, after the banks
rejected a proposal in December giving them 40% stake in the
company in exchange for writing off US$1.3 billion of debts.

According to a previous issue of TCR-Latin America, the banks
are demanding for as much as 98% stake in the company, citing a
previous proposal offering a 40% stake for converting only
US$530 million of debts.  This proposal never materialized, the
newsletter said.

Three years have passed since the company and its lenders
started negotiating a debt plan.  Early last year, creditors
walked away from talks, saying the company's management had no
desire to strike a deal.  The company, which has a total debt of
about US$1.8 billion, has been in a form of bankruptcy
protection for more than three years now.

          Prolongacion B. Juarez s/n,
          Monclova , Coahuila 25770

          Phone: +52 86 33 81 72
          Fax: +52 86 33 65 66
          Alonso Ancira Elizondo, CEO, Vice Chairman, Pres/CEO
          Jorge Ancira Elizondo, Chief Financial Officer
          Manuel Ancira Elizondo, Chief Operating Officer

ALFA S.A.: Fourth Quarter Losses Drop as Sales, Prices Improve
A write-down of an iron-ore mine cost Alfa S.A. US$45 million in
the fourth quarter, but it still managed to end the quarter with
far better loss figure compared to last year, Bloomberg said
recently. In 2002, fourth quarter net losses only amounted
MXN212 million, or 36 centavos, compared with MXN241 million in
2001; this as operating profit rose 36 percent to MXN1.33
billion, Bloomberg said.  The company attributes this profit to
the rise in sales and the improvement of prices on its steel and
chemical products.

The average international price of steel rose 5 percent during
the quarter as the volume of steel sales climbed 15 percent.
Chemical prices rose 6 percent and volumes rose 13 percent, Alfa

Alfa said it reported a loss of MXN347 million because of a
weaker currency compared with a gain of MXN961 million in the
same period last year. The charge Alfa took also included
severance payments and reduced value of a steel joint venture,
Bloomberg said.

In a conference call with journalists, Chief Financial Officer
Alfonso Gonzalez said sales volume in 2003 is expected to rise
3% from last year.  Volumes soared 17 percent in 2002 due to
additional sales from acquired companies and in comparison to
weak volumes in 2001, he said.

According to the report, the company plans to spend as much as
US$250 million during 2003 to expand capacity and on plant
maintenance, mostly at its auto parts and food units.  Alfa
invested US$174 million last year, Bloomberg said.

Alfa had net debt of US$2.35 billion at the end of last year,
US$295 million lower than at the end of 2001, Bloomberg said.
Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization
rose 22 percent to MXN2.07 billion from MXN1.7 billion a year
ago.  Analysts had forecast Ebitda of MXN2.03 billion, the
report noted.

           Ave. Gomez Morin 1111 Sur, Col. Carrizalejo
           Garza Garcia, N. L. Mexico C.P. 66254
           Tel: 52 8748-1111
           Fax: 52 8748-2552

CFE: Confirms Interest in Usumacinta, Denies Dam Construction
Mexican state power company confirmed it is studying the
feasibility of Usumacinta river to generate hydroelectric power,
reports Business News Americas citing a company press release.

However, said CFE, it is not planning to alter to course of the
river, contrary to rumors. Last year, Guatemalan newspapers said
the company was planning to build a reservoir with a 40-meter
high dam, to would generate 500MW.

The Usumacinta is in the Boca del Cerro region, near the
country's border shared with Guatemala.

Earlier this month, CFE invited companies to submit bids for a
contract to build, operate and maintain a liquid natural gas
(LNG) regasification plant in the country's Tamaulipas state.
Technical bids will be opened on April 22, while economic bids
on April 29.

          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

GRUPO MEXICO: Losses Due to Strike Hit US$4.9 Million
The losses incurred by Grupo Mexico as a result of the strike at
its open-mine operations in Cananea have already reached US$4.9
million, El Financiero said recently. According to Business News
Americas, which cited the local daily, the figure represents the
potential revenues for just eight days of the strike.  The
industrial action is still ongoing and may enter its third week
by Tuesday next week.

The copper mine located in the northern state of Sonora has a
generating capacity of 150,000 tonnes a year.  So far, 9,704
tons of concentrates and 1,280 tons of cathodes have been lost
due to the strike.

According to the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America, the
union last Saturday rejected the three-month request of the
company to pay the productivity bonus of 32.58% of salaries.  In
a statement, recently, the company said the workers had
expressed their "total lack of confidence" in management to
fulfill its commitments, which include the payment of a 5.25%
salary hike and the productivity bonus.

The union is also demanding the payment of 50% of salaries
during the strike called over violations of the firm's
collective contract and contractual revision for August 2001-
August 2003.

The strike, which began January 20, is affecting 1,150 unionized
workers, and 500 non-unionized workers at Cananea, located in
northwestern Sonora state about 60 miles from the Arizona

Grupo Mexico, which has had to renegotiate its debt after being
hit in recent years by low world copper prices, threatened to
close Cananea down in mid-2002 during a strike, but that dispute
was settled with a 5.75% increase in wages and benefits, TCR-
Latin America said.

          Avenida Baja California 200,
          Colonia Roma Sur
          06760 M,xico, D.F., Mexico
          Phone: +52-55-5264-7775
          Fax: +52-55-5264-7769
          Home Page:
          Germ n Larrea Mota-Velasco, Chairman and CEO
          Xavier Garca de Quevedo Topete, President and COO
          Alfredo Casar P,rez, COO, Ferrocarril Mexicano
          Daniel Ch vez Carre n, COO, Industrial Minera M,xico
          Daniel Tellechea Salido, VP and Administration and
                                      Finance  President

HYLSAMEX: 2002 Net Loss Down to MXN731.1M from MXN2.67B in 2001
Hylsamex, the steel-making unit of industrial conglomerate Alfa
S.A. reported a lower net loss for the 12 months ending on
December 31, 2002, compared to the year before that. The company
posted a 2002 net loss of MXN731.1 million, down from MXN2.67
billion in 2001.

Based on figures presented by Dow Jones Newswires on Wednesday,
the company's sales went up to MXN13.48 billion last from
MXN12.18 billion in 2001. Operating profit rose to MXN727
million, from MXN280.9 million in the same annual comparison.

Last year, the company was studying options on how to reduce its
debt. Hylsamex President and Chief Executive Alejandro Elizondo
said the company's debt was "manageable and sustainable", though
the debt stood at US$1.054 billion at the end of last year's
third quarter.

          Investor Relations
          Margarita Gutierrez

          Ricardo Sada
          Phone: (52) 81 8865 1224
                 (52) 81 8865 1201
          Munich 101,
          San Nicolas de los Garza N.L., 66452

UNEFON: Says Legal Fees Charged by Baker and McKenzie 'Illegal'
Mexican telephone operator, Unefon, plans to seek a US$1 million
refund from Baker and McKenzie, the law firm that handled its
transactions with Nortel Networks, NewsEdge said Wednesday.
According to the report, Unefon possesses documents that could
show that lawyers from the firm illegally billed the company for
its work in Mexico.  The company claims the international firm,
which has 150 attorneys in the country, did not have any
authorization to charge said legal fees.

Unefon is currently in the middle of a long-running legal
dispute with Nortel, which cancelled a US$700 million supply
contract after the Mexican firm failed to cough up US$6 million
in interest payments in August last year.  The interest payment
was for the supply of transmission equipment valued at US$350
million, according to TCR-Latin America in a previous issue.

Unefon has a separate lawsuit against Baker and McKenzie for
conflict of interest.  The phone operator is questioning the
firm's role as counsel of Nortel in the legal wrangling, while
being retained by the company to handle its dealings with the
Canadian supplier.

With a 5% share in Mexico's cellular phone market, Unefon claims
to have more than 1.2 million subscribers.  Mexican broadcaster
TV Azteca SA owns 46.5% of Unefon, while the Saba family holds
another 46.5%.  The other 7% floats on the Mexican Stock

CONTACT:  Unefon S.A. De CV
          Head Office
          Puriferico Sur 4119 Fuentes del
          Mexico 14141
          Tel: +52 8582 50000
          Fax: +52 8582 5052
          Web site:
          Engr Moises M. Saba, Chairman
          Pedro L. Padilla, Vice Chairman

          Nortel Networks Corp.
          Head Office
          Suite 100
          8200 Dixie Road
          L6T 5P6
          Tel  +1 905 863-0000
          Fax  +1 905 863-8423
          Lynton R. Wilson, Chairman
          Frank A. Dunn, President & Chief Executive

T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

BWIA: Cuts 600 Workers, Maintenance Division to Keep Flying
Asserting his duty to safeguard the shareholders' interest, BWIA
Chairman Lawrence Duprey announced Tuesday night the redundancy
of more than 600 staff and the phase out of the maintenance
division, The Trinidad Guardian said yesterday.

"BWIA requires either a bailout, which is not an option, or it
must take the tough decision expected of a publicly traded
private sector company that will fix its business and return
shareholder value," Mr. Duprey said in his televised

"The law requires the board of directors to seek the best
interest of the company in so doing the director must take into
account the interest of employees and shareholders," he said.

He noted that, in December alone, investors poured about US$9
million into BWIA.  He said "many of them are individuals with
few financial resources."

"Our efforts have directed towards an employee friendly
approach, unfortunately without success. Regaining shareholder
value is now of paramount importance," he said.

Mr. Duprey said he has already directed CEO Conrad Aleong and
his management team to design a new business plan that will not
only save the airline but to make it more competitive and
sustainable, as well.

"A new business model incorporating the appropriate methods is
the only option available to BWIA," he said.

It is not clear whether or not the decision to phase out the
maintenance division had anything to do with last week's "sick-
out action" carried out by its crew.  Citing a local paper, TCR-
Latin America said last week that a maintenance check on one
BWIA aircraft got delayed as a result of the action, which
management has declared illegal.  An official had vowed to
punish the division for that incident.

But even before the chairman's announcement, rumors had been
circulating that the division would be scrapped and replaced by
a contracted firm.  Unions speculate that this could be the
reason behind the "sick-out" action last week.

          Phone: + 868 627 2942
          Home Page:
          Conrad Aleong, President and CEO (Trinidad)
          Beatrix Carrington, VP Marketing and Sales (Barbados)
          Paul Schutz, CFO (Trinidad)

BWIA: To Receive Letter of Comfort on Government Loan
BWIA Corporate Communications Director Clint Williams confirmed
that the troubles airline is about to receive a letter of
comfort from the government to seek a $7.7 million loan to pay
creditors and keep it alive. The letter comes after BWIA showed
that it could save $1.4 million a month, one of the government's
stipulations before extending a loan to the cash-strapped

According to the Trinidad Express, BWIA met the required savings
target through a new business model which out-sourced ramp
operations, mechanical and engineering heavy aircraft check
departments and duty free services.  It also included the
retrenchment of 617 workers, after the unions failed to give in
to the concessions asked by the management.

The airline has received $2 million and an initial letter of
comfort from the government to borrow another $4 million.

West Indies Stockbrokers Ltd's managing director Peter Clarke
said if BWIA returned to profitability, the share price might
rebound, but investors would be taking a wait-and-see approach
in the interim, according to the report.

BWIA's stocks held steady at $2.25 in the local market on
Wednesday, with just 100 shares traded.


VENEZUELAN BANKS: To Resume Normal Operations on Monday
Commercial banks in Venezuela will resume normal business hours
on Monday, after local paper El Nacional reported that the
government would punish financial institutions, which continue
striking. Bank directors and employees may face suspension if
banking hours were not increased, said the report. Banks had
reduced its working hours to three, from the usual seven hours
daily, reports Bloomberg. Earlier this month, banks closed
completely for two days.

Nelson Mezerhane, head of Banco Federal SA said, "We have a
service to provide to the public. This isn't about declaring
victory or not."

But he added that some branches might not restore normal hours
if their workers are threatened, or if gasoline shortages
prevent their workers from reaching their offices.

Meanwhile, government officials denied that threats had played a
role in the banker's decision to resume normal hours, said


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.

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 written permission of the publishers.

Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed
to be reliable, but is not guaranteed.

The TCR Latin America subscription rate is $575 per half-year,
delivered via e-mail.  Additional e-mail subscriptions for
members of the same firm for the term of the initial
subscription or balance thereof are $25 each.  For subscription
information, contact Christopher Beard at 240/629-3300.

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