TCRLA_Public/030204.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, February 4, 2003, Vol. 4, Issue 24

                           Headlines


A R G E N T I N A

TGN: Intrest Payment Missed; Fitch Lowers TGN CRIBs to 'DD'
* Transcript of a Press Briefing by Thomas C. Dawson


B E R M U D A

TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Enters Into $1.5B Bank Credit Facility
TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Investors Accuse PwC of Supporting Fraud


B R A Z I L

AES CORP.: Brazilian Unit Misses $85M Payment to BNDES
CESP: Negotiations Slow; S&P Places Ratings On Watch Negative
EMBRATEL: Anatel Slaps $1.42M Fine For Billing Errors
VARIG: Tries To Retrieve Seized Plane


C H I L E

EDELNOR: Reports Profit On Success of Debt-Restructuring Program
GASATACAMA: Declines Transelec Offer to Buy Transmission Lines



C O L O M B I A

SEVEN SEAS: Trustee Seeks Court Authority For Sale Closure
SEVEN SEAS: Trustee Seeks Court's Approval Of Retention Plan


J A M A I C A

JUTC: Union Officials Agree Dismissals were `Fair'


M E X I C O

GRUPO MEXICO: Striking Workers Ask President Fox's Intervention


T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

BWIA: Chairman Says Job Cuts Were Last Resort
BWIA: Government Supports New Business Model


V E N E Z U E L A

INTERNATIONAL THUNDERBIRD: Reports Record Revenues
PDVSA: Confident Financial Projections Will Be Reached
PDVSA: Rodriguez Forecasts Lifting Of Force Majeure In February
SIDOR: Vehemently Denies Impending Closure, Dismissals


     - - - - - - - - - -

=================
A R G E N T I N A
=================

TGN: Intrest Payment Missed; Fitch Lowers TGN CRIBs to 'DD'
-----------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has downgraded the TGN CRIBs ratings of
Transportadora de Gas del Norte S.A. (TGN) to 'DD' from 'C'.
The rating action reflects the non-payment of interest related to
the CRIBs due on Jan. 25, 2003. TGN was scheduled to pay
semiannual interest of US$9.5 million. A partial payment of
US$1.9 million was paid to the CRIB holders on Jan. 27, 2003,
corresponding to the period of July 25, 2002 through Oct. 31,
2002.

The payment had been held in the trustee account and was
comprised of interest owed on the CRIBs debt from July 25 through
July 31, 2002 (US$300,000), at the original interest rate of
10.875%, and interest from Aug. 1, 2002 through Oct. 31, 2002
(US$1.6 million) at a rate of 3.5%. Fitch believes that TGN will
continue to pay interest quarterly on a pro rata basis to its
lenders with an interest rate cap of 3.5%. The next payment to be
made in the near term should therefore correspond to interest at
a cap of 3.5% from Nov. 1, 2002 to Jan. 31, 2003 for all
creditors, including its IFC 'A' and 'B' loans.

Through July 31, 2002, TGN had paid full interest and with no
principal reduction of its debt. From that point on, TGN has been
paying interest only with a cap of 3.5% interest rate on its
total debt. TGN management is attempting to honor all creditors
on a pari passu basis, independently of the stated payment dates
of each obligation, and is not expected to replenish reserve
funds (letters of credit) at the expense of paying interest to
its other creditors. TGN continues to negotiate with lenders to
reach a financing solution to improve its cash position and allow
it to continue operating as a viable commercial concern. The
ratings of TGNs other classes of debt were previously downgraded
to 'DD' in February 2002.

TGN is a natural-gas pipeline company serving the Northern and
Central regions of the Republic of Argentina. The company is
70.4% owned by Gasinvest S.A., a consortium of TotalFinaElf
(27.2%), Compania General de Combustibles (27.2%), Organization
Techint (27.2%), and Petrolium Nasional Berhad (18.4%). CMS
Energy also owns a large stake in the company (29.4%).

CONTACT: Fitch Ratings
         Jason T. Todd, 312/368-3217 (Chicago)
         Alejandro Bertuol, 212/908-0393 (New York)
         Ana Paula Ares or Cecilia Minguillon,
         +54 11 4327-2444 (Buenos Aires)
         Media Relations: James Jockle, 212/908-0547 (New York)


* Transcript of a Press Briefing by Thomas C. Dawson
----------------------------------------------------
Thomas C. Dawson
Director, External Relations Department
International Monetary Fund
Friday, January 31, 2003
Washington, D.C.

MR. DAWSON: Good morning, everyone. I'm Tom Dawson, Director of
External Relations at the IMF, and this is another of our regular
press briefings. As is standard, the briefing will be embargoed
until approximately 15 minutes after conclusion, and we'll set a
precise time at that point.

Before I take questions, I'd just like to offer a brief reminder
related to the Global Linkages Conference, which began yesterday
and will conclude today at Fund headquarters. The conference will
wrap up with an Economic Forum entitled "The `Links' That Bind."
The forum starts at 1:30 here in the IMF auditorium and will
explore issues related to the transmission of economic activity
across borders and their meaning for investors, policymakers, and
international financial institutions. The forum panel includes
Stefano Cavaglia of UBS Asset Management; Vincent Reinhart of the
Federal Reserve; Randy Kroszner of the White House Council of
Economic Advisers; and Anoop Singh, Director of the Fund's
Western Hemisphere Department.

That is all I have for opening comments, and I will be happy to
take any questions.

QUESTION: I want to know how are the negotiations with Uruguay
going. And why haven't you disbursed the money that was due in
December for them?

MR. DAWSON: We are still engaged in active discussions with
Uruguay, and the discussions are taking a while. So I think that
this is part of the natural process, and indications of when
disbursements might be expected are always on the sort of
notional basis. It depends on the status of the program. And I
don't have any more recent update from the team.

QUESTION: Why haven't you recommended [inaudible] of the debt?

MR. DAWSON: I'm not quite sure what you mean. The issue of the
debt burden in the country is an issue under active discussion
down there, but I don't think we have a recommended position per
se. It is clearly an issue that we have said that the authorities
need to be aware of and have an approach for maintaining the debt
sustainability. But we did not have a proposal that they are
considering. They are dealing with the issue.

QUESTION: On the same topic about the possibility of a debt
restructuring, there's been a lot of reports in the media that at
least that is one of the topics that the IMF is discussing with
the Uruguayan authorities. Can you confirm-

MR. DAWSON: Well, no, I don't really want-I mean, there are a
number of issues being discussed. Clearly, the debt burden in
Uruguay-and you can look at the numbers; they are transparent-is
a significant burden. But I wouldn't single it out as the only
issue under review, but it is one of the concerns.

QUESTION: A few questions about Turkey. First of all, could you
publicly say that at this point Turkey is in violation of its
Fund commitments and it's off track? And, secondly, do you have
any comment on Turkish Banking Supervisory Council's Pamukbank
decision? And do you have any time frame for return of the
regular mission to Turkey?

MR. DAWSON: That's a series of very good and related questions
when you talk about the return of the regular mission, because we
do have a small group there now discussing fiscal issues. In
terms of when the review discussions will continue, the
government at the moment is working on their letter of intent,
and we're discussing-and we can do this remotely as well-specific
measures. And the mission will return when the authorities
indicate they're in a position to continue those discussions. On
the Pamukbank, that is, of course, one of the issues in
discussion with the authorities, but I don't have more for you on
that.

Did I miss another part of the question? Oh, you asked me about
on track, off track. I couldn't and wouldn't say that. Clearly,
we are talking with them about a number of issues, including the
primary surplus target, which we think is-a 6.5 percent target we
think is a good and appropriate target, and we think that
achieving the target is fully feasible but will require prompt,
strong, and decisive measures. And as I say, we are in active
discussions with them, and they are taking a very active role in
developing the letter of intent on their own. And so this is one
of the reasons why the process is evolving in the way that it is,
and this is what ownership is about. So I think this is a natural
and to be welcomed process.

QUESTION: So you don't say Turkey's in violation of its
commitment or it's off track?

MR. DAWSON: I do not say that. That is correct. But we are
clearly looking at the calendar 2003 program, and the target that
the authorities have set for themselves we think, as I said, is
an appropriate and good target but will require-an achievable
target but will require work to meet, and that's what they're
doing.

QUESTION: Has the Fund been consulted at all by the Mexican
Government about actions to try and control the fall of the peso?

MR. DAWSON: I am not aware of any formal contacts. I am aware of
the statements the Mexican authorities have made, and they have
an exchange rate system that has worked well for them, and that
is what I understand they are pursuing. But I'm not aware of any
contacts. If there are, we will let people know.

QUESTION: My understanding is that there's a delegation of senior
Honduran officials here looking for a $350 million agreement with
the IMF. Could you bring us up to date on that? What are the
prospects for a deal? I understand Honduras has been looking for
a deal for some time now.

MR. DAWSON: I will confess to not being briefed on that. We will
have to get back to you.

QUESTION: Can you tell the present state of your talks with
Argentina? Are there any talks with them or have you shelved the
whole thing until elections?

MR. DAWSON: No, indeed, we are in regular contact with the
Argentine authorities. There will be a mission joint with the
World Bank going down there next week. And I would direct you at
this point to the Argentine authorities' having published some of
the documents regarding the actual program on their website which
you could take a look at to see the sorts of measures that are
contained in the program, and that can give you sort of a hint as
to what is being worked on. But, in particular, the issue of
utility prices is one the authorities have been actively working
on, and we have been working with them as well. So there is still
a dialogue going on.

I think there's a bit of a misnomer. I mean, while in a financial
sense this is a, quote-unquote, rollover program, that is not to
say that the program did not have measures in it, both in the
financial sector in terms of the primary surplus and certain
structural measures. So there is work continuing. We clearly
recognize that in a number of areas it will be difficult to reach
major breakthroughs or sweeping measures in the run-up to the
election, and that's just a matter of realism. That's not to say
that we aren't and the Argentine authorities aren't anxious to
see what can be done in the period running up to the election. I
thought maybe my Argentine group had fallen asleep here.

QUESTION: Not yet. I was wondering what you thought about all
these articles that came out in the Financial Times, the
Economist, Wall Street Journal, accusing the IMF of having given
up to the Argentinean blackmail.

MR. DAWSON: I think, first of all, as I said, I would direct you
to looking at what the content of the program is, and I think it
is a program that looks to consolidate the gains that have been
made and try to see what can be done in the pre-election process.
I've certainly seen those articles, and some of them are the
product of entrepreneurial efforts on the part of reporters, and
that certainly is your job to try to, from your points of view,
understand the Fund and how it works better. I think there is,
however, a tendency in these articles to perhaps overdramatize
the process, but that's part of what a free press is about so I'm
not complaining. I've found a number of the articles quite
entertaining.

QUESTION: I have a follow-up. What about the five abstentions,
also has been presented like there was a lack of consensus on the
Board and that this is very unusual?

MR. DAWSON: First of all, we do not discuss the actual positions
taken by individuals, individual representatives in the Board. So
I am not going to comment on that aspect of it. On the other
hand, I think it's important to stress this was with the Board a
very open exchange of views, of opinions, and I think people have
a clearer understanding of how difficult the situation was. And
if it turns out at the end of the day that different people have
different-or different constituencies may have different
positions, that's part of the way life is.

I don't think-as I say, I would not overdramatize it, but I think
there's a-one thing there certainly is a consensus on in the
Board is how difficult the Argentine situation has been, the
experience that both the Argentine people, the government, and
the Fund have been through. And I think everyone is committed to
trying to find the best way to go forward, and I think that the
position ultimately taken by the Board is the best that we could
do at this point.

QUESTION: Could you just elaborate a little bit on what that
mission, that joint mission with the World Bank is about?

MR. DAWSON: There may be more-there quite often is more than one
mission going down, but there may be something going on that I'm
not-that is my understanding that the Fund and Bank have a joint
mission going down that will be discussing some of the utility
pricing issues. There's other work that goes on all the time,
too, so I wouldn't-I would identify that one, but there's other
work going on, and the authorities are often up here visiting and
so on. So it's a continuing discussion, but this particular
mission I did point out is happening.

QUESTION: Following up again, what are some of the pending
discussions on the utilities?

MR. DAWSON: Well, I mean, it is discussing the framework for
going forward. I wouldn't describe it as particular issues. It's
discussing the framework for going forward. And you are correct,
the authorities have taken some measures in the last, I guess, 24
hours in that regard.

QUESTION: Yes, I also have a follow-up to this Board thing. How
often does the Board actually vote in the everyday life of the
IMF? And how often does it happen that there are so many
abstentions?

MR. DAWSON: I don't keep a running count of it. As you may know,
I was for a while a Board member, and I certainly was quite aware
of a number of abstentions. I was quite regularly outvoted on
salary issues when I was a Board member. But it does happen, and
it is a fact. The fact that it gets to be public is also a fact
that obviously people may view as being newsworthy. But it is not
our position, the position of the staff or the management, to
reveal individual countries' or constituencies' positions.
That's, frankly, up to them. You know, the United States and some
other countries quite often are explicit about their position on
particular voting issues, more often on the policy side-or policy
and the country side. So it is not unprecedented, but it is not
an everyday occurrence either. I mean, but it happens throughout
the year there are abstentions and even no votes on varying
issues.

QUESTION: One of the things that seems odd about the Argentine
program is that, as far as I could tell, there's only one number
target in the whole program. That's the primary surplus. Are
there other targets that we are just not being made aware of? Or
was the sense that this was the only one that could be reached
over the next month?

MR. DAWSON: Well, no, I think there certainly are-I would steer
away from thinking that numerical targets are the only thing that
people need to look at. I mean, that is a key target. Remember,
this is a program of limited duration. But certainly there are
issues in the financial sector side and others where we and the
authorities are working to make sure, as I said, that the gains
that have been reached have been consolidated. And since the
program is essentially-what is it?-a seven-month program, I think
the fiscal targets are, in fact, quite important. But there are
other undertakings as well that may not be quantified in that
sense, but that are part of making the whole program fit
together.

QUESTION: Two questions on Latin America-one on Ecuador. Do you
have an update on the mission that was working down there? And
the second question is on Venezuela. As you know, Venezuela is
facing a lot of serious problems. Did Venezuela make any kind of
approach to IMF for help?

MR. DAWSON: On the Ecuador issue, it's my understanding that
there may be something coming out later today from Quito, and I
think it would be inappropriate for me to talk at this point but
I think there's likelihood that there will be a statement later
today, at which point we would have a statement as well. But I
think it's appropriate for the authorities to make the first
statement.

In regard to Venezuela, I am not familiar with any recent
contacts in terms of the question as you phrased it was asking
for help. I don't know what kind of help you were talking about.
I am aware over the last few months there has been assistance of
the sort of technical assistance nature taking place with
elements of the government, I recall, including the central bank.
But I'm not familiar with anything more in the last couple of
months. I haven't heard. We'll get back to you on that as well.
But certainly, had there been a request for another kind of
assistance, I'm sure I would be in a position to answer that.

[Whereupon, the press briefing was concluded.]

IMF EXTERNAL RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
Public Affairs: 202-623-7300 - Fax: 202-623-6278
Media Relations: 202-623-7100 - Fax: 202-623-6772



=============
B E R M U D A
=============

TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Enters Into $1.5B Bank Credit Facility
----------------------------------------------------------
Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE: TYC, BSX: TYC, LSE: TYI) announced
Friday that Tyco International Group S.A., its wholly-owned
subsidiary, has agreed to a new 364-day unsecured revolving bank
credit facility. This new credit facility provides for borrowing
availability of $1.5 billion for general corporate purposes. Tyco
International Group S.A.'s obligations under the new credit
facility will be guaranteed by Tyco International Ltd. and
certain of its material operating subsidiaries. The facility was
arranged by Banc of America Securities LLC and Morgan Stanley
Senior Funding, Inc.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ed Breen said: "The closing
of this bank credit facility, combined with our recently
announced placement of $4.5 billion in convertible debentures,
eliminates the liquidity gap that the company would have faced
later this year. With these liquidity issues behind us, we can
now focus all our attention on strengthening the operations of
Tyco's solid businesses."

Tyco International Ltd. is a diversified manufacturing and
service company. Tyco operates in more than 100 countries and had
fiscal 2002 revenues from continuing operations of approximately
$36 billion.

CONTACT:  Media
          Gary Holmes
          Tel: 212-424-1314
          
          Investors
          Kathy Manning
          Tel: 603-778-9700


TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Investors Accuse PwC of Supporting Fraud
------------------------------------------------------------
Disgruntled investors of Bermuda-based Tyco International, Ltd.
accused the Company's auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC),
of issuing "materially false and misleading opinions" supporting
the Company's deceptive accounting practices, the Bermuda Sun
reports, citing papers filed in a New Hampshire federal court.

PwC, the world's largest accounting firm, was added to the list
of defendants to a lawsuit filed by investors. Pension funds are
leading the case on behalf of investors seeking class actions
status. The plaintiff is claiming billions of dollars in losses.

Meanwhile, PwC denies the allegations.

David Nestor, spokesman for PwC said, "We believe that the
inclusion of PricewaterhouseCoopers in the consolidated
shareholder class action is wholly without merit."

He added, "We believe our work for the company was appropriate
and complied with all professional standards."

A recent internal report on Tyco's accounting practices confirms
PwC's stand, said Nestor.

Tyco spokesman Gary Holmes said, "Several months ago the court
ordered the plaintiffs to file this consolidated complaint, which
is a normal part of litigation. Tyco will review the complaint
and file an answer according to the schedule the court has set."

CONTACT: TYCO INTERNATIONAL LTD.
         Corporate Office
         The Zurich Centre, Second Floor
         90 Pitts Bay Road
         Pembroke HM 08, Bermuda
         Phone: 441-292-8674
         Home Page: http://www.tyco.com
         Contacts:
         Gary Holmes (Media)
         Tel +1-212-424-1314
                 or
         Kathy Manning (Investors)
         Tel +1-603-778-9700



===========
B R A Z I L
===========

AES CORP.: Brazilian Unit Misses $85M Payment to BNDES
------------------------------------------------------
The AES Corporation (NYSE:AES) announced Friday that its
subsidiary AES ELPA S.A. (AES ELPA) had failed to make a payment
of approximately $85 million due to the Brazil National Bank for
Economic and Social Development (BNDES) under a financing
agreement for the acquisition by AES ELPA of common shares of
Eletropaulo Metropolitana Eletricidade de Sao Paulo S.A.
(Eletropaulo), the electric distribution company serving the City
of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

The approximately $542 million of outstanding debt under this
financing agreement is secured by the common shares of
Eletropaulo owned by the subsidiary and by certain other AES
businesses in Brazil. Under this financing agreement, BNDES has
the right to call due such outstanding debt as a result of the
failure to pay the amount due.

AES stated that it is in discussions with BNDES to seek to
restructure this debt. As a result of a cross default provision,
BNDES also now has the right to call due approximately $231
million loaned to Eletropaulo under the program in Brazil
established to alleviate the effects of rationing on electricity
companies.

Due to existing financial covenant and other defaults under
Eletropaulo loan agreements, Eletropaulo's lenders have had the
right to call due approximately $608 million of indebtedness. The
right of BNDES to accelerate amounts under the rationing loan
permits other Eletropaulo lenders to accelerate additional loans
aggregating approximately $228 million.

Earlier this week, BNDES and other former holders of Eletropaulo
preferred shares accepted the offer of another AES subsidiary,
AES TRANSGAS EMPREENDIMENTOS LTDA. (AES TRANSGAS), to defer until
February 28, 2003 approximately $336 million due by the
subsidiary in connection with the purchase of Eletropaulo
preferred shares.

The failure of AES ELPA to pay the amount due to BNDES will not
constitute an event of default under AES's parent company
indebtedness. In addition, neither AES ELPA nor AES TRANSGAS is a
material subsidiary for purposes of bankruptcy related events of
default contained in AES's parent company indebtedness. However,
Eletropaulo is a material subsidiary for such purposes.

Given that a bankruptcy proceeding would generally be an
unattractive remedy for Eletropaulo's lenders, as it would result
in a termination of Eletropaulo's concession and that Eletropaulo
is in negotiations with its lenders to restructure its defaulted
indebtedness, AES believes such an outcome is unlikely. However,
there can be no assurance that such an outcome will not occur,
that such negotiations will be successful or that AES will not
have to write off additional amounts related to its investment in
Eletropaulo.

AES is a leading global power company comprised of contract
generation, competitive supply, large utilities and growth
distribution businesses.

The company's generating assets include interests in 176
facilities totaling over 60 gigawatts of capacity, in 33
countries. AES's electricity distribution network sells 108,000
gigawatt hours per year to over 16 million end-use customers.

For more general information visit our web site at www.aes.com or
contact investor relations at investing@aes.com.

CONTACT: AES Corporation
         Kenneth R. Woodcock, 703/522-1315


CESP: Negotiations Slow; S&P Places Ratings On Watch Negative
-------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services on Friday placed its corporate
and issue global scale and national scale ratings (see ratings
list) on Brazil-based CESP-Companhia Energetica de Sao Paulo
(E.EPL) on CreditWatch with negative implications.

"The CreditWatch reflects the thus far unsuccessful negotiation
of CESP's 900 average megawatts of free energy, and the
significant negative effect this decrease in revenues will have
on cash flow and on the company's capacity to deal with large
short-term maturities," said credit analyst Juliana Gallo.

In order to create a competitive market in the electricity
sector, the contractual obligations between state-owned
generators and distributors were converted into initial
contracts, which will decrease by 25% annually, beginning in
2003. As energy sold under initial contracts declines, market
players have to procure and sell power through bilateral
contracts or public auctions.

Even though initial contracts could be amended and applied in
full in 2003, CESP did not reach an agreement with distributors
to amend the initial contracts, and went for direct negotiation
with potential buyers. Since the end of 2002, CESP has been
trying to negotiate the 900 average MW of now free energy through
public auction and long-term agreements, but all tentative
arrangements failed because demand is still depressed after
rationing, and distributors are reluctant to immediately contract
all the energy that is declining from initial contracts. On the
other hand, both generators and distributors are expecting new
guidelines from the federal administration, which has been
criticizing the current model and proposing changes.

Until now, CESP has been unable to commercialize its free energy,
but negotiations are still pending with free consumers; if CESP
fails to sign long-term contracts with these potential consumers,
at prices at least similar to its current contract prices, the
company will be compensated for this lost revenue at spot market
prices, which are allowed to vary between BrR4/megawatt-hour
(MWh) and BrR350/MWh. As prices are currently at their trough,
the negative effect on CESP's financials will be significant and
immediate.

The CreditWatch will be resolved as soon as negotiations with
potential customers are concluded, probably by mid-February. If
the company succeeds in maintaining the same level of sales at
prices similar to its initial contracts, the ratings will be
affirmed at 'B+'. If not, Standard & Poor's will evaluate the
effect of a sales reduction on cash flow and funding
requirements, and the ratings could be lowered by one or two
notches.

Rating List

PLACED ON CREDITWATCH NEGATIVE

CESP - Companhia Energetica de Sao Paulo
Global Scale
Local currency rtg                                B+
Foreign currency rtg                              B+
US$150 mil sr unsecured medium-term notes         B+

National Scale
National Scale rtg                                brBBB+
BrR450 mil subordinated, non-conv debenture       brBBB
BrR250 mil receivable-backed sec (CTEEs)          brBBB+


EMBRATEL: Anatel Slaps $1.42M Fine For Billing Errors
-----------------------------------------------------
Brazil's National Telecommunications Authority (Anatel) slapped
long-distance operator Embratel a BRL4.97-million (some
US$1.42mn) fine for missing government-imposed quality targets in
May of 2000, reports Business News Americas. Under local
legislation, fixed carriers are not allowed to make more than
four mistakes per 1,000 telephone bills. Embratel surpassed that
limit.

The penalty comes amid efforts by Embratel to renegotiate US$790
million in debt coming due this year. Latest developments show
that 10 out of 20 of lenders have already agreed to the
refinancing proposal, while the rest are in final talks over
adjustments to the plan. The Company is hoping to conclude the
debt talks by March.

CONTACT:  Embratel Participacoes SA
          Registered Office
          Rua Regente Feijo, 166 sala 1687-B
          Centro 20060-060 Rio de Janeiro
          Brazil
          Tel  +55 21 2519-9622
          Fax  +55 21 2519-6608
          Web  http://www.embratel.com.br/
          Contact:  Daniel Eldon Crawford, Chairman


VARIG: Tries To Retrieve Seized Plane
-------------------------------------
Brazilian airline, Varig S.A. attempted to negotiate with
creditors for the return of the seized Boeing 777, reports the
Associated Press. The plane was seized by International Lease
Finance, Corp. (ILFC), a unit of American International Group,
Inc., on failure to make a required lease payment. Earlier, ILFC
declared it has an order from a French court. Varig has leased
the plane since 2001.

The plane was scheduled to fly to Rio de Janeiro on Thursday.
After it was seized, passengers were out on board an MD-11
heading to Rio, with a stop in Sao Paulo. Varig spokesman Paulo
Cesar Fonseca declined to divulge details of the negotiations.

A few weeks ago, Brazilian securities regulators asked Varig to
restate financial results for 2001 and the first half of 2002.
The airline's books were found to have accounting errors,
according to government officials. The report said that a
restatement may widen the company's 1H02 losses to about US$571
million from US$286 million.

The Company, with a total debt of US$760 million, has been the
subject of takeover rumors.

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

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

              KPMG Brazil
              Belo Horizonte
              Rua Paraba, 1122
              13th Floor
              30130-918 Belo Horizonte MG
              Telephone 55 (31) 3261 5444
              Telefax 55 (31) 3261 5151
                       or
              Brasilia
              SBS Quadra 2 BL A N 1
              Edificio Casa de Sao Paulo SL 502
              70078-900 Braslia - DF
              Telephone 55 (61) 223 2024
              Telefax 55 (61) 224 0473

              BAIN & CO
              Primary Contact: Wendy Miller
              Two Copley Place, Boston, MA 02116
              USA
              Phone: +1-617-572-2000
              Fax: +1-617-572-2461
              Email: miles.cook@bain.com
              URL: http://www.bain.com



=========
C H I L E
=========

EDELNOR: Reports Profit On Success of Debt-Restructuring Program
----------------------------------------------------------------
Chilean thermoelectric generator Edelnor's debt-restructuring
program brought in positive results to the Company, indicates
Business News Americas. According to Edelnor CFO Cristian
Bernstein, the Company, which is yet to release its official
financial results, posted some US$20 million net income in 2002
due largely to the success of its debt-restructuring program.

"It was a good year, we made a large profit because of our debt
restructuring and we are in a better financial position," Mr.
Bernstein said.

Edelnor's operating results improved despite the expiration of
contracts with the Emel group of distributors on December 31,
2001. The contracts accounted for 50% of Edelnor's total contract
sales.

"We were concerned how we would compensate for that, but we did
so very well," Mr. Bernstein said without giving more details.

Edelnor's US$340-millionn debt restructuring plan gained approval
from a New York bankruptcy court last October. The plan paved the
way for Inversiones Mejillones to buy an 82.3% stake in Edelnor
from Chilean investment firm FS Inversiones for US$5.7 million.
Inversiones Mejillones is a joint venture between Belgian energy
company Tractebel and Chile's state copper company Codelco.

Edelnor is based in Mejillones in northern Chile's Region II, and
operates in the country's northern grid (SING). Tractebel and
Codelco also control fellow SING generator Electroandina, based
at Tocopilla in Region II, and plan to merge the two generators
to take advantage of possible synergies.

The CFO doesn't see a merger taking place this year, but
indicated Edelnor could make steps towards an eventual merger
through various operational agreements including a coal storage
agreement.

Electroandina currently operates Edelnor's 12,000 metric tonne
coal storage facility, and "some things could be done to reduce
costs for both companies," he said.

The companies' combined installed capacity is 1,749MW.

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
          Centro
          88015 - 110 Florianopolis - SC
          Brazil
          Tel  +55 48 221-7016
          Fax  +55 48 221-7015
          Web  http://www.gerasul.com.br
          Contacts:
          Mauricio Stolle Bahr, Chairman
          Eric L.J. de Muynck, Vice Chairman


GASATACAMA: Declines Transelec Offer to Buy Transmission Lines
--------------------------------------------------------------
Rudolfo Araneda, chief executive officer of Chilean gas
transporter and power generator GasAtacama turned down an offer
from power transmission company HQI Transelec to buy 800 km of
transmission lines, reports Business News Americas. According to
Mr. Araneda, Tranelec's offer was lower than what GasAtacama was
expecting.

He added that the lines were worth about US$100 million, and that
the Company is not in a hurry to offload them. However, other
offers could still be considered, he said. In the meantime, the
Company has the option to keep the lines through its new
transmission subsidiary, GasAtacama Transmision.

The report added that this might be a good option for the Company
to avoid future regulatory problems because the electric sector
bill currently before congress - the Ley Corta 'fast track' bill
- limits the number of transmission lines that a generator in the
northern grid (SING) can own.

Last week, the Company placed its plans to import Bolivian gas on
hold, until the Bolivian government makes a final decision on
which transmission lines it will use for LNG transport.

GasAtacama has plans to refinance US$300 million in debt this
year, under the advise of Salomon Smith Barney. The money may be
raised through a bond issue, depending on the Company's risk
rating, and local market conditions.

Both U.S. power company CMS, and Chilean generator Endesa Chile
own 50 percent of GasAtacama.



===============
C O L O M B I A
===============

SEVEN SEAS: Trustee Seeks Court Authority For Sale Closure
----------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston was scheduled to hear
Monday, Feb. 3, 2003, a motion by the Chapter 11 trustee
overseeing Seven Seas Petroleum Inc.'s bankruptcy case in light
of the sale of the assets of the Company's subsidiaries.

According to court documents obtained by Dow Jones Newswires over
the weekend, the trustee is seeking power from the court to close
the proposed sale of the assets of Seven Seas' nonbankrupt units.

On December 13, 2002, Sociedad Internacional Petrolera SA signed
an agreement to buy the nonbankrupt units' assets, including
interests in an oil field and a pipeline in South America, for
US$20 million.

The trustee's motion indicates that Seven Seas Petroleum would
get the proceeds of the sale, but only under a reorganization
plan.

On December 20, 2002 a group of its creditors filed a petition to
involuntarily adjudicate Seven Seas as a Chapter 7 debtor. Seven
Seas consequently consented to the Adjudication under Chapter 11
on January 13, 2003. Tony M. Davis, Esq., at Baker Botts LLP
represents Seven Seas in its restructuring efforts.

On January 14, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Wesley W. Steen named Ben B.
Floyd as the Chapter 11 trustee to administer the Company's
estate during the bankruptcy proceedings.

The trustee's recent motion said that when Floyd was named
trustee, he immediately began evaluating the sale assets, the
asset purchase agreement, CIBC World Markets auction process and
possible alternatives to the sale.

After his evaluation, Floyd said, he concluded that the auction
process implemented by CIBC World Markets was "commercially
reasonable," that the sale assets "were adequately exposed to the
marketplace," and that the proposed purchase price is reasonable.

Seven Seas Petroleum hired CIBC World Markets in September 2002
to begin an auction process to sell the working interests that
the subsidiaries held in a South American oil field.

Under the proposed sale agreement, the transaction would have to
close by March 15, the motion said. Some of the conditions to
closing include approval by Chile and Colombia and the consent of
Chesapeake Energy Corp., one of Seven Seas Petroleum's secured
lenders.

The trustee's motion said Floyd has been told that all the
necessary conditions are expected to be satisfied within this
week.

As of September 30, 2002, the Company listed US$180,389,000 in
total assets and $185,970,000 in total debts.

CONTACT:  Daniel Drum, Investor Relations
          +1-713-622-8218


SEVEN SEAS: Trustee Seeks Court's Approval Of Retention Plan
------------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Houston was due to decide Monday,
February 03, 2003, whether to grant approval to a retention plan
that would pay incentives to seven of Seven Seas' key employees
to keep them on board during the Chapter 11 process, reports Dow
Jones Newswires.

The trustee, in a motion, revealed that the group consists of
five remaining corporate staff members in Houston and two senior
managers based in Bogota.

Under the proposed plan, payments would range from 17% to 50% of
a worker's annual salary and would be contingent on a key
employee remaining with the firm through specific dates during
the bankruptcy proceedings. Payments under the plan would total
$246,000.



=============
J A M A I C A
=============

JUTC: Union Officials Agree Dismissals were `Fair'
--------------------------------------------------
Cash-strapped Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) retrenched 280
workers effective Thursday last week. The selection of workers to
be displaced was based on age, job performance, and length of
time in the Company. A report by the Jamaica Observer last week
said officials of unions representing the Company's workers,
sympathized with those who lost their jobs, but described the
dismissals as "fair".

The unions made sure that "no victimization or politics came into
play", according to University & Allied Workers Union (UAWU)
liaison officer, Delrose Holgate. The unions had lengthy
discussions with the management and the workers to ensure this.

The UAWU represents bus drivers and conductresses, among others.
The Union of Clerical, Administrative and Supervisory Employees
(UCASE) represented 54 workers who where laid off, said the
report.

The layoffs last Thursday was the first phase of the Company's
across-the-board downsizing plan, aimed at making the Company
viable.

During that day, police were delegated at the depot.

Swiss consulting firm, KPMG, the advisers who recommended the job
cuts said that JUTC is "technically insolvent."



===========
M E X I C O
===========

GRUPO MEXICO: Striking Workers Ask President Fox's Intervention
---------------------------------------------------------------
The conflict between the striking workers at Grupo Mexico's
Cananea copper mine and the management refuses to die down.

According to a Business News Americas report, the workers have
decided to call on President Vicente Fox to intervene to resolve
the conflict. They want the president to oblige Grupo Mexico to
negotiate a solution.

The workers lodged a strike Jan. 20 demanding a 32% productivity
bonus, a 5.25% wage hike and a 5% stake in the mine. Grupo Mexico
has proposed to pay the 32% productivity bonus in a term of three
months. However, the striking workers rejected the offer.

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. Now, it
is again threatening to close the mine if a settlement will not
be reached.

CONTACT:  GRUPO MEXICO S.A. DE C.V.
          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: http://www.gmexico.com
          Contacts:
          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



=================================
T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O
=================================

BWIA: Chairman Says Job Cuts Were Last Resort
---------------------------------------------
Lawrence Duprey, chairman of the BWIA board of directors, said
that the airline had no choice but to layoff workers in order to
reduce costs. The Trinidad Guardian quoted parts of Mr. Duprey's
statement in the Chamber of Commerce building in Westmoorings on
Tuesday last week.

"In short unless BWIA cost come down quick and drastically it
will fail and soon. We cannot let that happen," said Duprey. He
also mentioned that a bail out is not an option for the airline.

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

The airline's management was directed to design a new business
plan to save the airline and make it more competitive and
profitable. Mr. Duprey said that most importantly, the business
plan should seek to improve shareholder value.

Mr. Duprey said that BWIA investors are yet to receive any
returns for their investments. Last month, BWIA received about
US$9 million from investors.

Last week, the airline sent home 617 workers after it failed to
receive concessions. The airline needs to save at least US$1.4
million per month to keep it alive.

CONTACT:  BRITISH WEST INDIES AIRWAYS
          Phone: + 868 627 2942
          E-mail: mailto:mail@bwee.com
          Home Page: http://www.bwee.com/
          Contacts:
          Conrad Aleong, President and CEO (Trinidad)
          Beatrix Carrington, VP Marketing and Sales (Barbados)
          Paul Schutz, CFO (Trinidad)


BWIA: Government Supports New Business Model
--------------------------------------------
The government of Trinidad and Tobago is supporting the new
business model of the country's troubled flagship carrier, BWIA,
reports the Trinidad Express. BWIA's management team was directed
to come up with the business plan to make the airline more
competitive and improve shareholder value.

Prime Minister Patrick Manning said that BWIA is a private
company and is free to make decisions, although the retrenchment
of 617 workers last week worried him.

He added that if the dismissed workers are aggrieved by the
dismissals, then they could seek legal advise and take the matter
to court.

The government, which owns 33.5 percent of BWIA, will give the
airline a letter of comfort to borrow US$57.7 million. Finance
Minister Conrad Enill said the letter of comfort is part of the
country's US$13 million assistance package to BWIA.



=================
V E N E Z U E L A
=================

INTERNATIONAL THUNDERBIRD: Reports Record Revenues
--------------------------------------------------
International Thunderbird Gaming Corporation (TSX:INB) announced
Friday the following update:

Operations: The Company's unaudited fourth quarter revenues of
US$5.3 million exceeded management's expectations.

The expansion at the El Panama Hotel Casino contributed to a
record month of revenue during December 2002 as the combined
Panama operation accounted for approximately $3.2 million of
revenue. The addition of 100 video gaming and slot machines and
35 table positions at the El Panama Hotel attracted a significant
number of new players.

In Guatemala, the company experienced a record month of revenue
during December as well. The arbitration proceeding in Guatemala
has not concluded although the arbitrator issued a tentative
award to the Company of $250,000. The Company is awaiting a re-
determination of the award based upon errors in calculating the
award. More important to the Company are the continued
negotiations with ILAC concerning a contract extension.

Business terms and expansion of machines have been agreed upon
and the Company is confident that it will continue its operation
in Guatemala for the long term.

Most businesses in Venezuela were unable to operate in the past
two months yet the Fiesta Casino in Puerto Ordaz, Venezuela
continues to meet its debt service and monthly operational
expenses. The Company is optimistic about the future of the
gaming market despite major political and civil unrest. The
Company believes much of the current tensions will eventually be
resolved.

The Company continues to pursue the NAFTA claim but the Mexican
government continues to delay the process by its refusal to
respect the NAFTA rules. The Company has selected its arbitrator
and requested that the International Centre for the Settlement of
Investment Disputes step in to make the final two appointments
and empanel the arbitrators to allow the case to move forward.

Nicaragua Merger: The Company entered into an agreement with
Hopewell Ltd. to merge its Fiesta Casino operation with
Hopewell's Pharaoh's Casino. The merger is subject to Nicaragua
government approval. Once the merger is approved, Thunderbird
will own 21% of the merged entity. This combined operation will
improve the Company's overall EBITDA and cash flow. Pharaoh's has
captured a significant market share in Managua and its operations
staff will add a great deal of depth to our operations. Economies
of scale through a joint marketing and administrative effort will
reduce the combined operations' overhead and will result in
greater profitability and cash flow. There are expansion
possibilities in Managua, which will result in the merged entity
capturing a greater market share. The Company is looking forward
to improving the Fiesta Casino through renovations and adding new
gaming machines. Owning a 21% share of the two dominant
properties in Managua is a major step forward for Thunderbird.

Working Capital Deficiency: The Company continues to make
significant strides in reducing its working capital deficiency.
The Company anticipates reflecting in its 2002 audited financials
a marked improvement in this area over its December 2001 audited
financials. We accomplished this progress by paying down debt and
successfully extending the terms of certain other debt to long
term.

Trading: The Company is awaiting a determination for listing on
the OTCBB and intends to qualify with a new exchange, the
"BBXchange" once the OTCBB is phased out. The Company continues
to seek market makers with the goal of resuming trading on the
OTCBB within 60 days.

International Thunderbird Gaming Corporation is an owner and
manager of international gaming facilities. Additional
information about the Company is available on its World Wide Web
site at www.thunderbirdgaming.com. The Company moved its
corporate offices to a new location just north of San Diego,
California.

On behalf of the Board of Directors,

Jack R. Mitchell, President and CEO


PDVSA: Confident Financial Projections Will Be Reached
------------------------------------------------------
Ali Rodriguez, the president of Petroleos de Venezuela SA,
assured the financial community that the state-owned oil monopoly
will meet its financial commitments, relates Dow Jones.

"We can guarantee the financial community that we will meet our
commitments," Rodriguez said.

"We're doing everything possible to achieve that goal," Rodriguez
said, adding PdVSA could tap some US$2 billion from the Macro
Economic Stabilization Fund, or FIEM. Rodriguez is not ruling out
an issuance of bonds.

PDVSA's outstanding debt for the year 2003 stands at $1.5
billion, Rodriguez said.

Meanwhile, Rodriguez also said that the Company would go ahead
with its plans for a major shakeup. Staff at headquarters will be
kept to a minimum while most personnel will be moved to new
headquarters in the east and west part of the country.

Almost all of the 700 top executives of the Company have already
been fired, Rodriguez said, while some 90% to 95% of the regular
oil workers have returned to their jobs. On the administrative
level, some 50% to 55% have returned to their offices.

A study by an international consultancy firm still needs to be
finished, Rodriguez said. He didn't exclude the possibility of
the sale of some of its assets, both domestically and abroad. On
previous occasions, Rodriguez has dismissed the possibility of
the sale of its U.S.-based refiner and distribution chain Citgo.

The Company consists of a total of 189 entities and subsidiaries.


PDVSA: Rodriguez Forecasts Lifting Of Force Majeure In February
---------------------------------------------------------------
PDVSA President Ali Rodriguez said that the force majeure can be
lifted by the end of February when crude production reaches 2
million barrels per day, relates Dow Jones.

"We estimate the force majeure can be lifted by the end of
February when we get to the 2 million barrels," Rodriguez said,
adding that January exports have reached a level of over 30
million barrels, or an average of 1 million b/d. "We expect that
to be a lot more in February," he said.

Force majeure was declared three days after the nationwide strike
kicked off Dec. 2. The declaration temporarily released PDVSA and
its clients from contractual obligations.


SIDOR: Vehemently Denies Impending Closure, Dismissals
------------------------------------------------------
Venezuelan steelmaker Sidor denied reports suggesting that it
could close temporarily and send home some of its employees in
the following days due to natural gas shortage, Business News
Americas reports, citing a company spokesperson.

"That's utter nonsense, in fact the exact opposite is true. We're
working to take full advantage of our gas supplies," the
spokesperson said.

Reports have it that Sidor, Venezuela's largest steel company, is
looking at shutting down for 45 days due to a dearth of natural
gas as a result of the two-month-old general strike in the
country. In addition, reports also suggested that management
already has an agreement with unions, under which more than 1,500
workers would be sent home on 50% pay from February 4.

These reports were backed by a confirmation from union leader
Pedro Canduri that the decision to close the Company for
"technical reasons" has already been taken. According to him, gas
supplies are currently below 40% of the normal rate.

The Sidor spokesperson admitted that as some operations are not
functioning at capacity, the Company proposed to workers in those
areas that they take their pending vacations or temporary leave.

"But the kind of suspensions en masse reported in the media are
not happening," he said, adding that orders are being fulfilled
normally and problems at ports experienced in December have been
resolved.

Under normal circumstances, Ciudad Guayana-based Siderurgica del
Orinoco, to give Sidor its full name, produces some 3.2Mt/y of
steel, and the company is Venezuela's top private sector
exporter.

The Company was largely privatized at the end of 1997, when the
Amazonia consortium made up of Latin American steel companies
Sivensa (Venezuela), Siderar (Argentina), Usiminas (Brazil),
Tamsa and Hylsamex (both Mexico) bought a 70% stake in the firm
for US$1.2bn.

Venezuela's state heavy industries holding company CVG held on to
the remaining 30%, but was to have increased its stake to 42%
last year under a debt capitalization plan

CONTACT:  SIDERURGICA DEL ORINOCO, C.A. (SIDOR)
          Edificio General, Piso 9
          Avda. La Estancia
          Chuao, Caracas 1060
          Venezuela
          Tel: (582) 902 3800/3917/3955
          Fax: (582) 993 2930
          Home Page: www.sidor.com.ve/



               ***********


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
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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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The TCR Latin America subscription rate is $575 per half-year,
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* * * End of Transmission * * *