TCRLA_Public/030214.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, February 14, 2003, Vol. 4, Issue 32



CLISA: Metrovias Records $8.82M Net Loss For 2002
ECIPSA: Moody's Assigns `D' to Numerous Trusts
EDESUR: Blames Frozen Rates, Peso Devaluation for Big 2002 Loss

INMOBILARIO: Moody's Latin America Rates Financial Trusts
IRSA: Gradually Regaining Financial Health
LOMA NEGRA: Corporate Bonds Rated `raD' by Local S&P
TELEFONICA HOLDING: Corporate Bonds Rated `raBB' by S&P


CEMIG: Sets Extraordinary Shareholders' Meeting to Fill Board
GRUPO REDE: BNDES Sets Saturday Debt Payment Deadline


ENAMI: Fitch Affirms 'A-/AA-' Ratings Despite Tight Liquidity
ENERSIS: To Refinance Debt Following Currency Valuation Drop


MILLICOM INTERNATIONAL: LatAm Economic Situation Impacts Revenue

C O S T A   R I C A

RICA FOODS: Fitch Places Ratings on Watch Negative


GRUPO TMM: Extends Exchange Offers to Gather More Support
GRUPO TMM: Analyst Predicts Default Potential
NII HOLDINGS: Announces Strong Results for 2002


CHIQUITA BRANDS: Net Loss Shrinks, Restructuring Continues


EDC: Dollar Restructions Prompt Fitch Watch Negative Rating
* Venezuela Seeks To Delay Payment of VEB260 Bln In Debt

     - - - - - - - - - -


CLISA: Metrovias Records $8.82M Net Loss For 2002
Metrovias, an Argentine public transport company, informed the Buenos Aires
stock exchange that its results for 2002 show a loss of ARS27.4 million
(US$8.83mn), relates Business News Americas. The Company, which operates
five lines of the Buenos Aires subway system, is a division of Argentine
construction and transportation company Compania Latinoamericana de
Infraestructura & Servicios SA (CLISA).

Metrovia's loss adds to CLISA's financial woes, which include a missed
interest payment on US$100 million of guaranteed senior notes in December.

Last month, CLISA offered to exchange the defaulted bonds with new bonds.
TCR-LA recalls that CLISA offered to exchange US$100 million of 11 5/8%
bonds that mature in 2004 for new 6% bonds that mature in 2012. The exchange
offer is open until February 25.

The privately held company, which is majority-owned by Argentine holding
company Benito Roggio, is one of few issuers seeking to resume payments in
the wake of the country's US$95-billion debt default and a devaluation that
caused the economy to contract about 12% last year, its largest drop in a

As of September 2002, CLISA's total debt was US$147 million, including the
US$100 million notes. About 18% of total debt matures before September 2003.

          Adalberto Campana


          Jonah Hirsch
          +1-888-292-0070 or,
          +1-704-388-4807 from outside the US

The Argentine Branch of rating agency, Standard and Poor's International
Ratings, Ltd. assigned two classes of corporate
bonds issued by CompaĄía Internacional de Telecomunicaciones with a `raBB'
rating on Monday, said the country's National Securities Commission.

According to S&P, the `raBB' rating of denotes "somewhat weak" protection
parameters relative to other Argentine obligations. The rating agency added
that the Company's capacity to meet its financial commitments on the
obligation is somewhat weak because of major ongoing uncertainties or
exposure to adverse business, financial, or economic conditions.

The affected bonds include US$225 million of "Clase A bajo el Programa de
US$800 millones", and US$175 million of "Clase A bajo el Programa de US$800
millones". Maturity dates for both bonds were not indicated.

The ratings reflect the Company's performance as of September 30, 2002.

ECIPSA: Moody's Assigns `D' to Numerous Trusts
Moody's Latin America Calificadora de Riesgo S.A. assigned a rating to `D'
to various securities issued by Ecipsa MS 1
Fideicomiso Financiero on Friday, said the National Securities Commission of
Argentina, in its official web site.

The financial trusts affected include:

-- US$4.19 million of "Certificados de Participacion Clase A, de renta",
whose maturity date was not shown

-- US$1.05 million of "Certificados de Participación Clase B, subordinados",
whose maturity date was not revealed.

-- US$3.5 million of "Certificados de Participación Clase A - de renta",
coming due on November 20, 2011.

-- US$615,000 of "Certificados de Participación Clase B - subordinados",
also due on Nov. 20, 2001.

The financial date, which serves as basis for the rating agency, was not

EDESUR: Blames Frozen Rates, Peso Devaluation for Big 2002 Loss
Argentine distributor Edesur posted a net loss of ARS179 million (US$56.6mn)
in 2002, reversing a ARS98.5-million net profit in the previous year,
reports Business News Americas. The Company, in a statement to the Buenos
Aires bourse, blamed the devaluation of the peso and frozen electricity
rates for the negative result.

The devaluation prevented Edesur from servicing its US dollar-denominated
debts. Worse still, the government's emergency law of January 2002 blocked
the Company from raising rates to compensate for its increased financial

Though President Eduardo Duhalde approved a 9% rates increase in late
January this year, that didn't prove sufficient to allow
Edesur to meet its financial obligations, the statement said.

Edesur is owned by Endesa Spain's Latin American subsidiary Enersis (43%)
and the Distrilec investment group (56%), which in turn is owned by Enersis
(51%) and Pecom Energia (49%).

          Gte. Gral.: Ing. Rafael Fernandez Morande
          San Jos, 140, 3o P
          Capital Federal 1076
          Home Page:
          Tel.: 4370-3700/4370-3370

Fitch Argentina Calificadora de Riego S.A gave corporate bonds issued by
Industrias Metalurgicas Pescarmona a rating of
`D(arg)'. The bond issue, due in May last year, totaled US$150 million, said
the National Securities Commission of Argentina.
A rating of `D (arg)' indicates the Company defaulted on the financial

The affected bonds, under the type "series and/or class" were described as
"2 Serie emitida por US$150 millones del Programa Global de US$ 250

Meanwhile, two other corporate bonds issued by the Company were rated
`C(arg)' on the same day. The rating indicates a highly uncertain capacity
for timely payment of financial commitments relative to other issuers or
issues in the same country. Capacity or meeting financial commitments is
solely reliant upon a sustained, favorable business and economic
environment, said Fitch.

Over US$9 million of bonds called "SERIE 7 DE ON POR U$S 9,04 MM EMITIDA
DENTRO DEL PROGRAMA DE U$S 250 MM", and US$250 million of "Programa de
obligaciones negociables" were affected. Maturity dates of these two bonds
were not indicated.

The ratings reflect the Company's financial health as of the end of October

INMOBILARIO: Moody's Latin America Rates Financial Trusts
Moody's Latin America Calificadora de Riesgo S.A. assigned various junk
ratings to financial trusts issued by Inmobilario.

According to the National Securities Commission of Argentina, the rating
agency assigned the following:

-- `D' to US$1.73 million of "Certificado de Participación - Serie 1 Clase

-- `C' to "Certificado de Participación - Serie 1 Clase A", worth US$13.85

-- `C' to "Certificado de Participación - Serie 1 Clase B", worth US$3.45

-- `C` to US$1.73 million of "Certificado de Participación - Serie 1 Clase

The above debts mature on November 27, 2011.

The rating was issued on Friday. However, the CUSIP and the financial dates
were not indicated.

IRSA: Gradually Regaining Financial Health
Inversiones y Representaciones SA (IRSA), Argentina's biggest real-estate
developer, is slowly recovering from the effects of
the deep economic recession, which struck the country since mid-1998.

According to a report by Dow Jones, IRSA swung to a net profit of ARS127.05
million in its first fiscal half - the last half of
calendar 2002 - from a net loss of ARS119.57 million in the same period a
year earlier. However, its operating profit over the
same period dropped 92% to ARS968,000 from ARS11.95 million. IRSA's fiscal
year ends June 30.

In a press release, the Company explained that the appreciation of the peso
contributed ARS135.4 million to its profits over the six-month period. The
peso appreciated around 15% in the second half of last year after falling
75% in the first six months.

While sales rose 41% to ARS100 million - as the Company offloaded several
prominent buildings - operating costs soared 116% to ARS73 million.

As of December 31, 2002, IRSA's total net assets stood at ARS640.63 million,
down from ARS951.33 million a year earlier.
That decline was partly due to the 70% devaluation of the peso in the first
half of 2002.

The Company reported total assets of ARS2.08 billion and total liabilities
of ARS978 million. Meanwhile, the Company's debt-to-net assets ratio was
152.7% at Dec. 31, far higher than the 55.4% in the year earlier. The
increase in debt was principally the result of the peso being worth less
than one third its value from a year earlier.

But IRSA recently agreed to a debt-restructuring plan, which has pared down
the size of its obligations and extended maturity
dates on remaining debt. The debt restructuring, the gradual recovery of the
local financial system and signs of a pickup in
domestic demand - especially in the tourist industry - as well as evidence
that international investors may be looking at Argentina again, left it
optimistic for the future.

IRSA is Argentina's leading property development firm with major holdings in
downtown Buenos Aires and a controlling interest in leading shopping center
developer Alto Palermo S.A.

CONTACT:  Irsa Inversiones y Representaciones SA
          Head Office
          Bolivar 108
          Buenos Aires
          Argentina C1066AAD
          Tel  +54 11 4323 7555
          Fax  +54 11 4323 7597
          Eduardo Sergio Elsztain, Executive Chairman
          M. Marcelo Mindlin, Executive Vice Chairman
          Atty Saul Zang, Vice Chairman

LOMA NEGRA: Corporate Bonds Rated `raD' by Local S&P
Corporate bonds described as "Programa de Eurobonos a Mediano Plazo" were
rated `raD' by Standard and Poor's International Ratings, Ltd. Sucursal
Argentina on Monday, according to the official web site of the National
Securities Commission of Argentina. The bonds were issued by Loma Negra Cia.
Industrial Argentina.

The rating means that the Company defaulted on payments of this debt, or it
has filed for bankruptcy. The 'raD' rating is used
when interest or principal payments are not made on the date due, even if
the applicable grace period has not expired, unless
Standard & Poor's believes that such payments will be made during such grace

The rating, which is based on the Company's performance as of the end of
November 2002, affects US$300 million worth of bonds classified under
"Program." The CUSIP and maturity date were not indicated.

Corporate bonds issued by Telefonica de Argentina, S.A., were rated `raBB'
by the local branch of Standard and Poor's
International Ratings, Ltd. on Monday. According to the ratings agency, an
obligor rated 'raBB' has a "somewhat weak" capacity to meet its financial
commitments relative to that of other Argentine obligors. The obligor faces
ongoing uncertainties or exposure to adverse business, financial, or
economic conditions, which could result in an inadequate capacity on the
part of the obligor to meet its financial commitments.

The country's National Securities Commission provided details on the said
bonds. Both were described as "obligaciones negociables." Some US$1.5
billion worth of the said bonds, classified under "program", and US$300
million, under "simple
issue" were affected.

Meanwhile, the Company's shares, described as "Acciones Ordinarias en
Circulación Clase A y B de 1 voto c/u, V/N $ 1",
were given a rating of `4', on the same day.

The ratings are based on the Company's performance as of September 30, 2002.

TELEFONICA HOLDING: Corporate Bonds Rated `raBB' by S&P
Standard and Poor's International Ratings, Ltd. Sucursal Argentina rated
corporate bonds issued by Telefonica Holding
Argentina SA(Ex.Cei CiticorpSA) `raBB', said the National Securities

The rating, issued on Monday, means that the Company has a "somewhat weak"
capacity to meet its financial commitments
relative to that of other Argentine obligors. The obligor faces ongoing
uncertainties or exposure to adverse business, financial, or economic
conditions that could result in an inadequate capacity on the part of the
obligor to meet its financial commitments, said the rating agency.

The affected bonds are:

-- US$225 million of "Serie B Emitida bajo el Programa Global de Ons USD 500
m. vencido en Enero 2002", due on February 14, 2007, classified under
"series and/or class"

-- US$: 400 million of "Programa de Ons", due on July 30, 2003, under

In related issues, the Company's stocks, described as Acciones ordinarias en
circulación Clase B de 1 voto c/u, V/N $1", were rated 4, by the same rating

The ratings reflect the Company's financial status as of the end of
September 2002.


CEMIG: Sets Extraordinary Shareholders' Meeting to Fill Board
Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais -- CEMIG -- (NYSE: CIG; BOV: CMIG4,
CMIG3; LATIBEX: XCMIG), one of Brazil's largest energy companies, announced
today that because of the existence of vacancies on CEMIG's Board of
Directors resulting from the resignation of certain directors, CEMIG's
shareholders are hereby summoned to the Extraordinary General Shareholders'
Meeting to be held on February 27, 2003 at 11:00 a.m. (Belo Horizonte,
Brazil time) at CEMIG's headquarters, located at Avenida Barbacena, 1200 --
18th floor, in the city of Belo Horizonte, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil, to
deliberate with respect to such resignations as well as to elect new members
to the Board of Directors and the Fiscal Council and, in each case, such
members' respective alternates.

In accordance with Article 141 of Federal Law 6,404 of December 15, 1976,
amended by Federal Law 10,303 of October 31, 2001, and because the
cumulative voting method was used to elect the current board of directors,
all directors must be elected using the cumulative voting method.

CONTACT:  Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais
          Luiz Fernando Rolla, Investor Relations Officer
          Tel: +55-31-3299-3930
          Fax: +55-31-3299-3933

          The Anne McBride Company
          Vicky Osorio
          Tel: +1-212-983-1702
          Fax: +1-212-983-1736

GRUPO REDE: BNDES Sets Saturday Debt Payment Deadline
Brazilian development bank BNDES gave Grupo Rede until February 15 to pay
BRL370 million (US$103m) in debt amassed by six of its distribution units
related to power purchases from the federal power company Eltrobras. The
subsidiaries are Cemat, Celpa, EEPV, Caiua, Celtins and QMRA Participacoes.

Business News Americas recalls that the debts were due to be paid on January
15, but BNDES agreed to delay the deadline by one month and forfeit interest
payments and other charges.

Grupo Rede distributes electricity to over two million customers in states
covering 30% of Brazil.


ENAMI: Fitch Affirms 'A-/AA-' Ratings Despite Tight Liquidity
Fitch Ratings has affirmed the 'A-' senior unsecured foreign currency rating
and the 'AA-' senior unsecured local currency
rating assigned to Empresa Nacional de Mineria (ENAMI). The 'A-' foreign
currency rating applies to ENAMI's US$220 million three-year syndicated bank
loan that closed December 31, 2002. The loan carries a full and
unconditional guarantee from the Republic of Chile whose long-term foreign
and local currency obligations are also rated 'A-' and 'AA-', respectively.
The Rating Outlook is Stable.

The ENAMI ratings also represent the credit quality of all debt at ENAMI,
including debt that does not carry an explicit
government guarantee. Fitch does not differentiate between the debt with and
without the explicit government guarantee due to a letter from the
government to the unsecured lenders, in which the government expresses its
intent to support these loans and states that it does not consider them
subordinate to the syndicated loan. Fitch believes that the Chilean
government will honor this implicit commitment to ENAMI's lenders due to the
negative externalities that would arise from a default by ENAMI.

Since 1994, ENAMI's total debt (including non-interest bearing debt) has
grown from about US$250 million to nearly US$500 million, mainly as a result
of the capital expenditures made to adhere to stricter environmental
standards and the cumulative, dividend-like advances on earnings made to the
Chilean government of approximately USD164 million.

For the first nine months of 2002, the company's leverage, as measured by
total debt-to-EBITDA, was 11.3 times (x) and its
interest coverage ratio was 2.2x. Credit ratios are not expected to improve
until debt is reduced by way of asset sales, such as
the smelting and refining facilities at Ventanas, to government-owned
Codelco, the world's largest copper producer. The Ventanas assets are
expected to generate at least US$350 million in proceeds. Such a sale would
likely be accompanied by an agreement among ENAMI, Codelco, the government,
and small- and medium-sized miners that ensures that at least 150,000 tons
of smelting capacity be allotted to such miners. Currently Codelco uses
about 230,000 tons of the total Ventanas smelting capacity of 410,000 tons
and about 83,000 tons of the total refining capacity of 320,000 tons. The
proceeds of the sale would most likely be used to pay off USD120 million of
short-term debt and the new three-year USD220 million syndicated bank loan.
ENAMI's interests in several Chilean copper mines as well as numerous
mineral prospects could be sold and the proceeds used to reduce debt.

ENAMI's liquidity is tight, with just US$6 million in cash. The company's
total bank debt was about US$375 million at year-end 2002. In addition,
ENAMI has about US$100 million in non-interest bearing bank debt raised by
assigning export contracts to the banks. The proceeds of the new three-year
US$220 million syndicated bank loan was used to repay two of ENAMI's largest
bank loans for US$150 million and US$70 million. ENAMI expects other banks
to rollover its remaining credit lines of about US$160 million as well as
non-interest bearing bank debt.

ENAMI, an industrial enterprise that is wholly owned by the Chilean
government, provides copper smelting and refining
services to small to midsized mining operations. In addition, it supports
these companies by providing price-stabilization
programs, loans, and technical and marketing assistance. By performing these
functions for companies, ENAMI helps to create thousands of jobs in areas of
Chile where unemployment would otherwise be high.

Contact: Anita Saha, CFA 1-312-368-3179, Joe Bormann, CFA 1-312-368-3349,
Chicago; or Hernan Cheyre, +562-0206-7171, Chile.

Media Relations: James Jockle 1-212-908-0547, New York.

ENERSIS: To Refinance Debt Following Currency Valuation Drop
Enersis SA, the Latin American unit of Spain's Endesa SA, seeks to refinance
US$2.3 billion of loans, Bloomberg reports, citing an Enersis executive.
Enersis is refinancing debt owed to banks in 2003 and 2004, Mario Valcarce,
the unit's chief financial officer, said without giving details on the talks
with lenders. Enersis had US$8.9 billion of debt as of December, according
to Standard & Poor's.

The Company, which is South America's second-biggest energy company, needs
more time to pay debt after a 35% drop last year in Brazil's real and a 70%
decline in the peso and price freeze in Argentina, once its biggest market.

After refinancing its bank loans, Enersis may pay US$46 million more in
annual interest payments, compared with US$612 million in financing costs
last year, David Hurd, an analyst at Deutsche Bank Securities in Baltimore,

Banks may also increase financing costs in exchange for a change in loan
terms Enersis seeks, analysts said. The Company wants the banks to remove
rules that would trigger an acceleration of its payments in the event of
default at its units or a reduction in its ratings to below investment
grade, analysts said.

Last year, Enersis announced that it will sell assets to help it reduce
debts. Valcarce said the Company expects to raise between US$900 million -
US$1 billion from the operations. But, Hurd estimates that the sales may
bring in US$700 million.

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


MILLICOM INTERNATIONAL: LatAm Economic Situation Impacts Revenue
-28% Annual Increase in Total Subscribers
- 11% Annual Increase in EBITDA to $261.6 Million
- EBITDA Margin of 46% - Annual Revenue of $573.7 Million
- 63% Annual Growth in Prepaid Minutes
- 29% Increase in Quarterly Revenue in Asia from Q4 2001
- 54% Increase in Quarterly EBITDA in Asia from Q4 2001

Millicom International Cellular SA (Nasdaq Stock Market: MICC), the global
telecommunications investor, announces results for the quarter and year
ended December 31, 2002.

Marc Beuls, MIC's President and Chief Executive Officer stated: "2002 was,
for MIC, a year of refocusing on its core business, i.e. mobile telephony in
emerging markets. Its customer base grew by 28% to over 4 million customers
worldwide. The financial results show revenue growth of 3% to $573.7 million
and EBITDA improving by 11% to $261.6 million. This reflects increases in
efficiency but also cost cutting across the business, particularly in terms
of reductions in headcount, both in the operations and at a corporate level.
Despite the negative impact of the economic crisis in South America,
Millicom has increased its EBITDA margin to over of 45%, making it one of
the most efficient operators.

Currently MIC has an Exchange Offer and Consent Solicitation to bondholders
of the 13ź% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2006. The reason why MIC has made
this Offer to bondholders is to put in place a financial structure that will
place MIC on a secure financial footing and a capital structure that
reflects the realities of the underlying business. It should prevent MIC
having to continue selling assets, including core assets, to balance its
liquidity position."


Subscriber growth:

- An annual increase in worldwide gross cellular subscribers of 28% to
4,252,037 as at December 31, 2002
- An annual increase in worldwide proportional cellular subscribers of 25%
to 3,021,873 as at December 31, 2002
- In the fourth quarter of 2002 MIC added 316,395 net new gross cellular
- An annual increase in proportional prepaid subscribers of 36% to 2,667,400
as at December 31, 2002

Financial highlights:

- Revenue for the fourth quarter of 2002 was $150.1 million, an increase of
10% from the fourth quarter of 2001
- EBITDA increased by 20% in the fourth quarter of 2002 to $69.9 million,
from $58.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2001
- The Group EBITDA margin was 46.6% in the fourth quarter of 2002 increasing
from 42.6% in thefourth quarter of 2001

Total cellular minutes increased by 33% on an annual basis for the year
ended December 31, 2002, with prepaid minutes increasing by 63% in the same
period.  Paktel, MIC's second cellular operation in Pakistan was granted a
modification to its license and was awarded GSM 900 spectrum in October
2002.  MIC completed the disposal of Multinational Automated Clearing House
(MACH) S.A., the world's largest GSM clearing house to Advent International,
the private equity firm, in November 2002. In December 2002 MIC entered into
a share purchase agreement with Comcel SA of Colombia and its parent company
America Movil to sell Millicom's shares in its Colombian operations,
Celcaribe SA, to Comcel SA.  In December 2002 MIC concluded the divestment
of Extelcom, its business in the Philippines.

MIC has retained Lazard to assist it in reviewing strategic alternatives to
address MIC's ongoing liquidity needs, including
other potential asset sales and divestitures, the availability of new debt
and equity financing and potential debt restructuring alternatives.

In the fourth quarter 2002, MIC sold 5,510,346 B shares in Tele2 AB, the
majority of which were sold to Industrif"rvaltnings AB Kinnevik and all of
which were sold at market prices.  96.7 million has been upstreamed from
operations in 2002, of
which $15.7 million was upstreamed in the fourth quarter, the lowest
quarterly amount in 2002.

Total debt reduced by $168.5 million in the quarter, including $93.0 million
to Toronto Dominion, a reduction of high yield debt by $43.3 million and a
reduction of debt at the subsidiary level by $32.2 million.

With great sadness the Board of Directors of Millicom International Cellular
S.A. announced that the Chairman of the
company, Mr. Jan Hugo Stenbeck, passed away at the age of 59. On August 22,
2002 Mr. H?kan Ledin was appointed Chairman Subsequent events:

- On January 21, 2003 MIC made an Exchange Offer and Consent Solicitation to
bondholders of the 13ź% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2006

- In January 2003, MIC received a letter from NASDAQ stating that it would
be delisted from the Nasdaq National Market unless its equity was raised to
$10 million or its share price reached $3 for ten consecutive trading days.
The Board wishes MIC to remain on the Nasdaq National Market and therefore
wishes to see the share price trade above this $3 level. On January 24, 2003
the Board proposed a reverse stock split of the issued shares of the Company
by exchanging three existing shares for one new share.  The extraordinary
general meeting to approve this reverse stock split will be held on February
17, 2003.



At December 31, 2002, MIC's worldwide cellular subscriber base increased by
28% to 4,252,037 cellular subscribers from 3,322,869 at December 31, 2001.
Particularly significant annualized percentage increases were recorded in
Cambodia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Central America.
MIC's proportional cellular subscriber base increased by 25% to 3,021,873 at
December 31, 2002, from 2,415,474 at December 31, 2001.

Within the 3,021,873 proportional cellular subscribers reported at the end
of the fourth quarter, 2,667,400 were pre-paid
customers, representing a 36% increase on the 1,967,571 proportional prepaid
subscribers recorded at the end of December
2001. Pre-paid subscribers currently represent 88% of reported proportional
cellular subscribers.


Total revenues for the three months ended December 2002 were $150.1 million.
MIC's operations in Asia recorded revenue growth of 29% on an annualized
basis, with Vietnam and Pakcom in Pakistan both producing growth of over 30%
from the fourth quarter of 2001. Revenues for Africa for the fourth quarter
of 2002, increased by 18% from the same period last year. The volatile
economic situation in Latin America is reflected in the 5% decrease in
fourth quarter revenues relative to 2001. In the Central American market
Guatemala and Honduras respectively produced revenue increases of 18% and 6%
from the fourth quarter of 2001.

EBITDA for the three months ended December 31, 2002 was $69.9 million, an
increase of 20% from December 31, 2001. EBITDA for Asia increased by 54%
from the fourth quarter of 2001, reflecting the buoyancy of this market and
the impact of stringent cost cutting measures. The Group's largest EBITDA
contributor, Vietnam, recorded growth of 35%. MIC Africa saw a decline in
EBITDA as a result of a frequency charge in Ghana of $3.6 million.

The positive impact of cost cutting in Latin America was reflected in the
EBITDA for the region, which increased slightly
from both the third quarter of 2002 and the fourth quarter of 2001 despite
the adverse currency movement. The main contributors to EBITDA increase were
Guatemala and Honduras, which both recorded increases of 29% in the quarter,
relative to the fourth quarter of 2001.

The EBITDA margin for MIC was 46.6% for the quarter. The main regional
contributor at 60% was Asia, up from 51% at the fourth quarter of 2001, and
at 44%, Latin America's margin is holding up strongly despite regional
economic difficulties.


Total revenues for the year ended December 31, 2002 were $573.7 million with
year-to-date revenues for Africa and Asia increasing by 15% and 14%
respectively. Revenues for Latin America for the same period decreased by
7%, due significantly to currency devaluations. Had exchange rates held at
December 2001 levels, revenue growth for Africa, Asia and Latin America
would have been approximately 21%, 15% and 6% respectively.

EBITDA for the year to December 2002 was $261.6 million, an increase of 11%
over 2001. Most notably Asia recorded a 31% increase in EBITDA for the
period from the same period last year. The EBITDA margin for the year to
December 31, 2002 was 45.6% compared to 42.6% in 2001.  Had exchange rates
held at December 2001 levels, Group EBITDA growth would have approximated
19%, with EBITDA growth for Asia and Latin America being 32% and 7%
respectively. Total cellular minutes for the twelve-month period to December
2002 relative to 2001 showed growth of 33%. Main increases came in the
pre-paid area with 63% Group-wide growth, with Sanbao at 76% being the key

Millicom International Cellular S.A. is a global telecommunications investor
with cellular operations in Asia, Latin America and Africa. It currently has
a total of 17 cellular operations and licenses in 16 countries. Millicom's
cellular operations have a combined population under license (excluding
Tele2) of approximately 369 million people. In addition, Millicom provides
high speed wireless data services in seven countries.  Millicom also has a
6.8% interest in Tele2 AB, the leading alternative pan-European
telecommunications company offering fixed and mobile telephony, data network
and Internet services to over 16 million customers in 21 countries.
Millicom's shares are traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market under the symbol

Lazard is acting for Millicom International Cellular S.A. in connection with
the exchange offer and consent solicitation and
no-one else and will not be responsible to anyone other than Millicom
International Cellular S.A. for providing the
protections offered to clients of Lazard nor for providing advice in
relation to the exchange offer or consent solicitation.

To see financial statements:

           Marc Beuls
           President and Chief Executive Officer
           Telephone: +352 27 759 101

           LAZARD, New York
           Jim Millstein
           Telephone: +1 212 632 6000

           LAZARD, London
           Peter Warner
           Daniel Bordessa
           Cyrus Kapadia
           Telephone: +44 20 7588 2721

           SHARED VALUE LTD, London
           Andrew Best
           Investor Relations
           Telephone: +44 20 7321 5022

           Web site at

C O S T A   R I C A

RICA FOODS: Fitch Places Ratings on Watch Negative
Fitch Ratings has assigned the 'BB' foreign and local currency ratings of
Rica Foods Inc. (Rica Foods) on Rating Watch Negative. The ratings apply to
Corporacion Pipasa's senior notes due 2005 and Corporacion As de Oros'
senior notes due 2005, jointly and severally guaranteed by Rica Foods.
Pipasa and As de Oros are wholly owned subsidiaries of Rica Foods that
operate in Costa Rica.

The action follows the disclosure by Rica Foods in its Form 8-K filed
January 30, 2003 that the financial statements included in its Form 10-K
filed January 13, 2003 contained financial errors and that its
client-auditor relationship with Deloitte & Touche S.A. had ceased. Although
the financial errors listed by Rica Foods in its Form 8-K appear to be
mainly related to the
classification of balance sheet items and do not appear to trigger debt
covenants or materially affect the cash flow
generation of the company, Fitch will maintain the ratings on Rating Watch
Negative until Rica Foods' financial statements are
audited and will subsequently review the ratings.

Rica Foods is the largest poultry producer and processor in Costa Rica.

CONTACT:  Fitch Ratings
          Guido Chamorro, 312/368-5473, Chicago; or
          Giovanna Caccialanza, CFA 212/908-0898, New York.
          Media Relations:
          Matt Burkhard, 212/908-0540, New York.


GRUPO TMM: Extends Exchange Offers to Gather More Support
Grupo TMM, S.A. (NYSE:TMM and BMV:TMM A) announced Wednesday that it has
extended the expiration date of its previously announced exchange offers for
all of its outstanding 9ź% Senior Notes due 2003 and its 10% Senior Notes
due 2006. The exchange offers will expire at 5:00 p.m., New York City time,
on Tuesday, February 18, 2003, unless further extended by Grupo TMM, with
respect to one or both series of the notes. All other terms and conditions
of the exchange offers remain the same. As of 5:00 p.m., New York City time,
on February 11, 2003, the original expiration date of the exchange offers,
approximately 30.64% of the outstanding 2003 notes, or $54,198,000 principal
amount, had been tendered and not withdrawn, and 54.58% of the outstanding
2006 notes, or $109,164,000 principal amount, representing a majority of the
2006 notes, had been tendered and not withdrawn.

Salomon Smith Barney Inc. is acting as the dealer manager for the exchange
offers and consent solicitations.

Headquartered in Mexico City, Grupo TMM is Latin America's largest
multimodal transportation company. Through its branch offices and network of
subsidiary companies, Grupo TMM provides a dynamic combination of ocean and
land transportation services.  Grupo TMM also has a significant interest in
TFM, which operates Mexico's Northeast railway and carries over 40 percent
of the country's rail cargo. Grupo TMM's web site address is
http://www.grupotmm.comand TFM's web site is
TMM is listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol TMM and
Mexico's Bolsa Mexicana de Valores under the symbol TMM A.

The exchange offers and consent solicitations are made solely by the
prospectus dated December 26, 2002, the related letter of transmittal and
consent, and any amendments or supplements thereto. Copies of the prospectus
and transmittal materials can be obtained from Mellon Investor Services LLC,
the information agent for the exchange offers and consent solicitations, at
the following address:

Mellon Investor Services
44 Wall Street, 7th Floor
New York, NY 10005
(888) 689-1607 (toll free)
(917) 320-6286 (banks and brokers)

GRUPO TMM: Analyst Predicts Default Potential
Grupo TMM's failure to get a majority of bondholders to exchange US$200
million of debt due in May for bonds with longer maturities is sending out
signs that a default is very likely to happen. At the end of September 2002,
TMM had just US$30 million in cash.

"The math is very clear," said Daniel Lerner, a debt analyst with Bear,
Stearns & Co. in New York. "They don't have enough
liquidity to pay the $200 million bond."

Bloomberg suggests that TMM's difficulty refinancing the bonds stems from
investor concern that the Company can't meet its debt obligations without
dividend payments from its rail unit. The rail unit, Mexico's largest and
most profitable railroad, hasn't
paid dividends since the government sold it in 1997 because Kansas City
Southern, TMM's partner in the venture, has balked at the taxes it would
have to pay on dividends.

NII HOLDINGS: Announces Strong Results for 2002
--  Combined 2002 revenues of $780.4 million and operating income of $77.6
--  Combined 2002 EBITDA increased to $169.5 million vs. a loss of $87.8
million in 2001
--  Strong balance sheet with a fully funded business plan and 2002 ending
cash balances over $230 million

NII Holdings, Inc. (OTCBB:NIHD) announced on Wednesday its consolidated
financial results for 2002, representing the
combination of the Company's results for the periods prior to its emergence
from reorganization and after reorganization. Combined consolidated
operating revenues were $780.4 million, an 18% improvement over the $662.4
million recorded for 2001. Similarly, the Company reported positive 2002
combined consolidated EBITDA of $169.5 million and positive combined
consolidated operating income of $77.6 million compared to an EBITDA loss
and operating loss in 2001. EBITDA refers to earnings (loss) before
interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, net foreign currency
transaction losses, and other items determined to be non-recurring in
nature, such as reorganization items and impairment, restructuring and other
charges. In addition, as of the end of 2002 NII Holdings reported
approximately 1.25 million subscribers and consolidated cash balances over
$230 million.

"During 2002, NII achieved some very important milestones," commented Steve
Shindler, NII Holdings' Chairman and CEO. "We completed a successful
restructuring with overwhelming support from our creditors that reduced the
Company's long-term debt from $2.8 billion to about $430 million. In
addition, the ownership structure of the Company changed from a private
substantially wholly owned subsidiary of Nextel Communications to an
independent publicly traded company with the financial
wherewithal to fully fund its business plan without the need for any
additional external financing," said Mr. Shindler.

NII's fourth quarter 2002 combined revenues were $207.8 million, an 11%
improvement over the third quarter. In addition, the Company reported
combined EBITDA of $65.9 million and combined operating income of $47.7
million. These results were favorably impacted by a $14.3 million credit to
2002 revenues recorded in the fourth quarter resulting from the favorable
partial resolution of a telecommunications tax dispute in Mexico. Excluding
the impact of this favorable resolution, quarterly
revenues improved by 3%, EBITDA improved by 27% and operating income
improved by 69% versus the previous quarter.

NII's 2002 combined consolidated EBITDA of $169.5 million compares to an
EBITDA loss of $87.8 million in 2001. "The $257.3 million improvement in
combined EBITDA was due to revenue growth and the implementation of our
previously announced cash conservation initiatives," said Byron R. Siliezar,
NII's Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. "While cash conservation
continues to be an imperative for our company, our management teams continue
to focus on achieving profitable growth and free cash flow generation in all
of our operating companies," added Siliezar.

Nextel Mexico, NII's largest subsidiary, reported a record $142.4 million in
2002 EBITDA, including the $14.3 million credit to revenues resulting from
the favorable partial resolution of a telecommunications tax dispute,
representing about nine times the EBITDA reported in 2001. Nextel Mexico
also reported 2002 operating income of $88.5 million compared to an
operating loss of $485.1 million in 2001. In addition, Nextel Mexico grew
its subscriber base by 29% to 517,000 units in 2002. Each of NII's remaining
operating companies in Brazil, Argentina and Peru also reported record
positive EBITDA and operating income for 2002.

Combined consolidated capital expenditures, including capitalized interest,
were $172.7 million for 2002, representing a reduction of $456.0 million or
73% percent compared to 2001. During the fourth quarter of 2002, NII had
combined capital expenditures, including capitalized interest, of $35.0
million, a slight increase from the $34.9 million reported for the third
quarter of 2002.

NII's combined financial results for 2002 include separate operating results
prior to its emergence from bankruptcy (the
"Predecessor Company") and operating results after its emergence from
bankruptcy (the "Successor Company"), reflecting the
application of "fresh-start" accounting that resulted from NII's Chapter 11
reorganization. Although NII emerged from Chapter 11 on November 12, 2002,
because the plan was confirmed by the Bankruptcy Court on October 28, 2002,
it accounted for the consummation of the plan as of October 31, 2002 for
financial reporting purposes.

As a result of NII's Chapter 11 reorganization, the Company recognized
significant net non-operating and non-cash gains of
about $4.0 billion in connection with the restructuring of its debt and
equity and a $101.6 million gain in connection with the
retirement of an Argentina-based credit facility completed independently of
the restructuring. Consequently, the Company's
2002 combined consolidated net income from continuing operations was about
$3.8 billion and can be attributed primarily to these one-time non-operating
gains, partially offset by $181.8 million in foreign currency transaction
losses. Of the 2002 foreign currency transaction losses, about $137.5
million were reported by Nextel Argentina and were primarily related to the
Company's now extinguished credit facility in Argentina.

During the fourth quarter, the Company sold its remaining ownership
interests in its Philippine operations and recorded a
pre-tax non-cash gain on disposal of $36.9 million. As a result, the Company
has reported the results from its Philippine
operations for 2002 and prior years as discontinued operations in its
consolidated statements of operations. All of NII's operating companies are
now based in Latin America.

On December 17, 2002, the Company completed the first in a series of
closings of its previously announced sale/leaseback
transaction with American Tower Corporation. The initial closing involved
the purchase by American Tower of 140 tower sites for aggregate proceeds of
$26.2 million. NII agreed to sell at least 535 towers to American Tower for
an aggregate of $100 million and lease them back in local currency payments.
Since NII reports the accounts of its foreign subsidiaries utilizing
accounts as of a date one month earlier than the accounts of its U.S.
subsidiaries, the proceeds from the sale of the towers are not reflected in
the Company's year-end cash balance.

About NII Holdings, Inc.

NII Holdings, Inc., a publicly held company based in Reston, Va., is a
leading provider of mobile communications for business
customers in Latin America. NII Holdings, Inc. has operations in Argentina,
Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Peru, offering a fully
integrated wireless communications tool with digital cellular service,
text/numeric paging, wireless Internet access and Nextel Direct Connect(R),
a digital two-way radio feature. NII Holdings, Inc. trades on the
over-the-counter market under the symbol NIHD.

Visit the Company's website at

Nextel, the Nextel logo, Nextel Online, Nextel Business Networks and Nextel
Direct Connect are trademarks and/or service marks of Nextel Communications,

To see financial statements:

CONTACT:  NII Holdings, Inc., Reston
          Investor Relations:
          Catherine Neel,703/390-5173


          Media Relations:
          Claudia E. Restrepo, 786/251-7020



CHIQUITA BRANDS: Net Loss Shrinks, Restructuring Continues
Chiquita Brands International, Inc. reported Tuesday a fourth quarter 2002
net loss of US$26 million (US$0.66 per share on 40 million new shares)
compared to a net loss of US$74 million in the fourth quarter of 2001
(US$0.98 per share on 77 million old shares outstanding prior to the
company's financial restructuring in March 2002). Before unusual items and
discontinued operations, the fourth quarter 2002 loss was US$15 million
versus a loss of US$27 million in the fourth quarter of 2001.

Fourth quarter 2002 earnings from continuing operations before interest,
taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) and
before unusual items were US$5 million compared to US$18 million in the
fourth quarter of 2001. This decline was primarily due to lower local banana
pricing in Europe and North America and higher tropical production costs,
partially offset by the strengthening of major European currencies against
the U.S. dollar. For the year ended Dec. 31, 2002, EBITDA before unusual
items declined to US$144 million from US$147 million in 2001, primarily as a
result of lower local banana pricing and higher production and advertising
costs, mostly offset by favourable exchange rates, higher banana volume and
import license savings.

Net sales for the fourth quarter rose 6 percent to US$484 million versus
US$456 million in the prior year quarter, primarily due to favourable
exchange rates and increased banana volume in Europe, partially offset by
lower local banana pricing. For the year ended Dec. 31, 2002, net sales
increased 6 percent to US$2.0 billion versus US$1.9 billion last year.

Net interest expense in the quarter was US$9 million, which was US$14
million lower than the same period a year ago, due
primarily to the significant reduction in parent company debt resulting from
the company's financial restructuring.

Depreciation and amortisation expense in the 2002 fourth quarter was US$9
million, which was US$13 million lower than the same period a year ago,
primarily as a result of reductions to the carrying values of depreciable
assets recorded upon the company's emergence from its financial

Free cash flow (EBITDA less net interest expense, income taxes and capital
expenditures) was a deficit of US$31 million in the fourth quarter 2002
versus an US$11 million deficit the same quarter a year ago. The difference
results primarily from US$19 million of additional capital expenditures,
including US$14 million to acquire a vessel formerly under an operating
lease to the company.

Fourth quarter 2002 unusual items included charges and write-downs of US$12
million incurred by Scipio/Atlanta, the company's German distributor and
equity investee, which were primarily related to severance and asset
write-downs associated with the closure of poor performing units and the
disposal of non-core assets. After completion of the previously announced
acquisition of Scipio/Atlanta, the company may undertake additional
restructuring activities with respect to Scipio/Atlanta's operations. Fourth
quarter unusual items also include US$5 million associated with flooding in
Costa Rica and Panama in early December and US$5 million for severance in
connection with the first stage of the company's strategic cost-reduction
programs. Other unusual items in 2002 consisted of charges of US$281 million
related to the company's financial restructuring and US$145 million for the
cumulative effect of a change in method of accounting to adopt the new
accounting standard for goodwill, both of which were recorded in the first
quarter. In 2001, Chiquita had US$34 million of financial restructuring
costs (US$27 million in the fourth quarter) and US$28 million of other
unusual items (US$20 million in the fourth quarter) primarily associated
with the closure of farms, and a labour strike and related issues at the
company's Armuelles, Panama banana producing division.

As previously reported, the company has initiated a series of global
performance-improvement programs to reduce gross costs by US$150 million per
year by the end of 2005. These programs include improvements in farm
productivity and canning operations as well as reductions in global
purchasing and overhead expenses.  The gross cost reductions may be offset
by one-time implementation costs and increased costs for items such as
purchased fruit, fuel and paper. After these offsets, the
company's target is to realise cost reductions of US$100 million by 2005. In
2002, project teams were launched, opportunities identified, and
cost-reduction programs were initiated. The impact of these programs on 2002
earnings was minimal because costs were not taken out until late in the

The discontinued operations reflect the results of the Castellini group of
companies, a U.S. wholesale produce distribution business sold in the 2002
fourth quarter, and Progressive Produce Corp., a California produce company
specialising in potatoes and onions, which was sold in early January 2003.
The fourth quarter of 2002 includes US$11 million of income from
discontinued operations, substantially all of which was a gain on the sale
of the Castellini group of companies. On a year-to-date basis, discontinued
operations in 2002 also include approximately US$5 million of income from
operations, offset by US$5 million of financial restructuring items. For the
year ended Dec. 31, 2001, discontinued operations reflect US$1 million of
income from operations.

- Fresh Produce

The Fresh Produce segment operating loss was US$7 million in the 2002 fourth
quarter versus an operating loss of US$11 million last year. The negative
effect of lower local banana prices of US$21 million and higher tropical
production costs were more than offset by a US$17 million exchange rate
benefit (including a US$5 million benefit from balance sheet translation of
net euro-denominated assets), a US$10 million reduction in depreciation and
amortisation expense and a US$6 million benefit from higher banana volume.

Core European average local banana prices for the fourth quarter were 10
percent lower than the prior year quarter, on 10 percent higher volume. The
lower pricing resulted partly from a higher proportion of bananas sold under
second labels (such as Consul) and particularly strong retail pricing
pressure in the United Kingdom. In Central and Eastern Europe and
Mediterranean countries, average local banana prices declined 15 percent, on
volume that increased 1.8 million boxes, or 62 percent, compared to the 2001
fourth quarter.

On 3 percent lower volume, North America banana pricing for the 2002 fourth
quarter was 2 percent lower than the fourth quarter of 2001, primarily as a
result of lower pricing on sales to non-contract customers, which accounted
for approximately one-third of the company's North American banana volume.

Tropical production costs adversely impacted fourth quarter segment
operating income by approximately US$10 million compared to the prior year
quarter, primarily as a result of the Armuelles, Panama division and lower
productivity in Honduras. The 2002 fourth quarter contained a higher portion
of fruit sourced from the high cost Armuelles division. In the 2001 fourth
quarter, fruit sourced from this division was minimal as a result of a
labour strike, and was replaced by lower cost fruit from more efficient
sources. As previously announced, beginning Jan. 1, 2003, the company ceased
funding any additional cash to its operations in Armuelles. There are
adequate funds to operate for a brief period while the company continues to
work toward a resolution with the Panamanian government, the union and
worker-owned cooperatives. However, if a viable long-term solution cannot be
negotiated before funds run out, the company will not continue operating in
Armuelles. The company still expects to have sufficient access to
cost-competitive, high-quality bananas in the event Armuelles is closed.

Other operating variances for the fourth quarter include a decline in
Scipio/Atlanta's operating results of approximately
US$4 million and higher advertising costs of approximately US$6 million,
mostly in Europe. These variances were offset by a US$7 million improvement
in earnings on other fresh products and US$5 million of savings on import

- Processed Foods

Processed Foods segment operating income was US$3 million in the 2002 fourth
quarter compared to US$7 million the same period a year ago. The 2002
harvest, which concluded in the fourth quarter below expected levels,
resulted in a less efficient utilization of plant capacity and contributed
to a US$7 million increase in costs in the fourth quarter. This was
partially offset by a US$3 million reduction in depreciation and
amortisation expense.

- Debt Reductions

Total debt at December 31, 2002 was US$517 million versus US$654 million on
the balance sheet at March 31, 2002 upon emergence from Chapter 11
bankruptcy. Net debt (total debt less cash) at December 31, 2002 was US$464
million compared to US$597 million at March 31, 2002. The reduction in net
debt resulted from operating cash flow and the sale of non-core assets.
Against a goal to divest US$100-150 million of non-core assets by the end of
2005, the company had already sold assets for US$99 million by December 31,
2002, including US$54 million from the sale of five ships and US$45 million
from the sale of the Castellini group of companies, a wholesale produce
distribution business. The previously announced acquisition of
Scipio/Atlanta and the acquisition of a vessel formerly under operating
lease to the company are expected to add US$50 million and US$14 million,
respectively, to net debt. The Scipio/Atlanta acquisition is
expected to close late in the first quarter of 2003. Partially offsetting
these additions to net debt will be a US$6 million
reduction as a result of the sale of Progressive Produce Corp. in early
January 2003.

- Comments from Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

"We were clearly disappointed with our fourth quarter performance, which can
be attributed to a number of negative events compared to the same period a
year ago, including a poor pricing environment in Europe and higher tropical
costs," said Cyrus Freidheim, chairman and chief executive officer.

Freidheim continued, "Looking ahead, we are addressing the issue of high
costs in our Armuelles division, and we are making good progress in
achieving the strategic objectives we outlined to investors last fall. For
example, we have divested certain non-core businesses and other assets in
order to reduce debt. In addition, our cost-reduction and
performance-improvement programs have identified significant opportunities
that will begin impacting the bottom line in 2003. Through disciplined
adherence to our action plan, we will strengthen the balance sheet and
improve operating results.

"In my letter to investors on January 7, we announced that Chiquita would be
providing more transparent financial
information to assist the process of measuring progress against our
strategic objectives and tracking the key factors that affect our growth and
profitability. To that end, we are providing additional information,
including tables highlighting progress toward strategic goals and key
operating statistics. We will continue to provide this information on a
quarterly basis."

Chiquita Brands International is a leading international marketer, producer
and distributor of high-quality fresh and
processed foods. The company's Chiquita Fresh Group is one of the largest
banana producers in the world and a major supplier of bananas in North
America and Europe. The company also distributes and markets a variety of
other fresh fruits and vegetables. In addition, Chiquita Processed Foods is
the largest processor of private-label canned vegetables in the United

The Company's emergence from Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in March 2002
resulted in a new reporting entity and the adoption of fresh start
reporting. Generally accepted accounting principles do not permit combining
the Reorganised Company results with those of the Predecessor Company. As
such, the Consolidated Income Statement included with this release does not
present results for the year ended December 31, 2002. Because the income
statement impact of fresh start reporting is primarily limited to
depreciation and interest expense, and in order to provide investors with
useful information, we used an EBITDA measure to combine the results of the
Predecessor Company for the three months ended March 31, 2002 and the
Reorganised Company for the nine months ended December 31, 2002, for
purposes of comparing 2002 full year results to 2001.

To see financial statements:

CONTACT:  James B. Riley

          William T. Sandstrom,

Web site:


EDC: Dollar Restructions Prompt Fitch Watch Negative Rating
Fitch Ratings has placed the senior unsecured local and foreign currency
ratings of C.A. La Electricidad de Caracas (EDC) of
'CCC+' on Rating Watch Negative. The Rating Watch status reflects
anticipated Venezuelan Central Bank restrictions on the ability to obtain US
dollars to pay foreign denominated debt and, potentially, foreign
denominated locally issued debt. The rating will be reviewed following
further analysis of the exchange control program. To the extent the
government requires conversion of local US dollar obligation to bolivars,
such prohibition of payment may be viewed as a default by Fitch Ratings.

At present, limited information regarding the exchange control framework to
be implemented has been released, including the
price of the USD (fixed at VEB 1600 per USD); the suspension of Brady bond
transactions in the local stock market (a popular vehicle used to obtain VEB
during previous foreign exchange control regimes); the introduction of a
bill in the National
Assembly to create a PENAL Law to punish individuals who violate exchange
control mechanisms; the Central Bank's ability to adjust the USD price
whenever it considers it necessary; establishment of Comision de
Administracion de Devisas (CADIVI) to manage foreign exchange. CADIVI will
be comprised of a five-member board, appointed by President Chavez and
headed by Mr. Edgar Hernandez Behrens, the former president of BanfoAndes,
state-owned regional commercial bank. The official procedures required to
obtain USD have not yet been made public by CAVIDI.

Given the impediments to foreign exchange, Fitch expects the debt rollover
by EDC may become increasingly complicated. Fitch expects that EDC will
attempt to make foreign payments via the Central Bank as a primary source of
US dollars to pay debt service. Of EDC's total debt of approximately US$792
million, the company has approximately US$140 million maturing this year,
including amortizations. Positively, the company still maintains material
offshore cash balances, which may be used to meet upcoming debt maturities
and operating expenses. However, with lower cash inflows the potential need
to tap these funds has increased. Fitch expects that the company will
continue its strategy of repaying a portion of its maturing debt and rolling
over the rest.

EDC provides electric generation, transmission and distribution services in
Venezuela. EDC serves 1.2 million customers in
metropolitan Caracas and Guarenas, situated in Venezuela's strongest and
most diverse economic region. AES Corp. (AES)
acquired 87% of EDC in June 2000 through a public tender offer.

Contacts: Jason T. Todd 1-312-368-3217, Chicago, Alejandro Bertuol
1-212-908-0393, New York or Franklin Santarelli, 011-58212 286-3232,

Media Relations: James Jockle 1-212-908-0547, New York.

* Venezuela Seeks To Delay Payment of VEB260 Bln In Debt
The Venezuelan government, which is currently battling a severe cash crunch
due to a two-month general strike, seeks to extend maturities on about
VEB260 billion (US$163.7 million) in local Public National Debt bonds coming
due Monday.

The main buyers of public debt, the banks, have been reluctant to increase
their exposure to risk stemming from Venezuela's
political uncertainty and economic woes. Investors fear that if some bankers
refuse to swap the debt, Venezuelan will plunge into default.

Last month, the government issued VEB190 billion out of about VEB1 trillion
in Public National Debt bonds the government
offered in January, more than VEB544 billion of it to replace maturing debt.


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
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members of the same firm for the term of the initial subscription or balance
thereof are $25 each.  For subscription information, contact Christopher
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