TCRLA_Public/030401.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, April 1, 2003, Vol. 4, Issue 64


* A R G E N T I N A *

DISCO: Dutch Parent to Capitalize $58.5M Worth of Loans
TGS: To Restructure $150M in Debt
* New Argentine Bank Deposit Procedure Proposed

* B E R M U D A *

ALPHASTAR INSURANCE: Agrees to Sell Three Subsidiaries
GLOBAL CROSSING: Releases Operating Results for January 2003

* B R A Z I L *

AES CORP.: Extends Consent Solicitation
CEMIG: Reports BRL1 Bln Net Loss for 2002
COSIPA: Posts 155% Increase in Net Loss
ESCELSA: Losses Widen in 2002
ENERSUL: Reports BRL94.1 Mln in Net Losses in 2002
TUPY: Issues Debt to Pay Another Maturing Debt
VESPER: Fears Downfall, But Ministry Slams Anatel Decision

* C H I L E *

AES GENER: Registers $44.5M in Net Profits for 2002
ENDESA CHILE: S&P Comments on Canutillar Sale
ENERSIS: Agrees To Sell Rio Maipo for $203M to CGE
INVERLINK: BBVA Under Investigation for Alleged Involvement

* J A M A I C A *

AIR JAMAICA: To Cut 52 Flights to the United States by End-April
JUTC: Continues To Be in Conflict With Employees

* M E X I C O *

AZTECA HOLDINGS: S&P Lowers Ratings, Off Watch
GODVEN INTERNATIONAL: Tangled With Frida Problems, Goes Bankrupt
GRUPO ELEKTRA: Holds Annual Shareholders Meeting
GRUPO IUSACELL: S&P Keeps on Watch Neg
HAYES LEMMERZ: Motion to Extend Solicitation Period Through Apr 4
PEMEX: S&P Rates 'BBB-' EUR750 Mln Bonds

* T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O *

BWIA: Issues 24-Hour Ultimatum to T&T Government

* V E N E Z U E L A *

CANTV: Seeks 19% Tariff Increase for 2003
ELECAR: Reports Red in 2002
PDVSA: CEPR Report Emphasizes Need for Restructuring
* Investors Doubt Venezuelan Chief's Default Warnings


DISCO: Dutch Parent to Capitalize $58.5M Worth of Loans
Dutch supermarket operator Royal Ahold NV will not ask payment
for the US$58.5 million in loans it has extended to its
Argentine unit Disco SA. Instead, it will capitalize the loans to
boost the Argentine unit's capital base, reports Dow Jones.

The capitalization of the former loans, as well as of some US$29
million already agreed to in January, would take place "as soon as
possible," Disco said in a statement to the bourse.

Disco said Ahold and its subsidiaries have capitalized some
US$162.4 million since it took complete control of the
supermarket chain last August. Last year, Ahold wrote off Disco-
related losses of US$482 million and paid the chain's debts of
US$70 million.

          Larrea 847, Piso 1
          1117 Buenos Aires, Argentina
          Phone: +54-11-4964-8000
          Fax: +54-11-4964-8076
          Home Page:

TGS: To Restructure $150M in Debt
Argentine gas transport company TGS informed the Buenos Aires
bourse of its plans to restructure a US$150-million bond issue
that expired on Thursday (Mar.27), relates Business News

Although TGS did not pay the capital amount of the debt, which
was issued March 2000, it did pay US$1.65 million in interest
corresponding to the period December 27, 2002 to March 27, 2003.

The planned restructuring is part of TGS' plans to restructure
some US$450 million in debt due in 2003. The company hired
financial advisors Merrill Lynch to advise it on the
restructuring process, which may involve extending the terms and
lowering interest rates.

As of December 2002, TGS had approximately US$1 billion of debt.

The company is owned by Companhia de Inversiones de Energia SA,
or Ciesa, which is in turn co-owned by Perez Companc SA and
bankrupt Enron Corp.

          Investor Relations:
          Eduardo Pawluszek, Finance & Investor Relations Manager
          Gonzalo Castro Olivera, Investor Relations

          Mara Victoria Quade, Investor Relations
          Tel: (54-11) 4865-9077

          Media Relations:
          Rafael Rodriguez Roda
          Tel: (54-11) 4865-9050 ext. 1238

* New Argentine Bank Deposit Procedure Proposed
Argentina's Minister of Economy has announced the proposal of a
deposit release procedure for Argentine bank deposits, said a new
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services report released on Friday.

"If this initiative finally materializes, and the depositors
accept it en masse, the potential risks of redollarization of
deposits that have been threatening banks for the past few months
would finally disappear, as the government has accepted the
burden of redollarization on behalf of taxpayers," said credit
analyst Carina Lopez.

The report, The End of the Argentine "Corralon" Is in Sight,
examines the details and the potential consequences of enaction
of the proposed plan.


ALPHASTAR INSURANCE: Agrees to Sell Three Subsidiaries
AlphaStar Insurance Group Limited last week reported that it has
entered into a definitive agreement to sell three subsidiaries to
an affiliate of American Insurance Managers, Inc., of Atlanta,
Georgia ("AIM"). The subsidiaries being sold pursuant to the
agreement are Realm National Insurance Company ("RNIC"), a New
York-domiciled property-casualty insurer; World Trade Services,
Inc. ("WTS"), a managing general agency headquartered in New
York; and Stirling Cooke New York Insurance Agency Services,
Inc., doing business as World Trade Services.

The purchase price, which is subject to potential adjustment,
will be based on the GAAP shareholder's equity of RNIC at
December 31, 2002, which will be determined in the near future.
The company expects that the ultimate purchase price will be
approximately $9,000,000.

Pursuant to the agreement, and subject to its terms and
conditions, AIM or an affiliate has agreed to make two separate
down-payments in the form of a loan, the latter no later than May
2, 2003, at which time additional purchase consideration in the
form of a letter of credit is to be deposited in an escrow
account for the benefit of Stirling Cooke North American Holdings
Ltd. ("SCNAH"), an AlphaStar subsidiary that owns the equity
interest in the subsidiaries being sold. Upon receipt of the loan
and the letter of credit (which, together with a loan previously
made to AlphaStar by an affiliate of AIM, will total
approximately 75% of the total purchase price) and subject to
other conditions precedent, including a capital contribution to
RNIC by AIM or its affiliate, RNIC will undertake to write a
workers compensation insurance program to be produced by AIM. If
the required payments are not made, either party may terminate
the agreement. The agreement is also subject to regulatory
approval of a recovery plan to be submitted by RNIC under the
Risk Based Capital guidelines of the National Association of
Insurance Commissioners, as well as other customary conditions.

The remainder of the purchase price is to be paid into the escrow
account subsequent to May 1 pursuant to a formula. The agreement
provides that the loan is to be forgiven, and the letter of
credit and all subsequent payments of purchase consideration
turned over to SCNAH, no later than July 31, 2003.

The transfer of control of RNIC is subject to the prior approval
of the State of New York Insurance Department of an application
to be submitted by the buyer. Until such approval, AlphaStar will
continue to own all of the stock of RNIC and WTS, and RNIC's
management and Board of Directors will continue to maintain
operating control of its underwriting, claims, and all other
functional areas of the company.

In October, 2002, AlphaStar and AIM entered into a non-binding
letter of intent outlining a similar transaction. Events
occurring subsequent to the signing of that letter resulted in
disputes between the parties. Pursuant to the agreement being
announced herewith, all disputes relating to those events will be
resolved upon the initial funding of the purchase price, and
issuance of coverage, discussed above.

Stephen A. Crane, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer
of AlphaStar, stated, "We are pleased to have reached an
agreement that offers fair value to AlphaStar and its
shareholders for these assets. In light of the Company's fragile
financial health, we will not be able to provide Realm National
and World Trade Services with the financial support they will
need to grow and achieve significant profitability. As a result,
our Board has decided that the best strategy for safeguarding the
financial integrity of the Company and preserving value for
shareholders is to effect a sale of these operating companies and
pursue alternatives for realizing the value of other assets.

"The AlphaStar Board is also pleased to note that the actions
stipulated in the agreement will result in the enhancement of the
capital and capacity of RNIC and WTS and, therefore, create
greater security for RNIC's policyholders and increased
opportunity for the employees of both companies," Mr. Crane

A company spokesman added that AlphaStar has still not received a
decision in the U.K. court case between certain London
subsidiaries of the Company and Sphere Drake Insurance Holdings
Limited. The spokesman added that the outcome of that case may
have a significant bearing on the value that can be achieved on
behalf of shareholders.

AlphaStar Insurance Group Limited is a Bermuda-domiciled holding
company with operating subsidiaries in the United States and
United Kingdom. Among its subsidiaries are a property-casualty
insurance company, managing general agencies, and reinsurance

          Stephen Crane

GLOBAL CROSSING: Releases Operating Results for January 2003
Global Crossing  filed a Monthly Operating Report (MOR) on
Friday with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of
New York, as required by its Chapter 11 reorganization process.
Unaudited results reported in the January 2003 MOR include the

For continuing operations in January 2003, Global Crossing
reported consolidated revenue of approximately $236 million.
Consolidated access and maintenance costs were reported as $181
million, while other operating expenses were $66 million.

"In January, we continued to manage costs of the business and our
cash levels," said John Legere, Global Crossing's chief executive
officer. "We also began to strategically grow our sales force,
which we believe will contribute favorably to Global Crossing's
top line growth."

Global Crossing reported a consolidated cash balance of
approximately $668 million as of January 31, 2002. The cash
balance is comprised of approximately $287 million in
unrestricted cash, $331 million in restricted cash and $50
million of cash held by Global Marine.

Global Crossing reported a consolidated net loss of $93 million
for January 2003. Consolidated EBITDA was posted at a loss of $11

                 REVENUE           EBITDA          (LOSS)

January 2003      $236mn         $(11)mn          $(93)mn

December 2002     $178mn*        $(82)mn          $192mn**

November 2002     $239mn         $(10)mn          $(32)mn***

* $238 million before the impact of restating certain
transactions involving exchanges of capacity.

** Reflects $389 million of gains on settlements, other income
items, and tax benefits.

*** Reflects $71 million of gains on settlements and tax


The MOR reports revenue and cash balances according to generally
accepted accounting principles in the United States of America
(US GAAP). US GAAP revenue includes revenue from sales of
capacity in the form of indefeasible rights of use (IRUs) that
occurred in prior periods, recognized ratably over the lives of
the relevant contracts. Beginning on October 1, 2002, Global
Crossing ceased recognizing revenue from exchanges of leases of

As discussed more fully in the footnotes to the financial
statements contained in the MORs, Global Crossing has not yet
filed its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December
31, 2001. On November 25, 2002, the United States Trustee
appointed Martin E. Cooperman, a partner of Grant Thornton LLP,
as the Examiner in Global Crossing's bankruptcy proceedings. In
general, the Examiner's role is limited to reviewing the
financial statements of the Global Crossing companies in
bankruptcy for the fiscal years ended December 31, 2001 and 2002
and earlier periods if any restatement of those periods is
necessary. As part of his role, the Examiner, with the assistance
of Grant Thornton LLP, will audit any revised financial
statements and issue a report as to such financial statements.
Separately, on January 8, 2003, Grant Thornton was appointed as
independent auditors of Global Crossing effective as of November
25, 2002. The Examiner's first interim report to the Bankruptcy
Court was filed on February 24, 2003.

Certain matters relating to Global Crossing's accounting for, and
disclosure of, concurrent transactions for the purchase and sale
of telecommunications capacity between Global Crossing and its
carrier customers are being investigated by the Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC) and other governmental authorities. In
addition, the U.S. Department of Labor is conducting an
investigation into the administration of Global Crossing's
benefit plans. These and other investigations are described more
fully in footnote one to the financial statements contained in
the January MOR.

Any changes to the financial statements resulting from any
governmental investigations and adjustments arising out of the
2001 and 2002 financial statement audits could materially affect
the unaudited consolidated financial statements contained in the
MORs and the information presented in this press release.

On October 21, 2002, Global Crossing announced that it would
restate certain financial statements previously filed with the
SEC. These restatements, which are more fully described in
footnote one to the financial statements contained in the January
MOR, will record exchanges between carriers of leases of
telecommunications capacity at historical carryover basis,
resulting in no recognition of revenue. Reflecting this
accounting treatment, the January MOR excludes amounts previously
recognized as revenue over the lives of the lease contracts
governing these capacity exchanges. The restatements have no
impact on cash flow.

As previously announced, Global Crossing's net loss for the three
months ended December 31, 2001, which has not yet been reported
pending the completion of the audit of financial statements for
2001, is expected to reflect the write-off of the remaining
goodwill and other intangible assets, which total approximately
$8 billion. Furthermore, as previously disclosed, Global Crossing
has determined that it will write down its tangible assets in
light of the terms contained in the previously announced
agreement with Hutchison Telecommunications and Singapore
Technologies Telemedia, and the bankruptcy filings of Asia Global
Crossing and its subsidiary, Pacific Crossing Ltd. Global
Crossing is in the process of evaluating its cash flow forecasts
and other pertinent data to determine the amount of the
impairment of its long-lived tangible assets. The impairment is
now anticipated to be at least $7 billion, an estimate that
excludes any amounts attributable to the restatement of exchanges
of capacity leases described above and excludes any impairment
attributable to the assets of Asia Global Crossing and its
subsidiaries, which Global Crossing deconsolidated effective
November 18, 2002. The financial information included within this
press release and the January MOR reflects the restatement of
exchanges of capacity leases as described above and the $8
billion write-off of all of the goodwill and other identifiable
intangible assets, but does not reflect any write-down of
tangible asset value. Accordingly, the net loss of $93 million
for the month of January 2003 would have been reduced
substantially if the financial statements in the January MOR had
reflected the reduction in depreciation and amortization expense
resulting from this tangible asset write-down. The write- off of
the intangible assets and the write-downs of tangible assets are
described more fully in the January MOR.


Global Crossing provides telecommunications solutions over the
world's first integrated global IP-based network, which reaches
27 countries and more than 200 major cities around the globe.
Global Crossing serves many of the world's largest corporations,
providing a full range of managed data and voice products and

On January 28, 2002, Global Crossing Ltd. and certain of its
subsidiaries (excluding Asia Global Crossing and its
subsidiaries) commenced Chapter 11 cases in the United States
Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York
(Bankruptcy Court) and coordinated proceedings in the Supreme
Court of Bermuda (Bermuda Court). On the same date, the Bermuda
Court granted an order appointing joint provisional liquidators
with the power to oversee the continuation and reorganization of
the Bermuda-incorporated companies' businesses under the control
of their boards of directors and under the supervision of the
Bankruptcy Court and the Bermuda Court. Additional Global
Crossing subsidiaries commenced Chapter 11 cases on April 23,
August 4 and August 30, 2002, with the Bermuda incorporated
subsidiaries filing coordinated insolvency proceedings in the
Bermuda Court. The administration of all the cases filed
subsequent to Global Crossing's initial filing on January 28,
2002 has been consolidated with that of the cases commenced on
January 28, 2002. Global Crossing's Plan of Reorganization, which
was confirmed by the Bankruptcy Court on December 26, 2002, does
not include a capital structure in which existing common or
preferred equity will retain any value. Global Crossing expects
to emerge from bankruptcy in the first half of 2003.

On November 17, 2002, Asia Global Crossing Ltd., a majority-owned
subsidiary of Global Crossing, and its subsidiary, Asia Global
Crossing Development Co., commenced Chapter 11 cases in the
United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New
York and coordinated proceedings in the Supreme Court of Bermuda,
both of which are separate from the cases of Global Crossing.
Asia Global Crossing has announced that no recovery is expected
for Asia Global Crossing's shareholders. Asia Netcom, a company
organized by China Netcom Corporation (Hong Kong) on behalf of a
consortium of investors, has acquired substantially all of Asia
Global Crossing's operating subsidiaries except Pacific Crossing
Ltd., a majority-owned subsidiary of Asia Global Crossing that
filed separate bankruptcy proceedings on July 19, 2002. Global
Crossing no longer has control of or effective ownership in any
of the assets formerly operated by Asia Global Crossing.

Please visit for more information about
Global Crossing.

Statements made in this press release that state Global
Crossing's or management's intentions, beliefs, expectations, or
predictions for the future are forward-looking statements. Such
forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks,
assumptions and uncertainties that could cause Global Crossing's
actual results to differ materially from those projected in such
forward-looking statements. These risks, assumptions and
uncertainties include: the impact of Global Crossing's bankruptcy
proceedings on sales, customer and employee retention, supplier
relationships and operations; the ability to complete systems
within currently estimated time frames and budgets; the ability
to compete effectively in a rapidly evolving and price
competitive marketplace; possible reductions in demand for our
products and services due to competition changes in industry
conditions; changes in the nature of telecommunications
regulation in the United States and other countries; changes in
business strategy; the successful integration of acquired
businesses; the impact of technological change; and other risks
referenced from time to time in Global Crossing's filings with
the Securities and Exchange Commission.

          Press Contacts
          Becky Yeamans
          Phone: + 1 973-410-5857

          Kendra Langlie
          Latin America
          Phone: + 1 305-808-5912

          Mish Desmidt
          Phone: + 44 (0) 7771-668438

          Analysts/Investors Contact
          Ken Simril
          Phone: + 1 310-385-3838


AES CORP.: Extends Consent Solicitation
The AES Corporation (NYSE:AES) announced Friday that it has
extended the Expiration Time for the consent solicitation it
launched on March 14, 2003 (the "First Consent Solicitation")
relating to its 8.75% Senior Notes, Series G, Due 2008, 9.50%
Senior Notes, Series B, Due 2009, 9.375% Senior Notes, Series C,
Due 2010, 8.875% Senior Notes, Series E, Due 2011, 7.375%
Remarketable or Redeemable Securities Due 2013 (puttable in
2003), 8.375% Senior Subordinated Notes Due 2007, 10.25% Senior
Subordinated Notes Due 2006, 8.50% Senior Subordinated Notes Due
2007 and 8.875% Senior Subordinated Notes Due 2027 from 5:00 pm,
New York City time, on March 27, 2003 to 5:00 pm, New York City
time, on April 1, 2003.

All of the terms of the First Consent Solicitation (other than
the Expiration Time which has been extended as described above)
remain the same.

AES has extended the Expiration Time of the First Consent
Solicitation so that it will expire concurrently with the similar
consent solicitation that AES launched on March 26, 2003 (the
"Additional Consent Solicitation") relating to its 8.00% Senior
Notes, Series A due 2008, 8.375% Senior Notes, Series F due 2011
and 4.50% Convertible Junior Subordinated Debentures due 2005.

AES did not launch the Additional Consent Solicitation on March
14, 2003 because of its need to comply with certain notification
and filing requirements under the Securities Exchange Act of
1934, as amended, and the listing requirements of the New York
Stock Exchange and the Luxembourg Stock Exchange.

The AES Corporation has been informed by the tabulation and
information agent that, as of 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on
March 27, 2003, the Requisite Consents (as defined in the consent
solicitation statement) for the First Consent Solicitation had
been obtained.

Although the Requisite Consents for the First Consent
Solicitation have been obtained, consummation of the First
Consent Solicitation remains subject to a number of significant
conditions, which have not yet been satisfied, including AES'
completion of the Additional Consent Solicitation.

In the consent solicitations AES is seeking consents to amend
certain of the events of default contained in its outstanding
debt securities to generally conform such provisions to those
contained in its recently issued senior secured notes due 2005.

In the First Consent Solicitation AES is offering a consent fee
of $1.25 per $1,000 principal amount to holders of record at the
close of business on March 13, 2003 that validly provide their
consents to the proposed amendments by 5:00 p.m., New York City
time, on April 1, 2003, unless further extended.

Holders of all of the debt securities mentioned above are urged
to read the applicable consent solicitation statement because it
contains important information. Holders can obtain a copy of the
applicable consent solicitation statement free of charge from

In addition, the consent solicitation statement applicable to the
4.50% Convertible Junior Subordinated Debentures is publicly
available for free from the Securities and Exchange Commission's
website at

Questions concerning the terms of the consent solicitations or
requests for copies of the consent solicitation statements, the
consent form or other related documents should be directed to the
solicitation agent: Salomon Smith Barney, 390 Greenwich Street,
New York, New York 10013, Attn: Liability Management Group.

The solicitation agent can also be reached at (212) 723-6106 or
(800) 558-3745 (toll free).

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 160
facilities totaling over 55 gigawatts of capacity, in 30
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 or
contact investor relations at

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

CEMIG: Reports BRL1 Bln Net Loss for 2002
Minas Gerais-based Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais (Cemig)
posted disappointing results last year with net losses of
BRL1.001 billion ($1 = R$ 3.37) against year-earlier profits of
BRL477.92 million.

The Brazilian utility reported net revenue of BRL5.12 billion
last year, while net financial losses totaled BRL615.46 million.

Operational losses amounted to BRL89.99 million last year,
against operational profits of BRL694.39 million in the previous

At the end of 2002, Cemig's net equity amounted to BRL5.68

CONTACT:  Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais
          Luiz Fernando Rolla, Investor Relations Officer
          Phone: +55-31-3299-3930
          Fax: +55-31-3299-3933
          The Anne McBride Company
          Vicky Osorio
          Phone: +1-212-983-1702
          Fax: +1-212-983-1736

COSIPA: Posts 155% Increase in Net Loss
Brazilian steelmaker Cosipa reported a 155% increase in its
annual net loss for 2002. The net loss for the previous year was
US$548.65 million for 2002, although net revenues went up 58.9
percent to BRL2.71 billion, and gross profits went up 122.86
percent to BRl831.75 million.

The company's good performance was shadowed by a sharp decline in
net financial expenses, which topped BRL1.54 billion. Operating
losses soared 197.44 percent to BRL816.78 million.

Business News Americas reported that the loss corresponds to a
BRL0.13693 per share, and net equity stood at BRL1.04 billion.

Cosipa is owned by Usiminas.

          Avenida do Cafe, 277
          Torre B, 8  e 9  andar
          Vila Guarani
          04311-000 Sao Paulo, Brazil
          Phone: +55-11-5070-8800
          Fax: +55-11-5070-8863

ESCELSA: Losses Widen in 2002
Escelsa, which distributes electricity in the state of Espírito
Santo, saw its losses balloon at the end of 2002. Citing Agencia
Estado, Business News Americas reports that the Brazilian utility
posted net losses of BRL509.2 million, a 1,848% increase from
losses of BRL26.1-million at the end of 2001.

Operating expenses in 2002 were 3.76% higher at BRL1.1 billion
against that of last year. Financial expenses totaled BRL670.4
million, 184.2% bigger from that of 2001.

The utility also reported operational losses of BRL556 million,
reversing operating profits of BRL7.4 million in 2001.

The Company ended 2002 with net equity of BRL223 million.

Escelsa is controlled by EDP of Portugal.

          Rua Sete de Setembro, 362,
          Centro CEP 29015-000
          ES Brasil
          Phone: (5527) 3321-9000
          Fernando Noronha Leal, Chairman
          Adir Pereira Keddi, Vice-Chairman

ENERSUL: Reports BRL94.1 Mln in Net Losses in 2002
Brazilian utility Enersul, which is based in the center-western
state of Mato Grosso do Sul, ended 2002 with net losses of
BRL94.1 million ($1 = R$ 3.38), reversing profits of BRL46.9
million posted in 2001.

According to Business News Americas, the company's net revenues
dropped 12.2% to BRL424.3 million in 2002. Operating expenses
were at BRL397.1 million, a 10.41% rise, and net financial
expenses totaled BRL70 million, a 53.54% increase.

The Company posted operating loss of BRL42.8 million in 2002,
which compares with operating profits of BRL78.1 million in 2001.

Enersul's net equity as of Dec 31 was BRL427.4 million.

Enersul, which transmits and distributes electricity within Mato
Grosso do Sul, a more agrarian inland state, is 65% owned by

          Rua Sete de Setembro, 362,
          Centro CEP 29015-000
          ES Brasil
          Phone: (5527) 3321-9000
          Fernando Noronha Leal, Chairman
          Adir Pereira Keddi, Vice-Chairman

TUPY: Issues Debt to Pay Another Maturing Debt
Struggling to raise money to roll over debt that expired in
March, Brazilian foundry issued commercial papers even though
it had to pay a steep price to float the paper.

According to Business News Americas, Tupy placed BRL150 million
(currently US$44mn) in six-month commercial papers, which pays
interest equivalent to 31% a year.

Tupy president Luiz Tarquinio acknowledged that the yield is very
high for such a short-term debt issue, but he justified the
operation saying that it will give the company time to
renegotiate its total debts of more than BRL850 million.

"We are not doing this issue with the goal of buying back the
paper in six months' time. It is more of a bridge loan so that we
can pay this debt by the end of the debt re-negotiation,"
Tarquinio said.

          Head Office
          Rua Albano Schmidt 3,400
          Boa Vista
          89206-900 Joinville - SC
          Tel  +55 47 441-8514
          Fax  +55 47 441-8321
          Mario Fernando Engelke, Chairman
          Francisco Parra Valderrama, BOD Member
          Norberto J Hoffmann, BOD Member

VESPER: Fears Downfall, But Ministry Slams Anatel Decision
Luiz Faufmann, chief executive of Brazilian telco Vesper,
confirmed analysts' forecasts that the company's business model
will fall if the country's telecoms regulator Anatel will prevent
it from launching mobile services over its 1900MHz CDMA network.

Independent consultant Jose Otero said that the company needs a
quick resolution, otherwise, its competitors would gain market
share at the expense of Vesper being idle.

Business News Americas noted that it could drag longer, as the
GSM association threatened that it will file charges against
Anatel, if the regulator reverses its decision.

But Anatel chairman Luiz Schymura de Oliveira seems adamant on
the regulator's position. Telling local press at the Telexpo
conference in Sao Paulo that he is not concerned about Vesper's

"I am not the least bit sensitive to financially troubled
companies. The total focus always has to be the end-user," said
Mr. Schymura, as quoted by Business News Americas.

Vesper bought 3 PCS licenses in the 1800MHz band in November over
Sao Paulo state (Region 2), Minas Gerais state (Region 4) and the
six northeastern states that make up Region 10.

Resolution 314, which Anatel issued in September, said that the
1800MHz concessionaires may use the 1900MHz band for "secondary"
mobile operations. Vesper took the decree as a privilege to offer
mobile services over its existing WLL CDMA network.

Simply deploying GSM over the 1800MHz concessions is not much of
an option for Vesper as its controlling shareholder Qualcomm
(Nasdaq: QCOM) is the patent holder of competing CDMA technology,
said the report.

In the meantime, the country's communications minister Miro
Teixeira indicated that Vesper's quandary is partly caused by
Anatel. He said that the regulator was wrong in tying network
technology requirements to spectrum bands.

Mr. Teixeira accused the regulator of "making solitary decisions
resulting in the loss of technological neutrality," referring to
Anatel's decision to assign the 1800MHz for PCS, rather than the

"I would like to see Vesper compete," Mr. Teixeira said that the

In the meantime, Mr. Otero noted that while the communications
ministry does not have a direct say over Anatel, it does have a
lot of leverage, as the regulator is part of the ministry. Mr.
Otero noted that Mr. Teixeira might be able to put a lot of
public pressure on Anatel.

Mr. Teixeira has been known to criticize Anatel, saying the
regulator lacks transparency and inefficient. He said that
Anatels' policymaking power will be diminished under president
Lula da Silva's administration, and that the power would be
transferred to the communications ministry.

The officer also said that the ministry may announce the name of
its new telecoms specialization department within days. But Mr.
Teixeira clarified that the new body will not replace Anatel, but
simply serve as a complementary body.

The department will have the objective of analyzing policy
concerns of the sector and making recommendations to the
ministry, said the report

CONTACT:  Qualcomm Inc
          5775 Morehouse Dr.
          San Diego, CA 92121-1714
          Phone: 858-587-1121
          Fax: 858-658-2100
          Dr. Irwin M. Jacobs, Chairman & Chief Executive


AES GENER: Registers $44.5M in Net Profits for 2002
Chilean generator AES Gener returned to black in 2002, posting
consolidated net profits of CLP32.4 billion (today US$44.5mn)
from net profits of CLP5.18-billion in 2001, Business News
Americas reports.

The company's operating margin increased 35.6% to BLP139 billion,
thanks to lower marginal generation costs in the central grid,
which on average fell to US$0.0117/kWh in 2002 from US$0.014/kWh
in 2001, as well as higher capacity payments in the northern grid
(SING) and a 30.3% fall in administration and sales costs to
CLP20.9 billion.

The central grid (SIC) accounted for 43% of total sales, the SING
25%, Colombia - where AES Gener owns generator Chivor - 22%, and
advising and fuel sales 10%.

AES Gener saw non-operating losses increase 16.4% to CLP79.2

Chilean credit rating agency Feller Rate, a Standard & Poor's
affiliate, recently downgraded its rating on the shares of AES
Gener to first class level 4 from first class level 3 citing the
Company's "sustained fall in liquidity indicators."

AES Gener faces debt payments of US$500 million in 2005 and
US$200 million in 2006. Financial support from AES Corp. is very
unlikely to come since the U.S. parent also has problems on its
own to contend with, Feller said.

AES Gener is owned by U.S.-based AES Corporation.

          Head Office
          3rd Floor
          Mariano Sanchez Fontecilla
          Tel  +56 2 686 8900
          Fax  +56 2 686 8991
          Robert Morgan, Chief Executive

ENDESA CHILE: S&P Comments on Canutillar Sale
Chile's largest electricity power generator, Empresa Nacional de
Electricidad S.A. (Endesa Chile; BBB-/Negative), announced
yesterday that its Board of Directors has approved a US$174
million offer made by Hidroel,ctrica Guardia Vieja S.A for its
172MW hydro power plant Canutillar. Endesa Chile is projected to
receive the funds on April 30th.

Endesa Chile and its 60% parent, Chile-based electricity
provider, Enersis S.A. (Enersis; BBB-/Negative), are undergoing a
financial strengthening plan involving the refinancing of US$2.3
billion of bank debt, the repayment of US$700 million in bonds in
2003, asset sales, and a capital increase.

The sale of Canutillar is a positive step that enhances Endesa
Chile's liquidity and reduces the risk posed by the US$551
million bond maturities that are due in 2003. Lower revenues of
around 950 Gwh per year (about US$20 million) after the sale are
projected to be more than offset by the start up of Ralco by mid
2004. Ralco will have a 570MW of installed capacity with annual
sales of about 3,000 Gwh (about US$70 million).

Nevertheless, Standard & Poor's will continue to closely monitor
the evolution of Enersis and Endesa Chile's bank refinancing as
well as the companies' liquidity to face their upcoming
maturities (at the level of Pehuenche, Endesa Chile, and Enersis)
that will become due between May and December 2003.

ANALYSTS:  Sergio Fuentes, Buenos Aires (54) 114-891-2131
           Marta Castelli, Buenos Aires (54) 114-891-2128

ENERSIS: Agrees To Sell Rio Maipo for $203M to CGE
Chile-based energy holding Enersis, the Latin American unit of
Spain's Endesa SA, agreed to sell distributor Cia. Electrica del
Rio Maipo for US$203 million to Compania General de Electricidad

The deal comes after Enersis agreed to sell its Canutillar
generator to Hidroelectrica Guardia Vieja SA, which belongs to
the Chilean conglomerate Grupo Matte, for US$174 million.

The abovementioned transactions are part of the Spanish parent's
financial restructuring plan to reduce its Latin American unit's
US$9.1-billion debt.

Enersis said US$170 million of the sale price corresponded to
Enersis' equity stake in Rio Maipo and the remaining US$33
million was for the unit's debt.

Rio Maipo is Chile's fifth-largest electrical distributor in
terms of energy sales, with a 5.8% market share in the central-
south region of the country.

Meanwhile, Enersis also said in a statement to Chilean regulators
that it plans to buy as much as US$50 million of Yankee bonds
sold in 1996 from shareholders that agree to use the proceeds to
buy more stock in the Company, as part of its plan to reduce

Enersis said in February it would sell, or allow shareholders to
swap debt, for as much as US$2 billion of stock.

CONTACT:  Enersis S.A.
          Avenida Kennedy Vitacura No
          Phone: +56 2 353 4400
          Fax:  +56 2 378 4768
          Home Page:
          Engr Alfredo Llorente Legaz, Chairman
          Engr Rafael Miranda Robredo , Vice Chairman

          Endesa SA
          Principe de Vergara 187
          28002 Madrid
          Phone: +34 91 213 10 00
          Fax:  +34 91 563 81 81
          Telex:  22917 ENE
          Home Page:
          Rodolfo M. Villa, Chairman
          Rafael Miranda Robredo, Managing Director

INVERLINK: BBVA Under Investigation for Alleged Involvement
Spanish financial group BBVA is now in hot water for its alleged
involvement in the scandal surrounding bankrupt Chilean financial
services group Inverlink, reports Business News Americas.

Inverlink was recently declared bankrupt following intervention
by the authorities on March 7 after a series of financial
irregularities were discovered at its subsidiaries.

The securities regulator, the SVS, is now investigating the
alleged involvement of BBVA in the scandal. BBVA Chile recently
fired Juan Pablo Prieto from its stock brokerage unit BBVA
Corredores de Bolsa after he confessed to receiving a CLP5
million (US$7,000) "gift" from Inverlink representatives at a
dinner to celebrate a successful transaction between the two

The regulator has charged Prieto in a criminal court and BBVA
claims all operations between the group and Inverlink were
conducted according to the law, even though Prieto broke the
group's internal ethics code.


AIR JAMAICA: To Cut 52 Flights to the United States by End-April
The management of beleaguered Caribbean airline Air Jamaica
announced that 52 flights to the United States will be
temporarily withdrawn by the end of this month.

Air Jamaica's Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Chris
Zacca said the measure will save the airline some $1.5 billion
over a year.

RJRNews.Com said that the move is part of the airline's efforts
to cushion the effects of multi-million dollar losses from the
fall-out caused by the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.

The airline's workers may have to agree to reduced work hours or
take voluntary leave, as a result of the move. However, the
airline made it clear that it is not considering more job cuts.

The airlines daily morning flight from New York to Jamaica will
be cut to two weekly flights, said the report.

Meanwhile, the airline's six-round-trips-a-week between Atlanta
and Montego Bay will be reduced to four, while Chicago to Montego
Bay flights will be reduced from five to three.

Mr. Zacca said that the temporary withdrawals are based on a
reduction of forward bookings and could be adjusted on based on
future changes in the booking figures.

Mr. Zacca indicated that Air Jamaica might approach the
government for a US$30 million loan. The Company said that the
loan is necessary to cushion the crippling effect of the fall-

CONTACT: Air Jamaica
         4 St. Lucia Avenue
         Kingston 5,
         Phone: 876/922-3460
         Fax: 929-5643
         Gordon Stewart, Chairman
         Allen Chastanet, Vice President for Marketing and Sales

JUTC: Continues To Be in Conflict With Employees
The management of the Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) is
still at odds with some of its employees, and the conflict is
getting worse, indicates.

On Friday, a protest was lodged in front of the company's
Twickenham Park headquarters by JUTC inspectors, supervisors and
clerical staff who felt that the company was about to embark on a
fresh round of redundancies.

And while the protest did not disrupt the regular service offered
by the state owned bus company, the workers, who are represented
by the Union of Clerical Administrative and Supervisory Employees
(UCASE) have vowed that if the management does not stop its
present redundancy program they will step up their protest.

The JUTC management and UCASE have been at odds since earlier
this year when it was announced that the bus company would make
several posts redundant in keeping with recommendations of a team
of Swedish experts which reviewed its operations.


AZTECA HOLDINGS: S&P Lowers Ratings, Off Watch
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said Friday that it lowered
the corporate credit and senior secured debt ratings on Mexican
TV and radio broadcaster Azteca Holdings S.A. de C.V. to 'CC'
from 'B-' following the company's offer to exchange its
outstanding 10 1/2% senior secured notes due 2003 for its new 10
3/4% senior secured amortizing notes due 2008.

The ratings were removed from CreditWatch, where they were placed
March 3, 2003. The outlook is negative. The holding company's
debt totals $279 million as of December 2002.

According to Standard & Poor's criteria, the exchange offer is
considered distressed as it recognizes, in effect, that the
company will not meet all of its obligations as originally
promised. In a distressed exchange offer the company may not be
able to meet its debt service absent the restructuring involved
in the exchange. Thus, Standard & Poor's views this exchange as
"coercive" given the lack of liquidity at the holding company and
the inability for TV Azteca to dividend sufficient cash to repay
the maturing Azteca Holdings' bond on time and in full.

"Upon completion of the offer, if successful, the corporate
credit rating of Azteca Holdings would be lowered to 'SD', the
rating of the 10 3/4% issue would be lowered to 'D', and the
rating of the 12 1/2% notes due 2005 would be maintained at
'CC'," stated Standard & Poor's credit analyst Beatriz Coll.
Subsequent to the completion of the exchange offer, Standard &
Poor's will reassess Azteca Holdings ratings, which may depend on
the degree of success of the offer.

At the same time, Standard & Poor's affirmed the 'B+' corporate
credit rating on subsidiary TV Azteca S.A. de C.V. The outlook on
TV Azteca remains stable. Azteca Holdings controls 55.5% of TV

The negative outlook on Azteca Holdings is based on Standard &
Poor's expectations that the exchange offer will be completed,
which will result in the rating being lowered to indicate

The stable outlook on TV Azteca reflects Standard & Poor's
expectation that the company should be able to continue
generating sufficient cash flow that will allow for the gradual
repayment of its own debt and the restructured Azteca Holdings'
debt, without having to increase net debt.

ANALYSTS:  Beatriz Coll, Mexico City (52) 55-5279-2016
           Patricia Calvo, Mexico City (52) 55-5279-2073

GODVEN INTERNATIONAL: Tangled With Frida Problems, Goes Bankrupt
Mexican perfume company Godven International has filed for
bankruptcy, local newspaper Reforma reports.

The Company, which released a perfume line featuring paintings by
Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo on their labels, sent a letter
explaining their situation to Isolda Pineda Kahlo, hier to the
rights of Frida Kahlo's paintings.

However, Isolda Kahlo's lawyer, Jose Hinojosa, said they are
still waiting for invoices, return vouchers and other evidence
showing that the company has gone bankrupt.

"Otherwise, we ill not allow the contract to be terminated," said
Mr. Hinojosa.

The Company agreed to pay Isolda Kahlo a percentage on the
perfume sales after she complained that the company was making
unauthorized use of the artist's name.

EFE relates that the company apparently intended to sell a
clothing line, cosmetics, and ornaments using Frida Kahlo's
paintings and signature without the consent of Isolda Kahlo.

Before news of it bankruptcy cropped up, Godven hoped to sell
about 100,00 bottles of the perfume featuring Frida Kahlo's works
for about US$62 dollars per bottle.

Meanwhile, an article from ArtNet.Com said that the Rivera-Kahlo
Trust, headed by Jose Luis Perez Arredondo and overseen by the
Bank of Mexico, reportedly okayed the deal, and receives
unspecified royalties towards operation of the Frida Kahlo Blue
House and Rivera's Anahuacalli Museum.

GRUPO ELEKTRA: Holds Annual Shareholders Meeting
Grupo Elektra S.A. de C.V. (NYSE: EKT) (BMV: Elektra*), Latin
America's leading specialty retailer, consumer finance and
banking services company, announced Friday that its annual
shareholders meeting declared and approved a dividend and
appointed some new members to its Board of Directors.

The approved dividend of Ps. 0.77284 per Elektra* share
(equivalent to US$ 0.07189), or Ps. 3.09137 per ADR (equivalent
to US$ 0.28757), totals approximately Ps. 184 million (equivalent
to US$ 17.1 million). This represents approximately 6 percent of
Grupo Elektra's EBITDA for the year 2002. The dividend is
expected to be paid on April 4, 2003.

Rodrigo Pliego, Chief Financial Officer of Grupo Elektra,
commented: "The dividend approved by the annual shareholders
meeting represents a significant yield of 3.2%, one of the
highest among Mexican corporations. In addition, Grupo Elektra
has one of the best dividend payout ratios in Mexico. Over the
past five years, the company has distributed an average of 6.1
percent of EBITDA in dividends, which represent more than Ps 785

In addition, the shareholders meeting appointed four new members
to the Board of Directors of the company:

Manuel Rodriguez de Castro, President of Agencia Hispana, an
investment bank targeting cross-businesses between European and
American companies. He is also a board member of Grupo Oda, a
Spanish distributor of telecommunications systems and wireless

Jorge Bellot, President and Chairman of the Board of Grupo
Cardinal, a leading insurance broker headquartered in Mexico
City. Prior to that Mr. Bellot was Delegate Director of Oriente
de Mexico, an insurance company in Mexico.

Gonzalo Brockmann, President of Best Western Hotels in Mexico,
Central America and Ecuador.

Luis J. Echarte, current President and Chief Executive Officer of
Azteca America Network. He was previously Chief Financial Officer
of TV Azteca and Grupo Elektra. Mr. Echarte rejoins the Board in
order to continue with the efforts he initiated back in 1999 in
the corporate governance area for the company.

Grupo Elektra - Tradition with Vision

Grupo Elektra is Latin America's leading specialty retailer,
consumer finance and banking services company. Grupo Elektra
sells retail goods and services through its Elektra, Salinas y
Rocha and Bodega de Remates stores and over the Internet. The
Group operates almost 900 stores in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras
and Peru. Grupo Elektra also sells and markets its consumer
finance and banking products and services through its Banco
Azteca branches located within its stores. Financial services
include consumer credit, money transfers, extended warranties and
savings accounts.

CONTACT:  Investor and Press Inquiries
          Esteban Galindez, CFA
          Director of Investor Relations
          Tel. +52 (55) 8582-7819
          Fax. +52 (55) 8582-7822

          Rolando Villarreal
          Investor Relations
          Tel. +52 (55) 8582-7819
          Fax. +52 (55) 8582-7822

          Web site:

GRUPO IUSACELL: S&P Keeps on Watch Neg
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said Friday that its 'CCC+'
corporate credit rating on Mexican wireless cellular and PCS
service provider Grupo Iusacell S.A. de C.V. remains on
CreditWatch with negative implications, where it was placed Nov.
5, 2002.

Iusacell's debt totals about US$817 million.

"Standard & Poor's is still concerned with Iusacell's liquidity
and refinancing ability," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst
Patricia Calvo.

Grupo Iusacell's principal subsidiary Grupo Iusacell Celular S.A.
de C.V. received a notification from creditors related to its
$266 million secured bank loan that it failed to seek approval
from them to open and close bank accounts and to register a
mortgage on assets acquired during the 2001 purchase of cellular
phone company Grupo Portatel S.A. Under the bank loan covenants,
these actions constitute a technical default.

Although the mortgage has already been registered today, the
company has requested consent from the banks to avoid the demand
of immediate payment on the loan and is waiting for approval.
Although Standard & Poor's expects that the creditors will
refrain from demanding the payment, in the event that they do,
the company's liquidity position would not be sufficient to honor
its financial obligations and ratings would be lowered to 'D'.

On Nov. 6, 2002, the company announced that it had begun the
process of evaluating different alternatives to restructure its
debt. Standard & Poor's will monitor the progress on the
company's restructuring plan.

Standard & Poor's is concerned about Iusacell's operating and
financial measures, its liquidity, and the challenging business
environment that the company faces as a result of weak economic
conditions and increased competition. If cash flows do not
improve with the somewhat recent implemented measures aimed at
retaining and attracting higher-end postpaid and prepaid
customers, Iusacell's ratings will be lowered.

HAYES LEMMERZ: Motion to Extend Solicitation Period Through Apr 4
Hayes Lemmerz International, Inc. (OTC: HLMMQ) announced Friday
that, at the request of certain creditors, it has moved to extend
the deadline for submitting votes on its Plan of Reorganization
from March 28, 2003, to April 4, 2003. The extension covers two
classes of its creditors (holders of the pre-petition credit
facility secured claims and holders of synthetic facility secured
claims) and provides these creditors additional time to complete
their evaluation of the Plan of Reorganization.

The company intends to continue to work with its key creditor
constituents and is optimistic that these discussions will result
in a consensus regarding the Plan. A hearing to confirm the Plan
is scheduled before the Bankruptcy Court on April 9, 2003.

Hayes Lemmerz and its subsidiaries located in the United States
and one subsidiary in Mexico filed voluntary petitions for
reorganization under Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code in the
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on December 5,

Hayes Lemmerz International, Inc. is one of the world's leading
global suppliers of automotive and commercial highway wheels,
brakes, powertrain, suspension, structural and other lightweight
components. The company has 44 plants, 3 joint venture facilities
and 11,400 employees worldwide.

PEMEX: S&P Rates 'BBB-' EUR750 Mln Bonds
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said Friday that it assigned
its 'BBB-' rating to Pemex Project Funding Master Trust's Eur750
million 6.625% bonds due 2010. Proceeds will be used to finance
the investment program of its parent company, Petroleos Mexicanos
(Pemex; local currency: A-/Stable/--, foreign currency: BBB-

The foreign currency corporate credit rating on the Pemex Project
Funding Master Trust is 'BBB-'. The outlook is stable.

The ratings on Pemex, the state-owned Mexican oil and gas
company, and on the United Mexican States are equalized because
of the government's ownership of the company, Pemex's importance
to the Mexican economy, the government's heavy dependence on oil-
related revenue, and the considerable government oversight of the
company, particularly with respect to all fiscal aspects of

Pemex established Pemex Project Funding Master Trust as a
Delaware trust with Pemex as the sole beneficiary. All debt
issued by the Pemex Master Trust benefits from the irrevocable
and unconditional guarantee of Pemex and its subsidiary entities,
including Pemex Exploración y Producción, Pemex-Refinación, and
Pemex-Gas y Petroquímica B sica.

"The company enjoys an above-average business position, with
commodity price volatility and government interference
representing the primary risks to its business," stated Standard
& Poor's credit analyst Jose

Pemex's extensive proved developed and undeveloped reserve base
of about 21 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) (if
determined in accordance with Rule 4-10(a) of Regulation S-X of
the Securities Act of 1933, which is the reporting standard of
the U.S. SEC) and its constitutionally protected monopoly status
in most aspects of the large Mexican oil and gas market support
its business position.

Pemex is one of the most formidable oil and gas companies in the
world. Pemex's crude oil reserves-to-production ratio stands at
17 years, which ranks among the longest in the oil and gas
universe and its operating costs remain among the best in the
world at $3.34 per boe. Standard & Poor's believes that Pemex's
future projects are likely to have development costs around $4.5
per barrel, which would also rank among the best in the world.

Pemex's liquidity is adequate. The company's liquidity is
supported by its strong EBITDA generation (about $18 billion in
2001) and its ample access to the international capital markets.

ANALYSTS:  Jose Coballasi, Mexico City (52) 55-5279-2014
           Manuel Guerena, Mexico City (52) 55-5279-2011

T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

BWIA: Issues 24-Hour Ultimatum to T&T Government
Trinidad and Tobago national carrier BWIA is set to issue an
ultimatum to the government, warning that the airline will close
if the government fails to agree to aid the ailing carrier

The ultimatum, which the Trinidad Express described as "dramatic
and desperate", demanded that the government should give its
answer before March 29, about 24-hours after the ultimatum was

BWIA issued the ultimatum after Prime Minister Patrick Manning
said categorically that the government is prepared to let the
airline go under. Mr. Manning also indicated that a national
airline is not needed.

However, the government is giving BWIA two weeks to present a
plan that would ensure the airline's future viability.

The airline's management has come up with a plan outlining BWIA's
options for survival to be presented to Mr. Manning. The plan
also indicates that the executives may have to commence shut down
procedures if the government rejects its pleas for help.

But BWIA may have a hard time persuading the government as Mr.
Manning commented, "Let us see if BWIA is able to convince us, it
will not be easy."

The Trinidad Guardian relates that BWIA's revenues are way below
its US$700,000 daily operating expenses.

"An immediate solution includes financial assistance to generate
the cash that is needed for the continuance of BWIA's operations
as we know it," Mr. William emphasized.

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


CANTV: Seeks 19% Tariff Increase for 2003
Venezuelan largest telecommunications company is asking for
approval for a 19 percent increase in telephone charges this year
compared to an average 25 percent increase last year.

However, an article from Reuter's News indicated that the company
has not defined tariffs, because Venezuela's residential charges
remain frozen by a presidential decree, in line with price
controls imposed to curb inflation.

Nevertheless, the company remains optimistic. CANTV President
Gustavo Roosen said, "We are hoping for approval of the new
tariffs, which have been worked out with Conatel (state
telecommunications commission)."

In the meantime, Mr. Roosen declined to reveal details on its
first-quarter forecast, but said that he believes the results
would be better than what the company is expecting.

At a recent shareholders' assembly, authorized the board to issue
up to VEB150 billion in

Shareholders also authorized the board to issue up to 150 billion
bolivars (about $94 million at the current exchange rate of 1,600
bolivars to the dollar) in commercial paper coming due June, 30,

CANTV shareholders also approved an ordinary dividend of VEB71
per share, or VEB497 per American Depository Share, to be paid on
April 23.

The company's net profits fell 27.7 percent to VEB61.03 billion.
Inflation and currency adjustments were blamed. In the fourth
quarter alone, the company posted a US$2 million loss as the
country was besieged by a national strike aimed at deposing
President Hug Chavez.

ELECAR: Reports Red in 2002
Venezuelan utility Electricidad de Caracas (Elecar) registered a
net loss of VEB53.1 billion (US$33.2mn) for 2002, reversing the
previous year's net profit of VEB89.2 billion, Business News
Americas reports, citing local paper El Nacional.

At the end of last year, the company's long-term debts soared to
VEB693 billion from VEB651 billion at the end of 2001. Short-term
debt fell to VEB397 billion from VEB423 billion over the same

Elecar is part of the EDC Group, which is in turn a subsidiary of
the US power giant AES Corp.. 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 acquired 87% of EDC in June 2000 through a public
tender offer.

          Avenida Rio de Janeiro
          Qta. Tres Pinos
          Chuao, VE-1061 Caracas, Venezuela
          Phone: +58 14 929 2552
          Fax: +58 2 9937296
          Contact: Elmar Leal, Chairman
          Juan Font, Vice Chairman

          AES CORP
          Investor Relations
          Kenneth R. Woodcock, 703/522-1315


PDVSA: CEPR Report Emphasizes Need for Restructuring
A report by a U.S. think-tank, the Center for Economic and Policy
Research (CEPR) suggested that Venezuela's state oil company
PDVSA may need to restructure its operations if it wants to
reverse a "poor and deteriorating performance," relates Business
News Americas.

In its report entitled 'What Happened to Profits?: The Record of
Venezuela's Oil Industry', CEPR challenges the view that managers
at PDVSA have built up a highly efficient world-class oil
company, and argues instead that when judged on the ability to
produce shareholder income, managers have "fared badly."

The report highlights three key financial indicators to support
its view of mismanagement at PDVSA.

First, compared to other state and private oil companies, PDVSA's
operating expenses to total revenues ratio is much higher. In
2001, the ratio for PDVSA's was 23.5%, about three times higher
than US oil companies ChevronTexaco, Conoco, and ExxonMobil.

Second, PDVSA's costs are driven up by the high cost of operating
service agreements that PDVSA has signed with private
corporations: in 2001, these agreements accounted 43.9% of
production costs.

Third, PDVSA's downstream losses have climbed to US$1.35 billion
in 2001 from US$75mn in 1998.

Since PDVSA is wholly owned by the Venezuelan government, its
performance can be measured based on its fiscal contributions to
the state.

* Investors Doubt Venezuelan Chief's Default Warnings
Raphael Kassin from ABN Amro Asset Management said Venezuelan
President Hugo Chavez' warning that the country could default on
international bonds is a bluff.

"Venezuela has good credit numbers - it's a non-event," he said.

Bloomberg News reported that Venezuelan bonds reflected Mr.
Kassin's views, changing little since Mr. Chavez said that the
country wants to "restructure" its foreign debt.

Venezuela has US$3.3 billion of international debt due this year,
including about US$1.6 billion of bond payments, according to UBS
Warburg LLC. A total US$561 million of international bond
payments come due in June.

Venezuela's 9.25 percent dollar-denominated bond due 2027 was
down 0.25 cent on the dollar to 59.75, raising the yield to 15.74
percent at 3:30 p.m. in New York, according to J.P. Morgan Chase
& Co. prices. The bond fell 2.65 cents yesterday, said the

Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry said it may propose a swap of
international bonds in the second quarter. The report added that
the government may even resort to bank loans and overseas
financing, vowing to pay its debts.

"Venezuela's ability to pay debt will be improved if a
restructuring happens on friendly terms," said Jana Benesova, who
helps manage about US$750 million at Credit Suisse Asset
Management in London.

Venezuela's revenues nose-dived after a two-month national strike
almost completely crippled its main source of income: oil.
Venezuela is the world's fifth-largest oil producer in the world.


        S U B S C R I P T I O N   I N F O R M A T I O N

Troubled Company Reporter Latin American is a daily newsletter
co-published by Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Trenton, NJ,
and Beard Group, Inc., Washington, DC. John D. Resnick, Edem
Psamathe P. Alfeche and Oona G. Oyangoren, Editors.

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

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
re-mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without prior
written permission of the publishers.

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

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

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