TCRLA_Public/030411.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, April 11, 2003, Vol. 4, Issue 72


A N T I G U A   &   B A R B U D A

LIAT: Gets US$9.2 Mln Emergency Loan from Sovereign Shareholders


BANCO DE SANTA FE: Bidding Deadline Expires on Friday
BANCO FRANCES: To Start Lending, Albeit Limited, in Second Half
BANPRO: Gobbles up Smaller Rival in Buenos Aires Province
DIRECTV LATIN AMERICA: Operations Not Affected by Split-Off
DIRECTV LAT AM: Lodges First Motion To Extend Filing Deadline

DIRECTV LATIN AMERICA: Issues 12-Month Cash Flow Projection
DIRECTV LAT AM: Creditors Wants to Discontinue APS Employment
DIRECTV LAT AM: Raven Media Seeks To Transfer Case To Florida
DIRECTV LAT AM: Authorized To Pay Certain Employee Obligations
DIRECTV LAT AM: Trustee Objects to Young Conaway As Counsel

DIRECTV LAT AM: Files Motion To Reject Four Disney Contracts
DIRECTV LAT AM: Applies To Employ Protiviti as Auditors


SAGE GROUP: Completes Sale of Bermuda Unit to Old Mutual
TRENWICK GROUP: Announces Agreement with Beneficial Holders
TYCO INTERNATIONAL: CFO's Tax-evasion Case Won't Start Next Week


CERJ: Reports 2002 Net Loss of BRL386.01 Million
CSN: To Issue US$50 Million Worth of Two-year Bonds This Month
EMBRATEL: Steps Up Broadband Internet Tests in Key Cities
VESPER: Tough Regulator Won't Allow 1900MHz Band for PCS Use


ENDESA: Reduced Debt By EUR2,859 Million in 1Q03
ENERSIS: Can Now Use Power Lines to Offer Telecom Services
GUACOLDA: Analyst Says Debt-holders Can Still Force Capital Hike
SANTA ISABEL: Cencosud Clinches Deal with Ahold for US$100 Mln

C O S T A   R I C A

ICE: Bill Granting Extraordinary Powers Unconstitutional


ASARCO: Receives US$765 Million for SPCC Stake
GRUPO ELEKTRA: To Venture into Insurance Business Using Stores


ENITEL: Govt Readies for Stake Sale, Shortlists Possible Adviser

T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

BWIA: Government To Complete Review on BWIA Survival Plan Soon


PDVSA: Insurance Company Agreed to Insure PdVSA After Inspection

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

A N T I G U A   &   B A R B U D A

LIAT: Gets US$9.2 Mln Emergency Loan from Sovereign Shareholders
Five Caribbean governments have come to the aid of LIAT, granting
the regional carrier XC$25 million (US$9.2 million) in new loans
and pledges, according to the Associated Press.

The bailout package followed the meeting of four prime ministers
in Barbados Tuesday, says the news agency.  The airline earlier
said it needed the money to keep flying.  The governments of
Antigua, Trinidad, Barbados, St. Vincent and Grenada all hold
shares in the carrier, credited for facilitating Caribbean

According to the report, St. Vincent paid for more than one-third
of the package, while Antigua and Barbuda secured a XC$3 million
loan from three banks to pay their share.

"Through this loan, LIAT will enjoy a degree of reprieve from its
dire working capital position, and will be able to meet some of
its obligations that are immediately due," the Antigua's finance
minister said a statement.

Antigua Prime Minister Lester Bird said, "all should be done" to
save the airline because "it is one of the premier institutions
that played a vital role in facilitating Caribbean integration."
He said his government had already contributed XC$30 million
(US$11 million) to LIAT in loans over the past decade.

Increased insurance and security costs following the September 11
terrorist attacks in the United States are being blamed by
Caribbean airlines for their woes.  Last year, the LIAT laid off
241 employees, or one-third of its work force, and took a XC$31
million (US$11 million) loan from Barbados-based CIBC West Indies
Holdings to replace old planes and finance employee severance
packages.  Market observers have urged LIAT, Air Jamaica and
Trinidad-based BWIA to merge to form a single regional carrier.

CONTACT:  LIAT Corporate Headquarters
          V.C. Bird International Airport,
          P.O. Box 819,
          St. John's, Antigua West Indies
          Phone: 1 (268) 480-5600/1/2/3/4/5/6
          Fax: 1 (268) 480-5625
          Garry Cullen, Chief Executive Officer
          David Stuart, Vice President of Marketing


BANCO DE SANTA FE: Bidding Deadline Expires on Friday
The deadline for bids to buy Argentine banks Nuevo Banco de Santa
Fe expires on Friday, reports Business News Americas. The bank's
administrator, ABN Amro, is expected to set a date of the opening
of bids on that day.

Interested parties include local banks Comafi, Patagonia,
Hipotecario, Banex and consumer finance company Reconery, said
local daily El Cronista.

Business News Americas said that Banex has confirmed the
submission of its bid earlier.

El Neuvo de Santa Fe is currently under receivership.

BANCO FRANCES: To Start Lending, Albeit Limited, in Second Half
With inflation in check and deposits returning to banks, BBVA
Banco Frances is planning to start lending again in the second
half of the year, Business News Americas reported yesterday.

According to Investor Relations Manager Maria Elena Siburu,
lending, however, will be on a limited scale, as loan demand is
still weak and credit risk high.  Deeply hurt by the country's
two-year economic and financial crisis, the bank booked ARS1.2
billion in losses last year.  It had to rely on Spanish parent,
BBVA, for US$300 million in loans and capital injections to avoid

Today, the group is down to 240 branches and 4,250 employees
after closing 70 offices and cutting 880 employees last year,
says Ms. Siburu.  She does not discount further branch closures
or layoffs.  She said strict cost controls and streamlining would
be the hallmark of the group's operation this year.

She admits, though, that the bank's prospect is looking good,
citing the improving economy, its aggressive cost cutting and a
"very conservative provisioning policy."  She said the bank is en
route to breaking even this year.

BBVA Banco Frances is one of Argentina's three largest private
banks, together with Banco Rio and Banco Galicia.  Parent firm,
BBVA, is one of Latin America's leading financial groups and
operates the second largest banking franchise in Spain.

CONTACT:  BBVA Banco Frances SA
          199 Reconquista
          Buenos Aires
          Argentina 1003
          Phone: +54 11 4346 4000
          Home Page:
          Jaime Guardiola Romajaro, Chairman

BANPRO: Gobbles up Smaller Rival in Buenos Aires Province
Banco Municipal is now part of Banco de la Provincia de Buenos
Aires (Banpro) since it agreed to merge with the bigger bank to
improve its financial standing.

Business News Americas says Municipal, owned by a city government
within the Buenos Aires province, has been for sometime now not
in compliance with the central bank's financial requirements.

Banpro will now have 15 more branches, including an additional
10,000 clients as a result of the merger.  Municipal also brings
along a portfolio of ARS130 million (US$44.4 million) in deposits
and ARS108 million (US$37 million) in outstanding loans.  The
second largest bank in Argentina, Banpro says it won't touch any
of Municipal's current employees nor its branches.

"Its a reasonable move because it doesn't make sense that two
state-owned entities are competing for clients in the same
physical location," Municipal chairman Ricardo Sigwald told
Business News Americas, adding the merger will make the central
bank's job easier, as it now has one state bank less to

DIRECTV LATIN AMERICA: Operations Not Affected by Split-Off
DIRECTV Latin America, LLC, said on Wednesday the proposed
acquisition of 34 percent of Hughes Electronics Corporation
(HUGHES) by News Corporation (News) would have no immediate
effect on DIRECTV Latin America's operations or its customers
and employees. DIRECTV Latin America, LLC is majority owned by
DIRECTV Latin America Holdings, Inc., a subsidiary of Hughes
Electronics Corporation.

General Motors Corporation announced earlier today that it
intends to sell its 19.9 percent interest in HUGHES to News
following the split-off of Hughes from General Motors. News will
acquire an additional 14 percent stake in HUGHES through a
mandatory exchange of News ADRs and/or cash with the holders of
HUGHES Common Stock. However, the proposed transaction does not
provide for a combination of DIRECTV Latin America with Sky Latin
America and is not contingent on such a combination. Any
opportunities to improve operational efficiencies and reduce
costs associated with the Latin American operations will be
considered by the management and board of HUGHES after the
completion of the transaction, which is subject to certain
regulatory and other approvals, among other closing conditions.

Larry Chapman, President and Chief Operating Officer of DIRECTV
Latin America, LLC, said, "Our management and employees continue
to face significant challenges, however we are confident that
these challenges are being successfully addressed and we are
focused on maintaining DIRECTV's outstanding programming and
service to current and prospective customers. We remain as
committed as ever to being the best and only pan-regional pay
television service in Latin America and the Caribbean."

Eddy W. Hartenstein, Chairman of DIRECTV Latin America and
Corporate Senior Executive Vice President of HUGHES, said,
"Despite the political and economic challenges, we continue to
believe that the Latin American market holds great promise for
our business. We intend to continue to aggressively pursue
opportunities for profitable growth now and in the future."

DIRECTVT is the leading pay television service in Latin America
and the Caribbean with approximately 1.6 million subscribers in
28 countries. The Company will continue providing high-quality
programming and broadcast services to DIRECTV subscribers across
Latin America and the Caribbean without interruption. DIRECTV is
currently available in: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa
Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico,
Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay,
Venezuela and several Caribbean island nations.

DIRECTV Latin America, LLC is a multinational company owned by
DIRECTV Latin America Holdings Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of
Hughes Electronics Corporation; Darlene Investments, LLC, an
affiliate of the Cisneros Group of Companies, and Grupo Clarin.
DIRECTV Latin America has offices in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Sao
Paulo, Brazil; Cali, Colombia; Mexico City, Mexico; Carolina,
Puerto Rico; Fort Lauderdale, USA; and Caracas, Venezuela. For
more information on DIRECTV Latin America please visit

Hughes Electronics Corporation, a unit of General Motors
Corporation, is a world-leading provider of digital television
entertainment, broadband satellite networks and services, and
global video and data broadcasting. The earnings of HUGHES are
used to calculate the earnings attributable to the General Motors
Class H common stock (NYSE: GMH).

DIRECTV LAT AM: Lodges First Motion To Extend Filing Deadline
All debtors in all chapter 11 cases are required to prepare and
deliver comprehensive schedules of their assets and liabilities,
statements of financial their affairs, and various lists to the
Bankruptcy Court pursuant to 11 U.S.C. Sec. 521(1).  Those
documents, pursuant to Rule 1007 of the Federal Rules of
Bankruptcy Procedure, must be filed no later than 15 days
following the commencement of a chapter 11 case.  In Delaware,
when a debtor has more than 200 creditors, the Court
automatically grants an additional 15 days under Local Rule

DirecTV has more than 200 creditors.  Accordingly, DirecTV has
until April 17, 2003, to prepare and file its Schedules and

In the event the company finds it is unable to deliver the
documents by that date, the Debtors will bring a Motion to the
Bankruptcy Court explaining how cumbersome the task is, what has
been done and what needs to be done, when the documents will be
completed, and asking for an extension of time to comply with 11
U.S.C. Sec. 521(1).

Extensions of 60 to 120 days are not uncommon in billion-dollar
chapter 11 cases filed in Delaware.  A typical billion-dollar
debtor's Schedules and Statements will typically run in the
thousands of pages.

(DirecTV Latin America Bankruptcy News, Issue No. 4, Bankruptcy
Creditors' Service, Inc. 609/392-0900)

DIRECTV LATIN AMERICA: Issues 12-Month Cash Flow Projection
                      DirecTV Latin America, LLC
                    12-Month Cash Flow Projection
        For the Period from March 2003 through February 2004

      Royalty Receipts                         $150,600,000
      Other Receipts                              1,700,000
         Total Receipts                         152,300,000

      Programming Payments                      140,100,000
      Satellite Costs                            69,600,000
      Other COGS                                 23,600,000
      General & Administrative
         Payroll (net of taxes)                  10,800,000
         Payroll Taxes                            2,900,000
         Benefits                                 7,200,000
         Sales & Marketing                        6,900,000
         Rent                                     2,400,000
         Other G&A                               24,200,000
      Restructuring Costs
         Professional Fees                       22,900,000
         U.S. Trustee Fees                          100,000
         Other Restructuring Costs                5,100,000
      Capex                                       8,400,000
      Interest Payments                          11,800,000
      Disbursement to OCs                        75,600,000
         Total Disbursements                   $411,700,000
      Net Cash Flow                           ($259,400,000)

Chief Restructuring Officer Michael A. Feder explains that the
Company had $5,000,000 on hand at the commencement of DirecTV
Latin America's chapter 11 case.  The Debtor intends to draw
$258,800,000 under the DIP Financing Facility over the next year.
That will leave the Company with a projected $4,400,000 cash
balance one year from now.

(DirecTV Latin America Bankruptcy News, Issue No. 4, Bankruptcy
Creditors' Service, Inc. 609/392-0900)

DIRECTV LAT AM: Posts Motion To Lift Stay To Liquidate Claim
Infront WM GmbH, formerly known as KirchMedia WM GmbH, asks the
Court to lift the automatic stay under Section 362(d) of the
Bankruptcy Code to allow for its Claim liquidation against
DirecTV Latin America, in an action pending in Switzerland.

Barry M. Klayman, Esq., at Wolf, Block, Schorr & Solis-Cohen LLP,
in Wilmington, Delaware, notes that DirecTV is seeking an order
to reject the World Cup Contract.  Infront does not contest that

Mr. Klayman recalls that on December 24, 2002, despite having
performed upon and used the benefit of the World Cup Contract for
exclusive broadcast rights to the 2002 World Cup, and without
prior notice to Infront or any prior indication of a dispute,
DirecTV notified Infront that it "considers the World Cup
Contract as null and void, extinct, with no effect, creating no
contractual nor any other obligation of DirecTV."  In its letter,
DirecTV went on to assert a list of potential defenses to
enforcement of the World Cup Contract, including inducement in
error, deception and misrepresentation, and impossibility or
impracticability of performance "due to fundamentally changed
circumstances and other reasons and developments."  Mr. Klayman
contends that the December 24 letter contains no factual support
for any of these claims.

Through a series of letters and conversations, Infront denied all
of DirecTV's allegations and informed DirecTV that the World Cup
Contract remained in full force and effect.  During this time,
DirecTV informed Infront that it did not intend to "take any
further action" with respect to the December 24 letter.  In
addition, DirecTV informed Infront that it was "having
significant discussions with our largest creditors in order to
restructure our capital and avoid a bankruptcy filing."  In this
context, DirecTV offered to meet with Infront to establish "a
constructive dialogue" and Infront in fact did participate in
that dialogue.

However, Mr. Klayman tells Judge Walsh that despite its
representation, DirecTV did not withdraw its December 24 letter
allegations and failed to make a $13,000,000 payment to Infront,
which was due and owing under the World Cup Contract as of
January 3, 2003.  Accordingly, Infront informed DirecTV that it
would take all necessary legal steps to enforce the World Cup
Contract although it would remain prepared to discuss the
situation on a without prejudice basis.

Mr. Klayman reports that on February 5, 2003, Infront commenced
the Swiss Litigation in the Commercial Court of Zurich,
Switzerland.  The Swiss Litigation seeks enforcement of the World
Cup Contract with respect to the $13,000,000 payment due and
owing on January 3, 2003.  Implicit within the enforcement of the
World Cup Contract is the requirement that the Swiss court
consider the World Cup Contract's validity in the face of any
defenses that DirecTV may assert based on the December 24 letter.

In the rejection motion, DirecTV purports to terminate the World
Cup Contract in December 2002.  The motion characterizes the
World Cup Contract's rejection as being applicable only "to the
extent that this Court or any other court of competent
jurisdiction determines that DirecTV did not legally terminate
the World Cup Contract."  Though, DirecTV has not asked the Court
to determine whether the contract is currently valid or what, if
any, damages will flow from the rejection.  In fact, the World
Cup Contract is governed by Swiss law, which would significantly
complicate this Court's task in making a determination.

Mr. Klayman points out that if the World Cup Contract is valid
and is rejected, Infront's damage claim will be more than
$250,000,000 -- among the largest, if not the largest non-insider
unsecured claim in this Chapter 11 case, and an extremely
significant claim when compared to DirecTV's stated asset value
of $600,000,000.  Thus, the resolution of the contract's validity
and Infront's claim, will be a critical question in the context
of formulation of a plan of reorganization and other crucial
steps in this Chapter 11 case.

According to Mr. Klayman, the automatic stay should be lifted

    (a) Infront will suffer significant hardship unless it is
        permitted to liquidate its claim in the Swiss Litigation;

    (b) given the size of Infront's claim against DirecTV, all
        other creditors in this case will be prejudiced by any
        uncertainty concerning the validity of its claim;

    (c) it would be unimaginable for DirecTV to formulate and
        propose a Chapter 11 plan without the liquidation or
        estimation of Infront's claim without damaging Infront
        for uncertainty of reserve;

    (d) if Infront's claim is liquidated other than by a Swiss
        Court applying Swiss law, the bargained-for rights of
        the administrative body of the World Cup, FIFA, will be
        negatively impacted;

    (e) DirecTV will suffer minimal, if any, prejudice by
        allowing for the Swiss Litigation to continue to
        liquidate Infront's claim.  DirecTV does not have
        substantial business operations with which the
        liquidation of Infront's claim will interfere, and it is
        unlikely that the Swiss Litigation will consume
        significant time of DirecTV's management or attention of
        its reorganization counsel; and

    (f) DirecTV has submitted to the exclusive jurisdiction of
        the Commercial Court of Zurich with respect to matters
        relating to the World Cup Contract;

    (g) judicial economy favors for the Swiss Litigation to
        continue as doing so in other forum other than the Swiss
        court will require extensive expert testimony regarding
        the laws of Switzerland that govern the World Cup
        Contract; and

    (h) FIFA, the international governing body of the sport of
        associated football and an associated governed by the
        Swiss Civil Code, insists that all World Cup Contracts be
        governed by the law of Switzerland and subject to
        interpretation by Swiss courts.

(DirecTV Latin America Bankruptcy News, Issue No. 4, Bankruptcy
Creditors' Service, Inc. 609/392-0900)

DIRECTV LAT AM: Creditors Wants to Discontinue APS Employment
Kathleen Marshall DePhillips, Esq., at Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl,
Young, Jones & Weintraub PC, in Wilmington, Delaware, notes that
although the Debtor sought the court approval under Section 363
of the Bankruptcy Code, the same standard of "reasonable terms
and conditions of employment" applied under Section 328 of the
Bankruptcy Code should control any compensation issue concerning
APS.  "Under this standard, the Triggering Events giving rise to
the Performance Fee are too broad and therefore unreasonable,"
Ms. DePhillips contends.

Ms. DePhillips notes that the Triggering Events, as written, call
for payment of the "Performance Fee" even if APS sells the
company for virtually no value, or if the company is the subject
of a liquidating plan.  Both scenarios potentially entitle APS to
receive $2,500,000 regardless of the benefit to the estate and

According to Ms. DePhillips, applying a "reasonableness" standard
to an unreasonable "Triggering Events" is a confused and
confusing process.  Any consideration of the "Performance Fee" is
not appropriate until the case's conclusion.  At this time, any
requested incentive compensation should be directly tied to the
value provided to the estate or the creditors.

Accordingly, the Committee objects to an order on the Motion
unless the order excludes any reference to the Performance Fee or
in the alternative, specifies that the Court will only consider
payment of a Performance Fee on a de novo basis after APS'
demonstration that it has added significant value to the estate.

(DirecTV Latin America Bankruptcy News, Issue No. 4, Bankruptcy
Creditors' Service, Inc. 609/392-0900)

DIRECTV LAT AM: Raven Media Seeks To Transfer Case To Florida
William H. Sudell, Esq., at Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnel, in
Wilmington, Delaware, relates that on November 10, 2000, DirecTV
entered into a Stock Purchase Agreement with Grupo Clarin and
Plataforma Digital, S.A., a wholly owned subsidiary of Grupo
Clarin.  Pursuant to the Stock Purchase Agreement, DirecTV
purchased from Plataforma shares of Galaxy Entertainment
Argentina, S.A., representing 51% of Galaxy's total outstanding
shares, in exchange for the issuance to Plataforma of DirecTV's
membership interests, representing 4% of DirecTV's total
outstanding membership interests -- Debtor Interests.

Moreover, Mr. Sudell informs Judge Walsh that Plataforma and
DirecTV are also parties to a Put Agreement dated November 10,
2000.  Pursuant to the Put Agreement, DirecTV agreed, under
certain circumstances, to repurchase the Debtor Interests from
Plataforma for $194,800,000.

Plataforma subsequently merged with and into Multicanal S.A., a
wholly owned Grupo Clarin subsidiary, with Multicanal as the
surviving company.  As a result, Multicanal became the Debtor
Interests owner and the holder of the rights associated with the
Put Agreement.  Multicanal subsequently transferred its interest
in the Put Agreement and the Debtor Interests to Raven Media
Investments LLC, an Argentine company and a wholly owned
subsidiary of Grupo Clarin, S.A.

Pursuant to Section 1412 of the Judiciary Procedures Code and
Rule 1014 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, Raven
asks the Court to transfer the venue of this case to the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida, Fort
Lauderdale Division.

Mr. Sudell contends that the transfer should be granted because,
although DirecTV was incorporated in Delaware, its headquarters
and the majority of its 113 employees are located in Fort
Lauderdale, Florida, over 700 of DirecTV's creditors are located
in various cities throughout the State of Florida, and 10 of its
20 largest unsecured creditors are located in Florida.  Thus:

    (a) it will be more convenient for all of these constituents
        to have the bankruptcy proceeding in Florida;

    (b) given that a large number of DirecTV's creditor
        relationships are centered in Florida, it is likely that
        Florida state law may apply to any disputes among other

    (c) the 20 largest creditors appears indicative of DirecTV's
        overall creditor body;

    (d) in all likelihood, both meeting of the official committee
        of unsecured creditors and with DirecTV will occur in
        south Florida;

    (e) many of DirecTV's employees and creditors would be able
        to avoid travel to and from Delaware, which can be
        expensive, time-consuming and difficult given the
        realities of today's air travel;

    (f) numerous parties-in-interest, as well as DirecTV's
        primary assets, are located in Latin America, which, due
        to its geographical proximity to Latin America, and the
        much greater availability of airline flights, the Florida
        Bankruptcy Court would be a considerable more convenient
        venue than the Delaware Bankruptcy Court; and

    (g) the Delaware Bankruptcy Court's per judge case load for
        Chapter 11 cases is significantly higher as compared to
        the Florida Bankruptcy Court.

                          Debtor Objects

"Raven's motion is a transparent attempt by an out-of-the-money
equity interest holder to forum shop or, at a minimum, to delay
the progress of DirecTV's bankruptcy case and thereby gain
leverage in settlement negotiations," Joel A. Waite, Esq., at
Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP, in Wilmington, Delaware,

Raven claims to be a creditor based on its purported right under
a Put Agreement to put, under certain circumstances, its 4% LLC
equity interest in DirecTV.  However, Mr. Waite explains that any
claims that Raven might hold as a result of the Put Agreement is
subject to mandatory subordination under Section 510(b) of the
Bankruptcy Code and controlling Third Circuit precedent.  Thus,
Raven's claim must be treated as an equity interest for all
purposes in this case.

In contrast, the Southern District of Florida has less developed
precedent interpreting and applying Section 510(b).  While
DirecTV is confident that, if confronted with the issue, the
Eleventh Circuit would ultimately agree that the plain language
of Section 510(b) requires the subordination of Raven's purported
claim under the Put Agreement, a transfer of venue would likely
result in costly and protracted litigation between the estate and
Raven over the status of Raven's claim under the Put Agreement.
Though Raven might desire that result, the estate's unsecured
creditors would ultimately bear this unnecessary cost.

As a substantive matter, Mr. Waite asserts that Raven has not
established sufficient grounds for this Court to transfer venue

    (a) the transfer of venue would not benefit DirecTV's
        creditors, many of whom are sophisticated corporations
        with a national or multinational presence and are -- and
        throughout their relationship with DirecTV have been --
        represented by counsel from place like California, New
        York, Illinois, Washington, London or Switzerland rather
        than from Florida.  This is the case with Buena Vista
        International, Inc., HBO Latin America Partners, Music
        Choice, Kirch and Thomson Consumer Electronics -- each of
        which is on the Creditors' Committee -- and also with
        respect to Raven, its predecessors-in-interest and its

    (b) DirecTV's assets are comprised largely of intangible
        contract rights, few of which are governed by Florida
        law.  Most of DirecTV's contracts are governed by
        California or New York law.  To the extent interpretation
        of the law governing DirecTV's contracts becomes
        necessary in this case, it is clear that this Court has
        more than adequate experience in interpreting California
        or New York law and applying that law to any issues it
        may arise in this case;

    (c) DirecTV believes that Delaware's developed case law on
        Chapter 11 issues and significant experience dealing with
        large, complex cases will provide it and other parties-
        in-interest substantial certainty, finality and ease of
        administration in this case and that these factors
        outweigh the highly uncertain benefit that could be
        provided by the Southern District of Florida's lesser
        Chapter 11 case load; and

    (d) the transfer would delay DirecTV's reorganization
        efforts, would force DirecTV, the Creditors' Committee
        and various creditors to seek new or additional counsel,
        and overall would impose unnecessary administrative
        expense on this estate in exchange for which neither it
        nor its creditors would receive any discernable benefit.

Accordingly, DirecTV asks the Court to deny the motion.

                  Hughes Electronics Joins In

Hughes Electronic Corporation an its wholly owned subsidiary,
DirecTV Latin America Holdings, Inc. adopt by reference the
Debtor's Objection to the Motion and ask the Court to deny the

John H. Knight, Esq., at Richards, Layton & Finger P.A., in
Wilmington, Delaware, states that Hughes is the postpetition
secured lender of the Debtor while Holdings owns about 75% of the
Debtor's equity.  Moreover, the aggregate prepetition claim of
the Hughes Entities is the Debtor's largest unsecured prepetition

To supplement and amplify the Debtor's objection, Mr. Knight
relates that:

    (a) Raven's characterization of the Debtor's Chapter 11 case
        is ill-informed and misleading because this is not a
        simple, uncomplicated case having no bearing beyond the
        confines of Fort Lauderdale, Florida;

    (b) the Debtor's creditor body is complex and national or
        multinational in scope;

    (c) the Debtor's primary, and perhaps sole, connection to
        Florida is the location of its headquarters in Florida,
        which is not an important factor in determining
        appropriate venue; and

    (d) Raven's characterization of itself as the Debtor's
        creditor protecting the interest of the majority is
        similarly misleading as it is in fact an equity holder.
        It is the Hughes Entities and the members of the
        Committee that hold at least 88% of the amount of the
        prepetition claims against the Debtors -- both of which
        oppose the motion.

                Creditors' Committee Supports DirecTV

For the same reasons DirecTV raised in its objection to the
Motion, the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors objects to
the motion and asks the Court to deny the change of venue

(DirecTV Latin America Bankruptcy News, Issue No. 4, Bankruptcy
Creditors' Service, Inc. 609/392-0900)

DIRECTV LAT AM: Authorized To Pay Certain Employee Obligations
DirecTV and the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors have
engaged in discussions regarding the April 11 Stay Bonus payment,
which the Committee does not object to certain extent.
Accordingly, in this supplemental order, Judge Walsh authorizes
DirecTV to pay the April 11 Stay Bonus to all employees except
for the six senior executives included in Tier 1 of the Debtor's
Retention Plan.

A further hearing on the Motion, with respect to the Debtor's
request to pay the April 11 Stay Bonus to the six senior
executives will be held on April 14, 2003 at 4:00 p.m.  Judge
Walsh clarifies that this order only authorizes the payment of
the April 11 Stay Bonus and does not constitute an approval of
the entire Retention Plan, which is the subject of a separate
motion pending before this Court.

(DirecTV Latin America Bankruptcy News, Issue No. 4, Bankruptcy
Creditors' Service, Inc. 609/392-0900)

DIRECTV LAT AM: Trustee Objects to Young Conaway As Counsel
Roberta A. DeAngelis, Acting U.S. Trustee for Region 3, objects
to the Application to employ Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP
to the extent that it seeks a Court authority for YCST to hold
its retainer until the end of the case, without applying the
funds held to fees and expenses the Court will approve.  "This
'evergreen retainer' proposal is unacceptable as it suggests that
there is some basis for treating these professionals differently
from other administrative creditors in these cases," Ms.
DeAngelis says.

Julie L. Compton, Esq., Trial Attorney for the U.S. Trustee, in
Wilmington, Delaware, notes that pursuant to Section 328(a) of
the Bankruptcy Code, a bankruptcy court has an independent
responsibility to supervise and monitor the terms of the
professional's retention and the payment of fees.  Courts
particularly exercise "supervision" over the terms of retainer
agreements.  For example, non-refundable retainers may be common
outside of bankruptcy, but they are inherently unreasonable in
the bankruptcy context.  Thus, Ms. Compton points out that
determining the reasonableness in a particular case of any type
of "risk-minimizing" devise, including an evergreen retainer, is
clearly part of the Court's duty to monitor, and ultimately
approve or disapprove, the terms of a professional's retention.

The genesis of risk-minimizing devises as a means to protect
Chapter 11 professionals from the risk of non-payment may be
granted if these findings could be made:

    (i) the case is an unusually large one in which an
        exceptionally large amount of fees accrue each month;

   (ii) the Court is convinced that waiting an extended period of
        payment would place an undue hardship on counsel;

  (iii) the Court is satisfied that counsel can respond to any
        reassessment resulting in disgorgement in one or more
        ways; and

   (iv) the fee retainer procedure is, itself, the subject of a
        noticed hearing prior to any payment thereunder.

The District of Delaware is unusual compared to other districts
because it has an inordinate number of large Chapter 11 cases
filed in the district.  As a result, the use of the
Administrative Order governing the payment of fees has become
commonplace.  Thus, Ms. Compton concludes that in the majority of
cases pending in this district -- including this case, if the
Court grants the Debtor's request for an Administrative Order --
the professionals are already protected from the risk of non-
payment by the Administrative Order.  This protection is
heightened even more by the other common protection found in this
District and in this case -- the carve-out -- which affords
professional yet another protection over and above those already
provided by the Bankruptcy Code.

According to Ms. Compton, cases discussing the use of evergreen
retainers or similar arrangements are clear that the use of these
devises are rare and should only be approved in limited
circumstances.  In addition, not one case has approved the use of
evergreen retainers in conjunction with both an Administrative
Order and a "carve-out," as the Debtor is requesting this Court
to do.

However, Ms. Compton contends that even if it is to assume that
there are some circumstances in which evergreen retainers might
be allowed in the bankruptcy context, "rare circumstances" did
not exist to justify the request.  The case was neither unusually
large, nor were the fees so high as to put counsel at an
unreasonable risk.  In fact, DirecTV's case demonstrate that an
evergreen retainer is unnecessary since:

    (a) the Debtor has already filed a motion requesting the
        Court to enter an order establishing procedures for
        interim compensation of professionals, which will permit
        professionals to receive on a monthly basis, without
        prior court approval, 80% of their fees and 100% of their

    (b) pursuant to the DIP Financing Order, the professionals
        are protected by a substantial "carve-out" of $1,000,000
        that is available after the occurrence of a default.

Accordingly, the U.S. Trustee asks the Court to deny the Debtor's
Application unless the terms of the engagement are revised in
accordance with this objection.

(DirecTV Latin America Bankruptcy News, Issue No. 4, Bankruptcy
Creditors' Service, Inc. 609/392-0900)

DIRECTV LAT AM: Files Motion To Reject Four Disney Contracts
Each of the parties strongly disputes the propriety of the other
party's conduct or characterization of the facts surrounding the
termination of the broadcast of the Disney Channel on March 18,

To settle the disputes, Judge Walsh approved on March 28, 2003 a
stipulation containing these terms:

A. The Rejection Motion is granted pursuant to the terms of this

B. The Disney Contracts are rejected, pursuant to Section 365
    of the Bankruptcy Code, effective as of March 18, 2003;

C. The Rejection Motion or this Stipulation will not constitute
    a waiver, admission, or estoppel with respect to:

    -- any claims or defenses DirecTV Latin America may have
       arising out of, or related to, any of the Disney
       Contracts, including, without limitation, that any of the
       Disney Contracts ceased to be executory contracts on a
       date prior to the effective date of the rejection, and to
       any arguments Buena Vista or any of its affiliates may
       have in opposition to any claims or defenses; or

    -- any rights, claims, causes of action or defenses Buena
       Vista held, arising out of, or related to, any of the
       Disney Contracts, including, without limitation, DirecTV's
       prior termination of the Disney Channel and any and all
       claims for relief arising from the Disney Contracts
       rejection or otherwise or to DirecTV's arguments or
       defenses in opposition thereto;

C. The parties to the Disney Contracts will have until the later
    of the bar date established in this case or April 28, 2003
    to submit any claims arising under the Disney Contracts; and

D. The Buena Vista Motion and related documents will be deemed
    withdrawn without prejudice and nothing contained herein,
    including the withdrawal of the Buena Vista Motion, will
    constitute or be construed as an admission or waiver,
    directly or indirectly, of any right, claim, contention or
    argument by either party with respect to the matters or
    events described in the Buena Vista Motion or related

(DirecTV Latin America Bankruptcy News, Issue No. 4, Bankruptcy
Creditors' Service, Inc. 609/392-0900)

DIRECTV LAT AM: Applies To Employ Protiviti as Auditors
DirecTV Latin America seeks the Court's authority to employ
Protiviti, Inc. as its auditing consultants, nunc pro tunc to
March 18, 2003.

DirecTV believes that Protiviti is well qualified and uniquely
able to provide it with auditing support services.  Moreover,
Protiviti has an excellent reputation for the highest quality of
service in connection with the types of matters for which DirecTV
seeks to retain it.

Joel A. Waite, Esq., at Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP, in
Wilmington, Delaware, informs the Court that as auditing
consultants, Protiviti will:

    (a) provide assistance to DirecTV's management in various
        areas including, but not limited to, providing additional
        staff as needed to prepare accounting and other
        information related to the bankruptcy filing;

    (b) analyze accounting information DirecTV's systems
        produced and processes for completeness and accuracy and
        render a report regarding the same; and

    (c) perform internal auditing to identify potential
        weaknesses in internal accounting controls and develop
        recommendations for improvement.

Phillip Fretwell will be the primary Protiviti professional for
this engagement.

In exchange for the auditing services, DirecTV will pay Protiviti
on these hourly rates:

    Managing Directors         $450
    Directors                   350
    Managers                    275
    Seniors                     150 - 200
    Staff                       115 - 135

Protiviti will also seek reimbursement of their actual, necessary
expenses and charges.

Mr. Waite tells Judge Walsh that Protiviti received a $250,000
retainer as advance payment of certain services performed in
connection with the prepetition engagement and in preparation of
DirecTV's Chapter 11 case and as security for future services to
be performed.  The Retainer is payment for any remaining fees and
expenses accrued prior to the Petition Date.  In addition,
Protiviti received $50,764 in payments for work performed.  A
part of the Retainer has been applied to the outstanding
balances.  Protiviti has not yet been paid though for one day of
prepetition work totaling $4,330.  The Retainer balance will be
applied against fees, expenses and cost incurred after the
Petition Date with the unused portion to be returned to DirecTV.

Mr. Fretwell assures the Court that the firm does not hold any
interest adverse to DirecTV or the estate.  Furthermore,
Protiviti is a "disinterested person" as that term is defined in
Section 101(14) of the Bankruptcy Code.

(DirecTV Latin America Bankruptcy News, Issue No. 4, Bankruptcy
Creditors' Service, Inc. 609/392-0900)


SAGE GROUP: Completes Sale of Bermuda Unit to Old Mutual
Sage Group Ltd.'s Bermuda unit will be sold to South African
finance company Old Mutual PLC, according to a report from Dow
Jones Newswires on Wednesday. However, the purchase price was not

Old Mutual said that it will keep Sage Life (Bermuda) Ltd.'s
present sales and marketing management and maintain all its sales

"We are building on the success of Old Mutual in the U.S.
insurance market," said Old mutual US Life chief executive Guy

Old Mutual sees the acquisition as a means of acquiring a new
sales channel to complement its existing dollar-based sales
product lines.

In a statement, Sage Life (Bermuda) welcomed its new owner.

"We welcome this new parent company, and the capital resources it
brings," said Sage Life chief marketing officer Denis Kaplan.

Last month, Sage Group wrote down the value of Sage Life to 1
rand (US$0.12.

CONTACT:  Sage Group Limited
          11th Floor Sage Centre
          10 Fraser Street
          South Africa
          Phone: +27 011 377 5555
          Fax:  +27 011 834 2107
          Home Page:
          Louis Shill, Executive Chairman

          Robin Marsden
          Phone: +1-203-602-6510

          Bernie Nackan, Executive Director
          Phone: +27-11-377-5559

TRENWICK GROUP: Announces Agreement with Beneficial Holders
Trenwick Group Ltd. ("Trenwick")(OTC: TWKGF) stated on Wednesday
that it has reached a definitive agreement with the beneficial
holders (the "Senior Noteholders") of the 6.70% Senior Notes (the
"Senior Notes") of its wholly owned subsidiary, Trenwick America
Corporation ("Trenwick America"), to extend the maturity date of
the Senior Notes until August 1, 2003 and to waive the default
occasioned when Trenwick America failed to pay principal and
interest on the Senior Notes on April 1, 2003.

Under the terms of the agreement, Trenwick America has paid to
the Senior Noteholders all interest accrued through April 1,
2003, in the amount of $2,512,500.00.

Trenwick also stated that the terms of the agreement have been
approved by the banks that have issued letters of credit on
behalf of subsidiaries of Trenwick in support of its Lloyd's
operations under a senior secured credit facility. In addition,
Trenwick stated that the letter of credit banks have waived the
default under the senior secured credit facility, which arose as
a result of Trenwick America's failure to pay principal and
interest on the Senior Notes on April 1, 2003.

Background Information

Trenwick is a Bermuda-based specialty insurance and reinsurance
underwriting organization with two principal businesses operating
through its subsidiaries located in the United States, the United
Kingdom and Bermuda. Trenwick's reinsurance business provides
treaty reinsurance to insurers of property and casualty risks
from offices in the United States. Trenwick's operations at
Lloyd's of London underwrite specialty insurance as well as
treaty and facultative reinsurance on a worldwide basis. In 2002,
Trenwick voluntarily placed into runoff its U.S. specialty
program business and its specialty London market insurance
company, Trenwick International Limited, and sold the in-force
business of LaSalle Re Limited, its Bermuda based subsidiary.

TYCO INTERNATIONAL: CFO's Tax-evasion Case Won't Start Next Week
A tax-evasion case filed against Tyco International Ltd.'s ex-CFO
Mark Swartz won't likely start on April 15, after his lawyers
sought postponement until after the trial for a separate criminal

Citing the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg says the government
will agree to a delay, but not beyond mid-July.  U.S. Attorney
William Morse says the separate trial in New York for looting
US$600 million from Tyco through unauthorized bonuses and stock
fraud will begin September 29.

Mr. Swartz was indicted in February on charges he failed to
report a US$12.5 million bonus and didn't pay almost US$5 million
he owed in taxes in 1999.  He's pleaded not guilty, Bloomberg

CONTACT:  Tyco International Ltd.
          The Zurich Centre
          Second Floor
          90 Pitts Bay Road
          HM 08
          Phone: +1441 292 8674
          Home Page:
          Edward D. Breen, Chairman, President & Chief Executive
          Michael L. Jones, Secretary


CERJ: Reports 2002 Net Loss of BRL386.01 Million
Brazilian utility Cia. de Eletricidade do Rio de Janeiro (Cerj)
moves into the red with a BRL386.01 million net loss, which
Business News Americas says is 689 percent more than its 2001 net

Operating loss soared 408 percent to BRL402.12 million, while net
revenue went down 4.9 percent to BRL1.63 billion and gross
earnings declined 10.3 percent to BRL841.1 million.

The disappointing results correspond to a BRL0.00013 loss per

Cerj, which closed the year with a net equity of BRL433.43
million, had just received its shareholder's nod to a BRL142
million capital increase, according to an earlier report from the
Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America.

Chilean power firm Enersis controls Cerj.

Cerj's activities include the exploitation, production,
transformation, transmission, distribution and sale of electric
power and other related activities in the State of Rio de Janeiro
throughout 66 counties on a concession basis. The Company has a
concession contract for 30 years expiring in 2026.

CONTACT:  Cia de Eletricidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro - Cerj
          Sao Domingos
          24210-200 Niteroi - RJ
          Phone: +55 21 2613-7783
          Fax:  +55 31 2613-7123
          Home Page:
          Eduardo J. Bernini, Chairman
          Emilio Lopez Ordobas, Vice Chairman

CSN: To Issue US$50 Million Worth of Two-year Bonds This Month
Brazil's second largest steel-maker, Cia. Siderurgica Nacional SA
(CSN) is reportedly selling US$50 million in two-year bonds this
month, testing the appetite of the local bond market currently
content on taking only short-term papers.

According to a local J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. subsidiary, which is
leading the sale, the bonds will be sold through CSN's Cayman
Islands unit.  The bond carries a yield of 10%, Bloomberg says.
This will be the second sale of the company this year after
issuing US$85 million worth of one-year bonds in February.  The
company's finance chief has declined to comment.

Analysts say they're closely looking at how CSN's bonds will fair
to know whether or not investors are now willing to hold
Brazilian debt for longer periods.  Since the start of the year,
banks have been selling securities, but most had maturities of 12
months or less, said Milena Zaniboni, director of corporate
ratings at Standard & Poor's in Sao Paulo.

"The sales so far have been mostly by banks and for short terms -
- say, eight months.  We'll have to wait to find out more before
drawing any conclusions," says Ms. Zaniboni, who admitted having
no knowledge as to whether or not CSN's bonds are backed by

On Wednesday, O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper, citing CSN
President Benjamin Steinbruch, said the company will sell as much
as US$100 million in bonds this month.  The company has US$250
million of commercial paper due this month and US$80 million due
in October, the daily said.  CSN's debt has a B2 rating from
Moody's Investors Service, Bloomberg says.

CONTACT:  Companhia Siderurgica Nacional
          Rua Lauro Muller, 116 - 36
          22299-900 Rio de Janeiro - RJ
          Phone: +55 21 2586-1500
          Fax;  +55 21 2586-1318
          Home Page:
          Benjamin Steinbruch, Chairman
          Jacks Rabinovich, Vice Chairman

EMBRATEL: Steps Up Broadband Internet Tests in Key Cities
Long distance operator, Embratel, has expanded its broadband
Internet pilot tests to Londrina in the State of Parana and
Fortaleza, the capital of Ceara state, including Sao Paulo City,
Business News Americas said yesterday, citing Valor Online.

The company has been conducting a test launch of its broadband
service in the City of Sorocaba, in the State of Sao Paulo, since
March.  Embratel will use the results to gauge the viability of
the new service.

According to the paper, the involvement of small and medium
enterprises and residential segments in the series of tests
represents a significant shift in Embratel's market focus, which
used to be on big corporate clients.  The company's supply
partners include Siemens, Alcatel, Lucent, Huawei and Ericsson.

CONTACT:  Embratel Participacoes SA
          Rua Regente Feijo, 166 sala 1687 -B
          20060-060 Rio de Janeiro - RJ
          Phone: +55 21 2121-6474
          Fax:  +55 21 2121-6388
          Home Page:
          Daniel Eldon Crawford, Chairman

VESPER: Tough Regulator Won't Allow 1900MHz Band for PCS Use
No luck for Vesper: Brazilian telecom regulator, Anatel, is
standing by its decision not to allow the company to use its
1900MHz-band network to offer PCS services, Business News
Americas says.

The decision could be potentially disastrous for Vesper, which
admitted last month that its prospects would not look good if it
cannot offer PCS services.  Vesper has already spent US$84.4
million since November to buy three PCS licenses covering the Sao
Paulo state (Region 2), Minas Gerais state (Region 4) and the six
northeastern states that make up Region 10, the paper says.

The report says the decision also applies to local fixed line
incumbent, Brasil Telecom, which also possesses a 1900MHz fixed
wireless network.  This company has set a launch date within the
second half of this year.

US-based CDMA chipset developer Qualcomm (Nasdaq: QCOM) is
Vesper's majority owner.  It could appeal the decision but,
according to Business News Americas, Anatel officials "have for
some time now been showing little sympathy in Vesper's case."


ENDESA: Reduced Debt By EUR2,859 Million in 1Q03
This Reduction Represents A 12.6% Decrease With Respect To Total
Debt As Of December 2002

Total Net Financial Debt Amounts To EUR 19,888 Million, Same
Level As In June 1999

ENDESA (ELE: NYSE) has reduced its debt by EUR 2,859 million
during the first quarter of the current year, according to the
company's provisional figures, what represents a 12.6% decrease
to the one as of year-end 2002.

As of March 31st, 2003, Endesa's net financial debt amounted to
EUR 19,888 million, that is same as in June 1999.

Out of this amount, EUR 13,189 million correspond to ENDESA
without Enersis, and EUR 6,699 million to Enersis's third party

It is worth noting that the debt related to Enersis does not
include the impact of the divestitures of Canutillar power plant,
the distribution company Rio Maipo and the transmission assets in
Chile. These assets have already been sold at the end of March
and beginning of April 2003 for a total amount of US$ 487

This significant debt reduction falls within the financial
strengthening process that ENDESA carries out according to its
Strategic Plan 2002-2006. This plan has enabled a 20.5% debt
reduction since the end of 2001. This reduction has been for a
total amount of EUR 5,119 million.

Of the total debt reduction in the first quarter 2003, EUR 352
million correspond to foreign exchange differences.

The issuance of EUR 1,500 million proffered shares has been a
relevant portion in the debt reduction. The issuance concluded
successfully last March 27th, 2003.

EUR 3,750 million obtained in long term financial funds during
the first quarter 2003

During the first quarter, ENDESA has obtained long term financial
funds totaling EUR 3,750 million through several financial
operations and the assets divestitures in the period. This
provide Endesa, without considering Enersis, a liquidity position
in March 31st of EUR 4,896 million, of which EUR 2,631 million
correspond to available lines of credit.

Finally, the favorable interest rates environment has recommended
increasing the portion of fixed or hedged interest rates debt up
to 86%, the maximum level in the last decades, compared 72% at
year-end 2002.

ENERSIS: Can Now Use Power Lines to Offer Telecom Services
Energy concern, Enersis, can now start using its own power lines
to offer telecommunication services, after Chile's antimonopoly
commission, CRA, cleared the setup, Business News Americas says.

The company currently has a pilot project in Santiago through
distribution subsidiary, Chilectra.  By its estimate, it could
rollout a commercial service as early as the second half of this
year.  Enersis, however, must set up a separate subsidiary to do
this, the paper says.

But, perhaps, the most viable and attractive alternative is to
open the power lines to existing telecom operators, who have long
offered to use the company's infrastructure.  According to the
paper, local telecoms operator, Entel, actually broached the idea
of using power lines to the CRA in May 2002.  An Entel source
told Business News Americas the recent ruling met all the
measures the operator had proposed in its original request.  The
paper says the company will step up talks with operators and
Internet Service Providers the moment it receives the necessary
concession from telecoms regulator, Subtel.

Using power lines for communications services is not exactly a
new idea for Enersis, whose parent Endesa has 2,100 broadband
clients using this technology in Zaragoza, Spain.  Accordingly,
connection speed is comparable with the best ADSL services
available in Chile, but local telcos do not see Enersis as a big
threat because Chile's electricity grid has many interconnection
points, which would make data transmission less efficient than in

CONTACT:  Enersis SA
          Avenida Kennedy Vitacura No
          Chile  1557
          Phone: +56 2 353 4400
          Fax:  +56 2 378 4768
          Home Page:
          Engr Alfredo Llorente Legaz, Chairman
          Engr Rafael Miranda Robredo, Vice Chairman

GUACOLDA: Analyst Says Debt-holders Can Still Force Capital Hike
There's actually another way for the capital hike of Guacolda --
favored by minority shareholders, but blocked by AES Gener -- to
push through, says Bear Stearns analyst, Gabriel Salas.

In an interview with Business News Americas, Mr. Salas says debt-
holders could apply pressure on AES Gener by threatening to take
over its assets.  He said this is not exactly difficult to do,
considering that Guacolda's creditors and shareholders prefer the
capital hike to AES' debt refinancing proposal.

"The debt-holders -- banks and bondholders -- and [minority
shareholders] Copec (25%) and the Von Appen group (25%) have a
common goal and a way of working through things, and AES Gener
may be a problem for what they want to do," Mr. Salas says.

The capital increase was originally calculated to raise US$60
million.  The measure was proposed to help pay US$87 million in
debt, maturing at the end of April.  AES Gener blocked the plan,
however, because it does not have the money to participate,
thereby risking a dilution of its 50% majority stake in the firm.

Mr. Salas believes, nonetheless, that the company won't have a
hard time meeting its obligation, either through a capital hike
or debt refinancing.  In the event that Guacolda has to
refinance, it "should not have any problem," Mr. Salas says. "It
has some healthy interest coverage ratios that would allow the
company to access the debt market pretty easily."

Asked who's to blame for Guacolda's woes, Mr. Salas says: "The
problem is [Guacolda's] controlling shareholder AES Gener... [It]
is in pretty dire straits to refinance its own debt so I don't
see anyone wanting to buy a minority stake in a company where the
majority shareholder brings such a burden to the company itself."

"I view AES Gener more as a curse than a blessing for Guacolda,"
he adds.

Meanwhile, some analysts say Copec conglomerate could be trying
to sell its 25% stake in Guacolda as part of a move to focus more
closely on key assets.  Mr. Salas, however, believes it is
unlikely to find a buyer unless it offers a significant discount.

"I don't see Copec selling at such a discount because Copec is
not in a tough financial situation.  This is not a fire sale," he
told Business News Americas.

SANTA ISABEL: Cencosud Clinches Deal with Ahold for US$100 Mln
The sale of Santa Isabel to Cencosud, the holding company of
Chilean group Paulmann, is reportedly complete, according to

The news agency says the deal will pay shareholders of Santa
Isabel -- part of Royal Ahold's vast Latin American holdings -- a
windfall worth US$100 million.  The sale will take effect at the
end of this month.  Following the sale, Santa Isabel will
transfer its operations in Peru and Paraguay to Royal Ahold to
reduce part of its US$90 million debt.

Meanwhile, the acquisition of Santa Isabel will increase
Cencosud's market share to 20% and turn Paulmann into Chile's
leading retail group.  Cencosud also operates the Jumbo and Easy
retailers and a number of shopping centers in Chile and

CONTACT:  Santa Isabel SA
          Apoquindo Las Condes
          Chile 3600
          Phone: +56 2 200 4000
          Fax:  +56 2 200 4551
          Home Page:
          Juan Jose Lopez-Estevez, Chairman
          Allan Steward Noddle, Vice Chairman

          Ahold NV, Koninklijke
          3050 Albert Heijnweg1
          1507 EH Zaandam
          Phone: +31 75 6599111
          Fax:  +31 75 6598350
          Telex:  1 9010
          Home Page:
          Norbert L.J. Berger, Secretary

C O S T A   R I C A

ICE: Bill Granting Extraordinary Powers Unconstitutional
The initial draft of a bill seeking to modernize and strengthen
the country's power and telecom monopoly, ICE, is
unconstitutional says the attorney general's office.

The office pointed out the clause that overrides the President's
power as one prime example of the bill's constitutional
infirmity.  Another is the grant of financial independence,
whereby ICE would be free to set its own budget and debt levels,
without regard for its effect on the state's finances.

The government convened a 20-member committee on April 2 to draft
a definitive bill within 90 days.


ASARCO: Receives US$765 Million for SPCC Stake
Asarco received a US$765 million payment from Mexican mining
company Americas Mining Corporation (AMC) in exchange for
Asarco's 54.5US$ stake in Southern Peru Copper Corporation

A report from Business News Americas on Wednesday cited a joint
SEC filing from the two companies indicating that Asarco received
US$500 million in cash, US$123.25 million in promissory notes A,
US$41.75 million in promissory notes B. The transaction also
involved the cancellation of US$41.75 million of Asarco's debt.

After the transaction, Asarco was able to complete its financial
restructuring process. Presently, debt is now down to US$226
million, after all of its US$550 million short-term debt, on
which it defaulted at the beginning of February this year, was
cancelled after the transaction.

AMC's funds came from a combination of working capital, capital
contributions from parent company, Grupo Mexico, and a US$310
million loan from Banco Inbursa. In turn, the SPCC shares were
used to guarantee the Inbursa credit, said the report.

The deal also improved Grupo Mexico's debt profile. Grupo Mexico,
whose debt stands at US$2.9 billion at the end of last year
controls both Asarco and AMC.

Other SPCC owners are Cerro Trading (14.2 percent), Phelps Dodge
(14 percent), while the rest are owned by other shareholder/

          2575 E. Camelback Rd., Ste. 500
          Phoenix, AZ 85016
          Phoenix City
          Phone: 602-977-6500
          Fax: 602-977-6701
          Home Page:
          Germ n Larea Mota-Velasco, Chairman and CEO
          Genaro Larrea Mota-Velasco, President
          Daniel Tellechea Salido, VP and CFO

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

GRUPO ELEKTRA: To Venture into Insurance Business Using Stores
Electronics retailer, Grupo Elektra SA, will add a new twist to
its unique store-based banking services, by offering life and
medical insurance along with its current consumer credit program.

The company, according to CEO Javier Sarro who granted Bloomberg
an audience recently, aims to target the low-income households,
which constitute its core consumer and currently lack access to
these kinds of financial service.

"The penetration of insurance in this market is very low.  We
have a lot of customers who could clearly use an insurance
product like life or medical," Mr. Sarro told Bloomberg.

According to the news agency, traditional banks in Mexico such as
those owned by Citigroup Inc., HSBC Holdings Plc, and Bank of
America Corp., serve only the richest 15% of Mexicans, passing up
the market of less wealthy customers.  This setup has allowed
Elektra to capture the entire low-income bracket of the credit
sector.  Now it hopes to use its years of experience and vast
consumer base to help grow the new business by 25% a year.

The company will use its network of store-banks operated by
subsidiary, Banco Azteca, in offering the insurance policies.
Last month, Elektra shifted debt to the subsidiary in the form of
receivables and operating assets worth MXN2.4 billion (US$218
million).  Now the company says it will apply for an insurance
license, choosing to carry the risk of life and health insurance
policies on its own books rather than sell a third-party
insurer's products.

The bank expects to contribute about US$10 million this year to
the net income of Elektra, which earned US$7.4 million last year
and US$111.5 million the year earlier.  It's targeting a return
on equity of at least 25 percent, about twice the profitability
of the country's two largest banks, owned by Citigroup and
Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA, Bloomberg says.

CONTACT:  Grupo Elektra SA de CV
          Insurgentes Sur 3579
          Colonia Tlalpan La Joya CP
          Mexico 14000
          Phone: +52 55 5228 700
          Home Page:
          Ricardo B. Salinas Pliego, Chairman


ENITEL: Govt Readies for Stake Sale, Shortlists Possible Adviser
Two banks have already been short-listed for the contract to
manage the sale of the government's 49% stake in Nicaraguan fixed
line operator, Enitel, Business News Americas said Wednesday.

The two are Spanish investment bank, SCH, and Peru's Latin
Pacific Capital, the paper says.  They're the only ones left from
an original list of six, three of which withdrew at the last
minute, while the other fell short of a government committee's
financial requirement.

The paper says SCH is currently ahead in terms of financial
offer, but the final score will reportedly be settled by the
technical rankings of the bidders.  The government will announce
the overall winner after the Easter holidays, and the sale itself
is scheduled for September 30, the report says.

Enitel is already partially privatized.  A consortium named
Megatel -- composed of Sweden's Telia Swedtel and Honduran power
firm, EMCI -- currently holds 40% of the company.  They're
presently paying the government US$10 million a year, as part of
a five-year management contract that will expire in April 2006.

T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

BWIA: Government To Complete Review on BWIA Survival Plan Soon
Trinidad and Tobago's Trade and Industry Secretary confirmed that
the Government has received a new survival plan from ailing
national carrier, BWIA. The Trinidad Guardian cited Mr. Valley
saying officials at the Finance Ministry is expected to complete
a review on the plan on Thursday.

BWIA is asking the government for bailout funds to keep it alive.
The airline's financial woes are worsening from the effects of
the Iraq war.

Mr. Valley added that he should a have presentation on the plan
prepared for the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday.

Earlier reports indicated that the government has categorically
said that it will let BWIA go under, if it does not take steps to
ensure its own survival.

The airline was recently under fire from the 617 employees it
sent home in January, after BWIA failed disburse their severance
pay. The workers picketed at BWIA's Piarco headquarters last

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


PDVSA: Insurance Company Agreed to Insure PdVSA After Inspection
Venezuela's state oil company, Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A.
(PdVSA) will still be insured by American International Group
(AIG), according to Business News Americas.

A statement from the AIG said that operations at PdVSA's
refineries "were being conducted under the strictest standards."

The statement comes after the insurance company conducted an
inspection on PdVSA's Puerto La Crus, Amuay, and Cardon
refineries last month.

PdVSA risk and insurance leader Luiz Pinto said, "AIG's decision
has a multiplying effect in the other reinsurance companies that
work with PDVSA, since they usually rely on the risk inspection
conducted by the primary insurance provider."

At least 18,000 PdVSA workers were dismissed as President Hugo
Chavez retaliates to a national strike aimed at deposing him. The
strike lasted for two months and almost totally crippled the
country's oil industry.

The Company had a number of difficulties in their start-up
procedures. Several catalytic crackers were damaged and repairs
and maintenance were difficult as the Company admits that it
lacks the necessary manpower and skills for the operations.


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
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to
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