TCRLA_Public/030414.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

            Monday, April 14, 2003, Vol. 4, Issue 73

                            Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

ACINDAR: Faces Two Lawsuits Seeking Firm's Liquidation
ARGENTINE BANKS: Senate Extends Ban Against 'Home Foreclosure'


B E R M U D A

GLOBAL CROSSING: Offers Military Family Members Special Rates


B R A Z I L

ARACRUZ CELULOSE: Books BRL320 Million First Quarter Net Profit
SOUTHERN ELECTRIC: Solons Want Cemig 2002 Dividend Garnished
VESPER: Communications Minister Chides Anatel for Fickle Ruling


C H I L E

ENDESA: Highway Construction Unit Sale Now Free of Roadblocks
ENERSIS: Debt Refinancing Completion Within Weeks, Says Analyst
GUACOLDA: Fitch Assigns 'BBB' to US$150 Mln New Securities


D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

BANCO INTERCONTINENTAL: Fitch Cuts Ratings to 'E' from 'D'


E C U A D O R

PETROECUADOR: Row With Economy Ministry Could Lead to Strike


J A M A I C A

CABLE & WIRELESS: Denies Holding Up Interconnection Talks


M E X I C O

ASARCO INC.: Concludes Restructuring with Sister's Help
EMPRESAS ICA: Names J.P. Morgan Securities as Debt Talks Adviser
PEMEX: To Invest US$3 Bln for New Ethylene, Aromatics Plants


T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

BWIA: Launches New Business Model
BWIA: Businessmen Give Nebulous Support for Turnaround Plan
BWIA: Government Obligated to Protect Airline, Says Director
CARONI: Union Members Want Their VSEP, Says Agriculture Minister


U R U G U A Y

ANCAP: S&P Grade Unchanged Despite Uruguay's Sovereign Downgrade
URUGUAYAN BANKS: Employees Protest Mass Layoff in Banking Sector

* S&P Lowers Uruguay to 'CC' from 'CCC' Due to Exchange Offer
* Fitch Downgrades Uruguay's Ratings to Near-default Status


V E N E Z U E L A

PDVSA: Signs Supply Contract for Orimulsion as Demand Increases

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

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


ACINDAR: Faces Two Lawsuits Seeking Firm's Liquidation
------------------------------------------------------
Argentine steel-maker, Acindar, acknowledged late last week that
it had received two notices from a Buenos Aires court, informing
it of lawsuits calling for its liquidation.

According to Business News Americas, Maximiliano Ruprecht and
Pareto International filed the lawsuits.  The company said the
notices did not contain copies of necessary documentation.  It
is not certain yet what the company will do next.

Meanwhile, the company launched last week an offer to redeem
US$20 million worth of bonds.  The offer will close May 9, says
the paper.  According to the company, the offer is specifically
offered to the World Bank's International Finance Corporations
and private banks.  The bonds carry an 11.25% yield and will
mature next year.

The company, according to Business News Americas, is currently
undergoing a financial restructuring and is in talks with
lenders, who have a total exposure of US$277 million in the
company.  About US$100 million worth is tied up in bonds.  The
company declared a moratorium on principal and interest payments
on these debts at the end of 2001 due to financial difficulties.

Acindar is considered Argentina's largest long steel-maker with
capacity of 1.2Mt/y.  It is controlled by the Acevedo family and
Brazilian steel company Belgo-Mineira, says the paper.


ARGENTINE BANKS: Senate Extends Ban Against 'Home Foreclosure'
--------------------------------------------------------------
In a move that violates an agreement with the International
Monetary Fund, the Argentine senate voted last week to extend
for another 90 days a ban on bank foreclosures involving private
homes, Bloomberg said late last week.

The moratorium has been in force since last year, a measure
taken by the government to prevent an avalanche of foreclosures
following its default on some US$95 billion in public debts.  
The ban only covers properties in which owners live, said the
report, citing local daily Ambito Financiero.  

Earlier this year, however, the IMF allowed Argentina to defer
payment on US$6.8 billion debts on condition that it won't
extend the ban.  Several banks have complained that the ban has
hurt their ability to act against borrowers, recoup losses and
stabilize the financial system.

The IMF has yet to issue a statement regarding the matter.


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B E R M U D A
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GLOBAL CROSSING: Offers Military Family Members Special Rates
-------------------------------------------------------------
To help family members of military personnel stay connected
during the current conflict in Iraq, Global Crossing announced
Thursday the availability of Home Connections (SM) -- a special,
low-cost calling plan for residential phone customers.

With Home Connections, spouses and dependent children of active,
retired or reserve military personnel can stay in touch with
each other for a special low rate of four cents per minute for
state-to-state calls, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  In
addition, eligible family members can connect with loved ones
abroad with discounts of up to 45 percent on calls made to
countries including Bahrain, Bosnia, Kuwait, Qatar, Serbia and
Turkey.

International discounts of 10 percent apply to many other
countries throughout Europe, the Middle East and Asia, with no
monthly services charges or minimum monthly usage limits.

"We're honored to offer military families a way to stay in touch
with each other more affordably," said John Legere, Global
Crossing's chief executive officer. "This is our small way of
showing our support for our troops in these difficult times."

ABOUT GLOBAL CROSSING

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
services.

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 18, 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.

CONTACT:  GLOBAL CROSSING
          Press Contacts
          Tom Topalian
          Phone: + 1 973-410-5947
          Email: Thomas.Topalian@globalcrossing.com

          Analysts/Investors Contact
          Ken Simril
          Phone: + 1 310-385-3838
          Email: investors@globalcrossing.com


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B R A Z I L
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ARACRUZ CELULOSE: Books BRL320 Million First Quarter Net Profit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Aracruz Celulose, the world's largest producer of bleached
eucalyptus pulp, recorded another high in terms of net profit,
which the company credited on its new production unit, says
Reuters.

According to the company, net profit for the first quarter of
2003 surged to BRL320 million (US$58.5 million under US GAAP
accounting rules) from just BRL22 million in the same period
last year.  Net revenue also leapt 157% to BRL763 million on
record output of 497,000 tonnes.

The company credited the positive first quarter figures on its
new production unit in the State of Espirito Santo and the
improvement in pulp prices, which rose to US$479 per tonne from
US$425.  The results caused the company's ADRs to surge to 57
cents, beating a market forecast of 34 cents per ADR, says
Reuters, citing Thomson First Call research service.

The firm said an average increase of $60 per tonne in wood pulp
prices and the appreciation of Brazil's currency in the first
three months of the year boosted the bottom line.  Aracruz's
eucalyptus pulp is used to make a range of papers from toilet
tissue to writing pads.  Aracruz said it was operating at full
capacity, like much of the pulp and paper sector, with 166,000
tonnes in stock, or 29 days of output, at the end of March.

Earnings before tax, interest, depreciation and amortization
(EBITDA) rose 281 percent to BRL437 million (US$121 million).
Aracruz said the appreciation of Brazil's real against the U.S.
dollar during the period helped reduce the cost of its dollar-
linked debts.  


SOUTHERN ELECTRIC: Solons Want Cemig 2002 Dividend Garnished
------------------------------------------------------------
Some legislators of the State of Minas Gerais have suggested
seizing the dividends paid by state power firm, Cemig, to
Southern Electric Brasil in order to cover its debt to national
development bank, BNDES.

According to Business News Americas, Cemig paid Southern
Electric Brasil, a unit of AES Corp., at least BRL32 million
last year and a total of BRL235 million since 1997.  Southern
Electric has an outstanding BRL83 million interest due the BNDES
that it might not be able to meet when it falls due next month.  
Thus, the suggestion of the legislators.

The paper says Southern Electric incurred the debt when it
purchased 33% of Cemig's ordinary shares for US$650 million in
May 1997.  The company currently holds a 14% stake in the
company.

Cemig President Djalma Morais told Business News Americas he was
powerless to freeze the dividend payments to Southern Electric.  
He, however, does not see any negative impact of a Southern
Electric default on the State of Minas Gerais or any of its
institution, given that the loan was taken from a federally
owned bank.

Still, Jo Moraes of the Brazilian Communist Pary (PCdoB)
suggested asking BNDES what mechanisms are available to seize
the dividends in case of non-payment.  Domingos Savio of the
Brazilian Social Democracy Party (PSDB) also said the Minas
Gerais representatives in congress should be mobilized to ensure
the country is not affected by a possible default.

AES Corp. owns 65% of Southern Electric.  The other known
shareholders are local investment group Opportunity and US-based
Mirant (formerly Southern Electric), which recently sold out of
the energy concern to an undisclosed buyer, the paper said.


VESPER: Communications Minister Chides Anatel for Fickle Ruling
---------------------------------------------------------------
Vesper, the competitive local exchange carrier majority-owned by
U.S. chipset developer Qualcomm, accused Brazil's telecom
regulator, Anatel, of being inconsistent, after handing a
crucial ruling against the company last week.

The regulator disallowed the company from proceeding with its
plan to use its 1900MHz fixed wireless network to offer full-
fledged mobile operations.  The decision, although not yet
final, could reportedly forced the company to close shop.

In November last year, Vesper spent US$84.4 million on three
mobile licenses, which are tied to the 1800MHz band.  It did so,
however, believing that it could use the license on its CDMA
1900MHz network as a "secondary" operations on top of fixed
wireless services.  The company based its assumption on Anatel's
resolution 314, published two months prior to the license
auction, and the ministry of communications' opinion.  

Communications Minister Miro Teixeira also criticized the
regulator's decision: "Anatel looks at best inconsistent because
it published Resolution 314 and then retracted it.  The minister
of communication will look weak because the decision would be
against his stated preference."

Meanwhile, the contentious decision will also apply yo other
local telecom operators such as Vivo, Brazil's only CDMA player,
and Brasil Telecom, which also would like to use its existing
1900MHz license to launch mobile operations.  The latter is now
expected to opt for GSM technology, which will require it to
build out a new network on the 1800MHz band, as stipulated in
the regulations tied to the PCS licenses sold in November, says
the paper.


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


ENDESA: Highway Construction Unit Sale Now Free of Roadblocks
-------------------------------------------------------------
The sale of Infraestructura 2000, a subsidiary of Chilean power
firm Endesa, is now cleared of obstacles, says Reuters.  

Spain's OHL had earlier urged the highway construction
subsidiary to issue US$85 million in domestic securities before
it would agree to buy the firm.  The Spanish company wants the
unit to pay all its obligations to Endesa before acquiring it
for US$200 million.

The bond placement, according to Reuters, was completed
Wednesday last week, with US$70 million going to Endesa's books.
Autopista de los Libertadores, an Infraestructura subsidiary,
issued the bonds.

Endesa confirmed the bond issue, but did not say when the sale
of Infraestructura to OHL will take place.  The sale is part of
a broader plan by Endesa and its parent company, Enersis, to
reduce their debt through asset sales and a capital increase for
up to US$2 billion.


ENERSIS: Debt Refinancing Completion Within Weeks, Says Analyst
---------------------------------------------------------------
With improved liquidity following the sale of US$487 million in
assets, market observers expect Enersis to complete its US$2.3
billion debt refinancing within weeks, Business News Americas
says.

Bear Stearns Analyst Gabriel Salas, in an interview with
Business News Americas, predicts lenders will likely open up
their credit lines to the company once more.  "If I was a
creditor I would be willing to lend money to Enersis now rather
than before because now I know they have all this liquidity
following the sale of assets, the equity increase and the US$1.1
billion placement by the lead banks."

Business News Americas says Enersis raised US$174 million from
the sale of the Canutillar hydro plant belonging to generation
subsidiary Endesa, US$203 million from the disposal of power
distributor Rio Maipo, and US$110 million from the sale of its
northern transmission lines.  Company shareholders also approved
a US$2 billion capital increase.

The US$1.1 billion refinancing agreement forged by Enersis and
generation subsidiary, Endesa Chile, with four banks in March
also helped, according to the paper.  The banks are BBVA,
Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein, Salomon Smith Barney and
Santander Central Hispano Investment Securities.

"It helped a lot that the lead banks took over almost 50% of the
package because it tells the other banks that the leaders are
committed to it," Mr. Salas said.  The remaining US$1.2bn debt
is a syndicated loan with 30 banks, which is being managed by
the Dresdner, Citibank, and BBVA banks.

Out of this refinancing deal, Enersis got US$1.6 billion, while
Endesa took home US$700 million.  The refinancing bumps the due
date to 2008, and establishes biannual payments starting 30
months after the agreement comes into force.

"If Enersis can complete this refinancing in the next few weeks
it will avert any kind of liquidity crisis over the next two
years," Mr. Salas told Business News Americas.


GUACOLDA: Fitch Assigns 'BBB' to US$150 Mln New Securities
----------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has assigned a foreign currency rating of 'BBB' to
the US$150 million, senior secured loan participation
certificates due on April 30, 2013, issued by Empresa Electrica
Guacolda S.A.  The certificates will have an average life of 7.1
years, a 12-month grace period and semiannual interest and
amortization payments on April 30 and October 30 of each year.
Proceeds from the issuance will be used to refinance outstanding
debt at Guacolda.  The company will purchase all of the US$52
million net outstanding participation certificates in the
Merrill Lynch loan agreement and prepay the US$48.8 million
outstanding loan under the Mitsubishi credit facility and the
US$35.3 million local syndicated loan.  The remaining proceeds
will be used to fund a portion of the reserve amount, pay
related expenses, and for general corporate purposes.

The rating of Guacolda is supported by its competitive position,
sound operating and commercial strategies, long-term contract
cover and growing electricity demand in the region.  Guacolda's
ongoing strategy has been to stabilize revenue streams and
reduce competitive risks by entering into long-term contracts
for most of its firm capacity, primarily with a financially
strong electric distribution company and mining and industrial
companies located nearby.  At present, 89% of the company's
total capacity is committed under contract with an average term
of 9.6 years.  In 2004 and 2005, approximately 22% of the amount
contracted will expire.  The majority of these contracts are
expected to be renewed.  The expectation is supported by the
company's competitive position.  Un-contracted remaining
capacity is sold in the spot market.

Guacolda's generating units are two of the lowest marginal cost
coal-fired facilities in the Central Interconnected System (SIC)
and are therefore among the first thermoelectric units to be
dispatched in the system.  The units are in excellent condition,
having recently completed their general maintenance cycles.  The
company's geographical location, which is in close proximity to
its customers, provides Guacolda with a cost advantage relative
to other generators located in the south, including the combined
cycle gas-fired plants located near Santiago.  Additional
competitive advantages include the following: a low fuel
transportation cost profile that is not subject to the
restrictions of the fixed contract associated with gas
generation facilities, alternative storage of coal near the
plants, diversification of fuel sources, flexibility in supply
contracts and no exposure to pipeline failure risk.

In 2002, Guacolda had operating revenues of US$88 million,
EBITDA of US$42 million and debt of US$192 million. These
figures result in a total debt-to-EBITDA ratio of 4.6 times (x)
and an EBITDA-to-interest expense ratio of 2.9x, which are
consistent with the assigned rating given the companies many
project like characteristics.  Following the proposed debt
issuance, Fitch expects relatively stable credit-protection
measures, primarily reflecting stable operating cash flows, low
future capital expenditures and a more manageable amortization
schedule.

Guacolda is a Chilean electric-generating company that operates
a 304-MW coal-fired plant (two 152-MW units) in Huasco, which is
located in the third region of Chile, 710 km to the north of
Santiago, in the northern part of the SIC.  Guacolda is owned by
Gener (50%, rated 'B+' by Fitch), COPEC (25%, rated 'BBB+' by
Fitch) and Ultra Terra (25%).

For additional information, contact:

Giovanny Grosso (Chicago)
Phone: +1-312-368-2074

Jason Todd (Chicago)
Phone: +1-312-368-3217

Carlos Diez (Santiago)
Phone: +562-206-7171, ext. 25

Matt Burkhard (Media Relations/New York)
Phone: +1-212-908-0540


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D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C
===================================


BANCO INTERCONTINENTAL: Fitch Cuts Ratings to 'E' from 'D'
----------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings, the international rating agency, has downgraded
to 'E' from 'D' the Individual rating of Banco Intercontinental
(BanInter) in the Dominican Republic and affirmed the 'BB-'
long-term foreign currency (stable rating outlook) and 'B'
short-term foreign ratings as well as the '4T' support rating
assigned to BanInter.  The long-term rating is in line with our
assessment of the sovereign. This action follows the
announcement by the Banco Central de la Republica Dominicana
that it would take over control and management of BanInter on
April 8, 2003.

On March 24, 2003, the shareholders of Grupo Progreso (main
shareholder of BDP) reached a preliminary agreement with
BanInter's majority shareholders, the Baez family, to buy 90% of
BanInter.  The agreement also included the purchase from the
Baez family of its stakes in La Intercontinental de Seguros, the
second largest insurance company in the country and BanInter &
Trust Co., an offshore bank located in the Cayman Islands.  On
that date the Junta Monetaria announced that they were informed
about the proposed operation and had no objections with the
acquisition and proposed merger.  After reviewing BanInter's
financial information and taking into consideration other issues
related with the acquisition, on April 7, 2003, the 'Junta
Monetaria' decided to withdraw its previous statement and
transfer BanInter's control to the Central Bank.

In a statement issued on April 8, the Central Bank indicated
that it would name an executive team of three experienced
bankers (two of which have already been named), who will manage
BanInter going forward.  It is the Central Bank's intention to
keep BanInter open and operating under its current name.  The
Central Bank further stated that it guarantees all of BanInter's
deposits; in contact with a member of the aforementioned
management team appointed by the Central Bank, Fitch Ratings has
been told that the Central Bank intends to honor all third party
obligations of BanInter.

The lowering of BanInter's individual rating reflects the
determination by the local authorities that the bank required
support to continue its normal operations.  The affirmation of
the support and long-term foreign currency ratings reflect the
action taken by the Central Bank to assure depositors and
creditors of BanInter that it stands behind the bank's
obligations.

In July 2002 Fitch Ratings downgraded the individual rating of
BanInter to 'D' from 'C/D' given the diminishing levels of the
bank's equity as a consequence of rapid asset growth, the
quality of equity as it includes goodwill from past M&As and
limited operating flexibility, which was constrained by the high
proportion of fixed assets.  BanInter is the third largest bank
in the Dominican Republic, with a market share of around 13% at
end-2002.  Its traditional focus has been corporate banking but
in the past few years it has been steadily moving toward retail
and investment banking.  The bank has undergone a number of
mergers and acquisitions since 1998, the latest being in
November 2001, when it merged with Banco Osaka.

For more information, contact:

Franklin Santarelli (Caracas)
Phone: +58 212 286 3356

Carlos Fiorillo (Caracas)
Phone: +58 212 286 3232

Gustavo Lopez (New York)
Phone: +1-212-908-0853

Matt Burkhard (Media Relations/New York)
Phone:  +1-212-908-0540


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E C U A D O R
=============


PETROECUADOR: Row With Economy Ministry Could Lead to Strike
------------------------------------------------------------
The insistence of the economy ministry to cut Petroecuador's
budget by US$200 million this year could trigger a full-blown
strike, says Business News Americas.

The paper interviewed several oil workers recently who expressed
disappointment over the budget cut and the plan by the
government to award some of the company's projects to private
firms.  They called on Energy Minister Carlos Arboleda to resign
for failing to stand up for the company's interests.

Petroecuador workers union VP Mario Escobar complained that the
government is using 80% of the country's oil revenues to service
Ecuador's debt with the International Monetary Fund, while
leaving only 20% for public services.

In addition, Mr. Escobar questioned the government's recent
contracts signed with private sector companies: "Contracts
should not be based on the reserves of a particular [oil]field,
but on their production."

Meanwhile, the paper says, Petroecuador is still having trouble
with some private oil service companies that have not been paid
in months.  Some 270 workers of Ecuadorian company Llori
Hermanos have stopped work on four of Petroecuador' top
producing oil fields: Auca, Sacha, Shushufindi and Lago Agrio.

The finance manager of Petroecuador's production subsidiary
Petroproduccion, Francisco Jacome, said in a letter that all
debts had been paid to the company, but a Llori Hermanos
spokesperson contradicted the report, saying that
Petroproduccion is scheduled to pay US$103,000 this week.


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


CABLE & WIRELESS: Denies Holding Up Interconnection Talks
---------------------------------------------------------
Cable & Wireless Jamaica, which used to have a virtual monopoly
of the country's telephony services, has pointed back the blame
at the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) on why
interconnection talks with rivals have taken so long.

Reacting at the comments of J. Paul Morgan, director-general of
OUR, C&WJ Spokesman Errol Miller said the company has in fact
proceeded with negotiations even absent the approval of its
Reference Interconnect Offering (RIO).  Parties to the talks had
earlier agreed to use this document as basis for any
interconnection agreement, Mr. Miller told The Jamaica Gleaner.

About two weeks ago, Mr. Morgan said there was growing
dissatisfaction over the slow movement towards interconnection;
an essential facility to fully liberalized the local telephony
market.  

Mr. Miller denied this assertion, calling it "blatantly
misleading."  He added, "At no time has C&WJ behaved in any way
that would be prejudicial to any party which is seeking to
interconnect with our network."

A senior officer at one of the newly licensed companies, though
agreeing with OUR's observation, told The Jamaica Gleaner that
he did not believe that "C&WJ's inefficient handling" of the
arrangements for interconnection was intended to be a hostile
act.  He suggested instead that although his company maintains a
"guarded" relationship with C&WJ, the telecommunications giant
was more likely just ill-prepared for the March 1 opening up of
the telecommunications market.


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


ASARCO INC.: Concludes Restructuring with Sister's Help
-------------------------------------------------------
The financial restructuring of Asarco Inc. is now complete,
according to the company, thanks to Americas Mining Corp., which
shelled out US$765 million to help the company settle its
obligations.

Both are subsidiaries of Mexican minerals and transport
conglomerate, Grupo Mexico.  Business News Americas says AMC
rescued Asarco by buying its 54.4% stake in Southern Peru Copper
Corp. (SPCC).  The transaction allowed Asarco to reduce its net
debt by 77% to US$226 million and pay 100% of its US$550 million
short-term debt, on which it defaulted at the beginning of
February this year.

According to the paper, which cited a U.S. Securities Commission
disclosure, AMC paid Asarco US$500 million in cash, US$123.25
million and US$100 million in promissory notes A and B, and
cancelled US$41.75 million in debt.  AMC funded the deal through
a combination of working capital, capital contributions from
Grupo Mexico, and a US$310 million loan signed with Mexico's
Banco Inbursa on February 28.  In turn, the SPCC shares were
used to guarantee the Inbursa credit.

The paper says the deal also improved the general debt profile
of Grupo Mexico, which stood at US$2.9 billion as of December
31, 2002.  G-Mex now holds the majority stake in SPCC, followed
by Cerro Trading with 14.2%; Phoenix-based Phelps Dodge, 14%;
and other shareholders, 17.6%.  

SPCC is Peru's largest copper miner while G-Mex is the world's
third largest copper producer.


EMPRESAS ICA: Names J.P. Morgan Securities as Debt Talks Adviser
----------------------------------------------------------------
Engineering and construction group, Empresas ICA, has taken
serious steps towards initiating debt-restructuring talks with
creditors, appointing J.P. Morgan Securities last week as
adviser.

Dow Jones says the company is bent on improving its debt
portfolio, which includes a convertible bond that matures in
March next year.  The report did not specify when negotiations
with creditors will take place.

ICA was among the few major Mexican construction groups that had
to massively downsize and reduce debts during the economic
crisis of the late 1990s.  Recently, the company won two major
energy sector contracts, including a US$750 million
hydroelectricity project for the Federal Electricity Commission,
as the state-owned power utility is called.

ICA's total debt at the end of 2002 stood at MXN5.06 billion, of
which MXN1.12 billion are short-term debt.


PEMEX: To Invest US$3 Bln for New Ethylene, Aromatics Plants
------------------------------------------------------------
State-run Petroleos Mexicanos is going to build two
petrochemical plants within the next five years, said Bloomberg
last week, citing the La Reforma Newspaper.

According to the report, the company has started inviting
foreign and local contractors to bid for the project, which will
cost US$3 billion to complete.  The two plants will manufacture
ethylene and aromatics, and will generate 15,000 jobs, of which
2,500 will be permanent.

The company will release further details of the plan over the
next few weeks, the local paper said.


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


BWIA: Launches New Business Model
---------------------------------
BWIA West Indies Airways unveiled its New Business Model 2003
last week, which will position the airline as an efficient
player in the fiercely competitive global airline industry.  
Several key strategies have been identified as critical to the
future success of the airline including Aircraft Reduction and
Fleet Simplification as well as significant reductions in
Operating Costs.

In order to achieve the required cost reductions; the Airline
has redirected focused on its Ramp, Maintenance and Duty Free
Operations.  Part of the Maintenance Department, and the entire
Ramp and Duty Free Operations will be outsourced to independent
contractors.  The airline, which has an unblemished safety
record, will continue to carry out routine aircraft maintenance
and checks at Piarco, Trinidad. Annual heavy checks will be
outsourced.

This move will result in aligning BWIA's practices to other
successful international airlines, which continue to focus on
their core business.

Over the past 24 hours, the airline has been issuing separation
notices to 617 employees and has complied with all legal and
regulatory requirements.  While this separation process has been
difficult for the airline, it has become necessary to ensure the
future viability of the airline.

The new BWIA Business Model will ensure that the airline meets
the targets set by the Government of the Republic of Trinidad
and Tobago, BWIA's Board of Directors and Shareholders.

To view a copy of the business plan, click on these links:

[Page 1] http://bankrupt.com/misc/bwia_p1.pdf

[Page 2] http://bankrupt.com/misc/bwia_p2.pdf

[Page 3] http://bankrupt.com/misc/bwia_p3.pdf

[Page 4] http://bankrupt.com/misc/bwia_p4.pdf


BWIA: Businessmen Give Nebulous Support for Turnaround Plan
-----------------------------------------------------------
BWIA's quest to keep flying appears to be getting the support of
businessmen after meeting with company officials to see the
carrier's new business plan.

Although the meeting was held behind closed doors -- with few  
willing to comment afterwards -- The Trinidad Guardian said CEO
Conrad Aleong appeared elated emerging from the 75-minute
caucus.  The meeting came just a day after BWIA's management
sent the business plan to the government, which had set this as
a requirement before releasing additional state funds.  Prime
Minister Patrick Manning met with his Cabinet Thursday last week
to deliberate whether the State should give BWIA the additional
bailout.

Among those who attended the meeting were David O'Brien,
president of the Trinidad & Tobago Chamber of Industry and
Commerce; Anthony Hosang, president of the Trinidad & Tobago
Manufacturers Association and Dr. Brian Harry, president of the
Tourism and Industrial Development Company of Trinidad & Tobago.

As Mr. O'Brien made his way out of the meeting, he said Mr.
Aleong gave a presentation of the new BWIA business plan.  He
said the State may be BWIA's last hope but expressed the private
sector's full support for the airline.

"We have a role to play in supporting and lobbying for
Government to participate in keeping BWIA in the air. The other
private sector agencies don't have capital to put into BWIA, but
we certainly have an interest in BWIA and I think all of
Trinidad & Tobago business is concerned about BWIA," he told the
Guardian.

In a press release, the Chamber said the nation needs BWIA since
it contributes over $460 million to the local economy and is a
net earner of foreign exchange since it earns 80% of its total
gross revenue outside of the country in US, UK and other
currencies.

"We certainly support their position and hopefully the
Government will find a mechanism to keep BWIA flying," Mr.
O'Brien said.

Mr. Aleong gave no comments, so did Mr. Deane, the only BWIA
director who attended the meeting.  A BWIA source told the
Guardian that management will not issue any statements until it
receives a response from the government concerning its new
business plan.


BWIA: Government Obligated to Protect Airline, Says Director
------------------------------------------------------------
A veteran BWIA director likens the carrier to a utility similar
to the rail systems or highways in other countries; therefore it
is incumbent upon the government to keep the airline flying.

The unnamed director, in an interview with The Trinidad
Guardian, argued that unlike Europe and North America, airline
service is a critical mode of transport in the Caribbean.  He
said it is the government's responsibility to ensure that there
are affordable air links between Trinidad & Tobago and the
outside world.

He denies accusations that the company is not properly managed.
On the contrary, he said, since the appointment of CEO Conrad
Aleong, the carrier managed to net profits in 1998, 1999 and
2000.  If not for the slump in air travel following 9/11, the
airline would have booked a profit four years in a row.  The
company ended last year with a US$29 million deficit.

The BWIA director noted, however, that last year's losses were
beyond the control of the BWIA board and management and that
among the roadblocks to the airline's success were factors
within government's control.  He said the Air Transport
Licensing Authority is to blame, among others, for its failure
to regulate the prices charged by BWIA's competition -- both the
charter airlines that operate the North American routes and
Caribbean Star, which flies within the Caribbean.


CARONI: Union Members Want Their VSEP, Says Agriculture Minister
----------------------------------------------------------------
Agriculture Minister John Rahael claims most union members are
actually in favor of the government's Voluntary Separation of
Employment Package, an integral part of Caroni (1975) Ltd's
turnaround plan.

Mr. Rahael made the assertion after meeting with a delegation of
daily-paid workers, who told him that union leaders did not
consult them about the plan to enjoin Caroni from offering its
9,000 members the VSEP.

The All Trinidad Sugar and General Workers' Trade Union
(ATSGWTU) filed the injunction on March 28, five days before the
deadline for acceptance.  The hearing is scheduled for May 7,
The Trinidad Guardian said.

ATSGWTU President Rudranath Indarsingh, for his part, called the
meeting "contemptuous" and urged the industrial court where the
injunction is pending to penalize the minister.

"A Minister doesn't seek to bulldoze his way though the
Industrial Court of Trinidad and Tobago. This reeks of political
interference," Mr. Indarsingh said.  "Again, it shows the high-
handedness of Rahael.  This is treating the Industrial Court
with the most contemptuous behavior."

"The Minister has shown he has no appreciation for the
established process laid out by the Industrial Court and he
should be held in contempt for his behavior," he added.

An Industrial Court judge, however, disagreed.  He said he did
not see Mr. Rahael's behavior as bordering on contempt: "Rahael
has no locus standi in the matter.  He is just farse.  But he
could ask for the injunction to be overturned."

Mr. Rahael called on union members to urge their leaders to
withdraw the injunction: "It seems as though the majority of
workers want to take the offer and I think it would be good if
you can prevail upon the union to lift the injunction and allow
the VSEP to proceed, failing which, we will have to wait on the
court to make the decision."


=============
U R U G U A Y
=============


ANCAP: S&P Grade Unchanged Despite Uruguay's Sovereign Downgrade
----------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said Thursday that the
recently announced debt exchange of the Republic of Uruguay
(CC/Negative/C) has no impact on the ratings or outlook of
Administracion Nacional de Combustibles, Alcohol y Portland
(ANCAP, CCC/Negative/--).  Although the exchange resulted in a
downgrade of Uruguay and despite the fact that ANCAP is solely
owned by the government, ANCAP's debt is not included in the
exchange and Standard & Poor's does not perceive a variation in
the government's willingness to interfere with the company's
cash to serve its financial obligations.  Unless these factors
change, the rating on ANCAP will not change even if the
government ratings are lowered to selective default when the
exchange is completed.

For more information, contact:
   
Pablo Lutereau (Buenos Aires)
Phone: (54) 114-891-2125

Marta Castelli (Buenos Aires)
Phone: (54) 114-891-2128


URUGUAYAN BANKS: Employees Protest Mass Layoff in Banking Sector
----------------------------------------------------------------
Members of the Association of Uruguayan Bank Employees went on
strike Wednesday and Thursday last week to protest the mass
firings in the sector, said Xinhua News Agency.  During the two
days, clearings were affected with only automatic teller
machines left working.  Payment of wages and pensions were
unaffected, however, said the news agency.

According to the union, 700 employees lost their jobs at Credit
Bank following its liquidation, while 500 workers in state-run,
Bank Hipotecario, could lose their jobs in the plan currently
backed by the government to restructure the ailing bank.  The
AEBU members are demanding the government to relocate workers
who lose their jobs.


* S&P Lowers Uruguay to 'CC' from 'CCC' Due to Exchange Offer
-------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services announced Thursday that it
lowered its long-term sovereign credit ratings on the Oriental
Republic of Uruguay to 'CC' from 'CCC'.  The outlook remains
negative.
     
The downgrade follows the republic's recently announced exchange
offer to holders of local and global bonds that seeks to extend
Uruguay's maturity schedule at interest rates similar to those
in existing bond agreements.

The government is expected to announce the results of the
exchange offer on May 16, 2003 (unless extended).  If the
exchange offer is successful (namely, if a sufficient number of
eligible bondholders participate and the government agrees to
proceed with the exchange), Standard & Poor's will then lower
its long-term sovereign credit ratings on the republic to
selected default ('SD') from 'CC' on or around May 16, 2003, and
the exchanged bonds will be rated 'D'.
     
Standard & Poor's considers the transaction to be a distressed
exchange, given the comparison between the interest rates
offered and current market rates, and the consequences should
the exchange fail.  Uruguay's fiscal position, amortization
schedule, and near-term macroeconomic outlook imply that
existing bondholders have few alternatives to accepting the
exchange offer.
     
If the new offer closes (on or around May 21, 2003), Standard &
Poor's will then consider the 'SD' to be cured.  Uruguay's
sovereign credit rating could then be raised to the low 'B'
category, reflecting a forward-looking assessment of the
republic's creditworthiness.  Beyond strengthening the
amortization profile of Uruguay's central government debt, the
exchange offer is likely to improve investor expectations.  
Coupled with the government's commitment to engineer a sustained
fiscal adjustment, improved expectations should enable real
interest rates to fall and business confidence to rise.  This in
turn, could put the government's robust growth projections -- 4%
per annum for several years, beginning in 2004 -- within reach.
     
Should the exchange offer not be accepted by a sufficient number
of bondholders and, hence, the government, Uruguay's long-term
sovereign credit rating would remain at 'CC'.  This would
reflect the high risk of a default this year, given (1) lack of
access to the market, and (2) the likely unavailability of
official financing (the revised Stand-By Credit Arrangement with
the International Monetary Fund is predicated on a successful
exchange offer).

For more information, contact:

Lisa M Schineller (New York)
Phone: (1) 212-438-7352

Sebastian Briozzo (New York)
Phone: 212-438-7342

Jane Eddy (New York)
Phone: (1) 212-438-7996


* Fitch Downgrades Uruguay's Ratings to Near-default Status
-----------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings on Thursday lowered its ratings on Uruguay's long-
term foreign currency debt to 'C' from 'CCC-' on the
announcement of a comprehensive foreign currency debt exchange.  
Fitch deems this exchange to be a distressed debt exchange, as
bondholders will suffer a loss in economic terms.  Upon
completion of the exchange, scheduled for May 15, Fitch Ratings
will place eligible bonds, as well as Uruguay's foreign currency
issuer rating, in a default category.  The long-term local
currency ratings remain at 'CCC-', as local currency obligations
are not included in the exchange.  The short-term foreign and
local currency ratings remain at 'C'.

The government of Uruguay announced Thursday that it will
exchange all of its foreign-currency denominated bonds
outstanding for new bonds with maturities of at least five years
longer.  Although the 7.875% bonds due 2003 will be eligible for
a marginal cash payment up front, as will non-collateralized
Brady bonds, and certain other bonds will be eligible for
marginal increases in coupons, the exchange imposes an
unambiguous loss for all bondholders in present value terms.
Furthermore, bondholders that elect not to participate in the
exchange will face unfavorable exit amendments including the
elimination of cross-default clauses on their existing
contracts, the waiver of sovereign immunity on new bonds, and
delisting the outstanding bonds from the Luxembourg and
Montevideo Stock Exchanges.  These changes to the original
contract would appear to be permissible under existing bond
contracts, given support from the majority of holders tendering
bonds for the exchange, but would nonetheless be harmful to
'holdout' investors.  Finally, the government has stated that if
the exchange fails, Uruguay may not be able to continue to
service its debt obligations, even during 2003, underscoring the
government's financial distress.

Upon completion of the exchange, Fitch would lower the ratings
on eligible bonds to a default category.  In accordance with
Fitch's practice in distressed debt exchanges, existing bonds
would retain a default rating for at least 30 days.  After 30
days, if the government is committed to continuing to pay
principal and interest on any outstanding defaulted bonds
according to their original terms, the ratings on these
securities would be raised to a non-default rating to the extent
that they are not fully extinguished through tenders.  New
securities issued as part of the exchange would be assigned a
non-default rating based on Fitch's assessment of the likelihood
of timely and complete payment, potentially at the 'B-' level,
assuming that the new debt service burden resulting from the
exchange is manageable in the context of a credible fiscal
program and that other negative developments, including severe
stress in the domestic banking sector, do not obtain.  A final
determination of the appropriate rating for the new bonds would
be made when they are issued.  Bonds eligible for tender in the
debt exchange and not fully extinguished would likely be rated
below the new issues on the expectation that the government
would make a distinction in its willingness to pay new bonds
before exchange-eligible bonds.

If the exchange is successful, Uruguay's liquidity position
could improve considerably.  Scheduled 2004 and 2005
amortizations would be due almost entirely to official
creditors.  These obligations would likely be refinanced,
assuming IMF performance criteria are met, providing authorities
with breathing room to make improvements to public finances and
the country's competitiveness.  Assuming a 90% pickup in the
exchange, 2004 market amortizations would amount to 0.2% of GDP
or 0.8% of government revenues.  Market amortizations would
remain very low through 2008, with the exception of
approximately US$107 million in payments on bonds with original
maturity in 2003 that would be extended to 2006.  Total debt
service, including repayments to multi-laterals, would be
considerably reduced, declining to 12% of GDP in 2004 from 25%
in 2003 (equivalent to 39% of revenues in 2004 from 81% of
revenues in 2003).  All of the adjustment in debt service would
come from lower scheduled amortizations because interest
payments would not be substantially altered by the exchange.


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


PDVSA: Signs Supply Contract for Orimulsion as Demand Increases
---------------------------------------------------------------
State-run oil company, PDVSA, disclosed last week that it has
entered into one-year renewable contract to supply a Korean
power firm with 300,000 tonnes of orimulsion.

The company, according to Business News Americas, identified the
Korean partner as Southern Power (Kospo), which bought 25,000
tonnes of orimulsion from the company in January.  Orimulsion is
a heavy grade fuel used for power generation.  Accordingly,
Kospo uses about 600,000 tonnes of orimulsion a year.

PDVSA has seen an increased in demand for the heavy grade fuel
in recent months, especially from South Korea, which is
experiencing a long winter.  Japan has also up orders due to the
closure of its nuclear power plants on security concerns.

PDVSA subsidiary Bitor manufactures orimulsion for the group.


                           ***********


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

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