TCRLA_Public/030704.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, July 4, 2003, Vol. 4, Issue 131



AEROPUERTOS ARGENTINA: Court Charges Owner With Tax Evasion
AHOLD: Dutch Court Taps Former Execs For Testimony
COIMSA SA: Court Orders Bankruptcy On Banco Bisel's Request
CORREO ARGENTINO: Government Denies Debt Claims
GUSTAVO C. LOPEZ: Seeks To Hold Creditors Meeting

HANONO SA: Creditor's Request Yields Bankruptcy Declaration
TELEFONICA DE ARGENTINA: Parent Sues Over Rate Freeze


ALPHASTAR INSURANCE: Financials Delayed, NASDAQ Sets Delisting
MRM: Judge Orders Legion Insurance's Liquidation


EMPRELPAZ: Failure To Make Payments Leads to Intervention


FIBERCORE INC.: Xtal Liable for $5.3 Million Arbitration Award
KLABIN: Plans To Sell Bacell For $150M
LABORATORIO ENILA: Declared Bankrupt by Rio de Janeiro Court
LIGHT SERVICOS: Dismissal of Adviser Highlights Strategic Change
LIGHT: Debt Payment Delay Request Spurs BNDES Fears


ENDESA CHILE: Settles Conflict With SEC
ENERSIS: Reduces Debt Thru Asset Sales, Debt Refinancing

E L   S A L V A D O R

INTERNACIONAL SEGUROS: Fitch Recommends Cash Call For Owners


GRUPO IUSACEL: Fitch Ratings Lowers Credit Rating to 'D'


BLADEX: S&P Affirms Ratings; Revises Outlook to Stable


SIDERPERU: Creditors Reject Revision to Debt Repayment Terms

T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

CARONI: Rao Reveals Details of Land Use Plan


EDC: Fitch Upgrades Currency Ratings, Stable Outlook

     - - - - - - - - - -


AEROPUERTOS ARGENTINA: Court Charges Owner With Tax Evasion
An Argentine court charged businessman Eduardo Eurnekian with
evading ARS14 million (US$5 million) in taxes, and ordered him to
turn himself in to a criminal court within five days, reports
Bloomberg. Mr. Eurnekian owns Aeropuertos Argentina 2000 (AA2000)
- concessionaire of the country's 33 airports,

Citing a statement from the Federal Revenue Agency (AFIP, by its
Spanish initials), the report also reveals that the court froze
Eurnekian's assets worth ARS40 million.

The case against Mr. Eurnekian began as a result of a complaint
filed by AFIP charging that the entrepreneur had failed to
disclose money sent abroad as part of his assets. The funds were
transferred between 1995 and 1997 to a trust fund managed by Citi
Trust Limited, in the Cayman Islands, and Itk Trust Company
Limited, of Bahamas.

AFIP claimed that the transferred money was derived from the sale
of Eurnekian's shares in the cable television network
Cablevision. The agency said that Eurnekian disclosed these
remittances in his tax statement as "foreign expenses or

AHOLD: Dutch Court Taps Former Execs For Testimony
Former executives of Royal Ahold will be called to testify in a
Dutch court in a case filed by Chilean food retailer Distribucion
y Servicio D&S SA, Bloomberg reports, citing Telegraaf. The
executives being summoned to the Dutch court in Haarlem include
Royal Ahold NV's former Chief Executive Cees van der Hoeven,
former chief financial officer Michiel Meurs and Alan Noddle,
former head of Latin America and Asia.

D&S and Royal Ahold are locked in a US$45-million debt dispute,
which stems from the purchase of Ekono by Ahold's Disco unit for
US$150 million, of which US$60 million was paid at the time,
Telegraaf recounts.

Of the remaining US$90 million, only half was later paid after
the Argentine peso dropped in value, says the paper. D&S claims
the debt was owed in dollars and is claiming another $45 million,
according to the report.

COIMSA SA: Court Orders Bankruptcy On Banco Bisel's Request
Buenos Aires court No. 8 under Dr. Gonz lez and office No. 16
under Dr. Saravia ordered the bankruptcy of local textile company
Coimsa SA. The order came at the behest of Banco Bisel SA. The
Company, which is located at No. 833 Alsina St. Buenos Aires,
owes the bank some ARS5,000.

Ricardo Sukiassian of No. 1002 San Martin St., 2 floor "B", has
been assigned receiver. Claims verification is slated to run
through September 9th.

CORREO ARGENTINO: Government Denies Debt Claims
Argentine President Nestor Kirchner completely discredited all
the claims made by postal concessionaire Correo Argentino, a unit
of local holding Sideco, related to supposed due debts of the
federal government with the firm. Correo Argentino alleged the
government owes it some ARS1 billion, as a result of unpaid
services and unfulfilled commitments.

During a meeting with legislators, the minister of Federal
Planning, Public Investment and Services, Julio De Vido, said
that several official organizations had negatively evaluated the
claims and added, there is no debt with the concessionaire. De
Vido also estimated that Correo Argentino owes the State
ARS408.36 million in unpaid fees.

GUSTAVO C. LOPEZ: Seeks To Hold Creditors Meeting
Argentine maker of agricultural products Gustavo Lopez y Cia.
S.A., which recently presented its motion for "Concurso
Preventivo" to Court No. 16 of Buenos Aires, requested its own
creditors meeting. The Company, which ceased making payments to
creditors in December last year, did not indicate when and where
the proposed meeting would be held.

CONTACT:  Gustavo Lopez y Cia. S.A.
          Paraguay 1551
          Piso 3
          Buenos Aires

HANONO SA: Creditor's Request Yields Bankruptcy Declaration
Court No. 24 under doctor Ballerini, and office No. 48 under
doctor Daz declared nursery Hanono SA bankrupt at the request of
Irma Gimenez. The Company, located at Moreno No. 3545 Moreno St.,
owed Gimenez some ARS58,829.47 in debts.

Graciela Lisarrague of Tte. Gral. Juan Domingo Peron St. No.
1509, 2 floor "F" has been assigned receiver. Claims will be
verified until September 1st.

TELEFONICA DE ARGENTINA: Parent Sues Over Rate Freeze
Telefonica SA, Spain's largest phone company, filed a lawsuit
against Argentina seeking compensation for losses incurred in the
South American country due to the devaluation of the local
currency and a subsequent ban on telephone rate increases. The
Madrid-based company indicated in its annual report to the U.S.
Securities Exchange Commission that the suit, which was filed
with the international court on April 23, was sparked by the
rupture of a 1997 accord between Spain and Argentina on the
reciprocal protection of investments.

Telefonica maintains that the Argentine government broke the
accord by approving an emergency economic measure last year
banning telephone rate hikes.

The Spanish firm is seeking compensation for "the losses of our
investment in Telefonica de Argentina incurred" due to the "peso-
ization" of the country's economy and the ban on rate increases.

Telefonica registered nearly US$5.58 billion in losses last year,
which it attributed to fiscal problems and the Argentine crisis,
saying it would have shown a US$2.2 billion profit otherwise.

According to a May press release from Telefonica de Argentina,
the firm has lost US$2.67 billion since January 2002 "as a direct
result of devaluation, inflation, the peso-ization and the ban on
rate increases."

Argentina, which defaulted on US$95 billion of bonds December
2001 and devalued the currency a month later, froze utility
prices in an effort to reduce inflation, which reached 40 percent
last year. Utility companies have said they won't invest in their
Argentine businesses and may leave the country if they aren't
allowed to raise rates.

          Tucuman 1, 18th Floor, 1049
          Buenos Aires, Argentina
          Phone: (212) 688-6840
          Home Page:
          Carlos Fernandez-Prida Mendez Nunez, Chairman
          Paul Burton Savoldelli, Vice Chairman
          Fernando Raul Borio, Secretary


ALPHASTAR INSURANCE: Financials Delayed, NASDAQ Sets Delisting
AlphaStar Insurance Group Limited (Nasdaq: ASIGE) reported on
July 1st that the Nasdaq Listing Qualifications Department has
notified the Company that its securities will be delisted unless
it is able to demonstrate by July 11, 2003 the Company's full
compliance with the requirements for continued listing on The
Nasdaq Small Cap Market. The Company had previously reported that
it had not timely filed its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the
fiscal year ended December 31, 2002 or its Quarterly Report on
Form 10-Q for the quarterly period ended March 31, 2003. The
Company therefore is not in compliance with the filing
requirements for continued listing set forth in NASD Marketplace
Rule 4310 c(14), which requires that Nasdaq issuers timely file
their periodic reports in compliance with the reporting
obligations under the federal securities laws.

The Company indicated that its Form 10-K remains in the final
stages of review by the Company's auditors, and that the Company
remains optimistic that the auditors can complete their review in
time to meet the NASD deadline. The Company further anticipates
that its Form 10-Q for the first quarter of 2003 also should be
able to be filed prior to the deadline. The Company continues to
believe that neither the 10-K nor the 10-Q will reflect any
restatement of prior results (except to reflect certain
discontinued operations).

As of the opening of business on April 22, 2002, the Company's
trading symbol, "ASIG", was amended to include the fifth
character "E" to denote the Company's filing delinquency.

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

MRM: Judge Orders Legion Insurance's Liquidation
A Pennsylvania judge ordered the liquidation of insurance company
Legion Insurance Co., which is owned by Bermuda-based Mutual Risk
Management, The Royal Gazette reports. Commonwealth Court Judge
Hannah Mary Leavitt, who ordered the liquidation, also said that
it would have been cheaper to allow the Company to collect its
reinsurance without state intervention.

Legion, which has spent the last year in financial limbo under
the charge of the Pennsylvania Insurance Department, owes US$140
million to American Airlines for claims from the September 11
terrorist attacks. The money is Legion's portion of a US$4.5
billion reserve established by insurers to cover claims stemming
from three crashes involving American jetliners.

One crash was into the World Trade Center and another into the
Pentagon, both on Sept. 11, 2001; a third was in Queens, N.Y.,
two months later.

According to the ruling handed down last week by Judge Leavitt,
American and other major Legion policyholders can seek payments
directly from reinsurers, such as Lloyds of London, rather than
waiting for the state to collect during liquidation.

"It means that instead of waiting 10 to 20 years to get their
US$140 million, they will get it ... as the claims come in," Jay
H. Calvert Jr., a lawyer representing American Airlines, said

Registrar of Companies Stephen Lowe, the official receiver of VC
Advantage (Bermuda) Fund Limited and Advantage (Bermuda) Fund
Limited, is now taking steps to liquidate the funds. The move,
according to the Royal Gazette, came while Canadian broker Mark
Valentine, who set up the two companies, is facing trial in
Florida on security fraud charges after being arrested in the
Bermuda Short sting operation run by the FBI and Royal Canadian
Mounted Police.

Lowe is taking the action because there is no one running the
companies here now. The decision to liquidate the companies'
assets is part of an effort to pay off debts owed to mainly
Canadian institutional investors, which sank money into
Valentine's schemes. Some local service providers are also among
the creditors. Meanwhile, creditors of the two companies were due
to meet Wednesday to discuss their respective financial fates.


EMPRELPAZ: Failure To Make Payments Leads to Intervention
Bolivia's electricity regulator intervened in the La Paz rural
distributor Emprelpaz and appointed Juan Manuel Aguirre to run
the Company for one year and restore its financial health. The
management takeover, according to Business News Americas, came
after Emprelpaz failed to make payments for power in April and
May, totaling some US$204,000.

Business News Americas also reveals that Electropaz cut power
supplies for three days in early May, and again on June 11.
Meanwhile, Emprelpaz's general manager Tiburcio Mamani is facing
allegations of bad management practices. Last week, local
residents blocked highways to demand his removal.


FIBERCORE INC.: Xtal Liable for $5.3 Million Arbitration Award
FiberCore, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: FBCE), manufacturer and
global supplier of optical fiber and preform for the
telecommunication and data communications markets, reported
Wednesday that the Company received notification of the results
of the arbitration between the Company and Shin-Etsu Chemical
Co., Ltd. ("Shin-Etsu") from the Arbitral Tribunal in Japan.

The Arbitral Tribunal awarded Shin-Etsu damages consisting of
loss of profit for the quantities not taken by the Company under
certain agreements. According to the Tribunal's calculation, the
Company must pay 637,020,011 Japanese Yen, (including 1,145,011
Japanese Yen as settlement payment for the cost of arbitration)
or approximately $5.3 million. The liability for the award is
joint and several between FiberCore, Inc. and Xtal FiberCore
Brasil S/A.

The Company does not agree with the amounts used by the Tribunal
in the calculation of damages and is verifying the possibility of
requesting a revision or invalidation of the decision before the
Tribunal or a competent court.

During the proceedings the Company argued whether the Arbitration
Panel was within their jurisdiction to rule on the Additional
Quantities Agreements, which constituted a part of the subject
matter covered by the decision of the Tribunal. There was no
provision for arbitration expressly within the Additional
Quantities Agreements. The Tribunal declared itself to have
jurisdiction enabling it to rule on these agreements.
Nonetheless, such decision is subject to judicial review by court
and the Company intends to file a lawsuit to invalidate the
Tribunal's decision to that extent.

Dr. Mohd Aslami, CEO and President commented, "The magnitude of
this award seems significantly out of line considering that the
$5.3 million award on total contract sales volume of $11.4
million effectively gives Shin-Etsu a gross profit on the
contract of 46.5%. This is inconceivable in a period in which the
telecom market has been totally depressed on a world-wide basis
and many fiber optic manufacturers have been operating with
single digit or negative profit margins."

Details regarding sales volumes and other information related to
the contract and the arbitration were previously reported in Item
3, "Legal Proceedings" of the Company's recently filed Annual
Report on Form 10-K.

FiberCore, Inc. develops, manufactures and markets single-mode
and multimode optical fiber preforms and optical fiber for the
telecommunications and data communications markets. In addition
to its standard multimode and single-mode fiber, FiberCore also
offers various grades of fiber for use in laser-based systems up
to 10 gigabits/sec, to help guarantee high bandwidths and to suit
the needs of Feeder Loop (also known as Metropolitan Area
Network), Fiber-to-the Curb, Fiber-to-the Home and Fiber-to-the
Desk applications. Manufacturing facilities are presently located
in Jena, Germany and Campinas, Brazil.

CONTACT:  Phone: 508-248-3900
          FAX: 508-248-5588


KLABIN: Plans To Sell Bacell For $150M
Klabin SA, Brazil's biggest paper maker, is going to sell off its
woodpulp plant Bacell for an estimated US$150 million. South
American Business Information named US International Paper, which
is known in Brazil for its printing paper brands Chamex,
Chamequinho and Chambil, as the most likely buyer of Bacell.

Klabin, which recently sold Riocell (woodpulp plant), is seeking
to offload Bacell in order to reduce its debts. In 2002, the
Company's debt amounted to BRL2.8 billion against a cash of
BRL979 million. The Company expects to reduce its total debt
burden by BRL1 billion until the end of the year.

The Company is expected to announce soon the sale of its 50%
participation in the joint venture with the US Kimberly Clark in
the tissues market. Klabin Kimberly holds four industrial sites
in Brazil (Santa Catarina, Bahia and two in Sao Paulo) and one in
Argentina. It owns the brands Neve, Camelia and Nice (toilet
paper), Chiffon and Gourmet (paper towel) and Klin and Kleenex

LABORATORIO ENILA: Declared Bankrupt by Rio de Janeiro Court
A court in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro declared local
pharmaceuticals laboratory Laboratorio Enila bankrupt, reports
South American Business Information.

The declaration came after X-ray drug Celobar, number 13 on
Enila's product sales list, was discovered to have caused the
death of 20 people in Brazil. The formula is used in radiography
and tomography proceedures.

According to IMS Health, Celobar generated BRL373,000 and sold
34,900 units in 2002. Enila itself had revenues of nearly BRL28
million per year.

LIGHT SERVICOS: Dismissal of Adviser Highlights Strategic Change
Light Servicos de Eletricidade signaled its intent Tuesday to
restructure its total debt load of BRL5.3 billion (US$1=BRL2.85)
after sacking adviser Citigroup Global Markets Inc. Light, which
provides electricity to 3.4 million clients in the state of Rio
de Janeiro, told the Sao Paulo stock exchange it still hadn't
reached an accord with creditors holding waivers expiring

Though Light wouldn't provide further comment, analysts said the
dismissal of the Citigroup Inc. unit highlighted how it had
changed strategy and was now looking to lengthen maturities on
all of its debt rather than just a part of it. They added that
Goldman Sachs Group has been retained to coordinate the new
restructuring process and that Light's parent, Electricite de
France (EDF), hopes to conclude a deal by the end of September.

"As EDF is one of the healthiest electric utilities in the world,
I expect they'll be able to come to an agreement that is positive
for Light," said Oswaldo Telles, an analyst for brokerage BBV
Corretora in Sao Paulo.

Light's debt problems have plagued the utility since 2001, when a
power crisis in Brazil forced Brazilian consumers to cut
electricity usage by as much as 20%, sharply reducing operating

In June 2002, EDF pumped BRL2.35 billion into Light to avert
possible defaults. Last August, EDF lent Light another EUR250
million to ensure it would meet its short-term obligations.

Though Light acknowledged Tuesday that its cash flow situation
was at "crisis" levels, analysts expect the financial position
will improve after another likely capital injection from EDF
later this year.

Industry observers said that if Light can arrange a restructuring
agreement with its creditors in the coming months, it would
likely survive its current crisis, as electricity consumption is
expected to increase steadily over the next few years.

          Avenida Marechal Floriano, 168
          20080-002 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
          Phone: +55-21-2211-2794
          Fax:   +55-21-2211-2993
          Home Page:
          Bo Gosta Kallstrand, Chairman
          Michel Gaillard, President and CEO
          Joel Nicolas, Executive Director, Operation
          Paulo Roberto Ribeiro Pinto, Executive Director,
                                 Investor Relations and CFO

LIGHT: Debt Payment Delay Request Spurs BNDES Fears
Rio de Janeiro power distributor Light's request to delay some
debt payments to Brazil's National Development Bank BNDES
signaled an alarm to the Brazilian bank's head, says Reuters.
Light requested to postpone payment of the debt, which it is
negotiating with a pool of private bank creditors, citing a
liquidity crisis. The unspecified debt payment had been due by

"I knew that EDF was sustaining Light. I was surprised by the
news. ... It came as another electric shock," Carlos Lessa, the
president of BNDES told reporters.

He said Light's debt with the BNDES was "small." Still, a bank
spokesman explained later that Lessa's fear was that the bank
would have to make new provisions for bad debt, which had already
caused big losses after a debt default by AES Corp..


ENDESA CHILE: Settles Conflict With SEC
Power regulator SEC has handed Endesa Chile a report by the so-
called "good men" commission (Comision de Hombres Buenos) on the
Company's 570MW Ralco hydroelectric project. As a result, the
Chilean generator withdrew its lawsuit against SEC, reports
Business News Americas.

Endesa Chile earlier sued SEC, alleging it of withholding part of
the report by the commission, which was created to resolve an
impasse that saw the country's indigenous law protect the people
living in the area and who do not want to sell or trade their
land to Endesa for the project, and the power sector law
supporting Endesa.

The report is important to the Company because it would allow
Endesa to obtain the lands occupied by the families through the
payment of the amounts legally agreed upon in the commission's
report, Endesa said.

Most of the residents have since agreed to sell their land to
Endesa, but four indigenous families have refused Endesa's offers
to buy their land.

Local press speculated that the commission recommended a CLP60
million purchase price for the lands, (today some US$86,200),
which is much less than the CLP200 million and 77 hectares of
land elsewhere that Endesa had offered.

Endesa can now deposit the assessed value of the four families'
lands with the courts, which would be responsible for passing it
on to the families, and can occupy the lands in dispute, using
police assistance if required.

The indigenous families were scheduled to meet on Wednesday with
their lawyers to discuss their next move.

ENERSIS: Reduces Debt Thru Asset Sales, Debt Refinancing
Chile-based Latin American energy group Enersis is slowly
recovering after being hit by economic problems which plagued the
region, Reuters indicates. According to Mario Valcarce, the
Company's chief financial officer, Enersis has slashed its debt
by US$2.7 billion as of June through asset sales, debt
refinancing and a capital increase. Enersis, which is controlled
by Spain's Endesa, has energy generation and distribution
subsidiaries in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Peru and Chile.

CONTACT:  Enersis SA
          Avenida Kennedy Vitacura No 5454
          Santiago 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

E L   S A L V A D O R

INTERNACIONAL SEGUROS: Fitch Recommends Cash Call For Owners
Regional rating agency Fitch Centroamerica (Fitch) is calling for
the owners of El Salvadorian insurer Internacional Seguros - a
strong local group - to inject fresh capital into the Company,
reports Business News Americas. According to Fitch senior
insurance analyst Eduardo Recinos, the agency recommended the
move in order to improve the insurer's deteriorating liquidity
and debt indicators, comply with the regulator's minimum
requirement and to finance the Company's ambitious growth plans.

On Wednesday, Fitch placed Internacional de Seguros on risk alert
by cutting its rating to A-, from A with a negative outlook,
citing the Company's risky obligations with a large corporate
client heading for bankruptcy.

The ailing corporate client, Internacional Seguros, has 8
outstanding performance and bill bonds, which under a likely
chapter 11 would result in a US$2.8 million financial hit.


GRUPO IUSACEL: Fitch Ratings Lowers Credit Rating to 'D'
Fitch Ratings has downgraded the senior unsecured debt of Grupo
Iusacell, S.A. de C.V.'s (Holding company) and the senior
unsecured debt of Grupo Iusacell Celular, S.A (Operating company)
- collectively known as Iusacell - to 'D' from 'C' Rating Watch
Negative. The rating action applies to US$350 million 14.25%
senior notes of holding company debt due 2006 and US$150 million
10% senior notes of operating company debt due 2004.

The downgrade to the 'D' default category reflects the inability
of Iusacell to cure the missed interest payments on its senior
notes due 2006 within the 30 day grace period allowed under the
senior note indentures. On June 1, 2003, Iusacell failed to make
semiannual interest payments of US$25 million on its senior notes
due 2006. A default on the senior notes due 2006 effectively
triggers an event of default to the company's secured syndicated
loan and senior notes due 2004. The 'D' default ratings that have
been assigned indicate that potential recovery for bondholders is
estimated to be below 50% of principal.

Iusacell now faces the challenges of restructuring its debt
profile, which currently totals slightly over US$800 million and
includes US$350 million senior notes due 2006, US$150 million
senior notes due 2004 and a US$266 million secured syndicated

Iusacell is a holding company that controls several
telecommunications assets in Mexico. The company's primary asset
is Grupo Iusacell Celular, S.A. de C.V. Currently, the company is
the third largest wireless operator in Mexico after Telcel and
Telefonica Moviles with 2.1 million subscribers and an estimated
8.0% market share. Iusacell's competitive positions remains
challenged given Telcel's nationwide network and the expanded
presence of Telefonica Moviles following its acquisition of
wireless provider Pegaso. In addition, Iusacell's profitability
has been pressured by the slowdown in the Mexican economy.

Verizon Communications has managerial control over Iusacell
through its 39.4% equity stake, while Vodafone PLC held 34.5% and
the remaining 26.1% is held by the public. On June 13, 2003,
Verizon Communications and Vodafone PLC announced that they
intend to sell their equity stakes in Iusacell to Movil Access,
S.A. de C.V., a subsidiary of Biper, S.A. de C.V., which is
controlled by the Salinas family. The Salinas family controls
Unefon, S.A. de C.V, the fourth largest wireless operator.

CONTACTS:  Guido Chamorro +1-312-368-5473, Chicago
           Sergio Rodriguez, CFA +011 5281 8335-7179, Monterrey

MEDIA RELATIONS: Matt Burkhard +1-212-908-0540, New York


BLADEX: S&P Affirms Ratings; Revises Outlook to Stable
Standard & Poor's Rating Services said Wednesday that it affirmed
its 'BBB-' counterparty credit, CD, and senior unsecured debt
ratings on Banco Latinoamericano de Exportaciones S.A. (Bladex).
At the same time, the outlook was revised to stable from

The outlook revision follows Bladex's successful capitalization
process by which it raised $147 million, continued reduction in
risky exposures in Argentina, the maintenance of a highly liquid
balance sheet, and slightly better prospects for the region.

During the crisis in Argentina, Bladex demonstrated an ability to
reduce its exposure to the country and conservatively manage
problems. "Due to Bladex's demonstrated capabilities to manage
problematic portfolios, Standard & Poor's expects that the loan
portfolio in this country should continue to show similar
performance," said credit analyst Ursula M. Wilhelm.

A rebound in lending operations and a better economic environment
in the region, especially in Brazil-where Bladex's operations are
concentrated, and which remains a core country for the bank-could
trigger an upgrade. On the contrary, a deeper economic downturn
in the region could add pressure to the ratings.

ANALYST:  Ursula M Wilhelm, Mexico City (52) 55-5279-2007
          Angelica Bala, Mexico City (52) 55-5279-2005


SIDERPERU: Creditors Reject Revision to Debt Repayment Terms
Peruvian steelmaker Siderperu announced that it failed to reach
an agreement with creditors on modification to repayment terms
under a financial restructuring plan, relates Business News
Americas. Under the plan, the Company will make available US$1.39
million to creditors, of which US$73,919 would be in the form of
interest to bondholders.

The report simultaneously reveals that Siderperu told the Lima
stock exchange that it has formalized an agreement with
Argentina's Siderar, part of the Techint group.

Siderperu hired Siderar to be its technical adviser, which will
help it strengthen its operations, as it struggles to deal with
slumping sales due to imports of low-priced steel products.

Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America earlier reported that
Siderperu's sales fell last year to US$110 million from an
average of US$122 million in previous years. However, the Company
had improved its margin as it cut costs.

T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

CARONI: Rao Reveals Details of Land Use Plan
Almost 40% of Caroni's lands are unproductive, Yathra Rao, the
recently appointed chairman and CEO of the Estate Development and
Management company, said Tuesday when he unveiled some of the
details of the Caroni Development Plan to the Rotary Club of Port
of Spain, relates The Trinidad Guardian.

"It is estimated that Caroni owns 77,000 acres of land (which
are) largely unproductive," he said. He later told the Guardian
the unproductive lands amounted to about 25,000 acres.

Rao said that in the interest of radically transforming the
Company and creating new business interest, several plans have
been identified.

"Initially light manufacturing development has been targeted for
Dow Village, Reform, Harmony Hall, Preysal, Endeavor and Factory
Road Chaguanas. While concentrating on light manufacturing sites,
we will be focusing on heavy industrial engineering, which has
been targeted for 2,600 acres of land."

He said heavy industrial development will be focused on area
close to the Pt Lisas development. Residential and commercial
interests are being targeted for Caroni Savannah road, Egypt
Village, Waterloo, Balmain and Endeavour.

Approximately 7,000 acres will be used for short crops and the
agro based industry. Rao said the development company will
install the necessary infrastructure on the property before
leasing it. Eleven thousand acres are for industrial land

CONTACT:  Caroni Limited
          Old Southern Main Road, Caroni,
          Trinidad & Tobago
          Phone: (868) 663-1781 or 662-0879
          Fax: (868) 663-1404


EDC: Fitch Upgrades Currency Ratings, Stable Outlook
Fitch Ratings has upgraded the senior unsecured foreign currency
ratings of C.A. La Electricidad de Caracas (EDC) to 'B-' from
'CCC+' and its senior unsecured local currency rating to 'B' from
'CCC+'. The ratings are removed from Rating Watch Negative and
assigned a Stable Rating Outlook.

The rating actions follow Fitch's upgrade of the Bolivarian
Republic of Venezuela's long-term foreign currency rating to 'B-'
from 'CCC+' and its long-term local currency (Venezuelan bolivar)
rating to 'B-' from 'CCC+'. The sovereign actions reflect the
government's success in getting oil production back up to levels
achieved prior to the national strike earlier this year, thereby
relieving public financing pressures. In addition, voluntary
domestic debt swaps and recent external bond payments have
mitigated concerns about the sovereign's near-term debt service

EDC has demonstrated positive results on several issues despite
facing severe economic and political volatility during the first
quarter of 2003. The company has been successful in repaying and
rolling over maturing debt obligations despite the imposition of
foreign exchange controls January 2003, refinancing approximately
US$128 million through May 2003, and reducing total debt to
US$743 million at March 31, 2003 from US$794 million at December
31, 2002. On the regulatory side, EDC was granted its pre-
arranged tariff increases equating to an average increase of 26%,
which was phased in over the first three months of the year. The
next tariff adjustment should come in July 2003, but realization
of full adjustments is uncertain in the current environment.
Positively, in the past, EDC has successfully negotiated with the
government to reduce the effect on earnings of any delay in
tariff adjustments.

Operationally, the company reported a 4% contraction in revenues,
which was more than offset by lower operating expenses, resulting
in a 5.5% increase in EBITDA to Bs.109 billion, and an increase
in EBITDA margin to 57.3% from 52.1% during the first quarter of
2002. Although total debt and interest rates were lower during
the first quarter of 2003, the net effect of the devaluation on
the US dollar denominated interest expenses resulted in a 15%
increase. Nevertheless, EDC reported an improvement in EBITDA-to-
interest to 2.9 times (x) from 2.4x through December 2002.
Strategically, the company is also a net exporter to the national
electricity grid, which has helped the country offset supply
shortages outside of Caracas.

EDC faces additional maturities of US$138 million for the
remainder of the year. Fitch expects that EDC will attempt to
make foreign payments via CADIVI as a primary source of US
dollars to pay debt service.

CONTACT:  Jason T. Todd +1-312-368-3217, Chicago
          Alejandro Bertuol 1-212-908-0393, New York
          Carlos Fiorillo +58212-286-3356, Caracas

MEDIA RELATIONS: Matt Burkhard +1-212-908-0540, New York


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.

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