TCRLA_Public/030804.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, August 4, 2003, Vol. 4, Issue 152

                          Headlines


A R G E N T I N A

BERKELIA: Court Moves Informational Meeting Date
CABLEVISION: Denies Reports of Pending Bankruptcy Filing
CONINGAS: Enters Bankruptcy Process on Court Decision
DISCO: IFC To Lend Cash Required For Purchase
FARMACIA NUEVA: Informationgal Meeting Rescheduled

KEHOE: Court Assigns Receiver for Bankruptcy
PETROBRAS ENERGIA: Ups Capital Contingency Plan By 42.5%
PETROBRAS ENERGIA: Parent Reveals Slumping Sales Volumes, Prices
QUICKFOOD: Reaches Debt Agreement With Creditor Banks
SAN ROQUE: Court Sets Deadline For Claims Verification
SANARFARM: New Date Set for Organizational Meeting

SIRK PFEIFFER: Bankruptcy Proceeds With Claims Verification
* Argentina Wants IMF Agreement Before Outlining Debt Plans


B E R M U D A

GLOBAL CROSSING: Court Clears Stipulation with AGX Ch. 7 Trustee


B R A Z I L

ARACRUZ: Closes $400M Receivables Securitization Financing
CEMIG: Profits Return After 3 Consecutive Quarterly Losses
EMBRATEL: Could Go Under the Hammer, Reports Say
TAM: BRL100M Profit in 1H03 Boosted By 1Q03 Results
TELEMAR: Net Losses Balloon in the 2Q03

VARIG: Ends 2002 With A Loss of $942M


C H I L E

SANTA ISABEL: Ahold Completes Sale To Cencosud


D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

UNION FENOSA: Economic, Regulatory Conditions Hamper Profits


M E X I C O

ASARCO: Responsible for Lead, Arsenic Contamination, Says EPA
GRUPO IUSACELL: Salinas To Unveil Debt Restructuring Plan Soon


N I C A R A G U A

ENITEL: Signs Backhaul Agreement With New World Network


T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

CARONI: Winds Up Operations
CARONI: CEO Assures VSEP Payment Will Be Made on Time


V E N E Z U E L A

CANTV: S&P Upgrades Debt Rating On Sovereign Rating Action
PDVSA: S&P Raises Ratings; Outlook Stable


      - - - - - - - - - -


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

BERKELIA: Court Moves Informational Meeting Date
------------------------------------------------
Court No. 9 of Buenos Aire moved the date of the informative
assembly for the reorganization of Berkelia S.A., relates local
news source Infobae. The new date for the meeting is August 19
this year.

Berkelia is undergoing reorganization after its motion for
"Concurso Preventivo" was approved by the court. The report,
however, did not reveal who was the designated receiver for the
case.


CABLEVISION: Denies Reports of Pending Bankruptcy Filing
--------------------------------------------------------
Argentine cable TV operator CableVision, a unit of Hicks, Muse,
Tate & Furst and Liberty Media, denied reports it may file for
protection under the bankruptcy law. The Company slammed the
reports, saying it is inaccurate and calculating.

Market sources have intimated that CableVision might file for
protection under the local bankruptcy law in an attempt to solve
the difficult financial and legal situation of the firm. The
company has US$900 million in liabilities.

Moreover, some holders of CableVision's debt, such as US private
equity W. Huff, fear that the Company may be sold to an
investment holding similar to Hicks for a ridiculous price. The
operation would be financed by CableVision's owners in a move to
free its directors from lawsuits filed against them.


CONINGAS: Enters Bankruptcy Process on Court Decision
-----------------------------------------------------
The Civil and Commercial Tribunal of La Matanza ruled that local
company Coningas S.A. is officially entering bankruptcy. Infobae
relates that Court No. 4, which handles the Company's case, has
assigned a receiver for the process.

The designated receiver, Mr.Arnolfo Grinblat, was instructed by
the court to authenticate creditors' claims until October 2 this
year. He is expected to hand over to the court the individual
reports on November 13, followed by the general report on
December 30. Infobae did not mention whether the cour has chosen
a fate for the informative assembly.

CONTACT:  Coningas S.A.
          Evita 373
          Madero

          Arnoldo Grinblat
          Perdo B Palacios 1380
          Ramos Meija


DISCO: IFC To Lend Cash Required For Purchase
---------------------------------------------
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) -the private-sector
investment arm of the World Bank- has decided to lend some of the
cash needed to buy Argentine supermarket chain Disco, a unit of
Dutch Royal Ahold, to the candidate that wins the competition for
the chain.

On July 7, potential bidders for Disco asked IFC to finance the
operation and its board of directors approved the proposal last
week.

The IFC is considering spending from US$25 - US$50 million. In
each case, we expect to spend less than 25% of the final price,
an IFC spokesperson explained.

Retail giant Ahold announced it was selling the Argentine unit -
and the rest of its South American assets- in April, a few weeks
after the Dutch firm admitted it had overstated earnings at its
U.S. Food Service unit. At the time, there were reports of errant
accounting at Disco.

Disco is Argentina s second-largest supermarket chain and is 100%
owned by Ahold.


FARMACIA NUEVA: Informationgal Meeting Rescheduled
--------------------------------------------------
The informative audience for the reorganization of Farmacia Nueva
Vernet S.A. was moved to August 19 this year, according to a
report by local news source Infobae. Court No. 9 of Buenos Aires
changed the date, the report adds, without revealing the court's
reasons.

Farmacia Nueva is currently undergoing restructuring following
the court's approval of its motion for "Concurso Preventivo". The
report did not reveal the name of the receiver designated for the
process.


KEHOE: Court Assigns Receiver for Bankruptcy
--------------------------------------------
The Civil and Commercial Tribunal of Pergamino assigned Mr.
Daniel Oscar Volta as receiver in the bankruptcy proceedings of
Kehoe S.A.. Creditors must submit their claims to Mr. Volta for
authentication before August 5 this year.

According to a report by local news source Infobae, the receiver
is due to file the individual reports at Court No. 3 of
Pergamino, which handles the Company's case, before September 17
this year. The general report is due for submission on October
29.

CONTACT:  Kehoe S.A.
          Avenida Hipolito Yrigoyen
          Pergamino

          Daniel OScar Volta
          Avenida Julio Roca 814
          Pergamino


PETROBRAS ENERGIA: Ups Capital Contingency Plan By 42.5%
--------------------------------------------------------
Argentine energy company Petrobras Energia increased its capital
contingency plan for future losses associated with the start up
of the OCP pipeline in Ecuador by 42.5% to 124 million pesos
(US$41.9mn), reports Business News Americas.

The reasons for the increased cost, according to the Company's
parent, Petrobras Energia Participaciones, in a statement, are
delays in developing Ecuador's block 31 and higher than expected
transport costs on the OCP.

The report reveals that the Company cut its international
investment plan in 2000 and consequently will not be able to
produce enough oil on block 31 to meet its reserve capacity
commitment of 80,000b/d on the OCP when it starts up in August.

In addition, one of the partners on the OCP has pulled out of its
ship-or-pay commitment, meaning that transport prices for the
other partners will increase. Higher than expected investment in
the construction of the OCP is also a factor in the increased
costs.


PETROBRAS ENERGIA: Parent Reveals Slumping Sales Volumes, Prices
----------------------------------------------------------------
Petrobras Energia Participaciones announced that sales volumes
and prices for most of the main products of its subsidiary,
Petrobras Energia, fell in the second quarter of 2003, compared
to the same period in 2002, relates Business News Americas.

Oil sales at the subsidiary fell to 113,000 barrels a day (b/d),
from 122,000b/d in 2Q02. Oil sales averaged ARS54.7 a barrel
compared to ARS60.3/b in the second quarter of 2002. Gas sales
fell to 287 million cubic feet a day (mcf/d), from 365mcf/d a
year ago, while average prices dropped to ARS2.15 a cubic foot
from ARS2.87 a year ago.

Petrochemicals manufactured in Brazil fell to 34,000 tonnes, from
49,000t a year ago, while the price fell to ARS2,708/tonne, from
ARS3,065/t a year ago. However, petrochemical sales in Argentina
rose to 150,000t, from 121,000t a year ago. The price dropped to
ARS1,125/t, from ARS1,456/t in the year earlier period.

Output of refined products increased 27.7% from 2Q02 to 484t, and
electric power sales fell 17.6% to 1,284GWh.

Petrobras Energia Participaciones is a subsidiary of Brazil's
federal energy company Petrobras.


QUICKFOOD: Reaches Debt Agreement With Creditor Banks
-----------------------------------------------------
The Argentine unit of Quickfood has reached an agreement with a
group of banks in order to refinance a ARS30-million (US$10.17
million) debt. The debt will be cancelled in 11 semiannual
payments and an annual interest rate of 6% plus the CER
adjustment coefficient. Rabobank, which was part of the group of
creditor banks, decided to separate from the rest and will
refinance US$6 million in debt in eight semiannual payments and
an annual 5% interest rate.


SAN ROQUE: Court Sets Deadline For Claims Verification
------------------------------------------------------
Court No. 2 of Bahia Blanca decided that the credit claims
authentication process for the bankruptcy of San Roque S.R.L.
will end on November 14 this year. Infobae reports that the Civil
and Commercial Tribunal of Bahia Blanca recently declared the
Company bankrupt.

CONTACT:  San Roque S.R.L.
          Estomba 2135
          Bahia Blanca


SANARFARM: New Date Set for Organizational Meeting
--------------------------------------------------
The date for the informative assembly related to the
reorganization of Buenos Aires-based Sanarfarm S.A. was changed,
relates Infobae. The city's court no. 9 decided that the meeting
should be held on August 19, 2003.

The court has approved the Company's motion for "Concurso
Preventivo" and the reorganization process will now proceed with
the informative assembly after the completion of the
authentication of claims and the presentation of the individual
and general reports.


SIRK PFEIFFER: Bankruptcy Proceeds With Claims Verification
-----------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Argentine company Sirk Pfeiffer y Perez S.R.L. must
submit their credit claims to for authentication before September
12 this year. The Civil and Commercial Tribunal of La Plata
assigned Mr. Gabriel Gustavo Iglesias as receiver to verify the
claims.

The court also instructed the receiver to prepare the individual
reports to be submitted by October 20 this year. Local news
source Infobae reports that the general report is due for
submission on February 16, 2004.

CONTACT:  Sirk Pfeiffer y Perez S.R.L.
          Calle 508 Esquina Gonnet
          La Plata

          Gabriel Gustavo Iglesias
          Calle 12 Numero 836
          La Plata


* Argentina Wants IMF Agreement Before Outlining Debt Plans
-----------------------------------------------------------
Argentina is seeking an aid agreement with the International
Monetary Fund before outlining plans to reschedule US$95 billion
in defaulted bonds, reports Bloomberg. According to Economy
Minister Roberto Lavagna, an IMF agreement is "indispensable" if
the country is to be able to make an offer to bondholders.

"We are basically seeking to defer payments over the next three
years," Lavagna said, adding, "We aren't asking for fresh funds
because Argentina is over -- indebted, we don't have the capacity
for further indebtedness."

Argentina plans to present "the main guidelines" for the debt
plan during the IMF meeting in Dubai to be held Sept. 23.

Meanwhile, analysts, such as Christian Stracke, of New York-based
CreditSights Inc., said the announcement would do little to
reassure investors because it points only to guidelines, rather
than a new arrangement.

Argentina needs to reach an agreement with the fund and
international bondholders to regain access to credit markets and
boost confidence in the economy, the analyst said.

"This is a little bit of a setback because some were expecting
something a bit more meaningful," Stracke said. "It's pretty
clear there is no firm proposal coming from Argentina in
September."



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B E R M U D A
=============

GLOBAL CROSSING: Court Clears Stipulation with AGX Ch. 7 Trustee
----------------------------------------------------------------
On March 31, 2003, the Court approved a settlement between Global
Crossing and Asia Global Crossing, which provides for the
transition of AGX's billing and accounting functions to AGX's
network. In addition, AGX agreed to provide GX access to any
files, records and similar financial data, in AGX's custody,
necessary for GX to complete its financial audit in accordance
with applicable rules and regulations.

GX has not yet completed its financial audit. Thus, GX requires
access to AGX's financial records, files and databases located at
AGX's office at 11150 Santa Monica Blvd., Suite 400 in Los
Angeles, California.

In a Court-approved Stipulation, AGX's Chapter 7 Trustee, Robert
L. Geltzer, and the GX Debtors agree that:

A. The Trustee will provide GX and its auditors, Grant Thornton
   LLP with unlimited access to the Premises, except as provided
   in this Stipulation. At all relevant times, GX's and Grant's
   access will be supervised by security officers or other
   personnel selected, designated or approved by the Trustee.
   In addition, AGX, upon security access to the shared network
   directory currently controlled by Asia Netcom Corporation
   Limited, will provide access to the shared network directory
   to GX and Grant;

B. GX and Grant each agree that it will not remove or, in any
   way, damage or destroy, any documents, records, files or
   databases, however denominated, from the Premises; provided
   that, GX and Grant will be permitted to copy, at GX's expense,
   any of the documents, which they require, in their sole
   discretion, and remove the copies from the Premises, which
   copies are subject to inspection by the security officers or
   other personnel selected, designated or approved by the
   Trustee;

C. GX will reimburse AGX for any and all reasonable expenses
   incurred in providing accessibility to the Premises,
   including, but not limited to:

(1) pro-rated rent from June 19, 2003 until GX informs the
    Trustee, in writing, that it no longer requires access to
    the Premises -- the Access Period;

(2) security for the Premises during the Access Period,
    including security officers, replacement locks for the
    doors to the Premises, and video camera;

(3) travel, accommodations and related expenses to send two
    people to California to inspect the Premises and make
    arrangements for access thereto; and

(4) any other miscellaneous expenses incurred in connection
    with providing access to GX and Grant;

    provided, that, the Trustee provides customary documentation
    to support the charges prior to the incurrence thereof.
    Unless otherwise agreed by the parties, the Access Period
    will terminate no later than August 8, 2003;

D. Upon completion of its audit, subject to the execution by the
   Trustee and his accountant of a confidential agreement
   agreeable to Grant and containing the information described in
   this Stipulation, Grant will allow the Trustee and the
   accountant to the Trustee to review, on a confidential basis,
   the work papers Grant prepared, which related to AGX. The
   Trustee agrees to execute a confidential agreement agreeable
   to Grant with respect to the work papers which will provide,
   among other things, that:

(1) only the Trustee and his accountant will have access
    to the work papers;

(2) no copies of the work papers will be made; and

(3) the Trustee and his accountant will maintain the
    confidentiality of the information contained in the work
    papers.

   Notwithstanding, neither GX nor Grant makes any representation
   or warranties to the Trustee about the work papers and
   provision of the work papers does not constitute, imply or
   evidence the truth of anything contained therein. Therefore,
   the work papers and their contents will not constitute a basis
   for any claim or liability by the Trustee against Global
   Crossing or Grant in connection with the preparation,
   accuracy, and completeness of the work papers. The Trustee
   will not rely on any information provided by or contained in
   the work papers prepared by Grant. The work papers will
   remain Grant's sole and exclusive property;

E. This Stipulation and Agreement is not intended and will not
   be deemed to create or imply that Grant has any fiduciary or
   other duties, of any kind, to the Trustee, or to the estate
   or creditors of AGX. The Trustee understands that Grant is
   not performing any services or audit for AGX, its estate or
   the Trustee and has no duties to them in that connection
   except as specifically stated in this Stipulation; and

F. The Trustee agrees that he will not remove or destroy any
   documents, files or databases located in the Premises during
   the Access Period, without the prior written consent of GX.
   Notwithstanding, the Trustee will be permitted to remove any
   and all documentation necessary for the Trustee to carry-out
   his duties and administer AGX's Chapter 7 cases in accordance
   with the Bankruptcy Code. To the extent that the Trustee
   removes any documentation, files or databases from the
   Premises, the Trustee will provide GX with reasonable prior
   written notice thereof and create, as his own cost, a copy of
   the documentation, which will be left in the same location as
   the original. (Global Crossing Bankruptcy News, Issue No. 44;
   Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., 609/392-0900)



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B R A Z I L
===========

ARACRUZ: Closes $400M Receivables Securitization Financing
----------------------------------------------------------
Aracruz Celulose S.A. (NYSE: ARA) announced Wednesday the pricing
of a US$400 million export receivables securitization financing.
The transaction had a final maturity of 8 years and an average
life of 5 years. The coupon was 7.048% p.a. The transaction was
the largest in company's history. The deal improves considerably
the company's debt profile, since the new funds will replace
short-term financing borrowed for the acquisition of Riocell,
early this month.

According to Isac Zagury, chief financial officer, "the deal was
extremely satisfactory, not only for its low cost but also in
terms of volume, which exceeded our early expectations. Besides,
large institutional investors, who only consider investment grade
papers, as it was the case, provided the funds. Aracruz was
already well known by equity investors since it was the first
Brazilian company to list an ADR level 3 at the NYSE, eleven
years ago. Now, with this transaction, the company enhances its
relationship with debt investors."

The deal was priced off of the 5-year US Treasury, which had a
yield of 3.152% p.a. at the time of pricing. The final book had
approximately 30 institutional investors. "Using the future
export receivables structure generated savings of approximately
4% p.a. compared with an offering of Aracruz senior unsecured
debt," added the CFO.

CONTACT:  Aracruz Celulose S.A.
          Investor Relations Department:
          Phone: (55-21) 3820 8131
          Fax: (55-21) 2541 0795
          E-mail: invest@aracruz.com.br


CEMIG: Profits Return After 3 Consecutive Quarterly Losses
----------------------------------------------------------
Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais registered a BRL383.8-
million ($129 million) net profit in the second quarter of the
year, reversing a BRL45.5-million loss in the comparable period
last year. It's the second quarterly profit after three
consecutive quarterly losses for Brazil's largest combined power
generator and distributor, according to Valor Online.

The Company, which is 51%-owned by the Minas Gerais state
government, saw a 40% rise in revenue to BRL1.46 billion in the
second quarter of 2003, from BRL1.04 billion in the same quarter
a year earlier, says the report.

On June 30, Cemig's net equity stood at BRL6.21 billion.

CONTACT:  CEMIG
          Luiz Fernando Rolla, Investor Relations
          Phone: +55-31-3299-3930
          Fax: +55-31-3299-3933
          Email: lrolla@cemig.com.br
             or
          Eliza Gibbons
          The Anne McBride Company
          Phone: +1-303-477-1350
          Fax: +1-212-983-1736
          Email: eliza@annemcbride.com


EMBRATEL: Could Go Under the Hammer, Reports Say
------------------------------------------------
Brazilian long-distance phone carrier Embratel, a unit of MCI
(former WorldCom), will be sold, and Mexican Telmex would be
interested in acquiring the firm, according to recent reports.
WorldCom is carrying out a bankruptcy proceeding in the US, a
fact that has affected its Brazilian subsidiary.


TAM: BRL100M Profit in 1H03 Boosted By 1Q03 Results
---------------------------------------------------
Brazilian airline TAM Linhas Aereas moves into the black with a
BRL188-million (US$63 million) net profit for this year's second
quarter. The Company cited cost cutting measures, cheaper oil
prices, and the appreciation of the local currency as factors
that helped its figures.

Although the Company suffered an BRL88-million loss during 1Q03,
its 2Q03 results propped up its final tally for the year's first
half. TAM reports a BRL100-million profit for 1H03, a sharp
contrast to its BRL223-million loss in 1H02.

"It was a surprise. Given the situation of the sector in general,
I wasn't expecting it," comments Unibanco aviation industry
analyst Carlos Albano.

TAM is currently in merger negotiations with rival Varig.
Analysts say that a merger is only way to keep both ailing
companies on air.


TELEMAR: Net Losses Balloon in the 2Q03
---------------------------------------
Tele Norte Leste Participacoes SA (Telemar), Brazil's No. 1
telephone company, saw its net losses more than double in the
second quarter, reaching BRL165.6 million (US$55.8mn), up 118%
from the BRL76.3 million the group lost in the same period of
2002. The Company continues to report losses as costs grew to
expand wireless services.

According to Bloomberg, Telemar's BRL4-billion investment to
expand its wireless unit since 2001 has more than doubled the
Company's total debt to BRL11.4 billion.

Chief Financial Officer Marcos Grodetzky pledged to cut debt by
BRL1 billion ($338 million) by yearend using cash generated from
rising sales.

Second-quarter sales rose 20% to BRL3.34 billion from BRL2.79
billion in the same period last year.

The plan "is extremely positive," said Leonardo Rufino, who helps
manage US$610 million in equities, including Telemar shares, at
Opportunity Asset Management Ltda. in Rio de Janeiro. "If a
company such as Telemar is able to generate cash and use it to
reduce debt, this is a very good sign."

Besides plan to reduce its net debt, Grodetzky also revealed that
the Company may cut investment for expansion by BRL100 million,
bringing overall spending in 2003 to BRL1.7 billion.


VARIG: Ends 2002 With A Loss of $942M
-------------------------------------
Viacao Aerea Riograndense SA (Varig), Brazil's embattled flagship
airline, reported a loss of BRL2.8 billion ($942 million) for
2002, bigger than the BRL1.61 billion posted in the previous
year. The airline, which is in the process of merging with TAM,
said the biggest part of the loss was due to a 35% slump in the
local currency last year, which hiked its debt and operating
costs, such as leasing and fuel.

The Company, however, managed to post an operating profit of
BRL42.6 million, an indication that the situation can be
reversed.

Varig, which is facing the deepest crisis in its 75-year history,
closed the year with negative net worth of BRL4.5 billion, which
means that if it were to sell all of its assets it would still
owe that amount, says Reuters.

Varig, based in Porto Alegre, in southern Brazil, is Latin
America's largest airline.

CONTACT:      VARIG (Viacao Aerea Rio-Grandense, S.A.)
              Rua 18 de Novembro No. 800, Sao Joao
              90240-040 Porto Alegre,
              Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
              Phone: (51) 358-7039/7040
                     (51) 358-7010/7042
              Fax: +55-51-358-7001
              Home Page: www.varig.com.br/english/
              Contacts:
              Dorival Ramos Schultz, EVP Finance and CFO
              E-mail: dorival.schultz@varig.com.br

              Investor Relations:
              Av. Almirante Silvio de Noronha,
              n  365-Bloco "B" - s/458 / Centro
              Rio de Janeiro, Brazil



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

SANTA ISABEL: Ahold Completes Sale To Cencosud
----------------------------------------------
Ahold announced Friday that it has successfully closed the sale
of its 99.6% interest in Santa Isabel S.A. to Chilean retailer
Cencosud S.A. Ahold and Cencosud completed the transaction based
on a total value, excluding any liabilities, of approximately USD
150 million for Ahold's operations in Chile, which is equal to
the amount announced at the time of the initial discussions with
Cencosud. After adjustment of the value for net working capital
and external interest-bearing debt, the net proceeds of the
transaction for Ahold amount to approximately USD 77 million.
Cencosud will assume the external interest-bearing debt of USD
17.5 million.

The transaction is limited to Ahold's supermarket activities in
Chile. Its activities in Peru and Paraguay, previously
subsidiaries of Santa Isabel, remain with Ahold and will also be
divested, as was announced on April 3, 2003.

Cencosud has interests in real estate, do-it-yourself (DIY)
stores and hypermarkets in Chile and Argentina. Its wholly-owned
subsidiary, Hipermercados Jumbo S.A., is the third-largest food
retailer in Chile with 7 hypermarkets, 16 DIY stores and 3
shopping centers. The company also operates 11 hypermarkets, 23
DIY stores and 11 shopping centers in Argentina.

Santa Isabel has been part of Ahold's store portfolio since 1998.
At year-end 2002, Santa Isabel operated 77 stores in Chile. Santa
Isabel employs approximately 7,000 people in Chile.

The divestment of Santa Isabel in Chile, the intention of which
was announced on February 5, 2003, is part of Ahold's strategic
plan to restructure its portfolio to focus on high-performing
businesses and to concentrate on its mature and most stable
markets.

CONTACT:  Royal Ahold N.V.
          P.O. Box 3050 1500 HB
          Zaandam Netherlands
          Phone: +31 (0)75 659 57 20
          Fax: +31 (0)75 659 83 02
          Home Page: http://www.ahold.com



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

UNION FENOSA: Economic, Regulatory Conditions Hamper Profits
------------------------------------------------------------
Spanish energy company Union Fenosa will reach profitability
levels in its two distribution subsidiaries in the Dominican
Republic one or two years later than expected, Business News
Americas reports, citing a Fenosa executive. Fenosa strategy
director Jose Manuel Arrojo attributed the delay to the
regulatory and economic conditions in the Dominican Republic.

Fenosa bought 50% of distributors EDE Sur and EDE Norte in a 1999
privatization that did not establish a clear regulatory
situation. This year high fuel prices for power generation and
sharp devaluation of the Dominican peso have created problems at
the distributors, Arrojo said.

Most of the problems are at EDE Norte, with EDE Sur working
relatively well, Arrojo said, without explaining the differences.
Fenosa has exposure on its EBITDA of only 1% from Dominican
Republic operations, he added.



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

ASARCO: Responsible for Lead, Arsenic Contamination, Says EPA
-------------------------------------------------------------
The US Environmental Protection Agency released a report last
week blaming copper miner Asarco, a subsidiary of Grupo Mexico,
for lead and arsenic contamination affecting residential areas in
El Paso, Texas, and the Mexican town of Ciudad Juarez. Now state
Sen. Eliot Shapleigh is calling for the smelting company to pay
more for the cleanup.

"Now that the EPA has ruled that Asarco is responsible for the
lead and arsenic contamination in three Central El Paso
neighborhoods, the company should step in and clean up the
homes," Shapleigh said. "One million dollars (from Asarco's trust
fund) will not pay for $80 million worth of cleanup. Asarco needs
to pay more."

Asarco agreed in January to set up a US$100-million clean-up fund
to pay for remediation work at several US sites contaminated by
the Company over its 104-year history. The Texas contamination is
in addition to those sites, according to the report.

Grupo Mexico, burdened by the financing of its 1999 purchase of
Asarco Inc., defaulted on more than US$1.3 billion of debt in the
past two years after copper prices fell to record lows. It has
since persuaded dozens of banks, hundreds of bondholders and the
U.S. State Department to stretch out payments as it struggles to
return to profit.

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

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


GRUPO IUSACELL: Salinas To Unveil Debt Restructuring Plan Soon
--------------------------------------------------------------
Mexico's Grupo Salinas will soon unveil its debt restructuring
plan for recently acquired mobile operator Iusacell, local daily
El Economista indicated, citing Salinas spokesperson Hector
Romero.

"Talks [with creditors] have to start in the next few days,"
Romero said. "We intend to present a business plan to creditors
with strategies for moving the company forward."

Among the options being considered is the creation of synergies
with its existing subsidiaries, Romero revealed. The group
includes broadcaster TV Azteca, retail group Elektra, mobile
operator Unefon, trunking operator Biper, portal Todito,
Telecosmos and Movil Access.

Other options that could be discussed, Romero said, include
Iusacell using Movil Access' call center and joint supply
purchases for Iusacell and Unefon.

"There are several synergies that can be exploited to increase
revenues, reduce costs and boost margins," he said.

Iusacell is certainly in need of synergies.



=================
N I C A R A G U A
=================

ENITEL: Signs Backhaul Agreement With New World Network
-------------------------------------------------------
Nicaraguan fixed line operator Enitel signed a backhaul agreement
with New World Network, reports Business News Americas, citing a
statement from the Caribbean region network operator. Under the
agreement, Enitel will provide backhaul facilities and services
connecting the ARCOS-1 landing station at Bluefields with Managua
and other cities in its network, says the report.

Last month, the government finalized preparations to complete the
company's privatization. An earlier report from BNAmericas
revealed that French bank BNP Paribas won the contract to
complete the privatization process.

Enitel was partially privatized in 2001 when the government sold
its 40% stake in Enitel to the Megatel consortium, comprised of
Sweden's Telia Swedtel and Honduran electricity company EMCE.
Megatel paid US$33 million for the stake and is presently paying
the government US$10 million a year, as part of a five-year
management contract that will expire in April 2006. Enitel
employees hold the remaining 11% of the Company.



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

CARONI: Winds Up Operations
---------------------------
Trinidad and Tobago state sugar enterprise Caroni (1975) Ltd.
wound up operations Thursday. The Company closed after 28 years
of operations and losing billions of dollars.

"Caroni 1975 Limited will cease to be a trading company as we
know it and a small team of people will be working on certain
aspects of the industry," local news source the Trinidad Guardian
quoted Caroni CEO Chandra Bobart as saying.

Unions representing Caroni workers fought hard to prevent the
government's divestment plan and tried to stop the government
from promoting the Voluntary Separation of Employment Plan (VSEP)
to the workers. However, their efforts were in vain.

"I have done my duty. I can live with a very clear conscience,"
said Rudy Indarsingh, president of the All Sugar and General
Workers Trade Union. He added that all he could do now is ensure
the packages the workers will receive will be to their benefit.

The Sugar Manufacturing Company (SMC) will replace Caroni, said
the report. The new company's refining operations will be limited
to Usine St Madeleine and the Estate Development and Management
company. The latter is expected to attract and manage industrial
activity for SMC.


CARONI: CEO Assures VSEP Payment Will Be Made on Time
-----------------------------------------------------
Chandra Bobart, chief executive officer of Trinidad and Tobago
state oil company Caroni (1975) Ltd. said measures will be taken
to ensure that VSEP payments are made on time, reports the
Trinidad Guardian. Mr. Bobart added that the date and venue for
the VSEP payments to workers who accepted the offer will be kept
secret to ensure the workers' safety.

"One has to be careful that one does not openly publicise that
VSEP cheques amounting to $790 million would be issued to 9000
sugar workers and it would be unfair to make our workers and
their families potential targets for kidnappers," said the
officer.

Caroni is set to cease operations soon, the report added. Mr.
Bobart will be part of a transition team to gear up the Company's
replacement.



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

CANTV: S&P Upgrades Debt Rating On Sovereign Rating Action
----------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said Thursday that it raised
its foreign currency corporate credit rating and senior unsecured
debt rating on Venezuelan full service telecommunications
company, Compa -a An>nima Nacional Tel,fonos de Venezuela (CANTV)
to 'B-' from 'CCC+', following a similar action taken on the
ratings of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

The outlook on CANTV is stable. The company had US$246 million in
debt outstanding at March 31, 2003.

The sovereign upgrade reflects improved external liquidity
indicators as a result of the return to normal oil production
levels following the devastating strike of December 2002/January
2003. International reserves increased to nearly US$19 billion as
of July 29, 2003, from a low of US$13.6 billion in February 2003,
the result of renewed foreign exchange earnings from oil exports
and capital controls put in place in early 2003.

The recently completed voluntary external debt exchange will
further improve the government's capacity to service its debt by
lowering external debt amortization over the next four years.

CANTV has been able to increase sales in the last quarter,
partially because of non-residential and residential-fixed-to-
mobile rate increases by a weighted average of 15.5%.

"Although the company's margins have been affected by increases
in general costs, interconnection fees, and the devaluation of
the Bolivar, CANTV has been able to generate positive free cash
flow as a result of lower capital expenditures," said credit
analyst Patricia Calvo.

The 'B-' rating is also based on the effect that sovereign
implications might have on CANTV's credit profile.

CANTV is partially owned by Verizon Communications Inc.
(A+/Stable/--) and Telef>nica S.A. (A/Stable/A-1).

ANALYSTS:  Patricia Calvo, Mexico City (52) 55-5279-2073
           Manuel Guerena, Mexico City (52) 55-5279-2011


PDVSA: S&P Raises Ratings; Outlook Stable
-----------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said Thursday that it raised
its corporate credit rating on Venezuelan state oil company
Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) to 'B-' from 'CCC+'. At the
same time, Standard & Poor's raised its corporate credit rating
on PDVSA's wholly owned affiliate PDV America Inc. to 'BB' from
'BB-'.

The outlook is stable.

"The rating upgrades reflect the upgrade of the foreign currency
rating on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to 'B-' from
'CCC+'. Future ratings changes on PDVSA and its affiliates will
be linked to rating changes on Venezuela, in addition to changes
in either entity's financial or operational profile," said
Standard & Poor's credit analyst Bruce Schwartz.

As Venezuela recovers from the political and economic strife that
has affected the company during the past year, Standard & Poor's
expects that the government will continue to use its authority to
exploit PDVSA's financial resources to effectively consolidate
the debt management of the country with PDVSA.

If production volumes can be sustained and higher-than-average
oil prices persist, Standard & Poor's believes that PDVSA's
credit metrics (such as funds from operations to total debt) for
2003 should be consistent with those of strong investment-grade
companies; however, PDVSA's credit metrics exclude the potential
fiscal burden that PDVSA may need to shoulder via dividends and
other contributions to the Republic of Venezuela.

PDVSA's liquidity for the very near term appears adequate as a
result of cash balances, cash trapped in the PDVSA finance
structure, and potential access to the Macroeconomic
Stabilization Fund (FIEM), but a repetition of operational
disruptions or plunging oil prices could quickly reduce PDVSA's
liquidity and financial flexibility.

ANALYST: Bruce Schwartz, CFA, New York (1) 212-438-7809



               ***********


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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