TCRLA_Public/030805.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

                   L A T I N   A M E R I C A

          Tuesday, August 5, 2003, Vol. 4, Issue 153

                          Headlines


A R G E N T I N A

ABU: Deadline For Credit Authentication Expires Today
AVG PLAN: Ratings Agency Assigns Debt Security 'BBB'
BODEGAS BRAGAGNOLO: Bankruptcy Status Now Official
CONSTANCY: Credit Verification Ends Today
CTI: Acquisition Won't Impact AMX's Profits Until Next Year

ELECTRYTEL: Claims Verification Deadline Nears
EDESUR: Returns To Black in 1H03 Following Peso Appreciation
GRA CAS: Court Assigns Receiver For Reorganization
HIDROELECTRICA EL CHOCON: $140M of Bonds Rated 'BBB'
HUMBERTO WAIDATT: Commences Reorganization Process

INCIARTE: Files For "Concurso Preventivo"
MATRICERIA QUILMES: Claims Authentication Period To End Soon
TELEFONICA DE ARGENTINA: Management Fee to Parent to Continue


B R A Z I L

CHAPECO: Leasing Proposal for BNDES Still Pending
ELETROPAULO METROPOLITANA: AES May Resume Debt Talks With BNDES
EMBRATEL: WorldCom Woes Could Complicate Vesper Acquisition Bid
TELESP CELULAR: Injunction Orders Detailed Billing
TRICO MARINE: Selling Brazil Vessel Construction Project Stake

USIMINAS: Enhanced Power Resource Furthers Vertical Integration
VESPER: Qualcomm Mulls Only 2 Proposals


C H I L E

ENDESA: To Appeal Latest TRF Decision On PPA
ENERSIS: Endesa Internacional Simplifies Shareholding Structure
GASATACAMA: Sells Transemel Stake To Emel
INVERLINK: Judge Increases Favorable Corfo Ruling Amount
TELEFONICA CTC: Sells Remaining Stake in Sonda For $47.6M


D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

BANCO MERCANTIL: Financial "Deficiencies" Uncovered


E C U A D O R

* IMF Approves $42M Disbursement To Ecuador, Grants Waivers


J A M A I C A

C&WJ: Adjusts Rates on Local, International Calls


M E X I C O

ALESTRA: Amends New Registration Statement With Financials
BURLINGTON INDUSTRIES: Court Approves WL Ross & Co. Bid
ICA: Maturing Debts May Worsen Financial Condition, Says S&P
ISPAT MEXICANA/GRUPO VILLACERO: Dealing With Striking Workers
GRUPO TMM: To Proceed With NAFTA Rail Transaction


P U E R T O   R I C O

DORAL: Addresses Investor Concerns on Mortgage Rates Hike


V E N E Z U E L A

PDVSA FINANCE: S&P Raises Senior Note Ratings
* Fitch Sees Bond Repurchase As Marginally Improving Credit


     - - - - - - - - - -


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

ABU: Deadline For Credit Authentication Expires Today
-----------------------------------------------------
The credit authentication period for the reorganization
proceedings of Argentine metal products maker Abu S.R.L. ends
today. The designated receiver, Ms. Maria Marta Sommariva will
then prepare the required individual reports to be submitted on
September 16 this year.

Court No. 25 of Buenos Aires, which approved the Company's motion
for "concurso preventivo", requires the receiver to file the
general report on October 10 this year. The informative assembly
is set for May 4, 2004.

CONTACT:  Ms. Maria Marta Sommariva
          Florida 930
          Buenos Aires


AVG PLAN: Ratings Agency Assigns Debt Security 'BBB'
---------------------------------------------------
Evaluadora Latinoamericana S.A. Calificadora de Riesgo rates AVG
Plan Fideicomiso Financiero 'BBB', relates the National
Securities Commission of Argentina. The rating, given last Monday
denotes that the debt security pose some risk of nonpayment.
The rating applies to US$5.4 million of debt security, which the
NSC described as "Titulos de Deuda". Its maturity date was not
disclosed.


BODEGAS BRAGAGNOLO: Bankruptcy Status Now Official
--------------------------------------------------
Bodegas y Vinedos Ovidio Bragagnolo e Hijos S.R.L. will undergo a
bankruptcy process following an order by Commercial Court No. 1,
which is under Dr. Jorge Nivardo Gutierrez. An announcement from
Boletin Oficial reveals that the clerk for the case is Dr. Ana
MAria Videla de Almiron.


CONSTANCY: Credit Verification Ends Today
-----------------------------------------
The credit verification period for the bankruptcy process of
Constancy S.A. ends today, August 5, 2003. The receiver, Mr.
Ricardo Garcia, will then prepare the individual reports, which
are due on August 15.

Court No. 11 of Buenos Aires, which announced the Company's
bankruptcy, set the deadline for the general report as September
26 this year. The informative assembly will be on November 7 this
year.

CONTACT:  Mr. Ricardo Garcia
          Lavalle 1206
          Buenos Aires


CTI: Acquisition Won't Impact AMX's Profits Until Next Year
-----------------------------------------------------------
Analysts believe America Movil's acquisition of a 49% stake in
Argentina's fourth largest mobile operator CTI is unlikely to be
accretive to the group's bottom line until next year, relates
Business News Americas.

"Logically revenues will go up, but I don't see an improvement in
America Movil's margins this year because of (CTI)," said Monex
equity analyst Gerardo Copka.

According to reports by the local press in December last year,
CTI was on track to reach its annual revenue goal of ARS570
million (US$193mn today).

"For this year, I do not think that the contribution from CTI to
the consolidated figures of AMX will be significant," Santander
equity analyst Rogelio Urrutia said. "Next year we can hope to
see something."

America Movil, part of the business empire of Mexican businessman
Carlos Slim, recently signed an agreement, under which local
investment company Coinmov will buy 100% of CTI's shares from
Verizon and other shareholders. America Movil then has the option
to buy 60% of the voting rights and 49% of the equity in Coinmov,
giving it equal voting and equity interests in CTI.

The Mexican operator still has to obtain authorization from
regulators to exercise the option, which is linked to a debt-
restructuring plan to slash CTI's US$1.1 billion liabilities by
75% and give the company an enterprise value of just under US$200
million, according to America Movil.

America Movil is expected to be able to turn CTI around fairly
quickly once its debts are restructured and the change of
ownership completed.


ELECTRYTEL: Claims Verification Deadline Nears
----------------------------------------------
Creditors of Buenos Aires-based Eletrytel S.R.L. must submit
their claims to the receiver for authentication. The verification
process for the bankrupt company ends on Friday, August 8. The
receiver, Ms. Maria Tignarelli, may be contacted at the following
address:

          Reconquista St. No. 715
          Buenos Aires

Earlier this year, Court No. 17 of Buenos Aires declared the
company bankrupt, granting a request filed by its creditor,
Acindar Industria Argentina de Aceros S.A..

CONTACT:  ELECTRYTEL S.R.L.
          Amancio Alcorta 2862
          Buenos Aires

          Ms. Marta Tignarelli, receiver
          Reconquista St. No. 715
          Buenos Aires

          Acindar Industria Argentina de Aceros SA
          2739 Estanislao Zeballos Beccar
          Buenos Aires
          Argentina
          B1643AGY
          Phone: +54 11 4719 8500
          Fax: +54 11 4719 8501
          Home Page: http://www.acindar.ar.com
          Contact:
          Arturo Tomas Acevedo, Chairman


EDESUR: Returns To Black in 1H03 Following Peso Appreciation
------------------------------------------------------------
Argentine distributor Edesur reported profits of ARS45.2 million
(US$15.3 million) for the first half of 2003, reversing losses of
ARS58.5 million in the same period last year. In a statement to
the Buenos Aires stock exchange, the Company said the positive
turnaround came at the back of the Argentine peso's appreciation.

The Company, controlled by Chile's Enersis group, also pointed
out that operating profits were only ARS900,000, 99% down from
ARS81.9 million in the first half of last year.

Edesur revealed last month that it was negotiating with local
pension funds over a plan to offer a US$10mn-20mn bond issue
before the end of the year.

According to Edesur financial manager Ignacio Uranga, the amount
will be relatively small and the due date relatively short
because the issue would be Edesur's first since Argentina's
financial crisis, and it wants an issue that is straightforward
to pay off.

Specifics of the issue have not been decided yet.

CONTACT:  EDESUR S.A.
          Gte. Gral.: Ing. Rafael Fernandez Morande
          San Jos, 140, 3o P
          Capital Federal 1076
          Argentina
          Phone: 4370-3700/4370-3370
          Fax: 4381-0708
          Home Page: www.edesur.com.ar


GRA CAS: Court Assigns Receiver For Reorganization
--------------------------------------------------
The Civil and Commercial Tribunal of La Rioja assigned Mr.
Rodolfo Cuevas as receiver for the reorganization process Gra Cas
S.A. is undergoing, relates local news portal Infobe. Court No. 2
of La Rioja, which handles the case, set September 5, 2003 as the
deadline for the credit claims authentication.

The receiver will then submit the individual reports on October
this year, followed by the general report on October 28. The
Company's reorganization follows the court's approval of its
motion for "Concurso Preventivo".

CONTACT:  Gra Cas S.A.
          San Nicolas de Bari
          La Rioja

          Rodolfo Cuevas
          de Mayo 167
          La Rioja


HIDROELECTRICA EL CHOCON: $140M of Bonds Rated 'BBB'
----------------------------------------------------
A total of US$140 million of corporate bonds issued by
Hidroelectrica El Chocon S.A. was rated 'BBB' by Evaluadora
Latinoamericana S.A. Calificadora de Riesgo. The National
Securities Commission of Argentina described the bonds as
"Obligaciones Negociables". The bonds were classified under
"Simple Issue", and their maturity date was given as February 19,
2004.

The rating was issued last Monday, and denotes that the bonds
face some risk of nonpayment.


HUMBERTO WAIDATT: Commences Reorganization Process
--------------------------------------------------
La Rioja-based company Humberto Waidatt S.A. starts its
reorganization process, with Mr. Hugo Nicalas Pedernera as
receiver. Local news source Infobae relates that the
reorganization comes after the Civil and Commercial Tribunal of
La Rioja approved the company's motion for "Concurso Preventivo".

The receiver will file the individual reports on August 18. The
general report, on the other hand, must be submitted by October
1. The report adds that an informative assembly will be on March
9 next year.

CONTACT:  Hugo Nicolas Pedernera
          H Irigoyen 250
          La Rioja


INCIARTE: Files For "Concurso Preventivo"
-----------------------------------------
Creditors of Argentine company Inciarte SRL have until Friday to
submit their claims to the receiver for verification. The Company
is currently undergoing reorganization following approval of its
"concurso preventico" motion from the Civil and Commercial
Tribunal of Moron.

The designated receiver, Estudio Giai Menendez, may be contacted
at the following address:

          Riobamba 340
          Buenos Aires


MATRICERIA QUILMES: Claims Authentication Period To End Soon
------------------------------------------------------------
The credit claims authentication process for the bankruptcy of
Argentine plastics firm Matriceria Quilmes S.R.L. will end on
Friday, August 8. Creditors are advised to submit their claims to
the receiver, Mr. Ernesto Iob, for verification before the
deadline.

The Company was recently declared bankrupt by Court No. 4 of
Buenos Aires, which is under Dr. Fernando Ottolenghi. The
bankruptcy comes after Obra Social del Personal de la industria
del plastico petitioned the court to put the Company in
bankruptcy for failure to pay some $8011.16 in debt.

CONTACT:  MATRICERIA QUILMES SRL
          No. 2075
          Guamini Street
          Buenos Aires

          Mr. Ernesto Iob, receiver
          1st Floor
          No. 1186
          Teniete General Peron
          Buenos Aires


MOSCHIONI HERMANOS: Informative Assembly Set for Today
------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of San Luis-based engine producer Moschioni Hermanos
S.R.L. are reminded that the informative assembly for the
Company's reorganization will be held today, August 5.

The Civil and Commercial Tribunal of San Luis, which approved the
Company's motion for "Concurso Preventivo", designated Mr.
Humberto Zibarelli as receiver for the process.

CONTACT:  Mr. Humberto Zibarelli
          25 de Mayo 749
          Provincia de San Luis


TELEFONICA DE ARGENTINA: Management Fee to Parent to Continue
-------------------------------------------------------------
Argentine fixed-line giant Telefonica de Argentina SA and its
local holding company Telefonica Holding de Argentina SA said in
a filing with the local bourse Friday that they would continue
paying Spanish parent company Telefonica SA a management fee of
4% of its gross margin for the next five years.

Analysts were pretty surprised at the announcement, saying it was
unusual for companies to announce such payments to parent
companies while they were also restructuring their debts.

James Harper, Vice President of U.S. investment house BCP
Securities agreed. However, he advised creditors not to worry
about the announcement since both companies have not defaulted on
their debts and are making a voluntary debt restructuring.

"One has to make a distinction between a distressed credit and a
voluntary exchange," he added. The companies' bonds "have been
trading around par, so it's not a distressed credit by any
stretch of imagination."

CONTACT:  TELEFONICA DE ARGENTINA
          Tucuman 1, 18th Floor, 1049
          Buenos Aires, Argentina
          Phone: (212) 688-6840
          Home Page: http://www.telefonica.com.ar
          Contacts:
          Carlos Fernandez-Prida Mendez Nunez, Chairman
          Paul Burton Savoldelli, Vice Chairman
          Fernando Raul Borio, Secretary



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

CHAPECO: Leasing Proposal for BNDES Still Pending
-------------------------------------------------
The Brazilian slaughterhouse Chapeco failed to deliver the
leasing proposal for its seven industrial sites in Brazil to
development bank BNDES (Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento
Economico e Social). According to South American Business
Information, the Company had until August 1 to deliver the
proposal.

BNDES board agreed that Chapeco leased its industrial sites to
the French Dreyfus group. The negotiation would be made through
Dreyfus controlled in Brazil, Coinbra. BNDES is one of the main
creditors of the Company. Apart from that, it holds 30% stake of
Chapeco.


ELETROPAULO METROPOLITANA: AES May Resume Debt Talks With BNDES
---------------------------------------------------------------
U.S. power firm AES Corp indicated it is likely to go back to the
negotiating table with Brazil's National Development Bank (BNDES)
in order to discuss the restructuring of its US$1.2 billion-debt
with the latter after Eletropaulo Metropolitana evaluates the
impact of a recent rate change.

Reuters relates that Jeff Safford, chief financial officer of AES
Corp.'s Brazilian unit, Eletropaulo Metropolitana SA, said the
10.95% price increase permitted by electricity market regulator
Aneel last month was an important factor in the talks. AES had
wanted a near 20% increase, a level that would have been in line
with what regulator Aneel authorized for other distributors.

"With the tariff adjustment, we're both going back and figuring
out exactly what that means to the valuations of the business,"
said Safford. "Once we've determined that, we should be able to
go back to the negotiating table."

"We continue having discussions, and those discussions are
fruitful. But there's still plenty of talks that remain," Safford
added.

BNDES has threatened to auction off the controlling package of
shares in Eletropaulo in a bid to recoup some of the debt owed by
AES. The shares serve as a guarantee for the BNDES loan.

CONTACT:  ELETROPAULO METROPOLITANA
          Avenida Alfredo Egidio de Souza Aranha 100-B,
          13 andar 04726-270 San Paulo
          Brazil
          Phone: +55-11-548-9461, +55 11 5696 3595
          Fax: +55-11-546-1933
          URL: http://www.eletropaulo.com.br
          Contacts:
          Luiz D. Travesso, Chairman and President
          Orestes Gonzalves Jr., VP Finance/Investor Relations


EMBRATEL: WorldCom Woes Could Complicate Vesper Acquisition Bid
---------------------------------------------------------------
Brazilian Communication Minister Miro Teixeira said that WorldCom
Inc.'s troubles could "complicate" its subsidiary's bid to buy
Vesper from Qualcomm Inc., reports Reuters News. Last week, the
General Services Administration said that WorldCom could no
longer compete for new U.S. government contracts, citing that the
bankrupt company lacked proper internal controls and business
ethics. WorldCom has 30 days to appeal the ruling decision,
Reuters adds.

"We need to follow those talks as they pan out keeping in mind
what is happening in the United States," Mr. Teixeira said. He
added that he might request Brazil's foreign ministry to evaluate
the implications of the GSA ruling for Embratel.

The news has affected Embratel's shares, which fell almost 5
percent to BRL5.63 on Friday.

Meanwhile, Qualcomm reportedly said that it is willing to spend
$40 million to unload its losing Brazilian unit.

CONTACT:  Embratel Participacoes S.A.
          Silvia Pereira, Investor Relations Manager
          Tel: 55 21 2121-6474/9662 (messages)
          Email: Silvia.Pereira@embratel.com.br
          invest@embratel.com.br

          Qualcomm Inc
          5775 Morehouse Dr.
          San Diego, CA 92121-1714
          Phone: 858-587-1121
          Fax: 858-658-2100
          Web: http://www.qualcomm.com
          Contact:
          Dr. Irwin M. Jacobs, Chairman & Chief Executive


TELESP CELULAR: Injunction Orders Detailed Billing
--------------------------------------------------
Sao Paulo state fixed line incumbent Telesp was ordered to detail
every local call on the monthly billing statements the operator
supplies to its customers, Business News Americas reported,
citing local press.

A Sao Paulo state court issued the injunction as the company,
which is controlled by Spain's Telefonica, only provides a lump
sum amount owed for local calls. The injunction requires the
company to provide call-specific information for such calls.

The injunction also applies to another local operator, CBTC
Telecom.


TRICO MARINE: Selling Brazil Vessel Construction Project Stake
--------------------------------------------------------------
Trico Marine Services, Inc. (Nasdaq: TMAR) announced that it has
entered into an agreement to sell its interest in a newbuild
construction project for an anchor handling, towing and supply
vessel in Brazil (AHTS) in furtherance of the Company's plan to
enhance liquidity.

The Company has agreed to sell its interest in a construction
contract for an AHTS being built in Brazil and a contract with
Petrobras to charter the vessel once completed. Nordea Securities
acted as a consultant for the transaction. The Company
anticipates recovering substantially all of its costs related to
the project. The purchase agreement is subject to customary
closing conditions including final approval from Petrobras.

As part of this liquidity enhancing plan, the Company also
announced the refinancing of its outstanding NOK term loan. The
new three-year NOK 150 million term loan facility contains
identical covenants to the existing NOK revolving credit
facility. Proceeds from the loan were used to paydown an
outstanding NOK 40 million term loan and repay amounts
outstanding under the Company's NOK 760 million revolving credit
facility and provide additional borrowing capacity.

Additional information about the Company's plans to improve its
liquidity are discussed in the Company's Form 10-Q for the
quarter ended March 31, 2003, previously filed with the
Securities and Exchange Commission.

Trico Marine provides a broad range of marine support services to
the oil and gas industry, primarily in the Gulf of Mexico, the
North Sea, Latin America, and West Africa. The services provided
by the Company's diversified fleet of vessels include the marine
transportation of drilling materials, supplies and crews, and
support for the construction, installation, maintenance and
removal of offshore facilities. Trico has principal offices in
Houma, Louisiana, and Houston, Texas.


USIMINAS: Enhanced Power Resource Furthers Vertical Integration
---------------------------------------------------------------
Brazilian flat steelmaker Usiminas opened Friday a new electric
power infrastructure, which allows it to generate 10,450kW at
start-up, thereby increasing self-generation to 25% of the
Company's consumption from 20%.

But according to Business News Americas, generation is expected
to reach 16,250kW when the second phase of the project is
complete and self-generation will account for 28% of the
Company's power needs.

Federal development bank BNDES provided 80% of the US$10-million
investment in the project, says Business News Americas.

The new turbine was supplied by Japanese firms Marubeni and
Kawasaki Heavy Industries and installed by Usiminas Mecanica, the
steelmaker's construction arm.

Usminas' electric power consumption amounts to 270MW, of which
local power distributor Cemig supplies 216MW. The Company itself
provides the remaining 54MW.

The Usiminas group, including Sao Paulo-based subsidiary Cosipa,
has installed capacity of 9.2mt/y of crude steel.

CONTACT:  Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais Usiminas PN A
          Rua Prof. Jose Vieira de
          Mendonca, 3011
          Engenheiro Nogueira
          31310-260 Belo Horizonte - MG
          Brazil
          Tel  +55 31 3499-8000
          Fax  +55 31 3499-8475
          Web  http://www.usiminas.com.br
          Contact:
          Jose Augusto Muller de Oliveira Gomes, Chairman


VESPER: Qualcomm Mulls Only 2 Proposals
---------------------------------------
Three companies have expressed interest in buying Brazilian fixed
wireless operator Vesper, a unit of US-based CDMA chipset
developer Qualcomm. These are Brazil's long distance incumbent
Embratel, one unnamed institution, and competitive local exchange
carrier Global Village Telecom (GVT).

However, Valor Online reports that Qualcomm is only considering
the proposal coming from Embratel and the unnamed bidder, as GVT
has said it only wants a portion of the network - that covering
Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, and Belo Horizonte.

"This [sale in parts] is not the model we would like," the report
quotes Qualcomm Brazil CEO Marco Aurelio Rodrigues as saying.

Qualcomm is seeking to sell its 86% stake in Vesper, which
produced a US$20 million negative impact on its third-quarter
results. The market has put a price tag of between US$50 million
and US$100 million on Vesper, analyst Rodrigo Magela told
Business News Americas.

In its fiscal 3Q03 earnings report, Qualcomm said it could
provide US$40 million in financing to Vesper's buyer, to
facilitate the prepayment of Vesper's bank debt as well as
provide interim funding through the government approval process.
Qualcomm would recover the financing through loan or lease
payments from Vesper.

Qualcomm has already contracted US-based investment bank Morgan
Stanley to help it with the sale.

CONTACT:  Julie Cunningham, Sr. Vice President
          Investor Relations of QUALCOMM
          Tel: +1-858-658-4224
          Fax: +1-858-651-9303
          Email: juliec@qualcomm.com



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

ENDESA: To Appeal Latest TRF Decision On PPA
--------------------------------------------
Chilean generator Endesa was dealt with a blow when Brazil's
regional federal tribunal (TRF) backtracked on a decision that
reinstated the Company's right to sell power to Goias distributor
Celg, Agencia Estado reports.

Business News Americas recalls that earlier this year, Celg broke
a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Endesa subsidiary Centrais
Hidreletricas Cachoeira Dourada (CDSA), claiming that high power
prices were driving it into bankruptcy.

The TRF reinstated the contract at end-July after most agents,
including power regulator Aneel, condemned Celg's move, saying it
was a grave threat to the legal stability of Brazil's electric
power system.

Since Celg tore up the contract in April, CDSA has lost out on
some BRL100 million in revenues. But recently, TRF changed its
mind due to reasons, which were not disclosed.

According to reports, Endesa said it will appeal the latest
decision and seek to have the contract reinstated once again.


ENERSIS: Endesa Internacional Simplifies Shareholding Structure
---------------------------------------------------------------
-- This transaction aims to simplify and make more efficient
Endesa's ownership structure in the Chilean subsidiaries,
following the guidelines of the Company's costs reduction plan.

-- This assignment does not change either the stake of Endesa in
Enersis or its control over such company.

Endesa Internacional, owned by Endesa S.A. (NYSE:ELE), has become
the direct holder of the stake that its Chilean subsidiary Elesur
previously had in Enersis.

This change in ownership is part of the process to rationalise
the corporate structure, making the holdings of Endesa in its
Chilean subsidiaries both, simpler and more efficient.

The Extraordinary Annual General Meeting of Elesur, 100% owned by
Endesa Internacional, held on July 16th 2003, approved the
assignment of the entirety of its holdings in Enersis
(17.321.166.047 shares), almost equivalent to a 57% of the share
capital, to its parent company.

This transaction was accomplished at previous day closing price
and does not change either the stake of Endesa in Enersis or its
control over such company.

CONTACT:  Endesa SA
          North America Investor Relations:
          Jacinto Pariente, 212/750-7200
          http://www.endesa.es


GASATACAMA: Sells Transemel Stake To Emel
-----------------------------------------
Chilean distributor Emel now has a 75% direct ownership in
Transemel transmission company after it signed contracts July 31
to buy power generator GasAtacama's 40% stake in Transemel.
Business News Americas relates that Emel, which is controlled by
the US' PPL Global, informed securities regulator SVS in a
statement that it agreed to pay US$5.43 million for the stake.

In the same statement, Emel said it will receive US$1.42 million
for having given up rights of first refusal and a call option on
GasAtacama transmission assets that the generator sold to HQI
Transelec earlier this year.

Emel's subsidiaries Emelari, Eliqsa and Elecda own the remaining
25% of Transemel, which operates in the northern grid (SING).


INVERLINK: Judge Increases Favorable Corfo Ruling Amount
--------------------------------------------------------
Chilean Judge Patricio Villaroel investigating the Inverlink
fraud revised the amount of financial instruments established as
stolen from state-run development agency Corfo, granting the
latter's appeal, says Business News Americas.

Earlier, Villarroel set the figure at CLP75 billion but after
reviewing a new accounting study presented by Corfo, the judge
revised the amount to CLP84 billion (US$119 million).

Inverlink was intervened earlier this year due to the Corfo theft
and espionage at the central bank. Majority of Corfo's funds are
believed to be in Chile but the agency is also working with US-
based fraud specialist Kroll to search for funds in the US,
recalls Business News Americas.

Inverlink's owners are in jail awaiting trial and the group's
pension, insurance and health insurance assets are in the process
of being sold.


TELEFONICA CTC: Sells Remaining Stake in Sonda For $47.6M
---------------------------------------------------------
Telefonica CTC Chile, a unit of Telefonica SA of Spain, will sell
its remaining stake in computer services company Sonda SA,
Bloomberg reports, citing Telefonica CTC chief executive Claudio
Munoz. Telefonica CTC acquired a 60% stake in Sonda in 1999 for
US$126 million. Last year, the Company sold 25% of Sonda to
Andres Navarro, Sonda's founder, for US$37.5 million. This
agreement gave Navarro an option last month to purchase the
remaining 35% stake at a minimum price of US$47.6 million, said
Telefonica CTC.

Selling Sonda coincides with Telefonica CTC's strategy of
shedding assets not tied to its telephone business, as it tries
to reduce financing costs as well as its US$1.4-billion debt.



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

BANCO MERCANTIL: Financial "Deficiencies" Uncovered
---------------------------------------------------
Dominican Republic bank Banco Mercantil is likely to require
intervention after local financial authorities detected financial
"deficiencies" at the bank, local daily, Hoy, quoted the central
bank and the banking regulator's office as saying.

According to the paper, the government will proceed with a change
of control of Mercantil and force its shareholders to inject
fresh capital to strengthen the bank. The bank's management will
also be reshuffled, the central bank said.



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

* IMF Approves $42M Disbursement To Ecuador, Grants Waivers
-----------------------------------------------------------
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
completed Friday the first review of Ecuador's performance under
a 13-month SDR 151 million (about US$211 million) Stand-By
Arrangement, approved in March 2003. This decision entitles
Ecuador to the release of a further SDR 30.2 million (about US$42
million), which would bring the total amount disbursed under the
program to SDR 60.4 million (about US$85 million).

In completing the review, the Executive Board also approved
Ecuador's request for waivers of nonobservance of performance
criteria and waivers of applicability, until September 15, 2003
of certain end-June, 2003 performance criterion.

Following the Executive Board's discussion on Ecuador, Anne
Krueger, First Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, said:

"The government of Ecuador has embarked on an ambitious fiscal
and structural reform program to foster economic growth and
reduce poverty. However, the authorities have faced significant
political and institutional challenges, and performance under the
program in the first half of 2003 was uneven. Nevertheless, the
authorities remain fully committed to the originally envisaged
macroeconomic objectives, and have taken corrective steps to
ensure that these can be met. Moreover, despite some delays, good
progress is being made in advancing the structural reform agenda.

"In the fiscal area, the government has taken measures to contain
the wage bill, reduce goods and services outlays, and start
collecting in cash PetroEcuador's fuel deliveries to the
electricity companies. As a result, notwithstanding recent wage
and pension increases, the program's objective of an overall
public sector primary surplus of 5 percent of GDP in 2003 can
still be achieved. Moreover, a new law to overhaul customs
administration has already been passed, and progress is being
made to pass legislation for civil service and tax reforms. These
reforms should further strengthen the fiscal position in 2004 and
lay the foundations to bring down Ecuador's high public debt, as
revenues from the new oil pipeline begin to come on stream,
consistent with the Fiscal Responsibility and Transparency Law.

"The authorities are also committed to improving the management
and financial condition of the state enterprises in the oil,
electricity and telephone sectors. Strong public enterprise
reforms will have a positive effect on the public finances and on
the country's productive infrastructure. Finally, welcome
progress is being made to auction off restructured loans of
closed banks, and to prepare the way for these banks to be
liquidated.

"These reforms, together with actions to improve governance and
the investment climate and increased focus on progress in
strengthening the social security net, will expand Ecuador's
growth potential while broadening the public support for the
government's program," Ms. Krueger stated.

CONTACT:  INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
          700 19th Street, NW
          Washington, D.C. 20431 USA

          IMF EXTERNAL RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
          Public Affairs: 202-623-7300 - Fax: 202-623-6278
          Media Relations: 202-623-7100 - Fax: 202-623-6772



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

C&WJ: Adjusts Rates on Local, International Calls
-------------------------------------------------
Cable & Wireless Jamaica recently announced plans to revise
service rates on international calls. An article released by the
Jamaica Observer on Friday said that the company will increase
local call charges but slash down international call rates
effective September 1 this year.

Standard domestic calls will now be charged J$0.52 per minute, a
30% increase from the existing rate of J$0.40. Off-peak rates
will go be J$0.46 from J$0.35, while calls will be charged J$0.35
on weekends from the original rate of J$0.30.

Meanwhile, international calls will be reduced to $16.50 per
minute from the $18 flat rate introduced last year. However,
calls to Cuba and World Talk cardholders are excluded. The report
revealed the direct dialing from fixed line telephones through
World Talk card, will be charged $18, from $24.

The company also announced that monthly line rental charges will
be hiked to $400 from US$380, while business customers will have
to pay $1,000 per month compared to the present rate of $800
monthly. However, the company assured would-be customers that
there will be no increase in installation charges.

"The revised rates are in keeping with the price cap mechanism
which determines the level of price movements on specified
services," the company said in statement.

Furthermore, the company said that it is offering a 20 percent
discount on the cost of access to its international fiber optic
network. The report said that the revision of this rate comes
after the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) expressed concerns
that Internet access between Jamaica and Florida via the
company's cables is more expensive that anywhere else in the
world. C&WJ charges US$16,000 per month compared to the Colombia-
Florida connection that charges between US$5,000-US$7,000
monthly.



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

ALESTRA: Amends New Registration Statement With Financials
----------------------------------------------------------
Alestra, S. de R.L. de C.V., announced Friday that it
electronically filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission via EDGAR its Amendment No. 1 to its new Form F-4
Registration Statement (File No. 333-106329), which relates to
its proposed exchange offers and cash tender offers for its
outstanding Senior Notes.

The Amendment includes Alestra's unaudited financial results for
the six month period ending June 30, 2003.

The terms and conditions of the exchange offers and the cash
tender offers are the same as those included in the new Form F-4
Registration Statement filed by Alestra on June 20, 2003.

For each $1,000 principal amount of its outstanding Senior Notes
due 2006 and 2009, Alestra will propose the following options
subject to proration:

1) $1,060 principal amount of its unissued Senior Notes due June
30, 2010;

2) a cash payment of $550; or

3) a combination of both.

Consummation of the offers is conditional upon the receipt by
Alestra of valid and unrevoked tenders prior to the offers
expiration date of at least 90% of the aggregate outstanding
principal amount of each series of existing notes outstanding.
The interest rate of the new notes will be 8% if the
participation in the offers is less than 95% and 9% if the
participation in the offers is 95% or more. Holders who tender
their Senior Notes in the offers will not receive any accrued and
unpaid interest on those notes. In addition, the new terms
include fixed principal amortization beginning on December 30,
2005.

The Registration Statement also contains solicitations for a U.S.
prepackaged plan of reorganization. If the offers are not
successful but certain required thresholds are met, Alestra may
in its sole discretion pursue a U.S. prepackaged plan of
reorganization, which will attempt to accomplish the
restructuring with terms similar to those in the offers.

A Registration Statement relating to these securities has been
filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission but has not yet
become effective. These securities may not be sold nor may offers
to buy be accepted prior to the time the registration statement
becomes effective and Alestra has obtained the necessary
authorizations from the Comision Nacional Bancaria y de Valores
de Mexico. This press release shall not constitute an offer to
sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be
any sale of these securities in Mexico or in any State in which
such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to
registration or qualification under the securities laws of Mexico
and any such State.

This announcement shall not under any circumstances create any
implication that the information contained herein is correct as
of any time subsequent to the date hereof, or that there has been
no change in the information set forth herein or in the affairs
of Alestra or any of its affiliates since the date hereof. No
indications of interest in the offers are sought by this press
release.

Headquartered in San Pedro Garza Garcia, Mexico, Alestra is a
leading provider of competitive telecommunications services in
Mexico that it markets under the AT&T brand name and carries on
its own network. Alestra offers domestic and international long
distance services, data and internet services and local services.

A copy of Alestra's Amendment No. 1 to its Registration Statement
and any other document Alestra files is available at the SEC's
public reference room at 450 Fifth Street, N.W. Washington, D.C.
20549. These documents are also available at the public reference
rooms at the SEC's regional offices in New York City and Chicago.
Alestra's filings are also available to the public over the
Internet at the SEC's website at http://www.sec.gov.

CONTACT:  Alestra, S. de R.L. de C.V.
          Sergio Bravo
          Phone: 011 528 18 625 2269
          Email: sbravo@alestra.com.mx


BURLINGTON INDUSTRIES: Court Approves WL Ross & Co. Bid
-------------------------------------------------------
The Bankruptcy Court approved Friday an amended acquisition
proposal of $614 million (subject to adjustment) from WL Ross &
Co. LLC as the highest and best received from the auction
conducted on July 28, 2003. The agreement contemplates the sale
of Burlington Industries (OTC Bulletin Board: BRLG) to WL Ross &
Co. LLC, with a concurrent sale of Burlington's Lees carpet
business to Mohawk Industries, Inc. (NYSE: MHK)

The amended WL Ross acquisition agreement has been incorporated
into the Company's plan of reorganization. The related disclosure
statement is scheduled to be reviewed by the Court at a hearing
in late August. If approved, Burlington expects the plan to
become effective in October 2003.

With operations in the United States, Mexico and India and a
global manufacturing and product development network based in
Hong Kong, Burlington Industries is one of the world's most
diversified marketers and manufacturers of softgoods for apparel
and interior furnishings.


ICA: Maturing Debts May Worsen Financial Condition, Says S&P
------------------------------------------------------------
Ratings agency Standard & Poor's expressed concerned about the
financial standing of Empresas ICA, the largest construction firm
in Mexico, according to a report released by Internet Securities.
In its latest report, the agency indicated that the Company is
facing serious liquidity problems that could worsen in the next
12 months when US$193 million in short-term debt matures,
including a US$96.3-million convertible bond set to expire in
March 2004.

The Company's situation is important especially in light of two
large public works contracts it has recently won, the US$850
million El Caj˘n hydroelectric dam and the US$500 million
Chicontepec oil exploitation.

But according to S&P's Manuel Gere¤a, the Company's financial
problems will not affect the energy projects because ICA is
relying on financial schemes guaranteed by the very works, not
representing corporate obligations.

CONTACT:  Dr. Jos, Luis Guerrero
          (5255) 5272-9991 x2060
          jose.guerrero@ica.com.mx

          Lic. Paloma Grediaga
          (5255) 5272-9991 x3470
          paloma.grediaga@ica.com.mx

          In the United States:
          ZEMI COMMUNICATIONS
          Daniel Wilson
          (212) 689-9560
          d.b.m.wilson@zemi.com


ISPAT MEXICANA/GRUPO VILLACERO: Dealing With Striking Workers
-------------------------------------------------------------
Operations at the three units of Monterrey-based Grupo Villacero,
and Ispat Mexicana in Mexico's Pacific port of Lazaro Cardenas
were halted Friday after workers lodged a strike over
productivity bonuses, according to Dow Jones Business News.

The strike began after the 35-day negotiations between the
companies and the National Mining, Metallurgical and Similar
Workers Union failed to reach an agreement. The companies are
reportedly offering a 5.5% wage increase plus 2.6% in added
benefits, retroactive to May 1.


GRUPO TMM: To Proceed With NAFTA Rail Transaction
-------------------------------------------------
Kansas City Southern ("KCS") (NYSE: KSU) and Grupo TMM, S.A.
("TMM")(NYSE: TMM)(BMV: TMM A) announced Friday that the waiting
period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of
1976 ("HSR") for their proposed NAFTA Rail transaction has
expired without a formal request from the U.S. Department of
Justice ("DOJ") for additional information of documentary
material, allowing KCS and TMM to consummate their transaction
without any further delays that could have resulted from requests
for additional information by the Justice Department under U.S.
antitrust laws.

Under the HSR process, the DOJ had thirty (30) days after notice
is filed to issue a "second request" asking for various documents
and information from the HSR parties. The waiting period
officially expired yesterday, July 31, 2003, without action by
the DOJ. While the transaction has cleared the regulatory waiting
period under HSR for antitrust review in the United States, the
transaction placing TFM, S.A., de C.V. ("TFM") under common
control of NAFTA Rail must still be approved by the Foreign
Investment Commission in Mexico, the shareholders of both
companies, and TMM bondholders. The transaction has already
received approval from the Mexican Competition Commission, which
looks at antitrust issues in proposed transactions in Mexico.

"We are very gratified that the U.S. Department of Justice has
determined to allow the transaction to proceed without a request
for additional information under the antitrust laws," stated
Michael R. Haverty, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive
Officer of KCS. "We believe that NAFTA Rail will enhance rail
competition in Mexico and the United States and improve rail
service for shippers in the vitally important North American rail
corridor. This is one more step in our effort to make NAFTA Rail
a strong competitor in the NAFTA trade corridor."

Jose Serrano, Chairman of Grupo TMM, said, "The expiration of the
waiting period removes another hurdle to our ability to complete
the transaction."

In a separate, but related proceeding, Haverty and KCS Executive
Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Gerald Davies,
testified yesterday before the U.S. Surface Transportation Board
("STB") at a public hearing held to discuss and take evidence on
KCS's plans to place The Kansas City Southern Railway Company
("KCSR"), Gateway Eastern Railway Company ("Gateway"), and The
Texas Mexican Railway Company ("Tex Mex") under the common
control of KCS (the "Applicant").

This public hearing was scheduled by the STB to allow the
Applicant and the public to comment on this transaction, which is
separate from the TFM transaction. KCS had earlier purchased 51
percent of Tex Mex's parent company, Mexrail Inc., for $32.7
million but placed those shares in an independent voting trust
pending STB authority to commonly control KCSR, Gateway, and Tex
Mex. The STB has published a procedural schedule that would
result in a final decision in this matter by October 17, 2003.

"We were very pleased that Chairman Nober and the STB staff
scheduled this hearing to allow us and many of the affected
parties to comment on the importance of our transaction to future
competitive rail service between the U.S. and Mexico," said
Haverty.

Joining KCS in testifying in support of the transaction at the
STB hearing were The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Watco
Companies, Inc., Triangle Marine Industrial Park, Bartlett
Company, Beachner Grain, Inc., E. I. du Pont de Nemours and
Company, Martin Product Sales LLC, and MeadWestvaco Corporation.
Over 90 parties to date have filed written comments in support of
the NAFTA Rail transaction.

KCS is a transportation holding company that has railroad
investments in the United States, Mexico, and Panama. Its primary
holding is The Kansas City Southern Railway Company.
Headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, KCS serves customers in
the central and south central regions of the U.S. KCS's rail
holdings and investments are primary components of a NAFTA
Railway system that links the commercial and industrial centers
of the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Headquartered in Mexico City, Grupo TMM is the premier Mexican
multimodal transportation company and logistics provider. Through
its branch offices and network of subsidiary companies, Grupo TMM
provides a dynamic combination of ocean and land transportation
services within Mexico. Grupo TMM also has the controlling
interest in TFM, which operates Mexico's Northeast Rail Lines and
carries over 40 percent of the country's rail cargo.

CONTACT:  Kansas City Southern
          William H. Galligan
          Phone: 816-983-1551
          Email: william.h.galligan@kcsr.com
            or
          Doniele Kane
          Phone: 816-983-1372
          Email: doniele.c.kane@kcsr.com


SAFETY-KLEEN: Court Confirms Reorganization Plan
------------------------------------------------
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware confirmed
Friday Safety-Kleen's proposed Plan of Reorganization, the
company announced.

"Confirmation of the plan represents a tremendous step forward
for the Company and everyone who has supported us in this process
-- our employees, our customers and vendors, and our creditors,"
said Safety-Kleen Chairman, CEO and President Ronald A.
Rittenmeyer.

"We can now focus on completing the few final organizational
steps that remain for us to emerge from bankruptcy as a stronger,
healthier and more competitive company," he added.

Safety-Kleen entered into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection
voluntarily on June 9, 2000. The Company expects to complete the
remaining steps of the bankruptcy process and emerge within the
third quarter of 2003.

"We look forward to emerging as a new Safety-Kleen," said
Rittenmeyer. "We have worked hard and invested strategically to
improve every area of the Company, and we will continue to do so
post-emergence. We're ready to put the most challenging time in
Safety-Kleen's history behind us and concentrate totally on doing
what we do best -- providing world-class service to our
customers."

About Safety-Kleen

Safety-Kleen is the leading parts cleaner and industrial waste
management company in North America, serving hundreds of
thousands of customers in the United States, Canada, Mexico and
Puerto Rico.

Private Securities Litigation Reform Act

Sections of this release constitute forward-looking statements
that involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Many factors
could cause actual results to differ materially from our expected
results. These factors include risks associated with the final
acquisition of the Chemical Services Division; emergence from
Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection; continued productive relations
with creditors; the continued availability of credit; changes in
demand for the Company's services; and competition.



=====================
P U E R T O   R I C O
=====================

DORAL: Addresses Investor Concerns on Mortgage Rates Hike
---------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Salomon Levis, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive
Officer of Doral Financial Corporation (NYSE: DRL), stated that
contrary to what may be perceived in the U.S. mortgage market, he
did not anticipate that the recent increase in mortgage rates
would have an adverse effect in the profitability of Doral's loan
production in the Puerto Rico market and that it represented an
opportunity for Doral to realize additional profits by widening
Doral's tax-exempt interest spread and by increasing the value of
its servicing portfolio. In a variety of interest rate scenarios,
the Company has realized quarterly record earnings consecutively
for the last five and a half years.

Mr. Levis explained that in Puerto Rico, refinancing loans tend
to be driven by debt consolidation. Borrowers consolidate a
number of consumer loans with relatively high monthly payments
into one single much lower mortgage payment. Interests on
consumer loans are by far much higher in Puerto Rico than those
in mortgage loans and they are not tax deductible, while mortgage
interests are. In 1999, when mortgage interest rates were much
higher, Doral's refinancings were at 61% of total loan production
versus 55% in the first half of 2003. Mr. Levis was quoted in
Doral's earnings release issued on July 7, 1999 as follows: "Our
loan production and net income were the highest recorded for any
second quarter in the history of the company. We are particularly
pleased that, in contrast to the situation on the U.S. mainland
where mortgage bankers have recently experienced a sharp decline
in refinancings as mortgage rates have risen, our refinancings
continue to run at their usual level of around 60% of total
originations. Loan production continues to be strong in Puerto
Rico in a climate of consistent demand for new housing. The
interest on FHA/VA loans for new housing continues to enjoy local
tax exemption."

In 2003, the existing demand for new housing in Puerto Rico
remains very strong and so is Doral's share of this new housing
market with a substantial pipeline, especially in the vast number
of programs of subsidized affordable housing loans throughout
Puerto Rico. These programs should continue growing in the future
and Doral should continue to benefit the most from them, by being
the dominant lender in the Puerto Rico housing market.

Mr. Levis concluded by reiterating his optimism for the remainder
of the year 2003 and the future. Additionally, Doral's present
income has diversified significantly. Commercial banking,
insurance agency and securities brokerage, contributed 54% of the
total income in the second quarter of this year, while four years
ago, it was only 11%.

Finally, Mr. Levis is pleased to advise that on July 31, 2003,
Fitch Ratings upgraded Doral's senior unsecured debt from "BBB"
to "BBB+."

CONTACT:  Doral Financial Corporation
          Richard F. Bonini, Senior Executive Vice President and
CFO
          Phone: 212-329-3728
             or
          Mario S. Levis, Senior Executive Vice President and
                           Treasurer
          Phone: 787-474-6709



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

PDVSA FINANCE: S&P Raises Senior Note Ratings
---------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised Friday its ratings on
PDVSA Finance Ltd.'s US$3.3 billion and Eur200.0 million senior
unsecured notes to 'B+' from 'B-' (see list). The rating action
follows the recent upgrade of the foreign currency ratings of the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (B-/Stable/C) and Petroleos de
Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA; B-/Stable/-). The rating action also
reflects certain credit developments specific to PDVSA and the
PDVSA Finance transaction, including:

-- A significant recovery in daily oil production and exports by
PDVSA;

-- Improvements in the invoicing of exported production after a
lengthy interruption in early 2003;

-- A significant increase in the amount of funds flowing through
the PDVSA Finance collection account and in the debt service
coverage level of the transaction since February 2003; and

-- Improvement in PDVSA's liquidity and the normalization of its
operations.

As a result of labor strife and the firing of thousands of PDVSA
employees early in 2003, production and exports of oil by PDVSA
plummeted. Crude oil production, which totaled 3.3 million
barrels per day (bpd) in November 2002, collapsed to a low of
about 0.8 million bpd in January 2003. Approximately $700 million
to $1.1 billion in monthly payments flowed through the PDVSA
Finance collection account prior to the strikes, with the value
of the shipments fluctuating based on the quantity of oil
delivered by PDVSA to the designated customers and the price of
the oil. These collection flows dropped to as low as $200 million
in January 2003 before recovering slightly in February to $350
million and to a much stronger level of $960 million in March.
Matching the declines in production and deliveries, the debt
service coverage ratio for the PDVSA Finance transaction dipped
to a low of 4.88 in the month of February 2003-near the 4.0x
level that would allow investors to demand an early amortization
of the rated notes. Despite the significant loss of production
and exports, however, PDVSA Finance made its February and May
2003 debt service payments on the rated securities out of
collection account funds and without recourse to the transaction
liquidity facility.

Since March 2003, production has recovered sharply, reaching 3.2
million bpd in April 2003 and remaining roughly at that level
through June. Collections flowing through the PDVSA Finance
collection account totaled $2.6 billion in June 2003, yielding a
debt service coverage ratio of 16.9x quarterly debt service due.

Standard & Poor's believes the rapid recovery in production,
exports, and debt service coverage warrants a two-notch upgrade
of the transaction. However, concerns regarding the
sustainability of current production levels in the absence of
greater capital investment by PDVSA, as well as the still highly
polarized political environment in Venezuela, will likely
continue to constrain the upward potential of the transaction
rating for the near future.

RATINGS RAISED
PDVSA Finance Ltd.

Class                          Rating
                            To        From
A 6.45% notes due 2004      B+        B-
B 6.65% notes due 2006      B+        B-
C 6.80% notes due 2008      B+        B-
D 7.40% notes due 2016      B+        B-
E 7.50% notes due 2028      B+        B-
F 8.75% notes due 2004      B+        B-
G 6.25% notes due 2006      B+        B-
H 9.40% notes due 2007      B+        B-
I 9.75% notes due 2010      B+        B-
J 9.95% notes due 2020      B+        B-
K 8.50% notes due 2012      B+        B-

CONTACT:  Standard & Poor's
          New York
          Kevin Kime
          Phone: 212-438-6223

          Bruce Schwartz
          Phone: 212-438-7809


* Fitch Sees Bond Repurchase As Marginally Improving Credit
-----------------------------------------------------------
Venezuela's credit-standing should marginally improve following a
bond repurchase of US$3.8 billion, according to a special report
by Fitch Ratings. The benefits of the reduced rollover risk from
the repurchase is considered to outweigh the cost in
international reserves, given limited access to true market
financing and that reserves are considerably above peers,' said
Morgan Harting, Director, Fitch Ratings. 'However, these benefits
are insufficient per se, to warrant an upgrade in Venezuela's
sovereign debt ratings or a change in Outlook to Positive, given
concerns about the political risk and the sustainability of the
macroeconomic framework.'

Fitch estimates that the transaction will reduce total external
amortizations for the remainder of 2003 to about US$500 million
from US$900 million, and to US$1.4 billion in 2004 from US$2.3
billion.

Participation in the new bond by domestic banks may crowd out
potential private sector borrowing, and may diminish transparency
in financial reporting. Banks may earn substantial foreign
exchange gain from the transactions, however.

The new Fitch report titled 'Bond Repurchase Marginally Improves
Venezuelan Credit' is available on Fitch's web site at
'www.fitchratings.com' or by contacting the Ratings Desk at 1-
800-893-4824.

CONTACT:  Morgan C. Harting, CFA
          Phone: +1-212-908-0820
             or
          Theresa Paiz Fredel
          Phone: +1-212-908-0534

          Media Relations:
          James Jockle
          Phone: +1-212-908-0547




               ***********


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

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

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

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

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

The TCR Latin America subscription rate is $575 per half-year,
delivered via e-mail.  Additional e-mail subscriptions for
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* * * End of Transmission * * *