TCRLA_Public/030902.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, September 2, 2003, Vol. 4, Issue 173

                          Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

AUTOPISTA LOS LIBERTADORES: Hits Rough Spot
AZERTIA TECNOLOGIAS: Unit Gets Shot in the Arm From Parent
CEMEFIR: Claims Verification Process Ends Today
EUROMAYOR: Fitch Assigns Default Rating To Bonds
EUROMAYOR: Fitch Moves Bonds To Junk Territories

GAS ARGENTINO: Fitch Assigns Default Ratings To Bonds
GRINFA: Credit Check Ends Today
LOST: Receiver Ends Verification Process
METROGAS: $600M of Bonds Rated 'D(arg)' by Fitch
TRAINING CENTER: Receiver Prepares Individual Reports


B A R B A D O S

C&W: Proposed Rate Hike Meets Objection


B R A Z I L

EMBRATEL: Signs Partnership Deal With Costa do Sauipe
KLABIN: Aims To Top Woodpulp Market in LatAm With Two Units
SABESP: Announces Tariff Adjustment


C H I L E

BANCO SUDAMERIS: Intesa To Get Rid of Last Chilean Assets
ENDESA CHILE: IAF Supports Work Fundaci˘n Pehuen In Alto Bio Bio
METRO: Reports Reduced Net Loss For 1H03


D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

ELECTRICARIBE/ELETROCOSTA: Government Approves US$60M Bailout
TRICOM: S&P Downgrades Ratings to 'CC' From 'CCC+'


E C U A D O R

PACIFICTEL: FS Board To Approve Bidding Rules


J A M A I C A

C&WJ: Supreme Court Rules Favorably in Oceanic Case


M E X I C O

GRUPO TMM: Announces Repurchase By TFM Of Stake In Mexrail


P A N A M A

CSS: Pres. Moscoso Pushes For Prompt Action To Escape Bankruptcy


T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

CARONI: US Investors Want To Buy Caroni, says Union Head


U R U G U A Y

GALICIA URUGUAY: Accepts Clients' Deposit-Return Survey Offer


V E N E Z U E L A

BANCO DE VENEZUELA: Fitch Raises Ratings
BANCO DEL CARIBE: Fitch Ups Ratings
BANCO EXTERIOR: Fitch Ups Ratings Following Upgrade on Venezuela
BANCO MERCANTIL: Sovereign Upgrade Prompts Upgrade on Ratings
BANCO OCCIDENTAL: LTFC Rating Raised To `CCC-`

BANCO PROVINCIAL: Fitch Raises Ratings
BANCO VENEZOLANO: Fitch Upgrades Ratings
BANESCO BANCO: Fitch Takes Action on Various Ratings

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

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

AUTOPISTA LOS LIBERTADORES: Hits Rough Spot
-------------------------------------------
Chilean highway concessionaire Autopista los Libertadores posted
a 1H03 net loss of CLP595 million, reports Business News
Americas, citing a Company statement to the country's securities
regulator, the SVS. The result highly contrasts with its 1H02 net
profit of CLP583 million.

Los Libertadores, which runs the route from Santiago to Los
Andes, attributed the negative results to an increase in
financial and operating costs.

Infraestructura 2000, a consortium led by Spanish construction
group OHL, controls Los Libertadores. The concessionaire has a
28-year concession awarded in 1996, worth US$122 million.


AZERTIA TECNOLOGIAS: Unit Gets Shot in the Arm From Parent
----------------------------------------------------------
The Argentine division of Azertia Tecnologias received a capital
injection from Azertia parent, Spanish technology conglomerate
Corporacion IBV, to the tune of EUR1.1 million (US$1.2 million).

Citing Azertia Argentina CFO Gonzalo Vazquez, Business News
Americas reports that a larger chunk of the capital, EUR824,000,
went to the restructuring of financial and operational debt.

He also revealed that EUR196,000 was used to help ease Azertia's
debts to sister companies, while EUR90,000 was used to pay off
external debt.

The Argentine division, which was launched in 1998, now has 140
employees.


CEMEFIR: Claims Verification Process Ends Today
-----------------------------------------------
The credit verification process for the bankruptcy of Buenos
Aires-based Cemefir S.A. ends today, September 2. As instructed
by the court, the receiver will now start preparations for the
individual reports.

The city's Court No. 4 holds jurisdiction over the Company's
case. Under the Argentine bankruptcy law, the receiver is also
required to prepare a general report on the process.

CONTACT:  Mario Kahan
          Lavalle 2306
          Buenos Aires


EUROMAYOR: Fitch Assigns Default Rating To Bonds
------------------------------------------------
Fitch Argentina Calificadora de Riesgo S.A. assigned a 'D(arg)'
rating to some US$10 million of corporate bonds issued by
Euromayor S.A. de Inversiones. The National Securities Commission
of Argentina described the bonds as "Primera Serie por 10
millones de U$S dentro de un Programa Global".

The rating, issued last Tuesday, denotes that the bonds are
currently in default. The Company's finances as of the end of
April this year determined the given rating.

The bonds matured in April this year, and were classified under
"series and/or class". However, its CUSIP was not revealed.


EUROMAYOR: Fitch Moves Bonds To Junk Territories
------------------------------------------------
A number of corporate bonds issued by Euromayor S.A. de
Inversiones were moved to junk territory with `CCC(arg)' ratings
from Fitch Argentina Calificadora de Riesgo S.A., according to
the country's National Securities Commission.

The affected bonds are:

-- US$3.07 million of "Serie I Clase dolares"
-- US$3.07 million of "Serie II Clase dolares", which matured in
June this year.
-- US$6.80 million of "Serie I Clase pesos"
-- US$4.42 million of "Serie II Clase pesos", which matured in
June this year.

The ratings, which were issued on Tuesday, were based on the
Company's finances as of April 30, 2003. Fitch said that the
rating denotes an extremely weak credit risk relative to other
issues in the same country. Capacity for meeting financial
commitments is solely reliant upon sustained, favorable business
or economic developments.


GAS ARGENTINO: Fitch Assigns Default Ratings To Bonds
-----------------------------------------------------
Fitch Argentina Calificadora de Riesgo S.A. assigned default
ratings to US$130 million of corporate bonds issued by local
company Gas Argentino S.A. last week. The ratings agency said the
'D(arg)' rating is assigned to financial commitments which are
currently in default.

The National Securities Commission of Argentina described the
affected bond as "Obligaciones negociables simples por U$S
130.000.000", which matured in June 2000. These bonds were
classified under "simple issue".


GRINFA: Credit Check Ends Today
-------------------------------
The credit verification process for the bankruptcy of Argentine
company Grinfa S.A. ends today, September 2, 2003. The receiver,
Mr. Alberto Francisco Romeo, will start preparing the individual
reports.

The Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America earlier reported
that Buenos Aires' Court No. 8, which is under Dr. Garibotto,
declared the company bankrupt upon the request of Bulonera Norte
S.A..

However, local sources did not indicate whether the court has set
the deadline for the individual and general reports.

CONTACT:  Alberto Francisco Romeo
          5th Floor
          Parana 275
          Buenos Aires


LOST: Receiver Ends Verification Process
----------------------------------------
The receiver for Buenos Aires-based Lost S.R.L. will end today
the credit verification process for the Company's bankruptcy
proceedings. This means the receiver will start preparations for
the individual reports, which must be presented to the court on
November 7.

An earlier report by the Troubled Company Reporter - Latin
America indicated that the city's Court No. 19 declared the
Company bankrupt, and assigned Ms. Raquel Steinhaus as receiver.

The court also requires the receiver to submit the general report
on December 22. The general report is prepared after the
individual reports have been processed by the court.

CONTACT:  Lost S.R.L.
          Ladines 3047
          Buenos Aires

          Raquel Steinhaus
          Paraguay 577
          Buenos Aires


METROGAS: $600M of Bonds Rated 'D(arg)' by Fitch
------------------------------------------------
A total of $600 million of Metrogas S.A.'s corporate bonds were
rated 'D(arg)' by the Fitch Argentina Calificadora de Riesgo S.A.
last week. The National Securities Commission of Argentina
described the affected bonds as "Obligaciones Negociables
Simples".

The rating issued was based on the Company's finances as of the
end of June this year. Fitch said that the 'D(arg)' rating is
assigned to financial obligations that are in default. It applies
to bonds that were classified under "Program."


TRAINING CENTER: Receiver Prepares Individual Reports
-----------------------------------------------------
Court No. 17 of Buenos Aires ordered Training Center S.A.'s
receiver to prepare the individual reports as the deadline for
the verification of credit claims expires. These reports must be
submitted to the court before October 14 this year.

The court also ordered the receiver to prepare a general report
on the bankruptcy process. An earlier report from the Troubled
Company Reporter - Latin America indicated that the deadline for
the general report is November 25.

Creditors are invited to attend an informative assembly on June 3
next year.

CONTACT:  Jose M. Nullo
          Suipacha 612
          Buenos Aires



===============
B A R B A D O S
===============

C&W: Proposed Rate Hike Meets Objection
---------------------------------------
The Barbados Consumer Research Organisation (BCRO) filed an
objection to the country's public services regulator FTC against
Cable & Wireless proposed rate hike.

C&W has proposed three flat rate plans, for business and
residential users: 2,000 minutes included with the $28 Barbados
dollar line rental fee; an additional 2,000 minutes for $10; or
unlimited usage for an additional $20. C&W also requested that
the line rental fee increase to $32 after six months, reports
Business News Americas.

According to the BCRO, the hike will have an adverse social
impact.

C&W Barbados CEO Donald Austin clarified that the obligatory
metered charging it requested would only apply to excess minutes.

Local newspaper the Barbados Nation reports that the matter will
be discussed in a public hearing if the objection filed meets the
FTC requirements.



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

EMBRATEL: Signs Partnership Deal With Costa do Sauipe
-----------------------------------------------------
Embratel and Bahia's tourist destination Costa do SauĦpe have
entered into partnership for the supply of an integrated
telecommunications service solution to the condominium, and
celebrated a corporate association to explore a common interest
media. The infrastructure provided by Embratel will outfit the
condominium with the carrier's entire portfolio of services
comprising over eighty cutting-edge technology services.

In the initial phase, the solution will involve long distance
domestic and international telephone services covering the entire
complex. In every hotel, inn or shop installed therein Embratel
will provide local numbers for inbound and outbound calls made
through its telephone exchanges.

The solution contemplates the provision of data communication
service to Costa do SauĦpe as well. Through Business Link Direct
and FastNe services Embratel will be providing access to the
internet and the interconnection among the several sites managed
by the condominium, including Vila Nova da Praia, a leisure
center reproducing all the details of a Brazilian small town like
bars, restaurants and inns. Thanks to this corporate association,
the partnership will be widely announced over the media installed
in the internal areas of the condominium.

Costa do SauĦpe has six theme inns (Gabriela, Pelourinho, Aldeia,
Carnaval, Agreste and Torre) and five hotels under the
international management of Marriott (Renaissance Costa do SauĦpe
Resort and Costa do SauĦpe Marriott Resort & SPA), Accor (Sofitel
Costa do SauĦpe and Sofitel SuĦtes Costa do SauĦpe) and
Superclubs (SuperClubs Breezes), and turned out to be one of
Brazil's favorite tourist destinations. The hotels are lessees of
the condominium, which manages all the public areas, including
the golf course and Vila Nova da Praia, and the
telecommunications infrastructure services as well.

Embratel is the premium telecommunications provider in Brazil,
offering a wide range of telecommunication services, such as
advanced voice, high-speed data transmission, internet, data
communication by satellite and corporate networks. The company is
national leader in data and internet services, in a privileged
position to become the Latin American carrier with an all-
distance network. Embratel network has national coverage with
almost 17,500 miles of optic cables, representing around one
million miles of fiber optics

CONTACT:  EMBRATEL
          Advertising, Press and Public Relations Department
          Further information: (02121) 2121 7837 / 2121 6291
          Fax: (02121) 2121 7791
          Mid-West- Phone: (02161) 242-9058 / 2845 / 916-9188
          Attention: Flavio Resende
          E-mail: cmsocial@embratel.net.br
          Embratel on the internet: www.embratel.com.br


KLABIN: Aims To Top Woodpulp Market in LatAm With Two Units
-----------------------------------------------------------
Klabin announced it intends to keep its two remaining units in
Brazil, particularly in the Bahia state: Camacari-based woodpulp,
and Feira de Santana-based packaging unit.

The announcement follows the sale of a 50% stake in the
partnerships Klabin Kimberly, in Brazil, and KCK Tissue, in
Argentina, totaling BRL408 million.

The Company, the largest producer and exporter of packaging paper
(mainly kraftliner) in Brazil, hinges on the two Bahia-based
units to become a leader in the integrated production of
woodpulp, paper and packaging in Latin America.

Klabin increased net income by 47% in the first half of 2003, to
BRL1.68 billion, while net profit was at BRL1 billion.

CONTACT:  KLABIN
          Ronald Seckelmann, Diretor Financeiro e de RI
          Luiz Marciano Candalaft, Gerente de RI
          Tel: (11) 3225-4045
          Email: marciano@klabin.com.br


SABESP: Announces Tariff Adjustment
-----------------------------------
Cia. de Saneamento Basico do Estado de Sao Paulo, (BOVESPA:SBSP3)
(NYSE:SBS), the largest water and sewage utility company in the
Americas and the third largest in the world (in terms of number
of customers), as required by Instruction CVM No. 358, dated Jan.
3, 2002, hereby announces that, in accordance with Article 28 of
the Tariff System Regulation approved by State Decree No. 1,446,
dated Dec. 16, 1996, tariffs and other conditions governing water
supply and sewage collection services will be adjusted by 18.95%,
except social and slum tariffs that will be adjusted by 9.0%,
effective as from Aug. 29, 2003.

SABESP's tariff adjustments will be calculated using the formula
below:

        (VPA x IrA) + (VPB x IrB)
IRT =   -----------------------------
                      R
Where:

IRT = Tariff Adjustment Index

VPA = Amount A, which corresponds to the values recorded between
July of the previous year and June of the current year, related
to costs and expenses with: electric power; treatment supplies;
federal taxes -- including CPMF -- Contribuicao Provisoria sobre
Movimentacao Financeira (Temporary Contribution on Financial
Transactions) and the Cofins/Pasep taxes on revenues; State and
Municipal taxes, and charges for the exploitation of water
resources for the purpose of public supply;

IrA = Adjustment Index for Amount A: the annual variation of the
following ratio: Amount A values, accumulated between July of the
previous year and June of the current year, divided by the
accumulated billed volume in the same period, in relation to the
same calculated ratio between the Amount A values, accumulated
between July of two previous years and June of the previous year,
divided by the accumulated billed volume in the same period;

VPB = Amount B, which is calculated as the difference between the
accumulated Gross Operating Revenues, in the period from July of
the previous year to June of the current year, and the Amount A
for the same period;

IrB = Adjustment Index for Amount B = equals to the IPCA Index
(Brazilian Wide-Ranging Consumer Price Index) published by IBGE -
- Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatistica (Brazilian
Institute of Geography and Statistics), accumulated in the
period;

R = Gross Operating Revenues, which corresponds to the values
recorded between July of the previous year to June of the current
year, originated from direct and indirect operating revenues
related to water supply and sewage collection services;

One should consider SABESP's official information as data source
for the tariff adjustment calculation, in particular the
Financial Statements periodically issued (i.e. DFP --
Demonstracoes Financeiras Padronizadas ("Standard Financial
Statements according to the Brazilian Corporate Law") and ITR --
Informacoes Trimestrais ("Quarterly Financial Statements
according to the Brazilian Corporate Law")).

Further details on the adjustment application will be made
available on Sabesp's Web site www.sabesp.com.br and will also be
published at the Sao Paulo State Official Gazette.

CONTACT:  Helmut Bossert
          Tel.: 5511-3388-8664
          E-mail: hbossert@sabesp.com.br

          Marisa Guimaraes
          Tel.: 5511-3388-9135
          E-mail: marisag@sabesp.com.br

          URL: www.sabesp.com.br



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

BANCO SUDAMERIS: Intesa To Get Rid of Last Chilean Assets
---------------------------------------------------------
Italian bank Intesa is yet to complete its exit from the Chilean
market, Business News Americas indicates.

In May, Intesa sold its Chilean subsidiary Banco Sudameris to
local bank Banco del Desarrollo. However, it still has a number
of active derivates contracts on the Chilean market. Now, Intesa
is putting these contracts up for sale to complete its Chilean
exit, according to market sources.

Intesa has offered the derivates contracts to several different
banks, which are evaluating the offer, the sources added.


ENDESA CHILE: IAF Supports Work Fundaci˘n Pehuen In Alto Bio Bio
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Agreement on Cooperation signed Thursday consists of sharing
the financing of the initiatives put forward by the Fundaci˘n
Pehu‚n with the Pehuenche communities of Alto BĦo BĦo.

The agreement is an important recognition by the Inter-American
Foundation (IAF), an independent institution financed by the
Government of the United States, of the work carried out by the
Fundaci˘n Pehu‚n and Endesa Chile with the Pehuenche communities.

The Inter-American Foundation (IAF), an independent institution
financed by the Government of the United States, which promotes
the development of communities in Latin America and the
Caribbean, signed an Agreement on Cooperation with the Fundaci˘n
Pehu‚n to finance projects for the development of the Pehuenche
communities of Alto BĦo BĦo.

The agreement was signed Thursday during a ceremony that took
place in Alto BĦo BĦo, attended by the Governor of the Province
of BĦo BĦo, Esteban Krause, the President of the IAF, David
Valenzuela and the President of the Fundaci˘n Pehu‚n, Wilfredo
Jara. Also in attendance were the regional authorities and
representatives from the Pehuenche communities that will benefit
from the agreement.

The Inter-American Foundation will provide a significant
financial contribution that amounts to US$ 76,000 per annum that
will extend for a period of three years. This support reflects an
important recognition of the work undertaken by the Fundaci˘n
Pehu‚n that has spent over a decade contributing towards the
development of the Pehuenche communities of Alto BĦo BĦo.

Furthermore, it demonstrates that the Fundaci˘n Pehu‚n and Endesa
Chile, as the sponsor company, have satisfied the real needs of
the communities and that all the initiatives have been carried
out in a participative and constructive atmosphere with mutual
respect.

The IAF is an independent overseas aid entity of the Government
of the United States, managed by a council of directors appointed
by the President of that country and ratified by the Senate. In
order to comply with its tasks, which consist of granting
donations and providing support for basic and local development
in Latin America and the Caribbean, the United States Congress
assigns it funds each year to which are added funds donated by
the Fiduciary Fund for Social Progress managed by the Inter-
American Development Bank.

The Fundaci˘n Pehu‚n is a non-profit making organization founded
by Pangue, a subsidiary of Endesa Chile, with the object of
promoting programs to improve the financial situation of the
Pehuenche Communities of Alto BĦo BĦo. It works with the
communities in the areas of education, health, housing and
financial income, as well as in the promotion of aspects related
to the Pehuenche culture.

Agreement on Cooperation

The Agreement on Cooperation consists of sharing the financing of
initiatives put forward by the Fundaci˘n Pehu‚n for the Pehuenche
communities of Alto BĦo BĦo, within the framework of promoting
basic development. For a period of three years various
initiatives will be undertaken, grouped into the project named
"Means of support on the basis of cultural heritage, the
territory and the organizational base".

These initiatives point towards an improvement in the quality of
education, the training of youth, the strengthening of the social
organization, the participation of women, the reinforcement of
the culture itself, the protection of natural resources and the
development of tourism in the area.

The agreement involves an amount of US$ 146,000 per annum, i.e.
US$ 438,000 over the period of three years, which the IAF and
Fundaci˘n Pehu‚n will finance in equal parts. In addition to the
donation mentioned, the IAF has committed its support of the
projects to be carried out by Fundaci˘n Pehu‚n within the scope
of the agreement. In turn, the latter must execute the projects
and participate in a broad initiative of common learning within
the Network of Business Foundations of America (Redeam‚rica) that
comprises a total of 35 entities.

By means of this agreement, Fundaci˘n Pehu‚n will benefit greatly
as it will be able to link up to an international learning
network that will give it greater efficiency in its performance,
both in its management and in its projects, in addition to
enabling it to obtain support in the form of financial resources.

The Fundaci˘n, in its eagerness to contribute towards the self-
supporting development of the Pehuenche communities of Alto BĦo
BĦo close to the Pangue and Ralco hydroelectricity projects, has
created various projects and activities to improve the quality of
their lives, the strengthening of their cultural identity and the
integral growth of the people and their organizations. In this
respect, the agreement is open to the participation of other
institutions and entities interested in the project,
complementing it with other initiatives with a similar purpose
with respect to the basic development and increase in financial
resources in order to achieve the welfare of the Pehuenche
families.


METRO: Reports Reduced Net Loss For 1H03
----------------------------------------
Chilean company Metro S.A. reports a CLP1.18 billion net loss for
this year's first semester. A report by Business News Americas
said that this is an improvement from its CLP8.1 billion net loss
during the same period last year.

A 6.94% increase in revenue boosted the Company's results.
However, increased operating, administration and sales costs
reduced its operating profit by 61.6%, the report added.

The Company, which is owned by the country's capital, Santiago,
has three existing lines, moving about 200 million passengers
through its network annually.

A fourth line is currently constructed to add to the Company's
40.2km network.



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

ELECTRICARIBE/ELETROCOSTA: Government Approves US$60M Bailout
-------------------------------------------------------------
Union Fenosa's units in Colombia Electricaribe and Electrocosta
will get a total of US$6 million in bailout funds from the
country, reports local newspaper El Tiempo. Colombian head of
state Alvaro Uribe reportedly authorized the bailout fund.

The money would be used to settle the distributors' US$6 million
financial obligation for power purchased in July. The two
companies will issue new shares to pay for its September power
purchases from Barranquilla-based state generator Corelca. The
shares would then be transferred to the state's oil company
Ecopetrol, which will use them to pay its debts to the
government.

Spain's Union Fenosa controls 70% of both companies. However,
said Business News Americas, it is not clear whether it would
inject more capital to maintain its controlling stake.


TRICOM: S&P Downgrades Ratings to 'CC' From 'CCC+'
--------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said Thursday that it lowered
its local and foreign currency corporate credit and its senior
unsecured debt ratings on full-service telecommunications
provider Tricom S.A. to 'CC' from 'CCC+'. The outlook is
negative. The downgrade reflects continued concerns regarding the
company's ability or willingness to meet its coupon due Sept. 1,
2003.

As of March 31, 2003, the Dominican Republic-based company had
total debt outstanding of $473 million.

Tricom has been affected by a number of factors: the acquisition
and consolidation of the pay-TV operation (formalized in October
2001); costs associated with the new, advanced digital trunking
services (iDEN) operation in Panama; and, more recently, as of
March 31, 2003, the 36.4% year-over-year devaluation of the
Dominican peso. For fiscal 2002, Tricom's EBITDA decreased by
about 4.5%, causing EBITDA to cover gross interest expenses 1.2x
compared with 2x for the corresponding period in fiscal 2001. As
of first-quarter 2003, this trend persisted, with EBITDA
decreasing by 20.4%, interest expense coverage decreasing to 1.1x
from 1.5x the prior year, and its $473 million debt in relation
to its last-12-month EBITDA deteriorating to 6.4x.

Tricom has filed with the SEC a registration statement with the
terms of an exchange offer and consent solicitation for its $200
million, 11.375% senior notes due September 2004. "Standard &
Poor's considers that the devaluation of the Dominican peso and
its effect on the company's financial performance decreases the
bondholders' anticipated discretion to accept the offer under the
stated terms or to reject it and give the company time for an
alternative refinancing plan," said credit analyst Patricia
Calvo. Upon failure to meet the September coupon payment, the
ratings would be lowered to 'D'.

ANALYST: Patricia Calvo, Mexico City (52) 55-5279-2073



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

PACIFICTEL: FS Board To Approve Bidding Rules
---------------------------------------------
The board of Ecuador's state assets holding company Fondo de
Solidaridad (FS) was expected to give definitive approval last
Friday for the bidding rules for the tender of contracts to
administrate fixed line telcos Andinatel and Pacifictel.

According to Ecuadorian daily El Comercio, FS is looking to
launch the sale of the contracts in the first week of September.

The sale of administration contracts was one of the conditions
for a loan package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF),
which has given the FS an extended deadline of September 17 to
begin the auctions.

An IMF technical team is scheduled to visit Ecuador next week.



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

C&WJ: Supreme Court Rules Favorably in Oceanic Case
---------------------------------------------------
Cable & Wireless Jamaica emerged victorious in a legal battle
against mobile phone provider Oceanic Digital Jamaica Limited,
reports local news source Radio Jamaica, citing a ruling from the
Supreme Court.

Oceanic said it will appeal the ruling. Oceanic filed the case
last month, claiming C&WJ breached an agreement by terminating
Oceanic's international calls through its network. Oceanic also
claims it had lost a "substantial" amount of revenue because of
this.

In the meantime, C&WJ President Gary Barrow said the Company is
still willing to work with Oceanic Digital despite the ruling.

CONTACT:  Cable & Wireless PLC
          124 Theobalds Road
          London
          England
          WC1X 8RX
          Phone:  +44 (0)20 7315 4000
          Fax:  +44 (0)20 7315 5000
          Home Page:  http://www.cw.com



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

GRUPO TMM: Announces Repurchase By TFM Of Stake In Mexrail
----------------------------------------------------------
Grupo TMM, S.A. (NYSE: TMM and BMV: TMM A; "TMM"); announced
Thursday that on August 27, 2003, its subsidiary, TFM, S.A. de
C.V. (TFM), has given notice to Kansas City Southern (KCS) of
exercise of its right to repurchase shares representing an
aggregate 51 percent interest in Mexrail, Inc. ("Mexrail") that
were sold to KCS in May 2003. The shares are currently held in a
voting trust pending the receipt of approval of the United States
Surface Transportation Board of KCS's application to assume
control of Mexrail.

Under the terms of the Stock Purchase Agreement entered into on
April 15 2003, TFM, acting through its Chairman, has the
unilateral right to repurchase the shares of Mexrail. The
purchase price for the shares is $32,680,000 which is the same
amount received by TFM in May 2003 upon closing of the sale of
the shares to KCS, and will be funded out of TFM's existing cash
balances.

Upon completion of the repurchase, which the agreement provides
is to occur on September 4, 2003, the fifth business day after
exercise of the repurchase right, TFM will again own 100 percent
of Mexrail.

Headquartered in Mexico City, Grupo TMM is Latin America's
largest multimodal transportation company. Through its branch
offices and network of subsidiary companies, Grupo TMM provides a
dynamic combination of ocean and land transportation services.
Grupo TMM also has a significant interest in TFM, which operates
Mexico's Northeast railway and carries over 40 percent of the
country's rail cargo. Grupo TMM's web site address is
www.grupotmm.com and TFM's web site is www.tfm.com.mx.

CONTACT:  Grupo TMM
          Jacinto Marina, Chief Financial Officer
          011-525-55-629-8790
          (jacinto.marina@tmm.com.mx)
                 or
          Brad Skinner, Senior Vice President
          Investor Relations
          011-525-55-629-8725 or 203-247-2420
          (brad.skinner@tmm.com.mx)
                 or
          Marco Provencio
          Media Relations, Proa/StructurA
          011-525-55-629-8708 and 011-525-55-442- 4948
          (mp@proa.structura.com.mx)
                 or
          Dresner Corporate Services
          (general investors, analysts and media)
          Kristine Walczak, 312-726-3600
          (kwalczak@dresnerco.com)



===========
P A N A M A
===========

CSS: Pres. Moscoso Pushes For Prompt Action To Escape Bankruptcy
----------------------------------------------------------------
Panama's President Mireya Moscoso is urging immediate action to
save the ailing state-run social security agency CSS, reports
Business News Americas.

Bankruptcy looms for CSS, which saw its pension deficit increase
by US$354 million in the year to June. As of June this year, the
agency's financial reserves stood at US$1.72 billion while its
pension obligations totaled US$4.37 billion, with the shortfall
set to grow given increased pension payment arrears due to higher
unemployment, according to local daily La Prensa.

The Panamanian government has yet to present new proposals to
confront the agency's financial woes pending the results of a
technical analysis.



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

CARONI: US Investors Want To Buy Caroni, says Union Head
--------------------------------------------------------
A group of US investors are interested in acquiring Caroni (1975)
Ltd., reports the Trinidad Guardian, citing National Team Unity
leader Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj.

According to Mr. Maharaj, the investors have already approached
the government on the matter. He said in a solidarity rally in
Chacaguanas that these investors are even interested in re-hiring
the Company's retrenched workers.

However, he refused to comment further after his speech in the
rally.

After retrenching a huge chunk of its workforce, the government
has formally closed the Company amid squabbles over its Voluntary
Separation of Employment Plan. Local reports indicate that some
of the retrenched workers have received their VSEP benefits.

The Sugar Manufacturing Company (SMC) replaces Caroni, with
operations limited to Usine St Madeleine and the Estate
Development and Management company. The latter is expected to
attract and manage industrial activity for SMC.



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

GALICIA URUGUAY: Accepts Clients' Deposit-Return Survey Offer
-------------------------------------------------------------
Argentine bank Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires S.A. announced
Friday that its Uruguayan sister, suspended Banco Galicia
Uruguay, will accept all the offers clients made during a recent
deposit-return survey, relates Dow Jones.

The survey was launched June 17 to gauge clients' interest in
several new options for getting back deposits that have been
trapped in bank vaults since early 2002. Clients were given the
chance to exchange their deposits for government-backed bonds,
convertible bonds issued by the bank, fixed dollar payments, or a
mixture of all three.

Banco Galicia Uruguay said that clients owning US$182.9 million
of the trapped deposits had "expressed interest" in the proposal,
which came on top of an offer made last December promising to
return over nine years the money that has been trapped in the
bank since last February.

There's an estimated US$1.2 billion of trapped deposits in bank
vaults.

Meanwhile in its filing to the stock exchange on Friday, the
Argentine bank said its sister unit would make the second payment
to clients under the deposit-return plan on Sept. 1 drawn up last
December. The bank said it would repay 15% of clients' deposits
this year.

Galicia Uruguay was suspended in February 2002 amid a financial
crisis that swept into Uruguay from neighboring Argentina.

CONTACT:  BANCO GALICIA URUGUAY S.A.
          World Trade Center
          Luis A. Herrera 1248 Piso 22 Montevideo
          Uruguay
          Tel.:(+598-2) 628-1230
          www.bancogalicia.com.uy



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

BANCO DE VENEZUELA: Fitch Raises Ratings
----------------------------------------
International rating agency Fitch Ratings upgraded the ratings of
Venezuelan bank Banco de Venezuela.

The ratings affected are: (to/from)

-Long-term foreign currency         'B-'     'CCC-'
(Outlook Stable)
-Short-term foreign currency       'B'      'C'
-Long-term local currency          'B-'     'CCC-'
-Short-term local currency         'B'      'C'
-Individual                        'D'      'D/E'

Support affirmed at '5'.

The outlook on the ratings has been changed to stable from
negative. The Rating Watch Negative on the individual rating was
also lifted.

(See FITCH NOTES below for explanation)


BANCO DEL CARIBE: Fitch Ups Ratings
-----------------------------------
International rating agency Fitch Ratings upgraded the ratings of
Venezuelan bank Banco del Caribe.

The ratings affected are: (to/from)

-Long-term foreign currency         'B-'     'CCC-'
(Outlook Stable)
-Short-term foreign currency       'B'      'C'
-Long-term local currency          'B-'     'CCC-'
-Short-term local currency         'B'      'C'
-Individual                        'D'      'D/E'

- Support affirmed at '5'.

The outlook on the ratings has been changed to stable from
negative. The Rating Watch Negative on the individual rating was
also lifted.

(See FITCH NOTES below for explanation)


BANCO EXTERIOR: Fitch Ups Ratings Following Upgrade on Venezuela
----------------------------------------------------------------
International rating agency Fitch Ratings upgraded the ratings of
Venezuelan bank Banco Exterior.

The ratings affected are: (to/from)

-Long-term foreign currency         'B-'     'CCC-'
(Outlook Stable)
-Short-term foreign currency       'B'      'C'
-Long-term local currency          'B-'     'CCC-'
-Short-term local currency         'B'      'C'
-Individual                        'D'      'D/E'

-Support affirmed at '5'.

The outlook on the ratings has been changed to stable from
negative. The Rating Watch Negative on the individual rating was
also lifted.

(See FITCH NOTES below for explanation)


BANCO MERCANTIL: Sovereign Upgrade Prompts Upgrade on Ratings
-------------------------------------------------------------
International rating agency Fitch Ratings upgraded the ratings of
Venezuelan bank Banco Mercantil.

The ratings affected are: (to/from)

-Long-term foreign currency         'B-'     'CCC-'
(Outlook Stable)
-Short-term foreign currency       'B'      'C'
-Long-term local currency          'B-'     'CCC-'
-Short-term local currency         'B'      'C'
-Individual                        'D'      'D/E'

-Support affirmed at '5'.

The outlook on the ratings has been changed to stable from
negative. The Rating Watch Negative on the individual rating was
also lifted.

(See FITCH NOTES below for explanation)


BANCO OCCIDENTAL: LTFC Rating Raised To `CCC-`
----------------------------------------------
International rating agency Fitch Ratings upgraded the ratings of
Venezuelan bank Banco Occidental de Descuento.

The ratings affected are: (to/from)

-Long-term foreign currency         'CCC+'     'CCC-'
(Outlook Stable)
-Long-term local currency          'CCC+'     'CCC-'

-Short-term foreign currency affirmed at 'C'
-Short-term local affirmed 'C'
-Individual affirmed at 'D/E'
- Support affirmed at '5'.

The outlook on the ratings has been changed to stable from
negative. The Rating Watch Negative on the individual rating was
also lifted.

(See FITCH NOTES below for explanation)


BANCO PROVINCIAL: Fitch Raises Ratings
--------------------------------------
International rating agency Fitch Ratings upgraded the ratings of
Venezuelan bank Banco Provincial.

The ratings affected are: (to/from)

-Long-term foreign currency         'B-'     'CCC-'
(Outlook Stable)
-Short-term foreign currency       'B'      'C'
-Long-term local currency          'B-'     'CCC-'
-Short-term local currency         'B'      'C'
-Individual                        'D'      'D/E'

Support affirmed at '5'.

The outlook on the ratings has been changed to stable from
negative. The Rating Watch Negative on the individual rating was
also lifted.

(See FITCH NOTES below for explanation)


BANCO VENEZOLANO: Fitch Upgrades Ratings
----------------------------------------
International rating agency Fitch Ratings upgraded the ratings of
Venezuelan bank Banco Venezolano de Credito.

The ratings affected are: (to/from)

-Long-term foreign currency         'B-'     'CCC-'
(Outlook Stable)
-Short-term foreign currency       'B'      'C'
-Long-term local currency          'B-'     'CCC-'
-Short-term local currency         'B'      'C'
-Individual                        'D'      'D/E'

- Support affirmed at '5'.

The outlook on the ratings has been changed to stable from
negative. The Rating Watch Negative on the individual rating was
also lifted.

(See FITCH NOTES below for explanation)


BANESCO BANCO: Fitch Takes Action on Various Ratings
----------------------------------------------------
International rating agency Fitch Ratings upgraded the long-term
foreign currency rating of Venezuelan bank Banesco Banco
Universal to 'CCC+' from 'CCC-'. The outlook on the rating is
stable.

At the same time, Fitch affirmed the bank's short-term foreign
currency rating at 'C,' individual at 'D/E' and support at '5'.
The outlook on the ratings has been changed to stable from
negative. The Rating Watch Negative on the individual rating was
also lifted.

(See FITCH NOTES below for explanation)


FITCH NOTES: The upgrade on the above-mentioned Venezuelan banks'
ratings indicates a relative improvement in the operating
environment for banks, as reflected in the June 23, 2003 upgrade
of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela's long-term foreign
currency rating to 'B-' (Outlook Stable) from 'CCC+' and its
long-term local currency (Venezuelan Bolivar - VEB) rating to 'B-
' from 'CCC'. In addition, some other concerns relating to
possible politically motivated interference of the banking
system, including but not limited to a distressed debt exchange
by the government, retaliatory measures against institutions that
supported the strike of early 2003, as well as directed lending
and interest rate ceilings, have diminished as these actions have
not materialized.

While voluntary domestic debt swaps and recent external bond
repurchases have mitigated concerns about Venezuela's debt
service willingness over the near term, the government's success
in getting oil production back up to levels close to the ones
achieved prior to the national strike earlier this year somewhat
relieved public financing pressures. On the other hand, the
foreign exchange controls so far appear to have had a limited
impact on banks as these have continued to honour foreign
exchange liabilities, which are mostly limited to letters of
credit and correspondent banks, using pre-existing foreign
currency assets. In this regard, it must be noted that banks have
limited foreign currency exposures locally, as these are
generally booked in branches and off-shore banks based in other
countries (and therefore so far not subject to the controls).

Bank depositors who wish to withdraw foreign currency deposits
may freely do so although these have to be exchanged into VEB at
the official exchange rate. Measures relating to minimum lending
requirements to sectors such as micro-loans and agriculture have
been in place for some time now although have thus far not had a
sizeable negative impact on the system's asset quality. Measures
relating to interest rate controls have not been implemented.

In general, although the system's asset quality has witnessed
some deterioration, this has been limited and most banks have
ample loan loss reserve coverage, even when including
restructured loans. On the other hand, despite the lack of
foreign exchange gains, the high interest rate environment has
resulted in large net interest revenue for most institutions,
underpinning their overall profitability. Equity to assets and
risk-weighted capital ratios at most banks continue to be ample,
although this is justified given the volatile environment.
Liquidity has been enhanced by the foreign exchange controls, as
deposits have not been able to exit the country and banks have
been unable to on-lend these deposits due to the economic
contraction. A large proportion of excess liquidity has thus been
placed in short-term CDs issued by the Central Bank.

While Fitch acknowledges the improvement in the operating
environment for financial institutions, there are still many
potential threats that could undermine the health of the
financial system. The detailed credit analysis of each of the
institutions in the following list will be published in due
course.

CONTACT:  Franklin Santarelli
          Carlos Fiorillo
          Tel: +58 212 286 3356, Caracas

          Gustavo Lopez
          Tel: 1-212-908-0853, New York

          London Ratings Desk: +44 (0) 20 7417 6300

          Media Relations: James Jockle +1-212-908-0547, New York




               ***********


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

Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America 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
members of the same firm for the term of the initial subscription
or balance thereof are $25 each.  For subscription information,
contact Christopher Beard at 240/629-3300.


* * * End of Transmission * * *