TCRLA_Public/031022.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

          Wednesday, October 22, 2003, Vol. 4, Issue 209

                          Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

AEROLINEAS ARGENTINAS: Judge Lifts Embargo After Hearing Evidence
ALUMPACK: Court Assigns Receiver For Bankruptcy Process
ARPLAMEC: Court Approves Creditor's Motion for Bankruptcy
ARTE GRAFICO: Argentine S&P Rates $600M of Bonds `raD'
CABLEVISION: $725M of Bonds Get `raD' from Standard & Poor's

CALERA DEL BUEN AYRE: Credit Verification For Bankruptcy Ends
CANAL 9: Hadad Reaches Stake Sale Agreement With Moneta
CAR REPAIR: Voluntarily Files For Bankruptcy
CTI HOLDINGS: $300M of Bonds Rated `D(arg)' by Fitch Argentina
EDENOR: Parent Company Calls For Rates Increase

COMERCIAL ZOMA: Credit Verification Period Ends Today
CROSS MATCH: Credit Authentication Deadline is December 29
EMAX: Today is Last Day of Claims Filing
FARVAL: Receiver Ends Credit Verifications
GEJAMAS: Individual Reports For Bankruptcy Process Due Today

JOYITA: Court Approves Motion For Reorganization
LEONARDO PRODUCCIONES: Court Grants Petition For Bankruptcy
TEAM PRODUCCIONES: Individual Reports Due For Filing Today
TEXTIL IMPERIO: Reorganization Ends In Bankruptcy
YPF: Moody's Changes Outlook on Ratings To "Stable"


B E R M U D A

ESG REINSURANCE: Fitch Affirms 'B-' Ratings; Outlook Remains Neg.
GLOBAL CROSSING: Court Expunges $1.4M in Share Ownership Claims
KWELM COMPANIES: To Hold Meetings of Creditors November 28
LORAL SPACE: Accepts Intelsat Bid For Sale Of Satellites
SEA CONTAINERS: Declares Cash Dividends on Common Shares



B O L I V I A

*S&P Lowers Long-Term Rating on Bolivia Due to Political Crisis


B R A Z I L

BANCA INTESA: Fitch Upgrades Individual Rating To 'B/C'
COPEL: Hedges Part of Debt Tied to Foreign Currency
EMBRATEL: Sells Clearinghouse To Verisign Subsidiary
VARIG: Narrows Losses in the 1H03


C O L O M B I A

AVIANCA: Likely to Change Statutes, Board At Upcoming Meeting


C O S T A   R I C A

CCSS: Loopholes on Immigration Laws Bring Deficit


D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

BANCO POPULAR: To Carry Out Another Capital Increase
COGENTRIX: Goldman Sachs to Purchase 100% of Stock


E C U A D O R

FILANBANCO: Creditors Scheduled to Meet Monday


M E X I C O

ALESTRA: Extends Exchange Offer For Reorganization Plan
GUILFORD MILLS: Retains Goldman Sachs as Financial Advisor
SAVIA: Announces Organizational Changes


N I C A R A G U A

*IMF Approves Nicaragua's Additional Interim HIPC Assistance


V E N E Z U E L A

PDVSA: Unapetrol Head Urges Workers to Reject Severance Payments
PDVSA: Investigation To Determine Explosion Gets Underway

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

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

AEROLINEAS ARGENTINAS: Judge Lifts Embargo After Hearing Evidence
-----------------------------------------------------------------
An Argentine federal judge has lifted an embargo imposed earlier
on two of Aerolineas Argentinas' planes, Dow Jones reports,
citing a press release issued by the airline Monday.

Last Thursday, Federal Judge Roberto Torti ordered the embargo in
conjunction with a court case in Spain. But after hearing the
airline's evidence, Torti reversed his decision and ordered the
embargo lifted.

"The embargo gravely complicated the public service that the
company is offering and damages its commercial image," the press
release quoted the judge as saying.

Dow Jones relates that the court case involves a credit that
Spain's Banco Espanol de Credito S.A. lent former Aerolineas
Argentinas owner Iberia SA in 1993. Last year, Iberia, which no
longer had a stake in the company, acquired the right to
foreclose the loan when it canceled its debt to the Spanish bank.

CONTACT:  AEROLINEAS ARGENTINAS
          Torre Bouchard 547, 1106 Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
          Phone: (54-11) 4310-3000
          Fax: (54-11) 4310-3585
          E-mail: volar@aerolineas.com.ar
          Home Page: www.aerolineas.com.ar
          Contact:
          Patricio Zabalia Lagos, President


ALUMPACK: Court Assigns Receiver For Bankruptcy Process
-------------------------------------------------------
Court No. 13 of Buenos Aires assigned Celia Cajide y Asociados as
receiver for the bankruptcy of local company Alumpack S.A.,
reports Infobae. The city's Clerk No. 26 assists the court on the
case, the source adds.

Creditors are required to have their claims validated by the
receiver before November 21 this year in order to participate in
whatever payments creditors would be given when the Company's
assets are liquidated.

In the meantime, the report did not mention the deadlines for the
submission of the individual and general reports, which are to be
prepared by the receiver.

CONTACT:  Celia Cajide y Asociados
          Ave Corrientes 1515
          Buenos Aires


ARPLAMEC: Court Approves Creditor's Motion for Bankruptcy
---------------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires' Court No. 18 approved a motion for the bankruptcy
of Argentine paint dealer Arplamec S.A., relates local newspaper
La Nacion. The bankruptcy petition was filed by the Company's
creditor, Hidraulica S.V. S.A. for nonpayment of debt, the source
adds.

Local accountant Walter Callejas was assigned as the Company's
receiver. He will verify creditors' claims until March 5 next
year. After that, he will prepare the individual reports, and
then the general report. In the meantime, La Nacion did not
mention the deadlines for the submission of these reports.

CONTACT:  Arplamac S.A.
          Ave General Paz 1106/26
          Buenos Aires

          Walter Callejas
          Lambare 1140
          Buenos Aires


ARTE GRAFICO: Argentine S&P Rates $600M of Bonds `raD'
------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's International Ratings, Ltd. Sucursal Argentina
rated US$600 million of bonds issued by Arte Gr fico Editorial
Argentino S.A. `raD' last Thursday. The rating issued was based
on the Company's financial situation as of the end of June this
year.

Argentina's securities regulator, the Comision Nacional de
Valores, described the bonds as "Programa de O.N. Simples no
convertibles en acciones". These were classified under "program"
and would come due on January 31 next year.

S&P said that an obligation is rated `raD' when it is in payment
default or the obligor has filed for bankruptcy. The rating may
also be issued when interest or principal payments are not made
on the due date, even if the applicable grace period has not
expired, unless the ratings agency has reason to believe that
such payments will be made during such grace period.


CABLEVISION: $725M of Bonds Get `raD' from Standard & Poor's
------------------------------------------------------------
A total of US$725 million worth of corporate bonds issued by
Argentine company Cablevision S.A. received default ratings from
Standard & Poor's International Ratings, Ltd. Sucursal Argentina
recently.

According to the Comision Nacional de Valores, the country's
securities regulator, the `raD' rating applies to the following
bonds, all of which are classified under "Series and/or class":

-- US$250 million of "Serie 10 por U$S 250 MM bajo el Prog. de
Ons. a Mediano Plazo por U$S1500 MM" due on April 30, 2007.

-- US$275 million of "Serie 5 por U$S 275 MM bajo el Prog. de
Ons. a Mediano Plazo por U$S1500 MM", which matures on May 1,
2009.

-- US$100 million of "Serie 9 de ON por USD 100 MM bajo el
Programa de USD 1500 MM", with undisclosed maturity date

-- US$100 million of "Serie XI por un monto de USD 100 millones
dentro del Programa de ON a med. plazo por un monto de USD 1.500
MM", whose maturity date was not indicated.

According to the ratings agency, the `raD' rating is given to
financial obligations that are in default, or whose obligor has
filed for bankruptcy. It was based on the Company's finances as
of June 30 this year.


CALERA DEL BUEN AYRE: Credit Verification For Bankruptcy Ends
-------------------------------------------------------------
The credit verification process for the bankruptcy of Buenos
Aires-based Calera de Buen Ayre S.A. ends today, October 22. The
Company's receiver, Mr. Juan Carlos Sosa, who verified the claims
will have 42 days to prepare the individual reports.

The city's Court No. 24, which holds jurisdiction over the case,
requires the receiver to submit the individual reports on
November 24. The general report, which must be filed on February
3 next year, would be prepared after these are processed at
court, according to a previous report by the Troubled Company
Reporter - Latin America.

CONTACT:  Juan Carlos Sosa
          Viamonte 783
          Buenos Aires


CANAL 9: Hadad Reaches Stake Sale Agreement With Moneta
-------------------------------------------------------
After more than three months of negotiations, Argentine
businessman Daniel Hadad has finally reached an accord with his
polemical colleague Raul Moneta on the sale of a 50% stake in the
TV channel Canal 9.

Although the amount of the operation has not been revealed,
market sources pointed out it would be of some US$12 million. The
deal also involves a 50% stake in business daily Infobae and its
web site.

Canal 9 is carrying out a formal restructuring proceeding, with
ARS121 million (US$42.45 million) in debt. The channel thinks it
may reach a debt restructuring accord and have it approved by
court by February 2005.

The Company is billing ARS4 million (US$ 1.40 million) a month,
showing a significant improvement in comparison with last summer,
when it used to loose ARS500,000 (US$ 175,438) monthly.


CAR REPAIR: Voluntarily Files For Bankruptcy
--------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires-based Car Repair S.A. voluntarily filed for
bankruptcy, relates local newspaper La Nacion. According to
papers filed at the court, the Company stopped making debt
payments on October 15. Judge Uzal of the city's Court No. 26
handles the Company's case with assistance from Clerk No. 52, Dr.
Groz.

CONTACT:  Car Repair S.A.
          8th Floor
          Cabello 3035
          Buenos Aires


CTI HOLDINGS: $300M of Bonds Rated `D(arg)' by Fitch Argentina
--------------------------------------------------------------
CTI Holdings S.A.'s corporate bonds called "Obligaciones
Negociables con Cup˘n Diferido, autorizadas por AGOyE de fecha
6.11.97" received default ratings from Fitch Argentina
Calificadora de Riesgo S.A. recently. The Comision Nacional de
Valores, the country's securities watchdog, relates that the
bonds mature on April 1, 2008, and were classified under "Simple
Issue".

The rating was based on the Company's finances as of June 30 this
year. Fitch said that the `D(arg)' rating is assigned to
financial obligations that are currently in default.


EDENOR: Parent Company Calls For Rates Increase
-----------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires electricity distributor Edenor, a unit of
Electricite de France (EdF), needs to hike rates in order to
increase revenue and avoid power failures, Bloomberg reports,
citing EdF chief operating officer Gerard Creuzet.

"We don't want an excessive raise in rate but we need a certain
equilibrium," Creuzet said told La Nacion in an interview in
Paris. "If we don't invest, the grid will weaken and there will
be operational problems."

The call came a week after Buenos Aires's financial district
experienced a brief blackout one day after most electricity
companies warned the capital's power grid was near collapse.

CONTACT:  EDENOR S.A.
          Azopardo Building
          Azopardo 1025 (1107) Capital Federal
          Phone: (54-11) 4346-5000
          Fax: (54-11) 4346-5300
          E-mai: to ofitel@edenor.com.ar
          Home Page: http://www.edenor.com.ar


COMERCIAL ZOMA: Credit Verification Period Ends Today
-----------------------------------------------------
The reorganization of Buenos Aires' Comercial Zoma S.A. enters
another phase with today's deadline of the credit verification
process. This part of the reorganization determines the amount
and nature of the Company's debts.

The appointed receiver, Ms. Ana Maria Calzada Percivale, will
prepare the individual reports on the verification results. She
is required to file these reports at the court on December 4.

Buenos Aires' Court No. 22, which handles the Company's case,
ordered the receiver to prepare a general report to be submitted
on February 10 next year. The court has also set the informative
assembly date on April 7, 2004, the Troubled Company Reporter -
Latin America earlier reported.

CONTACT:  Ana Maria Calzada Percivale
          Ave. San Martin 2805
          Buenos Aires


CROSS MATCH: Credit Authentication Deadline is December 29
----------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Buenos Aires-based Cross Match S.A. must have their
claims authenticated by the Company's receiver before December 29
this year, according to an Infobae report. This part of the
bankruptcy process determines the nature and amount of the
Company's debts.

The receiver, Mr. Fernando Aquilino, will then prepare the
individual reports on the results of the verifications. However,
Infobae did not reveal whether the city's Court No. 2, which
handles the case, has set the deadlines for the submission of the
receiver's reports. Clerk No. 3 aids the court on this case, the
source adds.

CONTACT:  Cross Match S.A.
          Laprida 1857
          Buenos Aires

          Fernando Aquilino
          Lavalle 1459
          Buenos Aires


EMAX: Today is Last Day of Claims Filing
----------------------------------------
Today is the last day for creditors of Emax Compania Argentina de
Seguros Generales S.A. to make claims for the Company's
bankruptcy process. Proofs of claims must be validated by the
Company's receiver, Ms. Marcela Beatriz Bianchi, before the day
ends.

The receiver will start preparing the individual reports, which
are to be submitted to the court on December 3 this year. The
receiver will also file a general report on February 16, 2004.
This report will be prepared after the individual reports are
processed at court.

Court No. 20 of Buenos Aires issued the bankruptcy order, the
Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America reported earlier. Clerk
No. 39 assists the court on the case.

CONTACT:  Emax Compan­a Argentina de Seguros Generales S.A.
          Piedras 784
          Buenos Aires

          Marcela Beatriz Bianchi
          Bermudez 99
          Buenos Aires


FARVAL: Receiver Ends Credit Verifications
------------------------------------------
Mr. Enrique Jose Battelini, the appointed receiver of Argentine
company Farval S.A.C.I.F, closes the credit validation process
for the Company's bankruptcy today. The Troubled Company Reporter
- Latin America earlier reported that Buenos Aires' Court No. 24
issued the bankruptcy order with assistance from Clerk No. 47.

The receiver will now prepare the individual reports for the
bankruptcy. The reports, which must be submitted to the court on
November 24, will focus on the results of the verification
process. After these reports are processed at court, the receiver
will consolidate the results into a single general report, which
is to be filed on February 6 next year.

CONTACT:  Enrique Jose Battelini
          Parana 774
          Buenos Aires


GEJAMAS: Individual Reports For Bankruptcy Process Due Today
------------------------------------------------------------
The Civil and Commercial Court of Mercedes expects the receiver
for bankrupt company Gejamas S.A.C.I.Y.F. to submit the
individual reports today. The receiver, local accountant Jose
Luis Carriquiy, prepared the reports after the credit
verification process was completed earlier this year.

After these reports are processed at court, the receiver will
prepare the general report, which is to be turned over to the
court on December 4 this year. The Troubled Company Reporter -
Latin America earlier reported that the province's Court No. 4
handles the Company's case.

CONTACT:  Gejamas S.A.C.I. Y.F.
          12 de Octubre 2068
          Bragado, Mercedes

          Jose Luis Carriquiy
          Calle 40 No. 726
          Mercedes


JOYITA: Court Approves Motion For Reorganization
------------------------------------------------
Joyita S.A., which makes latex gloves in Buenos Aires, will
undergo reorganization after the city's Court No. 12 approved its
motion for reorganization. A report by Argentine news portal La
Nacion reveals that Judge Ojea Quintana handles the Company's
case, while Clerk No. 23, Dr. Perea assists.

The court assigned local accountant Mari Degese to evaluate
creditors' claims and prepare the necessary reports. La Nacion
adds that creditors must have their claims validated by the
receiver before December 30 this year.

CONTACT:  Joyita S.A.
          14th Floor, Room C
          Tucuman 1455
          Buenos Aires

          Mario Degese
          5th Floor, Room I
          Bouchard 468
          Buenos Aires


LEONARDO PRODUCCIONES: Court Grants Petition For Bankruptcy
-----------------------------------------------------------
Argentine publication agency Leonardo Producciones S.R.L. enters
bankruptcy after the city's Court No. 21 approved a bankruptcy
petition filed by a creditor. Failure to meet its financial
obligations to Radiodifusora del Plata S.A. prompted the creditor
to seek for the Company's bankruptcy.

Judge Paez Casteneda, who handles the case, assigned Mr. Armando
Bozzoni as the Company's receiver. With assistance from Dr.
Melnitzky, the city's Clerk No. 41, the judge ordered the
verification process to end on March 1 next year.

The receiver is also required to prepare the individual and
general reports on the process, but the report did not reveal
whether the court has set the deadlines for the filing of these
reports.

CONTACT:  Leonardo Producciones S.R.L.
          4th Floor, Room B
          Ave de Mayo 1375
          Buenos Aires

          Armando Bozzoni
          2nd Floor
          Vidal 3375
          Buenos Aires


TEAM PRODUCCIONES: Individual Reports Due For Filing Today
----------------------------------------------------------
The individual reports pertaining to the bankruptcy of Buenos
Aires-based company Team Producciones S.A. must be submitted to
the city's Court No. 14 today. The Company's receiver, Mr.
Alberto Jorge Rotenberg, prepared the reports after the credit
verification period ended earlier this year.

The receiver will prepare a general report after the individual
reports are processed at court. This report is due for filing on
December 3 this year. The court, which works with Clerk No. 28 on
the case, is likely to order the liquidation of the Company's
assets to reimburse creditors.

CONTACT:  Alberto Jorge Rotenberg
          Ave. Cordoba 1336
          Buenos Aires


TEXTIL IMPERIO: Reorganization Ends In Bankruptcy
-------------------------------------------------
Textil Imperio S.R.L., which was undergoing reorganization, was
declared bankrupt by Rio Cuarto's Court No. 5, relates Argentine
news source Infobae. Mr. Eduardo Pereyra retains his position as
the Company's receiver.

The Civil Commercial Tribunal of Rio Cuarto, which is located in
the Argentine province of Cordoba, ordered that the credit
verification process would be done "por via incidental". Infobae,
however, did not reveal the cut-off dates for the filing of the
receiver's reports.

CONTACT:  Textil Imperio S.R.L.
          Suipacha 151
          Rio Cuarto, Cordoba

          Edgardo Pereyra
          Dean Funes 663
          Cordoba


YPF: Moody's Changes Outlook on Ratings To "Stable"
--------------------------------------------------
Following a decision to change the rating outlook on Repsol YPF's
Baa2 long-term debt from negative to stable, Moody's Investors
Service changed the outlook on some of the ratings of YPF and its
subsidiaries from negative to stable.

The ratings affected are the Baa3 local currency issuer rating of
YPF S.A. and on the B1 foreign currency bond ratings of YPF.

Headquartered in Buenos Aires, Argentina, YPF S.A. is an
integrated oil company and a wholly owned subsidiary of Repsol
YPF.



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

ESG REINSURANCE: Fitch Affirms 'B-' Ratings; Outlook Remains Neg.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings, the international rating agency, has affirmed the
'B-' (B minus) Insurer Financial Strength Ratings of ESG
Reinsurance Bermuda Limited, ESG Reinsurance Ireland Limited and
European Specialty Ruckversicherung AG, the principal reinsurance
subsidiaries of ESG Re Limited, Bermuda. The rating Outlook is
Negative.

The rating is based on Fitch's analysis of the company's six-
month results to June 2003 and reflects ESG's constrained
liquidity, limited financial flexibility, poor historic operating
performance and weakened capitalisation.

Lack of liquidity and poor cash flow continue to be major issues
for ESG and in Fitch's view represent the most significant threat
to the company's long-term viability. As operating losses have
been recorded, the company has been forced to sell bonds to meet
short-term cash flow requirements. During the period to June
2003, operating cash flow was negative at USD7.9 million and the
bond portfolio declined from USD82.3m to USD78.3m. Fitch expects
the company to operate with negative operating cash flows until
at least the second half of 2004 and as a result, anticipates
that the value of the bond portfolio and liquidity measures will
continue to decline.

In common with other non-US reinsurers, the company is required
to set up trust funds or issue letters of credit in favour of US
cedants. As a result, 76.4% of the company's bond portfolio was
pledged through this collateral mechanism at the end of June
2003, thus reducing liquid assets available to meet non-US
liabilities and other cash needs of the company. As the bond
portfolio is expected to decline over the coming year, the
proportion of the company's liquid assets tied-up in US trust
funds or supporting letters of credit will increase. Although
Fitch believes that the company will have sufficient liquid
resources to meet its US funding requirements, the agency is
concerned that any unexpected losses could adversely impact the
company's ability to respond to short-term cash calls.

Although much improved on 2002, the operating result for the
first six months of 2003 remained negative with a reported
operating loss of USD3.3m, slightly below Fitch's and the
company's own expectations. However, a positive feature of this
result was early signs that loss development from historically
unprofitable 1998, 1999 and 2000 underwriting years had begun to
stabilise. Operating profit for the first half of 2003 also
benefited from USD2.6m in realised gains on the company's bond
portfolio. Although there were positive developments to June
2003, the main factor influencing the company's failure to meet
its profitability target for this period was USD4.8m in losses
resulting from the write-down of USD40.3m in estimated gross
premium written from the company's North American operations. In
addition, profitability was negatively impacted by ESG's
inability to underwrite business during Q1 2003. The company's
previous auditor resigned on 22 November 2002 and new auditor,
BDO International published an unqualified opinion on ESG's 2002
results on 31 March 2003. During the intervening period, the
company operated without an audit opinion which significantly
impaired its ability to underwrite new and existing business.

Fitch believes that due to the company's poor operating track
record, it may have difficulty in accessing additional short-term
financing from current shareholders or third parties should the
need arise, constraining its financial flexibility.

Following substantial losses reported in 2002, the company's
capital position deteriorated with shareholders' funds declining
to USD46.7m from USD95.1m in 2001. This downward trend continued
during the first half of 2003 with shareholders funds further
reducing to USD40.0m principally due to the USD3.3m operating
loss and a reduction in unrealised gains of USD2.6m. Despite
further erosion of the company's capital, risk-based capital
measures continue to be supportive of the company's current
rating level, although at significantly lower levels than
reported in previous years.

Fitch continues to view the remainder of 2003 and the first half
of 2004 as a defining period for ESG. Successful implementation
of the business plan will ultimately result in enhanced liquidity
and capitalisation measures. However, if the business plan proves
unachievable, ESG is likely to require additional funding to
continue to trade.

CONTACT:  Chris Waterman
          London
          Phone: +44 (0)20 7417 6328
          Email: chris.waterman@fitchratings.com

          Harish Gohil
          London
          Phone: +44 (0)20 7417 4367
          Email: harish.gohil@fitchratings.com

          Media Relations:
          Campbell McIlroy
          London
          Phone: +44 20 7417 4327


GLOBAL CROSSING: Court Expunges $1.4M in Share Ownership Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------
A SunStream News report indicated Global Crossing Ltd. and its
debtor-affiliates object to 66 Stock Ownership Claims totaling
$1,440,460 and are asking the Court to disallow and expunge them
in their entirety.

According to Paul M. Basta, Esq., at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP,
in New York, the Stock Ownership Claims are based solely on the
Claimants' purported status as an owner of shares of common or
preferred stock of Global Crossing Ltd. or Global Crossing
Holdings Ltd. Ownership of the stock constitutes an equity
interest in the Debtors -- not a claim against the Debtors'
estate. Moreover, Mr. Basta points out that, pursuant to the Bar
Date Order, the Debtors' stockholders are excluded from the
requirement of filing proofs of claim in these Chapter 11 cases.

Thus, expungement of the Claims will not impair any distribution
to be made under the Plan.

Among the Stock Ownership Claims are:

Claimant                      Claim No.        Amount
--------                      ---------        ------

Donald F. Yancy                 3080          $90,000

Kathy Thomson                   3668           65,887

Dennis Oeth                     3530           58,072

Leon E. Nyssen                  4830          282,400

Mary P. Jordison                2247           60,000

James Guarino                   9465          130,552

Joy M. Eldred                   8532           92,894

Keven Beranek                   3793           71,950

Thomas Beckfield                5756           80,000

* * *

Judge Gerber expunged and disallowed the 66 Stock Ownership
Claims in their entirety totaling $1,440,461. (Global Crossing
Bankruptcy News, Issue No. 48; Bankruptcy Creditors' Service,
Inc., 609/392-0900)


KWELM COMPANIES: To Hold Meetings of Creditors November 28
----------------------------------------------------------
Kingscroft Insurance Company Limited (Formerly Kraft Insurance
Company Limited, Dart and Kraft Insurance Company Limited and
Dart Insurance Company Limited), Walbrook Insurance Company
Limited, El Paso Insurance Company Limited, Lime Street Insurance
Company Limited (formerly Louisville Insurance Company Limited),
and Mutual Insurance Company Limited (Mutual Re) (together The
Kwelm Companies)

Notice is hereby given that the KWELM Companies have applied to
the High Court of England and Wales and, in relation to Mutual Re
only, to the Supreme Court of Bermuda for directors relating to
the convening and conduct of meetings of the KWELM Companies'
Scheme Creditors.

The Meetings are proposed to be convened under Section 425 of the
Companies Act 1985 of Great Britain and, in the case of Mutual Re
only, under Section 99 of the Bermudian Companies Act 1981, for
the purpose of enabling the Scheme Creditors to consider and, if
thought appropriate, approve an Amending Scheme of Arrangement in
respect of the KWELM Companies and their respective Scheme
Creditors.

Should the Amending Scheme become effective, it will amend and
restate the terms of the Scheme of Arrangement presently in force
in respect of the KWELM Companies dated September 8, 1993.

The Amending Scheme will introduce a mechanism for the closure of
the Original Scheme by utilization of a bar date for submission
of claims together with an actuarially based estimation
methodology, where appropriate, to evaluate and quantify
liabilities (including contingent and future insurance and
reinsurance liabilities) notified under the Amending Scheme owed
by and to the KWELM Companies.  Such a mechanism will facilitate
the making of a substantive and ultimate distribution to Scheme
Creditors earlier than would be the case under the Original
Scheme.

At these directions hearings, The KWELM Companies will request
that the English Court, and in respect of Mutual Re only, the
Bermudian Court convene separate meetings of each of their
respective.

(a) Protected Scheme Creditors (being Scheme Creditors whose
claims are eligible for protection under the applicable
provisions of the Policyholders Protection Act 1975 by the
Financial Services Compensation Scheme Limited); and

(b) General Scheme Creditors (being Scheme Creditors in respect
of claims which are not Protected Scheme Claims).

Scheme Creditors who wish to attend and make representations in
connection with the composition of the Meetings at the Hearings
at 10.30 a.m. on November 28, 2003 in the High Court of England
and Wales and, in relation to Mutual Re only, at 9.30 a.m. on
December 2, 2003 in the Supreme Court of Bermuda, should contact
the Scheme Administrators as soon as possible.

If the Courts give directions to convene the Meetings, the KWELM
Companies will, in due course, make available to all Scheme
Creditors copies of the Amending Scheme and Explanatory Statement
at the same time as formal notice is given of the Meetings.  In
the meantime, the latest drafts of those documents, the Scheme
Administrators' letter to the Scheme Creditors dated October 17,
2003 notifying Scheme Creditors of the Hearings and a more
detailed notice of the Hearings, the English and Bermudian Court
applications and draft Court Orders setting out the proposed
directions can be downloaded from http://www.kwelm.com.
Alternatively, hard copies can be obtained from the Scheme
Administrators.  In the event the Courts give leave to convene
the Meetings and the Scheme Creditors vote in favor of the
Amending Scheme at the Meetings, we would expect the bar date to
be toward the end of September 2004.

COMNTACT:  CJ HUGHES and IDB BOND
           Address for correspondence of the KWELM Companies
           Scheme Administrators
           John Stow House
           18 Bevis Marks
           London EC3A 7JB
           United Kingdom
           Phone: +44 (0) 20 7645 4991
           Fax: +44 (0) 870 600 7588

           Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLP
           265 Strand
           London WC2R 1BH
           United Kingdom (Ref RG/AJOW/KA)

           Appleby Spurling & Kempe
           Canons Court
           22 Victoria Street
           PO Box HM 1179
           Hamilton HM EX
           Bermuda (Ref JF/SD)


LORAL SPACE: Accepts Intelsat Bid For Sale Of Satellites
--------------------------------------------------------
Loral Space & Communications announced that Intelsat, Ltd., was
the highest bidder in an auction held Monday for Loral's North
American telecommunications satellites. The winning bid was $1.1
billion. The other bidder at the auction was EchoStar
Communications Corporation. Intelsat's bid is subject to approval
by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New
York. The court will consider Loral's motion to approve the sale
to Intelsat at a hearing scheduled for Wednesday, October 22.

On July 15, 2003, Loral announced that it had reached a
definitive agreement to sell its North American
telecommunications satellites to Intelsat. The agreement provided
for the sale of the in-orbit Telstars 4, 5, 6, 7 and 13, as well
as Telstar 8, which is scheduled to be launched in the first half
of next year. Subsequent to that announcement, Telstar 4 failed
and was deemed a total loss; it is fully insured.

Loral intends to reorganize around its remaining fleet of five
satellites and its satellite manufacturing operations, allowing
the company to go forward as a viable enterprise with
opportunities for future growth.

Loral Space & Communications is a satellite communications
company. It owns and operates a global fleet of
telecommunications satellites used by television and cable
networks to broadcast video entertainment programming, and by
communication service providers, resellers, corporate and
government customers for broadband data transmission, Internet
services and other value-added communications services. Loral
also is a world-class leader in the design and manufacture of
satellites and satellite systems for commercial and government
applications including direct-to-home television, broadband
communications, wireless telephony, weather monitoring and air
traffic management. For more information, visit Loral's web site
at www.loral.com.

CONTACT:  Jeanette Clonan
          John McCarthy
          (212) 697-1105


SEA CONTAINERS: Declares Cash Dividends on Common Shares
--------------------------------------------------------
The Board of Directors of Sea Containers Ltd. declared on Monday
quarterly cash dividends on the Company's Class A and Class B
common shares.

The dividend will be $0.025 per share on the Class A common
shares and $0.0225 per share on the Class B common shares. Class
B common shares are convertible at any time into Class A common
shares. The dividends will be payable November 20, 2003 to
shareholders of record November 5, 2003.

The Class A and B common shares of Sea Containers Ltd. are listed
on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbols SCRA and SCRB,
respectively.



=============
B O L I V I A
=============

*S&P Lowers Long-Term Rating on Bolivia Due to Political Crisis
---------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said Monday that it lowered
its long-term sovereign credit rating on the Republic of Bolivia
to 'B-' from 'B' and revised its outlook on the rating to
negative from stable. Standard & Poor's also affirmed its 'C'
short-term sovereign credit rating on the republic.

"The downgrade reflects the intensifying policy challenges
stemming from severe political and institutional deterioration,
in the context of an extremely weak fiscal position," said credit
analyst Sebastian Briozzo.

"Violence and the ongoing discontent with the traditional
political leadership led to the resignation of President Gonzalo
S nchez de Lozada on Oct. 17, 2003. Although the transfer of
power to Vice President Carlos Mesa was conducted in accordance
with the constitution, as president he will be challenged to
govern a deeply divided and disillusioned society," he added.

It remains unclear whether President Mesa will have the support
of either of the two dominant and polarized groups that represent
most of Bolivian society: the demonstrators (with a high
representation from the country's indigenous population) on the
one hand, and the political and economic establishment
(characterized by deposed President S nchez de Lozada and his
MNR/MIR alliance) on the other.

According to Mr. Briozzo, President Mesa has stated his desire to
reconcile the interests of the two groups and normalize life in
Bolivia.

However, it will be extremely difficult to achieve a working
consensus, and debt servicing may be at risk. "The indigenous
groups have emphasized that they were not limiting their demands
to Mr. S nchez de Lozada's resignation, but want additional
concessions and political reform," Mr. Briozzo said. "In
addition, the already-weak MNR/MIR coalition under which Mr.
S nchez de Lozada governed remains angry over Mr. Mesa's
withdrawal of support for the former president during the week
leading to the resignation," he noted.

President Mesa has already announced that he does not intend to
remain in his position through the end of his constitutional
mandate in 2007. However, Bolivia's constitution does not define
the process for calling an early election, and a constitutional
assembly will be needed.

The 2003 fiscal deficit was forecast at 7.0% by the government in
its revised Stand-by Agreement with the International Monetary
Fund, first executed in April 2003. "At that time, Standard &
Poor's anticipated a 7.5% deficit; however, recent developments,
including social pressures and the strains on the economy, make
these targets difficult to meet," Mr. Briozzo explained.
"Official sources of funds were expected to finance the fiscal
deficit, but official creditor financing will rely upon the
policy measures of the new, untested government. In addition,
questions have now arisen over how the government will address
its new financing needs," he concluded.

ANALYSTS:  Sebastian Briozzo, New York 212-438-7342
           Jane Eddy, New York (1) 212-438-7996




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

BANCA INTESA: Fitch Upgrades Individual Rating To 'B/C'
-------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings, the international rating agency, upgraded Monday
Italy's Banca Intesa's (B Intesa) Individual rating to 'B/C' from
'C'. It has also affirmed the Long-term rating at 'A+', the
Short-term rating at 'F1' and the Support rating at '2'. The
Outlook remains Stable.

The rating action reflects the improvements that have and are
projected to occur in the bank. The ratings thus take account of
B Intesa's strong domestic franchise in the wealthiest regions of
Italy, its strengthening capital base, better operating profit
and successful implementation of a wide-ranging restructuring
plan. They also incorporate the bank's mediocre credit risk,
continuing inefficiencies, and execution risk.

To regain the bank's competitive edge, management is refocusing
the bank on domestic retail customers, and reducing exposure to
large corporates. Meanwhile, it is successfully integrating the
three main constituent domestic banks, which had retained too
much autonomy to act together coherently. B Intesa plans to
withdraw completely from Latin America and has already sold its
Brazilian and Argentinean subsidiaries.

The bank's results for first half 2003 reflect management's
actions and show the potential value of the bank's franchise, as
costs and loan loss provisions fell, generating a threefold rise
in operating profit compared with first half 2002. Reorganization
of business divisions, unification of information systems, staff
training, staff cuts, changes in business mix, repricing of loans
and services, and disposals of non-core activities, including
Latin American and European subsidiaries, international
participations and domestic local banks, all contributed to the
better performance. Similar actions are planned to improve
productivity and consolidate these good results. However, the
challenge now is to raise revenues when interest spreads have
narrowed and domestic economic growth has stalled.

Credit risk remains a concern, as formerly weak assessment
procedures have left the bank with net doubtful and watchlist
loans equal to over 60% of equity. While stricter assessment
methods should prevent a recurrence of serious problems, and the
bank's loan loss reserves, equal to 50% of these loans, are
probably adequate, the large stock of impaired loans continues to
absorb resources and constitutes a significant element of risk.

B Intesa has a moderate and declining appetite for market risk,
good controls, although integration is putting some strain on
them, and a diminishing exposure to risk. Liquidity is good and
similar to peers.

Capital is placed under strain by the bank's credit risk.
However, a shrinking balance sheet, larger loan loss reserves,
and less risky exposures, combined with retained earnings and a
fall in risk weighted assets, have improved the bank's capital
position. At end-2003, management expects to report a Tier 1
ratio stronger than the 6.9% reported at end-June 2003.

CONTACTS:  Maria Jose Lockerbie, London
           Tel: +44 (0) 207 417 4318

           Paolo Fioretti, Milan
           Tel: +39 02 87 90 87 202

MEDIA RELATIONS: Campbell McIlroy +44 20 7417 4327, London


COPEL: Hedges Part of Debt Tied to Foreign Currency
---------------------------------------------------
Brazilian Parana state power company Copel, backed by Banco do
Brasil, hedged part of its debt tied to foreign currency, the
Gazeta Mercantil reports. The move covers the US$150 million in
foreign bonds that fall due in May 2005. Copel ended the first
half of the year with total debts of BRL1.95 billion, BRL1.81
billion of which is long-term and BRL144.4 million is short-term.
The liability tied to foreign currency amounted to BRL304.1
million.

CONTACT:  Cia Paranaense de Energia (COPEL)
          Rua Colonel Dulcidio, 800
          Batel
          80420-170 Curitibia - PR
          Brazil
          Phone: +55 41 322-3535
          Fax  +55 41 224-4312
          Home Page: http://www.copel.com


EMBRATEL: Sells Clearinghouse To Verisign Subsidiary
----------------------------------------------------
Embratel announced Monday that it has sold it's Clearinghouse
subsidiary to a Brazilian subsidiary of VeriSign, Inc. for US$16
million. Embratel created the clearing house business when
cellular services was initiated in Brazil in order to provide
settlement and payment mechanisms between these companies. This
expertise and know how was further enhanced to develop Embratel
Clearing House to be the leading provider of clearing services in
the Brazilian telecommunications market, including the provision
of solutions to the fixed lines operators.

To perform this service Embratel developed proprietary software
solutions and actively marketed its products to the entire
telecommunications industry, gaining contracts with virtually all
players in the market. This business was managed as an
independent business unit since 1999.

The rationale to sell this business unit was in response to the
customers preference to have an independent provider, whose core
business is to provide clearing services globally. With this
transaction, Embratel was able to monetize its value, while
ensuring that customers continue to have their needs addressed by
an experienced company.

Embratel is the premier communications provider in Brazil
offering a wide array of advanced communications services over
its own state-of-the-art network. It is the leading provider of
data and Internet services in the country. Service offerings:
include telephony, advanced voice, high-speed data communication
services, Internet, satellite data communications, corporate
networks and local voice services for corporate clients. Embratel
is uniquely positioned to be the all-distance telecommunications
network of South America. The Company's network is has
countrywide coverage with 28,868 km of fiber cables comprising
1,068,657 km of optic fibers. http:/www.embratel.com.br

CONTACT:  Silvia M.R. Pereira, Investor Relations
          Tel: (55 21) 2121-9662
          Fax: (55 21) 2121-6388
          Email: silvia.pereira@embratel.com.br
                 invest@embratel.com.br


VARIG: Narrows Losses in the 1H03
---------------------------------
Embattled Brazilian airline Viacao Aerea Rio Grandense SA (Varig)
reported over the weekend that its losses have narrowed in the
first half of this year.

According to Dow Jones, Varig posted a loss of BRL291 million
between January and June on revenue of BRL3.48 billion. This
compares favorably to the whopping BRL2.87-billion loss incurred
over the whole of last year, when demand for flights tumbled and
dollar-linked costs climbed on a weaker Brazilian currency.

Varig said results continued to suffer in the first half owing to
a weaker currency and high oil prices, which pushed up costs for
leasing and operating aircraft. However, it is confident results
will eventually improve with the local currency firming and
benchmark oil prices retreating since March.

Nevertheless, the carrier remains heavily in debt to creditors
like fuel supplier Petroleo Brasileiro, airport authority
Infraero and Banco do Brasil SA. It had a negative book value of
BRL4.75 billion at the end of March.

CONTACT:  Viacao Aerea Rio Grandense SA
          Rua 18 Novembro, 800 2 - Andar
          Navegantes
          90240-040 Porto Alegre - RS
          Brazil
          Phone: +55 51 358-7039
          Fax: +55 51 358-7001
          Home Page: http://www.varig.com.br



===============
C O L O M B I A
===============

AVIANCA: Likely to Change Statutes, Board At Upcoming Meeting
-------------------------------------------------------------
Colombian airline Avianca is expected to change its statutes and
board at an upcoming shareholders meeting, reports Portafolio.

The measure is part of a restructuring aimed at helping the
airline attract new investors in the Company.

Chile's LanChile airline, a group of Brazilian businessmen and a
US investment fund are said to be interested in acquiring a
majority share in Avianca. The Violy McCausland firm is
conducting the sale.

Founded in 1919, Avianca is one of the oldest airlines in the
world. Avianca and its U.S. subsidiary filed for Chapter 11
bankruptcy protection in March this year after high fuel costs
and low demand brought negative results.



===================
C O S T A   R I C A
===================

CCSS: Loopholes on Immigration Laws Bring Deficit
-------------------------------------------------
The number of foreigners seeking medical attention without legal
immigrant status continues to negatively affect Costa Rica's
social security system (CCSS), according to Carlos Avendano, head
of local political party (PRC).

Local daily La Prensa recalls that last year, unpaid healthcare
contributions of foreign affiliates brought CCSS a deficit of
CRC7.3 billion (US$17.7mn).

According to CCSS executive Eliseo Vargas, the medical attention
provided to foreign affiliates cost CCSS a total of CRC13.3
billion in 2002 with total contributions in this sector only
reaching CRC6 billion.

The annual deficit produced as a result of foreigners who do not
pay their required healthcare obligations runs at an annual CRC7
billion, he said.

CCSS authorities, as well as certain political parties, have been
pressuring the government to change the country's present
immigration laws to counteract losses incurred in the healthcare
sector.



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

BANCO POPULAR: To Carry Out Another Capital Increase
----------------------------------------------------
Shareholders at Banco Popular Dominicano, one of the largest
banks in the Dominican Republic, agreed to double the bank's
capital to DOP10 billion (US$28.7 million).

According to a local daily Listin Digital report, the latest
capital increase follows on from shareholders' approval in
January to increase Popular's capital by 40% to DOP5 billion.

The bank's chairman, Manuel Grullon, said the decision to carry
out such a large capital increase was based on a detailed study
of the bank's growth prospects. The capital increase complies
with the rules as set by the local financial industry, Grullon
added.


COGENTRIX: Goldman Sachs to Purchase 100% of Stock
--------------------------------------------------
The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. announced Monday that it has agreed
to acquire 100% of the stock of Cogentrix Energy Inc., a
privately held independent power producer based in Charlotte,
North Carolina.

The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and is expected
to close early in 2004.

The Cogentrix transaction adds 26 plants and approximately 3,300
megawatts to the Goldman Sachs power portfolio. The vast majority
of Cogentrix' output is sold under long-term contracts to
established, investment grade electric utilities.

"The Cogentrix portfolio of assets represents an attractive
opportunity to further develop our power business through the
acquisition of high-quality generation facilities with stable,
long-term cash flows," said Richard Ruzika, co-head of Global
Commodities at Goldman Sachs.

"This transaction creates a combination of generation asset
management and commodity trading capabilities that we believe is
unique in the electric power marketplace. I am confident that
Cogentrix' tradition of excellence will endure as we join forces
with Goldman Sachs, and that the Lewis family legacy is in good
hands," said James Lewis, chief executive officer of Cogentrix.

Goldman Sachs is a leading global investment banking, securities
and investment management firm that provides a wide range of
services worldwide to a substantial and diversified client base
that includes corporations, financial institutions, governments
and high net worth individuals. Founded in 1869, it is one of the
oldest and largest investment banking firms. The firm is
headquartered in New York and maintains offices in London,
Frankfurt, Tokyo, Hong Kong and other major financial centers
around the world.



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

FILANBANCO: Creditors Scheduled to Meet Monday
----------------------------------------------
Creditors of defunct Ecuadorian bank Filanbanco are due to meet
Monday to discuss a plan to recover US$350 million in funds,
reports Business News Americas.

In a bid to boost the recovery of the funds owed to them by
Filanbanco, the creditors plan to partition the local banking
regulator for the election of a new board of directors for the
creditors association.

Filanbanco, one of Ecuador's largest banks, was intervened by the
authorities during the 1998-1999 financial crisis. The
authorities ran the loss-making operation until the bank's
closure on July 17, 2001.

Subsequently, the firms Thesis Antares, Gomez Giraldo y
Asociados, and Hunton & William American Services were awarded a
contract to recover US$392 million in bad loans. The contract
process was drawn out for several months because of legal
problems and requests for more information by interested
companies.



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

ALESTRA: Extends Exchange Offer For Reorganization Plan
-------------------------------------------------------
Alestra, S. de R.L. de C.V. ("Alestra") announces an extension of
its pending cash tender offers, exchange offers and consent
solicitation for all of its outstanding principal amount of its
12 1/8% Senior Notes due 2006 and 12 5/8% Senior Notes due 2009
(the "offers") and its solicitation of acceptances to a U.S.
prepackaged plan of reorganization.

Alestra is extending the expiration date for the offers and the
solicitation of acceptances to the U.S. prepackaged bankruptcy to
11:59 p.m. on November 3, 2003, eleven business days from, and
including, the date of this press release, unless further
extended by Alestra. Through and including November 3, 2003, we
are granting withdrawal rights to holders of our existing senior
notes who previously tendered their existing senior notes in the
offers and to those holders of our existing senior notes who on
or subsequent to the date of this press release tender their
existing senior notes in the offers. Holders of our existing
senior notes already have the right to withdraw or modify their
ballot for the U.S. prepackaged plan at any point prior to the
commencement of the U.S. bankruptcy case. As of the date of this
press release, approximately $238 million principal amount of our
outstanding 12 1/8% Senior Notes due 2006 have been tendered in
the offers and approximately $253 million principal amount of our
outstanding 12 5/8% Senior Notes due 2009 have been tendered in
the offers. These amounts represent approximately 86% of the
existing senior notes.

In the near future, Alestra expects to distribute a prospectus
supplement to its prospectus dated August 21, 2003, as
supplemented, that provides, among other things, additional
disclosure and an update regarding a legal action brought against
it, its equity holders and the indenture trustee on September 22,
2003 in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of New York by W.R.H. Global Securities Pooled Trust
("Huff"). The complaint sought damages and to enjoin Alestra from
consummating its exchange offers and consent solicitations. On
October 15, 16 and 17, 2003, a hearing was held before the United
States District Court for the Southern District of New York
(Wood, J.) on Huff's motion for an order preliminarily enjoining
the offers. During that hearing Alestra agreed to make certain
additional disclosures, which will be set forth in the prospectus
supplement referred to above, and are acceptable to Huff on the
points addressed. Because of this, the court denied the motion as
moot, and the remaining relief sought by Huff was denied,
including Huff's request for an injunction pending appeal.

You may obtain copies of Alestra's prospectus, prospectus
supplements and transmittal documents for the offers and the
solicitations from the Information Agent: D.F. King & Co., Inc.,
48 Wall Street, New York, New York, 10005. Banks and brokers call
collect: (212) 269-5550. All others call toll free: (800) 549-
6697.

This announcement and the cash tender offers, exchange offers,
and consent solicitations which are the subject hereof are not
being made in any jurisdiction in which, or to any person to
whom, it is unlawful to make such announcement and/or cash tender
offers, exchange offers and consent solicitations under
applicable securities laws. This release shall not constitute an
offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy nor shall
any sale of these securities in Mexico or in any U.S. state or
territory in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be
unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the
securities laws of Mexico and any such U.S. state or territory.

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.

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.

CONTACT:  Simon Morgan
          Phone: 1-212-761-2219

          Heather Hammond
          Phone: 1-212-761-1893


GUILFORD MILLS: Retains Goldman Sachs as Financial Advisor
----------------------------------------------------------
Guilford Mills, Inc. announced Monday that it has retained
Goldman, Sachs & Co. as its financial advisor to assist Guilford
Mills in exploring possible strategic alternatives designed to
maximize shareholder value. Such alternatives may include a
possible sale of Guilford Mills, although Guilford Mills notes
there is no assurance as to when any transaction will occur or if
any transaction will occur at all.

Guilford Mills is a global designer and manufacturer of
engineered fabrics for automotive, technical and apparel
applications, serving a diversified customer base.


SAVIA: Announces Organizational Changes
---------------------------------------
Savia S.A. de C.V. announced organizational changes. Bernardo
Jimenez Barrera would cease to act as CFO of Savia and will join
Seminis Inc, a Delaware company, as Chief Financial Officer.

At Savia, Enrique Osorio Lopez will now assume the function as
CFO. Enrique Osorio has extensive experience in the financial
arena and previously in Savia and Subsidiaries, where he acted as
Treasurer and IR Vice President.

Savia, S.A. de C.V. (www.savia.com.mx) participates in industries
that offer high growth potential in Mexico and internationally.
Its principal subsidiaries include Seminis, a global leader in
the production and marketing of fruit and vegetable seeds,
Bionova, a company focused on the production, distribution and
comercialization of fruits and vegetables and Desarrollo
Inmobiliario Omega, a company dedicated to the development of
real estate in Northern Mexico.

CONTACT:  Hector Sepulveda
          Telephone: 8363-7812
          E-mail: hsepulveda@savia.com.mx



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

*IMF Approves Nicaragua's Additional Interim HIPC Assistance
------------------------------------------------------------
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund completed
on Monday the third review of Nicaragua's performance under a
three-year, SDR 97.50 million (about US$139.2 million) Poverty
Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF) arrangement that was
approved on December 4, 2002 (see Press Release No. 02/53). This
decision enables the release of a further SDR 6.97 million (about
US$9.9 million) to Nicaragua, which brings total disbursements
under the program to SDR 27.86 million (about US$39.8 million).

The Executive Board also approved Nicaragua's request for waivers
of the nonobservance of performance criteria, as well as the
request for additional interim assistance under the Heavily
Indebted Poor Country (HIPC) Initiative through end-2003 of SDR
664,664 (about US$1 million).

Following the Executive Board's discussion on Nicaragua, Agustˇn
Carstens, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, said:

"Nicaragua's recent economic performance has been commendable.
The authorities have shown strong commitment to their economic
program and, as a result, Nicaragua faces improved prospects for
growth, financial stability, and poverty reduction.

"The authorities have recently adopted a strengthened growth
strategy aimed at enhancing Nicaragua's growth potential while
preserving macroeconomic stability. Continued fiscal
consolidation, coupled with debt relief and concessional lending,
will be necessary to ensure sustainable debt dynamics. The
revised growth strategy seeks to raise public investment financed
by concessional donor assistance. To be effective, the strategy
must ensure that public spending is directed to high-quality
projects.

"Important progress is being made in strengthening Nicaragua's
financial sector, and the authorities have prepared an agenda for
carrying this work forward in specific areas. The completion of
the central bank's asset recovery plan is an important
achievement. Key reform priorities include granting legal
protection to bank supervisors and central bank staff and the
authorities' plan to revise the legal framework in line with the
Basel Core Principles. Nicaragua's forthcoming participation in
the Financial Sector Assessment Program will help identify the
major remaining vulnerabilities and reform needs in this area.

"Reaching the HIPC completion point by year's end is an important
goal for Nicaragua and the authorities are making good progress
toward that goal. It will make permanent the interim debt relief
that has been granted in recent years, which is a prerequisite
for sustained rapid growth and poverty reduction. Successful
implementation of the PRGF-supported program has brought
Nicaragua close to achieving this goal, although progress is
still needed in key areas to ensure that all trigger conditions
are met. The broad domestic consensus on the importance of
attaining the HIPC completion point has facilitated the
implementation of prudent macroeconomic policies, structural
reforms, and better governance. It is important that this
consensus on good economic policies be sustained for Nicaragua to
reap the full benefits of HIPC debt relief," Mr. Carstens said.

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

          IMF EXTERNAL RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
          Public Affairs
          Phone: 202-623-7300
          Fax: 202-623-6278

          Media Relations
          Phone: 202-623-7100
          Fax: 202-623-6772



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

PDVSA: Unapetrol Head Urges Workers to Reject Severance Payments
----------------------------------------------------------------
Horacio Medina, the president of oil workers' union Unapetrol, is
urging oil workers fired by Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA
to reject severance payments offered by company president, Ali
Rodriguez, relates newspaper El Nacional.

Accepting a "simple termination" would imply acceptance that the
dismissals were justified and that crimes that had not been
committed had taken place, Medina said, adding that the pay-off
money "does not exist...it is a trap."

"Where is the money from the savings fund and the trust and
retirement plans, and all the oil workers' money that PDVSA has
appropriated?" he asked.


PDVSA: Investigation To Determine Explosion Gets Underway
---------------------------------------------------------
PDVSA said it has kicked off an investigation to determine the
causes of the explosion and fire at its electric- power plant at
the Paraguana refinery complex on Sunday.

The incident injured two workers, but didn't affect operations at
the plant.

The Company didn't say when results of the investigation would be
released. But Refinery Manager Dionisio Duran told government
television channel Venezolana de Television that the blast may
have been caused by a buildup of escaped gas.

The fire was the second this month at Paraguana complex, where
PDVSA fired 40% of the refinery's workforce of 3,600 to break a
two-month strike that ended Feb. 1.

A unit that separates sulfur from oil and other fuels caught fire
two weeks ago after a pipeline ruptured. That unit was also
closed in April this year due to another blaze.

Former workers who were fired for joining the strike say the
blazes happen because safety regulations are regularly ignored.

Paraguana has a capacity of 940,000 barrels a day.




               ***********


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., Fairless
Hills, Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick,
Maryland USA. 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.


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