TCRLA_Public/031208.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

          Monday, December 8, 2003, Vol. 4, Issue 242



ACIVOL: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
AGEA: Proposes To $400M Debt Negotiation
AVICOLA SAN CAYETANO: To Undergo Reorganization
BANCO FRANCES: Fitch Assigns $150M of Bonds `D(arg)'
CEMEFE: Court Orders Bankruptcy

EDENOR: S&P Downgrades Edenor Notes Rating to 'D'
ESTELAR SAN LUIS: Informational Meeting Rescheduled
GRUPO PUBLICATARIO: Credit Verifications to End February 24
LITOFON PRODUCTOS: Receiver to Oversee Bankruptcy
MADERA POSADAS: Court Approves Reorganization Petition

PLAZA AUSTRIA: Reorganization Petition Approved
SEMILLAGRO: Abandons Reorganization, Bankruptcy Imminent
SEYTEL: Receiver Verifies Claims in Bankruptcy Process
SPREAFICO: Court Moves Informative Assembly Date
STARCOM: Deadlines Set for Receiver's Reports

SUENO ESTELAR: Informative Assembly Moved to February 12
TALLERES GRAFICOS: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
WINLUCK: Court Sets Bankruptcy Proceeding Schedule


ULTRAPETROL BAHAMAS: Moody's Lowers Debt Ratings


BRASIL FERROVIAS: Completes Operational Integration
CFLCL: November Monthly Report Shows Additional Capacity
ELETROPAULO METROPOLITANA: Creditor Agreement Appears Near
EMBRATEL: Ends Guaranteed Notes Offering
VARIG: Signs Extensive Fares Agreement With Tourico Holiday


CAP: Brokerage Firm Views Shares As Undervalued


* Fitch Affirms El Salvador's `BB++' Ratings; Outlook Negative


JUTC: Privatization Foreshadowed in Government Plans


AEROMEXICO: Signs Alliance Agreement With Continental Airlines

T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

BWIA: Ministers, Union Leaders Discuss Brighter Future


CITGO: Acquires ProMag for Lake Charles Refinery

     - - - - - - - - - -


ACIVOL: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
Commercial Court of First Instance Branch No. 19 orders the
bankruptcy of Argentine company Acivol S.A., according to a
report by Legalmania online. Clerk No. 37 assists the court on
the case.

Mr. Aldo Roberto Markman will oversee the bankruptcy process as
receiver. He will verify creditors' claims until March 16 next
year. The individual reports must be submitted to the court on
April 29 next year followed by the general report on June 11.

CONTACT:  Aldo Roberto Markman
          A Alsina 1441
          Buenos Aires

AGEA: Proposes To $400M Debt Negotiation
Argentine media group Arte Grafico Editorial Argentino (AGEA) is
offering to restructure some US$400 million in bonds, reports Dow
Jones. In a filing with the Argentine stock exchange Wednesday,
the group, which holds the leading Argentine daily Clarin and
cable channel Multicanal SA, said it is giving bondholders until
Dec. 16 to accept the offer. Accordingly, those who accept the
offer by Dec. 11 will get better conditions for participating.

AGEA needs the participation of creditors holding two-thirds of
the debt to be approved by an Argentine court. Included in the
offer are US$250 million in bonds now in default and some US$150
million in bank debts. Some US$50 million of the debt is owed by
AGEA subsidiary Artes Graficas Rioplateneses.

Bondholders have three options to choose from:

One is a par bond, whose maturity would be extended for 10 years.
Those who opt for this before Dec. 11 will get an additional 2%
on the nominal value of the bond.

Two is a debt repurchase. AGEA will demand a 68% nominal haircut
on those who sign up for this by Dec. 11 and a 72% haircut on
those who do so thereafter.

The group also made a third offer, which would see them give
creditors US$520 in new seven-year bonds for every US$1,000
offered for restructuring. In addition, creditors will get US$120
in cash. If the creditor participates after Dec. 11, they will
receive US$480 in bonds and US$80 in cash.

The Company says it will not settle unpaid interest. It says for
the deal to go ahead, it must have creditors offer at least US$90
million in credit for the debt buyback component and US$30
million for the par-bond offer. The group said it reserves the
right to change and cancel the offer, even if it gets two-thirds
creditors approval.

And AGEA made a further warning: should the restructuring offer
fail, its offer said, "it is probable that the company must place
itself in bankruptcy proceedings." Such an outcome would be very
negative for creditors, since companies can remain in Chapter 11
status for prolonged periods.

AVICOLA SAN CAYETANO: To Undergo Reorganization
Avicola San Cayetano S.R.L., which is based in Buenos Aires, will
undergo reorganization. Argentine news portal Infobae indicates
that the city's Court No. 9 approved the Company's motion for
"Concurso Preventivo" recently.

Working with Clerk No. 17, the court assigned Mr. Miguel Angel
Troisi as the Company's receiver with instructions to
authenticate creditors' claims until March 5 next year. The
receiver will also prepare the individual and general reports,
whose deadlines where not revealed in the Infobae report.

CONTACT:  Avicola San Cayetano S.R.L.
          Ave Cordoba 657
          Buenos Aires

          Miguel Angel Troisi
          Cerrito 146
          Buenos Aires

BANCO FRANCES: Fitch Assigns $150M of Bonds `D(arg)'
Fitch Argentine Calificadora de Riesgo S.A. rates US$150 million
worth of corporate bonds issued by BBVA Banco Frances S.A.
`D(arg)', according to the Comision Nacional de Valores,
Argentina's securities regulator. The default rating assigned was
based on the Company's finances as of the end of September this

The affected bonds are described as "Serie 14 de ON por U$S 150
MM (dentro del Programa de ON por U$S 1000MM)" with undisclosed
maturity date. These were classified under "Series and/or Class".

Fitch said that the `D(arg)' rating is assigned to bonds are
currently in default or if the obligor has filed for bankruptcy.

CEMEFE: Court Orders Bankruptcy
Buenos Aires Court No. 23 declared Cemefe S.A. officially
bankrupt. Infobae reports that the Company is placed in the hands
of local accountant Isabel de Francesco, who was assigned as its

Working with Clerk No. 46, the court ordered the receiver to
authenticate creditors' claims until February 9 next year. The
individual reports, to be prepared after the verifications are
closed, must be filed at the court on March 22. The general
report must follow on May 6.

The Company's assets will be liquidated at the end of the process
to repay creditors.

CONTACT:  Cemefe S.A.
          Rodriguez Pena 2067
          Buenos Aires

          Isabel de Francesco
          Pasteur 154
          Buenos Aires

EDENOR: S&P Downgrades Edenor Notes Rating to 'D'
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered Thursday its rating on
First Trust of New York N.A. Representación Permanente en
Argentina's US$140 million 2% gain financial trust notes due 2005
(GAIN 2005) to 'D' from 'CC'.

The rating action follows the nonpayment by the underlying
corporate obligor, Empresa Distribuidora y Comercializadora Norte
S.A. (Edenor), of the first principal payment due Nov. 30, 2003.
The interest payment due on the same date was fully complied.

Edenor's business and financial profile significantly eroded
during 2002 because of the strong devaluation of the Argentine
peso, which followed the end of convertibility, while tariffs
were pesified and frozen without allowing for any compensating
adjustments. These events led to a significant imbalance between
the company's peso-denominated cash generation and its U.S.
dollar-denominated debt.

There are still uncertainties about the company's cash flow
generation potential, given that the renegotiation of the
concession contracts in Argentina is still pending. The local and
foreign currency corporate credit ratings on Edenor were lowered
to 'D' from CC/Negative and 'SD', respectively, following the
company's failure to meet a US$37.5 million payment due Sept. 16,

Edenor has been current with all interest payments on the GAIN
2005 notes and is negotiating with its bondholders regarding
future principal payments. This negotiation is part of a general
rescheduling of the company's approximately US$512 million debt.

Edenor is Argentina's largest electricity distribution company,
serving approximately 2.3 million customers in the northwestern
half of greater Buenos Aires and the northern portion of the city
of Buenos Aires.

The GAIN 2005 transaction benefits from a transfer and
convertibility insurance policy issued by Overseas Private
Investment Corp. The rating on the deal is based on the foreign
currency rating of Edenor, because the political risk insurance
policy covers 100% of principal but does not cover interest
payments. Additionally, the transaction also does not have a
reserve fund for timely payment of the bonds during any of the
events covered by the policy. Thus, the rating has not been
enhanced by the insurance policy and is therefore constrained by
the foreign currency rating of the respective underlying
corporate obligor.

ANALYST:  Felicitas Del Cioppo
          Buenos Aires
          Phone: (54) 114-891-2120

          Juan Pablo De Mollein
          New York
          Phone: (1) 212-438-2536

          Sergio Fuentes
          Buenos Aires
          Phone: (54) 114-891-2131

ESTELAR SAN LUIS: Informational Meeting Rescheduled
The reorganization process for Argentine company Estelar San Luis
S.A. nears conclusion. In the meantime, the informative hearing
is moved to February 17, by order of Buenos Aires Court No. 22.
Clerk No. 43 assists the court on the case. The report, however,
did not mention the reasons behind the schedule change.

GRUPO PUBLICATARIO: Credit Verifications to End February 24
The credit verification process for the bankruptcy of Buenos
Aires company Grupo Publicatario Urbano S.A. will end February 24
next year. Creditors must present their claims to the Company's
receiver, Mr. Luis Krajil before the said date.

Argentine newspaper La Nacion relates that the city's Court No.
12, under Judge Ojea Quintana issued the bankruptcy order in
approval of a petition filed by the Company's creditor, Celso
S.R.L. for nonpayment of debt. Clerk No. 23, Dr. Perea, assists
the court on the case.

CONTACT:  Grupo Publicatario Urbano S.A.
          9th Floor, Room 37
          Paraguay 647
          Buenos Aires

          Luis Krajl
          5th Floor, Office I
          Bouchard 468
          Buenos Aires

LITOFON PRODUCTOS: Receiver to Oversee Bankruptcy
Mr. Juan Carlos Pitrelli, an accountant from Buenos Aires, will
oversee the bankruptcy of local company Litofon Productos S.R.L.,
reports local news source Infobae. Creditors must present their
proofs of claims to the receiver for verification before March 23
next year.

The individual reports are prepared after credit verifications
are closed. These must be submitted to the city's Court No. 10 on
May 6, 2004, followed by the general report on June 18.

CONTACT:  Juan Carlos Pitrelli
          Ave de Mayo 1260
          Buenos Aires

MADERA POSADAS: Court Approves Reorganization Petition
Madera Posadas S.A. will undergo reorganization after Buenos
Aires Court No. 12 approved its motion for "Concurso Preventivo."
Assisted by Clerk No. 24, Dr. Medici Garrot, Judge Ojea Quintana
assigned Mr. Hector Arzu as the Company's receiver.

Creditors must present their claims to the receiver for
verification before April 23 next year. Verifications are done to
determine the nature and amount of the Company's debts. The
receiver is also required to prepare the individual and general
reports on the case.

CONTACT:  Madera Posadas S.A.
          2nd Floor
          Florida 336
          Buenos Aires

          Hector Arzu
          9th Floor, Room 19
          Junin 55
          Buenos Aires

PLAZA AUSTRIA: Reorganization Petition Approved
Judge Ballerini of Buenos Aires Court No. 24 approved a petition
for reorganization filed by Argentine company Plaza Austria S.A.,
according to a report by La Nacion. Clerk No. 48, Dr. Diaz,
assists the court on the case, the report adds.

The Company's receiver, Ms. Haydee Kravetz, will verify
creditors' claims until February 24, next year. The receiver's
duties also include the preparation of the individual and general
reports. La Nacion, however, did not mention whether the court
has set the deadlines for the filing of these reports.

CONTACT:  Plaza Austria S.A.
          Ave del Libertador 1708
          Buenos Aires

          Haydee Kravetz
          8th Floor, Room D
          Tucuman 1484
          Buenos Aires

SEMILLAGRO: Abandons Reorganization, Bankruptcy Imminent
Semillagro S.A., which was attempting to reorganize process,
enters bankruptcy on orders from Buenos Aires Court No. 19. Clerk
No. 38 assists the court on the case, which will end with the
liquidation of the Company's assets.

The receiver, Mr. Jorge Angel Tsanis, will authenticate
creditors' claims until February 12 next year. Verifications are
done to ascertain the nature and amount of the Company's debts.
Results will be relayed to the court via the individual reports,
which are due for filing on March 25, 2004. The receiver will be
required to prepare the general report on May 11.

Proceeds of the liquidation process will be used to reimburse
creditors. Payment distribution will be based on the results of
the verification process.

CONTACT:  Semillagro S.A.
          Holmberg 1599
          Buenos Aires

SEYTEL: Receiver Verifies Claims in Bankruptcy Process
Creditors of SEYTEL S.R.L. must present their proofs of claims to
the Company's receiver for verification before June 30 next year.
This is required to determine the nature and amount of the
Company's debts, as required in the course of its bankruptcy.

Buenos Aires Court No. 21 requires the individual reports to be
submitted on August 24, reports Infobae. The court ordered the
receiver to file the general report on October 1, 2004.

CONTACT:  Juan Carlos Facoltini
          Bernardo de Irigoyen 330
          Buenos Aires

SPREAFICO: Court Moves Informative Assembly Date
Buenos Aires Court No. 22 sets a new date for the informative
assembly regarding the reorganization of local company Spreafico
S.A.I.C., reports Argentine news portal Infobae. Creditors are
informed that the meeting is moved to February 17, next year, the
report said without indicating the reasons behind the schedule

Clerk No. 43 assists the court on the case.

STARCOM: Deadlines Set for Receiver's Reports
The individual reports for the bankruptcy of Buenos Aires company
Starcom S.A. must be submitted to the city's Court NO. 5 on April
5 next year. These reports are prepared after the Company's
receiver, Ms. Zulma Ghigliano, completes the credit verification
period on February 19.

A report by Argentine news portal Infobae indicates that the
court, which works with Clerk No. 9, ordered the receiver to file
the general report on May 19 next year. This report is prepared
after the individual reports are processed at court.

CONTACT:  Zulma Ghigliano
          Pasaje Cipoletti 554
          Buenos Aires

SUENO ESTELAR: Informative Assembly Moved to February 12
The informative assembly for the reorganization of Buenos Aires
company Sueno Estelar S.A. has been moved to February 17 next
year. The meeting is one of the last steps in a reorganization

The city's Court No. 22 ordered the date change, reports
Argentine news source Infobae without indicating meeting's venue.
Clerk No. 43 works with the court on the case.

TALLERES GRAFICOS: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
Talleres Graficos Lacunza S.R.L. enters bankruptcy on orders from
Buenos Aires Court No. 20, under Judge Taillade. Assisted by
Clerk No. 39, Dr. Amaya, Judge Taillade assigned local accountant
Julio Coy as receiver for the process.

The credit verification period is set to expire on April 5 next
year. Creditors must have their claims authenticated by the said
date in order to qualify for payments to be made at the end of
the bankruptcy process.

CONTACT:  Talleres Graficos Lacunza S.R.L.
          Boracay 1723
          Buenos Aires

WINLUCK: Court Sets Bankruptcy Proceeding Schedule
Court No. 6 of Buenos Aires sets the schedule for the bankruptcy
process local company Winluck S.A. is undergoing. After its
receiver, Mr. Jorge Podhorzer, completes credit verifications on
February 27, next year, he will prepare the individual reports,
which are due for submission on April 15, 2004.

The receiver is also required to file the general report on May
28. This report is prepared after the individual reports are
processed at court.

Clerk No. 11 assists the court on the case, which will close with
the liquidation of the Company's assets to pay off creditors.

CONTACT:  Jorge Podhorzer
          Pasaje del Carmen 716
          Buenos Aires


ULTRAPETROL BAHAMAS: Moody's Lowers Debt Ratings
Ultrapetrol (Bahamas) Limited had its debt ratings downgraded by
Moody's Investors Service. Ratings affected are as follows:

- US$135 million First Preferred
     Ship Mortgage Notes             B1         B3

- Senior implied rating              B1         B3

- Issuer rating downgraded           B2         Caa2

The ratings outlook is stable.

Moody's downgraded the ratings due to continued weak operating
performance experienced by the Company in recent years,
exemplified by thin operating margins and weak free cash flow
generation, and an aging fleet providing inadequate collateral
support to the notes, against the company's relatively high debt

The stable ratings outlook reflects Moody's expectations that the
Company's operating performance should experience marginal
improvement in 2004, with operating cash flows likely to be
adequate to cover near-term debt maturities.

Ratings could face further downward revision if company
performance were to deteriorate below 2003 levels.

Registered in the Bahamas, Ultrapetrol (Bahamas) Limited owns a
fleet of ocean-going tankers of various sizes, carrying both
crude oil and refined products, operating primarily in South
America, but also trading worldwide.

Ultrapetrol had 2002 revenues of US$73 million.


BRASIL FERROVIAS: Completes Operational Integration
Brazilian railroad holding Brasil Ferrovias completed the
integration of the operations of broad and narrow gauges as an
alternative to reduce costs, reports Gazeta Mercantil. The
measure is part of the national land transportation agency ANTT's
(Agencia Nacional de Transportes Terrestres) project. Brasil
Ferrovias, which comprises Ferronorte, Ferroban and Novoeste, is
in default with ANTT on the leasing payment, concession and fines
for non-compliance with the regulation.

Brasil Ferrovias registers a high indebtedness, almost ten times
up in comparison to its BRL400-million net worth in the short
term, says the report. Ferronorte owes BRL1.5 billion to the
national development bank BNDES (Banco Nacional de
Desenvolvimento Economico e Social), which agreed to convert up
to BRL400 million of the debt into shares while Novoeste owes
between BRL80 million and BRL100 million to RFFSA for the leasing
of rails.

In the meantime, the owners of Brasil Ferrovias - Funcef (CEF'
pension fund), Previ (Banco do Brasil), the investment fund Laif,
the banks Bradesco, JP Morgan and Constran may perform a capital
increase through the issuance of commercial papers as they expect
for the approval of a issuance of BRL180 million in debentures
and the capitalization of part of the debt held by Ferronorte
with BNDES.

The anticipation of the clients' freight will cover part of the
investments. Cargill inked a deal to anticipate the payment of
around BRL8 million and BRL10 million to refurbish the stretch,
wagons and locomotives.

CFLCL: November Monthly Report Shows Additional Capacity
Pre-commissioning has been fully completed of the two generators
and sub-station of the Ormeo Junqueira Botelho SHP (the new name
of the Cachoeira Encoberta SHP) with installed capacity of 24 MW
and annual production of 102 GWh. Operational testing shall begin
at this SHP in the next few days, when the Environmental
Operating License has been granted by the FEAM (State
Environmental Agency) to fill the reservoir with water, which
shall occupy an area of 0.3 km2 and hold a water volume of 3
million m3. This is the fourth SHP, which begin operating out a
total of five electrical power generation projects of the
Cataguazes-Leopoldina Group initiated simultaneously in mid-2002.
The fifth to be concluded is the 24.4 MW Ivan Botelho III SHP
(the new name of the Triunfo SHP), forecast to come into
operation in the fourth quarter of 2004.

Considering the Ormeo Junqueira Botelho SHP, the Cataguazes-
Leopoldina Group has an installed capacity of some 231 MW (annual
production of 1,380 GWh, accounting for approximately 23% of its
consumer market) from 21 SHPs (Small Hydroelectric Power Plants)
and one thermoelectric power plant.

Subsidiary Cat Cat-Leo executed a Sale and Purchase Agreement to
divest the Ivan Botelho I and Túlio Cordeiro de Mello SHPs

The Cataguazes-Leopoldina parent company announced in early
November that, in accordance with its corporate strategy, the
subsidiary CAT-LEO Energia S/A had, subject to prior approval by
creditors and respective regulatory agencies, signed a document
of sale (through the corporate restructuring of the
aforementioned company with rights and liabilities surviving) of
the recently built SHPs Ivan Botelho I (the new name of the Ponte
SHP) and Túlio Cordeiro de Mello (new name of the Granada SHP),
of total capacity of around 40 MW, to Brascan Energética S/A.

The Company also informed that it would disclose the effects on
its financial statements resulting from the sale as soon as the
operation is concluded.

Consolidated operating revenue of Cataguazes Cataguazes-
Leopoldina was R$1,056 million in 10 months

The consolidated gross operating revenue of Cataguazes-Leopoldina
reached R$1,056 million during the first ten months of 2003,
which represents an increase of 23.4% with respect to the same
period in 2002. The revenue in October was R$131 million against
R$117 million in September, i.e. up 12.0% mostly due to the rises
of the tariffs of the Saelpa subsidiary introduced at the end of

During these ten months, electrical power sales have risen 8.1%,
reaching 4,869 GWh, with the increased energy sales of the
subsidiaries Saelpa, CELB e Energipe, operating in the
Northeastern region of Brazil, warranting most attention.

CONTACT:  In Cataguases
          Phone: +55 32 3429-6000
          Fax: +55 32 3429-6480 / 3429-6317

          In Rio de Janeiro
          Phone: +55 21 2122-6900
          Fax: +55 21 2122-6931

          E-mail to:

ELETROPAULO METROPOLITANA: Creditor Agreement Appears Near
Eletropaulo Metropolitana, Brazil's largest power distributor,
and its creditors are on the verge of signing an agreement to
restructure the utility's short- term debt, worth BRL2.3 billion
($784 million), Valor Economico suggests in a report.

The agreement is just awaiting an outcome of the talks between
AES Corp., which owns Eletropaulo, and Brazil's state development
bank BNDES. Eletropaulo's creditors are demanding a clause that
would guarantee the restructuring would go ahead in case AES's
agreement with BNDES falls through, the paper says.

AES is close to settling the details of a US$1.2-billion debt
renegotiation agreement with BNDES as the two sides start to
study each other's proposals in a new round of meetings starting

The deal's conclusion awaits the transfer of AES stakes in
Eletropaulo and its Brazilian generation subsidiaries AES Tiete
and AES Uruguaiana to Novacom, a new holding company created
under the agreement.

The agreement is a debt-for-equity deal under which, in return
for writing off US$600 million debt, BNDES will own 49.9% of
Novacom. AES will repay US$515 million over a period of 10-12
years, made through convertible debentures guaranteed by the
assets of Eletropaulo, Uruguaiana and Tiete. In the event of non-
payment, BNDES would trade in the debentures and take control of
the company.

AES and BNDES will also have to find a solution to free up AES
Tiete shares that are being used as a guarantee for a US$300-
million debt the company has issued in the US, says the paper.

Previous reports have cited BNDES president Carlos Lessa as
saying that he is against extending the December 15 deadline for
the agreement to be signed, and would take AES to court if it did
not meet the terms of the agreement.

In the meantime, Eletropaulo was also expected to announce how it
will restructure BRL200 million of commercial papers coming due
Thursday. More than 90% of the commercial paper holders have
agreed to extend the deadline to December 9, 2004 at interest
rate of 12.5% over the real/US dollar variation.

          Avenida Alfredo Egidio de Souza Aranha 100-B,
          13 andar 04726-270 San Paulo
          Phone: +55-11-548-9461, +55 11 5696 3595
          Fax: +55-11-546-1933
          Luiz D. Travesso, Chairman and President
          Orestes Gonzalves Jr., VP Finance/Investor Relations

EMBRATEL: Ends Guaranteed Notes Offering
Embratel Participacoes S.A. ("Embrapar") announced Thursday that
its subsidiary, Empresa Brasileira de Telecomunicacoes S.A.
("Embratel") placed US$200 million guaranteed notes due in 2008
at 11 percent per annum. The notes were placed under Rule 144A,
and pursuant to Regulation S, under the Securities Act of 1933,
as amended (the "Securities Act"). The securities were not sold
in Brazil.

This issue marks Embratel's entry into the debt capital markets.
"We were pleased our first notes issue were so well accepted,"
said Jorge Rodriguez, Embratel's President. "It evidences
Embratel's operating and financial independence as well as our
improving operating performance are clearly recognized by the
investment community".

Embratel will use the net proceeds from the offering to repay
existing indebtedness, and to the extent remaining, for general
corporate purposes. "This issue is one of the steps taken by
Embratel to increase the average term of its outstanding debt"
said Norbert Glatt Embratel's CFO. "We intend to substitute
existing short-term debt replacing it with the longer term
maturity bonds". Reducing total outstanding debt and increasing
the maturities of this debt, while maintaining adequate levels of
investment, are some of Embratel's financial objectives.

Embratel is the premium telecommunications provider in Brazil and
offers and ample variety of telecom services -local and long
distance telephony, advanced voice, high-speed data transmission,
Internet, satellite data communications, and corporate networks.
The company is a leader in the country for data services and
Internet, and is highly qualified to be an all-distance network
carrier in Latin America. Embratel's network spreads countrywide,
with almost 29 thousand kms of optic cables, which represents
about one million sixty-nine thousand km of fiber optics.

CONTACT:   Silvia M.R. Pereira, Investor Relations
           Tel: (55 21) 2121-9662
           Fax: (55 21) 2121-6388

VARIG: Signs Extensive Fares Agreement With Tourico Holiday
Tourico Holiday Flights, one of America's largest tour operators,
is expanding into the Brazilian market in a major way from New
York, Miami and Los Angeles gateways. The company has signed an
extensive fares agreement with national flag carrier Varig
Airlines, and more than 400 leading hotel properties in Brazil.

Under the terms of the agreement, Tourico will also be able to
extend advantageous airfares and hotel rates to Brazilian tour
operators and travel agents sending clients to the United States.
Tourico, recently chosen by Inc. magazine as one of the 500
fastest growing private companies in America provides complete
travel packages to Rio de Janiero, Salvador, Recife, Forteleza,
Maceio, Florianopolis Natal and Sao Paolo.

Uri Argov, founder and president of Tourico Holiday Flights
noted, "Brazil is the leading travel market in South America and
it is a distinct honor to partner with one of the world's oldest
and most venerated airlines. Varig enables us to sell our
extensive South American air and ground programs to Americans at
both ends of the spectrum in all classes of service."

Varig, is the largest air transportation company in Latin
America, and together with sister companies, Rio Sul and Nordeste
Airlines, operates 115 aircraft to 70 Brazilian and 24
international destinations in the Americas, Europe and Asia.


CAP: Brokerage Firm Views Shares As Undervalued
The shares of Chilean iron and steel company Compania de Aceros
del Pacifico (CAP) are undervalued at current prices, according
to Santiago brokerage CP Capitales. The stock on the Santiago
bourse were quoted on Tuesday at CLP1,390, but according to
Business News Americas, CB Capitales has set a medium- to long-
term target price for the stock of CLP1,750.

Last month, CB Capitales issued a report forecasting that 2003
will yield the Company's best annual results in six years. CAP
posted earnings of US$27.4 million for the first nine months of
this year.

CAP, which is Chile's largest steel producer, ended the first
half of the year with a total debt of US$367 million, falling
from the US$424 million it owed in December 2002.

Its shareholders include Mitsibushi (5%), and several Chilean
pension funds and investment groups.


* Fitch Affirms El Salvador's `BB++' Ratings; Outlook Negative
Fitch Ratings, the international rating agency, affirmed on
Thursday El Salvador's foreign and local currency ratings of
'BB+'. The Rating Outlook remains Negative reflecting Fitch's
concerns about El Salvador's persistently high fiscal deficits, a
rising government debt burden and continued sluggish economic
growth. On the other hand, El Salvador's credit strengths include
monetary stability, a relatively good record on structural
reforms as well as modest albeit rising external debt burden.

Fitch remains concerned that El Salvador continues to run high
fiscal deficits (in excess of 4% of GDP including pension reform
costs over the past two years) despite the fact that
dollarization has removed an important adjustment tool. Part of
the rise in fiscal deficits reflects reconstruction costs after
the earthquakes of 2001. Moreover, the transition costs related
to the pension reform have added further pressure on public
finances: these costs are estimated to reach 2% of GDP in 2004
from 0.7% in 2001.

In response to higher fiscal pressures, the government has taken
notable measures such as expanding the value added tax (VAT)
base, improving tax administration and cutting current
expenditures by employing a more flexible public sector
employment policy. As a result, the non-financial public sector
deficit (including pension costs) is expected to decline to
nearly 3% in 2003 due to improvements in tax collection,
reduction in reconstruction related capital spending, savings
from investment in the electricity sector and some higher non-
recurrent revenues.

In Fitch's view the higher than expected fiscal consolidation
this year has prevented further deterioration in El Salvador's
credit profile. The government is targeting a 3% deficit
(including pension costs) for 2004. Fitch believes, these levels
of deficits are still relatively high especially in the context
of dollarization. Consequently, there is a need to increase tax
revenues by increasing taxes that will help complement the tax
administration efforts. It is also important to curb pension
costs by increasing retirement age and eliminating the provision
that provides for early retirement. Unfortunately, with the
impending Presidential elections in March 2004, the current
political situation is not conducive for such reforms. It remains
to be seen whether the new administration will be able to
successfully push through these reforms in a Congress where no
single party commands simple majority.

The persistently high deficits and slower growth have led to an
increase in the government debt burden, which has risen by 11
points as a percentage of GDP between 1998 and 2002, reaching
nearly 39% last year. More importantly, the government has been
increasing its reliance on international capital markets for
meeting its financing needs, which could leave the country more
vulnerable to swings in foreign investor confidence. As a result,
the government's bond external debt has been rising rapidly,
reaching 14% of GDP in 2003, which is not insignificant for a
small and relatively undiversified economy.

El Salvador's growth has also been on a decelerating path since
late 1990's partly due to the terms of trade shock, the slowdown
in the U.S. and the uncertainty related to the earthquakes of
2001. However, there could be other structural factors that are
also inhibiting growth such as low level of foreign investment,
low savings rate, low investment, inadequate infrastructure and a
low export-to-GDP ratio. The government is trying to expand its
market access to support higher export and GDP growth by entering
into free trade agreements with a number of countries. The U.S.-
Central America Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), if implemented
could give a boost to the country's maquila exports and

On the positive side, the country's external debt burden remains
manageable, although it has been rising in recent years, partly
owing to the government's financing program but also due to
greater access to foreign credit to private banks and corporates.
Banks have been accessing foreign borrowing more readily to fund
their lending in the Central American region, a trend that needs
to be monitored closely, given greater macroeconomic volatility
in some of these countries. The trends in the financial sector
should be followed closely, given that the central bank can no
longer serve as a lender of last resort.

Fitch will look to the new administration to put in place the
much-needed fiscal consolidation plan. If it is unable to achieve
significant fiscal consolidation, then the government's debt
burden will continue to rise, thereby putting renewed pressure on
the rating. On the other hand, robust fiscal consolidation, an
economic rebound along with the implementation of CAFTA would
help maintain the ratings at the current level.

CONTACT:  Fitch Ratings, New York
          Shelly Shetty
          Phone: 212-908-0324

          Theresa Paiz-Fredel
          Phone: 212-908-0534

          Matt Burkhard, Media Relations
          Phone: 212-908-0540


JUTC: Privatization Foreshadowed in Government Plans
The government of Jamaica is planning to privatize the cash-
strapped Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC) as part of a long-
term strategy for the transportation sector, reveals Business
News Americas. JUTC, which was established in 1999 to take over
bus services in the capital Kingston, is now struggling to get
out of a deep financial crisis.

As of June, JUTC had negative net worth of US$21.7 million and
was operating at a loss of US$60,000 a day, the paper said.

The Company initiated a fare increase in October, while some 300
jobs were cut to help reduce costs, Business News Americas
previously reported.


AEROMEXICO: Signs Alliance Agreement With Continental Airlines
AeroMexico and Continental Airlines (NYSE: CAL) announced
Thursday that they have signed an alliance agreement for flights
between the United States and Mexico beginning in the first
quarter of next year. The 10-year agreement was signed by Gordon
Bethune, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Continental
Airlines, and by Arturo Barahona, Chief Executive Officer of

"With this strategic alliance, AeroMexico will be able to offer a
greater number of flights between the United States and Mexico,
thereby better serving the needs of our passengers," said

"This agreement will be extremely beneficial to our passengers,
particularly business travelers, who seek greater choice and
convenience when traveling between the United States and Mexico,"
said Bethune.

The codeshare flights will simplify travel between the United
States and Mexico by facilitating connections between the two
airlines. All codesharing is subject to government approvals.

The airlines will offer interline electronic ticketing enabling
travelers to use a single e-ticket for itineraries that include
travel on both carriers. Travelers on both airlines will also
have a greater selection of flights in addition to a larger
selection of destinations and flight schedules. Details on the
routes and effective dates will be announced later.

Members of AeroMexico's Club Premier and Continental's OnePass
frequent flyer programs will be able to accrue and redeem miles
on each other's worldwide networks. In addition, the airlines
will offer airport lounge reciprocity.

AeroMexico has also renewed its membership in the SkyTeam
alliance for another 10 years, offering its passengers convenient
connections with airlines in the United States, Europe and Asia
to more than 500 destinations in 114 countries around the world.
AeroMexico is a founding member of SkyTeam. Continental is
anticipating joining SkyTeam in 2004.

Continental Airlines is the world's seventh-largest airline with
more than 2,200 daily departures to 127 domestic and 96
international destinations throughout the Americas, Europe and
Asia, including 23 destinations in Mexico. With 42,000 mainline
employees, the airline has hubs serving New York, Houston,
Cleveland and Guam, and carries approximately 41 million
passengers per year. Fortune ranks Continental one of the 100
Best Companies to Work For in America, highest among major U.S.
carriers in the quality of its service and products, and No. 2 on
its list of Most Admired Global Airlines. For more company
information, visit .

AeroMexico serves more than 40 cities in Mexico, more than any
other airline and 17 gateway cities in the United States
including Atlanta; Chicago; Dallas/Fort Worth; Fort Lauderdale;
El Paso; Houston; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Miami; New York City;
Ontario, Calif.; Orlando; Phoenix; Salt Lake City; San Antonio;
San Diego; and Tucson -- and five countries in Europe and South
America. Founded in 1988, AeroMexico has become the leading
carrier in the region by maintaining the highest service levels,
which have earned the airline numerous top rankings in the
industry. The airline was the first Mexican carrier to introduce
a frequent flyer program. Today, AeroMexico's Club Premier
program enjoys close to two million members. The airline's
corporate headquarters are in Mexico City and its U.S. operations
are based in Houston.

T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

BWIA: Ministers, Union Leaders Discuss Brighter Future
Trinidad's Trade and Industry Minister Kenneth Valley assured the
workers of the cash-strapped airline "BWIA is here to stay"
during a meeting with the leaders of the four unions representing
BWIA workers on Wednesday, the Trinidad Guardian relates.

Present at the meeting were junior Finance Minister Christine
Sahadeo, Christopher Abraham, president general of the Aviation
and Communications Allied Workers' Union and Jagdeo Jagroop,
president of Communication, Transport and General Workers' Union.

Abraham and Jagroop said Valley gave no specific details on
whether the Government intends to continue giving BWIA any
additional financial assistance, and if so, how much.

Valley only said that the Government's first objective is to "get
BWIA right" before it begins talks on a merger with Liat.

Also being discussed during the meeting were options for BWIA's
future, such as the purchase of new aircraft, a new leasing
agreement for the fleet, and a possible purchase of BWIA's
private shares to gain control of the airline.

Jagdeo said during the one-hour meeting, Valley and Sahadeo
briefed the union leaders on the progress of the Airports
Authority's efforts to hire a consultant to review BWIA's

Abraham said Valley disclosed Government hopes to have a new CEO
at BWIA within the next three months.


CITGO: Acquires ProMag for Lake Charles Refinery
James Branch, President of Trident Technologies, Inc., a wholly-
owned subsidiary of 21st Century Technologies, Inc. announced
Thursday that CITGO of Tulsa, Oklahoma, an indirectly wholly-
owned subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), the
national oil company of Venezuela, has acquired a ProMag 6 Set
for deployment at CITGO's refinery at Lake Charles, Louisiana.
CITGO's employees became familiar with ProMag, a rare-earth
permanent magnet powered system for leak and rupture sealing,
especially suitable for difficult HAZMAT leaks or ruptures, as a
result of training on ProMag received at the State of Louisiana's
Emergency Response Training Center and Holden, Louisiana. 21st
Century had donated a ProMag set to that facility in order to
gain exposure for the unique characteristics of ProMag (and its
maritime engineered brother, SeaPatch).

Similar sales have resulted from exposure to donated ProMag sets
at the Emergency Response Training Program at the Transportation
Technology Center (ITCI) operated by the federal government at
Pueblo, Colorado and the Texas Engineering Extension Services
Training Institute (ESTI) (formerly the Fire Protection Training
Division), operated by Texas A & M University at College Station,
Texas, but offered at various locations in the United States.
Additional emergency response training facilities will be ProMag-
equipped in the near future.

"Trident's products, ProMag and SeaPatch, are unique, effective,
efficient and especially suited to the new world we all live in,"
said Arland D. Dunn, President and CEO of 21st Century
Technologies. "What they need to be truly wide spread and thereby
more effective is exposure of the kind we get at these first
response training facilities. Students are trained in the various
applications of ProMag. When they get home, they spread the word
about how excellent and effective these products are. Sales
result and all benefit. I am pleased by the Citgo sale, as I was
pleased by the other sales resulting from first response training
school exposure. We shall expand the program."

ProMags are presently in use as part of the equipment available
for quick response and early fixes of leaks and ruptures with
several railroads, such as Union Pacific, oil companies, such as
ExxonMobil chemical companies, such as Bayer AG and first
responders, such as fire departments (North Platte, Nebraska) and
contracted HAZMAT/First Response teams, such as HEPACO

CONTACT:  Ron Garner
          Equitilink, Inc.
          Phone: 877-788-1940,



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

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