TCRLA_Public/031229.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 29, 2003, Vol. 4, Issue 255

                          Headlines


A R G E N T I N A

AGUAS ARGENTINAS: ETOSS Threatens Fine If Rates Not Lowered
BANCO DE GALICIA: Commences $350M Bond-Swap Offer
BIANAR: Last Day for Claims Filing Today
BUENOS AIRES CHILDREN'S SCHOOL: Court Orders Bankruptcy
COLEGIO MODELO: Today Marks Deadline For General Report Filing

CROSS MATCH: Proofs of Claims Process Ends Today
DEPOSITO COLOMBIA: Individual Reports Due at Court Today
EL CID CAMPEADOR: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
JAYPLEN: Receiver Closes Claims Verification Process Today
LAMINADOS LAMDECO: Receiver Verifies Claims in Bankruptcy

MARIA MATER: Court Approves Motion for Reorganization
METROGAS: Extends Debt Offer To January 20
MGT: Claims Review End Today
NAYCA: Court Assigns Receiver to Oversee Bankruptcy Process
NEO COMUNICACIONES: Receiver Prepares Individual Reports

PETROBRAS ENERGIA: Makes First IFC Loan Drawdown
PETROBRAS ENERGIA: Antitrust Regulator Approves Sale to Arauco
SUPERMERCADOS: Credit Verification Period Expires
TELEFONICA DE ARGENTINA: Shareholders Approve Planned Bond Issue
TRIANCO: Corrientes Tribunal OK's Reorganization Petition

TRIVILLIN AUTOMOTORES: Receiver Validates Claims


B E R M U D A

ANNUITY & LIFE: Met Life To Recapture Reinsurance Agreement
LORAL SPACE: Shareholders File Class Action Complaint


B R A Z I L

AES CORP.: Announces Partial Redemption of Notes Due 2005
CANBRAS COMMUNICATIONS: Closes Sale of All Broadband Operations
ELETROPAULO METROPOLITANA: Debt Plan Gains 91% Creditor Approval
TELEMAR: Fitch Affirms Ratings; Revises Outlook to Stable


C O L O M B I A

TRANSGAS DE OCCIDENTE: `BB' FC Rating Affirmed; Outlook Stable
* S&P Affirms Colombia's `BB' Ratings, Stable Outlook


E C U A D O R

* Ecuador's `CCC+' Long-Term Foreign Currency Ratings Affirmed


J A M A I C A

AIR JAMAICA: Forecasts Improvement in Operations This Year


M E X I C O

TFM: S&P Lowers Ratings to 'B', Outlook Negative
UNEFON HOLDINGS: Created As Legal Entity After Spin-Off
UNEFON HOLDINGS: Seeks Independent Legal Counsel for Opinion


P A R A G U A Y

* Paraguay LT Local Currency Rating on CreditWatch Positive


     - - - - - - - - - -

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

AGUAS ARGENTINAS: ETOSS Threatens Fine If Rates Not Lowered
-----------------------------------------------------------
Argentina's water regulator ETOSS will slap water utility Aguas
Argentinas with a US$2.5-million fine if it won't reduce public
rates. The water utility, which is controlled by France's Suez
and Spain's Agbar, has 10 days from December 23 to make the
payment.

This fine adds to the ARS672,018 given to Aguas Argentinas last
December 17 when it cut the provision of water without prior
announcement.


BANCO DE GALICIA: Commences $350M Bond-Swap Offer
-------------------------------------------------
As part of an effort to restructure US$1.4 billion of debt,
Argentine bank Banco de Galicia launched a bond-swap offer worth
US$350 million targeting creditors holding negotiable bonds that
came due in 2002 and this year. According to Business News
Americas, Galicia is offering those creditors new dollar-
denominated negotiable bonds and dollar-denominated subordinated
negotiable bonds that will maintain the original value of the
defaulted bonds but will mature in 2014 (75% of the total amount)
and 2019 (25% of amount).

The creditors have until February 18 to sign up to the offer and
Galicia has set a 95% minimum acceptance rate to proceed with the
swap, Business News Americas says. Creditors who accept the swap
will then be offered a menu of alternatives, which permit them to
recover their investment in a shorter timeframe.

The menu for creditors accepting the first bond swap consists of
three alternative payback schemes.

Under the first, creditors would exchange their new bonds for
dollar-denominated negotiable bonds, maturing in 2010, and for
preferential shares in Galicia's parent Grupo Financiero Galicia
(NasdaqSC: GGAL), which will be converted into ordinary shares
after one year.

The second alternative on the menu is an exchange of the new
bonds for a cash payment with a 55% haircut of the original bond
value.

The third alternative would see the new bonds exchanged for the
government bond Boden 2012, representing a 25% haircut.

Banco de Galicia was among the banks hit hardest by the Argentine
crisis in 2001 and 2002, which forced it to default on its
obligations and start talks to renegotiate its debt with
creditors, many of whom are international banks.

CONTACT:  Banco de Galicia Y Buenos Aires
          Tte Gral Juan D Peron 407
          Buenos Aires
          Argentina
          C1038AAI
          Phone: +54 11 6329 0000
          Fax: +54 11 6329 6100
          Home Page: http://www.bancogalicia.com.ar
          Contact:
          Juan Martin Etchegoyhen, Chairman
          Antonio R. Garces, Vice Chairman

          Grupo Financiero Galicia SA
          2nd Floor
          No 456 Tte Gral Juan D Peron
          Buenos Aires
          Argentina 1038
          Phone: +54 11 4343 7528/9475
          Home Page: http://www.gfgsa.com
          Contact:
          Atty. Abel Ayerza, Chairman


BIANAR: Last Day for Claims Filing Today
----------------------------------------
Today is the last day for filing creditors' claims for the
bankruptcy of Buenos Aires-based company Bianar S.A., according
to an earlier article by the Troubled Company Reporter. The
Company's receiver, Ms. Mirta Calfun de Bendersky, will prepare
the individual report, which are to be submitted to the court on
March 10, 2004. After these are processed at court, the receiver
will prepare the general report, which is due at the court on
April 26, 2004.

Buenos Aires Court No. 23 handles the Company's case with
assistance from Clerk No. 46.

CONTACT:  Mirta A Calfun de Bendersky
          Humahuaca 4165
          Buenos Aires


BUENOS AIRES CHILDREN'S SCHOOL: Court Orders Bankruptcy
-------------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires Children's School S.A. entered an official
bankruptcy proceeding on orders from the city's Court No. 20.
Infobae reports that Clerk No. 39 assists the court on the case,
which will close with the liquidation of the Company's assets.

The credit verification period ends on April 26, 2004. Creditors
must have their claims authenticated by the receiver, Mr. Roberto
Mazzarella, before the said date. The receiver will prepare the
individual reports, which are due at the court on June 7, after
the verifications are closed. The general report, to be prepared
after the individual reports are processed at court, must be
submitted on August 2.

The bankruptcy process will end with the liquidation of the
Company's assets to reimburse creditors. Payments will be based
on the results of the verification process.

CONTACT:  Roberto A Mazzarella
          Laprida 1411
          Buenos Aires


COLEGIO MODELO: Today Marks Deadline For General Report Filing
--------------------------------------------------------------
The deadline for the filing of the general report for the
bankruptcy of Argentine company Colegio Modelo de Buenos Aires
S.R.L. expires today. The Company's receiver, Mr. Juan Lewin,
prepared these reports after the individual reports were
processed at the court.

An earlier report released by the Troubled Company Reporter -
Latin America indicated that the city's Court No. 3 issued the
bankruptcy order and assigned the Company's receiver. Clerk No. 5
aids the court on the case.

CONTACT:  Colegio Modelo de Buenos Aires, S.R.L.
          Cochabamba 1601
          Buenos Aires

          Juan Lewin
          Quirno 353
          Buenos Aires


CROSS MATCH: Proofs of Claims Process Ends Today
------------------------------------------------
The credit verification procedure for the bankruptcy of Cross
Match S.A. will end today, December 29, 2003. The Company's
receiver, Mr. Fernando Aquilino, who verified creditors' claims,
will also prepare the individual and general reports. Clerk No.
3, Dr. Vassallo, works with the court on the case.

According to an earlier report by the Troubled Company Reporter -
Latin America, Buenos Aires Insolvency Judge Garibotto, of Court
No. 2, approved a motion for the bankruptcy of local medical
services company. The Company's creditor, Bioquimica Medica
S.R.L., filed the petition after the Company failed to honor its
debts.

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

          Fernando Aquilino
          Lavalle 1459
          Buenos Aires


DEPOSITO COLOMBIA: Individual Reports Due at Court Today
--------------------------------------------------------
Today is the deadline for the filing of the individual reports on
the bankruptcy of Argentine company Deposito Colombia S.R.L., the
Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America indicated in an earlier
article. The Company's receiver, Mr. Hugo Eduardo Sanguinetti,
prepared the reports after the credit verification process was
completed earlier this year.

The receiver will then prepare the general report after the
individual reports are processed at court. This report is to be
filed at the court on February 27 next year.

The Company entered bankruptcy on orders from the Civil and
Commercial Tribunal of Rosario in Sante Fe. The Company's assets
will be liquidated at the end of the process to reimburse
creditors.

CONTACT:  Deposito Colombia S.R.L.
          Juan Jose Paso 6985
          Santa Fe

          Hugo Eduardo Sanguinetti
          Gorriti 986
          Rosario, Santa Fe


EL CID CAMPEADOR: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
-------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires Court No. 10 declares local company El Cid Campeador
S.R.L. "Quiebra", relates Argentine news source Infobae. Working
with Clerk No. 20, the court assigned Mr. Luis Stamati as the
Company's receiver.

Creditors must file proof of their claims before July 1, 2004.
The receiver will examine and validate claims to determine the
nature and amount of the Company's debts. The result of the
verification process will serve as basis for payments to be made
after the Company's assets are liquidated.

The receiver's duties include the preparation of the individual
and general reports on the case. However, Infobae did not
indicate whether the court has set the filing deadlines for these
reports.

CONTACT:  El Cid Campeador S.R.L.
          Honorio Pueyrredon 1501
          Buenos Aires

          Luis Stamati
          Avenida Rivadavia 3320
          Buenos Aires


JAYPLEN: Receiver Closes Claims Verification Process Today
----------------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires accountant Jose Alfredo Alegre, receiver for local
company Jayplen S.A., will close the credit verification process
for the Company's bankruptcy today. As ordered by the city's
Court No. 3, the receiver will now prepare the individual
reports, which are to be submitted to the court on March 1 next
year.

The receiver will prepare the general report after the individual
reports are processed at court. This report is due on April 29,
2004, according to an earlier report from the Troubled Company
Reporter - Latin America.

The Company's assets would be liquidated at the end of the
process to reimburse its creditors. Payments would be based on
the results of the credit verification process.

CONTACT:  Jose Alfredo Alegre
          Viamonte 1592
          Buenos Aires


LAMINADOS LAMDECO: Receiver Verifies Claims in Bankruptcy
---------------------------------------------------------
Creditors for Buenos Aires company Laminados Lamdeco S.A. must
have their claims authenticated by the receiver as the deadline
for verifications expires today. Mr. Jose Maria Nullo acts as the
Company's receiver for the bankruptcy proceedings.

The verifications are done to determine the nature and amount of
the Company's debts. The receiver will now prepare the individual
reports, which must be submitted to the court on February 27 next
year, after the verifications are closed.

The city's Court No. 17, which handles the Company's case,
requires the receiver to file the general report on March 26,
2003. Clerk No. 33 works with the court on the case.

CONTACT:  Laminados Lamdeco S.A.
          Moldes 2181
          Buenos Aires

          Jose Maria Nullo
          Avenida Callao 420
          Buenos Aires


MARIA MATER: Court Approves Motion for Reorganization
-----------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires Court No. 6 approved the "Concurso Preventivo"
motion filed by local company Maria Mater S.A., reports local
news portal Infobae. The Company will undergo reorganization with
local accounting firm Franqueiro y asociados as receiver.

Creditors are required to file their claims before March 25,
2004. The receiver, who verifies the claims, will prepare the
individual reports after verifications are closed. The individual
reports must be submitted to the court on May 11, followed by the
general report on June 25.

The informative assembly, which signals the end of the
reorganization process, will be held on December 7 next year.

CONTACT:  Franqueiro y Asociados
          Ave Corrientes 534
          Buenos Aires


METROGAS: Extends Debt Offer To January 20
------------------------------------------
Argentine natural gas distributor Metrogas SA again extended its
offer to restructure US$440 million in debt, says Dow Jones.
Metrogas launched its offer on November 7 and set an original
expiry date of December 10. However, as of Dec. 11, only
creditors representing US$93.6 million of the debt had accepted
the offer, prompting the Company to extend the offer to December
22.

However, the Dec. 22 deadline saw only creditors representing
around US$100.5 million of the debt agreeing to Metrogas' offer,
leading the Company to extend the deadline again, this time,
until Jan. 20.

Metrogas' offer is to buy back up to US$100 million of its debts
at half their face value. Alternatively, creditors can swap their
holdings for new debt that would come due in nine years and pay
3% interest for the first two years, 4% for the following two
years, 5% for the next two years and 6% for the remaining period.

The company needs cooperation from creditors representing at
least two thirds of its debts before it can ask the courts for
approval to cram new agreements on its entire debt burden.

Hammered by the peso's devaluation, Metrogas suspended payments
on all its debt in March 2002.

CONTACT:  METROGAS, S.A.
          Gregorio Araoz de Lamadrid 1360
          Buenos Aires
          Argentina
          CPA C 1267
          Phone: +54 11 4309 1010
          Fax:  +54 11 4309 1025
          Home Page; http://www.metrogas.com.ar
          Contact:
          William Harvey Alvarez, President


MGT: Claims Review End Today
----------------------------
The credit verification process for the bankruptcy of Buenos
Aires company ends today, according to the Troubled Company
Reporter - Latin America in an earlier report. The Company's
receiver, Mr. Alberto Antonio Vilela, who verified the claims,
will now prepare the individual reports, which are due at the
court on March 11 next year.

The receiver will prepare a general report after the individual
reports are processed at the court. This must be submitted at the
court on April 27.

Buenos Aires Court No. 22 handles the Company's case with
assistance from Clerk No. 43. At the end of the bankruptcy
process, the Company's assets will be liquidated to reimburse
creditors.

CONTACT:  Alberto Antonio Vilela
          Rodriguez Pena 431
          Buenos Aires


NAYCA: Court Assigns Receiver to Oversee Bankruptcy Process
-----------------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires Court No. 12 assigns Mr. Hugo Daniel Pantaleo as
receiver for Nayca S.R.L., which was recently declared bankrupt.
The receiver has instructions to validate creditors' claims until
February 24 next year.

The individual reports, which contain the results of the
verification process, must be filed at the court on April 6 next
year, followed by the general report on April 18, according to
local news portal Infobae. The general report is a consolidation
of the individual reports after these are processed at court.

Clerk No. 23 assists the court on the case.

CONTACT:  Nayca S.R.L.
          Ave Santa Fe 5180
          Buenos Aires

          Hugo Daniel Pantaleo
          Ave Corrientes 1450
          Buenos Aires


NEO COMUNICACIONES: Receiver Prepares Individual Reports
--------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Felipe Florio, receiver for bankrupt Argentine company Neo
Comunicaciones Publicitarias S.R.L., will prepare the individual
reports as the credit verification period expires today. These
reports are to be submitted to the court on March 11 next year.

The general report, which is to be prepared after the individual
reports are processed at Buenos Aires Court No. 8, which handles
the Company's case, is to be submitted on April 27, 2004.

At the end of the bankruptcy process, the Company's assets will
be liquidated to reimburse its creditors. Payments will be based
on the results of the credit verification process, where the
amount and nature of the Company's debts are determined.

CONTACT:  Neo Comucaciones Publicitarias S.R.L.
          Ave Rivadavia 1157
          Buenos Aires


PETROBRAS ENERGIA: Makes First IFC Loan Drawdown
------------------------------------------------
Petrobras Energia Participaciones S.A. (Buenos Aires: PBE,
NYSE:PZE), controlling company with a 98.21% stake in Petrobras
Energia S.A. (Buenos Aires: PESA), announces that under the loan
agreements subscribed in July 2003 between Petrobras Energia
Venezuela S.A., a subsidiary wholly owned by the Company, and the
International Financial Corporation, the first drawdown was made
in the amount of US$ 70 MM.

The aggregate amount of said loan agreements is US$ 105 MM. The
loan structure mainly consists of an 8 « -year tranche A loan in
the amount of US$80 MM, including a one-year grace period, with a
semi-annual repayment period at a nominal annual rate of Libor +
4.75%, and a 9 « -year tranche C loan in the amount of US$25 MM.

The proceeds of these loans will be used in the investment plan
related to the development of the Company's oil reserves in
Venezuela, in the Acema, Mata, La Concepcion and Oritupano Leona
areas.

The remaining loan proceeds are estimated to be disbursed during
the first semester of 2004.


PETROBRAS ENERGIA: Antitrust Regulator Approves Sale to Arauco
--------------------------------------------------------------
Argentina's antitrust and competition agency gave Petrobras
Energia a go-ahead signal to sell its forestry assets to Alto
Parana, the Argentine subsidiary of Chilean forestry group
Arauco, reports La Nacion. The US$47-million sale that was
finalized in 2002 involved a 60,000-hectare forest, including
25,000 hectares of tree plantations, and a processing plant with
a capacity of 100,000 cubic meters per year, adds the report.


SUPERMERCADOS: Credit Verification Period Expires
-------------------------------------------------
The credit verification period for the bankruptcy of
Supermercados 3C S.A. will end today, December 29. The Company's
receiver, Ms. Haydee Kravetz, will now prepare the individual
reports on the verification results. These reports are due for
filing on March 10, followed by the general report on April 27.
The general report is a consolidation of the information in the
individual reports after these are processed at court.

An earlier report by the Troubled Company Reporter - Latin
America indicated that Buenos Aires Court No. 24 declared the
Company bankrupt and appointed its receiver. Clerk No. 48 aids
the court on the case.

CONTACT:  Haydee Kravetz
          Tucuman 1484
          Buenos Aires


TELEFONICA DE ARGENTINA: Shareholders Approve Planned Bond Issue
----------------------------------------------------------------
Argentine telco Telefonica de Argentina obtained approval from
shareholders to issue up to ARS1.5 billion (US$500mn) in
negotiable options, relates Business News Americas. The board of
directors will draw up terms of the debt offering with help from
external financial advisors, says Business News Americas.

According to Rafael Ber of local market observer Argentine
Research, the bonds would be used to finance new investments,
rather than restructuring its existing debts.

"The board would probably look to issue bonds at some point in
2004, once Telefonica determines its capital expenditures plan
for the year," said Mr. Ber.

However, the Company will only proceed if it can obtain favorable
market conditions, which will in turn depend on how well
Argentina's government resolves its debts with the International
Monetary Fund and private creditors, he said.

Telefonica de Argentina SA, the country's biggest telephone
company, said last month it had a profit during the first nine
months of the year.

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


TRIANCO: Corrientes Tribunal OK's Reorganization Petition
---------------------------------------------------------
Court No. 9 of the Civil and Commercial Tribunal of Corrientes in
Argentina grants local company Trianco S.A. permission to
reorganize. Argentine news portal Infobae reports that the court
approved the Company's motion for "Concurso Preventivo".

Ms. Delia Alcira Niveiro was assigned as the Company's receiver.
She will authenticate creditors' claims until February 13 next
year. She will also prepare the individual and general reports on
the case. In the meantime, the source did not mention whether the
court has set the filing deadlines for the receiver's reports.

CONTACT:  Delia Alcira Niveiro
          Chaco 1291
          Corrientes


TRIVILLIN AUTOMOTORES: Receiver Validates Claims
------------------------------------------------
Ms. Delia Alcira Niveiro, the appointed receiver for the
reorganization of Trivillin Automotores S.A., will examine and
validate creditors' claims until February 13 next year. Creditors
are advised to present their proofs of claims to the receiver
before the said date.

The Company obtained permission to undergo reorganization from
Court No. 9 of the Civil and Commercial Tribunal of Corrientes,
where it is based. The court chose the receiver for the case,
Infobae relates without indicating whether the court has set the
deadlines for the submission of the individual and general
reports.

CONTACT:  Delia Alcira Niveiro
          Chaco 1291
          Buenos Aires



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B E R M U D A
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ANNUITY & LIFE: Met Life To Recapture Reinsurance Agreement
-----------------------------------------------------------
Annuity and Life Re (Holdings), Ltd. (NYSE: ANR) announced
Wednesday that the panel in its arbitration proceeding with Met
Life has ruled that the Company's rate increase instituted in
January 2003 and effective March 5, 2003 is valid. As a result of
the ruling Met Life has chosen to recapture the business. In the
fourth quarter of 2003 the Company will reverse premium revenue,
benefits and expenses associated with the contract for the period
March 6, 2003 through September 30, 2003. While the Company is
still finalizing the terms of the recapture with Met Life, the
net impact of these reversals, offset by the cost associated with
the recapture, is not expected to have a material adverse effect
on net income for the fourth quarter of 2003.

Annuity and Life Re (Holdings), Ltd. provides annuity and life
reinsurance to insurers through its wholly owned subsidiaries,
Annuity and Life Reassurance, Ltd. and Annuity and Life
Reassurance America, Inc.

CONTACT:  ANNUITY & LIFE RE (HOLDINGS), LTD.
          Jay Burke
          441-296-7667


LORAL SPACE: Shareholders File Class Action Complaint
-----------------------------------------------------
Pursuant to the direction of the United States District Court for
the Southern District of New York that, on December 8, 2003, a
class action lawsuit was filed in the United States District
Court for the Southern District of New York, on behalf of all
persons who purchased or acquired the securities of Loral Space &
Communications, Ltd. ("Loral" or the "Company") (OTC Bulletin
Board: LRLSQ.OB) between July 31, 2002, through June 29, 2003,
inclusive, against defendant Bernard Schwartz, the Company's
Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board, and Richard J.
Townsend, the Company's Chief Financial Officer, during the Class
Period. The case name and index number are Christ, et al. v.
Bernard Schwartz, et al., 03 CV 8262 (JES).

The complaint alleges that during the Class Period, the
defendants, among other things, materially misrepresented the
Company's financial performance and condition by inflating the
Company's revenues and net income, and by underreporting
expenses. These misrepresentations of the Company's financial
performance included:

(a) failing to timely account for the obsolescence of its
    inventory;

(b) inappropriately accounting for general and administrative
    costs ("G&A costs") in the second and third quarters of 2002;
    and

(c) improperly recognizing revenue from its Telstar 18/Apstar V
    contract with APT Satellite Company Ltd.

The Company finally recognized these improprieties in its
financial report filed on Form 10-Q with the Securities and
Exchange Commission ("SEC") on November 13, 2003, months after
the July 15, 2003 bankruptcy. The complaint was filed by the law
firms of Bernstein Liebhard & Lifshitz, Chitwood & Harley, and
Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP.

If you purchased or otherwise acquired Loral securities during
the Class Period, you may request, because the Court has not yet
appointed lead plaintiff or lead counsel, that the Court appoint
you as lead plaintiff for that Class Period by February 23, 2004,
sixty days following the publication of this Notice, pursuant to
the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.

CONTACT:  BERNSTEIN LIEBHARD & LIFSHITZ
          10 East 40th Street
          New York, New York 10016
          Telephone: (877) 779-1414

          CHITWOOD & HARLEY
          2300 Promenade II
          1230 Peachtree Street, N.E.
          Atlanta, Georgia 30309
          Telephone: (888) 873-3999

          WOLF HALDENSTEIN ADLER FREEMAN & HERZ LLP
          270 Madison Avenue
          New York, New York 10016
          Telephone: (212) 545-4600



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

AES CORP.: Announces Partial Redemption of Notes Due 2005
---------------------------------------------------------
The AES Corporation (NYSE:AES) announced Wednesday that it had
called for redemption $19,719,000 aggregate principal amount of
its outstanding 10% Senior Secured Notes due 2005. The notes will
be redeemed on a pro rata basis on January 22, 2004 at a
redemption price equal to 100% of the principal amount thereof to
be redeemed plus accrued and unpaid interest to the redemption
date. The redemption is being made out of "excess asset sale
proceeds" and reflects the portion of asset sale proceeds
allocable to the notes primarily from AES's sale of a minority
interest in AES Oasis Limited.

AES is a leading global power company comprised of contract
generation, competitive supply, large utilities and growth
distribution businesses. The company's generating assets include
interests in 116 facilities totaling over 45 gigawatts of
capacity, in 27 countries. AES's electricity distribution network
sells 89,614 gigawatt hours per year to over 11 million end-use
customers.

CONTACT:  THE AES CORPORATION
          Kenneth R. Woodcock, 703-522-1315
          Web site: www.aes.com
          Investor Relations: investing@aes.com


CANBRAS COMMUNICATIONS: Closes Sale of All Broadband Operations
---------------------------------------------------------------
Bell Canada International Inc. ("BCI" or the "Corporation")
announced Wednesday that its 75.6%-owned subsidiary, Canbras
Communications Corp. ("Canbras"), has completed the sale of all
of its interests in Canbras Participacoes Ltda. ("CPAR"), through
which Canbras holds substantially all of its broadband
communications operations in Brazil, to Horizon Cablevision do
Brasil S.A. ("Horizon"), pursuant to the agreement entered into
by the parties in October 2003.

Canbras received gross proceeds of $32.6 million, comprised of
$22.168 million in cash and a one year promissory note bearing
interest at 10% in the original principal amount of $10.432
million (subject to reduction in the event indemnification
obligations of Canbras arise under the terms of the sale
transaction).

Canbras announced the closing of the sale followed its receipt of
the requisite shareholder approval for the sale as well as for
the wind-up and dissolution of Canbras following the final
distribution of the net sale proceeds to the Canbras
shareholders. Based on Canbras' announced estimate of the net
amount (after payment of transaction expenses and winding-up
costs) that it expects to distribute to its shareholders of
approximately $28 million ($0.51 per share), which assumes full
payment of the one-year note and no unforeseen claims against it,
BCI expects to receive $21 million as its pro rata share of such
net proceeds. The carrying value of BCI's investment in Canbras
at September 30, 2003 was $15 million.

BCI is operating under a court supervised Plan of Arrangement,
pursuant to which BCI intends to monetize its assets in an
orderly fashion and resolve outstanding claims against it in an
expeditious manner with the ultimate objective of distributing
the net proceeds to its shareholder and dissolving the company.
BCI is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol BI
and, until December 31, 2003, on the NASDAQ National Market under
the symbol BCICF. Visit our Web site at www.bci.ca.


ELETROPAULO METROPOLITANA: Debt Plan Gains 91% Creditor Approval
----------------------------------------------------------------
Brazil's largest power distributor, Eletropaulo Metropolitana,
(ELPL4.SA), saw 91% of its private creditors accepting its
proposal to reschedule BRL2.3 billion (US$787 million) of debt.
Citing Eletropaulo's statement to the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange,
Bloomberg News reports that the support is one percentage more
than what it needed.

"It's a process that lengthens out the maturities of the short
term debt," said Luciana Puccetti, analyst at Itau Corretora de
Valores in Sao Paulo. "For the investor it helps to alleviate the
concern that they won't be able to honor commitments in the
short-term."

Under the agreement, creditors will accept debt coming due in
2006, 2007 or 2008 for debt that came due this year or is
maturing by the end of 2006. The remaining creditors have until
Feb. 16 to adhere to the plan, Eletropaulo said. The Company
didn't disclose the interest rates it would pay.

Last week, Eletropaulo's parent, Arlington, Virginia-based AES
Corp. said it had an agreement to reschedule US$1.2 billion of
loans with Brazil's state development bank, averting government
seizure of Eletropaulo.

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


TELEMAR: Fitch Affirms Ratings; Revises Outlook to Stable
---------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has affirmed the international scale local currency
debt ratings of 'BB+' for Tele Norte Leste Participacoes S.A.
(TNE) and 'BBB-' for its fixed-line operating subsidiary, Telemar
Norte Leste S.A. (TMAR). The Rating Outlook for these ratings has
been revised to Stable from Negative.

Fitch has also affirmed the international scale foreign currency
debt ratings of 'B+' Outlook Stable for TNE and TMAR, which are
constrained by the sovereign rating of Brazil. TNE and TMAR are
collectively known as Telemar. Fitch has also affirmed the
national scale ratings of 'AA-(bra)' for TNE, which applies to
its first issue of local debentures, and 'AA(bra)' for TMAR. All
national scale ratings have a Stable Rating Outlook.

The revision of the international scale local currency debt
ratings outlook to Stable from Negative reflects the ability of
Telemar to increase EBITDA and improve credit protection measures
over the past year. Telemar was able to achieve these
improvements despite competitive pressures due to the increasing
liberalization of the Brazilian telecommunications sector since
privatization in 1998, coupled with a more challenging regulatory
environment as a court ruling earlier this year prevented fixed
line local service operators from increasing tariffs according to
the original concession agreement terms. Moreover, Telemar is
expected to sustain these improvements over the medium term.
EBITDA margins should remain stable at around 45%,
EBITDA/Interest expense at around 5 times (x) and Debt/EBITDA at
around 2x, which are solid within the rating category.

The ratings continue to be based on Telemar's position as the
leading provider of fixed-line telecommunications services in its
service territory. Telemar has a leading market position in local
service (more than 95% market share) and intra-region long
distance (approximately 75%). Telemar derives a significant
portion of revenues from its relatively stable local-exchange
operations, which reduces cash flow volatility and business risk.

The company has made substantial improvements in its
infrastructure in previous years and is well positioned for a
competitive marketplace. Telemar currently has 15.1 million lines
in service, which implies penetration levels of 17%. The number
of lines in service has remained stable over the past two years
and is expected to remain largely unchanged over the near term.
Because Telemar's fixed line business is profitable and does not
require significant investments, it generates significant levels
of free cash flow.

Telemar's main growth opportunities are in less mature segments
such as wireless. Telemar introduced wireless services in its
service territory during 2002 through its subsidiary Oi. Since
then, Oi has been able to grow the number of subscribers at a
very rapid pace to over 3.5 million subscribers. The wireless
market is very competitive due to the high number of wireless
operators. Oi currently has an estimated market share of 15% in
its service territory; it is currently the smallest of the five
operators but is growing at a faster rate. Because wireless
revenues account for less than 10% of Telemar's total revenues,
Fitch Ratings does not expect significant near-term cash flow
contribution from these operations.

Telemar maintains a solid financial profile, with cash balances
of R$2.5 billion, strong cash flow, and manageable debt levels.
Total debt, net of hedging effects, was R$10.5 billion at
9/30/2003 and is expected to remain stable over the medium term
as cash flow is sufficient to internally finance capital
expenditure needs.

Approximately three-quarters of debt is denominated in US$
dollars, with the remainder denominated in Brazilian Reais.
Because Telemar already made large capital expenditures of around
R$13 billion during 2000-2001 to modernize and expand its
networks, capital expenditure needs over the medium term are
moderate. Estimated capital expenditures during 2003 are R$1.6
billion compared to R$1.8 billion during 2002.

Telemar is one of the leading telecommunications providers in
Brazil with more than 15 million fixed lines in service and more
than 3.5 million wireless subscribers. The company provides
telecommunications services in 16 Brazilian states located in
northern, northeastern and southeastern Brazil. Telemar also
provides internet, data and long distance service. During the
first nine months 2003, the company generated R$10.3 billion in
revenues and R$4.6 billion of EBITDA.

CONTACT:  Guido Chamorro +1-312-368-5473, Chicago
          Mauro Storino +55 21 2224-3558, Rio de Janeiro

MEDIA RELATIONS: Matt Burkhard +1-212-908-0540, New York



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

TRANSGAS DE OCCIDENTE: `BB' FC Rating Affirmed; Outlook Stable
--------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed its 'BB' foreign
currency rating on TransGas de Occidente S.A.'s US$240 million
notes due 2010. The outlook is stable. The rating on TransGas
reflects the risk of a single source of bond repayment--the
monthly tariff paid to TransGas by Colombia's state-owned oil
company, Empresa Colombiana de Petr˘leo (Ecopetrol, BB/Negative/-
-).

"Furthermore, the rating reflects sluggish natural gas demand in
Colombia, which may affect economic incentives to operate the
TransGas project," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst David
Gonzalez.

"However, positive mitigating factors include the fact that the
tariff is linked to the pipeline's availability, which has been
100%, and there are protective clauses that either cancel or
lessen risks derived from dispute resolution and exchange risk,"
added Mr. Gonzalez.

Standard & Poor's also said that TransGas' dependence on payments
from Ecopetrol links the rating to the creditworthiness of this
state-owned entity. The rating on Ecopetrol is constrained by the
foreign currency rating on the Republic of Colombia.

A weakening of the Colombian government support for its gas plan
or any other event that could jeopardize complete and timely
payments to the project would result in a rating action by
Standard & Poor's.

ANALYST:  David Gonzalez
          Mexico City
          Phone: (52) 55-5279-2062


* S&P Affirms Colombia's `BB' Ratings, Stable Outlook
-----------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed its 'BB' long-term
foreign and 'BBB' long-term local currency sovereign credit
ratings on the Republic of Colombia. Standard & Poor's also
affirmed its 'B' short-term foreign and 'A-3' short-term local
currency sovereign credit ratings on the republic. The outlook
remains stable.

According to Standard & Poor's Credit Analyst Richard Francis,
the affirmation reflects the government's recent success in
obtaining congressional approval of tax measures in the wake of
the failed October 2003 national referendum, which would have
yielded savings of 1.3% of GDP in 2004 through a freeze in some
public expenditure. "These tax measures, in combination with
further expenditure cuts, should help the government come close
to meeting its 2.5% overall public sector deficit target in
2004," Mr. Francis said. "In addition, the country's economic
growth prospects are improving after five years of lackluster
growth that averaged just 0.4%. Economic growth is now projected
at over 3% in 2003 and expected to rise further to over 3.5% in
2004, reflecting President Alvaro Uribe's successful strategy of
improving national security while maintaining macroeconomic
stability," he added. The recently announced bilateral free-trade
agreement with the U.S. could also underpin growth prospects in
the medium term.

Standard & Poor's said that the prospects of higher economic
growth and continued fiscal consolidation have restored the
balance of risk to Colombia's ratings. However, the government's
underlying fiscal position remains highly inflexible due to
large, legally mandated transfers to local governments and public
pension systems and to the interest on the its debt. "Further
reform in the areas of taxes, transfers and pensions will
therefore be needed over the next three years in order to
maintain fiscal discipline," noted Mr. Francis. "If there is
significant fiscal slippage or a sharp deterioration in the
nation's security, there could be renewed downward pressure on
the government's creditworthiness. If, on the other hand, fiscal
prospects improve further and the debt and interest burdens
decline, the ratings could improve," he concluded.

ANALYST:  Richard Francis
          New York
          Phone: (1)-212-438-7348



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

* Ecuador's `CCC+' Long-Term Foreign Currency Ratings Affirmed
--------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed its 'CCC+' long-term
and 'C' short-term sovereign credit ratings and stable outlook on
the Republic of Ecuador. Standard & Poor's said that the ratings
and stable outlook balance the risk surrounding the government's
ability to cover its financing needs (deficit and amortization),
about US$1.9 billion in 2004.

According to Standard & Poor's Credit Analyst Lisa M. Schineller,
the affirmation assumes no disbursements from the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) and, hence, only project lending by
multilaterals of some US$400 million in 2004. "Even without IMF
disbursements, timely debt service is possible under a set of
strict assumptions," Ms. Schineller said. "These include
continuation of the current high oil price environment (West
Texas Intermediate of US$28 per barrel), the use of the funds
slated for the oil stabilization fund ([FEIREP] estimated around
US$700 million in 2004) and substantial local debt issuance
placed with the social security fund (IESS)," she added.

As per the fiscal responsibility law, Ms. Schineller explained
that revenue from private oil production, essentially heavy crude
oil flowing through the newly completed oil pipeline (OCP),
accrues not to the budget, but to FEIREP, which implies a loss of
"above-the-line" revenue of a projected 2.5% of GDP.

"The 'CCC+' rating assumes insufficient reform or expenditure
adjustment to permit these oil revenues to be set aside," Ms.
Schineller noted. "The proposed 2004 budget (and that passed by
Congress) incorporated little expenditure adjustment. Tight
fiscal execution, aligning spending authorization with revenue,
depends upon the political backing of the Minister of Finance
Mauricio Pozo by President Lucio Guti‚rrez, which is likely to be
complicated by the president's low popularity rating (15% of
those polled)," she said. Only recently, President Guti‚rrez
postponed better targeting of the subsidy for domestic cooking
gas, which would have reduced spending.

Advancement of fiscal measures to improve expenditure and revenue
flexibility, evidence of a tight execution of the 2004 budget,
prudent use of the FEIREP, and a coherent strategy to increase
oil production would support improved creditworthiness. "Under
this scenario, it is also likely that the program with IMF would
be back on track," said Ms. Schineller. "Conversely, if oil
prices fall or if the local market cannot fund the government's
deficit, then the ratings could come under downward pressure,"
she concluded.

ANALYST:  Lisa M Schineller
          New York
          Phone: (1) 212-438-7352



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

AIR JAMAICA: Forecasts Improvement in Operations This Year
----------------------------------------------------------
Jamaica's National airline, Air Jamaica, is projecting a 10%
improvement this year compared to last year as Jamaicans and
visitors travel to the island for the Christmas holidays,
RadioJamaica reports. While acknowledging that there have been
some delays in the arrival of baggage, the airline's president,
Christopher Zacca, said that the matter has largely been
resolved.

Air Jamaica is still battling with the effects of competition and
the September 11 terrorist attacks in the US. Recently, it asked
all of its pilots to take a 25% reduction in overall pay to cut
operational costs and secure financing from the Government.

But the airline, according to Zacca, is not at all worried that
the US-based Spirit Airlines is seeking to enter the Jamaican
market.



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

TFM: S&P Lowers Ratings to 'B', Outlook Negative
------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered its corporate credit
rating on TFM S.A. de C.V. (TFM) to 'B' from 'B+' and removed it
from CreditWatch. The outlook is negative. TFM's rail lines
connect with Mexico's most populated and industrialized regions
and its principal U.S. border gateway at Laredo. This is the
largest rail freight exchange point between Mexico and the U.S.,
where about 50% of all rail traffic between the two nations
crosses that border. In addition, TFM's rail system serves three
out of Mexico's four primary seaports at Veracruz and Tampico on
the Gulf of Mexico and Lazaro Cardenas on the Pacific Ocean.

The rating reflects TFM's position as the leading provider of
rail transportation service in Mexico, its exclusive access to
the Laredo gateway, and its potential switch to rail from truck.
These strengths are more than offset by deterioration in
operating margins, a financial policy driven by Grupo TMM S.A.,
the underperformance of the automotive industry (20% of TFM's
2002 total sales), and the deteriorated relationship between
owners. The negative outlook reflects TFM's limited liquidity and
concerns regarding the company refinancing risk. Moreover, in
Standard & Poor's view, the potential acquisition from Kansas
City Southern remains uncertain.

TFM's liquidity is limited. TFM's total short-term debt is $132
million, which includes $95 million in a commercial paper
program. This program is backed up by a two-year letter of
credit, which is due on September 2004. Therefore, TFM's
liquidity is tight to the company ability to renegotiate its PC
Program; otherwise, it will face financial problems. The
company's cash position as of Sept. 30, 2003, was US$8 million.

ANALYST:  Juan P Becerra
          Mexico City


UNEFON HOLDINGS: Created As Legal Entity After Spin-Off
-------------------------------------------------------
TV Azteca, S.A. de C.V. (NYSE:TZA) (BMV: TVAZTCA), one of the two
largest producers of Spanish- language television programming in
the world, announced Tuesday the creation of Unefon Holdings, a
controlling company that owns a 46.5% equity stake in Unefon
(BMV: UNEFONA) and a 50% stake in Cosmofrecuencias, a wireless
broadband Internet access provider, as a legal Mexican entity
(Sociedad Anonima) independent from TV Azteca.

TV Azteca board members were a key element in the separation
process. Starting early 2003 TV Azteca's Board unanimously
decided against investing additional resources in Unefon. In
June, the Board agreed that the settlement between Unefon and
Nortel should be the sole responsibility of Unefon, with that
company bearing the costs of the process. The Board took this
stance because TV Azteca's six-year plan for cash usage is a
financial priority for the company.

As previously announced, the cash plan entails cash distributions
to shareholders of over US$500 million and TV Azteca debt
reduction of approximately US$250 million by 2008. In October,
the Board approved the split off of TV Azteca's investment in
Unefon. The decision to separate all telecommunications assets
from TV Azteca was finally ratified by TV Azteca shareholders on
December 19.

As a consequence, TV Azteca has returned to a pure play media
company, and existing TV Azteca shareholders will decide on their
direct investment in the new telecommunications business. TV
Azteca shareholders will be given shares of the new company in
the same proportion of their TV Azteca ownership once Unefon
Holdings is publicly traded, which is expected to occur by the
second quarter of 2004.

Company Profile

TV Azteca is one of the two largest producers of Spanish-language
television programming in the world, operating two national
television networks in Mexico, Azteca 13 and Azteca 7, through
more than 300 owned and operated stations across the country. TV
Azteca affiliates include Azteca America Network, a new broadcast
television network focused on the rapidly growing US Hispanic
market; Unefon, a Mexican mobile telephony operator focused on
the mass market; and Todito.com, an Internet portal for North
American Spanish speakers.

CONTACT:  TV Azteca, S.A. de C.V.
          Investor Relations:
          Bruno Rangel
          Phone: +011-5255-3099-9167
          Email: jrangelk@tvazteca.com.mx

          Omar Avila
          Phone: +011-5255-3099-0041
          Email: oavila@tvazteca.com.mx

          Media Relations:
          Tristan Canales
          Phone: +011-5255-3099-5786
          Email: tcanales@tvazteca.com.mx

          Daniel McCosh
          Phone: +011-5255-3099-0059
          Email: dmccosh@tvazteca.com.mx

          Home page: http://www.tvazteca.com.mx/


UNEFON HOLDINGS: Seeks Independent Legal Counsel for Opinion
------------------------------------------------------------
Unefon Holdings, S.A. de C.V., a controlling company recently
split off from TV Azteca (NYSE:TZA) (BMV: TVAZTCA) and owner of a
46.5% equity stake in Unefon (BMV: UNEFONA) and a 50% stake in
Cosmofrecuencias, a wireless broadband Internet access provider,
announced Tuesday that a specialized independent legal counsel is
being selected to make recommendations regarding differences in
opinion concerning disclosures relating to Unefon, in accordance
with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

There is currently a disagreement regarding the facts and law
surrounding public filings. Although Mexican law does not require
disclosure of the above- mentioned issues, a special committee
comprised of the independent board members of the splitting
company plans to promptly initiate a detailed review of the
issues relating to certain transactions involving Unefon, with
the assistance of a special U.S. independent legal counsel. This
review process constitutes an "appropriate response" under the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

The transaction under review does not affect the financial
statements of Unefon, as detailed in reported financial results
for the third quarter of 2003, and is independent of the
operations and the reported results of other Grupo Salinas
companies. The company also noted the review process does not
affect the split-off procedure of Unefon from TV Azteca.

Company Profile

Unefon Holdings, S.A. de C.V. is a controlling company that owns
a 46.5% equity stake in Unefon -- a Mexican mobile telephony
operator focused on the mass market -- and a 50% equity stake in
Cosmofrecuencias -- wireless broadband Internet access provider.

CONTACT:  Unefon Holdings, S.A. de C.V.
          Hector Romero
          Mexico
          Phone: +011-5255-3099-0060
          Email: hromero@gruposalinas.com.mx



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

* Paraguay LT Local Currency Rating on CreditWatch Positive
-----------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services placed the Republic of
Paraguay's 'CCC' long-term local currency sovereign credit rating
on CreditWatch with positive implications, as the government is
about to conclude the restructuring of its US$138 million
domestically issued U.S. dollar bonds now in default. Paraguay's
current 'CCC' long-term local and 'SD' (Selective Default) long-
and short-term foreign currency sovereign credit ratings were
assigned on Feb. 13, 2003, when the government failed to honor a
put option exercised by some holders of the defaulted government
bonds.

According to Standard & Poor's Credit Analyst Sebastian Briozzo,
President Nicanor Duarte Frutos, who took office on Aug. 15,
2003, has advanced the restructuring of domestic debt, engineered
passage of a social security reform, and plans to reform the
administration and tax system. "Standard & Poor's expects the
foreign currency default to be cured by mid-January 2004, once
all the legal procedures accompanying the restructuring are
implemented," Mr. Briozzo said. "New local and foreign currency
ratings, which will represent Standard & Poor's post-default
assessment of Paraguay's creditworthiness, will be assigned at
that time," he concluded.

ANALYST:  Sebastian Briozzo
          New York
          Phone: 212-438-7342

          Lisa M Schineller
          New York
          Phone: (1) 212-438-7352




               ***********


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
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Maryland USA. John D. Resnick, Edem Psamathe P. Alfeche and Oona
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Copyright 2003.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

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