TCRLA_Public/040224.mbx          T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

          Tuesday, February 24, 2004, Vol. 5, Issue 38



AGINEL: Court Requires Receiver To File General Report Today
AT&T LATIN AMERICA: Telmex Purchase Still Not Finished
AUTOPISTAS DEL SOL: Closes Period To Appeal APE
BANCO DE GALICIA: Extends Debt Restructuring Offer to March 17
BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Ends 2003 With Net Income of ARS255.2 Mln

CALPO: General Report Due at Court Today
CARPINTERIA FERNANDEZ: Receiver Closes Creditor Claims Review
CENTRAL PUERTO: Local Fitch Confirms Category 3 Rating On Shares
DECOR ALIMENTICIA: Today Marks General Report Filing Deadline
ELECTRONEON: Individual Reports Due at Court Today

ENVIO EXPRESS: Receiver Closes Credit Review in Bankruptcy
FIGORIFICO CAFAYATE: Receiver Prepares Individual Reports
GRANFI INGENIERIA: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
GRUPO AUT: Credit Verification Period Expires Today
GRUPO PUBLICATARIO: Last Day for Credit Verifications Today

GUBBIO: Bankruptcy Commences by Court Order
HENNING: Creditor Claims Review Winds Up Today
JORDAPP: Bankruptcy Process Official on Court Ruling
MADERGO: Claims Authentication Ends Today
MORESCO HERMANOS: Individual Reports Filing Deadline Today

MULTICANAL: Suffers Setback in Restructuring Debts
NAYCA: Receiver Wraps Up Claims Verifications Today
NOVOTRIAL: Court Approves Creditor's Petition for Bankruptcy
PLAZA AUSTRIA: Receiver Prepares Bankruptcy Individual Reports
RECICLADOS ECOLOGICOS: Receiver to Prepare Individual Reports

ROBLES CATEDRAL: Files Preventative Reorganization Motion
TRANSIMPORTEX: Credit Review Ends Today
TZB: Creditor Claims Review in Bankruptcy Ends Today


AMETEX: Faces Burgeoning Losses


BRASKEM: Issues 2003 Management Report
GLOBOPAR: Responds to US Court's Ruling on Proposed Bankruptcy


PARMALAT CHILE: Arla Foods Withdraws Planned Bid


TELECOM: Settles Conflict With Ericson

E L   S A L V A D O R



DESC: Fitch Assigns Watch Positive to Credit Ratings
DIOSYNTH: Restructures Chemical Synthesis Operations
GRUPO MEXICO: Rising Metals Prices Improve 4Q03 Sales


COPACO: To Make $24M Debt Payment to Operators by Year-end


BNL URUGUAY: Moody's Withdraws Ratings
* IMF Completes 4th Review of Uruguay's Stand-By Arrangement


CANTV: Board of Directors Proposes Dividend Payment

     - - - - - - - - - -


AGINEL: Court Requires Receiver To File General Report Today
The general report for the reorganization of Argentine company
Aginel S.R.L. is expected to be filed at court today. The
Company's receiver, Mr. Antonio Elias Am, was required to prepare
the report after the individual reports were processed. The
reorganization will then proceed with the informational meeting
to be held on August 12 next year.

The Company entered bankruptcy after Civil and Commercial
Tribunal of Las Flores in Cordoba approved the Company's motion
for "Concurso Preventivo", the Troubled Company Reporter - Latin
America reported earlier.

CONTACT:  Aginel S.R.L.
          Napoles 3110 Las Flores

          Antonio Elias Am
          Avenida Velez Sarsfield 468

AT&T LATIN AMERICA: Telmex Purchase Still Not Finished
Mexico's largest telecommunications company, Telmex, is yet to
wrap up the acquisition of AT&T Latin America pending the
authorization of one of the five countries where the latter
exists, according to an El Universal report.

However, Elias Ayub, director of strategic alliances,
communication and new technologies at Telmex, said that the
Mexican company is expected to finalize the purchase over the
next few days.

The director added that it was certain that Telmex would impose
its brand on businesses located throughout Latin America,
although it has not made a final decision on how to do so. The
license to use the name "AT&T Latinoamerica" will expire as soon
as the purchase is finalized.

Telmex presented the highest bid for ATTL's assets in a court-
sponsored auction on October 23 last year. The Mexican company
beat out Brazil's Embratel and Argentina's Impsat with an offer
to pay US$171 million in cash and assume US$36 million in debt
for ATTL's assets.

Telmex provides local service, public telephony, domestic and
international long-distance, data transmission, Internet access
and directory services. It is indirectly controlled by Carlos
Slim and his family via its control of Carso Global Telecom,
which owns 72.5% of the controlling shares of Telmex.

AUTOPISTAS DEL SOL: Closes Period To Appeal APE
Argentine toll concessionaire Autopistas del Sol SA, or Ausol,
has successfully closed the period to appeal its out-of-court
agreement (APE), with holders of over 95% of its US$490 million
debt accepting its refinancing offer. Now final court approval
should be given within 60 days.

Guillermo Diaz, administrative director of Ausol, pointed out
that only one bondholder objected the APE. The APE included
Ausol's US$170 million 9.35% series A senior notes due 2004,
US$210 million 10.25% senior B notes due 2009, and other
unsecured financial indebtedness.

The Company offered to exchange these debts for new par 10-year
notes with a step-up interest rate and a 5-year grace period or
new fixed-rate notes with maturity in 5 years and a 40% haircut.
The second alternative also includes a 30% stake in Ausols
capital stock.

In addition, Ausol will purchase US$8.1 million in debt for cash
at a price of US$380 per US$1,000 principal amount of debt,
spending around US$3 million.

Autopistas del Sol is a consortium composed by Spains Aurea
(45.15%), Italys Impregilo Iglys (18.35%), Dycasa -a unit of
Spanish group Dragados- (6.5%) and Citibank (30%).

BANCO DE GALICIA: Extends Debt Restructuring Offer to March 17
Argentina's largest private bank, Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires
SA, extended its offer to restructure about US$1.37 billion in
total debt, the bank announced Thursday. In a statement to the
local stock exchange, Banco Galicia said it has set a new
deadline of March 17 for creditors to agree to the proposal. When
the bank launched its offer on December 23, it said it hoped to
get 95% creditor approval by the original expiry date of February
18. As of that date, the bank said Thursday, creditors holding
US$261.6 million of eligible obligations - about 19.2% of the
total debt burden - had approved the offer. Banco Galicia is the
main banking unit of financial services holding company Grupo
Financiero Galicia SA.

However, the US$261.6 million figure reflects agreement just from
holders of non-bank debt, which totals US$350 million. Legal
documentation for the restructuring of another US$1.016 billion
in bank debt hasn't been completed, so those creditors haven't
been able to participate in the offer yet, the bank said. Thus,
it is extending the deadline to give its entire universe of
creditors the opportunity to agree to the proposal.

The paperwork for the bank debt should be completed before the
new March 17 deadline, Banco Galicia said. When the Company first
released its proposal in December, it had said the bank debt
paperwork should be completed before the original deadline. Banco
Galicia didn't explain the reasons for the delay. But it has
received non-official commitments from holders of bank debt
representing US$692.2 million, "indicating the intention of those
creditors in participating in the restructuring as it has been
proposed," the Thursday statement said.

If the entire US$692.2 million is added to the existing US$261.6
million that has already signed on to the offer, Banco Galicia
would have US$953.8 million worth of willing creditors. That
would represent 69.8% agreement, putting the bank closer to its
95% goal.

The bank is also asking creditors to give consent for the
subscription of an out-of-court restructuring, known in Spanish
as an APE. With this mechanism, the bank would only need two-
thirds agreement before submitting the offer for legal approval
and the proposal would become mandatory to all creditors.
Nevertheless, there is a legal debate on whether a bank, which is
ruled by the Financial Institutions Law, could resort to the APE,
a mechanism that is contemplated in the Bankruptcy Law.

Under Banco Galicia's offer, creditors can swap their holdings
for combinations of cash, preferred shares from holding company
Grupo Galicia, new dollar-denominated notes coming due in 2010,
2014, and 2019; or local government "Boden" bonds that come due
in 2012.

CONTACT:  Banco de Galicia Y Buenos Aires
          Tte Gral Juan D Peron 407
          Buenos Aires
          Phone: +54 11 6329 0000
          Fax: +54 11 6329 6100
          Home Page:
          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:
          Atty. Abel Ayerza, Chairman

BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Ends 2003 With Net Income of ARS255.2 Mln
Banco Hipotecario (BHIP.BA), Argentina's largest mortgage bank,
registered a ARS255.2-million net income for full-year 2003, the
Company, in a filing with the local stock exchange, said without
providing comparative results for past years.

As of Dec. 31, 2003, the Company's net assets stood at ARS1.68

Banco Hipotecario's proposal to restructure about US$971 million
in bonds was met with a 94% acceptance rate from creditors, with
an additional 100% agreement from holders of US$302.4 million in
bank debts.

Argentina's government owns 44% of Banco Hipotecario. The rest is
held by real estate developer Inversiones y Representaciones SA.

CALPO: General Report Due at Court Today
The general report on the bankruptcy of Buenos Aires-based Calpo
S.A. is due for filing at the city's Court No. 19 today. The
Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America earlier said that Mr.
Juan Carlos Caro, the Company's receiver, prepared the report
after the individual reports containing the verification results,
were processed at court.

Buenos Aires Court No. 19 issued the bankruptcy order. Clerk No.
38 assists the court on this case, which will end with the
liquidation of the Company's assets.

CONTACT:  Calpo S.A.
          Moliere 1366
          Buenos Aires

          Juan Carlos Caro
          San Martin 793
          Buenos Aires

CARPINTERIA FERNANDEZ: Receiver Closes Creditor Claims Review
Ms. Susana Graciela Roiter, receiver for Carpinteria Fernandez
S.R.L. closes the credit verification process for the Company's
bankruptcy today. On orders from Buenos Aires Court No. 20, the
receiver will prepare the individual reports on the verification

The receiver must file the individual reports on April 12,
followed by the general report on May 24, said the Troubled
Company Reporter - Latin America in an earlier report. The
receiver will prepare the general report after the individual
reports are processed at court.

Clerk No. 40 assists the court on the case.

CONTACT:  Susana Graciela Roiter
          Marcelo T de Alvear 1430
          Buenos Aires

CENTRAL PUERTO: Local Fitch Confirms Category 3 Rating On Shares
The Argentine arm of credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings
confirmed its Category 3 rating on shares in local thermo
generator Central Puerto, reports Business News Americas.

In a statement, Fitch explained that the rating reflects Central
Puerto's low cash generation capacity and the shares' high

Central Puerto suspended all capital and interest payments on its
due debt in February 2002 in order to safeguard its operations
and working capital and began a process of renegotiating its
debt. France's Total owns 63.9% of Central Puerto, which together
with subsidiaries has 2,165MW installed capacity.

DECOR ALIMENTICIA: Today Marks General Report Filing Deadline
The general report on the bankruptcy of Decor Alimenticia S.R.L.
is due for filing at the court today, according to an earlier
report by the Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America. The
Company's receiver, Mr. Oscar Luis Serventich, prepared the
report after the individual reports containing the credit
verification results, were processed at court.

CONTACT:  Oscar Luis Serventich
          Piedras 1319
          Buenos Aires

ELECTRONEON: Individual Reports Due at Court Today
The individual reports for the bankruptcy of Argentine company
Electroneon S.R.L. are due at the court today. The Company's
receiver, Mr. Nicolas Degese prepared the reports after the
credit verification process was completed late last year.

After the individual reports are processed at court, the receiver
will summarize the results into a single general report to be
filed on April 6, 2004.

The Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America said in an earlier
report that Buenos Aires' Court No. 12 issued the bankruptcy
order. Clerk No. 24 assists the court.

CONTACT:  Mario Nicolas Degese
          Bouchard 468
          Buenos Aires

ENVIO EXPRESS: Receiver Closes Credit Review in Bankruptcy
Ms. Susana Ines Santorsola closes the credit verification process
for the bankruptcy of Argentine company Envio Express S.R.L.
today. The Company's creditors must have their claims
authenticated by the receiver in order to qualify for payments to
be made after the Company's assets are liquidated.

The individual reports, which contain the verification results,
must be submitted to the court on April 6 next year, followed by
the general report on May 18. The general report is prepared
after the individual reports are processed at the court.

Buenos Aires Court No. 12 handles the Company's case, according
to an earlier report by the Troubled Company Reporter - Latin
America. Clerk No. 23 works with the court.

CONTACT:  Susana Ines Santorsola
          Marcelo T de Alvear 1364
          Buenos Aires

FIGORIFICO CAFAYATE: Receiver Prepares Individual Reports
Argentine accountant Jacobo Alfredo Shalum will prepare the
individual reports for the bankruptcy of local company
Frigorifico Cafayate S.R.L., as the credit verification process
is scheduled to end today. Verifications were done to study the
nature and amount of the Company's debts.

Buenos Aires Court No. 20 requires the receiver to file the
individual reports on April 7. The general report, which the
receiver must prepare after the individual reports are processed
at court, is due for filing on May 21, said the Troubled Company
Reporter - Latin America in an earlier report.

The Company's assets will be liquidated at the end of the process
to reimburse creditors. Payments will be based on the result of
the verification process.

CONTACT:  Jacobo Alfredo Shalum
          Lavalle 1672
          Buenos Aires

GRANFI INGENIERIA: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
Buenos Aires Court No. 6 declared local company Granfi Ingenieria
S.R.L. "Quiebra", according to a report by Argentine news source
Infobae. Clerk No. 12 assists the court on the case, which will
close with the liquidation of the Company's assets to repay

The Company's receiver, Mr. Jorge Serrano, will examine and
authenticate creditos' claims until April 21. The individual
reports on the verification results must be submitted to the
court on June 3. The general report, to be prepared after the
individual reports are processed at court, is due for filing on
July 15.

CONTACT:  Jorge Serrano
          Uruguay 662
          Buenos Aires

GRUPO AUT: Credit Verification Period Expires Today
Creditors of Argentine company Grupo Aut S.R.L. must have their
claims authenticated by the Company's receiver as the deadline
for credit verifications expires today. The receiver, Ms. Maria
Mercante, will prepare the individual reports.

The Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America said in an earlier
report that Judge Taillade of Buenos Aires Court No. 20 approved
a bankruptcy petition filed by the Company's credit for
nonpayment of debt. Clerk No. 40, Dr. Perillo assists the court.

CONTACT:  Grupo Aut S.R.L.
          6th Floor, Office B
          San Martin 575
          Buenos Aires

          Maria Mercante
          1st Floor, Office 212
          Uruguay 772
          Buenos Aires

GRUPO PUBLICATARIO: Last Day for Credit Verifications Today
The claims authentication process for the bankruptcy of Buenos
Aires company Grupo Publicatario Urbano S.A. ends today,
according to an earlier report by the Troubled Company Reporter -
Latin America. Creditors must present their claims to the
Company's receiver, Mr. Luis Krajil to qualify for payments to be
made after the Company's assets are liquidated.

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

GUBBIO: Bankruptcy Commences by Court Order
Gubbio S.A., which is based in Buenos Aires, enters bankruptcy on
orders from the City's Court No. 7. Clerk No. 14 assists the
court on the case reports Infobae without indicating further
details on the matter.

CONTACT:  Gubbio S.A.
          Florida 537
          Buenos Aires

HENNING: Creditor Claims Review Winds Up Today
The credit verification period for the bankruptcy of Argentine
company Henning S.A. ends today. The Company's receiver, Mr.
Eduardo Cosoli, who verified creditors' claims, will now prepare
the individual reports.

The Company began its reorganization after Judge Ballerini of
Buenos Aires Court No. 24 approved its petition for "Concurso
Preventivo". Clerk No. 47, Dr. Medina, assists the court on the

CONTACT:  Henning S.A.
          Cerrito 512
          Buenos Aires

          Eduardo Cosoli
          1st Floor, Office H
          Lavalle 1948
          Buenos Aires

JORDAPP: Bankruptcy Process Official on Court Ruling
Termotes S.A. successfully sought for the bankruptcy of its
debtor, Jordapp S.R.L., Argentine daily La Nacion relates.
Termotes' petition to declare Jordapp bankrupt for failure to
repay its debts received approval from Buenos Aires Court No. 24
under judge Ballerini. Clerk No. 47, Dr. Medina assists the court
on the case.

The credit verification process runs until April 19. Creditors
must have their claims authenticated by the receiver, Mr. Jorge
Byrne before the said date in order to qualify for payments to be
made after the Company's assets are liquidated.

CONTACT:  Jordapp S.R.L.
          Esteban Bonorino 1366
          Buenos Aires

          Jorge Byrne
          Venezuela 2358
          Buenos Aires

MADERGO: Claims Authentication Ends Today
The credit verification period for the bankruptcy of Madergo
S.R.L. ends today. On orders from Buenos Aires Court No. 12, Mr.
Jose Teodoro Gonzalez, will prepare the individual reports on the
verification results. These reports are due at the court on April

The receiver will also prepare a general report, which must be
filed at the court on May 18, after the individual reports are
processed at court said the Troubled Company Reporter - Latin
America in an earlier report. The general report is a summary of
the information in the individual reports.

The Company's assets will be liquidated at the end of the
bankruptcy process to repay its creditors. Payments will be based
on the results of the credit verifications.

CONTACT:  Madergo S.R.L.
          Las Palmas 2887
          Buenos Aires

          Jose Teodoro Gonzalez
          Ave Cordoba 2444
          Buenos Aires

MORESCO HERMANOS: Individual Reports Filing Deadline Today
Court No. 1 of the Civil and Commercial Tribunal of Quilmes
requires the receiver for local company Moresco Hermanos S.R.L.
to file the individual reports today. These reports contain
results of the credit verification process done to determine the
nature and amount of the Company's debts.

The Company's receiver, Ms. Patricia Monica Narducci, will also
prepare a general report after the individual reports are
processed at court. This report must be submitted to the court on
April 7, 2004, said the Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America
in an earlier report. The Company's assets may be liquidated
shortly afterwards. Proceeds would go towards reimbursement of
creditors, based on the results of the verification process.

CONTACT:  Moresco Hermanos S.R.L.
          Storni 30
          Florencio Varela

          Patricia Monica Narducci
          Lavalle 328

MULTICANAL: Suffers Setback in Restructuring Debts
Argentine cable TV firm Multicanal is struggling to restructure
its overdue debt. A creditor holding around 30% of its debt and
other six groups have submitted objections to its out-of-court
agreement, or APE, before a local court.

Multicanal was already engaged in a legal battle with this
bondholder in the US regarding jurisdictions and rights of

This creditor is Argentinean Recovery Company LLC (ARC) and holds
US$157 million, or 31%, of Multicanal's US$500-million debt. ARC
is composed of US-based private equity funds, pension funds and
individual bondholders. W.R. Huff is the group's financial
advisor and is at the same time one of Multicanal's most
important creditors.

Under Argentine bankruptcy laws, a company that wishes to
subscribe an out-of-court agreement, or APE, needs two-third
creditor approval. Then it can submit the APE for court approval,
which makes it mandatory to all creditors, including those who
hadn't agreed to the offer.

Oscar Urizar, a lawyer who works for Bingham Mc Cutchen in
Connecticut, pointed out Multicanal's APE in Argentina violates
the right of creditors in the US. When the Company sold its notes
to investors in the US, it agreed to solve any dispute on
obligations in US courts, ARC complains. In December, the same
month in which Multicanal's creditors approved the APE in
Argentina, ARC filed a lawsuit in a New York court demanding the
recognition of its rights without taking the APE into account.

On January 16, Multicanal filed a petition before a US bankruptcy
court in an attempt to block this lawsuit. This kind of petition
is contemplated in the 304 section of the US bankruptcy court and
enables foreign debtors to request the suspension of actions
against their companies or assets in the US.

Multicanal would also have objected ARC's jurisdiction claim and
refused to the treatment of this dispute in US courts. ARC and
other two bondholders responded January 28 with an involuntary
bankruptcy filing against Multicanal.

The Company said in a filing to the Buenos Aires stock exchange
earlier this month that the bankruptcy filing would not affect
the development of the APE in Argentina.

Under the rules of an APE, creditors can make objections if they
believe the Company has misinformed assets and liabilities, or if
the majorities have been wrongly calculated.

ARC has raised doubts about how Multicanal counted the votes for
its debt-restructuring offer. A local court's interpretation of
the bankruptcy law in September 2003 enabled Multicanal to count
the two-third creditor approval taking into account creditors
that attended a meeting in Argentina instead of creditors holding
two-thirds of the total debt.

NAYCA: Receiver Wraps Up Claims Verifications Today
Mr. Hugo Daniel Pantaleo, receiver for Nayca S.R.L., closes the
creditor claims authentication process for the Company's
bankruptcy today. The receiver will prepare the individual
reports, which are due at the court on April 6.

The receiver will also prepare a general report after the
individual reports are processed at court. This report, a
consolidation of the information in the individual reports, must
be submitted on April 6.

Buenos Aires Court No. 12 handles the Company's case with
assistance from Clerk No. 23, the Troubled Company Reporter -
Latin America said in an earlier report.

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

          Hugo Daniel Pantaleo
          Ave Corrientes 1450
          Buenos Aires

NOVOTRIAL: Court Approves Creditor's Petition for Bankruptcy
Novotrial S.A. enters bankruptcy on orders from Buenos Aires
Court No. 24. The ruling comes in approval of a petition filed by
the Company's creditor for nonpayment of debt. Insolvency Judge
Ballerini assigned local accountant Jorge Byrne as the Company's
receiver. He is required to authenticate creditors' claims and
prepare the individual and general reports.

The credit verification period is set to end on April 13 this
year. Buenos Aires Clerk No. 47, Dr. Medina, assists the court on
the case, according to a report by local newspaper La Nacion.

CONTACT:  Novotrial S.A.
          Ave Roque Saenz Pena 710
          Buenos Aires

          Jorge Byrne
          Venezuela 2358
          Buenos Aires

PLAZA AUSTRIA: Receiver Prepares Bankruptcy Individual Reports
Ms. Haydee Kravetz, receiver for Argentine company Plaza Austria
S.A., closes the credit verification process for the Company's
reorganization today. She will now prepare the individual reports
on the verification results.

According to an earlier report by the Troubled Company Reporter -
Latin America, Judge Ballerini of Buenos Aires Court No. 24
approved the Company's motion for "Concurso Preventivo". Clerk
No. 48, Dr. Diaz, assists the court on the case.

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

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

RECICLADOS ECOLOGICOS: Receiver to Prepare Individual Reports
The reorganization of Reciclados Ecologicos S.R.L. proceeds with
its receiver, Mr. Norberto Jose Perrone preparing the individual
reports. The credit verification period is due to expire today.

According to an earlier report by the Troubled Company Reporter -
Latin America, Buenos Aires Court No. 5 requires the receiver to
file the individual reports on April 7. The general report should
follow on May 21.

The informative assembly will be held on November 17 next year,
as ordered by the court. This signals the conclusion of the
reorganization process.

CONTACT:  Reciclados Ecologicos S.R.L.
          Parana 26
          Buenos Aires

          Norberto Jose Perrone
          Constitucion 2894
          Buenos Aires

ROBLES CATEDRAL: Files Preventative Reorganization Motion
Buenos Aires-based Robles Catedral S.A. seeks court permission to
undergo reorganization. Insolvency judge Uzal of the city's Court
No. 26 and Clerk No. 52, Dr. Moron handle the Company's case.

Argentine newspaper La Nacion indicates that the Company stopped
making debt payments in May last year. The source, however, did
not mention whether the "Concurso Preventivo" motion is likely to
be approved.

CONTACT:  Robles Catedral S.A.
          Bartolome Mitre 1943
          Buenos Aires

TRANSIMPORTEX: Credit Review Ends Today
Mr. Donato Antonio Sakurno, the court-appointed receiver for the
bankruptcy of Buenos Aires-based Transimportex S.R.L., closes the
credit verification process today. On orders from the city's
Court No. 13, the receiver will prepare the individual reports on
the verification results.

Judge Villar and Clerk No. 26, Dr. Cardama, handle the Company's
case, said the Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America in an
earlier report.

CONTACT:  Transimportex S.R.L.
          4th Floor, Office 3
          Peru 727
          Buenos Aires

          Donato Antonio Sakurno
          2nd Floor, Office 36
          Bernardo de Irigoyen 330
          Buenos Aires

TZB: Creditor Claims Review in Bankruptcy Ends Today
Today is the last day for credit verifications regarding the
bankruptcy of Argentine company TZB S.A., according to an earlier
report by the Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America. The
Company's creditors must have their claims authenticated by the
receiver, Mr. Oscar Alberto Vertzman, in order to qualify for
payments to be made after the Company's assets are liquidated.

The receiver will prepare the individual reports on the
verification results. These reports are due at the court on April
7. The general report must be filed on May 21. Buenos Aires Court
No. 16 and Clerk No. 32 handle the Company's case.

          Gallo 1192
          Buenos Aires

          Oscar Alberto Vertzman
          Bartolome Mitre 3120
          Buenos Aires


AMETEX: Faces Burgeoning Losses
Bolivia's largest apparel exporter to the US, Ametex, piled up
losses of US$16 million since 2001 and is in default of two
settlements of US$100,000 and US$350,000 due early February.
The Company, according to La Razon, attributed its spiraling
debts to the political problems that hit Bolivia last year.

Ametex is currently negotiating with creditors and is planning to
swap CEDEIM exports certificates for cash in order to improve its
liquidity. Nevertheless, its rating has been downgraded by Fitch
from BB to B.


BRASKEM: Issues 2003 Management Report
The Management of Braskem S/A ("Braskem") presents its Management
Report and corresponding Financial Statements together with the
opinions of the Independent Auditors and its Fiscal Committee for
the fiscal year ended December 31, 2003. In view of the fact that
Braskem was created on August 16, 2002, and seeking to permit a
better comparison between the results of the 2003 fiscal year and
2002, the comments presented herein refer to the pro-forma
consolidated results of the latter. The attached financial
statements reflect the current ownership structure of Braskem S/A
("Braskem") for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2003.

The pro-forma consolidated results take into account the
following adjustments:

(i) the elimination of the effects of CVM 247, consolidating only
investments made under Braskem's management, and recognizing the
ownership stakes in Politeno S/A and Copesul S/A through the
equity line of the income statement;

(ii) the full consolidation by Braskem of the earnings of OPP
Quimica S/A (OPP Quimica), Trikem S/A (Trikem), Nitrocarbono S/A
(Nitrocarbono) and Polialden Petroquimica S/A (Polialden) as if
the ownership structure in effect on December 31, 2003 had
existed since the beginning of the 2002 fiscal year. The bases
for the balance sheet and the proforma consolidated results were
the financial statements examined and reviewed by independent

1. Management Report

Braskem was one of the highlights of the capital markets in 2003.
On the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange (BOVESPA), its class "A"
preferred shares increased in value by 508%, while on the New
York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the Company's ADRs rose 609%. Since
October 8, 2003, Braskem's shares have been listed on the LATIBEX
(the Madrid Stock Exchange's section dedicated to the trading of
shares of Latin American companies).

The Company's performance in the capital markets is a result of
the ability of its business model to create value - a
petrochemical company with (1) a strategic focus on the
production of thermoplastic resins, (2) competitive integration
of its strategic raw materials (ethylene, propylene and
chlorine), complemented by (3) a competitive cost structure, (4)
higher margins than within the petrochemical sector in general
and (5) a commitment to technological development. In addition,
the Company is strongly committed to disciplined financial
management in allocating financial resources and to achieving
returns on invested capital.

Braskem's EBITDA (Earnings Before Income, Taxes, Depreciation and
Amortization) rose consistently during the course of the year. At
the end of 2003, Braskem's accumulated EBITDA was R$1.8 billion,
which represented (disregarding net extraordinary positive
impacts) an increase of 33% over 2002. This increase in the
Company's EBITDA level is an indicator of its cash generation
capacity. Net profit presented an even more important
progression, totaling R$215 million in 2003, compared to a loss
of R$794 million in 2002. Braskem overcame a very challenging
scenario in 2003.

Uncertainties arising from the Iraq War and strikes in Nigeria,
combined with a very tough winter in the northern hemisphere,
resulted in a substantial rise in the cost of our main raw
material - Naphtha. Moreover, the SARS epidemic adversely
impacted economic activity, mainly in Asia, which resulted in a
reduction in demand for major petrochemical products
internationally. In Brazil, the slowdown of the economy,
especially during the first half of 2003, also impacted the
consumption of thermoplastic resins. The main signs of recovery
were only perceived beginning in October 2003.

Despite this scenario, the maintenance of high capacity
utilization rates at Braskem's manufacturing units is an
indication of the Company's differentiated performance. The
average capacity utilization rate throughout the year was around
95% in its polypropylene plants, 85% in its PVC plants and 83% in
its polyethylene plants. As a result, the Company has confirmed
its leadership in the segments it considers strategic, observing
its policy of focusing on the profitability of its products.

In a display of its operational and strategic flexibility,
Braskem redirected efforts towards increasing its exports,
contributing to the Brazilian foreign exchange inflows. Export
revenues rose by 49%, jumping from US$415 million during 2002 to
US$617 million in 2003 and placing Braskem amongst the major
exporting companies in the country. The increase in exports also
provided additional working capital financing opportunities, in
line with the Company's strategic objective of enhancing its
financial flexibility. The main priority of Braskem's financial
management during 2003 was to reduce the Company's level of
indebtedness and to extend its debt profile -- as well as to
increase its balance of cash and financial investments. The
Company's debt issuances in the domestic and international
capital markets and other funding obtained during the 2003 fiscal
year and in January 2004 totaled more than US$1.2 billion,
resulting in a reprofiling of Braskem's consolidated debt
obligations and an increase in its liquidity.

As a result of its commitment to utilize its strong cash
generation to amortize the Company's indebtedness, Braskem
reduced its Net Debt/EBITDA ratio from 5.10 in December 2002 (on
a recurring basis) to 3.52 at the end of 2003. On December 31,
2003, the Company's net debt was R$6.3 billion, compared to R$6.8
billion at the closing of 2002.

In 2003, Braskem made investments totaling R$176 million not only
to improve the operating reliability of its manufacturing
facilities but also to begin the expansion of its production
capacity. Construction began to increase polypropylene production
capacity at the Triunfo Petrochemical Complex, in the State of
Rio Grande do Sul, by 100,000 tons/year through an investment of
only US$7 million.

Studies were also conducted to expand PVC capacity in Alagoas by
50,000 tons/year, through an investment of US$28 million approved
in December 2003. In parallel, other studies were undertaken to
identify new debottlenecking opportunities for the polyethylene
plants. Furthermore, expansion of the Basic Petrochemicals Unit
in Camacari, in the State of Bahia, was concluded, increasing its
ethylene capacity to 1.28 million tons/year.

In the area of Innovation and Technology, which represents an
important competitive factor for Braskem, significant investments
were also implemented, with a major portion earmarked for the
introduction to the Latin American market of a new thermoplastic
resin: a new polyethylene family, based upon metalocene and
designed for high quality applications. The Braskem Technology
and Innovation Center -- the most important petrochemical
research facility in Latin America, with more than 150
researchers, located in Triunfo, also had other achievements
during the year. Thanks to its highly qualified team, Braskem
registered its 100th patent in 2003, while assisting its
customers by completing more than 1,000 technological tests and
contributing to add value to the industrial chain of production.

Braskem also recorded advances in capturing synergies stemming
from its integration process. At the end of 2003, the Company's
management estimated that the accumulated amount of synergies on
an annual and recurring basis had reached R$285 million, from an
estimated total of R$330 million. Braskem's success in capturing
these synergies is evidence of the efficiency of its business
model based upon the competitive integration of its operations
into the Brazilian petrochemical chain and on creating value for
all of its shareholders.

Important steps of this integration process were successfully
implemented in 2003. All were implemented in accordance with the
Company's commitment to ensure the alignment of all shareholders'
interests, offering minority shareholders the opportunity to
migrate to Braskem. Moreover, in the beginning of 2003, the
Company adhered to the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange's Corporate
Governance Level I and confirmed its commitment to migrate to
Level II by the end of 2004.

In an effort to create a platform to permit enhanced access the
European capital markets, on October 8, 2003 -- exactly one year
after changing the ticker symbol of the Company's ADRs traded on
the NYSE -- Braskem's shares also began trading on the Madrid
Stock Exchange -- more specifically, at the LATIBEX section.

In addition, in a move designed to increase its base of
individual shareholders, Braskem quickly and successfully
implemented a split of its shares on the BOVESPA. As a result,
the liquidity of its class "A" preferred shares increased
substantially along with a significant improvement in its ranking
on the IBOVESPA and IBX 50 indices, respectively.

Parallel to its operating performance, the Company also improved
its Quality, Health, Safety and Environmental (QHSE) indicators.
Thus, Braskem's results in 2003 were evidence of the Company's
commitment to sustainable growth, with the rational use of
natural resources and the reduction of the environmental impact
of its operating activities.

Braskem believes that human well-being is one of the imperatives
of a business and it is committed to the development of the
skills of its employees. In 2003, the Company earmarked nearly R$
3.5 million for training programs: among these, of particular
note were the "Braskem MBA" and the "Managerial Development
Program", both created and implemented last year - together with
the Getulio Vargas Foundation in Sao Paulo (FGV-SP).

The commitment to human well-being equally extends to the
communities in which Braskem participates, where the Company runs
environmental education, social inclusion and cultural programs.
In 2003, one highlight was the launch of a previously unpublished
book by Brazilian author Jorge Amado, "Letter to a Reader about
Novels and Characters," in partnership with the Jorge Amado

2. Braskem S.A.'s integration process

Created on August 16, 2002, Braskem S.A, -- a world-class
Brazilian petrochemical company and the largest company in the
thermoplastic resins sector in Latin America -- is the first
Brazilian company to integrate the manufacturing of first and
second generation petrochemical products. Braskem was the result
of a corporate restructuring project, designed to align the
interests of all of its shareholders and represents an important
step towards the restructuring of the Brazilian petrochemical

In 2003, proceeding with the ownership restructuring process,
Braskem S.A. incorporated its subsidiaries Nitrocarbono S.A., OPP
Quimica S.A. and Econ“mico S.A. Empreendimentos ("ESAE").

Also in 2003, in July, Braskem announced an increase in its
stakes in its affiliated companies, Trikem and Polialden, after
negotiations with Nissho Iwai Corporation and Mitsubishi Chemical
Corporation, owners of common shares of these two companies. As a
result of these transactions, Braskem raised its ownership stake
in Polialden from 66.7% to 100% and in Trikem from 69.4% to
92.9%. Nissho Iwai became a shareholder in Braskem S.A., with
4.2% of its common shares and 1.6% of its total capital.

Furthermore, during the year Braskem initiated the Trikem merger
process and took an important step in integrating it into the
Company's ownership structure. On December 4, the Company
successfully concluded a public offering for the exchange of
outstanding Trikem common shares with Braskem's shares.

Extraordinary Shareholders' Meetings of the two companies
unanimously approved Trikem's merger into Braskem on January 15,
2004. With the approval of the proposal, the Company now is
offering access to all of the benefits provided through the
operation to all of the holders of Trikem shares who migrate to
Braskem, as well as the statutory right of joint sale of shares
under equal conditions afforded the controlling shareholders in
the event of a change of Braskem's ownership - that is, 100% tag-
along rights.

In addition, the simplification of Braskem's corporate structure
will allow, among other things, greater understanding on the part
of the market and investors regarding the Company's performance

3. Operating Performance

3.1 Industrial Performance

The production of the Polyolefins Unit rose 5% compared to 2002,
mainly due to an increase in the volume of exports in 2003 since
the slowdown of the domestic market continued for most of the
year. Capacity utilization rates were quite high, reaching 95%
for the polypropylene units and 83% in the polyethylene plants.
Once again, Braskem demonstrated its focus on technological
innovation, initiating the production of Linear Low Density
Polyethylene (LLDPE) from metalocene-type catalyzers, making it
the first Latin American petrochemical manufacturer to produce
polymers through this technology. The use of metalocene
catalyzers is the most modern international process for producing
polyethylene. Its implementation by Braskem represents an
important advance for the flexible packaging industry in Brazil.

The technology permits the manufacturing of products with
distinctive characteristics, such as greater resistance to impact
and punctures, a higher polish and greater transparency. Braskem
also initiated the de-bottlenecking of one of its polypropylene
plants located in the Triunfo Petrochemical Complex, in Rio
Grande do Sul, which will permit an annual capacity increase of
100,000 tons. With the conclusion of the project, scheduled for
the first half of 2004, the Company will have the capacity for
the annual production of 650,000 tons of this resin. The
scheduled investment is approximately US$7 million.

In the Vinyls Unit the capacity utilization  rate of the PVC
plants reached 85%. Among the Vinyls Unit highlights in 2003, was
a 5% reduction in electricity consumption, one of the main inputs
in the production processes for PVC and caustic soda, and the
drilling of three new salt extraction wells - ensuring continuity
and adequate supply of this raw material to the Company. In
addition, the Marechal Deodoro plant facility obtained its best
operating performance since its start-up. In the Unit's other
plants, capital expenditures for modernization and automation
sought to ensure improved performance and productivity over the
next years.

In view of improved economic growth in Brazil and the need to
address the housing and sanitation deficits in the country,
Braskem through its Vinyls Unit has accelerated its program to
increase PVC production, and expects to obtain the first 50,000
additional tons by the second half of 2005. Furthermore, and in
order to supply eventual growth in demand, the PVC units present
optimization opportunities that could enable them to reach nearly
100,000 additional tons of production - through de-bottlenecking
programs divided into packages of 50,000 tons each. As a result
of its installed capacity of raw materials for PVC production,
Braskem is in a competitive position to respond quickly to
sustained growth in Brazil.

In 2003, the Basic Petrochemicals Unit raised its production of
ethylene by 5% over production in 2002, reporting an increase in
its capacity utilization rate from 83% in 2002, to 84% in 2003.
Furthermore, important advances were recorded in the Company's
program to make more flexible the raw materials it is able to use
in its production process, with an increase in the processing of
condensate, a by-product of natural gas. This has made it
possible for the Basic Petrochemicals Unit to partially
substitute petrochemical naphtha as a raw material, taking
advantage of market opportunities. The Basic Petrochemicals Unit
continued following its strategy to maximize the margins of
ethylene production co-product currents, and of making higher
value added products available to the market. An example of this
was Braskem's production of turpentine oil. In the logistics
area, Braskem established partnerships with customers of its
petrochemical products, to manage and enhance common routes, thus
obtaining economies of scale. As part of this unit's
modernization program, Braskem inaugurated two new turbines with
a total installed capacity of 90 megawatts. These investments
provided the opportunity to reduce Braskem's production costs.
Also during the year, Braskem signed two cooperation agreements
with the Technological Research Institute (IPT) and the Federal
University of Bahia - related to the Braskem Energy Program -
whose goal is to transform Braskem into an ecologically efficient
company by reducing the specific consumption of energy without
wasting environmental resources.

A highlight during the year of the Business Development Unit was
the implementation of the revamping of the PET plant reactor,
obtaining not only resin quality improvements, as well as an
increase in the plant's production capacity, from 60,000 to
72,000 tons/year. This revamp was successfully carried out during
the programmed annual shutdown of the PET and DMT units. A
highlight of the Caprolactam facility was the substitution of the
plant's instrumentation, which, together with other measures
adopted, should permit the extension of the periods between
scheduled shutdowns up to two or even three years. The
Caprolactam facility also conducted a scheduled shutdown in 2003,
which, coupled with restrictions in the supply of ammonia,
explains the reduction in Caprolactam production compared to
2002, on an annual basis.

3.2 - Commercial Performance

The sales volumes of thermoplastic resins during 2003 totaled
1,563,000 tons, which represented an increase of 2% compared to
the 1,533,000 tons sold during the previous year. It is important
to emphasize that this performance was obtained in a period of
reduced economic activity in the Brazilian market, which was
partially and strategically offset by a more active export market
policy. The increase in the Company's export volumes demonstrated
Braskem's managerial flexibility, which was able to quickly re-
direct a larger volume of its sales onto the overseas market
during 2003.

Total sales of polypropylene and polyethylene by the Polyolefins
Unit during 2003 rose by approximately 3%. Sales of polypropylene
increased by 7% compared to 2002, driven mainly by higher exports
recorded during in the period. The domestic market remained
stable and the highlight is the growth of the Rafia market, and
particularly the technical fabrics segment, used for
manufacturing big bags. This segment displayed important growth,
following the sound performance of Brazilian exports. Braskem has
implemented important technological advances to substitute
conventional materials such as the introduction of polypropylene
containers for cheese substituting glass containers, which are
very common in Brazil, and the use of polypropylene in water
cisterns to substitute asbestos cement.

Within our portfolio of polyethylene products, one highlight was
the 4% growth in sales in PEBDL (linear low density polyethylene)
in Brazil due primarily to sales to the industrial shrink and
stretch bag manufacturers. Braskem continued to lead the domestic
markets for polyethylene and polypropylene, with 29% of the
polyethylene market and 41% of the polypropylene market.

In the Vinyls Unit, total PVC sales remained consistent with
2002's levels, despite the slowdown in the domestic market during
the course of 2003 in the sectors that more intensively use its
products, such as infrastructure, sanitation and construction.
This performance was obtained by focusing on more attractive
segments presenting higher growth potential, such as footwear
manufacturers, structural profiles for windows, film and
laminates, among others, as well as by the strategic growth of
export volumes.

2003 was also notable for initiatives designed to develop new
markets together with customers, such as (i) the launch of the
"PVC Window Frame Manual" - a project to enhance the use of this
resin in housing construction; (ii) the launch of the Web site,, aimed at architects and engineers,
professionals who determine which construction materials are
used; and (iii) the sponsorship (in partnership with the PVC
Institute) of the exhibition "Plasticities" which revealed the
versatility and modern qualities of PVC created by Brazilian and
foreign designers.

As a result of these initiatives, Braskem has consolidated its
market leadership for vinylic products in 2003 and established
the bases for improving the competitiveness of the overall PVC
chain. For its part, in 2003 the Basic Petrochemicals Unit
boosted sales by 5% over 2002. This increase resulted from a
consistent demand for basic petrochemical products produced at
the Camacari Petrochemical Complex in Bahia in 2003, a year with
no scheduled maintenance shutdowns. Also noteworthy was the
signing of a supply contract for para-xylene, a raw material for
polyester production, with an Israeli company, making it possible
to increase Braskem's production capacity utilization ratio.

At the Business Development Unit, particularly noteworthy was the
increase of Braskem's PET market share in segments such as
cleaning, cosmetics and pharmaceutical products, which help to
reduce the impact of the lower demand of PET for soft drink
packaging increasing the Company's share in these markets. In
addition, sales of Caprolactam were approximately 50,000 tons in
2003, with approximately 15% of this total destined for the
export market. In Brazil, the product was sold in three main
segments: textile, representing about 44% of Braskem's sales;
industrial, representing about 30% of Braskem's sales; and
engineering plastics and films, representing about 25% of
Braskem's sales.

3.3 - Exports

Braskem's net export revenues totaled US$ 617 million during
2003, 49% higher than the US$ 415 million obtained during 2002,
thus confirming the Company's position as one of the largest
exporters in Brazil. In addition, Braskem provided technological
support to its customers in the joint development of new
manufactured products aimed at the export market. The Company
thus contributed to the creation of new opportunities for
commercial niches for Brazilian plastic-based products on the
international market and also for the growth of the indirect
exports of the Company's resins.

The Polyolefins Unit's polyethylene and polypropylene export
sales volumes set a historical record in 2003, of 288,000 tons.
The Company sold its resins in 53 countries, with Argentina,
Belgium and China the main destinations. In the second half,
reacting to the resumption of previous levels of economic
activity in the main world markets, a gradual increase in
polyolefin prices was observed, mainly in the last two months of
2003. Through its affiliate Polialden Petroquimica, Braskem
confirmed its position as the second largest producer in the
world of Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMW-PE), the
raw material for producing high-technical performance and high
value added engineering plastics.

The Vinyls Unit posted a strong increase in the volume of its
exports, consolidating a greater presence in the South American
market, with sales to all Mercosul countries as well as Chile,
Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia. EDC export sales grew 34% year-on-
year, reaching 160,000 tons in 2003.

The Basic Petrochemicals Unit achieved record levels in export
volumes during 2003, of 557,000 tons, 16% higher than the volumes
registered in 2002. The unit exported ten different products,
increasing its export portfolio. The main destination was the
U.S., followed by Europe and Asia. The increase in gasoline
exports to the North American market for a second consecutive
year was a highlight. The result was due mainly to the high
quality of Braskem's low-sulfur-content fuel. Also during the
year, Braskem was able to consolidate international partnerships
for the sale of isoprene, a raw material for high-performance
adhesives, through contracts signed with important world
consumers of this product in Europe and in the United States.

Most of the exports of the Business Development Unit were
oriented to the Asian market, which currently is the world's
largest market for consumption of Caprolactam.

3.4 - Synergies Resulting from the Integration process

Through December 2003, Braskem captured R$ 285 million in annual
synergies gained from its integration process, which represented
approximately 86% of an estimated total of R$ 330 million in
recurring and annualized gains.

The Company had previously developed a specific process to follow
the capture of these integration synergies, clearly establishing
the responsibilities involved as well as periodic meetings of the
teams in charge of monitoring it. Today, Braskem has developed
its own knowhow, which will be used in future follow-up
opportunities, some of which have already been identified.

4. Economic-Financial Performance

4.1 - Net Revenues

Braskem posted net revenues of R$ 9,191 million in 2003, an
amount that was 31% higher than the R$ 6,991 million recorded in

The key driver for a better performance in 2003 was the re-
alignment of the domestic prices of the Company's main products
(PE, PP and PVC) with international market prices. Added to the
increase in exports during 2003, this factor allowed Braskem to
offset the reduction in sales volumes observed on the domestic

4.2 - Cost of Goods Sold (COGS)

During 2003, Braskem's cost of goods sold ("COGS") was R$ 7,342
million. This represented an increase of 28% compared to the COGS
registered in 2002, which was R$ 5,747 million.

This variation in COGS was caused mainly by the increase in
naphtha prices during 2003, the cost of which is linked to
international market prices. In 2003, the average price of
naphtha in the ARA region (Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp) was of
US$ 274 US$/ton, representing an increase of 23% over the average
price in 2002, which was of US$ 223 US$/ton.

During 2003, Braskem purchased 3,911 tons of petrochemical
naphtha, out of which 2,691,000 tons (69%) were purchased from
Petrobras - its main naphtha supplier. The remaining portion -
1,220,000 tons (31%) - was imported directly by the Company,
mainly from countries in Africa and South America. Depreciation
and amortization expenses included in Cost of Goods Sold reached
R$ 277 million in 2003, in line with R$ 276 million recorded in

4.3 -Selling, General and Administrative Expenses

Braskem's selling, general and administrative expenses (excluding
depreciation/amortization expenses) totaled R$ 402 million in
2003, which compares to R$ 407 million in 2002 (excluding non-
recurring expenses related to Braskem integration process
incurred in 2002, which totaled R$ 136 million), representing a
reduction of 1%. When expressed as a percentage of net revenues,
the expenses were 4.4% in 2003, compared to 5.8% in 2002. These
results are associated with the capture of synergies stemming
from the integration of the companies that form Braskem and the
improvement in the Company's productivity and competitiveness.

4.3.1 - Depreciation and Amortization Expenses

Depreciation and amortization expenses totaled R$ 188 million in
2003, lower than the R$ 272 million for the same purpose during
the previous year. This reduction was the result, basically, of
the complete amortization of the balance of the deferred foreign
exchange losses recorded on the books in 2002, in the amount of
190 million. Excluding this effect, depreciation and amortization
expenses increased during the year, caused principally by the
amortization of premium payments related to Braskem's creation
and integration.

4.4 - EBITDA

Braskem's EBITDA totaled R$ 1.8 billion 2003, 36% higher than the
EBITDA of R$ 1.3 billion posted in 2002 (excluding the effects of
the non-recurrent IPI credit accounted for in 4Q02). This
increase was mainly caused by the realignment of the prices of
thermoplastic resins on the domestic market to international
market prices, the reduction in selling, general and
administrative expenses as well as the capture of further
synergies stemming from the integration process.

The EBITDA margin in 2003 was 19%, remaining in line with the
EBITDA margin of 2002 (excluding the effects of the non-recurrent
IPI credit accounted for in 4Q02), which demonstrates the quality
of the Company's operating performance.

4.5 - Investment in Subsidiary and Associated Companies

In 2003, the result of this item was a negative R$82 million. The
recording of the amortization of good-will stemming from the
Braskem creation process generated a negative accounting impact
of R$256 million in 2003, which reversed the positive equity
restatement of R$137 million stemming from Braskem investees.

In 2002, the result of this item totaled R$285 million, impacted
by the positive exchange variation on the net equity of overseas
controlled and affiliated companies as well as gains reported by
companies that were incorporated as part of the Braskem creation

4.6 - Net Financial Result

Braskem reported a negative financial result of R$ 656 million in
2003, compared to a negative financial result of R$ 2.8 billion
in 2002. Basically, the difference was due to 18% appreciation in
the value of the Brazilian Real against the U.S. Dollar during
2003, compared to the 52% devaluation seen in 2002. The financial
operations that were completed in 2003, as well as those
completed in January 2004, were intended to provide greater
financial flexibility for the Company.

4.7 - Net Profit (Loss)

Braskem recorded a net profit of R$ 215 million in 2003,
reversing the R$ 794 million loss posted in 2002. Contributing
decisively were the Company's better commercial performance, the
capture of synergies stemming from its integration process, the
increase in export revenues and the good operating performance
evidenced by an EBITDA of R$ 1.8 billion in 2003.

4.8 Debt Management in 2003

Braskem reaffirms its commitment to seek the continuous
improvement of its operating performance, making it a priority to
use its cash generation to manage its liquidity as well as
extending and adjusting its debt profile.

In the fourth quarter of 2003, the Company emphasized reducing
the cost of its financial obligations and greater efficiency in
allocating funds for its operating working capital. In addition,
in this period the Company sought to maintain a higher level of
cash and financial investments in order to create greater
financial and strategic flexibility.

4.8.1. Debt Management in 2003

The consistent improvement in its results coupled with better
perception of the sovereign Brazil risk, mainly during the second
half of 2003, provided Braskem with increasingly competitive
funding opportunities, making it possible to reduce its average
financial cost as well as increasing the average maturity of debt
amortization. A number of actions were implemented seeking the
reduction/elimination of suppliers' short-term financial

This included the use of trade finance for extending payment
terms when acquiring naphtha on the international market as well
as the development of structures such as a Receivables Fund for
advances of funds from customers and other operations related to
export prepayment.

Large financial operations designed to extend Braskem's debt
profile were successfully concluded. Among these, particularly
noteworthy were several funding operations carried out through
the Medium Term Notes (MTN) program, totaling US$ 461 million in
2003 and US$ 250 million in January 2004, with maturities ranging
from one to 10 years. On the domestic market, of note was the
approval of the placement of US$ 400 million (approximately R$
1.2 billion) of debentures (Braskem's 11th issue) with maturity
in four years, concluded in January 2004.

The financial operations conducted during the course of 2003,
coupled to those implemented at the beginning of 2004, totaled
about US$ 1.2 billion and resulted in the improvement of
Braskem's debt profile, especially through a significant
reduction of its short-term portion and an increase in liquidity.

4.8.2 Managing the extension of the average maturity of the

In 2003, Braskem's main financial indicators improved
consistently regarding liquidity, reduction of debt and reduction
of financial leverage. Cash and financial investments as of
December 31, 2003 totaled R$1.0 billion, an increase of 75%
compared to R$601 million in cash and financial investments as of

Consolidated net debt totaled R$6,258 million as of December 31,
2003, 8% lower than consolidated net debt of R$6, 815 million as
of December 31, 2002.

5. Capital Expenditures

Braskem's capital expenditures totaled R$176 million in 2003,
benefiting all of its business units in the implementation of
excellence programs in the operating, health, technology and
safety and environmental areas.

Braskem has commenced preparations to match the expected growth
of the Brazilian market in 2004 and beyond. With an investment of
US$7 million, the Company is expanding its polypropylene
production capacity by 20%, or 100,000 tons/year. This additional
supply will be available to the market in mid-2004. Moreover, the
Company recently announced that it will invest US$28 million in
one of its plants in Alagoas in order to add 50,000 tons to its
PVC production over the course of the forthcoming year. It also
has identified opportunities for expanding its polyethylene
plants through marginal investments and will take decisions based
on market developments. The Company owns modern and competitive
assets and plans to invest R$400 million in 2004 to match the
expected growth in the demand for thermoplastic resins.

6. Corporate Governance

Braskem was created according to the most modern Corporate
Governance practices, based upon principles that emphasize
transparency and respect for all of its shareholders, creating
conditions for the development and maintenance of a long-term
relationship with its investors.

The Company's Bylaws confirm this commitment. They provide, for
example, that minority shareholders are extended the right to
sell their equity in the Company under the same conditions
offered to the controlling shareholders in the event of transfer
of ownership control. Furthermore, according to the Bylaws, the
Fiscal Committee sits on a permanent basis, with minority
shareholders having the right to elect one member and one

Braskem is committed to practicing transparent and responsible
management. In this regard, the Company strives to be a reference
in corporate governance. Such practices are also present in
Braskem's Code of Conduct and in its Market Information and Share
Trading Disclosure Policies.

In line with the Company's interests, the Board of Directors
represents all shareholders. It is composed of 11 members elected
for two-year terms of office. Furthermore, the Board of Directors
is supported by four permanent committees, providing greater
clarity and specialization in the running of the Company's
businesses: Finance; People and Organization; Auditing; Strategy
and Communication.

Braskem has been in compliance with the BOVESPA Corporate
Governance Level I program since February 13, 2003, committing
itself to improving the quality of the information it provides to
the market as well as to adopting a set of wider ranging
corporate governance practices and minority shareholder rights.

The Company's policy regarding the hiring of services from its
independent auditors that are not related to outside audits is
based upon principles that preserve the independence of the
independent auditor. These principles, which are in accordance
with internationally accepted doctrine, consist of: (a) the
auditor must not audit its own work; (b) the auditor must not
exercise management functions on behalf of its customers and (c)
the auditor must not promote the interests of its customers.

During 2003, the outside auditor did not perform any service that
was not related to the company's external auditing process.

7. The Capital Markets and Investor Relations

Braskem's class "A" preferred shares (BRKM5) traded on the
BOVESPA ended the year quoted at R$66.85 per 1,000 shares, which
represented an increase of 508% in 2003, surpassing the
performance of the Ibovespa index, which rose 97% over the same

Similarly, Braskem's Level II ADRs (BAK) traded on the New York
Stock Exchange (NYSE) rose 609% in 2003, ending the year at

Braskem reaffirmed its commitment to the capital markets. As part
of the objective of increasing its visibility on the capital
markets that are most strategic for the Company, Braskem's class
"A" preferred shares began trading on the LATIBEX (a special
section of the Madrid Stock Exchange) as of October 8, 2003. The
Company's securities are being traded in lots of 1,000 shares
under the ticker symbol XBRK. The listing occurred exactly one
year after the change of the Company's ADR ticker symbol on the

On October 21, 2003 Braskem successfully implemented a split of
its shares in the proportion of 20 (twenty) shares of each
species and class for each existing share. Due to the stock
split, the ratio between each Braskem's PNA and American
Depositary Share ("ADS") went from 50:1 (50 preferred class "A"
shares per each ADS) to 1,000:1 (1,000 preferred class "A" shares
per each ADS).

The stock split permitted a reduction in the value of the
standard lot for trading Braskem shares, which stimulated an
increase in the number of individual investors present in the
Braskem shareholder pool. As a result, the liquidity of the
Company's shares improved. A notable example of this was the
increase in the share of Braskem's PNA shares in the composition
of the Ibovespa, going from 0.21% at the beginning of the year to
0.58% of the theoretical portfolio for the first four months of

Braskem's preferred shares were traded in 100% of the Bovespa
trading sessions in 2003 and demonstrated growing financial
turnover, which represented an average daily financial volume of
R$2.6 million (US$832,000). In the last quarter of 2003, the
average daily financial volume of Braskem's PNA shares was R$4
million (US$1.4 million). At the end of 2003, Braskem's market
value was R$4.5 billion (US$1.6 billion).

8. Recent Developments

- The merger of Trikem into Braskem was approved by the
Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) of Braskem and Trikem
shareholders held on January 15, 2004. At the end of the merger
process, Braskem's capital will be R$2.192 billion, divided into
77,190,074,544 shares, of which 25,730,061,841 are common shares
(ON) and 51,230,857,903 are class "A" preferential shares (PNA)
and 229,154,800 are class "B" preferential shares (PNB).

- With the merger of Trikem into Braskem, Braskem's free-float
(quantity of shares in the hands of non-controlling shareholders)
may increase from 25% to approximately 33%.

- Within its MTN program, Braskem successfully concluded in
January 2004 the 4th tranche in the amount of US$250 million with
a 10-year maturity, without a sales option (put) for investors
and without a purchase option (call) for Braskem, offering a
yield of 11.75% per year. This issue represents the funding line
with the longest maturity that Braskem has ever obtained.

- Within the context of its strategy to extend the Company's debt
profile, Braskem successfully concluded, on January 16, 2004, a
transaction for the public issue of non-convertible debentures,
maturing in four years with a one-year grace period for
amortizing the principle. The amount of the issue reached R$1.2
billion (approximately US$ 400 million).

9. Quality, Health, Safety and the Environment

The year of 2003 was notable as the year when the Company's
corporate guidelines began being implemented through the Braskem
Production System (BPS), in line with the Braskem vision of
becoming a benchmark in the sectors in which it is active.
Braskem obtained certification by the Bureau Veritas Quality
International (BVQI) in 2003 of 100% of the Company's industrial
plants for Quality Management in accordance with ISO 9001/2000
guidelines, and 95% of its plants for Environmental Management,
in accordance with ISO 14001. Certification of 100% of its plants
is foreseen between 2005 and 2005 within the dimensions
established for Health, Safety and the Environment in the Braskem
100% Compliance program.

Braskem is permanently committed to excellence in its management
of questions related to Health, Safety and the Environment. In
this regard, the Company's actions encompass four dimensions:
People, Management, Installations and Community Relationship.


In 2003, Braskem's employees dedicated more than 3% of their time
to training in the fields of Health, Safety and the Environment,
which represented more than 600,000 hours of instruction.
Moreover, the program of behavioral observations was reinforced
at the Basic Petrochemicals Unit, which will be extended to the
other business units in 2004.

Accidents / 1 MM hh worked


The Braskem Production System (BPS) orients the definition of
continuous challenges for improvement of the HSE practices. In
2003, we reinforced efforts at preventive focus.


In 2003, more than R$ 25 million was invested in facilities
improvements, focusing on better environmental performance or the
reduction in the risk of material, environmental or personal
accidents. As result, it was particularly noteworthy that in 2003
there were no material environmental accidents (losses greater
than US$ 500,000). There was also a 4% reduction in the
generation of effluents, a 2% reduction in water consumption and
a more than 20% reduction in waste generation.

Community Relations

The commitment to community well being continues to be translated
into a set of consistent programs of corporate responsibility
that are focused on environmental education, the recycling of
plastics, social insertion and cultural support. Among them,
highlights include the Clean Beach and Art on the Beach programs
in the States of Bahia, Alagoas, Rio Grande do Sul and Sao Paulo
that seeks to make beach-goers aware of the importance of
selective waste collection, as well as offering art workshops for
their children and local residents; the Living Lagoon Program in
Alagoas, with activities offered to communities neighboring
Mundau Lake; and programs in Macei˘ and other Alagoas cities
designed to preserve the ecosystem offer professional training
courses for underprivileged youths in the regions.

In the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Braskem supports the needy
community of Vila Pinto in the greater Porto Alegre metropolitan
region in its work in the field of selective waste collection and
plastic recycling, which in addition to environmental benefits
also brings income and social inclusion. The Company also
encourages volunteer activities of Braskem employees, with
special mention deserved of the breast cancer prevention program
being conducted in Porto Alegre and Triunfo.

Braskem's name also is strongly associated with the promotion of
cultural activities through initiatives such as the Braskem
Culture and Art Prize, among others, designed to discover new
talents in music, literature and painting. In this area, the
major highlight in 2003 was the launch of an unpublished work by
Brazilian author Jorge Amado entitled "Letter to a Reader about
Novels and Characters," published in partnership with the Jorge
Amado House Foundation.

Braskem has been playing an important role in a number of
associations and organizations whose objective is to contribute
to Sustainable Development. Among them are: the Brazilian
Sustainable Development Business Council (CEBDS), the PVC
Institute and Plastivida, which focuses on the environmental
issues of our plastic products, and ABIQUIM's Responsible Care
Program, centered on the continuous improvement of practices of
the overall chemical industry regarding Health, Safety and the

10. Innovation and technology

Braskem is committed to investing continuously in updating its
technology and efficiently maintaining its assets. With a team of
150 highly qualified researchers and 11 well-equipped modern
laboratories, the main objective of Braskem's Center of
Technology and Innovation is to help the Company's customers
become more competitive in the domestic and international
markets, increasing Brazilian exports of transformed plastics.
During 2003, over 1,000 customers, universities and suppliers
visited the Center and 563 requests for development assistance by
customers were received during the year. The Company also has six
pilot plants that are fully integrated into the Braskem Center of
Technology and Innovation, which permit the development of new
products, new applications and improvements to its manufacturing

The main focus of Braskem's development programs are its
customers, designed to ensure that its products are technically
qualified in Brazil and the main international markets.

The extension of the knowledge generated by the Center of
Technology and Innovation permits customers to quickly solve
their problems, making it possible to increase their
competitiveness by identifying new opportunities such as, for
example, a cement water cistern reinforced by polypropylene
fibers to substitute asbestos fibers; polypropylene containers
replacing glass containers; disposable polypropylene cups
substituting polystyrene cups; micropunctured polyethylene
packaging substituting paper packaging for bread.

Due to the directing of federal funds towards infrastructure, in
2003 resins were introduced for the water, sewage and gas pipe

Also in the field of construction, a partnership was developed
with a customer to produce a kit for building middle class
housing making use of PVC structural molds that use 1,800 kilos
per 100 m2 of construction area.

In 2003, Braskem filed five new patents with the National
Industrial Property Institute (INPI). In August, the Company
registered its 100th patent, totaling at the end of the year 103
patents in Brazil and abroad.

Braskem's technological development network also includes
partnerships with a number of research centers and universities
in the country and overseas. It should be mentioned that the
Petrochemical Research and Development Center (CEPPED) of the
Lutheran University of Brazil (ULBRA) resulted from an investment
of more than R$ 9 million made by Braskem and Finep, the
financing arm of the Ministry of Science and Technology.

Technological autonomy also is a strategic factor for Braskem. In
2003, it confirmed its technological leadership in the region by
introducing polyethylene produced and sold with a metalocene
catalyzer, becoming the first company in Latin America to make
this product available. This process is a major advance for the
flexible packaging industry. This technology permits the
manufacturing of products with distinctive characteristics such
as greater resistance to impact or puncture, higher polish and
greater transparency. For these reasons, polyethylene based on
metalocene is used in packaging that requires superior quality

11. People Development

People Development

Our practices are based on the belief that the involvement and
the participation of people in planning business objectives and
targets ensure commitment to the results that are desired.
Through management's planned and autonomous delegation of the
means to meet previously-agreed targets, each Braskem employee
has the opportunity receive profit sharing based on the
surpassing of the surpassing of planned profits. With the
dissemination of a "value added" culture, associated with clear
performance metrics (BSC), our practices have provided consistent
improvements in productivity and performance indicators,
something that is necessary for a world-class company.

Assigning value to, respecting and trusting people is another
belief that characterizes the Braskem management model. Towards
this end, we are investing in the development of new skills of
our employees, thus assuring the formation of a group of people
with an entrepreneurial spirit who are capable of satisfying the
aspirations of the market and of our customers. Within this
context, Braskem runs a series of programs seeking to assist in
the training and development of its human resources, designed to
strengthen the establishment of a high performance culture.
Inspired in organizational values that have been adopted and
people management practices, which were made public when Braskem
was created, the programs have been centralized in an "Abilities
Development Center" - the in-house name for the Company's
corporate university - with the following commencing during the
second half of 2003:

- Braskem MBA, in partnership with the FGV-SP, with 35
  high potential employees selected out of 50 indicated by
  Company leaders. The purpose of this program, which represents
  a direct investment of R$ 850,000 over 18 months, is to
  contribute to the training and development of future Braskem
  leaders and executives.

- Management Development Program, conceived to involve all
  formal and potential leaders in the discussion of business
  values and management practices in a manner that leads to a
  consistent in-house vision of the organization's priorities
  and contributes to the integration of the participants, who
  come from the different companies that make up Braskem.

- Trainees and Intern Program, whose objective is to support
  leaders in identifying and integrating talented young people
  into the Company, with training adjusted to the Company's
  businesses in a manner that ensures the continuous flow of
  high capacity and high quality personnel. In 2003, Braskem
  initiated the publicity, recruitment and selection of
  candidates who will be admitted in February 2004.

- Individual Development Program of members of the strategic
  staff (directors and managers), designed to provide a
  custom-made solution to the requirements of the target
  audience. During the year, appraisal and diagnostic interviews
  were conducted, with the help of a specialized consulting firm,
  in order to ensure implementation in 2004.

- Braskem Abilities Evaluation System, set up in June 2003,
  is designed to provide leaders and employees support for the
  continuous improvement of their individual and collective
  performances, based upon analysis of their real abilities
  compared to what is desired.

- Operator Renewal Program, based on the hiring and intensive
  training of newly graduated students of technical courses,
  is designed to ensure the scheduled substitution of plant
  operators who plan to retire over the next five years.

In addition to the special programs cited above, more than R$ 4
million was invested in current qualification programs, such as
QSHE projects (which resulted in substantial gains in safety
rates), programs for better in-house communication, and programs
to publicize the Company's business concepts and principles, such
as its Code of Conduct and Action Program.

12. Prospects

Historically, and on the Brazilian domestic market, the demand
for Braskem's products has presented elasticity that is quite
high compared to the growth of the GDP. Consequently, the
potential growth of the Brazilian economy as of 2004 can result
in growing sales volumes for Braskem in the Brazilian market over
the next few years.

Besides this potential scenario of sales growth in Brazil, the
international petrochemical sector is presenting promising signs.
Low levels of investment around the world over the past few years
have limited the availability of new production capacity, which
is expected to remain relatively stable until 2006/2007. On the
other hand, the demand for thermoplastic resins has risen
globally and surplus supply has been falling, narrowing the
supply and demand relationship of these products and leading to
rising capacity utilization rates of the existing production

In 2003, the average capacity utilization rate of petrochemical
production lines ended the year close to 90%. Historically,
capacity utilization rates above this level point to a recovery
of international prices, with related improvements in the
industry's margins.

Braskem's commercial practice is to maintain its prices at levels
compatible and in line with international prices. Thus, the
combination of these two scenarios - greater sales volumes in the
Brazilian market combined with a recovery of prices on the world
market - may lead to the Company's obtaining even better margins
during the upcoming higher-price cycle.

In addition, and independent of scenarios that are external to
the Company, Braskem has important competitiveness and
productivity reserves - that it is now beginning to exploit. In
2004, the Company will begin the implementation of a multi-year
industrial competitiveness program that seeks to make it one of
the international benchmarks in its field over the medium term.

Equally important is the maturing of the third generation export
program. This is an important initiative that contributes not
only to Braskem's creation of value but also to the creation of
value in the entire Brazilian petrochemical and plastics
production chain. Through the development of new products,
processes and applications, Braskem is increasing its range of
products, which is the most complete in the domestic market,
consolidating its leadership of the regional market and
reaffirming its position as a world-class Brazilian petrochemical

GLOBOPAR: Responds to US Court's Ruling on Proposed Bankruptcy
Globo Comunicacoes e Participacoes S.A. ("Globopar") responded
Friday to a ruling made by a US court regarding the judicial
financial restructuring proceedings initiated on December 11,
2003 by affiliates of W.R. Huff Asset Management.

On February 19, the court ruled in favor of Globopar's position
that the US proceedings were inappropriate given that Globopar is
Brazilian company with essentially no assets in the US. The Court
ruled that no legitimate purpose could be served by the proposed
US involuntary bankruptcy case and that the case should be

"We have been making significant progress in our discussions with
our creditor groups regarding a consensual rescheduling of our
bank and bond debt. We look forward to continuing those
discussions and presenting a new plan to them in the near
future," said Ronnie Vaz Moreira, president of Globopar.

CONTACT:  Stefan Alexander / Marta Meirelles
          Tel: 55 21 2540-4444
          Web Site:

          Marina Martini
          55 11 3897-6409


PARMALAT CHILE: Arla Foods Withdraws Planned Bid
Swedish-Danish food and dairy group Arla Foods is balking at
plans to acquire the Chilean assets of the financially troubled
Italian dairy group Parmalat. The group has said that it is now
focusing on consolidating its leading position in the European
market. Although it is always analyzing new business
opportunities, it is not interested in acquiring Parmalat's
assets in Brazil, Mexico, Uruguay, Chile and other countries in
the region.

Arla's decision leaves Chilean holding company Bethia as the sole
bidder for the assets of Parmalat in Chile and perhaps in Uruguay
as well. Bethia is interested in acquiring a 51% stake in the
Chilean subsidiary of Parmalat for about US$20 million.


TELECOM: Settles Conflict With Ericson
Telecom, a Colombian state-owned telecommunications firm that's
currently in liquidation, reached a preliminary agreement with
Sweden's Ericsson that would settle a long-running dispute over a
joint venture, according to El Tiempo newspaper. Under the
agreement, Telecom will pay US$56 million to Ericsson to settle
the dispute over lines installed ten years ago.

Ericsson installed some 110,000 lines in Bogota but Telecom only
managed to sell 53,000. The supplier demanded full payment of
US$198 million while Telecom only offered to pay for US$27
million for the lower number.

Telecom said it had opted to settle rather than wait for a legal
resolution to the dispute. Ericsson will be paid 90 days after a
final agreement is signed, the Colombian government said, without
revealing when that would happen.

An arbitration court will review and possibly approve the deal
next week, the newspaper suggests, citing sources from the office
of President Alvaro Uribe.

The government said it plans to seek similar agreements with five
equipment suppliers: Alcatel (NYSE: ALA), Itochu, NEC (Nasdaq:
NIPNY), Nortel Networks (NYSE: NT) and Siemens (NYSE: SI).

Telecom has been replaced by Colombia Telecomunicaciones, which
was formed using Telecom's best assets and incorporating its
subsidiaries and affiliates.

E L   S A L V A D O R

Millicom International Cellular S.A. ("Millicom") (Nasdaq:MICC)
confirmed Friday that, as previously announced, following the
extraordinary general meeting of shareholders on February 16,
2004, the stock split of the issued shares of Millicom trading on
the Nasdaq Stock Market ("NASDAQ"), will be effective after close
of business Friday, February 20, 2004. Millicom's shares will
begin trading on NASDAQ on a post- split basis on Monday,
February 23, 2004.

Millicom International Cellular S.A. is a global
telecommunications investor with cellular operations in Asia,
Latin America and Africa. It currently has a total of 16 cellular
operations and licenses in 15 countries. The Group's cellular
operations have a combined population under license of
approximately 382 million people. In addition, MIC provides high-
speed wireless data services in five countries.

         Marc Beuls, President and Chief Executive Officer
         Telephone: +352 27 759 327

         Andrew Best  Investor Relations
         Telephone: +44 20 7321 5022

         Visit web site at


DESC: Fitch Assigns Watch Positive to Credit Ratings
Fitch Ratings has placed the 'B+' senior secured and the 'B'
unsecured foreign and local currency ratings of DESC, S.A. de
C.V. (DESC) on Rating Watch Positive. Fitch has also placed
DESC's 'BBB-' (mex) national scale rating on Rating Watch
Positive. These rating actions follow the recent announcement by
the company of plans to increase capital by approximately US$248
million, the proceeds of which will be used to reduce debt to
approximately $800 million from $1 billion. On a pro forma basis,
this would lower the company's total debt-to-EBITDA ratio to 4
times (x) from 5.3x.

Fitch will continue to monitor the company's business environment
to determine whether the decreased debt levels merits a rating
upgrade. DESC's EBITDA margin has decreased from 18% in 1999 to
10% in 2003. The factors that have hurt the company's margins
include reductions in demand and increased pricing pressure from
original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the auto industry. In
addition, the company's petrochemical business has been hurt by
increased raw materials prices, as well as overcapacity within
the industry.

DESC is one of Mexico's largest industrial conglomerates, with
operations in automotive parts, chemicals (such as
petrochemicals, phosphates, laminates, additives and
particleboard), food (production and sale of pork and branded
food products) and real estate (acquisition and development of
land for upper-income commercial, residential and tourism).

On February 17, 2004, DESC announced that its Board of Directors
had decided to propose a capital increase of approximately US$248
million, through the subscription of approximately 913 million
new common shares, at a March shareholders meeting. The company's
majority shareholders, the Senderos Family, have expressed their
intention to participate in the subscription, in order to
maintain control of DESC. In conjunction with this announcement,
DESC revealed that it had entered into a Stock Subscription
Cooperation Agreement with Inversora Bursatil, S.A. de C.V., Casa
de Bolsa, Grupo Financiero Inbursa, where they establish that in
the event shareholders do not exercise their entire right of
preference to the shares, Inbursa will subscribe up to the
equivalent of Ps$2,000 million.

CONTACT:  Fitch Ratings
          Giovanna Caccialanza, CFA
          Phone: 212-908-0898

          Alberto Moreno
          Phone: +528-18-335-7239

          James Jockle, Media Relations
          Phone: 212-908-0547

DIOSYNTH: Restructures Chemical Synthesis Operations
Diosynth, Akzo Nobel's pharmaceutical ingredients manufacturing
business, has announced a restructuring of its chemical synthesis
operations across the globe. In the face of declining demand,
Diosynth is reducing its worldwide chemical synthesis capacity by
closing its production site in Mexico and scaling back facilities
in the Netherlands. Last month a start was already made with a
reduction of production capacity at Diosynth's Buckhaven
(Scotland) site. Workforce reductions will directly affect a
combined total of approximately 350 employees.

In 2003 Akzo Nobel's Pharma businesses introduced cost-saving
measures to bring costs into line with reduced sales. "Intensive
focus on costs delivered considerable savings in 2003," said Toon
Wilderbeek, Member of the Board of Management of Akzo Nobel.
"Nevertheless, critical evaluation of costs and results is a
continual process. Cost-cutting is one of the pillars of our
strategy to fix Pharma. We are experiencing a structural decline
in demand at Diosynth and we have to address this accordingly,"
he added.

Diosynth is facing a significant rise in overcapacity as a result
of a severe decline in demand for active pharmaceutical
ingredients (APIs) from its customers. Third party customers are
destocking to reduce working capital and there is general
overcapacity in the chemical API sector. Captive demand from Akzo
Nobel's human pharmaceutical business Organon is also shrinking,
as a result of destocking and lower sales for some products.

"Overcapacity in our chemical synthesis operations is too high to
ignore," explained Johan Evers, General Manager of Diosynth.
"With no signs of improvement in the foreseeable future, it is
imperative that we bring capacity into line with customer demand

"After taking into account the multitude of factors that
influence our sector - for example, economic viability,
logistics, cGMP certifications, site flexibility and safety
impact - we have decided to reduce capacity at sites focused on
producing starting materials or intermediate products," Evers
continued. "Therefore we intend to close our site in Mexico City,
which produces starting materials. This is in addition to
capacity reduction already in progress at our Buckhaven site,
where we produce intermediates."

The rationalization of Diosynth's production logistics will mean
the transfer of some products rom Mexico City and Buckhaven to
our multi-purpose chemical sites, Apeldoorn and Oss, in the
Netherlands. Nevertheless, overcapacity remains a problem on
these sites too. Optimization of capacity and resources for late
intermediates and APIs will also mean trimming our workforce in
the Netherlands.

Closure of the site in Mexico City will affect virtually all its
175 employees. The workforce in the Netherlands will be reduced
by 100 employees in the course of 2004 through natural attrition
and expiry of the majority of temporary employment contracts.
Last month Diosynth notified its employees in Buckhaven that as a
result of declining demand it intends to reduce the workforce by
75 people. For each site, consultation involving unions and works
councils is being, or will be, undertaken as appropriate.

GRUPO MEXICO: Rising Metals Prices Improve 4Q03 Sales
Mexican mining and railroad concern Grupo Mexico SA (GMEXICO.MX)
reported an increase in sales in the fourth quarter of 2003 due
to rising metals prices and higher production, relates Dow Jones.
The Company, the world's third-largest copper producer with
operations in Mexico, Peru, and the U.S., said sales rose 26.6%
to US$734.9 million, compared with US$580.5 million in the same
period in 2002.

The Company reported an operating profit of US$172 million in the
quarter, compared with an operating loss of US$32.5 million in
the year-ago period. However, Grupo Mexico had to register a
charge of $84.5 million related to a writedown of assets at U.S.
unit Asarco. Net profit fell 79.2% to US$19.8 million.

The Company, which last year restructured its debt and carried
out a capital increase, said net debt at the end of 2003 was
US$2.43 billion.

          Avenida Baja California 200,
          Colonia Roma Sur
          06760 Mexico, D.F., Mexico
          Phone: +52-55-5264-7775
          Fax: +52-55-5264-7769
          Home Page:
          Germ n Larrea Mota-Velasco, Chairman and CEO
          Xavier Garca de Quevedo Topete, President and COO
          Alfredo Casar Perez, COO, Ferrocarril Mexicano
          Daniel Chavez Carren, COO, Industrial Minera Mexico
          Daniel Tellechea Salido, VP and Administration and
                                         Finance President


COPACO: To Make $24M Debt Payment to Operators by Year-end
In order for Paraguayan telecoms regulator Conatel to move ahead
with plans to implement a telecoms clearinghouse, state-run fixed
line incumbent Copaco must settle its multi-million debts with
private-sector mobile operators, says Business News Americas.
In this light, Copaco plans to pay off its US$25 million
interconnection debt with mobile operators by year-end, Copaco
president Juan Francisco Godoy said. Copaco has applied for a
budget of about US$40 million specifically for payment of debts
to mobile operators, Godoy revealed.

At the same time, Copaco will step up efforts to claim call
termination fees from foreign operators, most of which are six
months behind.

Godoy blamed difficult clients, including the government, for
non-payment of accounts, which has restricted the Company's
liquidity. The government owes Copaco PYG110 billion (US$18
million), of which US$10 million corresponds to fees due to
mobile operators, he said.

"In 2002 we paid about US$10 million to mobile operators without
collecting [the corresponding fees from our clients]," he said,
adding that Copaco only paid about 70% of the fees that were to
be passed on the mobile operators. In 2003, the Company improved
that figure to 80%, he said.


BNL URUGUAY: Moody's Withdraws Ratings
Moody's Investors Service withdrew the following ratings for
Banca Nazionale del Lavoro (BNL) S.A. (Uruguay).

- Long Term Foreign Currency Deposits: Caa1

- Short Term Foreign Currency Deposits: Not Prime

- Bank Financial Strength Rating: E

- National Scale Rating:

The bank has no rated foreign or local currency debt outstanding.

The action was taken in light of BNL Italy's decision to
discontinue operations and liquidate its subsidiary in Uruguay.

* IMF Completes 4th Review of Uruguay's Stand-By Arrangement
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
completed today the fourth review under the SDR 2.13 billion
(US$3.2 billion) Stand-By Arrangement for Uruguay. Completion of
the review makes SDR 93.2 million (about US$141 million)
immediately available to Uruguay, and would bring total
disbursements under the program to SDR 1.57 billion (about US$2.4
billion). As part of the latest review, the Board also approved
waivers of nonobservance and applicability of a few performance
criteria, and a request that certain repayments arising during
2004-in an amount equivalent to SDR 227 million (about US$343
million)-be moved from an expectation to an obligations basis at
later dates.

Further disbursements in four equal installments of SDR 139.8
million each (about US$211 million) are expected to be made
following the completion of Executive Board reviews tentatively
scheduled for May, August, and November 2004, and February 2005.

The current Stand-By Arrangement was initially approved on March
25, 2002 in an amount of SDR 594.1 million (about US$823 million)
for a 24-month period (see Press Release No. 02/14). The
arrangement was augmented by SDR 1.16 billion (about US$1.6
billion) on June 25, 2002 (see News Brief No. 02 /54), and by SDR
376 million (about US$521 million) on August 8, 2002 (see News
Brief. No. 02/87).

In commenting on the Executive Board decision, Agustˇn Carstens,
Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chairman, said:

"Uruguay's performance under the Stand-By Arrangement continues
to be favorable. The economic recovery is well under way,
financial market conditions are improving, and economic
indicators are pointing up this year. Prudent macroeconomic
policies, skillful resolution of the 2002 banking crisis, and the
successful debt exchange in early-2003 have been key to the
economy's turnaround.

"Consolidating the recovery will require continued sound
macroeconomic policy implementation, and redoubled efforts at
structural reform, particularly in the fiscal and banking areas.
The authorities' strong commitment to achieving the program
targets for the primary fiscal surplus and sound management of
monetary policy under the floating exchange rate, along with
progress in banking sector reform, are key.

"The authorities are committed to attaining the fiscal primary
surplus target in 2004, underpinned by the projected cyclical
recovery of revenue, improvements in tax administration,
continued expenditure restraint, and utility tariffs aligned with
costs. Priority social expenditures will remain protected under
the program. Progress on tax reform is essential to supporting a
sustainable fiscal improvement, and along with reform of the
specialized pension funds will help unlock multilateral financing
and reduce reliance on short-term debt.

"Monetary policy will continue to target base money, under the
floating exchange rate regime. Over the medium term, the
authorities intend to move toward inflation targeting, and as
part of the preparations for this, they have initiated a regular
survey of inflation expectations.

"Restructuring of the public banks and swift disposal of the
remaining assets of the liquidated banks are crucial for banking
system stability and the revival of credit flows. The authorities
have taken important steps to remove nonperforming loans from the
balance sheet of the public bank, BROU, and to initiate its
operational restructuring, and intend to carry forward with
further reforms in the coming months to ensure the bank's
viability. Progress is also being made in restructuring the state
mortgage company, BHU, outsourcing the asset disposal of three
liquidated banks, and strengthening banking regulations to align
them with international best practices.

"The authorities need to build a consensus for reforms to enlarge
the role of the private sector and increase competition. This
will serve as a basis for supporting growth and economic
diversification, and deepening Uruguay's global economic
integration and reducing its vulnerability to regional

"The authorities have set themselves an ambitious policy and
reform agenda that will be a challenge to implement, especially
during this election year. Nevertheless, there is no room for
complacency, as the recovery is still fragile and continued
strong program implementation will be necessary to boost growth
in a lasting way, bolster market confidence, and ensure
sustainable debt dynamics," Mr. Carstens said.

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CANTV: Board of Directors Proposes Dividend Payment
Compania Anonima Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela
(CANTV)(NYSE:VNT) announced Friday that its Board of Directors
will propose to shareholders the payment of an ordinary dividend
of VEB550 per share (VEB3,850 per ADR). These dividends are
subject to shareholders' approval at the Annual Shareholders'
meeting expected to be held on March 31, 2004.

CONTACT:  Gustavo Antonetti
          CANTV Investor Relations
          FAX: 011-58-212-500-1828

          Mariana Crespo
          The Global Consulting Group


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

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