TCRLA_Public/040225.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

          Wednesday, February 25, 2004, Vol. 5, Issue 39

                          Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

ALBES: Receiver Closes Credit Review for Reorganization
BANCO RIO: Sees Improvement in Financial Status in 2003
CARTA LOCAL GUALEGUAYCHU: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
COB: Receiver To File General Report at Court
CONFORT ESTILO: General Report on Reorganization Due at Court

DAMARA: Receiver Closes Credit Verification Process
DISTRIBUIDORA EGO: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
EMPESA: Credit Verifications End Today
EXPRESO GASPARI: Individual Reports Due at Court Today
GEROM: Receiver Files Individual Bankruptcy Reports

METROGAS: Rate Hike Won't Affect Financial Situation
MULTICANAL: Bingham McCutchen Lawyer Clarifies Statements
OBRAS Y MATERIALES: Credit Review Deadline Expires Today
PERFUMERIAS SAN REMO: Court Approves Reorganization Petition
PINTURERIA PROFESIONAL: Individual Reports Due at Court Today

PROFUNDO: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
REFRIGERACION TECNOLOGICA: General Report Filing Deadline Today
TRANSMED: Today is Last Day For Claims Check


B E R M U D A

GLOBAL CROSSING: Wins $17M Managed Voice Contract From UK Firm


B R A Z I L

CERJ: Commences Debt Restructuring
COPEL: Parana State Head Goes To Paris For Arbitration Hearing
EMBRATEL: Embraces Saba Solution to Improve Employees, Services
PARMALAT BRASIL: Sumitomo Responds To Warning

* WB Approves $505M To Support Brazil's Economic Growth Program


C H I L E

AES GENER: Extends Expiry of Tender Offers
AES GENER: Moody's Puts Rating Under Review for Possible Upgrade


M E X I C O

CONE MILLS: Judge Defers Sale To Wilbur Ross
HYLSAMEX: Alfa To Hand Over Stock To Shareholders
IUSACELL: Selects LightSurf MMSC and PictureMail Services


V E N E Z U E L A

PDVSA: Makes $154M Debt Payment

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

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

ALBES: Receiver Closes Credit Review for Reorganization
-------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Nestor Rodolfo Del Potro, receiver for Albes S.A., closes the
credit verification process for the Company's bankruptcy today.
Verifications are done to determine the nature and amount of the
Company's debts.

On orders from Buenos Aires Court No. 10, the receiver will
prepare the individual reports on the verification results. These
reports must be filed at court on April 12, said the Troubled
Company Reporter - Latin America in an earlier report.

The general report, to be prepared after the individual reports
are processed at court, must be filed on June 8. The Company's
assets will be liquidated at the end of the bankruptcy process to
repay creditors.

CONTACT:  Nestor Rodolfo Del Potro
          Ave Corrientes 1291
          Buenos Aires


BANCO RIO: Sees Improvement in Financial Status in 2003
-------------------------------------------------------
Banco Rio de la Plata, the Argentine subsidiary of Spanish
financial group Grupo Santander (NYSE: STD), managed to trim down
losses last year, Business News Americas indicates.

In an earnings statement, Rio posted a ARS623-million (US$211mn)
loss in 2003, a 44.3% improvement on the ARS1.12-billion loss it
recorded in 2002. For the first time in eight consecutive
quarters, it posted an operational profit in the fourth quarter
of ARS23.5 million.

The operational profit in the fourth quarter was due to an
improvement in the bank's interest margin and more expenses
covered by fee income.

According to Rio, its net result last year was negatively
impacted by ARS335 million in loan loss provisioning as well as
other charges.

Rio is one of Argentina's three largest private sector banks.

CONTACT:  BANCO RIO DE LA PLATA S.A.
          Bartolome Mitre 480
          1036 Buenos Aires, Argentina
          Phone: +54-14-341-1081-1580
          Fax: +54-14-341-1074-1084
          Home Page: http://www.bancorio.com.ar
          Contacts:
          Ana Patricia B. S. de Sautuola y O'Shea, Chairman
          Jose L. E. Cristofani, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO
          Pablo Caride, Corporate Finance


CARTA LOCAL GUALEGUAYCHU: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
---------------------------------------------------------
Carta Local Gualeguaych£ S.R.L. enters bankruptcy on orders from
Judge Dieuzeide of Buenos Aires Court No. 1. The bankruptcy order
was issued in approval of a petition filed by one of the
Company's creditors for nonpayment of debt.

Working with Clerk No. 1, Dr. Fernandez Garello, the court
assigned Mr. Ricardo Bataller as receiver. He will verify
creditors' claims until April 15 this year.

CONTACT:  Carta Local Gualeguaych£ S.R.L.
          Tucuman 450
          Buenos Aires

          Ricardo Bataller
          Rodriguez Pena 486
          Buenos Aires


COB: Receiver To File General Report at Court
---------------------------------------------
Mr. Eduardo Daniel Florez, receiver for Argentine Compania de
Omnibus la Bahiense S.R.L., is expected to file the general
report on the Company's reorganization. The receiver prepared
this report after the individual reports, which contain the
verification results were processed at court.

Local sources, however, did not reveal whether the court has set
the date for the informative assembly. The meeting is one of the
last processes in a reorganization.

CONTACT:  Compania de Omnibus la Bahiense S.R.L.
          Lavalle 348
          Bahia Blanca

          Eduardo Daniel Florez
          Hopilito Yrigoyen 227
          Bahia Blanca


CONFORT ESTILO: General Report on Reorganization Due at Court
-------------------------------------------------------------
The general report on the reorganization of Argentine company
Confort Estilo S.R.L. is due today. The Company's receiver, Mr.
Luis Guevara, prepared the report after the individual reports on
the verification results were processed at court.

The Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America said in an earlier
report that the receiver examined and authenticated creditors'
reports to determine the nature and amount of the Company's
debts.

Buenos Aires Court No. 1 ordered that the informative assembly be
held on August 12 next year.

CONTACT:  Luis Guevara
          Ayacucho 242
          Buenos Aires


DAMARA: Receiver Closes Credit Verification Process
---------------------------------------------------
Santos Luparelli, receiver for Damara S.A., closes the credit
verification process today. Creditors' claims are reviewed and
authenticated to ascertain the nature and amount of the Company's
debts.

Buenos Aires Court No. 8, under Judge Gonzalez, issued the
bankruptcy order, the Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America
said in an earlier report. Clerk No. 15, Dr. Lezaeta, assists the
court on the case.

CONTACT:  Damara S.A.
          Ave Cordoba 1513
          Buenos Aires

          Santos Luparelli
          1st Floor, Office B
          Paraguay 2067
          Buenos Aires


DISTRIBUIDORA EGO: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
--------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires Court No. 24, under Judge Pallerini declared local
company Ditribuidora Ego S.R.L. "Quibra", relates Estudio
Elinitza Fernandez Lopez. The ruling is in favor of a petition
filed by Faros Dan de De la Torre Hermanos S.H., to whom the
Company failed to make debt payments.

Creditors are required to present their claims to the Company's
receiver, Hugo Borgert, before April 13. The receiver will
examine and authenticate claims to determine the nature and
amount of the Company's debts. He will also prepare the
individual and general reports.

Clerk No. 47, Dr. Medina, assists the court on the case.

CONTACT:  Distribuidora Ego S.R.L.
          Caldas 351
          Buenos Aires

          Hugo Borgert
          Rodriguez Pena 736
          Buenos Aires


EMPESA: Credit Verifications End Today
--------------------------------------
The credit verification process for the bankruptcy of Empesa S.A.
ends today. The Company's receiver, Mr. Oscar Ricardo Garcia,
will prepare the individual reports, which are to be filed at
Buenos Aires Court No. 11 on April 7.

An earlier report by the Troubled Company Reporter - Latin
America indicated that the general report is due at the court on
May 19. The receiver will prepare this report after the
individual reports are processed at court.

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

CONTACT:  Oscar Ricardo Garcia
          Lavalle 1206
          Buenos Aires


EXPRESO GASPARI: Individual Reports Due at Court Today
------------------------------------------------------
Court No. 4 of the Civil and Commercial Tribunal of La Plata in
Argentina requires the receiver, Ms. Silvina Diva Sosa, for
Expreso Gasari - Marinucci S.A. to file the individual reports on
the Company's reorganization today.

The receiver will prepare a general report after the individual
reports, which contain the credit verification results, are
processed at court. The general report is due for filing on April
8.

The informative assembly will be held on October 5 next year,
said the Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America in an earlier
report.

CONTACT:  Expreso Gaspari - Marinucci S.A.
          Calle 37 No. 421
          La Plata

          Silvina Diva Sosa
          Calle 14 No. 659
          La Plata


GEROM: Receiver Files Individual Bankruptcy Reports
---------------------------------------------------
Today is the deadline for the filing of the individual reports on
the bankruptcy of Gerom S.A., according to an earlier report by
the Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America. These reports
contain results of the credit verification process completed late
last year.

The Company's receiver, Mr. Carlos Eduardo Foresti, will prepare
a general report after the individual reports are processed at
court. Buenos Aires Court No. 11 ordered the receiver to file
this report on April 7.

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

CONTACT:  Carlos Eduardo Foresti
          Avenida Callao 449
          Buenos Aires


MULTICANAL: Bingham McCutchen Lawyer Clarifies Statements
---------------------------------------------------------
Oscar H. Urizar, Esq., at Bingham McCutchen LLP in Hartford,
Connecticut, clarifies that while Argentinian cable company
Multicanal's out-of-court restructuring deal, or APE, pending
before a local court in Argentina might violate the right of
creditors in the United States, he hasn't drawn that legal
conclusion.  It may be true that Multicanal's APE violates
creditors' rights, but Mr. Urizar hasn't undertaken the factual
and legal investigations and legal due diligence required to
form that opinion.  

As previously reported in the Troubled Company Repoter -- Latin
America, Argentinean Recovery Company LLC 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.  ARC is attempting to block Multicanal's
restructuring on the terms the company's outlined.


METROGAS: Rate Hike Won't Affect Financial Situation
----------------------------------------------------
Argentine natural gas distributor Metrogas said Monday that it
doesn't expect its financial situation to change as a result of
the government's decision earlier this month to raise gas and
power rates for commercial users, relates Dow Jones.

The increase "will only apply to the 'gas at the well' component
of rates," Metrogas said Monday in a brief statement to the
Buenos Aires stock exchange.

"Consequently...Metrogas' distribution margin - that also forms a
part of rates - and the financial situation of the company will
not be seen as changed."

On Feb. 13, officials said they were raising gas and electricity
rates by 15%-25% for large-scale commercial users. Under the new
system, which the government spelled out in a decree, the
government will directly negotiate gas rates with producers so
that commercial or industrial users will pay more for gas than
residential users. The decree left open the possibility of rate
hikes for residential consumers between now and 2006. It is
understood that in the case of the increases for large-scale
users, producers will pay a higher fee to transporters,
transporter will pay more to distributors, and distributors can
charge end users more.

Metrogas offered no other details in its statement. However, it
would appear that the Company's interpretation of the
government's decree is that natural gas distributors will not be
able to collect more under the new increases. Metrogas' client
base is also largely residential, a factor that could keep the
Company from benefiting from the rate hikes.

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


OBRAS Y MATERIALES: Credit Review Deadline Expires Today
--------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Buenos Aires-based Obras y Materiales S.A. must have
their claims authenticated by the Company's creditor, Mr.
Baldomero Gonzalez, today. The receiver will now prepare the
individual reports on the verification results.

Buenos Aires Court No. 18 handles the Company's case with
assistance from Clerk No. 36, according to an earlier report by
the Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America.

CONTACT:  Obras y Materiales S.A.
          Ave Nazca 432
          Buenos Aires

          Baldomero Gonzalez
          Ave de Mayo 1260
          Buenos Aires


PERFUMERIAS SAN REMO: Court Approves Reorganization Petition
------------------------------------------------------------
Insolvency Judge Dieuzeide of Buenos Aires Court No. 1 approved a
petition for reorganization filed by local company Perfumer¡as
San Remo S.A.C.I.F.I., a report from Estudio Elinitza Ferbandez
Lopez indicated. Clerk No. 1, Dr. Fernandez Garello, assists the
court on the case.

Creditors must present their claims to the Company's receiver,
Mr. Ricardo Bataller, for verifications before March 11. The
receiver is also required to prepare the individual and general
reports on the case.

The informative assembly will take place on November 24.

CONTACT:  Perfumer¡as San Remo S.A.C.I.F.I.
          Ave Independencia 1992
          Buenos Aires

          Ricardo Bataller
          Rodriguez Pena 486
          Buenos Aires


PINTURERIA PROFESIONAL: Individual Reports Due at Court Today
-------------------------------------------------------------
Raul Brener, receiver for Pintureria Profesional Marcos S.R.L.,
must file the individual reports on the Company's bankruptcy
today. These reports contain the results of the credit
verification process completed late last year.

After these reports are processed at court, the receiver will
prepare a general report to be submitted on April 23. The
informative assembly will be on April 23.

Buenos Aires Court No. 25, handles the Company's with assistance
from Clerk No. 49, said the Troubled Company Reporter - Latin
America in an earlier report.

CONTACT:  Raul Brener
          Lambare 1140
          Buenos Aires


PROFUNDO: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
-------------------------------------------
Profundo S.A., based in Buenos Aires, entered bankruptcy on
orders from Insolvency Judge Ojea Quintana of the city's Court
No. 12. The ruling comes in approval of the petition filed by the
Company's creditor, Chandon S.A., for nonpayment of debt. Dr.
Perea, Clerk No. 23, assists the court on the case, a report from
Estudio Elinitza Fernandez Lopez revealed.

The Company's receiver, Mr. Gustavo Scumparin, will authenticate
creditors' claims until March 8. Verifications are done to study
the nature and amount of the Company's debts.

CONTACT:  Profundo S.A.
          Baez 292
          Buenos Aires

          Guztavo Scumparin
          Ave Cordoba 1412
          Buenos Aires


REFRIGERACION TECNOLOGICA: General Report Filing Deadline Today
---------------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Natalio Kinsbruner, the receiver for Buenos Aires-based
Refrigeracion Tecnologica S.A., must submit the general report on
the Company's reorganization today. The receiver prepared the
report after the individual reports were processed at court.

The Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America earlier reported
that the city's Court No. 26 approved the Company's motion for
reorganization. Documents submitted to the court revealed that
the Company stopped making debt payments since December 20 last
year.

The court orders the informative assembly to take place on August
17 next year.

CONTACT:  Refrigeracion Tecnologica S.A.
          Ave. Gaona 1295
          Buenos Aires

          Natalio Kinsbruner
          Marcelo T. de Alvear 1671
          Buenos Aires


TRANSMED: Today is Last Day For Claims Check
--------------------------------------------
Today is the last day for credit verifications in connection with
the bankruptcy of Argentine company Transmed S.R.L., an earlier
report by the Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America
indicated. The Company's receiver, Mr. Raul Trejo, will prepare
the individual reports on the verification results.

Judge Garibotto of Buenos Aires Court No. 2 and Clerk No. 3
handle the Company's case, which will close with the liquidation
of the Company's assets.

CONTACT:  Transmed S.R.L.
          Ave Suarez 2756
          Buenos Aires

          Raul Trejo
          Montevideo 205
          Buenos Aires



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

GLOBAL CROSSING: Wins $17M Managed Voice Contract From UK Firm
--------------------------------------------------------------
- Adds fully managed telephony service for 15,500 IND users
across 140 sites.
- Supports more than 100,000 government users through
OGCbuying.solutions' Managed Telecommunications Services
framework contract.
- Establishes pathway to fully converged IP services

Global Crossing (NASDAQ: GLBC) has been awarded a $17 million
contract to provide fully managed voice services to the UK
Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) by
OGCbuying.solutions, the government's procurement division.
Managed telephony services will be rolled out to more than 15,500
users at 140 sites, many of which are at harbors and airports.

The three-year outsourcing arrangement will provide a technology
platform that is fully compatible with future migration to
converged IP services. The service is being delivered over the
Managed Telecommunications Services (MTS) network that Global
Crossing operates on behalf of OGCbuying.solutions. The IND
contract pushes the MTS user base to more than 100,000 users
across more than 90 UK government departments and agencies, and
it establishes MTS as the leading managed voice service for the
public sector.

A key feature of this managed service contract is the integration
of the separate, disparate telephony networks of the Immigration
Service and the Nationality Directorate. This contract will
provide for a coherent, common private automatic branch exchange
(PABX) platform operating the latest software, with management
extending down to the handset - all at a fixed charge per
extension for the life of the contract. The technology refresh
will extend to the automatic call handling system in use at the
IND's 200-seat call center at Croydon, south London.

Keith Cameron, regional vice president, European enterprise
sales, said: "This substantial contract is testimony to Global
Crossing's deep understanding of and commitment to the government
sector developed over the last 15 years. As a company, we aim to
leverage our extensive network, build upon our vast experience in
the UK and exploit our security certifications with the UK and US
governments to make inroads into this sector, in North America
and other countries served by our 500-city network."

Global Crossing has held UK government security certification
since 1989, and in 2003 it entered into an unprecedented Network
Security Agreement with US security agencies.

Hugh Barrett, Chief Executive, OGC.buying.solutions, said: ""We
are delighted that the MTS user base has broken the 100,000
subscriber mark. This landmark reconfirms the value of the
service to more than 90 public sector departments that fully
appreciate the consistent, simple pricing and the commitment to
technology refresh offered through the MTS framework agreement."

Global Crossing has enabled the IND to fulfill its vision of
obtaining a fixed-price telephony solution from a single supplier
that encapsulates the procurement of all equipment, network,
maintenance and user support. This cost-efficient service
provides all locations with equal access to standard features and
facilities. In addition, detailed contingency planning will
reduce the risk of a single point of failure impacting multiple
sites. Because IND is a widely dispersed organization, the
improved communication links with other government departments
and with the public at large will enable the IND to become more
responsive and deliver a higher quality of service.

The comprehensive technology refresh will overcome issues
associated with the past multi-vendor procurement, maintenance
and service management regime. A fully managed service will
deliver greater efficiencies and remove the cost of supporting
legacy equipment and unused network inventory. The upgrading of
PABX software levels will introduce new features such as home
working, hot-desking and voice mail for all extensions.

All systems provided by Global Crossing will allow the future
integration of both voice and data by ensuring today's systems
and services are compatible with new technologies such as voice
over IP (VoIP). Flexibility in the sizing of the network is also
required to accommodate projected growth. Within the next five
years, the IND estimates the number of sites will grow to 170.
Additional services under consideration in the short term include
videoconferencing and the expansion of services to channel ports
in mainland Europe.

NOTE TO EDITORS
Other large government users of Global Crossing's managed voice
service are Her Majesty's Prisons. A major phase of this $120
million contact was completed last August with the completion of
PABX upgrades at 120 of the 147 sites to deliver advanced
telephony to approximately 30,000 users. In addition, Global
Crossing provides managed voice services to 220 Foreign and
Commonwealth Office posts in 140 countries.

ABOUT GLOBAL CROSSING
Global Crossing (NASDAQ: GLBC) provides telecommunications
solutions over the world's first integrated global IP-based
network. Its core network connects more than 200 cities and 27
countries worldwide, and delivers services to more than 500 major
cities, 50 countries and 5 continents around the globe. The
company's global sales and support model matches the network
footprint and, like the network, delivers a consistent customer
experience worldwide.

Global Crossing IP services are global in scale, linking the
world's enterprises, governments and carriers with customers,
employees and partners worldwide in a secure environment that is
ideally suited for IP-based business applications, allowing e-
commerce to thrive. The company offers a full range of managed
data and voice products including Global Crossing IP VPN Service,
Global Crossing Managed Services and Global Crossing VoIP
services, to more than 40 percent of the Fortune 500, as well as
700 carriers, mobile operators and ISPs.

CONTACT: GLOBAL CROSSING
         Press Contacts

         Becky Yeamans
         + 1 973-937-0155
         PR@globalcrossing.com

         Kendra Langlie
         Latin America
         + 1 305-808-5912
         LatAmPR@globalcrossing.com

         Mish Desmidt
         Europe
         + 44 (0) 7771-668438
         EuropePR@globalcrossing.com

         Analysts/Investors Contact

         Mitch Burd
         +1 800-836-0342
         glbc@globalcrossing.com

         URL: www.globalcrossing.com



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

CERJ: Commences Debt Restructuring
----------------------------------
Brazilian distributor Cerj began the restructuring process for
its short-term debt, reports Business News Americas.

On Thursday, the Company started a BRL710-million capital
increase aimed at converting an intra-company loan of the same
amount from Chilean holding Enersis into 1.3 trillion new voting
shares. This will raise Cerj's capital to BRL1.6 billion from
BRL915 million.

Shareholders have the option to buy new shares at BRL0.53 per
1000 shares until March 19.

"If Enersis converts its debt into shares it will bring its total
investment in the company to BRL1.3 billion since 2002," said
Marcelo Llevenes, Spanish parent Endesa's manager in Brazil.

"This is a way of getting rid of an inter-company loan and of
clearing up the company's balance, giving it some surplus cash,"
UBS Warburg analyst Gustavo Gattass added.

Portugal's EDP presently holds 19.5% of Cerj but its
participation in the increase is not certain.

Cerj has already started talking with banks to restructure BRL240
million of debt maturing in the next 12 months, Llevenes said.

"We want to convert this short-term debt to an average maturity
of three years because payments need to be in line with our
revenues."

Cerj also has another BRL800 million in long-term debt.

CONTACT:  Cia de Eletricidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro - Cerj
          Sao Domingos
          24210-200 Niteroi - RJ
          Brazil
          Phone: +55 21 2613-7783
          Fax:  +55 31 2613-7123
          Home Page: http://www.cerj.com.br
          Contacts:
          Eduardo J. Bernini, Chairman
          Emilio Lopez Ordobas, Vice Chairman


COPEL: Parana State Head Goes To Paris For Arbitration Hearing
--------------------------------------------------------------
Parana state Governor, Roberto Requiao, is in Paris attending an
arbitration hearing on a US$850-million dispute between state
power Copel (NYSE: ELP) and U.S.-based El Paso (NYSE: EP) over
contracts at a thermoelectric plant in the state, relates
Business News Americas.

The 484MW Araucaria plant started operations in September 2002.
Under the power purchase agreement with El Paso, Copel will buy
100% of output for 20 years at US$42/MWh.

Requiao, when he took office early last year, froze payments for
Copel's power purchases from Araucaria, claiming that the
excessive costs were driving Copel into bankruptcy.

El Paso has started legal proceedings to guarantee it
compensation in the event that it is forced to sell its 60% stake
in the plant to Copel.

Copel owns 20% of the gas-fired plant and federal energy company
Petrobras owns 20%.


EMBRATEL: Embraces Saba Solution to Improve Employees, Services
---------------------------------------------------------------
Saba (Nasdaq:SABA), the leading provider of human capital
development and management (HCDM) solutions, announced Monday
that Embratel (Empresa Brasileira de Telecomunicacoes), Brazil's
largest telecommunications provider, has deployed the Saba
Enterprise Learning Suite. Saba enables Embratel to boost its
organizational learning activities while improving its ability to
serve its customers throughout Brazil.

"Embratel has a tradition of providing high quality and reliable
telecommunications services and operations to our customers,"
said Joaquim Correia, Embratel's director of human resources. "We
pride ourselves on the excellent relationship we maintain with
our customers, and on our commitment to training and improving
the quality of life of our employees. Saba is a key component
that enables us to achieve this objective."

Embratel provides a complete portfolio of telecommunications
solutions, including advanced voice, high-speed data
transmission, internet, data communication by satellite and
corporate networks. The company plays a key role in the largest
telecommunications network in Latin America, operating five
satellites that connect Brazil to any part of the world. Its
highest priority, however, is to provide alternative plans and
promotions to benefit its customers, reducing the cost of their
calls and making the best of their Embratel experience.

To meet these requirements, Embratel maintains a corporate
university, dedicated to helping its employees and customers
embrace and deliver cutting-edge telecommunications technology.

"Customer satisfaction is a critical element in the highly
competitive telecommunications industry. And leading companies
such as Embratel understand the connection between the ongoing
development of employees and an organization's ability to
maintain the highest levels of customer satisfaction," said Bobby
Yazdani, Saba's chairman and CEO. "Saba supports Embratel's
customer satisfaction and employee development initiatives with
our depth of telecommunications experience and our commitment to
continual innovation. This helps ensure that Embratel can
continue to deliver on its promise of the highest levels of
service and satisfaction to its employees, customers and
partners."

About Embratel

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

About Saba

Saba (Nasdaq:SABA) is the leading provider of human capital
development and management (HCDM) solutions, which increase
organizational performance through the implementation of a
management system for aligning, developing, and managing people.
Among the Global 2000, Saba customers include Alcatel, Cisco
Systems, DaimlerChrysler, EMC Corp., Kaiser Permanente,
Medtronic, Procter & Gamble, and VERITAS Software. Saba has
received industry recognition for its solutions, and recently
achieved the leader quadrant position in the Gartner 2003 e-
Learning Suite "Magic Quadrant."


CONTACT:  Saba
          Redwood Shores, California
          Phone: (877) SABA-101 or (650) 779-2791.
          Home page: www.saba.com

          Aimee Schoaf
          Phone: 623-536-5021
          Email: aschoaf@saba.com


PARMALAT BRASIL: Sumitomo Responds To Warning
---------------------------------------------
A unit of Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. in Brazil moved
to discredit statements issued by Enrico Bondi, the administrator
of Italy's troubled Parmalat Finanziaria SpA (PRF.MI), against
it, says Dow Jones.

Bondi has warned that Parmalat could hold the Japanese bank
"responsible for any damages caused" to its main dairy unit in
Brazil after a recent court-ordered intervention.

In a letter to Sumitomo, Bondi said that the intervention
jeopardized the unit's efforts to stay afloat and suggested that
Sumitomo do what was necessary to "avoid the liquidation of the
Subsidiary, or else suffer the legal consequences of your actions
or inactions."

But in a statement provided to Dow Jones Newswires by Claudio
Lucio Grimaldi, head of Sumitomo Mitsui Brasileiro's legal
department, Sumitomo said that the "allegations or threat made by
Parmalat Italy are devoid of merit and represent an inappropriate
challenge to the authority of the court in Brazil."

Sumitomo said Friday that it was "confident that it has at all
times conducted itself properly and in accordance with applicable
law in Brazil."

The bank said that it would "in due course respond in detail to
Mr. Bondi's letter, as well as take such further measures in
court as it deems appropriate."


* WB Approves $505M To Support Brazil's Economic Growth Program
---------------------------------------------------------------
The World Bank Board of Directors approved a US$ 505 million
First Programmatic Loan for Sustainable and Equitable Growth for
Brazil. The loan will strengthen a set of microeconomic measures
and institutional reforms for sustainable, broad-based growth,
employment generation, and poverty reduction through higher
investment and rising productivity. It will also reduce external
vulnerability by covering part of Brazil's external financing
requirements and increasing net international reserves.

"A successful program of continued sound economic management,
microeconomic and institutional reforms, and implementation of
actions in the areas supported by this loan could contribute to
Brazil reaching an average annual growth rate of 4 percent," said
Vinod Thomas, World Bank Brazil Country Director.  "Increasing
growth is important to provide employment and raise the incomes
of the poor, directly reducing poverty.

The loan supports a set of microeconomic and institutional
reforms with short, medium and long-term impacts:

Reduced logistic costs

Logistics account for the largest share of the cost of doing
business in Brazil. Estimated at 20 percent of GDP, almost twice
the proportion in OECD countries, logistic costs represent a
third of the operating costs of firms on average and up to half
in some industries.

The Government has set the framework to allow for a substantial
reduction of logistic costs, which will help increase the price
competitiveness of Brazilian products. Key actions will cut
customs release times by 40 percent, cut container handling costs
in ports by 10 percent, lower road transport costs by about 5
percent, and increase non-road transportation by 10 percent.

An enhanced business environment

Brazil's business environment has been improved through
infrastructure regulation, simplified small and medium enterprise
registration and a new corporate insolvency law. Two new
regulatory agencies have been created for land- and water-based
transportation, and a law on public-private partnerships has been
submitted to Congress.

Further Improvements to the business environment will increase
public-private partnership for infrastructure investments,
increase domestic competition and consumer choice by means of a
sound enforcement of the competition law, halve the time to
register a business decreased in selected cities, and increase
the speed of resolution and the recovery value of insolvent
enterprises under new bankruptcy law.

Improved financial sector efficiency, access, and soundness

Financial sector reforms will reduce bank overheads, increase
financial access, reduce credit risk, and accelerate the
expansion of the insurance industry. The access of the poor has
also been increased by legal changes that simplify the opening of
bank accounts. This should lead to an increase of 8 million bank
account holders, from 95 million to 103 million people, by 2006.

Increased technological progress and innovation

A new Innovation law will increase technology transfer contracts
between universities and the private sector up to 20 percent and
increase the private share in research and development (R&D) by
10 percentage points.  Supported improvements in the Clean
Development Mechanism will generate US$100 million in carbon
credits.

"The reforms of recent years, the commitment of the government,
and the microeconomic growth agenda being proposed, all point to
strong potential poverty reduction in the next few years. This is
not simply wishful thinking: some dividends are already being
seen from the government's serious approach to social policy and
economic management," said Thomas.

This single-tranche fixed-spread IBRD loan in euros (EUR 427.20
million), has a repayment period of 14 years including five years
of grace.

Brazil is among the World Bank's largest IBRD clients with a
total lending to date of $30 billion and an outstanding portfolio
of $8.4 billion.   The Bank's current portfolio in Brazil
comprises 53 active projects with about $4.7 billion in net
commitments.

CONTACTS:  (Washington)
           Angela Furtado  (202) 473-1909
           E-mail: Afurtado@worldbank.org

           (Brasilia)
           Mauro Azeredo (61) 329-1059
           E-mail: Mazeredo@worldbank.org



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

AES GENER: Extends Expiry of Tender Offers
------------------------------------------
Chilean generator AES Gener, a subsidiary of U.S. utility AES
Corp., extended the expiration dates of its tender offers,
reports Business News Americas.

Gener, which is looking to pre-pay debts totaling US$700 million
expiring in 2005-2006, has extended until April 1 the expiration
date of the previously announced tender offers for its US$73.9
million US convertible notes and US$403 million Chilean
convertible bonds due 2005.

The offer for the US convertible notes now expires at 12:00
midnight EST on April 1, while the offer for the Chilean
convertible bonds expires at 10am Santiago time the same day.

The expiration date for its US$200 million Yankee notes, due
2006, has also been extended, until 12:00 midnight EST February
27.

The previous deadline for the US convertible and Yankee bonds was
February 20, while the latest deadline for the Chilean notes,
extended most recently on February 20, was March 2.

As of 5pm EST on February 20, AES Gener had received tenders and
related consents from holders of US$145 million of Yankee notes
and US$55.2 million worth of US convertible notes, representing
72.51% and 74.67% respectively of the total outstanding amounts.

Gener also said it expects to receive a payment of US$298 million
from direct owner Inversiones Cachagua by February 27. The
payment represents the amount outstanding under a mercantile
account.

Gener also announced plans to borrow some US$75 million in the
form of syndicated bank debt and to issue US$300 million of bonds
on international capital markets next month, instead of the
US$400 million previously announced. Shareholders approved
offering guarantees for the bond issue during a meeting on
February 19.

Meanwhile, the Company expects to call an extraordinary
shareholders' meeting in March to revoke a previously authorized
capital increase of US$80 million and authorize a new equity
issue of up to US$125 million.

Gener will raise the capital through an offering of new shares to
its shareholders, including Cachagua, which is expected to close
during the first week of April.

In the meantime, its US parent AES Corp, through Inversiones
Cachagua, is expected to proceed with the previously announced
sale of some of its existing Gener shares in Chile through a
private placement in the international equity markets.

Previous reports have suggested that Cachagua could sell between
US$100 million - US$200 million of its shares depending on the
market price.

CONTACT:  AES GENER S.A.
          Mariano Sanchez Fontecilla 310 Piso 3
          Santiago de Chile
          Phone: (56-2) 6868900
          Fax: (56-2) 6868991
          Home Page: www.gener.com
          Contact:
          Robert Morgan, Chief Executive
          Laurence Golborne Riveros, Chief Financial Officer


AES GENER: Moody's Puts Rating Under Review for Possible Upgrade
----------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service will now review for possible upgrade
the B2 rating of AES Gener S.A's senior unsecured notes.

The ratings agency is embarking on the review in light of Gener's
improving business outlook -- stronger performance in the
Company's Chilean operations and in Chivor, Columbia, as well as
more favorable debt terms under negotiation at the Company's
Termoandes, Interandes subsidiaries in Argentina.

At the moment, the Company is undertaking a restructuring of its
balance sheet including receipt of cash from the parent, issuance
of new debt, and a tender offer for the outstanding senior
unsecured Yankee notes that are currently rated B2.



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

CONE MILLS: Judge Defers Sale To Wilbur Ross
--------------------------------------------
The US$90 million sale of Cone Mills to financier Wilbur Ross has
been put on hold following a federal bankruptcy judge's order.

Judge Mary F. Walrath, in a hearing late Thursday in Wilmington,
Del., issued the order at the behest of Cone Mills' bondholders.
The judge, however, said a US$35-million bond must be posted by
midnight Monday for the stay to remain in place.

The money would compensate Cone Mills for any losses that result
from the stay. The sale process would go ahead if the bondholders
can't post the bond.

Ross' US$90-million bid for the denim maker obtained the judge's
approval earlier this month. However, committees representing
Cone Mills' bondholders and shareholders appealed the judge's
decision, saying Ross' offer was too low.

Ross, reached by the News & Record in the Dominican Republic,
said he would wait to see what the committee does before deciding
how to act. He does not plan to increase his offer.

He noted that his purchase agreement with Cone has a Feb. 27
"drop-dead" date, meaning the deal could be terminated if the
sale has not closed by then.

Cone Mills, which filed for Chapter 11 protection last Sept. 24,
is headquartered in Greensboro, NC. It has manufacturing
facilities located in North Carolina and South Carolina, with a
joint venture plant in Coahuila, Mexico.


HYLSAMEX: Alfa To Hand Over Stock To Shareholders
-------------------------------------------------
Mexican conglomerate Alfa (ALFAA.MX) will give its shareholders
shares of iron and steel unit Hylsamex on Feb. 27, as part of the
spin off process of the ailing subsidiary, reports Reuters.

Alfa shareholders, owner of 90% of Hylsamex, agreed on Feb. 4 to
spin off the unit. Alfa originally said that divesting Hylsamex
would reduce overall sales by about one-quarter but that net debt
would drop to US$1.3 billion from about US$2.3 billion.

In the spin-off, Alfa will reduce its equity and reimburse it in
kind to shareholders through a pro-rated delivery of securities
known as CPOs, which represent the 90% ownership that Alfa has in
Hylsamex.

The equity reduction will take place in two stages. The first,
approved last Wednesday, will be a reimbursement representing
about 39%t of the ownership. The second, to be approved by
shareholders in 2005, will be for the remaining 51% stake owned
by Alfa.

CONTACT:  Hylsamex S.A. de C.V.
          101 Ave Munich Cuauhtemoc
          66452 San Nicolas de los Garza
          Nuevo Leon
          Mexico
          Phone: +52 81 8865 2828
          Fax: +52 81 8865 1210
          Home Page: http://www.hylsamex.com.mx
          Contact:
          Engr. Dionisio Garza Medina, Chairman
          Alejandro Elizondo Barragan, Chief Executive Engr


IUSACELL: Selects LightSurf MMSC and PictureMail Services
---------------------------------------------------------
Latin America's First Unified Multimedia Messaging Service
Integrates Peer-to-Peer Messaging with Complete Web-based Media
Storage and Management Solution

LightSurf Technologies, Inc., a leading provider of open
standards technology and services for multimedia messaging,
announced Monday that Grupo Iusacell, S.A. de C.V., a leading
wireless operator in Mexico, has selected LightSurf to host,
operate, and manage its MMSC and PictureMail Services offering
for mobile customers across Mexico. Iusacell is the first
wireless operator in Latin America to launch LightSurf's
completely outsourced MMS solution, which provides a totally
integrated messaging and Web solution designed to increase
operator revenues and customer satisfaction.

"We selected LightSurf's MMSC and PictureMail Services to help us
deliver the most compelling MMS applications and services to our
customers," says Eduardo Kuri, Executive Vice President of New
Services of Iusacell. "Because of LightSurf's recognized
expertise with MMS and PictureMail, we are confident they are the
right partner to assist Iusacell in offering truly differentiated
solutions to the Mexican wireless telecommunications market."

LightSurf's MMSC and PictureMail Services will help Iusacell to
quickly and cost-effectively present exciting multimedia
messaging services and applications through a single outsourced
framework. Beyond providing a superior user experience across
multiple handsets, the LightSurf solution allows operators to
extend multimedia functionality to all legacy handset users and
e-mail recipients. In addition, using the LightSurf solution
gives Iusacell the freedom to evolve into emerging areas like
VideoMail and content distribution, plus the ability to ensure
that MMS and PictureMail customers will enjoy a unified Web
presence.

Built on the LightSurf 5 Open Standards MMS Platform, the
LightSurf MMSC is a carrier-class suite of Multimedia Messaging
Services that are compliant with 3GPP, 3GPP2 and WAP Forum open
standards to ensure seamless interoperability with all wireless
network technologies, switches, gateways and MMS-enabled
handsets. The LightSurf MMSC and PictureMail Service solution
includes the hosted MMSC, PictureMail applications, and
integration with the Iusacell wireless network and billing
system. LightSurf manages around-the-clock operation and
maintenance of the services.

The deal with Iusacell further establishes LightSurf as a leader
in the MMS sector. In a recent report, advisory services firm
Zelos Group highlighted LightSurf as a leading provider of
infrastructure in the market for picture messaging services. In
the report, Zelos Group senior analyst Seamus McAteer maintained
that, "LightSurf...provides infrastructure to enable carriers to
quickly 'switch on' carrier-branded services that would otherwise
require extensive systems integration."

"Iusacell customers will soon join the millions of wireless
subscribers around the world who are enjoying our award-winning
services," said Philippe Kahn, CEO of LightSurf Technologies,
Inc. "LightSurf's outsourced MMS solution provides wireless
operators with ready-to-deploy services that drive higher ARPU
while lowering overall costs in a completely managed
environment."

About LightSurf Technologies, Inc.

LightSurf is the global leader in Open Standards MMS, Picture
Messaging, and Premium Content Delivery solutions, supporting all
mobile devices and wireless networks. LightSurf's open standards-
based services are currently deployed worldwide with partners,
including Sprint (NYSE:FON)(NYSE:PCS), Bell Canada (TSE:BCE-T),
Eastman Kodak (NYSE:EK), mmO2 plc (LSE:OOM), Yahoo! JAPAN
(JASDAQ:4689), Nokia (NYSE:NOK), Microsoft (Nasdaq:MSFT), Sanyo
(Nasdaq:SANYY), Samsung Electronics (KSE:05930), Toshiba
(TSE:6502), LG International Corp., Qualcomm (Nasdaq:QCOM),
LogicaCMG (LSE:LOG)(Enex:LOG) and Motorola (NYSE:MOT). Founded in
1998 by industry visionary Philippe Kahn, LightSurf is a
privately held company headquartered in Santa Cruz, Calif.

About Iusacell

Grupo Iusacell, S.A de C.V (Iusacell) (NYSE:CEL)(BMV:CEL) is a
wireless cellular service provider in seven of the nine regions
in Mexico, including Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey,
Tijuana, Acapulco, Puebla, Leon and Merida. The Company's service
regions encompass approximately 92 million POPs, representing
approximately 90 percent of the country's total population. For
additional information about Iusacell, visit www.iusacell.com.

CONTACT:  LightSurf Technologies
          Santa Cruz
          Dave Kumec
          Phone: 831-469-1861
          Email: pr@lightsurf.com



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

PDVSA: Makes $154M Debt Payment
-------------------------------
Signaling a recovery from a crippling general strike more than a
year ago, state oil firm PDVSA on Friday made a US$154-million
interest and amortization payment for this month on a US$4-
billion bond issue, says Reuters.

PDVSA said that the Feb. 12 operation by its affiliate PDVSA
Finance Ltd completed payment of two debt tranches of US$400
million each, carrying coupons of 6.45% and 8.45%, respectively.

"In this way, the Venezuelan oil corporation continues to honor
its obligations with its bond holders and investors and sends a
clear and positive signal about the restoration of its
operational and financial activities," the Company said in a
statement.

PDVSA said that of the US$4 billion in bonds it had issued,
US$2.8 billion remained to be repaid.

                      ***********

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

Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America is a daily newsletter
co-published by Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless
Hills, Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick,
Maryland USA. John D. Resnick, Edem Psamathe P. Alfeche and Oona
G. Oyangoren, Editors.

Copyright 2004.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
publication in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to
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