TCRLA_Public/040308.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

            Monday, March 8, 2004, Vol. 5, Issue 47

                            Headlines
A R G E N T I N A

ADSUM: Files "Concurso Preventivo" Motion in Court
AIMARETTI VISINTINI: Court Approves Reorganization Petition
BAIDAL: Receiver to File General Report Today
BANCO HIPOTECARIO: S&P Upgrades Securities Rating to `CCC'
CLINICA MODELO: Court Studies Reorganization Motion

CONSTRUCTORA MARTE: Credit Verification Process Ends Today
DE LA TORRE: General Report Filing Deadline Today
DISCO: De Narvaez Balks at Bid
ESTABLICIMIENTO SAN IGNACIO: Credit Verification Period Ends
ESTADIO: Court Sets Schedule for Bankruptcy Proceedings

JM PRODUCCCIONES: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
LA MODERNA: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
LA PASKANA: Court Approves Creditor's Bankruptcy Petition
LAKAR: Court Assigns Receiver To Oversee Bankruptcy
METAL CATAN: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders

NOVOA HERMANOS: Bankruptcy Credit Review Ends
PROFUNDO: Receiver Closes Credit Check for Bankruptcy
PUDELKO: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
RESIMAR: Credit Reorganization Review Ends Today
SICOMPRRA: General Report Due in Court Today

SUSPENSORES: Credit Review for Bankruptcy Ends June 30


B E R M U D A

GLOBAL CROSSING: Qwest Wants $500K Administrative Claim Payment


B R A Z I L

AMBEV: S&P Places Corporate Credit Ratings on CreditWatch Pos.
CERJ/LIGHT/TELEMAR: Sign Agreement to Improve Local Services
USIMINAS: Net Sales Revenues Grow 31% In 2003


C H I L E

AES GENER: Moody's Assigns Ba3 To Proposed $300M Bond Issuance
PARMALAT CHILE: Has 90 Days To Skirt Bankruptcy
PARMALAT CHILE: Suppliers Demand Payment For Deliveries


M E X I C O

AHMSA: Authorities Order Arrest of CEO, Chairman
GRUPO IUSACELL: INSCI to Provide Content Management Solution


V E N E Z U E L A

PDVSA: Lacks Political Influence To Launch Another Strike


     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -


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

ADSUM: Files "Concurso Preventivo" Motion in Court
--------------------------------------------------
Adsum S.R.L., based in Buenos Aires, seeks court permission to
undergo reorganization. Infobae relates that the Company has
submitted its motion for "Concurso Preventivo" at the city's
Court No. 3. Clerk No. 5 works with the court on the case.

CONTACT:  Adsum S.R.L.
          Malabia 2174
          Buenos Aires


AIMARETTI VISINTINI: Court Approves Reorganization Petition
-----------------------------------------------------------
Court No. 4 of the Civil and Commercial Tribunal of Cordoba in
Argentine approved a motion for "Concurso Preventivo" filed by
local Aimaretti Visintini S.R.L., reports Infobae. Creditors
have until March 15 to present their proofs of claim for
verification.

CONTACT:  Aimeretti Visintini S.R.L.
          Obispo Salguero 447
          Buenos Aires


BAIDAL: Receiver to File General Report Today
---------------------------------------------
Mr. Mario Rafael Cabrosi, receiver for Baidal S.A., must submit
the general report to Buenos Aires Court No. 19 today. The
report is a consolidation of the individual reports after these
are processed in court.

The Company's assets will be liquidated at the end of the
process to reimburse its creditors. Those who failed to have
their claims validated by the receiver would be disqualified
from any payments the Company would make.

CONTACT:  Baidal S.A.
          Pedro Goyena 1555
          Buenos Aires

          Mario Rafael Cabrosi
          Uruguay 390
          Buenos Aires


BANCO HIPOTECARIO: S&P Upgrades Securities Rating to `CCC'
----------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor' s Ratings Services upgraded its rating on the
securities issued by Banco Hipotecario S.A. (BH) to 'CCC+' from
'CCC' as a result of the debt exchange completed by the bank
last January, including its ?277.3 million long-term notes due
2013, $448.2 million long-term notes due 2013, and $298.7
million guaranteed notes due 2010. At the same time, the new
securities were assigned a 'raBBB-' in the Argentine national
scale rating.

The original securities that were subject to the debt exchange,
although reduced to a small 3% of the bank's total liabilities,
remain in default, as a result of which BH's counterparty credit
rating will be maintained in 'SD' (selective default) until the
bank successfully implements a strategy to materially resolve
the situation of this unsettled debt.

"The upgrade reflects the significant improvement in the
institution's financial profile following the completion of its
debt restructuring, which allowed BH to reduce its total debt
burden and to extend maturities, significantly improving the
institution's overall financial profile, with key progress
attained in terms of margins and solvency," said Standard &
Poor's credit analyst Carina Lopez. Other positive factors
include the bank's achievements in cost reductions and its
improving asset quality trend, as a result of which BH's private
loan portfolio currently shows the lowest nonperforming figures
among major banks in Argentina. The rating also indicates that
the institution's creditworthiness will be conditioned by the
still-uncertain operating environment in Argentina and the
bank's exposure to the sovereign's creditworthiness-originated
mostly by the government bonds received as compensation for the
pesification, as is the case with the rest of the financial
system.

Prior to the Argentine financial crisis, the bank was the leader
in the individual residential mortgage loans segment, with a
total portfolio of more than $4 billion, and a market share of
around 40%. BH is one of the financial institutions that
suffered the most from the measures taken by the Argentine
government at the beginning of 2002. The compulsory pesification
of the loans in the bank's asset book created havoc on BH's
ability to pay down its cross-border, hard currency-denominated
debt, which forced the bank to restructure its debt. Despite the
significant challenges it implied, the debt exchange was
successfully completed last January.

ANALYST:  Carina Lopez
          Buenos Aires
          Phone: (54) 11-4891-2118


CLINICA MODELO: Court Studies Reorganization Motion
---------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires Court NO. 18 is studying a petition for "Concurso
Preventivo" filed by local company Clinica Modelo Laferrere S.A.
recently. Clerk No. 36 works with the court on the case. The
Company will undergo reorganization if the court approves its
submitted motion.

CONTACT:  Clinica Modelo Laferrere S.A.
          Desaguero 3535
          Buenos Aires


CONSTRUCTORA MARTE: Credit Verification Process Ends Today
----------------------------------------------------------
The deadline for credit verification for the bankruptcy of
Constructora Marte S.A.I.C.I.F. y M. expires today. The
Company's receiver, Beatriz Colucci, will prepare the individual
reports on orders from Judge Garibotto. The Company's assets
will be liquidated at the end of the bankruptcy process to repay
creditors.

CONTACT:  Constructora Marte S.A.I.C.I.F. y M.
          Emilio Rvignani 1470
          Buenos Aires

          Beatriz Colucci
          Eduardo Acevedo 217
          Buenos Aires


DE LA TORRE: General Report Filing Deadline Today
-------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires Court No. 22 ordered the receiver for bankrupt
Argentine company De La Torre S.A. to file the general report
today. This report is a consolidation of the individual reports,
which contained the results of the credit verification process
completed late last year.

The receiver, Buenos Aires accountant Ruben Eduardo Calcagno,
examined creditors' claims to ascertain the nature and amount of
the Company's debts.

CONTACT:  Ruben Eduardo Calcagno
          Rodriguez Pena 431
          Buenos Aires


DISCO: De Narvaez Balks at Bid
------------------------------
Royal Ahold, the Dutch retailer plagued by accounting fraud last
year, can't seem to find a buyer for its Argentine supermarket
chain Disco.

On Thursday, Argentine businessman Francisco de Narvaez said
that after long and fruitless negotiations with the Dutch
company Ahold, he decided to withdraw his bid to buy the
supermarket chain.

"We are withdrawing our offer because we have received no
concrete response and understand the offer was being used to
raise that of a competitor, which does not seem like fair play
to us," said Fabian Papini, who was spearheading the operation
for De Narvaez.

Papini said Ahold had said it was about to close a deal with
Chilean retailer Cencosud.

Ahold said in January that exclusive talks over Disco's sale to
French retailer Casino Guichard Perrachon and De Narvaez had
ended. The Dutch group then said it was still in talks with
other interested parties, but a spokesman declined to identify
them.

Analysts said outstanding legal claims related to Disco were
likely to have been the main obstacle to reaching a deal at the
time.

De Narvaez, who ran a supermarket chain in the past, previously
estimated Disco to be worth around US$350 million, but details
of his offer were not disclosed.


ESTABLICIMIENTO SAN IGNACIO: Credit Verification Period Ends
------------------------------------------------------------
The credit verification period for the reorganization of
Establicimiento San Ignacio S.A. ends today. The Company's
receiver, Mr. Ismael Elbio Ybarra, will prepare the individual
reports based on the verification results.

The informative assembly, one of the last parts of the
reorganization process, will be held on November 23, according
to the Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America.

CONTACT:  Establicimiento San Ignacio S.A.
          Irigoyen 827
          Corrientes

          Ismael Elbio Ybarra
          Belgrano 1068
          Corrientes


ESTADIO: Court Sets Schedule for Bankruptcy Proceedings
-------------------------------------------------------
The individual reports for the bankruptcy of Estadio S.R.L. must
be submitted to Buenos Aires Court No. 24 on May 24. The court
also ordered the receiver to file the general report on July 7.

Earlier, the court declared the Company bankrupt and assigned
Mr. Isaac Jospe as receiver. Creditors must present their claims
for verification before April 12.

CONTACT:  Isaac Jospe
          JE Uriburu 1054
          Buenos Aires


JM PRODUCCCIONES: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
-------------------------------------------------
Judge Fernandez of Buenos Aires Court No. 19 declared local
catering company JM Producciones S.R.L. bankrupt, according to a
report by local newspaper La Nacion. The ruling comes in
approval of a petition filed by the Company's creditor,
Interplatina S.A., for nonpayment of debt.

Argentine accountant Irma Aguilera, the appointed receiver, will
examine and authenticate creditors' claims until June 25. The
receiver will also prepare the individual and general reports on
the bankruptcy proceedings.

CONTACT:  JM Producciones S.R.L.
          San Jose de Calazans 1730
          Buenos Aires

          Irma Aguilera
          Luis Saenz Pena 1690
          Buenos Aires


LA MODERNA: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
---------------------------------------------
Court No. 3 of San Francisco in Cordoba declared local company
La Moderna S.R.L. bankrupt. The Company's assets will be
liquidated at the end of the bankruptcy process to repay
creditors.

The Company's receiver, Mr. Javier de Franceschi, will verify
creditors' claims until March 11. The receiver will prepare the
individual reports on the verification results and submit these
to the court on April 29. The general report is due at court on
June 15.

CONTACT:  La Moderna S.R.L.
          Urquiza 339
          Las Varillas, Cordoba

          Javier de Franceschi
          Iturraspe 1945
          San Francisco, Cordoba


LA PASKANA: Court Approves Creditor's Bankruptcy Petition
---------------------------------------------------------
Down Foods International S.R.L. successfully sought the
bankruptcy of fellow Argentine-based La Paskana S.R.L. after
Buenos Aires Court No. 24 declared the latter "Quiebra". La
Nacion relates that Judge Ballerini and Clerk No. 48, Dr. Diaz,
handle the Company's case.

The Company's receiver, Mr. Eduardo Echaide, will authenticate
creditors' claims until April 21. Proofs of claim are examined
to determine the nature and amount of the Company's debts.

CONTACT:  La Paskana S.R.L.
          Mendez de Andes 769
          Buenos Aires

          Eduardo Echaide
          Sanchez de Loria 155
          Buenos Aires


LAKAR: Court Assigns Receiver To Oversee Bankruptcy
---------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires Court No. 6 assigned Mr. Ruben Eduardo Suez as
receiver for the bankruptcy of local company Lakar S.A., relates
local news portal Infobae. The receiver will examine and
authenticate claims until May 3.

The court ordered the receiver to file the individual reports
based on the verification results on June 17, followed by the
general report on August 13. The general report is prepared
after the individual reports are processed in court. The
Company's assets will be liquidated at the end of the bankruptcy
process to repay creditors.

CONTACT:  Ruben Eduardo Suez
          General Cesar Diaz 2324
          Buenos Aires


METAL CATAN: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
----------------------------------------------
Metal Catan S.A., which was undergoing reorganization, entered
bankruptcy on orders from Buenos Aires Court No. 6. Infobae
relates that the credit verification process will be conducted
"por via incidental". The Company's receiver is Mr. Roberto
Boffa, a local accountant.

CONTACT:  Roberto Boffa
          Uruguay 390
          Buenos Aires


NOVOA HERMANOS: Bankruptcy Credit Review Ends
---------------------------------------------
The credit verification period for the bankruptcy of Novoa
Hermanos S.A. ends today. The receiver will then prepare the
individual reports based on the results of verification process,
and submit these reports to the court on April 22. After these
reports are processed in court, the receiver will prepare the
general report and submit it to the court June 30.

CONTACT:  Maria Cenatiempo
          Avenida de Mayo 1365
          Buenos Aires


PROFUNDO: Receiver Closes Credit Check for Bankruptcy
-----------------------------------------------------
Mr. Gustavo Scumparin, receiver for Profundo S.A., will close
the credit verification process today. Insolvency Judge Ojea
Quintana of Buenos Aires Court No. 12 ordered the receiver to
prepare the individual reports.

Dr. Perea, Clerk No. 23, assists the court on the case.

CONTACT:  Profundo S.A.
          Baez 292
          Buenos Aires

          Guztavo Scumparin
          Ave Cordoba 1412
          Buenos Aires


PUDELKO: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
----------------------------------------
Buenos Aires Court No. 6 declared local company Pudelko S.R.L.
bankrupt, reports Infobae. The Company was undergoing
reorganization when the ruling was issued.

The receiver, Mr. Luis Rolando Bendedossi, will verify claims
"por via incidental", as the court ordered. The receiver will
also be responsible for the individual and general reports.

CONTACT:  Luis Rolando Benedossi
          Maipu 812
          Buenos Aires


RESIMAR: Reorganization Credit Review Ends Today
------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Resimar S.R.L. must present their claims to the
Company's receiver Mr. Alfredo Fernandez Alvide, as the deadline
for verifications expires today. The receiver will prepare the
individual reports, to be submitted to the court April 5. After
these are processed at court, the receiver will consolidate
these reports into a general report due for filing May 17.

The informative assembly will be on September 27.

CONTACT:  Resimar S.R.L.
          Calle 1004 Esq. 1005
          Banquina del Puerto
          Mar del Plata

          Alfredo Fernandez Alvide
          Avenida Luro 3894
          Mar del Plata


SICOMPRRA: General Report Due in Court Today
--------------------------------------------
The general report on the bankruptcy of Buenos Aires' Sicompra
S.A. is due for filing today. The city's Court No. 16 ordered
the receiver to prepare the report after it processed the
individual reports containing the results of the credit
verification process.

The Company's assets will be liquidated at the end of the
bankruptcy process. Proceeds will be used to reimburse its
creditors.

CONTACT:  Elsa Taborcias
          C Pellegrini 1063
          Buenos Aires


SUSPENSORES: Bankruptcy Credit Review Ends June 30
---------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Argentine Suspensores S.R.L. must present their
claims to the receiver, Mr. Abraham Elias Gutt, before June 30
for verification. The receiver will examine and authenticate
claims to ascertain the nature and amount of the Company's
debts.

Buenos Aires Court No. 21 ordered the receiver to file the
individual reports on August 31, and the general report on
October 14. The general report is a consolidation of the
individual reports, which contain the results of the credit
verification process.

CONTACT:  Abraham Elias Gutt
          Tucuman 1484
          Buenos Aires



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

GLOBAL CROSSING: Qwest Wants $500K Administrative Claim Payment
---------------------------------------------------------------
Qwest Corporation is a provider of telecommunication services to
the GX Debtors. According to David J. Mark, Esq., at Holland &
Knight LLP, the Global Crossing Debtors have failed to pay
certain administrative claims relating to dial-around
compensation as mandated by orders of the Federal Communications
Commission. Dial-around compensation is intended to provide
compensation to the owner or operator of pay telephones whose
telephones are used to generate revenue to a third party, such
as Global Crossing, by the use of "800" numbers, calling cards
and the like, that enable a consumer to use a pay telephone
without directly paying for its use.

Qwest believes that these amounts are due from the Debtors since
the Petition Date:

  Year    Quarter   Amounts Due   Payment Received   Balance
  ----    -------   -----------   ----------------   -------
  2002    2          $335,986        $239,418        $96,568
  2002    3           427,050         305,847        121,203
  2002    4           430,589         287,125        143,464
  2003    1           348,994         271,024         77,970
  2003    2           458,790         333,551        125,239
  -----             -----------   ----------------   -------
  Total            $2,001,410      $1,436,966       $564,444

Mr. Mark explains that the services provided by Qwest constitute
administrative expenses by virtue of the utility orders entered
by the Court in the Debtors' Chapter 11 cases. On the Petition
Date, the Court entered an order pursuant to Sections 105(a) and
356(b) of the Bankruptcy Code authorizing the Debtors to provide
adequate assurance to utility companies. The First Day Utility
Order specifically includes Qwest as a utility company. On March
15, 2002, the Court entered an order pursuant to Sections 105(a)
and 362(b) of the Bankruptcy Code deeming the Utility Companies
adequately assured of future performance. The Utility Order also
includes Qwest within its scope. Both the First Day Utility
Order and the Utility Order compel Qwest to continue providing
telecommunication services to the Debtors. In return, the Orders
provide that Qwest will have an administrative claim and a
priority claim under Sections 503(b) and 507(a)(1) for any
unpaid postpetition utility charges. Qwest's services have
already been deemed by the Court to constitute actual and
necessary expenses of the Debtors' estates and, therefore,
constitute administrative priority claims.

Thus, Qwest asks the Court to compel the Debtors to immediately
pay the amounts due with regard to its administrative expense
claims. (Global Crossing Bankruptcy News, Issue No. 56;
Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., 215/945-7000)



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

AMBEV: S&P Places Corporate Credit Ratings on CreditWatch Pos.
--------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services placed its 'B+' foreign
currency and 'BBB-' local currency corporate credit ratings on
AmBev-Companhia de Bebidas das Am‚ricas (AmBev) on CreditWatch
with positive implications. The CreditWatch listing follows
Brazil-based AmBev and Belgium-based Interbrew's (not rated)
announcement on March 3, 2004, that they reached an agreement to
combine their operations to form InterbrewAmBev (InterBev). The
'BBB-' rating on the political risk insured bonds issued by
AmBev that are due in 2011 and 2013 are also placed on
CreditWatch with positive implications.

"The CreditWatch placement reflects the overall benefits AmBev
is likely to enjoy as a result of this transaction, which
include increased geographic and portfolio diversification,
entrance in less volatile markets such as Canada and the U.S.,
gains stemmed from expected economies of scale and enhanced
production efficiency, and cross-licensing of its brands through
Interbrew's network, among others," said Standard & Poor's
credit analyst Jean-Pierre Cote Gil.

The transaction should allow AmBev to be less dependent on the
more volatile Brazilian market, which has been one of the major
constraints to the ratings on AmBev. On the other hand, AmBev
will also face the challenges of integrating the North American
operations, collecting synergies, and operating in more mature,
lower-margin markets, with a distinct competitive environment.

The deal will involve a swap of assets and shares, with no cash
disbursement from either company. As the deal is concluded,
InterBev will hold 100% of BRACO S.A., the Brazilian entity that
controls AmBev through its 53% voting participation in the
company. Moreover, Interbrew operations in North America
(Labatt) will be transferred to AmBev; therefore, AmBev will be
in charge of all InterBev's operations in the Americas
(approximately 53% of EBITDA contribution to the whole group
according to pro-forma 2003 figures). The incorporation of
Labatt by AmBev will bring cash flows (about $600 million EBITDA
in 2003), but also an additional $1.5 billion of debt.

The CreditWatch is expected to be resolved as soon as Standard &
Poor's meets with the new group management team to evaluate the
business and financial strategies (in particular AmBev's role in
InterBev's overall business plan and the impact of the
incorporation of Labatt's debt and cash flow from now on), as
well as expectations for future performance and capital
structure.

ANALYSTS:  Jean-Pierre Cote Gil, Sao Paulo (55) 11-5501-8946
           Milena Zaniboni, Sao Paulo (55) 11-5501-8945
           Diane Audino, New York (1) 212-438-2388


CERJ/LIGHT/TELEMAR: Sign Agreement to Improve Local Services
------------------------------------------------------------
Brazilian telecommunications company Telemar has reached an
agreement with Rio de Janeiro power distributors Cerj and Light
to coordinate client support, repairs, maintenance and security
operations.

In a joint statement, Light and Telemar said that the
cooperation will allow a reduction of power outages caused by
accidents, slash network interference and allow the companies to
plan joint repair, maintenance and network upgrading operations.

They will also inspect the network together to prevent theft and
fraud, the statement said without revealing how much the
agreement would save.

Telemar provides telephony and internet services in most of
Brazil. Cerj, which is controlled by Spain's Endesa, supplies
power to 66 cities in Rio de Janeiro state, excluding the city
of Rio and some other towns. Light supplies electricity to Rio
de Janeiro city and 30 towns.


USIMINAS: Net Sales Revenues Grow 31% In 2003
---------------------------------------------
Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais S/A - USIMINAS (BOVESPA:
USIM3, USIM5, USIM6; OTC: USNZY), announced Thursday its fourth
quarter and annual results for 2003. The operational and
financial information of the Company, except where stated
otherwise, are presented based on consolidated figures in reais,
in accordance with existing Corporate Law. All comparisons made
in this communiqu‚ take into consideration the same period in
2002, unless otherwise stated.

HIGHLIGHTS

Sales and Revenues - Steel product sales volume reached 2,1
million tonnes in 4Q03 and totaled 7.7 million tonnes in 2003.
Sales volume remained stable in relation to the previous year,
with special mention of improvement in the product mix. This
increased revenues at Usiminas. Net sales totaled BRL2.4 billion
in the quarter and accumulated BRL8.7 billion in the year, 31%
above that sold last year.

EBITDA - EBITDA reached BRL763 million in 4Q03, with a total of
BRL3.1 billion in the year, 26% above that of 2002. Analyzing Q-
on-Q, EBITDA margin went from 33% in 3Q03 to 31% in 4Q03,
pressured by the cost of the main steelmaking raw materials.

Net income - Consolidated net income at Usiminas reached BRL359
million in 4Q03. With this result, the Company concluded the
2003 fiscal year with a consolidated net income of BRL1.3
billion and reverted the net loss of BRL325 million incurred in
the previous year, which was directly affected by exchange
devaluation of foreign debt.

Interest on Capital and Dividends - Usiminas earmarked a total
of BRL400 million for payment to its shareholders, including
dividends of BRL45 million, announced on March 4, 2004,
referring to fiscal year 2003. The dividend payout ratio was
30%.

Outlook - The Brazilian Steel Institute (IBS) forecasts 4%
growth in raw steel production in Brazil in 2004, totaling 32.3
million tons. The domestic flat steel market could grow
approximately 6%, confirming growth of the Brazilian GDP,
expected to be in the range of 3%-4%: the agricultural and
transportation industries should maintain the good performance
verified in 2003, sustained by the level of activity in
agribusiness; the auto industry should reach a 2-million vehicle
production mark if the export rate is maintained and domestic
sales rebound; and the shipbuilding industry and large-diameter
tube segment should also benefit from the execution of new
projects. In international markets, Chinese demand and the good
performance of the US market should continue to benefit price
evolution for steel products, the latter which are also being
pressured by surges in the main steelmaking raw materials prices
and freight rates.

Market, Production and Sales

Brazilian crude steel production grew 5.2% in 2003 and totaled
31.1 million tonnes. Flat steel production totaled 13.2 million
tonnes, an increase of 15.8%, while slab production for sale
decreased from 6.9 million tonnes in 2002 to 5.4 million tonnes
in 2003, a decline of 22%. According to preliminary IBS
statistics, 4th quarter domestic flat products sales grew 5.8%
and reached 2.5 million tonnes, thus reinforcing the trend of
recovery noted as of August with improvement in economic
conditions in Brazil. The reaction observed in the auto industry
and capital goods sector, however, has not yet arrived in
sectors related to infrastructure, such as civil construction
and large-diameter tubes segments. The international markets
remained heated, sustained by the growth in Asian demand for
steel products. Exports of flat steel product, excluding slabs,
totaled one million tonnes in 4Q03 and 3.4 million tonnes in
2003, an increase of 37.5% in relation to last year.

The Usiminas System produced 2.1 million tonnes of crude steel
in 4Q03. The decline of 6% in relation to 4Q02 was due to the
stoppage for programmed maintenance of Usiminas' Blast Furnace
nø2 between September and December. The revamping took place
strictly on schedule and allowed for the return to its
programmed production level. In the year, total production was
8.6 million tonnes, a growth of 2% made possible by the
production increase at Cosipa.

Production (Crude Steel)

Consolidated sales of steel products came to 2.1 million tonnes
in the quarter. In the year total sales maintained their level
at 7.7 million tonnes, the same achieved in 2002.

Total sales product mix in the last quarter of the year showed
an increase in the share of slabs to 18% from the 16% share of
4Q02. In the year there was an improvement in the product sales
mix: sales of galvanized and cold rolled products grew 20% and
16%, respectively, while the volume of slabs shipped fell 10%.

Domestic sales of steel products accounted for 1.4 million
tonnes in the quarter and totaled 5.3 million tonnes in 2003, a
volume close to that sold in 2002. In the year, the automotive
and electrical equipment segments had positive performance,
counterbalancing the unfavorable performance of the capital
goods and large diameter tube segments.

The Usiminas System concluded the year with a 59% domestic
market share in the flat steel segment. The fall of three
percentage points compared to 2002 was explained by the entry of
newcomers to the domestic market and also due to the stoppage of
Blast Furnace nø 2 at Usiminas for relining.

In the international market, exports, mainly to Asia, of higher
value-added products, such as cold rolled and galvanized steel,
were once again important factors in 4Q03. Heavy plate shipments
also grew, with part of sales destined to the South Korean
shipbuilding industry. Over the year, exports grew 2.5% and
accumulated 2.4 million tonnes, with significant growth in the
share of more highly elaborated products: shipments of
galvanized and cold rolled steel increased 58% and 52%,
respectively, while sales of slabs declined 13%.

Sales

Strong demand for steel in China and international price surges
in 4Q03 caused the Usiminas System to increase its exports to
36% of total volume sold. In the year, the domestic/export
market ratio came to 69/31, very close to that of the previous
year and to the planned targets established by the Company.

Net Revenues

Consolidated net revenues reached BRL2.4 billion in 4Q03 and
BRL8.7 billion in the year, growing 31%. The favorable
performance was a consequence of the improvement in sales mix
and better prices obtained both in the domestic market and
exports.

Gross Profit

In 4Q03 gross profit reached BRL805 million. In the year, the
Company grossed BRL3.1 billion, coming to a 32% increase over
2002. Gross margin remained at the 36% level.

Cost of products and services rose basically due to two factors:
increases in cost as a result of more elaborated products and
the impact of the prices of inputs, especially iron ore and
electric power.

Operating Profit

Operating profit before finance expenses (EBIT) was BRL680
million in 4Q03 and BRL2.3 billion in the year, an increase of
33%.

EBITDA, on the other hand, reached BRL763 million in 4Q03,
totaling BRL3.1 billion in 2003, 26% above that obtained in the
previous year, resulting in a margin of 35%.

On a quarterly basis, EBITDA margin went from 33% in 3Q03 to 31%
in 4Q03, evidencing cost pressure of the main raw materials.

Financial Results and Debt

Net consolidated financial expenses fell from BRL2.7 billion in
2002 to BRL851 million in 2003. The greatest contributing factor
to improved financial result was exchange variation, with an
appreciation of 18% of the real against the dollar in 2003.

Consolidated gross debt fell 20% in 2003 and totaled BRL7.6
billion at the end of December. Out of the total 39% originated
from import-export financing, 20% referred to BNDES, 12%
represented capital market operations and the remaining referred
to sundry operations.

Debt profile improved with the extension of maturities and
access to new sources of financing. The ratio of total
consolidated debt to EBITDA receeded from 3.9 times in 2002 to
2.5 times in 2003. This was a result of growth in operational
cash generation and to the priority given to debt reduction.

Net Income

Consolidated net income of Usiminas reached BRL359 million in
4Q03. With this result the Company concluded the 2003 fiscal
year with a net income of BRL1.3 billion. This reverted the net
loss of BRL325 million of the previous year, which was directly
affected by the effect of exchange devaluation on foreign debt.

The favorable performance of the Usiminas System is the result
of a long-term business strategy set out a decade ago. Its main
points were heavy investments in modernization and technology
updating, focus on supplying of the domestic market and the
constant search for synergies among the companies of the group.

Interest on Capital and Dividends

Usiminas earmarked a total of BRL400 million for payment to its
shareholders, including dividends of BRL45 million announced on
March 4, 2004, referring to fiscal year 2003. The dividend
payout ratio was 30%.

Investments

Investments totaled BRL215 million in 4Q03 and BRL475 million in
the year. At the Intendente Camara mill in Ipatinga, the high
points were the revamping of Blast Furnace nø 2 and the
conclusion of the project to install a top turbine in Blast
Furnace nø 3 (that uses off-gas pressure for the production of
electric power). In Cubatao investments were concentrated on the
conclusion of the revamping of Coke Oven Battery nø 1, the ramp
up of the steel shop degassing unit and the beginning of works
on Coke Oven Battery nø 2. For 2004 the investment program will
focus on projects related to the improvement of the quality of
the finished product mix, in addition to maintenance and small-
scale repairs.

Outlook

The Brazilian economy enters 2004 with some economic indicators
pointing to a more favorable scenario: inflationary control,
increase in commercial balance of payments and perspective for a
fall in interest rates.

The Brazilian Steel Institute (IBS) foresees a 4% growth of
crude steel production in Brazil, which represents a production
of 32.3 million tonnes. Also, IBS forecasts, coming to 16.7
million tonnes. Exports should decrease 5.7%, totaling 12.2
million tonnes in the year.

The domestic market for flat steel will grow approximately 6% in
2004, driven by exports of manufactured goods, the resumption of
investments in infrastructure and recovery in the large-diameter
tube sector. The agricultural and highway machinery segments
should also maintain the favorable performance of last year, due
to the level of agribusiness activity. The automotive industry
will be benefited by exports and by a possible recovery in
domestic sales and should produce approximately two million
vehicles. The shipbuilding industry should also present
favorable performance with the perspective of new projects.

International demand should also show positive trend with the
maintenance of the rate of Chinese deliveries and the suspension
of part of the commercial restrictions in place by Section 201
measures in the United States. However, pressure from raw
materials costs and freight may affect sales margins, even with
higher final prices for steel products.

With respect to its financial objectives, Usiminas will proceed
to reduce its consolidated debt. The target for 2004 is to
amortize at least US$ 300 million.

Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais S/A - USIMINAS is an
integrated steel producer, with net sales of BRL8.7 billion in
2003. The Usiminas System is made up mainly of USIMINAS and
Cosipa and has an annual capacity of 9.3 million tonnes of raw
steel and occupies a position of leadership in the domestic flat
steel market in the automobile industry, autoparts, agricultural
and highway machinery sectors, electrical and electronic
equipment segments and large-diameter pipe industry.

CONTACTS:  Breno Julio de Melo Milton
           E-mail: bmilton@usiminas.com.br
           Tel: +55 (31) 3499-8710

           Paulo Esteves
           E-mail: paulo.esteves@thomsonir.com.br
           Tel: +55 (11) 3897-6466/6857



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

AES GENER: Moody's Assigns Ba3 To Proposed $300M Bond Issuance
--------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service gave AES Gener S.A.'s planned offering
of US$300 million of Rule 144A long term Senior Unsecured Notes
a Ba3 rating.

At the same time, Moody's upgraded the Company's existing 6.5%
senior unsecured Yankee Bond issue due 2006 to Ba3 from B2,
concluding a review for upgrade.

The rating outlook is stable.

AES Gener plans to issue US$300 million of 144A Senior Unsecured
Notes as an integral part of a restructuring of the Company's
balance sheet. In addition to the sale of the Notes the parent
company, AES Corporation, through its investment subsidiary
Inversiones Cachagua Limitada, paid on February 27, 2004
approximately US $298 million of an intercompany loan with AES
Gener.

AES Gener will apply the inter-company repayment, the proceeds
from the offer of up to US$125 million in new common shares to
its shareholders, proceeds from up to US$75 million of new bank
debt, and the proceeds from the sale of the current bonds to the
repurchase of approximately US$700 million of outstanding debt
including the US$200 million Yankee Bonds due January, 2006 (of
which approximately US$146 million was funded and paid on March
1, 2004) and US$500 million of Convertible Bonds maturing March,
2005 (issued in Chilean pesos and US dollars).

AES Gener also announced the payment of a US$100 million
dividend on February 27, 2004. At the end of the restructuring
process, AES Gener will have reduced total debt by approximately
US$300 million, and AES Corp. will have reduced its percentage
ownership of AES Gener after a minority sale of its shares in
AES Gener.


PARMALAT CHILE: Has 90 Days To Skirt Bankruptcy
-----------------------------------------------
Parmalat Chile, which filed for court protection from its
creditors Wednesday, has 90 days to find a strategic partner and
make plans for paying the US$51 million it owes banks and
suppliers, Reuters reports, citing a ruling issued by a Chilean
judge.

In his ruling, Judge Juan Polanco of Santiago's 18th Civil Court
said the Company could not be declared bankrupt or its assets
frozen during the 90-day period.

The judge, who appointed Thursday an outside administrator to
manage Parmalat Chile, said creditors representing more than
half of the Company's debt agreed with the plan to seek a
partner, as did the Italian parent company.

"To reach a complete solution to Parmalat Chile's financial
problems, the company and its financial advisors have concluded
that the way to respond to all its creditors is to incorporate a
strategic partner," the Company said in Wednesday's filing.

Parmalat Chile named Bank of America as its biggest creditor,
holding US$25.2 million of the Company's debts.

The Company is also looking at other possibilities to resolve
its problems. Possibilities include a capital increase with
resources from Parmalat Italy or a lender, or transferring all
of its assets, debts and shares to a third party.


PARMALAT CHILE: Suppliers Demand Payment For Deliveries
-------------------------------------------------------
Parmalat Chile must pay back by March 10 debts to local dairy
farmers that are still supplying milk to the Company for
deliveries in December and January.

Otherwise, these farmers will further reduce remaining
deliveries, Dow Jones reports, citing Carlos Arancibia, Chief
Executive of dairy federation Fedeleche.

The milk suppliers cut deliveries to 100,000 liters a day from
350,000 as the Company repeatedly delayed payment. They are
studying their legal options, Arancibia added.

While the local unit filed for protection from creditors this
week, "the company can't keep functioning if it doesn't receive
milk," Arancibia said.

Parmalat Chile owes dairy farmers CLP3.0 billion ($1=CLP598.50)
for deliveries made since December. It promised to pay them 70%
of the debt for December on March 5, he added.


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

AHMSA: Authorities Order Arrest of CEO, Chairman
------------------------------------------------
Two top executives of Mexican steel maker Altos Hornos de Mexico
SA (AHMSA), who are out of the country negotiating debt, are now
facing charges of tax evasion.

On Wednesday, Mexico's Attorney General, Rafael Macedo de la
Concha, said authorities had issued arrest warrants for AHMSA
Chairman Xavier Autrey and Chief Executive Alonso Ancira for
"supposed tax irregularities." Interpol assistance is being
requested, de la Concha added.

In a press release Thursday, the Monclova-based AHMSA said it
was unaware of any arrest warrants.

A company spokesman said on Thursday Autrey and Ancira left
Mexico earlier this year to continue negotiations with creditors
of one of AHMSA's subsidiaries. He would not comment on the
location of the executives.

AHMSA, Mexico's No. 1 steelmaker, has US$1.8 billion of debt
with creditors, including Banamex and BBVA-Bancomer.

In 1999, at the height of a global steel glut and low prices,
AHMSA suspended debt payments and has since been unable to agree
a full restructuring plan.

A year ago, AHMSA reached a deal to restructure US$152 million
in debt at its main unit, Minera Carbonifera Rio Escondido
(MICARE).


GRUPO IUSACELL: INSCI to Provide Content Management Solution
------------------------------------------------------------
INSCI Corp. (OTC Bulletin Board: INCC), a leading provider of
enterprise content management (ECM) solutions, announced
Thursday that Grupo Iusacell, one of Mexico's largest
telecommunications providers, has selected INSCI's content
management software to improve the quality of its customer
services technology.

The software will enable customer service representatives (CSRs)
to have immediate access to customer invoices and customer
billing statements, provide customers easy access to their bill
via the Iusacell website, and improve the overall efficiency of
CSR-customer interactions. INSCI was chosen for its swift
installation time, ease of integration and support for high-
volume use and future growth.

The installation is part of an overall call center upgrade in
conjunction with Xerox Mexicana, an INSCI strategic partner.
Iusacell currently serves a significant number of post-paid
customers (close to 350,000 as of the second quarter of 2003),
with 350 customer services representatives and more than 120
branches throughout Mexico.

"The INSCI solution was chosen after an in-depth search process
of possible call center solutions," noted Roberto Vargas
Fuentes, commercial systems manager at Iusacell. "We selected
the INSCI/Xerox solution because of its open architecture and
scalability, which will enable us to easily expand the system as
our customer base grows and integrate with our existing system
in a short period of time."

"Our new installation at Iusacell is further evidence of INSCI's
international distribution success and our focus on providing
content management solutions for customer service. Our ability
to achieve full implementation and operations in days rather
than months significantly increases our customers return on
investment (ROI)," said Henry F. Nelson, president and CEO of
INSCI. "We would also like to express strong appreciation for
our partners at Xerox Global Services, who continue to choose
INSCI based on our ability to support their efforts and bring
added value to their customers."

About INSCI Corp.

INSCI Corp. (OTC Bulletin Board: INCC) is a leading provider of
integrated enterprise content management (ECM) and digital asset
management (DAM) solutions. INSCI's technology provides a strong
foundation enabling companies to manage the full spectrum of
enterprise content, from documents to e-mail, graphics and
video. INSCI's ESP+ Solutions Suite enables financial services
companies, call centers, health insurance organizations,
utilities and government to provide Internet-based access for
virtually unlimited users to their banking and financial
statements, customer bills and similar content. INSCI's WebWare
ActiveMedia DAM products provide a powerful media services
platform for integrating rich media into ECMs, marketing and
communication portals, web publishing systems, and e-commerce
portals. For more information about INSCI, visit www.insci.com .

CONTACT:  INSCI Corp.
          Susan Worthy
          Tel: +1-508-870-4225
          E-mail: sworthy@insci.com

          For Investors: ALLEN & CARON INC.
          Jill Bertotti
          Tel: +1-949-474-4300
          E-mail: jill@allencaron.com

          Media: SKIP FERDERBER & ASSOCIATES PR
          Skip Ferderber
          Tel: +1-425-315-1724
          E-mail: skip@skipf1.com



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

PDVSA: Lacks Political Influence To Launch Another Strike
---------------------------------------------------------
Despite recent civil unrest, Venezuela's state oil company PDVSA
is unlikely to go back on strike, Business News Americas says,
citing Peter Hill, president and CEO of US oil company Harvest
Natural Resources.

PDVSA "learn[ed] the lesson of last time and it was too
painful," Hill said, referring to the December 2002-February
2003 strike, which crippled the country's oil industry and shut
down Harvest's oil production for 37 days.

The strike brought down PDVSA's workforce from 38,000 to about
10,000 workers, which is a "mighty reduction," Hill said. Many
of the fired workers were involved in the strike and today the
Company "is not in a position to have the same influence" as it
was a year ago, he said.

Civil unrest began more than a week ago following President Hugo
Chavez's decision to deny a recall election. But according to
Hill, Harvest's production has not been affected by the latest
protests as its installations are far away from Caracas, where
the main protests have taken place.

As for PDVSA, its reduced workforce means the company has had to
be "ruthless in choosing where to focus its resources." The
company's oil production is under pressure and it will have
difficulty maintaining its current levels in 2004.

The Company is still in a transition period as it comes to terms
with its reduced influence and new role in the oil industry.
"It's a very different animal from what it was in the past,"
Hill said.



                            ***********


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

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