TCRLA_Public/040329.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 29, 2004, Vol. 5, Issue 62



ABA 541: Enters Bankruptcy On Court's Order
ACINDAR: To Absorb Abemex To Lessen Administrative Costs
BERAJA: Court Declares Company "Quiebra"
CENTRAL COSTANERA: Southern Cone Sells Stake for $7.88M
COPIAS DEL ALTO: Court Rules Bankruptcy, Yet to Name Receiver

COROL CLEAN: Court Declares Company "Quiebra"
DEXEN: Commences Bankruptcy Proceedings
EXPRESS: Declared Bankrupt by Court
IMPSAT: Denies Possibility of Sale to Telmex
MAIL EXPRESS: Mendoza Court Approves Reorganization

NAHUELSAT: Works With Government to Attract Investors


TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Building World-Class Operating Company


EMBRATEL: Brazilian Group Makes Competing Bid to Buy Company
TELEMAR: Clarifies Acquisition Proposal for Embratel


PACIFICTEL: Terminates Insurance Contract With La Union
PETROECUADOR: Sote Pipeline Back In Harness


C&WJ: Small Telco Firms To Sue Regulatory Body
C&WJ: Access Charges Reduction Sought by JCTA


ALFA: Holds Annual Shareholders' Meeting
GRUPO ELEKTRA: To Prepay Senior Notes Four Years in Advance
HYLSAMEX: Drives its Value Added Products Strategy in 2003
TFM: Ratings Not Affected by Arbitration Award
VITRO: Holds General Shareholders Meeting


PDVSA: Government Says BNB Power Execs Hid Fuel Deal Woes

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -


ABA 541: Enters Bankruptcy On Court's Order
Buenos Aires Court No. 4 declared Aba 541 S.A. "Quiebra,"
reports Infobae. Clerk No. 7 assists the court on the case,
which will close with the liquidation of the Company's assets to
repay creditors.

Mr. Gustavo Alejandro Pagliere, who has been appointed as
receiver, will verify creditors' claims until May 3, 2004 and
then prepare the individual reports based on the results of the
verification process.

The court is yet to disclose the deadline for the submission of
the individual and the general reports.

CONTACT:  Gustavo Alejandro Pagliere
          Tucuman 1424
          Buenos Aires

ACINDAR: To Absorb Abemex To Lessen Administrative Costs
Argentine long steelmaker Acindar's (BA: ACI) plan to absorb
subsidiary Abemex is part of the Company's effort to reduce
administrative costs, says Business News Americas.

Abemex was formed by Acindar and Brazilian steel conglomerate
Belgo Mineira, which owns a 20.5% stake in Acindar, in 2001 to
coordinate exports for both companies. The trading company
stopped operations roughly one year ago after a period of
declining activity and according to Acindar investor relations
official Jose Giraudo, Acindar has no plans to re-start Abemex

Absorbing Abemex is more cost effective from a legal and
administrative standpoint than keeping it as a separate
subsidiary, Giraudo said.

Acindar scheduled an extraordinary shareholders meeting for
April 19 to discuss the matter.

          2739 Estanislao Zeballos Beccar
          Buenos Aires
          Argentina B1643AGY
          Phone: +54 11 4719 8500
          Fax: +54 11 4719 8501
          Home Page:

          Jose I. Giraudo, Investor Relations Manager
          Tel: (54 11) 4719 8674
          Andrea Dala, Investor Relations Officer
          Tel: (54 11) 4719 8672

BERAJA: Court Declares Company "Quiebra"
Buenos Aires Court No. 24 declared local company Beraja S.R.L.
"Quiebra," reports Infobae. The court, assisted by Clerk No. 48,
assigned Ms. Lydia Poliszewski as receiver, who will examine and
authenticate creditors' claims until May 6, 2004. The deadlines
for the submission of the individual and general reports have
been set for June 18, 2004 and August 13, 2004, respectively.
The Company's bankruptcy case will close with the liquidation of
its assets to repay creditors.

CONTACT:  Lydia Poliszewski, Receiver
          Avenida Rivadavia 3356
          Buenos Aires

CENTRAL COSTANERA: Southern Cone Sells Stake for $7.88M
US company Southern Cone Power sold its 6.84% stake in Argentine
thermoelectric generator Central Costanera to a group of Chilean
businessman led by Sebastian Pinera for a total of US$7.88
million, rather than the previously reported US$10 million,
according to Business News Americas.

Southern Cone Power's Bermuda-based unit sold 1.96 million
shares, or 1.34%, in Costanera for US$3.1 million, and Southern
Cone Power's Argentine unit sold 8.08 million shares, or 5.5% of
Costanera for US$4.78 million.

Southern Cone's shareholders are CDC Globeleq (68%), New York-
based Scudder Latin Power Fund (30%) and Houston-based Hart
Energy International (2%).

The sale is in line with CDC Globeleq's international strategy
to divest assets in which it only has a minority stake and focus
on those which it controls and had "nothing to do" with
Argentina's economic situation, a Southern Cone Power source
told Business News Americas Wednesday.

COPIAS DEL ALTO: Court Rules Bankruptcy, Yet to Name Receiver
Buenos Aires Court No. 26 declared Copias del Alto S.R.L.
bankrupt. According to Infobae, the Court, assisted by Clerk No.
52, is yet to name a receiver to oversee the Company's
bankruptcy process. Important bankruptcy process dates will be
revealed soon.

CONTRACT:  Copias del Alto S.R.L.
           Coronel Diaz 2092
           Buenos Aires

COROL CLEAN: Court Declares Company "Quiebra"
Buenos Aires-based Corol Clean S.A. will now enter bankruptcy
after local Court No. 22 declared it "Quiebra," reports Infobae.
Creditors will have until May 5, 2004 to submit their claims to
the appointed receiver, Mr. Carlos Alberto Bavio, for
authentication. The receiver will submit the individual and the
general reports on June 18, 2004 and August 16, 2004,
respectively. The bankruptcy process will culminate with the
liquidation of the Company's assets.

CONTACT:  Carlos Alberto Bavio, Receiver
          Pieres 161
          Buenos Aires

DEXEN: Commences Bankruptcy Proceedings
Buenos Aires Court No. 22 declared the bankruptcy of local
company Dexen S.R.L., reports Infobae. The court, assisted by
Clerk No. 43, appointed Ms. Graciela Silvia Turco as receiver.
Creditors will have until May 4, 2005 to submit their claims to
the receiver for authentication. Following the authentication
process, the receiver will then prepare the individual reports
and submit these to court on June 17, 2004. Submission of the
general report will follow on July 11, 2004. The bankruptcy
process will end with the liquidation of the Company's assets.

CONTACT:  Graciela Silvia Turco, Receiver
          Cochabamba 4272
          Buenos Aires

EXPRESS: Declared Bankrupt by Court
Tribunal Civil y Comercial de Salta declared Express S.A.
"Quiebra," says Infobae. The appointed receiver, Mr. Fernando
Hugo Giovannini, will authenticate creditors' claims until April
13, 2004. Information gathered from the verification process
will be submitted to court via individual reports on May 26,
2004. Subsequently, the receiver will submit the general report
on July 8, 2004. The bankruptcy case will culminate with the
liquidation of the Company's assets.

CONTACT:  Express S.A.
          Dean Funes 642

          Fernando Hugo Giovannini
          Martin Cornejo 186

IMPSAT: Denies Possibility of Sale to Telmex
Regional corporate services provider Impsat Fiber Networks is
not for sale, Argentine paper Infobae reports, citing Impsat
Argentina manager Marcelo Girotti.

Girotti's announcement, according to Business News Americas,
came amid speculations that the unit is a target of Telmex's
next South American acquisition.

Telmex (NYSE: TMX), Mexico's incumbent fixed line operator, is
working to get a bigger slice of the South American market
following its acquisition of corporate services provider AT&T
Latin America. It has signed an agreement last week to bring
Brazil's Embratel into its portfolio. Now, speculation is rife
that Telmex has eyes for Impsat Argentina.

But Girotti said Impsat is not for sale. Nor would Telmex enter
the Argentine company through the purchase of a minority
shareholder's position.

Investment bank Morgan Stanley owns 19% of Impsat, a consequence
of the Company's 2002 bankruptcy resolution, but Morgan Stanley
wants to hold on to its stake, on the expectation that Impsat's
value will grow significantly in the next couple of years, he

Impsat is growing strong, especially in Argentina, where it
expects to invest ARS20 million (US$7mn) this year, he said.

MAIL EXPRESS: Mendoza Court Approves Reorganization
The Tribunal Civil y Comercial De Mendoza approved the "Concurso
Preventivo" petition filed by Mail Express S.R.L., reports

Along with the approval is the appointment of Ms. Gabriela
Andrea Caruso as receiver, who will authenticate creditors'
claims until April 19, 2004. The receiver will prepare the
individual reports after the credit verification process is
completed. The deadline for the submission of these reports, as
well as of the general report, will be disclosed shortly.

The informative assembly, one of the last parts of the
reorganization process, will be held on December 12, 2004.

CONTACT:  Mail Express S.R.L.
          Pellegrini 730
          San Jose Guaymallen (Mendoza)

          Gabriela Andrea Caruso, Receiver
          Chile 990

NAHUELSAT: Works With Government to Attract Investors
Argentine satellite operator Nahuelsat, controlled by European
aerospace giant Eads, plans to build two new satellites,
Business News Americas reports, citing local paper Infobae.

The plan requires an investment of US$400 million and Nahuelsat
doesn't have the cash to put up the required investment. As
such, Nahuelsat began working with the government to assemble a
team of investors, which so far has attracted the interest of
airport concessionaire Aeropuertos Argentinas 2000 and mobile
operator CTI Movil, as well as the government of the province of
Santa Cruz, in southern Argentina.

Nahuelsat and the government expect to have the funds gathered
in the short-term, and an agreement in place in two months,
according to the paper.

Nahuelsat owns Argentina's only satellite, which was launched in
1997. The Company originally planned to spend US$250 million -
US$300 million to launch a second satellite, to service the
second of Argentina's two satellite positions. Now the Company
will launch two.


TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Building World-Class Operating Company
At the Annual General Meeting of shareholders for Tyco
International Ltd. (NYSE: TYC; BSX: TYC) Thursday, Tyco Chairman
and Chief Executive Officer Edward D. Breen said that by
focusing on operational excellence and meeting its financial
commitments, Tyco is in the early stages of becoming a world-
class operating company.

"Our advancement over the past year is reflected in our
financial performance that also carried over into this year's
first-quarter results," Breen told attendees of the meeting,
which was held at Tyco Healthcare's United States Surgical
facility in North Haven, Conn.

"This progress includes significantly higher cash flow, reduced
debt and increased earnings." An audio replay of the meeting is
available on Tyco's website at

Preliminary Voting Results

According to the preliminary voting results announced at the
meeting, shareholders rejected a proposal to move Tyco's
incorporation to the United States, with approximately 93
percent of shares voted going against the proposal. They voted
in favor of a company proposal that amends Tyco's bylaws to
provide greater protection for shareholders.
"Our shareholders overwhelmingly supported our Board's decision,
which they reached only after a careful evaluation of all the
issues, that the interests of our shareholders would be best
served by making changes to our bylaws to strengthen shareholder
rights and by remaining a Bermuda company," Breen said.

In other voting, shareholders approved each of the nominees for
election as directors. Brian Duperreault, current chairman and
chief executive officer of ACE Limited, an international
provider of a broad range of insurance and reinsurance products,
has become the newest director, increasing the board membership
to 11.

Shareholders also approved the appointment of Deloitte & Touche
LLP as the company's independent auditors and a new stock and
incentive plan.

Approximately 86 percent of the company's outstanding common
shares were present, either in person or by proxy. The final
results will be reported in the company's Form 10-Q filing with
the Securities and Exchange Commission for the quarter ended
March 31, 2004, and will include a breakdown of votes for,
against and abstained.

Tyco International Ltd. is a diversified manufacturing and
service company. Tyco is the world's leading provider of both
electronic security services and fire protection services; the
world's leading supplier of passive electronic components; a
world leader in the medical products industry; and the world's
leading manufacturer of industrial valves and controls. Tyco
also holds a strong leadership position in plastics and
adhesives. Tyco operates in more than 100 countries and had
fiscal 2003 revenues from continuing operations of approximately
$37 billion.


EMBRATEL: Brazilian Group Makes Competing Bid to Buy Company
Calais Participacoes, S.A., a Brazilian company owned by several
leading Brazilian companies, offered Thursday to buy WorldCom
Inc.'s (symbol: WCOEQ, MCWEQ) Brazilian subsidiary, Embratel
Participacoes S.A. (symbol: EMT), for US$550 million in cash.
The bid tops the current US$360 million bid of Telefonos de
Mexico, S.A. de C.V. (Telmex) (symbol: TMX) to buy Embratel,
which was announced on March 15, 2004.

Calais is owned by Geodex Communications S.A. and three of
Brazil's leading telecom companies, Brasil Telecom S.A. (symbol:
BTM), Telemar Norte Leste S.A. (symbol: TNE) and SP
Telecommunicacoes Holding Ltda., a Brazilian unit of Telefonica
(symbol: TEF).

In its bid delivered earlier Thursday to WorldCom, Calais
provided the legal opinions of six leading Brazilian authorities
to support its view that it will be able to obtain required
Brazilian regulatory approvals for the acquisition on a timely
basis. The experts include a recent President of the Brazilian
telecom regulatory agency, Anatel, and the two leading legal
advisors to the Brazilian government and Anatel in the creation
of Anatel in 1997. Calais has also offered to make an upfront
US$50 million deposit that would be forfeited if it is not able
to obtain regulatory approval.

Otavio Azevedo of Telemar Norte Leste S.A. stated: "The Calais
offer represents a 53% premium over the current Telmex bid and
would provide WorldCom and its creditors with an additional
US$190 million in cash. We have asked WorldCom and its Creditors
Committee to meet with us so that we can describe why we are
confident that we will be able to obtain quick regulatory
approval for our bid."

CONTACT: Michael Sitrick for Calais Participacoes, S.A.,

TELEMAR: Clarifies Acquisition Proposal for Embratel
subsidiary TELEMAR NORTE LESTE S.A (TMAR), released Thursday in
Brazil this notice:

1. TMAR is a shareholder in Calais Participacoes S.A., a
publicly-held company headquartered at Rua Pamplona 818, Suite
92, Sao Paulo - SP, Brazil, enrolled with the National
Taxpayers' Registry (CNPJ/MF) under no. 04,034,792/0001-76
("Calais"), holding only nonvoting preference shares;

2. The controlling shareholder of Calais, owner of 100% of the
respective voting shares, is Geodex Communications S.A., which
exercises such control through its 99.99%-held subsidiary named
Gavle Holdings S.A.;

3. Other shareholders in Calais, holding only nonvoting
preference shares, are Brasil Telecom S.A. and SP
Telecomunicacoes Holding Ltda. (parent company of
Telecomunicacoes de Sao Paulo S.A. - Telesp);

4. Calais took part in the selection process for the sale of the
control share in Embratel Participacoes S.A., led by Lazard
FrŠres, a financial institution with a due mandate to this end
from WorldCom Inc., parent company of Embratel Participacoes

5. The offer made by Calais for the acquisition of the control
share in Embratel Participacoes was not originally selected,
although the size of the bid was above that of competing bids;

6. Based on the view that the reasons officially stated for
excluding Calais from the selection process do not differ from
those applicable to the acquisition proposal made by one of the
competing bidders, Calais submitted on this date a proposal to
WorldCom reiterating its intention to acquire the control share
in Embratel Participacoes S.A.;

7. Such proposal included individual guarantees provided by
Calais shareholders to pay the selling price of Embratel
Participacoes S.A., which will be enforced should the sale be

8. If the proposal made is accepted, Calais will pay the amount
of US$ 550 million, and upon execution of the purchase and sale
agreement, a payment in the amount of US$ 50 million will be
made, not subject to reimbursement by the seller in the event
that the required permits from Anatel are not obtained;

9. Completion of the sale transaction to Calais would imply a
payment that exceeds by 53% the competing bidder's proposal, and
would provide WorldCom and its creditors with an additional
amount of US$ 190 million from the sale of Embratel
Participacoes S.A.;

10. TMAR does not and will not take part in the leadership,
management and/or control of Calais, as it exclusively holds
nonvoting preference shares. TMAR's desire to participate in the
sale of Embratel, through Calais, is intended only to expand its
data service business, as opposed to becoming involved in those
Embratel services related to the provision of fixed-line
switched services ("STFC"), inasmuch as TMAR already holds a
concession to explore such services within Region I under the
Concession Plan pursuant to Decree no. 2534/98;

11. It is worthwhile to note that Calais has obtained opinions
from renowned Brazilian jurists stating that the structure
proposed for the acquisition of the control share in Embratel is
feasible, refuting the incorrect interpretation that the
intended acquisition would entail regulatory risks.

          Roberto Terziani
          Tel.: 55 21 3131 1208
          Fax: 55 21 3131 1155

          Carlos Lacerda
          Tel: 55 21 3131 1314
          Fax: 55 21 3131 1155

          Web site:

          Kevin Kirkeby

          Mariana Crespo
          Tel: 1-646-284-9416
          Fax: 1 1-646-284-9494


PACIFICTEL: Terminates Insurance Contract With La Union
Ecuador's state-owned telecoms company Pacifictel will call a
public tender for a company to handle its insurance contract to
insure the Company's assets within the next few days, Business
News Americas reports, citing Pacifictel chairman Alberto Perez

The move comes after the Company cancelled its insurance
contract with local insurer La Union.

"The (Pacifictel) board was aware of all the relevant details
concerning La Union and decided unilaterally to cancel the
contract for issued policies," he added.

The open election of an insurer to handle the company's
insurance contract highlights Pacifictel's desire to bring
transparency to the process, Perez said.

Just recently, an Ecuadorian court overturned the decision of
banking regulator SB to forbid local insurer La Union from
selling fire insurance policies for six months based on alleged
irregularities involving fire policies issued by La Union for
Pacifictel. La Union allegedly overcharged the telecoms company
to the tune of over US$1 million.

PETROECUADOR: Sote Pipeline Back In Harness
In a statement, Ecuador's state oil company Petroecuador
announced that its damaged Sote pipeline has already been
repaired, and has started transporting crude Wednesday night,
reports BNamericas.

A Petroecuador spokesperson said the pipeline transported
162,925 barrels on Wednesday night, with an additional 300,000
barrels planned for shipping the following day. The company has
also resumed crude exports and has guaranteed supplies to its
Esmeraldas and La Libertad refineries to meet the country's fuel

The pipeline was expected to restart on the weekend but workers
completed repairs on Wednesday, sooner than expected because
they worked overtime, local newspapers reported. "This shows we
have good workers who did their job in the shortest possible
time," the spokesperson said.

Crude shipments came to a halt when the Sote was ruptured in a
landslide on March 11. As a measure, Petroecuador signed an
agreement on March 18 with the private consortium operating the
OCP pipeline to transport crude until the Sote was repaired. The
OCP deal saved Petroecuador some US$48.7 million, the company
said in a separate statement.

The OCP consortium had suspended Petroecuador's crude shipments
Wednesday because the state-owned company did not notify the OCP
in writing about its export commitments from the Balao terminal,
the spokesperson said. But with the start-up of the Sote, the
company now has no need to transport crude on the OCP, except
for its 70,000 barrels a day share of private production, the
spokesperson said.

The agreement with the OCP, the spokesperson said, lays down a
useful blueprint for future accidents on the Sote. The agreement
gives the assurance that even if the Sote is damaged in the
future, Petroecuador will keep on producing and shipping crude.

Petreocuador currently has 1.64 million barrels stored at Lago
Agrio and 689,769b at the Balao terminal, the statement said.


C&WJ: Small Telco Firms To Sue Regulatory Body
For allegedly failing to properly regulate aspects of the rates
charged by Cable and Wireless Jamaica (C&W), the Office of
Utilities Regulation (OUR) is about to be at the receiving end
of legal action from lobby group Jamaica Competitive
Telecommunications Association (JCTA), reports The Jamaica

At a press conference Tuesday, the group charged that C&W was
allowed by the utilities regulator to "double" the rates it
charged other telecom providers to transfer calls to its

"We expect to go to the tribunal in 10 days," said Harold Brady,
a lawyer representing the JCTA, which is mostly made up of new
and small telecommunications firms. He added that he would seek
a fast track of the tribunal's ruling, but that JCTA could also
file a court action against the OUR.

"The rates ought not to move unless the increase can be
justified by C&W...that its costs increased," he said.

Mr. Brady's argued that C&W is to increase the rates only if its
cost for providing the service increase, and that the OUR had to
establish that the increase was cost-based, which he claims the
OUR did not do. "The OUR did not follow the statutory
procedure," he charged.

The OUR will face an independent tribunal to answer the charges.

The companies involved in the joint action against the OUR are:
Reliant Enterprise; Knutsford Telecom; Callworks; Touchpoint;
and NewGen Technologies; InfoChannel and Merit Communications.

The OUR, for its part, said Tuesday it was currently
investigating whether C&W was charging above cost for the
service, but stressed that the company was allowed to increase
the rates in the interim.

Apparently, the row was sparked by OUR's announcement that
C&W would be allowed to charge other Jamaican carriers no more
than US five cents per minute to transfer calls to landlines
beginning January 24 this year. Before, C&W charged US2.6 cents
per minute on the average. At the same time, the OUR established
a flooring of US8.1 cents per minute (approximately J$49) for
the rates that local telephone firms could charge international
carriers to deliver calls into Jamaica.

With this rate structure, the telecom upstarts would be able to
charge US carriers US8.1 cents to accept their calls into
Jamaica, and then pay C&W no more than US five cents to deliver
the calls to its land-based customers, allowing them to make a
spread on the transaction. The move was meant to provide
stability to the industry after the US carriers slashed the
amounts paid to Jamaican carriers.

However, Steve Twomey, JCTA spokesperson and president of
Reliant Enterprise Ltd, claimed Tuesday that C&W did not
increase its base rate to US carriers to the minimum US8.1
cents, and was therefore able to take customers from other
carriers. "The OUR was aware that C&W ignored the order yet they
did nothing," he said. "As a consequence, the industry was put
in a situation where we have not been able to compete and still

JCTA says that it wants fair and transparent regulation in the
sector. "The regulator can make our break an new industry and
the association wants to assure they are acting in every one's
best interest," Mr. Twomey said.

C&WJ: Access Charges Reduction Sought by JCTA
The Jamaica Competitive Telecoms Association (JCTA), described
as a newly-formed body comprising several smaller telecoms
providers, has sought the reversal by the Office of Utilities
Regulation (OUR) of a decision awarding Cable & Wireless a 100%
increase in access rates, reports Bnamericas, citing The Jamaica

"We believe the decision by the OUR negatively impacted the
industry," Steve Twomey of Reliant Enterprise, a member of the
JCTA, was quoted as saying. "There is a process that the OUR has
to follow in terms of quantitative documents and so forth. The
OUR did not follow the process and simply allowed C&WJ to double

On January 24, 2004, the OUR increased the minimum rates for
terminating calls on C&WJ's fixed line network to US$0.08, and
US$0.17 for calls to mobile phones, the Jamaica Gleaner
reported. In addition, the companies are now all required to
file monthly reports on traffic volumes and prices which, JCTA
said, will allow it to monitor market performance and to
intervene as and when appropriate.

"We are having fundamental problems with the way the OUR is
making decisions that affects a relatively new industry. It is
making determinations out of the blue with no explanation
given," said David Goldson, de facto head of the JCTA.

JCTA also complained that the OUR has not yet introduced the
multicarrier system for long distance calls, as it was supposed
to have done in November 2003.


ALFA: Holds Annual Shareholders' Meeting
ALFA, S. A. de C. V. (ALFA), a leading Mexican company, held
Wednesday its annual shareholders' meeting, during which the
Company's results for 2003 were presented to shareholders and
then received their approval.

Dionisio Garza, Chairman of the Board and CEO, stated that 2003
was an exceptional year for ALFA. In particular, the decision
was made to spin off its subsidiary Hylsamex, a decision which
was subsequently approved at an Extraordinary General
Shareholders' meeting held on February 4th, 2004.

Addressing the shareholders, Mr. Garza commented: "The spin off
of Hylsamex represents a big step forward in the execution of
our portfolio reconfiguration, a strategy we have been working
on over the last several years. As a result, ALFA's financial
situation will become even more solid and its profitability
should increase noticeably."

He added that ALFA's core businesses continued to strengthen
their operations during the year, as several acquisitions in the
food business were made in Central America and the Caribbean,
PET capacity was expanded in the United States, and the
autoparts plant in the Czech Republic started production.

The shareholders approved a cash dividend equivalent to US$
0.075 per share, to be paid beginning April 1, 2004. Similarly,
the shareholders approved the appointment of Board members,
Statutory Auditors and Secretaries for fiscal year 2004.

At the end of his presentation Mr. Garza referred to the
improved economic outlook for the U.S. economy and its potential
beneficial effects on Mexico, which would help ALFA to improve
results. "We will continue our efforts to identify attractive
investment opportunities that enhance our profitability and to
continue generating economic value for shareholders", he

         Enrique Flores, VP - Corporate Communications
         Tel.: 011 52 81 8748 1207

GRUPO ELEKTRA: To Prepay Senior Notes Four Years in Advance
Grupo Elektra S.A. de C.V. (NYSE: EKT, BMV: Elektra*), Latin
America's leading specialty retailer, consumer finance and
banking services company, announced last Monday that its
decision to prepay four years in advance its 12% US$ 275 million
Senior Notes due in 2008 next April 21, 2004 is a key component
of the Company's financial strategy to eliminate its expensive
debt in US dollars and exposure to foreign exchange

Javier Sarro, Chief Executive Officer of Grupo Elektra
commented: "Our decision to redeem four years in advance our
Senior Notes is a cause for celebration in the Company. This is
going to be the first time in the history of Grupo Elektra that
it will not owe any debt denominated in US dollars. Key factors
to successfully achieve our financial strategy have been to
improve the terms of our expensive debt and to refinance debt
issued in US dollars with debt in local currency. Furthermore,
the structure of our Certificados Bursatiles issuance with
increasing annual amortizations is an important step towards our
goal of becoming debt free in the following years."

"We are pleased with the results achieved from a strict
adherence of our financial strategy," said Rodrigo Pliego, Chief
Financial Officer of Grupo Elektra. "With the early prepayment
of the Senior Notes we will completely eliminate the Company's
foreign exchange risk and interest expenses in US dollars. The
redemption of the Senior Notes should lead to savings of
approximately US$ 40 million in the next four years. All of
these factors should improve the net income of Grupo Elektra in
the following years."

The Company expects to redeem its 12% Senior Notes due in 2008
through a combination of the funds obtained from its successful
issuance of Certificados Bursatiles placed on March 19, 2004,
its cash position and other financing sources.

Visit our award-winning corporate website at

Except for historical information, the matters discussed in this
press release are forward-looking statements and are subject to
certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results
to differ materially from those projected. Risks that may affect
Grupo Elektra are identified in its Form 20-F and other filings
with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Grupo Elektra - Tradition with Vision

Grupo Elektra is Latin America's leading specialty retailer,
consumer finance and banking services company. Grupo Elektra
sells retail goods and services through its Elektra, Salinas y
Rocha and Bodega de Remates stores and over the Internet. The
Group operates almost 900 stores in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras
and Peru. Grupo Elektra also sells and markets its consumer
finance and banking products and services through its Banco
Azteca branches located within its stores. Financial services
include consumer credit, personal loans, money transfers,
extended warranties, savings accounts and term deposits.


     Esteban Galindez, CFA          Rolando Villarreal S.
     Director of Finance & IR       Head of Investor Relations
     Grupo Elektra, S.A. de C.V.    Grupo Elektra S.A. de C.V.
     Tel. +52 (55) 8582-7819        Tel. +52 (55) 8582-7819
     Fax. +52 (55) 8582-7822        Fax. +52 (55) 8582-7822

     Samantha Pescador
     Investor Relations
     Grupo Elektra S.A. de C.V.
     Tel. +52 (55) 8582-7819
     Fax. +52 (55) 8582-7822

HYLSAMEX: Drives its Value Added Products Strategy in 2003
During 2003, Hylsamex was able to continue its growth strategy
in value-added products, and to expand Galvak capacity. At the
same time due to its financial performance its priority goal,
reducing debt, was achieved.

Total company sales reached 2.9 million tons, 4% more than 2002.
Export sales: 636,000 tons, equivalent to 22% sales with a 9%
volume growth and 15% in value, generating income for the amount
of $327 million US Dollars.

Due to Hylsamex's financial performance the net debt was reduced
in US$42 million, and by year-end closing the debt was US$1,014
million. In addition the credit of its subsidiary company Hylsa
was successfully renegotiated

This information was revealed last Monday during Hylsamex
General Ordinary Shareholders Meeting, headed by Mr. Dionisio
Garza-Medina, Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Alejandro M.
Elizondo-Barragan, General Director, and Mr. Leopoldo Marroquin-
Morales, Secretary.

Mr. Elizondo-Barragan informed that 2003 was a year of
significant growth and thanks to volume increase and improvement
in steel prices Hylsamex income increased 14%, with a total of
$15,977 million Mexican Pesos.

Hylsamex invested US$55 million in fixed assets to increase its
added value products market share. In 2003, 56% of the resources
were to expand Galvak production capacity reinforcing its
commercial leadership and the launching of this project was a
success. In addition in 2004 Galvak will add its line of

In order to offset the negative impact price increases in basic
products such as natural gas and scrap iron, the subsidiary
companies implemented energy savings programs, and substitute
natural gas by less cost fuels.

It was also informed that the first stage to separate Hysalmex
from Alfa is in process and by the first quarter of 2005 the
second and last stage will be completed. Hylsamex will become a
totally public company increasing its possibilities to access
the capital market.

Mr. Elizondo-Barragan also stated that the company's financial
status is good and that the costs and expenses reduction
programs have strengthened its competitivity. He added: "The
strategy to increase value added products and the excellent
customer service will allow Hylsamex to keep its leadership in
the Mexican steel industry.

Mr. Dionisio Garza-Medina in closing the Shareholders Meeting
stated: "In 2004, Hylsamex expects to continue achieving its
major objectives to create increased value for our shareholders.
The last months results are promissory and by the first quarter
we hope a flow growth of more than 50% over the previous year".

CONTACT:  Rafael Rubio
          Phone: (52-81) 8865 -1303

TFM: Ratings Not Affected by Arbitration Award
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said Thursday that the
interim award in the arbitration dispute between U.S. rail
company Kansas City Southern (KCS, BB-/Negative/--) and Mexican
rail company Grupo TMM S.A. (TMM; rated 'D') over KCS' proposal
to take control of TFM S.A. de C.V. (B/Watch Neg/--), which
ruled in favor of KCS, will not affect TFM's ratings since it
had already been incorporated.

According to the interim award, the rejection of the acquisition
agreement by Grupo TMM's shareholders did not authorize the
company to terminate the agreement entered into by TMM and KCS,
and that agreement remains in force and is binding. At present,
both KCS and TMM will move on to the second phase of the
arbitration process, which will decide the remedies and damages
due to KCS.

ANALYST:  Juan P Becerra, Mexico City (52) 55-5081-4416

VITRO: Holds General Shareholders Meeting
Vitro S.A. de C.V. (BMV: VITROA; NYSE: VTO) held its General
Ordinary Shareholders Meeting Thursday to approve the Company's
2003 financial results. Shareholders also approved a resolution
to pay a cash dividend of Ps $0.30 (thirty cents) per common
share and elected members of the Board of Directors and the
Examiners for the year 2004.

In addition, in accordance with the latest modifications of
Stock Market legislation, changes in Vitro's Social Statutes
were approved at the General Extraordinary Shareholders Meeting.

The cash dividend will be paid April 14th, 2004, in exchange for
coupon # 63, from the item Cuenta de Utilidad Fiscal Neta (After
Tax Income Account). The dividend, therefore, is not subject to
a withholding tax pursuant to the current Mexican Income Tax

In addition, Vitro's business strategy, initiated several years
ago and currently being implemented, was again endorsed by
shareholders. The strategy calls for Vitro to focus on glass
related businesses, to strengthen its financial position,
maximize operational efficiency, reinforce its international
presence, seek investment opportunities and joint ventures and
continue the program to reduce costs through an alternative
energy source technology.

"As we continue to pursue this business strategy, we expect to
see increasingly positive results in 2004, as we have seen in
the most recent quarters ", said Federico Sada, Vitro's Chief
Executive Officer.

Vitro, S.A. de C.V. (NYSE: VTO; BMV: VITROA), through its
subsidiary companies, is one of the world's leading glass
producers. Vitro is a major participant in three principal
businesses: flat glass, glass containers and glassware. Its
subsidiaries serve multiple product markets, including
construction and automotive glass; fiberglass; food and
beverage, wine, liquor, cosmetics and pharmaceutical glass
containers; glassware for commercial, industrial and retail
uses; plastic and aluminum containers. Vitro also produces raw
materials and equipment and capital goods for industrial use.
Founded in 1909 in Monterrey, Mexico-based Vitro has joint
ventures with major world-class partners and industry leaders
that provide its subsidiaries with access to international
markets, distribution channels and state-of-the-art technology.
Vitro's subsidiaries have facilities and distribution centers in
eight countries, located in North, Central and South America,
and Europe, and export to more than 70 countries worldwide.

          (Media Monterrey):
          Albert Chico Smith
          +52 (81) 8863-1335

          (Media Mexico D.F.):
          Eduardo Cruz
          +52 (55) 5089-6904

          (Financial Community):
          Beatriz Martinez/Jorge Torres
          +52 (81) 8863-1258/1240

          (U.S. Contacts):
          Alex Fudikidis/Susan Borinelli
          (646) 536-7012 / 7018



PDVSA: Government Says BNB Power Execs Hid Fuel Deal Woes
Some top officials at New Brunswick Power were accused Thursday
of not raising the alarm despite knowing about problems
surrounding the US$2 billion cheap fuel supply deal with
Venezuela's state-run oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA
(PDVSA), reports AP Online.

The newly-appointed President of the provincial Crown utility,
David Hay, named three senior officials at NB Power who opted
not to tell Premier Bernard Lord's government that the deal for
Orimulsion, a coal and water fuel mix, was in jeopardy.

Hay told a New Brunswick legislative committee investigating the
deal that just about everyone, including the government, knew
there was no signed contract to buy Orimulsion. However, he
said, the government wasn't told there might never be a signed
contract because of Venezuela's reluctance to continue producing
the fuel. "The real question is who understood, and at what
time, that there was a real risk that the contract may not be
signed," he told the committee.

Hay then identified Stewart MacPherson, the former CEO of the
utility who will retire within days, and David Reid, the
director of business planning as officials who knew of the risk
but did not tell others. He also accused James Brogan, vice
president of generation, who knew, along with MacPherson, about
significant cost overruns for the fuel delivery system, but did
not pass on that knowledge to the NB Power board of directors or
the government.

All three are scheduled to testify before the committee on

"The noose may be tightening on Mr. MacPherson's and Mr. Reid's
necks, but there's a real question about how diligent the
government was in all of this," said New Brunswick NDP Leader
Elizabeth Weir, a member of the committee.

The deal is now the subject of a lawsuit and ongoing criticism
of Lord's Conservative government.

NB Power and the province have undertaken a costly refit of the
Coleson Cove generating station near Saint John, N.B., to burn
Orimulsion. If the deal collapses, the utility will have to buy
more expensive fuel. The added costs would be at least $2
billion, the amount in damages NB Power is seeking in its

In the worst-case scenario, electricity rates in New Brunswick
could increase by as much as 10% if no Orimulsion delivery

The PDVSA has said there was no formal fuel-supply contract with
New Brunswick, and the company intends to get out of the money-
losing Orimulsion business. Mr. Hay, however, told the committee
it's too early to write off the agreement. He added there is
ongoing pressure on Venezuelan officials to honor the New
Brunswick agreement, despite the lack of a signed contract.


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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