TCRLA_Public/040514.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

             Friday, May 14, 2004, Vol. 5, Issue 95



AGUAS ARGENTINAS: Reaches Much-Awaited Government Accord
BANCO FRANCES: Reports 1Q04 Net Loss of ARS30.3M Vs ARS154M
BANCO GALICIA: Reports ARS100.92 Million Loss In 1Q04
CABLEVISION: New Debt Restructuring Details Expected
CRESUD: Reports ARS10.2 Mln Net Income for the 3Q FY 2004

FLORIDA AUTOMOTORES: Initiates Liquidation Process
ILBOR: Liquidates Via Court Order
INGECIQ: Court Issues Bankruptcy Ruling
IRSA: Operating Results Higher Despit Lower Net Income

MARIMART: Bankruptcy Process Begins By Court Order
MARITIMA AUSTRAL: Court OKs Reorganization Petition
MODAPORT: Court Declares Company Bankrupt; Liquidation to Follow
MOLINOS RIO: Posts 1Q04 Net Loss of ARS10.4M
MULTICANAL: Considers IPO Following Debt Restructuring

NII HOLDINGS: Expects Possible Tax Benefits in '04
PADDLE ENTRE: Files for Bankruptcy
REPSOL YPF: Posts EUR520 Million First Quarter Profit
SCP: Results Improve With ARS17.4 Mln in Profit in 1Q04
SIARDECOM: Initiates Bankruptcy Proceedings



GLOBAL CROSSING: Shares Climb As Businessman Acquires Stake
GLOBAL CROSSING: Milberg Weiss Files Class Action Suit
KWELM: Creditors Expected to Receive Greater Payout
TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Declares Regular Quarterly Dividend


ACESITA: Reports 1Q04 EBITDA of R$211 Million
AMBEV: Reports 32% Consolidated EBITDA Growth In 1Q04


TELEFONICA CTC: Rolls Over Debt With US$54M Bond Issue


CHIQUITA BRANDS: Experts Agree on Extortion Disclosure

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

TRICOM: NYSE Suspends Trading of Depositary Shares


PETROECUADOR: April Exports Up 55%

E L   S A L V A D O R

BANCO SALVADORENO: Fitch Affirms Ratings
BANCO SALVADORENO: S&P Assigns Notes Initial `BBB' Rating


C&WJ: Details Reasoning on Protectionist Policies


ALESTRA: Wins Favorable Court Ruling on Bankruptcy Request


PAN AMERICAN: Splits Roles of Chairman, CEO

     - - - - - - - - - -


AGUAS ARGENTINAS: Reaches Much-Awaited Government Accord
The Argentine government, led by President Nestor Kirchner, and
embattled waterworks concessionaire Aguas Argentinas SA signed a
long-awaited, transitional agreement Tuesday, reports Dow Jones.
The new agreement commits Aguas Argentinas to invest ARS242
million this year and also requires its French parent company,
Suez (SZE), to suspend a claim against Argentina in the World
Bank's arbitration tribunal.

The bridge accord doesn't call for an increase in water rates.
But Aguas Argentinas President Yves-Thibault de Silguy said this
situation must be rectified.

"The accord foresees that there won't be rate rises in 2004,"
Argentine daily newspaper Clarin quoted de Silguy as saying.
"But I believe it would be lying or creating false illusions to
say that there will not eventually be an increase in rates. At
least let's imagine a generalized system of subsidies on the
part of the state."

The transitional agreement gives both sides breathing room to
negotiate a new, longer-term concession by the end of the year.
De Silguy said Suez will drop its World Bank tribunal if the
renegotiation process is agreeable.

"The claim was at the request of Suez shareholders," de Silguy
said. "If at the end of the year, we arrive at a renegotiation
accord, in that moment the claim in (ICSID, the tribunal) will
not have a reason to exist."

BANCO FRANCES: Reports 1Q04 Net Loss of ARS30.3M Vs ARS154M
Executive summary:

- The Operating income of BBVA Banco Frances S.A. (BBVA Banco
Frances) continued to improve - from Ps.3.1 million in the
quarter ended on December 31, 2003, to Ps.10.3 million in the
present quarter - on the back of the reestablishment of a
positive spread in the intermediation business, which combined
with the increasing revenues from the transactional business.
Net income for the first quarter of fiscal year 2004 registered
a loss of Ps.30.3 million, narrowing sharply from the Ps.79.6
million loss and Ps.154 million loss posted in the last and
first quarters of 2003, respectively.

- Efficiency continued its positive trend. The successful
performance of the Bank in transactional banking together with
its commitment to adjust the operating structure to the present
business scale, contributed to sustain our improved efficiency
levels - Net fee income as a % of Administrative expenses -,
which moved from 45% in the previous quarter to 53% in the March
2004 quarter. Administrative expenses decreased 10.2% compared
to the previous quarter, while net income from services
increased 5.3%, and 30% with respect to the March 2003 quarter.

- BBVA Banco Frances is the largest private sector bank measured
by deposits, with a 10% market share in private sector deposits
as of March 31, 2004.

- On March 17, 2004, the Central Bank authorized the
reformulation of the regularization and reorganization plan
submitted by BBVA Banco Frances in order to comply with the
capital requirements on an individual basis, which were
effective as from January 2004. Such plan included: a) the sale
of the Bank's subsidiary in the Cayman Islands, Banco Frances
Cayman Limited (Banco Frances Cayman), following the swap of
certain assets at market value, which resulted in a higher sale
price of such subsidiary, and b) a capital increase in the
amount equivalent in pesos to a US$77.7 million loan with Banco
Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria, S.A. (BBVA) which is currently
outstanding and of an additional amount of up to US$40 million.
Such capital increase was approved by the Shareholders' Meeting
held on April 22, 2004 in an amount of up to $385 million.

Our subsidiary Banco Frances Cayman was sold on March 18, 2004
for an aggregate price of US$238 million, to be paid with
Federal Government Secured Loans.

As a result of this transaction, BBVA Banco Frances remained
with a significant excess over the applicable capital
requirements, even without the application of corrective factors
set by Communication A 3986 of the Central Bank.

- BBVA Banco Frances reduced 12.3% (Ps.1,137 million) its Public
sector exposure, during the first quarter of 2004.

- During the present quarter the Bank reported as Income tax a
Ps.185.5 million loss related to the remaining balance of the
deferred tax registered under Other Receivables (in the Tax
Advance account), which had already been provisioned.

First quarter of fiscal year 2004

In the first quarter of 2004, the economy continued to grow at a
healthy pace and industrial activity expanded 5.5% in seasonally
adjusted terms with respect to end 2003, in spite of energy
shortages which have affected some industries since February.
The performance of the construction sector and of public
services was stronger with a cumulative growth of 9.5% and 6.4%
(in seasonally adjusted terms) respectively in the year to

The strong pace of economic activity led to a substantial
increase in imports which grew 85% yoy in the first quarter.
Export growth of 11%, reflecting the significant hike in
Argentina's commodity prices, resulted in an accumulated trade
surplus of U$S 2,658 million during the period.

Fiscal accounts were also favorably affected by economic
recovery. Tax revenues increased by 35%, far above nominal GDP
growth, while primary spending only grew by 29%. The public
sector primary surplus for the first quarter of 2004 was Ps. 3.9
billion, almost 4 times the target of $ 1.1 agreed on with the

Relative price adjustments, basically in services such as
education, health and transport, have begun to impact on
consumer prices. The retail price index rose 0.6% in March and
0.9 % in April 2004 with CPI inflation reaching 3.1% yoy.

Bank 30 day CD rates fell from an average of 4.2% the last
quarter of 2003 to 2.5 % in the first quarter of this year,
while total deposits increased 4.8% over December 2003, spurred
by strong growth in government deposits stemming from the rising
fiscal surplus. After contracting during 2002 and 2003, loans to
the private sector began to recover during the period led the
corporate segment. The FX market remained relatively stable and
the retail exchange rate fell from Ps. 2.98 per dollar in
December to a Ps. 2.92/U$S monthly average in March. Monetary
Base expansion originating in Central Bank intervention in the
FX market was sterilized by strong absorption by the public
sector and short term notes (LEBAC) leading to a contraction of
primary money of 1.7% in the first quarter.

The Business:

On the back of a strong corporate culture that distinguishes and
positions BBVA Banco Frances's brand in the market, the Bank
follows a universal banking strategy, targeting a leading
position in each of the businesses and market segments. As of
March 2004, BBVA Banco Frances ranked first in total deposits
among private banks in Argentina.

The active commercial policy in transactional business
implemented in 2002 and 2003 afforded BBVA Banco Frances a high
recognition of its clients and growth in customer base. The
broad range of transactional services prepared the ground for a
gradual return to the lending activity, which commenced in the
second half of 2003 through short-term financing, such as
overdrafts on demand accounts, personal loans and credit card
financing in the retail segment and through notes discounted,
working capital financing and investment-banking products, such
as trustees, in the corporate segment. The economy keeps
improving in 2004 and the Bank is prepared to rebuild its
private sector loan portfolio, gradually but consistently,
working with its existent clients and prioritizing market
segments that are more profitable to the Bank.

BBVA Banco Frances has improved its efficiency, increasing its
revenue from fees and reducing costs. This remains the target
for 2004, together with the challenge of reestablishing Net
Financial Income as the most important source of income.

To see presentation of results, click:

CONTACT:  Maria Elena Siburu de Lopez Oliva
          Investor Relations Manager
          Phone: (5411) 4341 5035

          Maria Adriana Arbelbide
          Investor Relations
          Phone: (5411) 4341 5036

BANCO GALICIA: Reports ARS100.92 Million Loss In 1Q04
Argentine financial services company Grupo Galicia Financiero's
(GGAL) main unit, Banco de Galicia y Buenos Aires SA (GALI.BA),
informed the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange that it registered a
loss of ARS100.92 million in the first quarter of 2004, reports
Dow Jones.

The loss could be attributed to exchange rate movements and to
"non-current factors" such as the amortization of provisions for
court injunction granted to depositors during Argentina's recent
financial crisis and adjustments in the valuations of the bank's
vast holdings of government bonds, Banco Galicia said in a
separate statement to the media sent via email.

"Excluding these items, the negative result for the quarter
reached just 3.9 million pesos," the bank said.

Net financial income before adjusting for bond valuations
reached ARS55.4 million, while net service income rose 25.3%
from the first quarter 2003 to reach ARS100.6 million.

Charges for bad debts "continued to reflect the improvement in
the quality of the loan portfolio, while the costs of
administration were stable at levels," following cuts imposed
last year, the bank said.

The filing, which was submitted to the bourse Wednesday didn't
include any year-on-year comparisons, nor any breakdown of
earnings. However, the bank claimed that the results "reflect a
consolidation in the improvement in the operations that began in
the prior period."

          Tte Gral Juan D Peron 407
          Buenos Aires
          Phone: +54 11 6329 0000
          Fax: +54 11 6329 6100
          Home Page:
          Juan Martin Etchegoyhen, Chairman
          Antonio R. Garces, Vice Chairman

CABLEVISION: New Debt Restructuring Details Expected
In a filing at the local stock exchange Wednesday, Argentine
cable television company Cablevision SA (CBV.YY) said it plans
to file in a local court today its offer to restructure US$725
million in debt, according to Dow Jones. The company's move
implies it has already resolved the problem caused by a
tabulation error in the debt offer's creditor approval votes.

On April 20, Cablevision admitted that a bondholder erroneously
voted twice in agreement of Cablevision's debt offer. However,
sources close to the proceedings have said the recalculated
totals should still meet the two-thirds approval rate required
for its out-of-court restructuring agreement, known in Spanish
as an APE. The tabulation error only caused a delay of one or
two weeks in Cablevision's timetable, said the sources.

Should the APE get legal approval, Cablevision's debt offer will
then become binding on all its creditors.

However, creditors can still challenge the debt offer, since the
APE process allows a formal objection period in which creditors
can challenge the offer on two grounds: the company's statement
of assets and liabilities or the way in which approval votes
were counted.

CRESUD: Reports ARS10.2 Mln Net Income for the 3Q FY 2004
Cresud S.A.C.I.F. y A. (Nasdaq: CRESY) (BCBA: CRES), a leading
Argentine producer of agricultural products, announced Wednesday
results for its third quarter fiscal year 2004, ended March 31,
2004. For the nine-month period ended March 31, 2004, net income
totaled ARS10.2 million, compared to ARS57.3 million for the
same period in 2003.

The decline in net result is due mainly to decreased interest in
IRSA Inversiones y Representaciones S.A., and to lower results
generated by our ranch holdings, which had benefited from
increased meat prices during the previous period.


For the nine-month period ended March 31, 2004, gross income was
ARS18.1 million, 14.0% higher than the same period last year.
Key to this increase was an improved sales margin for grain
followed by that of milk, offset by a decline in the ranch sales

To date, the Company completed the sunflower harvest, which was
assigned 1,839 hectares. The yield was 1.6 tons per hectare,
compared to 1.2 tons per hectare for the previous harvest.

Results for remaining crops are very favorable. As of May, 30%
of the soy crop had been harvested, and approximately 59% of the
corn crop, with very good yields. Total hectares planted were
9,523 for soy and 5,297 for corn.

Cresud is proceeding with the clearing of 18,000 hectares for
cattle-raising on its Los Pozos property in Salta. Of this area,
4,000 hectares have been finished. Furthermore, the Company also
cleared 1,185 hectares for agriculture under irrigation.

    Financial highlights

                               IIIQ FY  2004     IIIQ FY  2003

Total Sales                       39,737,343        51,541,197
Gross Income                      18,108,486        15,886,460
Operating income                  14,063,658        22,393,077
Financial results, net               289,248       (17,049,636)
Net Income                        10,249,604        57,285,661
Earning per share                       0.08              0.47
Earning per share diluted               0.05              0.33

Current Assets                    73,118,656        84,476,645
Non current Assets               532,624,737       500,180,546
Total Assets                     605,743,393       584,657,191
Current Liabilities               15,756,585        30,705,310
Non current Liabilities          148,415,344       171,145,814
Total Liabilities                164,171,929       201,851,124
Minority Interest                     47,619           254,380
SHAREHOLDERS' EQUITY             441,523,845       382,551,687

Cresud is a leading Argentine producer of basic agricultural
products and the only such company with shares listed on the
Buenos Aires Stock Exchange and Nasdaq. The company is currently
involved in various operations and activities, including crop
production, cattle raising and fattening, milk production and
certain forestry activities. Most farms are located in
Argentina's pampas, one of the largest temperate prairie zones
in the world and one of the richest areas of the world for
agricultural production.

CONTACT:  Gabriel Blasi - CFO
          Tel: +54 11 4323 - 7449

Establecimiento Metalurgico Bursztyn S.A. filed a "Concurso
Preventivo" motion, reports Infobae. The Company is seeking to
reorganize its finances after it failed to pay its liabilities.
The Company's case is pending before Buenos Aires Court No. 9,
with the assistance of Clerk No. 17.

CONTACT: Establecimiento Metalurgico Bursztyn S.A.
         Pedernera 933
         Buenos Aires

FLORIDA AUTOMOTORES: Initiates Liquidation Process
Florida Automotores S.A. will begin liquidation procedures after
Court No. 22 of Buenos Aires declared the company bankrupt. The
bankruptcy process will divest the company of its assets which
are administered and eventually disposed by the trustee or
receiver in accordance with the procedures set in Argentine Law.

Infobae reports that the court, Working with Clerk No. 44,
appointed Ms. Ines Etelvina Clos and Mr. Ruben Eduardo Calgagno
as receivers. They will verify claims submitted by the creditors
until July 8, 2004. After which, the individual and general
reports will be presented to court on September 6, 2004 and
October 19, 2004, respectively.

         Ms. Ines Etelvina Clos
         Mr. Ruben Eduardo Calgagno
         Lavalle 715
         Buenos Aires

ILBOR: Liquidates Via Court Order
Ilbor S.A., operating in Buenos Aires, entered bankruptcy after
the city's Court No. 1 ruled that it is "Quiebra." Infobae
disclosed that the city's Clerk No. 2 aids the court on the

The court appointed Mr. Hector G. Caferatta as the Company's
receiver. Creditors must submit their proofs of claims to Mr.
Caferatta for verification before June 23, 2004. The receiver is
also required to prepare the individual and general reports on
the bankruptcy process.

CONTACT: Mr. Hector G. Caferatta, Receiver
         Laprida 1898
         Buenos Aires

INGECIQ: Court Issues Bankruptcy Ruling
San Luis Judge No. 3 has ordered Ingeciq S.R.L. to begin the
bankruptcy process after the company failed to pay its debts,
reports Argentine news source Infobae.

The liquidation of the company's assets will be performed under
the supervision of Mr. Luis Alberto Costamagna, who has been
appointed as Receiver. He will be reviewing creditors' claims
until May 27, 2004. The outcome of the claims review will
determine the amount each creditor will get after the

CONTACT:  Ingeciq S.R.L.
          Pueyrredon Extremo Sur s/n Villa Mercedes
          San Luis

          Mr. Luis Alberto Costamagna, Receiver
          Pringles 125 Villa Mercedes
          San Luis

IRSA: Operating Results Higher Despit Lower Net Income
IRSA Inversiones y Representaciones Sociedad Anonima (NYSE: IRS
- News; BCBA: IRSA), Argentina's largest real estate company,
announced Wednesday results for the third quarter of fiscal
2004, ending March 31, 2004. Net income totaled Ps.45.2 million
for the nine months ended March 31 2004, or Ps.0.21 per share,
with diluted earnings per share of Ps.0.12, compared to income
of Ps.265.9 million, or Ps.1.3 per share (with diluted shares
priced at Ps.0.6) for the same period of fiscal 2003.

Consolidated sales totaled Ps.162.3 million for the nine months,
compared to Ps.168.1 million in the prior-year period. The
various segments' share in net sales was as follows: Sales and
Development, Ps.17.0 million; Offices and Other Rental
Properties Ps.10.9 million; Shopping Centers, Ps.103.4 million,
and Hotels Ps.31.0 million.


* For the nine months ending March 31, 2004, net income was
  Ps.45.2 million. The operating result generated an income of
  Ps.33.1 million, up 83% on the previous year.

* A debt buyback of US$12.0 million was conducted with HSBC Bank
  plc., London, at 28% discount.

* On March 31, 2004, we received US$ 2.6 million for warrants
  exercised on our Convertible Negotiable Bonds for 2.2 million
  units. As a result, 4,013,120 shares of common stock were

* During the nine-month period under consideration, our
  financial debt declined by approximately US$7.5 million as a
  result of the conversion of Negotiable Bonds.

* APSA's net income for the nine months ended March 31, 2004,
  was Ps.4.8 million. The operating result rose 229% to Ps.32.5

* In light of our remarkable business success, we decided to
  expand Alto Rosario, which will have 29,300 square meters of
  gross leasable area

* Occupancy of our shopping centers reached an all-time high of
  99% as of March 31, 2004, while tenant sales increased 27% in
  real terms during the nine-month period, exceeding that
  reported in fiscal 2001.

* Our credit card subsidiary Tarshop recorded an operating
  result of Ps.29.2 million, up 81% compared to fiscal 2003.

* We have made progress in the consummation of the Benavidez and
  Edificios Cruceros 1 y 2 projects, both of them oriented
  towards the high-income population segment.

* Average occupancy of our rental properties continues to
  recover, reaching 78% during the first nine months of 2004.

                       Financial highlights
               (In thousands of Argentine Pesos)

                          IIIQ FY 2004       IIIQ FY 2003

Total sales                 162,309            168,116
Operating Income             33,117             18,106
Financial results, net       49,995            278,591
Net (Loss)-Income            45,231            265,871
Net Income per GDS             2.06              12.71
Net Income per GDS diluted     1.23               6.01

Current Assets              316,086            288,603
Non Current Assets        1,779,306          1,764,361
Total Assets              2,095,392          2,052,964
Short-Term debt              89,473             87,434
Total Current Liabilities   182,439            172,458
Long-term debt              520,804            592,104
Total Non Current
  Liabilities               564,601            629,988
Total Liabilities           747,040            802,446
Minority Interest           448,260            441,332
Shareholders' Equity        900,092            809,186

IRSA is Argentina's largest, most well-diversified real estate
company, and it is the only company within the industry whose
shares are listed on the Bolsa de Comercio de Buenos Aires and
The New York Stock Exchange. Through its subsidiaries, IRSA
manages an expanding top portfolio of shopping centers and
office buildings, primarily in Buenos Aires. The company also
develops residential subdivisions and apartments (specializing
in high-rises and loft-style conversions) and owns three luxury
hotels. Its solid, diversified portfolio of properties has
established the Company as the leader in the sector in which it
participates, making it the best vehicle to access the Argentine
real estate market.

MARIMART: Bankruptcy Process Begins By Court Order
Buenos Aires Court No. 3 declared Marimart S.A. "Quiebra,"
reports Infobae. The declaration signals the Company to proceed
with the bankruptcy process, which will close with the
liquidation of its assets.

The court, assisted by Clerk No. 3, appointed Mr Fabian Marcelo
Zandperl as receiver who will authenticate proofs of claim until
July 7, 2004. Afterwards, the receiver will prepare the
individual reports based on the results of the authentication
and then submit these reports to court on September 3, 2004. The
individual reports will serve as basis for the general report to
be presented on October 10, 2004.

CONTACT:  Marimart S.A.
          Avda. Francisco Beiro 3410/14
          Buenos Aires

          Mr. Fabian Marcelo Zandperl, Receiver
          Av Cordoba 3515
          Buenos Aires

MARITIMA AUSTRAL: Court OKs Reorganization Petition
Buenos Aires based company Maritima Austral S.A. will undergo
reorganization after Court No. 3 approved its petition for
"Concurso Preventivo", Infobae reports. Reorganization is an
option available for companies under Argentine Law to prevent a
straight liquidation of assets. Under reorganization, the
affairs of the company will be placed under the supervision of a
trustee or receiver.

Ms. Rosa Gercovich has been appointed as receiver while Clerk
No. 5 assists the court on this case. Creditors have until June
21, 2004 to submit their proofs of claim to the receiver. The
informative assembly, the last stage of a reorganization process
is scheduled on March 29, 2005.

CONTACT: Ms. Rosa Gercovich
         Tucuman 54
         Buenos Aires

MODAPORT: Court Declares Company Bankrupt; Liquidation to Follow
Modaport S.A. of Buenos Aires entered bankruptcy on orders from
the city's Court No. 17, Infobae reports. Working with Clerk No.
33, the court assigned Ms. Marina Fernanda Tynik as receiver.
She is to verify creditors' claims until May 24, 2004.

Creditors who fail to have their claims validated before the
deadline will be disqualified from receiving any payments to be
made after the Company's assets are liquidated.

CONTACT: Ms. Marina Fernanda Tynik, Receiver
         Av Rivadavia 10444
         Buenos Aires

MOLINOS RIO: Posts 1Q04 Net Loss of ARS10.4M
In a brief statement to the local stock exchange Wednesday,
Argentine branded food products producer Molinos Rio de la Plata
SA (MOLI.BA) reported a first-quarter net loss of ARS10.4
million, Dow Jones relates.

The company did not provide further details on its first quarter
results. It also did not give comparative figures, but the
company did state it has net assets of ARS878.8 million as of
the quarter's end.

Molinos, has been busy expanding production capacity this year
to meet a recovery in domestic consumption, is 64% owned by the
Perez Companc group.

MULTICANAL: Considers IPO Following Debt Restructuring
Pending the conclusion of a restructuring of US$500 million in
defaulted debt, Argentine cable television operator Multicanal
SA is mulling on an initial public offering. Citing a company
filing to the stock exchange Wednesday, Dow Jones reports that
Multicanal's shareholders approved at a meeting held last Friday
a public offer of the Company's Class D shares. The filing,
however, didn't reveal the details of the IPO.

At the same time, Multicanal's shareholders agreed to a series
of capital increases representing about a 38% boost in the total
number of shares, says the report. The first measure is the
issuance of 15 million Class A shares and the second is an
increase of 208,276,160 Class C shares. The latter shares will
be distributed as part of Multicanal's debt restructuring
proposal, which offers equity plus $440 in new, seven-year notes
in exchange for every $1,000 in old bonds. The other option of
the debt swap is $1,050 in 10-year bonds for every $1,000 in old
notes. The equity component of the restructuring plan will alone
expand Multicanal's share capital by 35%.

The Company's public offering, as well as other capital
increases, are subject to final clearance for Multicanal's debt
restructuring, which creditors approved in December and an
Argentine court authorized last month. Last week, Multicanal
said the judge had dismissed remaining objections to the out-of-
court restructuring proposal. However, the Company is still
awaiting final confirmation of the court approval.

NII HOLDINGS: Expects Possible Tax Benefits in '04
If the operations of Argentine firm NII Holdings Inc. (NIHD) in
Argentina, Mexico and Peru maintain their profitable standing,
the company said Friday in a quarterly filing with the
Securities and Exchange Commission that it could realize this
year some US$135 million to US$165 million in tax benefits, says
Dow Jones.

NII, which emerged from Chapter 11 reorganization in November
2002, said in the filing it is assessing deferred tax asset
valuation allowance balances in all of its foreign operating
companies and in its U.S. companies throughout 2004 to determine
the appropriate level of valuation reserves.

After an assessment of deferred tax assets in the first quarter,
NII said it originally reversed US$13.6 million of a deferred
tax asset valuation allowance related to the future realization
of deferred tax assets beyond 2004 for some of its Mexican
operations, resulting in a tax benefit that lowered its
consolidated income tax provision for the first quarter.

NII also said that its current business plan does not
contemplate a significant expansion nor does it require any
additional external funding. However, it said it is studying
expansion plans in Mexico, Brazil and other Latin American

PADDLE ENTRE: Files for Bankruptcy
Buenos Aires-based Paddle Entre Rios S.R.L entered bankruptcy
after the city's Court No. 1 ruled that it is "Quiebra." Infobae
reveals that the Clerk No. 1 aids the court on the process.

The court appointed Ms. Marta Mabel Linares as the Company's
receiver. Creditors must submit their proofs of claims to the
receiver for verification before June 15, 2004. The receiver is
also required to prepare the individual and general reports on
the bankruptcy process.

CONTACT: Ms. Marta Mabel Linares, Receiver
    Parana 145
         Buenos Aires

REPSOL YPF: Posts EUR520 Million First Quarter Profit
Repsol YPF net reported income in first quarter 2004 was Euro
520 million, 26.2% higher than in the last quarter of 2003, but
22.6% lower than in the same period a year earlier.  Performance
was negatively affected by the euro's revaluation against the
dollar, which averaged 16.5% year-on-year, and 5.1% quarter-on-
quarter; and a 19% higher corporate tax rate.  If expressed in
dollars, net income in first quarter 2004 would have risen 30.3%
from the fourth quarter last year.

Operating income was Euro 1,001 million, while net cash flow
reached Euro 1,161 million, both figures much higher than in the
fourth quarter last year, although lower than in first quarter
2003, for the reasons explained above.

Repsol YPF's oil and gas production showed ongoing strong growth
in the quarter, reaching 1,124,900 boepd, 12.2% higher year-on-
year, with the emphasis on gas production - rising 28% - as a
result of increased production in Argentina, Trinidad & Tobago
and Bolivia.

Compared to first quarter 2003, the Company's first quarter 2004
results were achieved in an international context in which the
dollar was weaker against the euro; crude oil prices in dollars
were similar (with Brent trading at $32.0 per barrel), but 13%
lower in euros; a sharp drop in refining margins (16.5% in
dollars and 28.1% in euros), which were particularly high in
first quarter 2003 because of the war in Iraq; and narrower
margins on derivative chemicals that were partially offset by
improved margins on base chemicals.

Financial expenses cut 31%

Repsol YPF's net financial debt at the end of first quarter 2004
was Euro 5,316 million, showing a slight rise of Euro 269
million with respect to the year-end 2003 figure.  This rise
includes the purely accounting effect of the revaluation of the
dollar since 31 December and change in the company's scope of
consolidation. Not including both these accounting effects, net
debt would have been reduced by Euro 167 million in this

The underlying free cash flow this quarter was much higher than
this figure, at Euro 479 million, considering the extraordinary
expenditures in the quarter, including the acquisition of an
additional 3.7% stake in Gas Natural SDG for Euro 320 million.

The debt ratio remained practically stable, moving from 21.9% at
the close of 2003 to 22.3% at the end of March 2004.  Repsol
YPF's debt cost continued to decline thanks to the drop in the
Company's average debt and the lower debt cost.  Financial
expenses at Euro 61 million were 30.7% less than the same period
a year ago.

Two bond issues, totalling Euro 1,536 million were amortised in
first quarter 2004. The current Euro 3,651 million level of cash
and cash equivalent reflects the company's conservative
financial policy and is more than sufficient to cover the debt
maturities scheduled for the next twelve months.

Investments this quarter were Euro 871 million compared to Euro
1,410 million in the same quarter a year earlier, which included
the cost of acquiring an additional 20% stake in the Trinidad &
Tobago reserves.  Excluding this impact, the amount is
significantly higher than in the first quarter 2003, mainly
because of increased expenditure in the Gas & Power area
(purchase of Gas Natural SDG shares) and in Refining &
Marketing.  Divestments in this quarter were Euro 49 million,
and included the sale of part of the stake held by Gas Natural
SDG in Enagas.

Exploration & Production: oil and gas production rose 12% and
gas production 28% higher

Exploration & Production operating income was Euro 640 million
this quarter, down 4.5% from first quarter 2003.  This drop was
mainly due to a 16.5% year-on-year depreciation of the dollar
against the euro.  This impact, however, was offset by a rise in
oil and gas production and liquefied natural gas (LNG) sales
from the trains in Trinidad & Tobago, sold at high realisation

Total oil and gas production in the first quarter reached
1,124,900 boepd, 12.2% more than the 1,002,700 boepd registered
in the same quarter the year before.

Oil and liquids production in the quarter was up 0.7% year-on-
year, at 579,700 boepd, while gas production reached 545,200
boepd, 27.6% higher than in the first quarter 2003.  This
increase in gas production came mainly from Argentina, Trinidad
& Tobago and Bolivia.  Production in Argentina rose 30.8% year-
on-year to 322,000 boepd, and was used entirely to supply the
Argentine market where overall demand increased 26%.  In
Trinidad & Tobago, production in the quarter rose 27.2% to
92,000 boepd.  Production in Bolivia was 62,600 boepd, with this
47.6% increase earmarked to meet larger gas exports to Brazil.

With respect to the real prices obtained, these were affected by
the euro/dollar exchange rate and by the wider spread between
heavy and light crude oil types during the first months of this
year.  Even so, Repsol YPF's liquids realisation price averaged
$28.5 (Euro 22.8) per barrel in the first quarter 2004 versus
$28.3 (Euro 26.4) per barrel a year earlier, and $25.6 (Euro
21.5) per barrel in fourth quarter 2003.

The average price of gas was $1.20 (Euro o.96) per thousand
cubic feet, showing a 15.4% year-on-year rise in dollars.  This
price increase mainly came from the higher average price of gas
in dollars in Argentina (+11.4%) and increased gas sales in
Trinidad & Tobago, with the third LNG train in operation, which
were realised at higher prices than the Company average.

First quarter investments in the E&P area totalled Euro 280
million, down from the same period in 2003, and which included
the payment of a buy option for the additional 20% of the
reserves in Trinidad & Tobago. Investments in development
represented 70% of total expenditure (not including acquisition
of reserves) and were realised mainly in Argentina (66%),
Trinidad & Tobago (11%), Libya (5%) and Bolivia (5%).

Refining & Marketing: investments rise 37% and sales 3.6%

Operating income in Refining & Marketing was Euro 302 million,
33.6% higher than in fourth quarter 2003 and 15.4% less year-on-
year.  This performance reflects the weakness of the dollar
against the euro, lower international refining margins, and
narrower marketing margins in Argentina.

The Company's refining margin indicator was $3.54 (Euro 2.84)
per barrel versus $4.24 (Euro 3.95) per barrel in the first
quarter 2003.  The distillation level was similar year-on-year,
with the Puertollano Industrial Complex working at full capacity
since January of this year.

Total sales of oil products this quarter reached 13.17 million
tons, up 3.6% year-on-year.  In Spain, sales rose 5.4% to 8
million tons, and in Argentina were 3.1 million tons , down 2.9%
as a result of the shutdown at the La Plata Complex in February.
At 2.2 million tons, sales in other countries rose 7.2%.

Margins on gasoline and gas oil sold at service stations in
Spain were similar to those for the first quarter 2003, while in
Argentina marketing margins were lower within the context of the
Price Stability Pact.

LPG sales in Spain were 4.6% down on the same quarter a year
earlier because of very warm weather in January and February of
this year, an increase in the market share held by other
operators, and the development of other energies, especially
natural gas. LPG sales in Latin America grew 4.0% with respect
to first quarter 2003, thanks to good performance in Peru and
Ecuador.  Also noteworthy, the distribution of bulk LPG began in
Brazil this quarter.

Investments in Refining & Marketing were Euro 130 million, 36.8%
more than in the same period a year earlier.  Expenditure was
mainly allotted to current refining projects, including a mild
Hydrocracker in Puertollano, an FCC hydro-treatment unit in La
Coru¤a, a vacuum unit and a visbreaking facility in Peru,
revamping of the Refap refinery in Brazil, and the development
of piped LPG in community dwellings and municipalities.

Chemicals: sales momentum remains strong

In Chemicals, first quarter operating income was Euro 37 million
versus Euro 51 million in the same quarter a year earlier.
Poorer performance year-on-year was mainly the result of
narrower international margins on derivative chemicals in
Europe, with a pronounced narrowing of margins on styrene,
propylene oxide derivatives, and acrylonitrile.  By contrast,
base petrochemical margins improved (although not sufficiently
to offset the foregoing effect), thanks to stable feedstock

Total petrochemical sales in first quarter 2004 were 953 kt,
similar to those in the same period a year ago.

First quarter 2004 investments, at Euro 17 million, were 34.6%
down year-on-year, with most of this amount allocated to current
projects and the upgrading of existing units.

Gas & Power: Profit jumps 24% while sales rise 18%.

Gas & Power operating income in the first quarter 2004 rose
23.8% year-on-year, to Euro 78 million.  This growth mainly
reflects the impact of Repsol YPF's higher stake in Gas Natural
SDG (in this quarter, income/expense from Gas Natural SDG
consolidated at 29.347%, compared to 24.042% in the same period

Gas sales in the first quarter were 8.91 Bcm, 18.1% higher than
in the first quarter of 2003, owing to an increase in natural
gas trading activity by Gas Natural SDG and sales growth in
Latin America and Spain.

In Spain, total sales in this quarter rose 5.0% to 5.29 Bcm,
boosted mainly by a rise in sales to the industrial sector
driven by economic growth; to the thermal power station sector
to feed combined cycle operations; and to the residential-
commercial sector because of additions to the number of
customers supplied.  The number of clients in Spain increased by
320,000 in the last twelve months, reaching 4.6 million.

First quarter investment in Gas & Power was Euro 428 million,
considerably higher than in first quarter 2003, spent mainly on
acquiring an additional stake in Gas Natural SDG to reach a
total shareholding of 30.847% at 31 March 2004.

SCP: Results Improve With ARS17.4 Mln in Profit in 1Q04
Argentine conglomerate Sociedad Comercial del Plata S.A.
(COME.BA) managed to reverse a ARS46.5-million net loss it
posted in the first quarter of 2003 into a ARS17.4-million
profit in the same period this year, Dow Jones reports, citing a
company statement to the Buenos Aires stock exchange Tuesday.

According to the statement, pending legal action forced the
Company to exclude from its results the effect of two
restructuring agreements it claims to have struck with creditors
concerning the debts of both the holding company, SCP, and of
its Compania General de Combustibles S.A. unit, in which SCP
owns a 19% stake.

Consequently, the Company said it hadn't consolidated any of
CGC's operations into its financial statements and continued to
recognize zero value for its investment in the unit.

Dow Jones recalls that SCP sold its controlling stake in CGC to
private equity fund Southern Cross last year.

In the meantime, the Company reported ARS27.12 million in sales
in the first quarter of 2004 against sales of ARS69.727 million
in the year-ago period. Lower sales pulled its gross profit down
to ARS7.398 million from a comparative ARS30.169 million last

Operating loss for the first quarter of the present year is
ARS1.545 million, compared with a profit of ARS916,000 in 2003.

SIARDECOM: Initiates Bankruptcy Proceedings
Buenos Aires Court No. 22 declared Siardecom S.A. "Quiebra,"
reports Infobae. Clerk No. 44 assists the court on the case,
which will close with the liquidation of the Company's assets to
repay creditors.

Mr. Alberto Antonio Vilela, who has been appointed as receiver,
will verify creditors' claims until June 23, 2004 and then
prepare the individual reports based on the results of the
verification process.

The individual reports will then be submitted to court on August
19, 2004, followed by the general report on September 30, 2004.

CONTACT: Mr. Alberto Antonio Vilela, Receiver
         Rodriguez Pe¤a 431
         Buenos Aires

In a filing with securities regulators, Telefonica de Argentina
reported net profits of ARS577 million (US$200.3mln) for the
first quarter of 2004, compared to the ARS405 million net profit
it registered for the same period last year, says news source

Telefonica de Argentina, the Argentine unit of Spanish telecom
Telefonica SA, also reported a net equity of ARS2.86 billion
(US$991.3 million) for the January to March period.

          Tucuman 1, 18th Floor, 1049
          Buenos Aires, Argentina
          Phone: (212) 688-6840
          Home Page:


GLOBAL CROSSING: Shares Climb As Businessman Acquires Stake
With a Texan billionaire buying a 7.5% stake in
telecommunications company Global Crossing, the shares of the
Bermuda-based firm jumped 10% Wednesday after dropping more than
40% since the company's revelation of an accounting problem last
month, reports Reuters.

Oil and real estate tycoon Richard Rainwater began buying Global
Crossing shares in March. When the troubled firm made its
accounting investigation public, the billionaire stepped up his
purchases, states a regulatory filing on Monday. The 3 million
shares he acquired equal 13.6% of Global Crossing's publicly
traded shares. His equity stake, however, is smaller since not
all shares held by Singapore Technology Telemedia, which has a
61.5% in Global Crossing, are considered publicly traded.

Global Crossing has just emerged from bankruptcy in December.

GLOBAL CROSSING: Milberg Weiss Files Class Action Suit
The law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP announces
that a class action lawsuit was filed on May 3, 2004, on behalf
of purchasers of the securities of Global Crossing Limited
("Global Crossing" or the "Company") (Nasdaq: GLBCE) between
December 24, 2003 and April 26, 2004, inclusive (the "Class
Period"), seeking to pursue remedies under the Securities
Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act").

The action is pending in the United States District Court for
District of New Jersey against defendants Global Crossing, John
Legere (CEO) and Dan O'Brien (CFO). According to the complaint,
defendants violated sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Exchange
Act, and Rule 10b-5 by issuing a series of material
misrepresentations to the market during the Class Period.

The complaint alleges that throughout the Class Period, Global
Crossing reported positive results in publicly disseminated
press releases and SEC filings. Defendants attributed these
purportedly positive results to the Company's emergence from
bankruptcy protection on December 9, 2003, and decreases in fees
the Company paid to other carriers for use of their lines. Such
fees are referred to in the industry as "cost of access." In
addition, the complaint charges that defendants represented that
they actively monitored the Company's system of estimating its
costs of access, and further, that these estimates were adjusted
as invoices were received from access providers.

The complaint alleges defendants knew or recklessly disregarded
that: (i) Global Crossing lacked adequate internal controls,
(ii) Global Crossing's costs of access were materially
understated in Global Crossing's financial statements, and, as a
result, (iii) Global Crossing's reported earnings were at all
relevant times, artificially inflated.

On April 27, 2004, minutes after the market opened, defendants
disclosed that Global Crossing would restate its previously
issued financial statements as far back as fiscal 2002 because
defendants had understated the accrued cost of access liability
by $50 million to $80 million. The Company stated that the
understatement of its cost of access liability was due to
"incorrect estimates of cost of access expenses and the failure
to reconcile these expenses to vendor invoices", that there were
material weaknesses in its internal controls, and that investors
should disregard the Company's financial statements for fiscal
2002 and 2003, including interim periods. The Company further
stated that investors should disregard defendants' previous
guidance with respect to Global Crossing's 2004 results. In
reaction to this news, the price of Global Crossing common stock
fell $5.00, or 27.4%, from its previous day's closing price of
$18.20 per share, to close on April 27, 2004 at $13.20.

If you bought the securities of Global Crossing between December
24, 2003 and April 26, 2004, inclusive, and sustained damages,
you may, no later than June 29, 2004, request that the Court
appoint you as lead plaintiff. A lead plaintiff is a
representative party that acts on behalf of other class members
in directing the litigation. In order to be appointed lead
plaintiff, the Court must determine that the class member's
claim is typical of the claims of other class members, and that
the class member will adequately represent the class. Under
certain circumstances, one or more class members may together
serve as "lead plaintiff." Your ability to share in any recovery
is not, however, affected by the decision whether or not to
serve as a lead plaintiff. You may retain Milberg Weiss Bershad
& Schulman LLP, or other counsel of your choice, to serve as
your counsel in this action.

CONTACT:  Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP
          Steven G. Schulman, 800-320-5081
          Peter E. Seidman, 800-320-5081
          Andrei V. Rado, 800-320-5081

          Web site:

KWELM: Creditors Expected to Receive Greater Payout
Creditors of insolvent London-based KWELM insurance companies
will receive an average additional 7% payout across the five
companies, according to the tenth annual report for 2003, issued
today. This increases their total payments to date to between
44% and 62%.

The report also confirms that the creditors and the courts have
approved a closure programme which will see the bulk of the
funds paid to creditors within a further three years, instead of
11 under the original scheme. It sets 29 September as the final
day (the Bar Date) by which creditors must submit details of any


- Creditors to receive a further 7% distribution, payable from
end May 2004, distribution levels to date range from 44% to 62%
across the five companies.

- Funds for distribution to creditors increased to $2.5 billion.

- Cumulative gross reinsurance recoveries now exceed $2 billion
with $246 million recovered in 2003.

- Cumulative agreed claims now exceed $3.1 billion; $142 million
claims processed and agreed in 2003.

- The closure procedure should see completion of the run off and
further significant returns to creditors within three years.

- 29th September 2004 announced as the Bar Date for submission of
any claims.

The KWELM companies are subsidiaries of the failed London United
Investments Plc. They comprise Kingscroft Insurance, Walbrook
Insurance, El Paso Insurance, Lime Street Insurance and Mutual
Reinsurance. They specialized in US casualty, professional
indemnity and other liability insurance business. Over 90% of
the KWELM assets and liabilities are in US dollars and most of
the policyholders are based in the United States.

The companies and their creditors entered into a court approved
"Scheme of Arrangement" in 1993, the objective of which is to
pay out to valid creditors the maximum sum in the minimum
timescale. The scheme was amended in 2004 to permit early

The payout of the five companies are:

Company                 Revised                     Revised
                    Payment % (2004)           Payment % (2003)

Kingscroft                   57                         51
Walbrook                     51                         43
El Paso                      62                         56
Lime Street                  60                         55
Mutual                       44                         38
Average                      53                         46

Chris Hughes and Ian Bond, the Scheme Administrators responsible
for the run off of the business, comment:

"When we launched the scheme in late 1993 we predicted a
timescale extending beyond 2015, and an average return to
creditors of 39%. We have reached a 53% return to date; we
believe we will substantially conclude the run off within a
further three years and we now predict an eventual average
return to creditors in the range 58% to 76%."

"We continue to receive very positive feedback from creditors;
the run off to date is regarded as a success. The Distributions
achieved are a good reward for creditor's support and patience
and the product of a sustained high quality performance from the
specialist run off company we have established, KWELM Management
Services Limited."

The earlier closure procedure enables the administrators to
achieve the aim of returning the maximum value to creditors
within the minimum timescale. It places the onus on creditors to
submit their claims, whether present or future, before the 29th
September 2004 Bar date together with all the supporting

KWELM continues to work proactively with creditors to assist
them through the closure procedure. Creditors are encouraged to
attempt to agree their claims before the Bar Date.


The major portion of insurance cover provided by the KWELM
companies was written between 1972 and 1990.

The payment percentages continue to reflect available assets and
estimated ultimate liabilities, including notified claims, those
incurred but not reported, a prudent special margin and
provision for administrative costs and other liabilities. No
account is taken of future investment income, reinsurance
recoveries or asset realizations.

Further copies of the KWELM annual report can be obtained from
the individual below or viewed on the KWELM web site.

CONTACTS: Mr. Chris Hughes
          +44 (0) 207398 2900

          Ms. Caroline Cecil, Caroline Cecil Associates
          +44 (0) 20 7610 4110

          Web Site:

TYCO INTERNATIONAL: Declares Regular Quarterly Dividend
The Board of Directors of Tyco International Ltd. (NYSE: TYC,
BSX: TYC) declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of one and
one quarter cents per common share. The dividend is payable Aug.
2, 2004, to shareholders of record July 1, 2004.

Tyco International Ltd. is a global, diversified company that
provides vital products and services to customers in five
business segments: Fire & Security, Electronics, Healthcare,
Engineered Products & Services, and Plastics & Adhesives. With
2003 revenue of $37 billion, Tyco employs 260,000 people

Web site:


ACESITA: Reports 1Q04 EBITDA of R$211 Million
only integrated stainless and silicon flat steel producer in
Latin America, today released its first quarter 2004 (1Q04)
results. All operating and financial information, except where
otherwise indicated, is in Reais, based on the Parent Company's
figures as per Brazilian corporate legislation. All comparisons,
except where otherwise indicated, are with the first quarter
2003 (1Q03).

"The positive 1Q04 results reported by Acesita are a sign of
continued operating and financial stability combined with a
potential growth phase in 2004. The strong performance was
underpinned by increased demand - especially from large
Brazilian exporters -, exchange rate stability and higher prices
in the domestic market, in step with international prices,
helping to improve the Company's margins", explains Gilberto
Audelino Correa, CFO and Investor Relations Officer.

"The forecasts of 3.0% Brazilian GDP (Gross Domestic Product)
growth for 2004 are giving the first signs of economic recovery.
This is borne out by the 4.3% first quarter increase in domestic
sales reported by Acesita, although much of this demand comes
from export-oriented sectors of the economy. Combined sales to
both domestic and export markets performed even better,
expanding 10.8% over 1Q03 to 173.9 thousand tons, buoyed by
strong exports, which accounted for approximately 35% of total

Export volume grew 25.1%, from 49.0 thousand tons in 1Q03 to
61.2 thousand tons in 1Q04, as the result of the Company's
export diversification strategy adopted in 2003.

The first quarter increase in sales resulted in net revenues of
R$ 672.3 million, a 24.2% improvement over 1Q03; net profit of
R$ 100.1 million, 82.3% above 1Q03, and EBITDA totaling R$ 210.8
million, equivalent to 42.1% of the EBITDA generated during the
whole year of 2003.

These results prove that Acesita is moving forward, as expected,
in an environment of greater sustainability and steady growth,
with the consolidation of the strategic plan launched towards
the end of 2001. The backbone of its policy was the rebalancing
of the Company's capital structure, enabling it to reduce costs
and stretch out its debt maturity schedule and the expansion of
higher value-added product sales," adds Gilberto Audelino.

Operating Performance


The domestic economy showed signs of recovery in the first three
months of the year, though without any significant improvement
in internal consumption. Growth in Brazilian production is still
the result of export performance rather than of stronger
domestic demand.

Domestic sales of stainless steel accounted for 38.8% of 1Q04
sales to the Brazilian market, focused on export-oriented
sectors of the economy, in particular the auto industry and
especially during the first two months of the year. Market
prospects are further improved by the government's "Moderfrota"
program for modernizing the country's agricultural equipment.
Positive results were also chalked up in the capital goods
industry (especially the pulp and paper sector), white line
(registering a 10% increase in washing machine sales and 5% in
sales of stoves) and cutlery.

NOG silicon steel, the Company's second most important product,
represented 17.3% of total sales in 1Q04, a 10.9% growth
compared with 1Q03. OG silicon steel represented only 4.2% of
sales, but was the strongest-growing segment (29.9%).
Carbon/alloyed steel accounted for 14.5% of 1Q04 sales, growing
7.9% over first quarter 2003.

The domestic market accounted for 64.8% of total 1Q04 sales
volume, a decline from the 68.8% of 1Q03, the result of bearish
economic recovery, while the share of exports expanded from
31.2% in 1Q03 to 35.2%.

The international market showed considerable strength in 1Q04.
Most of Acesita's exports were shipped to Asian markets, but
demand from the Chinese market can already be seen to be
tapering off, due to infrastructure bottlenecks and the Chinese
government's concern about avoiding a rise in inflation. The gap
that is beginning to open as the result of flatter demand from
China, though far from dethroning the country from its position
as the world's largest importer, is being filled by increasing
demand from the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Latin America,
as the recovery in these economies progresses.


Acesita's 1Q04 sales increased 10.8% over the 156.9 thousand
tons of 1Q03, to reach 173.9 thousand tons. Strongest growth was
in the silicon steel segment (+14.2%), especially OG silicon
steel, which surged 29.9% compared with 1Q03.

Stainless steel sales volume was 11.1% higher in the first
quarter, compared with 1Q03. The breakdown of sales volume by
product was practically unchanged from 1Q03, with stainless
steel in the lead with 57.3% of total shipments.

Sales by Market

Acesita's stainless steel sales are focused on the domestic
market, where it maintained an average 90% market share during
the quarter. At the same time, the Company is seeking new
opportunities in international markets, in order to increase
direct or indirect sales.

Domestic market

The Company sold 112.6 thousand tons on the domestic market in
the first quarter, 4.3% more than in 1Q03 (108.0 thousand tons).
Sales of stainless steel, which accounted for 38.8% of internal
sales, were 1.9% up over 1Q03.

The domestic market for non-oriented grain steels (NOG) yielded
positive results in 1Q04, largely due to increased exports of
electrical equipment manufacturers (mainly motors and
compressors). The domestic market for oriented grain silicon
steels (OG), which are used mainly in the production of
electrical energy transformers, grew 3.5%, despite the
uncertainty towards the new rules for investing in the energy
sector. Results from the carbon/alloyed steel segment were also
positive, thanks to the renewing of the agricultural machinery
industry and the increasing replacement of imported auto parts
with local production.

Export Market

Acesita exported 61.2 thousand tons in the first quarter of
2004, a 25.1% increase over 1Q03 (49.0 thousand tons). The
increase was across the board: stainless steel exports,
equivalent to 91.3% of total exports, increased by 19.5%, while
exports of OG and NOG silicon steel soared 223.3% and 113.5%,
respectively, albeit, of course, representing a smaller share of
the Company's total exports.

Despite a slight slowdown in the Asian economies, the region
accounted for most of Acesita's exports. China on its own took
delivery of 32.4% of total stainless steel shipments to the
international market and 32.6% of total 1Q04 export volume.


The international price environment for stainless steel remained
favorable during the first quarter of 2004. International prices
served as a benchmark for corrections in domestic prices, which
are closely correlated with international market ones.

The chart on the next page compares stainless steel prices in
the world's principal markets (ref: AISI 304 2MM - cold rolled
sheet) from January 2003 to March 2004.

Prices in Brazil were increased by 81.2% during the period. All
prices were converted into U.S. dollars, for comparison
purposes, and to reflect the fluctuations of the U.S. dollar
against other currencies.

Financial and Economic Performance

Net Operating Revenue

Acesita posted net revenues of R$ 672.3 million in 1Q04, an
increase of 24.2% over the R$ 541.2 million of 1Q03 reflecting,
mostly, a combination of higher sales volume as well as higher
international stainless steel prices. Revenues also benefited
from the Company's ability to vary its product mix and increase
the supply of higher value-added products.


The cost of goods sold rose 18.2% over 1Q03 to R$ 435.0 million
in the first quarter of 2004. The price of nickel, the most
important component of the Company's cost structure, accounting
for 44.6% of cash costs in 1Q04, dropped 16.6% during the first
three months of the year, from US$ 16,700 per ton at the end of
2003 to an average US$ 13,700 per ton during March of this year.
In addition to a more favorable scenario to purchase nickel, the
Company employs an alloy surcharge mechanism in part of its
sales, through which it can pass alloy cost variations on to the

As part of its risk management policy, Acesita started hedging
nickel prices in 2004, accounting for the hedge gains or losses
in the Cost of Goods Sold. Hedging activities resulted in a gain
for the quarter of R$ 2.1 million (US$ 714 thousand).

Gross Profit

Favorable market conditions resulted in an improvement in the
gross margin from 32.0% in 1Q03 to 35.5% in this quarter.

Operating Expenses

Acesita's operating expenses, mainly sales and administrative
expenses, were higher than those of 1Q03, amounting to R$ 57.0
million. However, the operating expenses/net operating revenue
ratio declined from 9.1% in 1Q03 to 8.5% in this quarter.

Operating Cash Generation - EBITDA

Operating cash generation (EBITDA) amounted to R$ 210.8 million
for the quarter, a 39.4% improvement over 1Q03, and the
equivalent to 42.1% of EBITDA for the whole year 2003. This
performance reflects a combination of such factors as:

- higher sales volume and an improvement in sales prices, both
at home and overseas;
- the fall in the price of the Company's principal raw material,
- a lower operating expense/net operating revenue ratio.

Equity Income and Non-operating Results

Equity income for the first quarter was R$ 18.1 million, well
below the R$ 66.5 million of 1Q03.

This reflects, more than anything else, the sale of part of its
stake in Companhia Siderurgica Tubarao (CST), in which it still
retains a 5.7% participation. Non-operating expenses totaling R$
11.8 million for the quarter largely reflect the adjustment of
the provision for the investment in CST, according to its market

Financial Result

The net financial result for 1Q04 is a substantial improvement
over that of 1Q03, from a net expense of R$ 136.2 million to one
of R$ 66.2 million, largely due to the reduction in interest
paid from R$ 119.5 million to R$ 59.6 million. The Company's
success in stabilizing and reducing debt is founded on the
allocation of its strong cash generation to amortize debt and on
more favorable conditions for renegotiating rates and tenors,
enabling it to lower the average cost of debt and increase the
proportion of long-term debt in the total.

Acesita continues committed to reducing its debt levels and
continuing the trend already seen last year, when it succeeded
in reducing the net debt/EBITDA ratio from 5x to 3x by year-end.
Based on EBITDA over the past twelve months (R$ 560.0 million),
this ratio falls further
to 2.7x.

It is the Company's policy to enter into swap contracts to hedge
that part of its forex-denominated debt (90.9%) that is not
export-related and has maturities of less than three years. The
Company's cash flow is totally protected against exchange rate
fluctuations, since advances against export exchange contracts
and export pre-payment loans are included in this calculation.

It is important to point out that the Company's 1Q04 cash

(EBITDA) has not yet been fully allocated in its cash, as it is
recorded on an accrued basis, and for that reason a greater
reduction in indebtedness has not appeared. Next quarter, the
effect of using EBITDA to reduce debt should be more apparent.

Income Taxes

First quarter provisions for Income Taxes and the Social
Contribution on Net Income (CSLL) totaled R$ 20.3 million, for a
combined, effective tax rate of 17%. The factor that helped
reduce the nominal tax rate is the use of tax loss carry-
forwards and the negative accumulated basis for calculating the
CSLL, up to 30% of taxable income, in addition to the
realization of previously constituted deductible provisions. At
quarter-end, the outstanding balance of tax loss carry forwards
and negative basis for calculating the CSLL amounted to R$ 1,199
million and R$ 1,286 million, respectively.

Net Income

First quarter 2004 net income amounted to R$ 100.1 million,
82.3% higher than in 1Q03. This is the continuation of a steady
trend of improving positive results over the past five quarters.

Capital Expenditures (Capex)

Following the conclusion of its capital expenditure program,
which has consumed US$ 771.0 million since privatization,
Acesita has no need of significant expenditures in the next few

New projects for improvements or capacity expansion will not
require major investments.


In 2003, Trade Finance Magazine, one of the most prestigious
publications in the financial sector, elected the US$ 125
million Acesita transaction structured by Soci‚t‚ G‚n‚rale as
one of the seventeen "Deals of the Year". This honor was based
on a global evaluation of financial operations occurring during
the fiscal year and reaffirms Acesita's sound strategy in the
management of its finances and business.

Additionally, for the fourth consecutive year, Acesita's Social
Balance received the IBASE seal, conferred by the Brazilian
Institute for Social and Economic Analysis, a non-governmental
organization dedicated to defending human rights and social
welfare. The Company's in-house and community-based social
programs related to education, health, women's issues,
environmental preservation, improvement of employee quality of
life and work conditions, and increased income
potential/employment opportunities were all evaluated by the


Acesita expects that, over the next quarters of this year,
demand for its products will reflect the performance of the
Brazilian economy, since its principal product line, stainless
steel, is closely correlated with GDP growth.

In the international market, signs of a slowdown in the Chinese
economy are expected to be compensated by stronger demand for
the Company's products in other regions, particularly in the
U.S., the Middle East and Latin America.

During 2004, Acesita intends to strengthen its position in the
domestic market and prepare itself for a possible rebound in
demand, subject to the confirmation of the positive outlook for
the Brazilian economy.

Capital Markets

The price of Acesita's preferred shares (ACES4) increased 20.2%
in 1Q04, while IBOVESPA (the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange Index)
fell 0.4%. This performance reflects the good financial and
economic performance presented by the Company.

           Fabio Abreu Schettino
           Financial Operations and Investor Relations Manager
           Tel: +55 31 3235-4241

           Adriana Fernandes
           Head of the Investor Relations Department
           Tel: +55 31 3235-4270

           Flavia Bozzolla Vieira
           Tel: +55 31 3235-4235

           Web site:

           Mario Roberto Mariante
           Tel: +55 11 3897-6467

AMBEV: Reports 32% Consolidated EBITDA Growth In 1Q04
Companhia de Bebidas das Americas -- AmBev (NYSE:ABV)
(NYSE:ABVc) (BOVESPA: AMBV4, AMBV3), the world's fifth largest
brewer and Brazil's leading beverage company, announced
Wednesday its results for the first quarter (1Q04). The
following financial and operating information, unless otherwise
indicated, is presented in nominal Reais pursuant to Brazilian
Corporate Law. AmBev's Brazilian operations are comprised of the
Brazilian beer segment, the Brazilian soft drinks and non-
alcoholic non-carbonated (Nanc) segment and the other products

AmBev's consolidated operations are comprised of AmBev's
Brazilian operations and its international operations, which
include AmBev's 50.34% average economic stake in Quinsa in the
quarter and other international operations (Venezuela,
Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador and Dominican Republic). Comparisons,
unless otherwise stated, refer to the first quarter 2003 (1Q03).

Operating and Financial Highlights

-- AmBev's consolidated EBITDA reached R$893.6 million, a 32%
increase compared to the year-ago quarter. Adjusting 1Q03 EBITDA
to reflect the same economic stake in Quinsa we currently own,
it would have resulted in a 26.6% growth.

-- Our strategy to recover market share without compromising
profitability continued to present strong results. Our market
share reached 65% in March, 180 bps up from December last year.

-- Brazilian CSD segment performance continued to reflect the
benefits of our "right fews" strategy: volumes up 6.3% yoy; net
sales up 10.6% yoy; and EBITDA over 124% higher, reaching a
25.5% margin in the 1Q04.

-- International operations accounted for 17.4% of consolidated
EBITDA. Quinsa continued to deliver very positive results and
our Guatemalan operation is proving to be a remarkable case of a
greenfield project.


TELEFONICA CTC: Rolls Over Debt With US$54M Bond Issue
A total of CLP35 billion (US$54.2mln) in bonds were issued by
Chilean telco Telef˘nica CTC Chile (NYSE: CTC) on Wednesday,
relates BNamericas. The proceeds from the issue will be used by
the company to pay debts due in the coming months.

In a statement, CTC said it issued two tranches of CLP17.5
billion, one with an 11-month term and one with a 12-month term,
but each with a 0.2% interest rate.

Recently, government regulator Subtel issued a five-year rates
decree for CTC, allowing it to hike interconnection fees by up
to 39.6%. Telefonica CTC is a unit of Spanish Telefonica SA


CHIQUITA BRANDS: Experts Agree on Extortion Disclosure
Corporate image specialists agree that Chiquita Brands
International Inc.'s decision to disclose the payments made by
its subsidiary, Banadex, to terrorists organizations in Colombia
could still prove beneficial to the company's reputation.
Stephen A. Greyser, a corporate communications and consumer-
marketing professor at Harvard, told the Associated Press that
the situation could be worse had the news come out from sources
outside the company.

Chiquita announced Monday that it informed the U.S. Department
of Justice about the extortions made to its Colombian banana
producing subsidiary as early as April 2003. These payments were
made under pressure to ensure the safety of Banadex's 4,400
employees. Chiquita however declined to reveal the amount or
recipient of the payments. The company said it is cooperating
with the Justice Department's investigation into the role and
conduct of the company and some of its officers regarding the

"We are taking this situation very seriously, but believe it's
manageable," said Mr. Fernando Aguirre who assumed command of
Cincinnati-based Chiquita in January.

Fears of attack by terrorists have been blamed for the dearth of
American investment in Colombia. Adam Isaacson of the Colombia
program for the Center for International Policy, a Washington-
based research organization that focuses on security and human
rights issues, said that Colombian authorities are often
unwilling or unable to protect the property of American

Chiquita said in January that it is trying to relinquish Banadex
to the Colombian fresh-fruit distributor Banacol. The company
declined to say whether the concern over the ''protection
payments'' prompted the sale negotiations.

The company's shares fell 5 percent Tuesday, closing at
US$16.25, after the announcement was made. Its share price has
ranged between $13.44 and $24.40 the past year.

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

TRICOM: NYSE Suspends Trading of Depositary Shares
Tricom, S.A. announced Tuesday that the New York Stock Exchange,
Inc. (NYSE) has determined to suspend trading and pursue
delisting of the Company's American Depositary Shares (ADSs),
ticker symbol TDR. The NYSE reached its decision following the
Company's financial restructuring update announcement on May 6,

The Company believes that its ADSs may be quoted on the OTC
(over-the- counter) Bulletin Board ("OTCBB") within the next
several days. The OTCBB is a regulated quotation service that
displays real-time quotes, last-sale prices and volume
information in OTC equity securities. More information about
OTCBB can be found at The Company intends to
issue a press release when such trading commences.


Tricom, S.A. is a full service communications services provider
in the Dominican Republic. We offer local, long distance,
mobile, cable television and broadband data transmission and
Internet services. Through Tricom USA, the company is one of the
few Latin American based long distance carriers that is licensed
by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to own and operate
switching facilities in the United States. Through their
subsidiary, TCN Dominicana, S.A., they are the largest cable
television operator in the Dominican Republic based on the
number of subscribers and homes accessed.

          Miguel Guerrero, Investor Relations
          Tel: +1-809-476-4044 or 4012


PETROECUADOR: April Exports Up 55%
Ecuador's state oil company Petroecuador reported Wednesday its
oil export revenues for the month of April reached US$92.34
million, up 55% from the US$59.42 million it posted in April
2003, Dow Jones reveals.

A total of 3.26 million barrels of crude oil were exported by
Ecuador last month, a 21% increase from its April 2003 exports
of 2.68 million barrels. Average price of crude in April,
meanwhile, rose from US$22.17 a barrel in the same month last
year to US$28.23 a barrel, a 27% rise.

Oil is Ecuador's main export, netting US$2.37 billion last year.
The oil sector represents around 15% of the Andean country's
gross domestic product and a third of government revenue.

E L   S A L V A D O R

BANCO SALVADORENO: Fitch Affirms Ratings
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Banco Salvadoreno's foreign currency
long-term ratings at 'BB', short-term at 'B', individual at 'D',
and support at '5'. The Rating Outlook is Negative. Banco
Salvadoreno's (BS) ratings reflect its significant position
within El Salvador's concentrated banking system as well as its
stable and diversified retail deposit base. The ratings also
reflect relatively low profitability, asset-quality concerns and
the high levels of fixed and net foreclosed assets as a
proportion of equity.

BS is the third-largest Salvadorian bank with an asset market
share of 16% as of year-end 2003. The bank is domestically held,
controlled by 15 prominent economic groups. Its shareholder
groups have investments in the insurance, manufacturing, real
estate and commerce sectors. While the bank has historically
targeted the corporate segment, in recent years it has also
focused on retail banking, aided by its nationwide branch net
work. Growth projected for 2004 is expected to arise from
mortgage, and consumer products, as well as corporate loans.

CONTACT: Akiko Kudo +1-212-908-0819, New York
         Gustavo Lopez +1-212-908-0853, New York
         Rene Medrano +503-263-1300, San Salvador
         Raul Castellon +503-263-1300, San Salvador

MEDIA RELATIONS: James Jockle +1-212-908-0547

BANCO SALVADORENO: S&P Assigns Notes Initial `BBB' Rating
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned Wednesday its
preliminary 'BBB' rating to El Salvador's Banco Salvadoreno
S.A.'s (Salvadoreno) US$75 million notes series 2004-1, issued
by Salvadoreno DPR Funding Ltd. Diversified payment rights
(DPRs) are the underlying collateral supporting the notes.

The preliminary rating is based on information as of May 12,
2004. Subsequent information may result in the assignment of a
final rating that differs from the preliminary rating.

The preliminary rating on the notes reflects the transaction's
high credit enhancement levels, the structure, and the issuer's
ability to pay timely interest and principal on the notes. The
preliminary rating does not address the payment of a make-whole
premium or additional amounts to the noteholders.

Salvadoreno and its U.S. operations through BancoSal Inc.
generate the DPRs. This is the first series issued by
Salvadoreno in which Salvadoreno will be securitizing all of its
future DPRs in the form of U.S. dollar-denominated Society for
Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications MT100 and MT200
series payment order messages. The payment order messages are a
product of the international financial operations of
Salvadoreno, the third-largest bank in El Salvador.

Payment orders are created as a result of Salvadoreno's role as
a financial intermediary between foreign payors wishing to send
funds to El Salvador and resident Salvadoran entities that are
the recipients of these funds.

In addition to the standard DPRs generated offshore, this
transaction will include paper remittances settled through
Salvadoreno and family remittances processed by BancoSal's

The preliminary rating reflects several structural and credit
characteristics of the issuance that mitigate originator
bankruptcy risk, sovereign interference risk, and other risks
pertinent to a cross-border DPR securitization. This mitigation
allows the transaction to achieve a rating three notches higher
than the rating on Salvadoreno's local and foreign currency
(BB/Stable) and two notches higher than the long-term foreign
currency sovereign rating of El Salvador (BB+/Stable).

The key factors that Standard & Poor's considered in the
assignment of the rating include:

     -- Salvadoreno's survivability assessment of 'BBB';
     -- The strategic importance of the payment order and family
        remittance businesses to Salvadoreno;
     -- The funds transfer business and its role in exports and
        family remittances for the Salvadoran economy;
     -- Strong levels of enhancement through
     -- Salvadoreno's extensive branch network in El Salvador
        and its BancoSal operations in the U.S.;
     -- The offshore payment mechanism; and
     -- The cash-sharing mechanism and other credit risk

ANALYST:  Gary Kochubka, New York (1) 212-438-2514

          Angelica Bala, Mexico City (52) 55-5081-4405

          Ursula M Wilhelm, Mexico City (52) 55-5081-4407


C&WJ: Details Reasoning on Protectionist Policies
In defense of its protectionist actions in the Caribbean, Cable
& Wireless stated during the 4th Annual Euromoney/LatinFinance
Caribbean Investment Forum that its attitude towards
liberalization is driven entirely by the desire to profit.
The Trinidad Guardian quotes Mr. Leonard DeBarros, deputy CEO,
Caribbean and chairman of the board, Jamaica & Panama, C&W PLC,
as saying that "We're here because we're business people that
enjoy winning and making profits."

Mr. DeBarros adds that "We gotta have the future and go forward
with it... We would like to participate in writing the rules
again in this case with a level playing field,". He said that
what C&W is advocating is for Caribbean countries to have the
building-blocks in place before attempting to liberalise their

The company claimed that it is welcoming competition and that it
is even working with regional Governments to re-write rules it
initially created. C&W owns 49 per cent of the shares of TSTT
and is still the monopoly provider in several regional
territories though it is increasingly facing competition.

Despite C&W's claims, key people in the Caribbean telecom
industry have accused the company of delaying the
liberalization. Digicel's regional director, Sin‚ad O' Marcaigh,
said C&W was not being forthright, on the one hand saying it
embraced competition and, on the other, saying competition must
have attached conditions.

Robert Segal, chairman and CEO of Jamaica's Oceanic Digital
Communications concurred, adding that C&W's lack of fresh
thinking has thrown the region 20 years behind in telecom


ALESTRA: Wins Favorable Court Ruling on Bankruptcy Request
The request by Eximius Capital Funding to declare Mexican
telecoms operator Alestra bankrupt has been denied by a local
judge Tuesday, reports BNamericas. In a statement, Alestra said
that Mexican judge Carlos Manuel Padilla P‚rez Vertti also
ordered Eximius Capital, which filed the bankruptcy request
after disagreeing with the terms of Alestra's debt restructuring
completed in November 2003, to pay for legal costs.

Meanwhile, the motion brought by another Alestra creditor, WRH
Global Securities Pooled Trust, to block the restructuring of
121/8% senior notes due 2006 and 12 5/8% senior notes due 2009
has yet to be ruled on by a New York court. The company had said
it might it might not have enough liquidity to pay US$83mn of
principal and interest due on the senior notes if it loses this
case. An unfavorable ruling could also cause a cross-default on
other debts including US$304.2 million of senior notes due 2010.


PAN AMERICAN: Splits Roles of Chairman, CEO
Pan American Silver Corp. (PAAS: NASDAQ; PAA: TSX) announces
that its Board of Directors was re-elected at its Annual General
Meeting on May 11, 2004. Following the meeting, the Board
approved the separation of the roles of Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer previously held by Ross J. Beaty. Mr Beaty
will remain fully engaged as Chairman and Mr Geoff Burns,
formerly President and Chief Operating Officer, will become
President and Chief Executive Officer.

In commenting about this change of titles, Mr. Beaty said, "The
separation of the roles of Chairman and CEO is part of Pan
American's continuing effort to apply the best practices of
corporate governance and to adhere to current policies of
regulatory agencies in both Canada and the USA. It also enables
the best management of Pan American's affairs, as Geoff brings
to the role very strong executive and financial management
skills, which are so necessary during our current phase of very
rapid growth. Geoff and I have worked together very well in the
past year and I look forward to this continuing for many years
to come."

Pan American Silver is focused exclusively on becoming the
world's pre-eminent silver mining company. It has grown from
owning one mine with silver production of 3.6 million ounces in
2000 to owning and operating five silver operations with
forecast silver production of 13 million ounces in 2004. This
production is expected to grow to over 20 million ounces with
development of two new mines by 2007, which will position the
company as the world's largest primary silver producer. Pan
American is fully funded to execute this growth, with $120
million in cash and nearly no debt.

CONTACT:  Brenda Radies, Vice-President Corporate Relations
          (604) 806-3158


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
Lucilo Junior M. Pinili, Editors.

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

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed
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