TCRLA_Public/040517.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, May 17, 2004, Vol. 5, Issue 96

                            Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

ABRA ENTERTAINMENT: Liquidates Assets on Court Order
APSA MISIONES: Begins Liquidation Process
BANCO RIO: Chairman Forecasts Return to Profit in 2004
CLAXSON INTERACTIVE: 4Q03, FY03 Results Show YOY Improvement
CONCENTRACION EMPRESARIA: Court Declares Company Bankrupt

DISCO: Government Blames Court Ruling for Sale Analysis Delay
DOSO: Debt Payments Halted, Set To Reorganize
EG 12: Judge Orders Liquidation
EMPRESA ARGENTINA: Court Sets Official Reporting Schedule
FRIGORIFICO LA IMPERIAL: Seeks Authorization To Reorganize

GANADOS PAMPEANOS: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
JUAN SALE AGRICOLA: Court to Oversee Reorganization
MACROMET: Reaches Creditor Accord, Exits Reorganization
MOLDIFER: Court Formalizes Bankruptcy Process
OLYMPIC CONSTRUCCIONES: Liquidation Process Set

PINOPLAS: Court Authorizes Plan, Concludes Reorganization
PIRAMIDE CORP: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
RESIDENCIA GERIATRICA: Bankruptcy Process Initiated
TAD S.R.L: Court Approves Involuntary Bankruptcy Motion
TELECOM ARGENTINA: Assigns Default Rating on Various Bond Issues

* Argentina Denies IMF Claim It Sought Delay of Review Mission


B R A Z I L

UNIBANCO: Reports 27% Increase in 1Q04 Profit


C O L O M B I A

CHIQUITA BRANDS: Says Protection Payments Weren't Bribes


E C U A D O R

PETROECUADOR: OCP US$2.85mln Pipeline Use Payment Required


M E X I C O

ALFA: Higher Rates May Foil Bond Sale Plans
TV AZTECA: Distributes US$33M Shareholder Dividend
UNEFON/IUSACELL: New Study Outlines Likely CDMA Market Impact
VITRO: Aligns with Neoris for Systems, Software Development


V E N E Z U E L A

EDC: Gets US$104 Million Local Financing
SIDOR: Government To Spend US$6.2 Million to End Strike


     - - - - - - - - - -


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


ABRA ENTERTAINMENT: Liquidates Assets on Court Order
----------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires-based company Abra Entertainment S.A. will start
liquidation procedures following Judge Gonzalez's decree from
Court No. 8 that it is bankrupt. La Nacion reports that Mr.
Evaristo Cortinas filed the involuntary bankruptcy petition
following the company's failure to repay him US$22,144.32 in
debts.

The court appointed Ms. Sara Maria Rey de Lavolpe as receiver
while Dr. Saravia, clerk of court no. 16, assists on this case.
The receiver will verify creditors' proofs of claims until
August 2, 2004.

CONTACT: Abra Entertainment S.A.
         Virrey Loreto 2443
         Buenos Aires

         Ms. Sara Mar­a Rey de Lavolpe, Receiver
         Cerrito 1136
         Buenos Aires


APSA MISIONES: Begins Liquidation Process
-----------------------------------------
Buenos Aires Court No. 21 declared Apsa Misiones S.A. "Quiebra,"
reports Infobae. Clerk No. 42 assists the court on the case,
which will close with the liquidation of the Company's assets to
repay creditors.

Mr. Eduardo Ruben Pronsky, who has been appointed as receiver,
will verify creditors' claims until November 30, 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
February 16, 2005 followed by the general report on May 06,
2005.

CONTACT: Apsa Misiones S.A.
         Parana 562
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Eduardo Ruben Pronsky, Receiver
         Parana 480
         Buenos Aires


BANCO RIO: Chairman Forecasts Return to Profit in 2004
------------------------------------------------------
Apparently encouraged by Banco Rio de Argentina's improved
first-quarter results, the bank's chairman, Enrique Cristofani,
expressed optimism that for the first time since 2001, Banco Rio
will register a profit this year, says local news daily El Pais.

Banco Rio, the Argentine unit of Spanish bank Banco Santander,
has registered a first quarter operating profit of US$1.6m, a
significant improvement from its losses of EUR24.2 million for
the fourth quarter last year.

Banco Rio de Argentina has focused its target on increasing its
market share in client resources and in loans, in which it has a
7.7% stake.


CLAXSON INTERACTIVE: 4Q03, FY03 Results Show YOY Improvement
------------------------------------------------------------
Claxson Interactive Group Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: XSON;
"Claxson" or the "Company"), announced Thursday financial
results for the three and twelve-month periods ended December
31, 2003.

Financial Results

Operating income for the three-month period ended December 31,
2003 was $3.5 million, representing a $3.0 million improvement
from an operating income of $0.5 million for the three-month
period ended December 31, 2002. Operating income for the twelve-
month period ended December 31, 2003 was $5.3 million
representing a $7.6 million improvement from an operating loss
of $2.3 million for the same period of 2002. The improvement in
operating results for 2003 is due to a 9% increase in revenues
and a 1% decrease in operating expenses.

As a result of the Company's agreement with Playboy Enterprises,
Inc., the 2003 results include the consolidation of the
operations of Playboy TV Latin America & Iberia (PTVLA) into the
operations of Claxson's Pay TV division.

Net revenues for the fourth quarter of 2003 were $22.5 million,
a 15% increase from net revenues of $19.6 million for the fourth
quarter of 2002. Net revenues were affected by the consolidation
of the PTVLA operations, the appreciation of the Argentine and
Chilean currencies, and the improved performance of Claxson's
Broadcast Division assets, partially offset by a decrease in
subscriber rates received from DIRECTV(TM) Latin America when
compared to 2002. Net revenues for the twelve months ended
December 31, 2003 totaled $81.8 million compared to net revenues
of $75.0 million for the twelve months ended December 31, 2002.

During the fourth quarter of 2003, the average exchange rate of
the Argentine and Chilean currencies compared to the U.S. dollar
appreciated 18% and 9%, respectively, versus the same period in
2002. For the twelve-month period ended December 31, 2003 the
average appreciation of the currency in Argentina was 6%, while
the Chilean currency depreciated 2%, compared to the same period
in 2002.

"We have completed a significant year in Claxson's financial and
operational consolidation. During 2003, the growth of our
revenues, together with a strict cost management philosophy, put
Claxson on the path to profitability," said Roberto Vivo,
Chairman and CEO, Claxson. "This quarter closes a year where
Claxson strengthened its turnaround and faces 2004 strategically
situated to maintain and solidify its competitive position in
the market. I am very proud of the accomplishments of my
management team and every employee at Claxson who accepted the
challenge and worked very hard to bring us up to where we are
today."

Subscriber-based fees for the three-month period ended December
31, 2003 totaled $9.7 million, representing approximately 43% of
total net revenues and a 35% increase from subscriber-based fees
of $7.2 million for the fourth quarter of 2002. The increase is
primarily attributed to the consolidation of PTVLA, and to a
lesser extent to the appreciation of the Argentine currency,
partially offset by reduced fees from DIRECTV Latin America. In
November 2002, the Company agreed to a reduction in DIRECTV
Latin America's subscriber rates and converted prices to local
currencies, in exchange for a two year extension in the
contract's maturity. Subscriber-based fees for the twelve months
ended December 31, 2003 totaled $38.9 million compared to $31.6
million for the same period of 2002.

Advertising revenues for the three-month period ended December
31, 2003 were $11.7 million, representing approximately 52% of
Claxson's total net revenues and a 23% increase from advertising
revenues of $9.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2002.
Advertising revenues for the twelve months ended December 31,
2003 totaled $37.3 million compared to $30.5 million for the
same period of 2002. The improvement in advertising revenues is
due primarily to increased revenues from the Company's Broadcast
assets in Chile, especially from Chilevision, Claxson's
broadcast TV station, as a result of improved ratings; and to a
better pay TV advertising market in Argentina as compared to
2002.

Production services revenues for the three-month period ended
December 31, 2003 were $0.7 million, compared to $1.7 million
for the fourth quarter of 2002. This decrease was primarily due
to the consolidation of PTVLA, as services provided to PTVLA are
now eliminated upon consolidation, and a decrease in volumes
handled by The Kitchen, Inc., Claxson's Miami-based broadcast
and dubbing facility, as a result of the adverse economic
situation in Latin America. Production services revenues for the
twelve months ended December 31, 2003 totaled $2.9 million
compared to $7.1 million for the same period of 2002.

Other revenues for the three-month period ended December 31,
2003 were $0.4 million compared to $1.2 million for the fourth
quarter of 2002. This decrease is due to the consolidation of
PTVLA, as services provided to PTVLA are now eliminated upon
consolidation, as well as the discontinuation of services
provided to Playboy TV International. Other revenues for the
twelve months ended December 31, 2003 totaled $2.6 million
compared to $5.8 million for the same period of 2002.

Operating expenses for the three months ended December 31, 2003
were $19.0 million, virtually unchanged from the $19.1 million
in the fourth quarter of 2002, due primarily to the decrease in
amortization of our broadcast licenses in Chile as well as
continuous efforts to reduce costs, partially offset by the
consolidation and rationalization of PTVLA. Operating expenses
for the twelve months ended December 31, 2003 totaled $76.5
million compared to $77.3 million for the same twelve months in
2002.

Interest expense for the three-month period ended December 31,
2003 was $0.5 million compared to $2.5 million for the fourth
quarter of 2002. This decrease is attributable to the Exchange
Offer and consent solicitation as all future interest on the
Claxson Notes is reflected as part of the balance of the debt.
As interest on these Notes is paid, the debt will be reduced
proportionately. Interest expense for the twelve months ended
December 31, 2003 totaled $2.2 million compared to interest
expense of $12.4 million for the twelve months ended December
31, 2002.

Net income for the three months ended December 31, 2003 was $1.1
million ($0.06 per common share), including a $0.6 million
foreign exchange gain due to the fluctuations of local
currencies. As dictated by the Company's amended and restated
memorandum of association, on September 21, 2003, all of our
outstanding Series A preferred shares were mandatorily converted
to Class A common shares increasing the total outstanding Class
A common shares from 18.7 million to 19.4 million. The number of
shares used for the per-share earnings computation reflects this
conversion. The fourth quarter net income decreased from $24.0
million for the same period in 2002, which was attributed to a
gain on fluctuations on exchange rates and a gain on debt
restructuring. For the twelve month period ended December 31,
2003 net income was $8.3 million, which represents a turnaround
of $146.8 million over the $138.4 million net loss for the same
twelve months of 2002.

As of December 31, 2003, Claxson had a balance of cash and cash
equivalents of $7.7 million and $88.3 million in debt, which
includes $20.3 million in future interest payments of the 8.75%
Senior Notes due in 2010. During the year 2003 Claxson operating
activities generated cash flows of $13.7 million compared to
$2.0 million for the same period of 2002. Cash generated from
operating activities was primarily used for capital
expenditures, to maintain and/or update the Company's equipment
and buildings, and for the payment of debt obligations, as well
as for the payment of commitments related to the purchase of
minority interest in our Broadcast assets and the payment of
fees related to the Claxson formation transaction.

Fourth Quarter Highlights

Following the launch of a new online chat service developed by
Claxson's Broadband and Internet Division for America Online
Latin America, Inc. (Nasdaq: AOLA - News), Claxson and America
Online Latin America announced the launch of Cupido.net
(http://cupido.net),a matchmaking and meeting Internet service
available to all web users in Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.
These arrangements underscore Claxson's commitment to the new
phase of its broadband and Internet business model by offering
technology development and support services to external clients
through its ESDC Digital Platform.

In December 2003, due to Chilevision's use of hidden camera
recordings made and/or broadcasted by Chilevision as part of its
investigative reporting on high-profile news of local interest,
certain officers and journalists of Chilevision were named the
subject of several pending criminal proceedings in Chile. No
formal criminal charges have been brought against any of
Chilevision's employees that are the subject of the pending
criminal proceedings. No civil actions have been filed against
Chilevision or its employees. These proceedings have been of
high profile in the Chilean media and although we cannot predict
their outcome, we believe that the allegations in these
proceedings are without merit and have retained counsel to
vigorously defend Chilevision and its employees in these cases.
Accordingly, Claxson has not reserved for any contingent
liabilities as of December 31, 2003 related to these
proceedings.

About Claxson

Claxson (OTC Bulletin Board: XSON - News) is a multimedia
company providing branded entertainment content targeted to
Spanish and Portuguese speakers around the world. Claxson has a
portfolio of popular entertainment brands that are distributed
over multiple platforms through its assets in pay television,
broadcast television, radio and the Internet. Claxson was formed
on September 21, 2001 in a merger transaction, which combined El
Sitio, Inc. and other media assets contributed by funds
affiliated with Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Inc. and members of
the Cisneros Group of Companies. Headquartered in Buenos Aires,
Argentina, and Miami, Florida, Claxson has a presence in all key
Ibero- American countries, including without limitation,
Argentina, Mexico, Chile, Brazil, Spain, Portugal and the United
States.

To see financial statements:
http://bankrupt.com/misc/Claxson_Interactive.txt


CONCENTRACION EMPRESARIA: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
---------------------------------------------------------
Concentracion Empresaria del Sud S.A. entered bankruptcy on
orders from Buenos Aires Court No. 23, reveals Infobae. The
bankruptcy process will end with the debtor divesting of assets.

Working with Clerk No. 46, the court assigned Ms. Laura Marletta
as receiver. She is to verify creditors' claims until June 16,
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.

The individual reports, which are due on August 13, 2004, are to
be prepared upon completion of the verification process. The
court also requires the receiver to prepare a general report and
file it on September 27, 2004. This report contains a summary of
the results in the individual reports.

CONTACT: Ms. Laura Marletta, Receiver
         San Jose de Calansanz 530
         Buenos Aires


DISCO: Government Blames Court Ruling for Sale Analysis Delay
-------------------------------------------------------------
In an appearance before the Argentinean Senate Thursday,
Leonardo Madcur of the economy ministry singled out a lower
court ruling seeking to block the sale of Royal Ahold NV's (AHO)
Disco supermarket chain to Chile's Cencosud (CENCOSUD.SN) as the
reason for the delay in its analysis of the proposed sale, Dow
Jones reports.

Senator Jorge Capitanich, the senate's finance committee head,
said Mr. Madcur explained that while Argentina's antitrust
authority had started its analysis of the sale, the April ruling
of a federal judge in Mendoza province has blocked authorities
from taking the next step of inviting interested parties such as
consumer groups, lawmakers and retail industry players to
express views on the sale within 45 days.

The lower court ruling, said Sen. Capitanich, means there is a
risk the antitrust body would not be able to receive input from
interested parties. The senator, who is at the forefront of
congressional opposition to the sale, added that if authorities
do not come up with a decision on the sale by September as
scheduled, the sale can proceed.

The government has confirmed in a statement released by the
economy ministry after Mr. Madcur's senate appearance that it
has appealed the Mendoza judge's ruling.


DOSO: Debt Payments Halted, Set To Reorganize
---------------------------------------------
Judge Vassallo of Buenos Aires Court No. 5 is currently
deliberating the petition of Doso S.R.L. to reorganize. La
Nacion reports that the company filed a "Concurso Preventivo"
petition following cessation of debt payments totaling US$
1,076,963.90. Clerk No. 10, Dr. Pole Olivera, is assisting the
court on the Company's case while Mr. Jose Antonio Sabuqui will
act as receiver.

CONTACT: Doso S.R.L.
         Viamonte 1592
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Jose Antonio Sabuqui, Receiver
         Bernardo de Irigoyen 330
         Buenos Aires


EG 12: Judge Orders Liquidation
-------------------------------
EG 12 S.A. will liquidate its assets following the declaration
of Buenos Aires Court No. 15 that the company is "Quiebra" or
bankrupt, reports Infobae.

Mr. Mario Suez, who has been appointed as receiver, will verify
creditors' claims until July 13, 2004 and then prepare the
individual reports based on the results of the verification
process. The deadline for the submission of the individual
reports as well as the general report will be announced shortly.

Clerk No. 30 assists the court on the case, which will close
with the liquidation of the Company's assets to repay creditors.

CONTACT:  Mario Suez, Receiver
          Rodriguez Pena 454
          Buenos Aires


EMPRESA ARGENTINA: Court Sets Official Reporting Schedule
---------------------------------------------------------
Infobae reports that Buenos Aires Court No. 7, currently
handling the reorganization case of Empresa Argentina de
Construcciones S.A., has scheduled the submission of the
individual reports on August 26, 2004. The presentation of the
general report will also follow on October 7, 2004.

The informative assembly, the final stage of a reorganization,
is slated on April 12, 2005.

CONTACT: Empresa Argentina de Construcciones S.A.
         Esmeralda 847
         Buenos Aires

         Ms. Raquel Martha Poliak
         Lavalle 1527
         Buenos Aires


FRIGORIFICO LA IMPERIAL: Seeks Authorization To Reorganize
----------------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires-based company Frigorifico la Imperial S.A.C.I.A. Y
F. submitted to court a petition to undergo a reorganization
process, reports Infobae. The city's Court No. 12, with
assistance from Clerk No. 23, is now reviewing the court's
petition.

CONTACT:  Frigorifico la Imperial S.A.C.I.A. Y F.
          Guamini 2063
          Buenos Aires


GANADOS PAMPEANOS: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
--------------------------------------------------
Ganados Pampeanos S.R.L. entered bankruptcy on orders from
Buenos Aires Court No. 2, reveals Infobae. The court assigned
Ms. Mirta H Addario as receiver, who will verify creditors'
claims until June 7, 2004. Creditors who fail to have their
claims validated before the deadline will be disqualified from
receiving any payments following liquidation of the Company's
assets.

The individual reports, which are to be prepared upon completion
of the verification process, are due on August 12, 2004. The
court also requires the receiver to prepare a general report and
file it on September 23, 2004. This report contains a summary of
the results in the individual reports.

CONTACT: Mirta H. Addario, Receiver
         Moreno 442
         Buenos Aires


JUAN SALE AGRICOLA: Court to Oversee Reorganization
---------------------------------------------------
La Plata Court No. 1 has authorized Juan Sale Agricola Motor
S.A. to start its reorganization process. According to Infobae,
the court granted the Company's "Concurso Preventivo" motion,
appointing Mr. Adrian Marcelo Fernandez as receiver.

Creditors have until May 19, 2004 to submit their proofs of
claim to the receiver, who will verify these claims and submit
them to court as individual reports on June 30, 2004. After
these reports are processed in court, the receiver will then
prepare the general report and submit it to court on August 26,
2004.

The informative assembly, the last stage of a reorganization
process, will be held on September 30, 2004.

CONTACT: Juan Sale Agricola Motor S.A.
         Del Carmen 800
         Ca uelas, La Plata

         Mr. Adrian Marcelo Fernandez
         Calle 63 Nro. 1244
         La Plata


MACROMET: Reaches Creditor Accord, Exits Reorganization
-------------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires Court No. 13 declared the conclusion of Macromet
S.A.'s reorganization process. According to an Infobae report,
the court, which was aided by Clerk No. 25 on the case, endorsed
the debt agreement signed by the Company and its creditors.


MOLDIFER: Court Formalizes Bankruptcy Process
---------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires Court No. 23 declared Moldifer S.R.L. "Quiebra,"
reports Infobae. Clerk No. 46 assists the court on the case,
which will conclude with the liquidation of the Company's assets
to repay creditors.

Appointed by the court to supervise the Company on the
bankruptcy proceedings is Ms. Silvia Monica Tauschek. Creditors
have until June 10, 2004 to submit their claims to the receiver
for verification. This process is important to determine whether
a claim is admissible.

Subsequently, the receiver will submit individual reports to the
court on August 9, 2004. After these reports are processed in
court, the submission of a general report will follow on
September 22, 2004.

CONTACT:  Salomon S. Wilhelm, Receiver
          Lavalle 1290
          Buenos Aires


OLYMPIC CONSTRUCCIONES: Liquidation Process Set
-----------------------------------------------
Mr. Aldo Ojeda successfully sought for the bankruptcy of Olimpic
Constructions SRL, a construction company operating in Buenos
Aires, after Judge Gonzalez of the city's Court No. 8 declared
the Company "Quiebra", reports La Nacion.

As such, the company will now start the bankruptcy process with
Mr. Juan Carlos Rama as receiver. Creditors of the Company must
submit their proofs of claim to the receiver before August 12,
2004 for authentication. Failure to comply with this procedure
will mean disqualification from the payments that will be made
after the Company's assets are liquidated.

Mr. Ojeda sought for the Company's bankruptcy after the latter
failed to pay debts amounting to US$ 2,400.46. Clerk No. 15,
assists the court on the case, which will culminate in the
liquidation of all company assets.

CONTACT: Olimpic Constructions SRL
         Ramallo 4560
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Juan Carlos Rama, Receiver
         Viamonte 1453
         Buenos Aires


PINOPLAS: Court Authorizes Plan, Concludes Reorganization
---------------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires-based company Pinoplas S.A. concluded its
reorganization process, according to data released by Infobae on
its Web site. The conclusion came after the city's Court No. 24,
with assistance from Clerk No. 48, homologated the debt plan
signed between the Company and its creditors.


PIRAMIDE CORP: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
----------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires Court No. 21, under Judge Paez Castaneda, declared
local company Piramide Corp. S.R.L. Bankrupt, relates local
daily La Nacion. The company acknowledged liabilities of US$
144,876.71.

The Company will undergo the bankruptcy process with Ms.
Patricia Narduzzi as its receiver. Creditors are required to
present their proofs of claims to the receiver for verification
before October 22, 2004. Creditors who fail to have their claims
authenticated by the said date will be disqualified from the
payments that will be made after the Company's assets are
liquidated at the end of the bankruptcy process.

Clerk No. 37 assists the court on the case.

CONTACT: Piramide Corp. S.R.L.
         Olleros 1775
         Buenos Aires

         Ms. Patricia Narduzzi
         Avenida Rivadavia 666
         Buenos Aires


RESIDENCIA GERIATRICA: Bankruptcy Process Initiated
---------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires-based Residencia Geriatrica Bauness S.R.L. entered
bankruptcy after the city's Court No. 23 ruled that it is
"Quiebra," says local daily Infobae. The court, aided by the
city's Clerk No. 45 on the case, has not yet named the Company's
receiver, nor revealed the timetable for the bankruptcy process,
which is expected to conclude with the liquidation of the
Company's assets to repay creditors.


TAD S.R.L: Court Approves Involuntary Bankruptcy Motion
-------------------------------------------------------
Tad S.R.L. entered bankruptcy after Judge Gonzalez of Buenos
Aires Court No. 8 approved a bankruptcy motion filed by Mr.
Hector Eduardo Cardozo, reports La Nacion. The Company's failure
to pay US$24,515.04 in debt prompted the creditor to file the
petition.

Working with Dr. Saravia, the city's Clerk No. 16, the court
assigned Mr. Hector R. Martinez as receiver for the bankruptcy
process. The receiver's duties include the authentication of the
Company's debts and the preparation of the individual and
general reports. Creditors are required to present their proofs
of claims to the receiver before August 2, 2004.

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

CONTACT: Tad SRL
         Patagones 2747
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Hector R. Martinez, Receiver
         Avenida Independencia 2251
         Buenos Aires


TELECOM ARGENTINA: Assigns Default Rating on Various Bond Issues
----------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's International Ratings, Ltd. Sucursal Argentina
assigned an `raD' ratings to a number of corporate bonds issued
by Telecom Argentina S.A. (ex Telecom Argentina STET - France
Telecom S.A). The affected bonds, according to data taken from
the official Web site of the country's securities regulator, the
Comision Nacional de Valores, include:

- EUR250 million worth of `Series and/or Class' bonds described
as "Serie K bajo el Programa Global de ONS vencido en agosto de
1999." Maturity of the bonds was not disclosed;

- EUR200 million worth of `Series and/or Class' bonds described
as "Serie I bajo el Programa Global de ONS vencido en agosto de
1999." Maturity of the bonds was not disclosed;

- ITL40 billion worth of `Series and/or Class' bonds described
as "Serie H bajo el Programa Global de ONS vencido en agosto de
1999." Maturity of the bonds was not disclosed;

- ITL40 billion worth of `Series and/or Class' bonds described
as "Serie F bajo el Programa Global de ONS vencido en agosto de
1999." Maturity of the bonds was not disclosed;

- US$100 million worth of `Series and/or Class' bonds described
as "Serie E bajo el Programa Global de ONS vencido en agosto de
1999." Maturity of the bonds was not disclosed;

- US$128 million worth of `Series and/or Class' bonds described
as "Serie C bajo el Programa Global de ONS vencido en agosto de
1999." Maturity of the bonds was not disclosed;

- EUR190 million worth of `Series and/or Class' bonds described
as "Serie 2 bajo el Programa Global de ONS (D) vencimiento en
septiembre 2004." Maturity of the bonds was not disclosed;

- EUR250 million worth of `Series and/or Class' bonds described
as "Serie 1 bajo el Programa Global de ONS (D) vencimiento en
septiembre 2004." Maturity of the bonds was not disclosed;

- US$1.5 billion worth of `Program' bonds described as "Programa
Global de Obligaciones Negociables (D)." This particular issue
will mature September 16, 2004

The action by S&P was based on Telecom Argentina's financial
health as of December 31, 2003. The ratings agency said that a
`raD' rating is assigned to financial obligations that are
currently in default or whose obligor has filed for bankruptcy
protection. The rating may also be issued when interest or
principal payments are not made on the date due, even if the
applicable grace period has not expired, unless S&P has reason
to believe that payments will be made during such grace period.

CONTACT:  TELECOM ARGENTINA S.A.
          Alicia Moreau de Justo 50, 10th Floor
          Capital Federal (1107) Republica Argentina
          Phone: +54 11 4968 4000
          Home Page: http://www.telecom.com.ar

          Contacts:
          Alberto J. Ricciardi, Chief Financial Officer
          Elvira Lazzati, Finance Director
          Pedro Insussarry, Investor Relations Manager
          Phone: (5411) 4968-3626/3627
          Fax: (5411) 4313-5842/3109
          E-mail: inversores@intersrv.telecom.com.ar


* Argentina Denies IMF Claim It Sought Delay of Review Mission
--------------------------------------------------------------
The government of Argentina denied a statement made by the
International Monetary Fund Thursday that the country has
requested a postponement of an IMF mission to review the
country's loan program, Reuters relates.

In a statement, the economy ministry said, "No one, nor the
Argentina government, has asked for any postponement."

On Thursday, IMF spokesman Thomas Dawson said the mission by IMF
staff to evaluate Argentina's economic performance under a
US$13.3 billion loan program due in mid-May would now likely
take place in June. "The delay of the mission was at the request
of the Argentine authorities," he said.

Mr. Dawson, however, added that "It doesn't mean that the review
will be delayed but ... these things can be compressed somewhat
and there is flexibility built (into the review schedule)." The
mission's postponement, he said, was not a surprise and "not
highly critical."

The review comes as the Argentinean government deals with debt
restructuring talks. The country has been with negotiating since
April with private creditors holding about US$88 billion of
Argentine debt in default since the country's economic crash in
late 2001.

The IMF has said a debt deal with creditors was vital to restore
credibility in international credit markets, which is needed for
the country's economic recovery.


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


UNIBANCO: Reports 27% Increase in 1Q04 Profit
---------------------------------------------
Uniao de Bancos Brasileiros S.A. and Unibanco Holdings S.A.
released Thursday their consolidated financial results under
Brazilian GAAP for the first quarter of 2004.

Profitability

-- 1Q04 net income rose to R$276 million, reflecting a 26.6%
growth compared to 1Q03. Stockholders' equity in March 2004
stood at R$7,358 million, representing a 9.5% increase when
compared to March 2003. Annualized ROAE stood at 16.1% in 1Q04.

Assets, Funding and Capital Adequacy

-- Unibanco's consolidated total assets reached R$71,505 million
on March 31st, 2004, representing an increase of 2.1% when
compared to March 2003. Of this total, R$27,049 million were
loans, R$17,945 million were marketable securities, issued
primarily by the federal government and derivative financial
instruments, and R$10,498 million were interbank investments.

-- Consolidated loan portfolio, including other credits, stood
at R$27,343 million in March 2004, an increase of 5.2% in the
last twelve months.

-- At the end of March 2004, the balance for the consolidated
allowance for loan losses totaled R$1,396 million, representing
5.1% of the portfolio. This allowance was composed of:

   - R$554 million according to Resolution 2682, related to
     overdue credits;

   - R$627 million according to risk parameters of Resolution
     2682, related to falling due credits;

   - R$215 million based on more conservative percentages than
     those required by the Regulatory Authority.

-- Credit portfolio posted improvement in quality when comparing
1Q04 to 1Q03. Highlights are:

   - AA-A portfolio balance improved from 67.1% to 74.5% of the
     total credit. Relative to 1Q03, the March 2004 portfolio
     posted additional R$2,937 million in credits classified in
     this group.

   - D-H portfolio balance over total loan portfolio improved
     from 8.7% in March 2003 to 8.1% in March 2004. When
     compared to March 2003, the portfolio classified in this
     group, showed a R$52 million decrease.

-- Funds and portfolios managed by UAM - Unibanco Asset
Management, ended March 2004 with R$29,324 million in assets, up
48.9% compared to the 37.2% growth of the industry. Unibanco's
overall funding reached R$86,130 million, including investment
funds and assets under management on March 31st, 2004.

-- The BIS ratio stood at 18.1%, well above the minimum required
by the Brazilian Central Bank of 11%.

Results Highlights

-- The net financial margin, adjusted by the net impact on
investments abroad, stood at 9.4% in 1Q04, compared to 7.8% in
1Q03. Financial margin after provisions was R$1,205 million in
1Q04, a 16.7% growth compared to the figure of 1Q03.

-- In 1Q04, total fees amounted to R$741 million, an increase of
11.9% when compared to 1Q03. The ratio of fee revenue over
administrative and personnel expenses, which measures recurrent
revenues and expenses, increased from 62.4% in 1Q03 to 64.8% in
1Q04.

-- 1Q04 total personnel and administrative expenses stood at
R$1,143 in 1Q04, decreasing R$93 million when compared to 4Q03.

CONTACT:  Unibanco
          Geraldo Travaglia
          Ney Dias
          Marcelo Rosenhek
          Leandro Alves
          Let­cia Wrege

          Av. Eusebio Matoso, 891-15th floor
          Sao Paulo, SP 05423-901
          Phone: (55 11) 3097-1626 / 1313
          Fax: (55 11) 3813-6182 / 3097-4830
          E-mail: investor.relations@unibanco.com


===============
C O L O M B I A
===============


CHIQUITA BRANDS: Says Protection Payments Weren't Bribes
--------------------------------------------------------
In an emailed statement, an official of U.S. banana giant
Chiquita Brands International clarified Friday that the payments
made by its Colombia subsidiary to armed groups tagged by the
United States as terrorist organizations were not "bribes", but
"protection payments" for the safety of its employees in the
country.

Michael Mitchell, Director of Corporate Communications of
Chiquita, said in the statement that the only reason the company
submitted to these payment demands has been to protect its
employees from the risks to their safety if the payments were
not made.

The statement said that as early as April 2003, "the company's
management and audit committee, in consultation with the board
of directors, voluntarily disclosed to the U.S. Department of
Justice that the company's banana-producing subsidiary in
Colombia has been forced to make "protection" payments to
certain groups in that country."

Mr. Mitchell added that Chiquita disclosed the payments because
management became aware that these groups had been classified as
foreign terrorist organizations under a U.S. statute that makes
supporting such groups a crime.

The Justice department immediately launched an investigation
after the company's voluntary disclosure. Mr. Mitchell said
Chiquita is fully cooperating with authorities on the probe.

Recently, the Justice Department said that its investigation
will also include the evaluation of the role and conduct of the
company and some of its officers. Chiquita cannot predict the
outcome of the investigation or its possible effect on the
company or its Colombian subsidiary, the statement said.

CONTACT: Michael R. Mitchell
         Director, Corporate Communications
         Chiquita Brands International Inc.
         250 East Fifth Street
         Cincinnati, Ohio 45202

         513-784-8959 (office)
         513-807-6453 (mobile)
         513-361-2499 (fax)
         E-mail: mmitchell@chiquita.com


=============
E C U A D O R
=============


PETROECUADOR: OCP US$2.85mln Pipeline Use Payment Required
----------------------------------------------------------
Ecuador's state-owned oil company Petroecuador is to pay OCP a
total of US$2.85 million for the use of its private pipeline in
transporting crude oil from March 18-24, reports local news
source El Universo.

Petroecuador struck an accord with the owners of the OCP heavy
crude pipeline to transport crude through the privately owned
facility after a landslide ruptured the Sote pipeline in March.
Under the agreement, Petroecuador will pay a preferential
transport fee of US$2 a barrel plus US$0.75 or US$1.07 a barrel
for the "distance factor," depending on whether the crude is
received at the OCP's Sardinas or Amazonas stations.

OCP transported a total of 2.01 million barrels of crude, but
the oil company's settlement is for only 1.42 million barrels.
The remaining 591,000 barrels are to be settled directly with
Petrobras and Repsol YPF, with which Petroecuador had a deal to
use a total 114,000 barrels a day (b/d) of their excess capacity
in the OCP pipeline.


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


ALFA: Higher Rates May Foil Bond Sale Plans
-------------------------------------------
Due to rising interest rates, Mexican industrial group Alfa SA
said it might abandon plans for a bond sale and bank loan that
could raise up to US$300 million that would help pay one of its
units' debts due in 2006, according to Bloomberg.

"The conditions today might not be as attractive as they looked
two months ago," said Juan Luis San Jose, executive vice
president of planning and finance of Alfa chemical unit Alpek
SA. "We don't know if we will continue or not."

The planned sale, which company officials are pitching to
investors this week, intends to raise funds through a
combination of syndicated loans and private bond placements to
refinance debt early at Grupo Petrotemex SA, an Alpek unit that
produces raw materials for plastics, to reduce financing costs.

In the past two months, corporate financing costs have risen
along with U.S. and Mexican interest rates on investor concern
that the Federal Reserve Bank will boost its target rate because
of higher energy costs that are driving up U.S. consumer prices.
From as low as 3.68% on March 16, the yield on the benchmark 10-
year U.S. Treasury note has jumped to 4.84% Thursday. The low
March rates, according to Mr. San Jose, prompted Alfa executives
to come up with the plan.

Mr. San Jose said it may take up to four weeks to receive bids
from investors, and the company will decide then whether it's
worth going forward with the transaction, which is being managed
by Citigroup Inc. and Barclays.


TV AZTECA: Distributes US$33M Shareholder Dividend
--------------------------------------------------
TV Azteca, S.A. de C.V. (NYSE: TZA; BMV: TVAZTCA), one of the
two largest producers of Spanish-language television programming
in the world, announced that it made Thursday a US$33 million
cash distribution to shareholders, equivalent to US$0.01 per
CPO, or US$0.17 per ADR.

On April 15, TV Azteca's Annual Ordinary Shareholders' Meeting
approved distributions for an aggregate amount of approximately
US$55 million to be paid during 2004, which includes the payment
of US$33 million made today, and another payment of
approximately US$22 million to be made on November 11.

The company noted today's cash distribution is part of its
ongoing plan to allocate a substantial portion of TV Azteca's
cash generation to make distributions to shareholders of over
US$500 million, and to reduce the company's debt by
approximately US$250 million by 2008.

Within the cash plan, the company made a distribution of US$125
million on June 30, 2003, and an additional US$15 million on
December 5, 2003, which together with today's US$33 million,
make an aggregate amount of US$173 million. The accumulated
distributions are equivalent to a 12% yield based on the closing
price of the ADR as of May 12, 2004. The company also reduced
its net debt by US$60 million as of February 15, 2004.

Company Profile

TV Azteca is one of the two largest producers of Spanish-
language television programming in the world, operating two
national television networks in Mexico, Azteca 13 and Azteca 7,
through more than 300 owned and operated stations across the
country. TV Azteca affiliates include Azteca America Network, a
new broadcast television network focused on the rapidly growing
US Hispanic market, and Todito.com, an Internet portal for North
American Spanish speakers.


UNEFON/IUSACELL: New Study Outlines Likely CDMA Market Impact
-------------------------------------------------------------
A study conducted by regional consulting firm Infoamericas
reveals that Mexican telecommunications firms Unefon and
Iusacell, both Grupo Salinas-controlled companies, could take
over the landline telephone market once CDMA technology is
adapted in such a way that would allow them to offer high-speed
broadband service, relates local newspaper El Universal.

Both Unefon, Mexico's third-largest wireless phone company, and
Iusacell, a provider of cellular telephony products and services
in Mexico, currently offer landline telephone services, but
their earnings in these areas account for only a small
percentage of their total income. But all that could change with
CDMA 2000 technology.

"It is this service made possible by CDMA 2000 technology that
would discourage Grupo Salinas from purchasing a land line
telephone operator and not one that would complement the
operations of these businesses [Unefon and Iusacell]," the
report stated.


VITRO: Aligns with Neoris for Systems, Software Development
-----------------------------------------------------------
Vitro, S.A. de C.V. (BMV: VITROA; NYSE: VTO) announced Thursday
that it recently signed a five-year agreement with Neoris, a
market-leading software development company, to achieve Vitro's
strategic objectives of applying advanced technological
resources to develop its business portfolio worldwide and
simultaneously strengthen its day-to-day operations.

Through this joint venture, Vitro estimates that it will achieve
unit tariff savings of between 15 and 30 percent during the
first year of the agreement and an annual increase of between 5
and 9 percent during the fifth year.

The agreement covers specific geographic areas, but both parties
can agree to extend the agreement's scope to other areas in
which Vitro operates; Vitro's subsidiaries have facilities and
distribution centers in nine countries, located in North,
Central, and South America and Europe.

Claudio Del Valle, Vitro's Vice President of Administration, and
Martin Hecker, CEO of Neoris, signed the agreement, which is
valued at several million dollars and allows Neoris to apply its
methodology to Vitro's systems development.

"We are convinced that this agreement will allow us to reduce
Vitro's systems development time and to increase Vitro's
productivity. It will also allow us to reduce costs in
applications development. We established this joint venture with
Neoris because of its ability, market knowledge, international-
company experience, and geographic coverage-all were key factors
in our decision," said Mr. Del Valle.

"We at Neoris have the necessary elements and strategic
knowledge to support our customers' application of the most
advanced technology in the face of today's competitive market
environment. We are proud that a company like Vitro has chosen
to partner with Neoris to develop and integrate its systems,"
said Mr. Hecker.

Twenty-five selected members of Vitro's Management Information
Systems (MIS) staff transferred to Neoris and 60 outsourcing
consultants are already working on projects.

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; food and beverage, wine,
liquor, cosmetics and pharmaceutical glass containers; glassware
for commercial, industrial and retail uses; 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 nine countries, located
in North, Central and South America, and Europe, and export to
more than 70 countries worldwide.

CONTACT:  VITRO, S. A. DE C.V.
          (Media Monterrey):
          Albert Chico Smith
          +52 (81) 8863-1335
          achico@vitro

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

          (Financial Community):
          Alejandro Doehner
          +52 (81) 8863-1210

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

Web site: http://www.vitro.com


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


EDC: Gets US$104 Million Local Financing
----------------------------------------
In a statement Thursday, Venezuelan private energy generator
Electricidad de Caracas (EDC) said it had received VEB200
billion (US$104.3mln) in credit from local banks Banco de
Venezuela, Banesco and Banco Mercantil for investment in the
maintenance and expansion of its power network, reports Reuters.
An affiliate of U.S. power firm AES Corp., EDC said the credit
is due in three years.

EDC reported a wider first-quarter loss from a year ago partly
due to the devaluation of the local bolivar currency and
increased fuel costs. The company reduced its debt in the
quarter by 12.4% to US$651 million.


SIDOR: Government To Spend US$6.2 Million to End Strike
-------------------------------------------------------
The deal the Venezuelan government struck with the Sutiss
workers' trade union of local steel maker Siderurgica del
Orinoco (Sidor) to end their strike is going to cost the state
some US$6.2 million in payment for bonuses and the improvement
of working conditions at Sidor, BNamericas relates.

"The VEB3 million (US$1,500) will not be paid by the company.
The government has decided to pay this amount to each one of the
workers," Sidor's labor executive Alsacia Vahlis said. She also
said that the government promised to transfer all of its Sidor
stock to the workers, explaining that this stock is in addition
to the proposed workers' participation program PPL.

The 20-day strike, which paralyzed operations at Sidor, has
caused daily losses of US$3 million for the steel maker.

Sidor is 60%-owned by the Amazonia consortium, which is made up
of Mexican companies Hylsamex (Alfa group) and Tamsa (Techint
group), Argentine company Siderar (Techint group), Brazil's
Usiminas and Venezuela's Sivensa. The Venezuelan government owns
the remaining 40%.


                            ***********


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

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
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