TCRLA_Public/040609.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

             Wednesday, June 9, 2004, Vol. 5, Issue 113

                            Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

AGROFOODS: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
AMERICAN SPORTS: Court Deems Bankruptcy Necessary
A.M.O.S.: Judge Approves Bankruptcy
BEGET: Asks Court for Reorganization
CLEANING TECHNOLOGY: Court Converts Bankruptcy to Reorganization

COPEMA: Court OKs Involuntary Bankruptcy Motion
DEL SUR AGROPECUARIA: Liquidates on Court Orders
DIDESSA: Goes Ahead With Reorganization
FACYCA: Debt Payments Halted, Set To Reorganize
HONEY & LOVE: Will Liquidate Assets to Pay Debts

INDUSTRIAS BRAGADO: Bankruptcy Begins on Court Orders
JORGE H. BARREIRO: Court Rules Bankruptcy
LETER S.A.: Set to Undergo Liquidation
LOGICA EMPRESARIA: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
MALEAM: Reports Submission Fixed

PAN AMERICAN ENERGY: Standard & Poors Issues Summary Analysis
PAPELERA ANGEL ZOPETTI: Court Issues Bankruptcy Ruling
PETROBRAS ENERGIA: Commences Sale of New Premium Fuel
SIDECO AMERICANA: Extra-Judicial Arrangement Up for Court OK
SOCDEL: Judge Issues Liquidation Order

TGS/TGN: Offers Open Tender for Construction of New Pipelines
VIP VIDA PROTEGIDA: Court Rules Bankruptcy


B R A Z I L

TELEMAR: Unit to Invest $26M in Expansion Project
VARIG: Belies Reports on TAP Acquisition Plans


C O S T A   R I C A

ICE: Comptroller To Resolve Contract Dispute


E L   S A L V A D O R

* S&P Affirms Ratings on El Salvador; Outlook Stable


G R E N A D A

* S&P Affirms Grenada Sovereign Credit Ratings; Outlook Stable


M E X I C O

EMPRESAS ICA: Signs MXN195 Million JV Agreement With Cotrisa
HYLSAMEX: Projects Higher EBITDA for 2Q04


T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

CDC: Striking Workers Seek End to Lockout


V E N E Z U E L A

PDVSA: Experts Question Legality of Keeping $750M From Oil Sales

* Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Offers to Buy Back Bonds

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -


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

AGROFOODS: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
--------------------------------------------
Agrofoods S.A. is set to wind-up its operations after Buenos
Aires Court No. 11, with the assistance of Clerk No. 21, ordered
the Company's liquidation.

The bankruptcy order effectively transfers control of the
Company's assets to a court-appointed trustee who will supervise
the liquidation proceedings.

Infobae reports that the court selected Mr. David Leonardo
Schvarztein as trustee. He will be verifying creditors' proofs
of claims until the end of the verification period on August 5,
2004.

Argentine bankruptcy law requires the trustee to provide the
court with individual reports on the forwarded claims and a
general report containing an audit of the Company's accounting
and business records. The individual reports will be submitted
on September 20, 2004 followed by the general report, which is
due on November 2, 2004.

CONTACT: Mr. David Leonardo Schvarztein, Trustee
         Uruguay 390
         Buenos Aires


AMERICAN SPORTS: Court Deems Bankruptcy Necessary
-------------------------------------------------
American Sports S.A., which was undergoing reorganization,
entered bankruptcy on orders from Buenos Aires Court No. 7.

Infobae relates that the court, which is assisted by Clerk No.
13, appointed Mr. Augusto Francisco Fernandez, to be the trustee
on the case. The trustee will conduct the credit verification
process "por via incidental."

CONTACT: Mr. Augusto Francisco Fernandez, Trustee
         La Rioja 1746
         Buenos Aires


A.M.O.S.: Judge Approves Bankruptcy
-----------------------------------
A.M.O.S. S.R.L. was declared bankrupt after Judge Gonzalez of
Buenos Aires Court No. 8 endorsed the petition of Ms. Lorena
Susana Dichiera for the company's liquidation.

Argentine daily La Nacion reports that Ms. Dichiera has claims
totaling US$833.22 against the medical aid company.

The court assigned Mr. Hector Ricardo Martinez to supervise the
liquidation process as receiver. He will validate creditors'
proofs of claim until August 6, 2004.

CONTACT: A.M.O.S. S.R.L.
         Parral 75
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Hector Ricardo Martinez, Trustee
         Avenida Independencia 2251
         Buenos Aires


BEGET: Asks Court for Reorganization
------------------------------------
Beget S.A., an auto-sales company operating in Buenos Aires, has
asked authorization from Court No. 19 to undergo reorganization
after failing to pay its liabilities, reports Infobae.

The reorganization petition, once approved in court, will allow
the company to negotiate a settlement with its creditors in
order to avoid a straight liquidation.

Clerk No. 37 assists the court on this case.

CONTACT: Beget S.A.
         Paraguay 1179
         Buenos Aires


CLEANING TECHNOLOGY: Court Converts Bankruptcy to Reorganization
----------------------------------------------------------------
The bankruptcy order issued by Buenos Aires Court No. 25 against
Cleaning Technology S.A. has been commuted to reorganization,
says Infobae.

Under insolvency proceedings, the Company will be able to
propose a settlement plan for its creditors in order to avoid
liquidation.

Mr. Eduardo Simon Akoskin will supervise the reorganization as
the court-appointed trustee. Part of his responsibilities is to
examine and authenticate creditors claims prior to endorsement
in court. The verification deadline is set on July 14, 2004.

The court expects to receive the individual reports pertaining
to the company's bankruptcy on September 9, 2004, followed by
the general report on October 21, 2004.

CONTACT: Mr. Eduardo Simon Akoskin, Trustee
         Viamonte 1453
         Buenos Aires


COPEMA: Court OKs Involuntary Bankruptcy Motion
-----------------------------------------------
Judge Ottolenghi of Buenos Aires Court No. 4 declared Copema
S.R.L. bankrupt, says La Nacion. The ruling comes in approval of
the bankruptcy petition filed by the Company's creditor, Mr.
Eduardo Sreider, for a US$28,481.49 debt default.

The Company's trustee, Mr. Juan Esturo, will examine and
authenticate creditors' claims until August 11 this year. This
is done to determine the nature and amount of the Company's
debts. Creditors must have their claims authenticated by the
trustee by the said date in order to qualify for the payments
that will be made after the Company's assets are liquidated.

Clerk No. 7, Dr. Juarez, assists the court on the case, which
will conclude with the liquidation of the Company's assets.

CONTACT:  Copema S.R.L.
          Alfredo Bufano 2547
          Buenos Aires


DEL SUR AGROPECUARIA: Liquidates on Court Orders
------------------------------------------------
Del Sur Agropecuaria S.A. prepares to wind-up its operations
following a bankruptcy pronouncement issued by Buenos Aires
Court No. 11 on June 6, 2004.

Infobae reports that the court appointed Mr. Miguel Angel
Marceesi as trustee. He will be reviewing creditors' proofs of
claim until August 9, 2004.

The verified claims will be the basis for the individual reports
to be presented for court approval on September 20, 2004.
Afterwards, the trustee will also submit a general report on
November 1, 2004.

Clerk No. 22 assists the court on this case, which will end with
the disposal of the Company's assets to cover its liabilities.

CONTACT: Mr. Miguel Angel Marceesi, Trustee
         Avellaneda 1135
         Buenos Aires


DIDESSA: Goes Ahead With Reorganization
---------------------------------------
Didessa S.A. received authorization from Judge Gonzalez of the
City's Court No. 8 to begin outlining its debt recovery proposal
after the court approved its insolvency petition.

Local daily La Nacion reports that the troubled real estate firm
listed, on a recent financial statement, assets totaling
US$2,800,470.48 and liabilities amounting to US$1,092,504.59.

The Company's reorganization will proceed under the supervision
of court-appointed trustee, Mr. Pedro Mazzola. The trustee will
accept creditors' proofs of claim for verification until
September 10, 2004.

Didessa's settlement proposal will be presented to its creditors
during the informative assembly on June 2 next year.

CONTACT: Didessa S.A.
         Avenida Boedo 386
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Pedro Mazzola, Trustee
         Cramer 1859
         Buenos Aires


FACYCA: Debt Payments Halted, Set To Reorganize
-----------------------------------------------
Judge Ojea Quintana of Buenos Aires Court No. 12 is presently
reviewing the merits of Facyca S.A.'s petition to reorganize. La
Nacion recalls that the Company filed the petition following
cessation of debt payments since May 14, 2004.

Reorganization will allow the ailing furniture manufacturer to
avoid bankruptcy by negotiating a settlement with its creditors.

Dr. Medici Garrot, Clerk No. 24, assists the court on this case.

CONTACT: Facyca S.A.
         Mahatma Gandhi 359
         Beunos Aires


HONEY & LOVE: Will Liquidate Assets to Pay Debts
------------------------------------------------
Honey & Love S.A. of Buenos Aires will begin liquidating its
assets following the pronouncement of the city's Court No. 21
that the Company is bankrupt, Infobae reports.

The bankruptcy ruling places the Company under the supervision
of court-appointed trustee, Mr. Juan Carlos Facoltini, who will
verify creditors' proofs of claim until August 31, 2004. The
validated claims will be presented to court as individual
reports on October 13, 2004.

Mr. Facoltini will also submit a general report, containing a
summary of the Company's financial status as well as relevant
events pertaining to the bankruptcy, on November 24, 2004.

CONTACT: Mr. Juan Carlos Facoltini, Trustee
         Bernardo de Irigoyen 330
         Buenos Aires


INDUSTRIAS BRAGADO: Bankruptcy Begins on Court Orders
-----------------------------------------------------
Industrias Bragado S.R.L. of Buenos Aires will begin liquidating
its assets after Court No. 2 declared the Company bankrupt.
Infobae reveals that the bankruptcy process will commence under
the supervision of court-appointed trustee, Mr. Daniel Ernesto
Altman.

The trustee will review claims forwarded by the Company's
creditors until July 15, 2004. After claims verification, Mr.
Altman will submit the individual reports for court approval on
September 30, 2004. The submission of the general report will
follow on November 11 this year. Clerk No. 4 assists the court
on this case.

CONTACT: Industrias Bragado S.R.L.
         Parana 275
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Daniel Ernesto Altman, Trustee
         Parana 774
         Buenos Aires


JORGE H. BARREIRO: Court Rules Bankruptcy
-----------------------------------------
Judge Ferrario of Buenos Aires Court No. 6 decreed the
bankruptcy of Jorge H. Barreiro S.R.L., reports La Nacion. The
bankruptcy petition was filed by B.G.H. S.A. after the Company
failed to pay liabilities totaling US$64,002.38.

The air-conditioning specialist will begin the liquidation
process with Ms. Miryam Lewenbaum as Trustee. She will verify
creditors' claims until September 2, 2004.

The Company's case will conclude with the sale of its assets to
repay creditors. Clerk No. 12, Dr. Mendez Sarmiento, assists the
court in handling the proceedings.

CONTACT: Jorge H. Barreiro S.R.L.
         Avenida Cobo 1491
         Buenos Aires

         Ms. Miryam Lewenbaum, Trustee
         Montevideo 66
         Buenos Aires


LETER S.A.: Set to Undergo Liquidation
--------------------------------------
Buenos Aires Court No. 26 issued a bankruptcy ruling against
Leter S.A., states Argentine news source Infobae. As such, the
Company will cease to operate under the current management and
control of its assets will be transferred to a court-appointed
trustee.

The bankruptcy process will close with the liquidation of the
Company's assets to repay its debts.

CONTACT: Leter S.A.
         Avda. Corrientes 4566
         Buenos Aires


LOGICA EMPRESARIA: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
--------------------------------------------------
Judge Gonzalez of Buenos Aires Court No. 8 declared local
company Logica Empresaria S.R.L. "Quiebra", relates local daily
La Nacion. The court approved the bankruptcy petition filed by
Union de Obreros y Empleados Plasticos, to whom the Company
failed to pay debts amounting to US$50,938.10.

The plastic manufacturing company will undergo the bankruptcy
process with Ms. Sara Mar¡a Rey de Lavolpe as its trustee.
Creditors are required to present their proofs of claim to the
trustee for verification before August 6, 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.

Dr. Saravia, Clerk No. 16 assists the court on the case.

CONTACT: Logica Empresaria S.R.L.
         Parana 489
         Buenos Aires

         Ms. Sara Maria Rey de Lavolpe, Trustee
         Cerrito 1136
         Buenos Aires


MALEAM: Reports Submission Fixed
--------------------------------
Ms. Irma Susana Aguilera, the trustee assigned to supervise the
liquidation of Maleam S.R.L., will submit the validated
individual claims for court approval on September 23, 2004.
These reports explain the basis for the accepted and rejected
claims. She will also submit a general report, containing an
audit of the Company's records, on November 4, 2004.

Infobae relates that Buenos Aires Court No. 19, assisted by
Clerk No. 37, has jurisdiction over this bankruptcy case.

CONTACT: Ms. Irma Susana Aguilera, Trustee
         Luis Saenz Pena 1690
         Buenos Aires


PAN AMERICAN ENERGY: Standard & Poors Issues Summary Analysis
-------------------------------------------------------------
CREDIT RATING: B/Stable/--  Country:        Argentina
                            Primary SIC:    Oil and Gas Field
                                            Services
                            Mult. CUSIP6:   107908
                            Mult. CUSIP6:   10802C
                            Mult. CUSIP6:   10802D

Credit Rating History:

            Local currency    Foreign currency
11-Jul-2003   B/--             B/--
21-Jan-2002   CCC-             CCC-
05-Dec-2001   B-               CCC-
01-Nov-2001   BB-/--           B/--
10-Oct-2001   BB-              B-
13-Jul-2001   BB-              BB-/--
07-Jun-2001   BB-              BB/--
26-Mar-2001   BB-              BB-

Rationale

The ratings on Argentina-based oil and gas producer Pan American
Energy LLC (PAE) reflect its heavy concentration in the Republic
of Argentina, exposing the company to the risks of operating
under a highly uncertain and rapidly changing economic and
regulatory environment; a significant need for capital
expenditures to develop its large reserve base; and a high
exposure to oil-price volatility. The ratings also incorporate
the company's relatively large reserve base, low operating
costs, and moderate financial policy.

PAE benefits from BP's expertise in the development of its
relatively large 1.471 million barrels of oil equivalent (boe)
reserve (60% natural gas and 42% developed as of early 2004),
concentrated in Argentina. The company has reported very
competitive finding, development, and acquisitions costs and
very high production replacement ratios. In the 2001-2003
period, the replacement ratio reached 416%, at a competitive
cost of $2.36 per boe. Standard & Poor's Ratings Services
expects replacement costs to increase somewhat in the next few
years, as regional expansion increases bidding and acquisition
costs; replacement costs should nonetheless remain below the $5-
per-boe worldwide average for non-OPEC countries.

The company has a relatively long-lived reserve base, with
proved reserves representing about 19.5 years of production at
2003 levels. Production of 75 million boe in 2003, derived
mostly from Argentina and approximately 48% driven by oil
production, is constrained by the country's gas-pipeline and
storage capacity. Standard & Poor's expects the company's
capital expenditures to be directed mostly toward developing the
current reserve base and increasing production levels.
Additionally, while Argentina will remain the core of the
company's South American operations, expansion throughout the
southern cone region is expected.

The laws and regulations for the Argentine oil and gas sector
went through profound changes since 2002. An export duty of 20%
for crude oil (recently increased to 25%), a reduction in dollar
terms of natural gas prices, the recent introduction of a 20%
export duty for natural gas, the devaluation of the peso,
government pressures to keep domestic retail prices for refined
products low, and regulatory volatility have had an effect on
companies operating in the sector. One of the consequences of
these measures was that investments in natural gas were almost
frozen, creating uncertainties regarding future supply. To
tackle the issue, through Decree No 181 in February 2004 and
Resolution 208 in April 2004, a natural gas price-increase path
was established for producing companies. Despite the positive
signal of the upcoming natural gas price increases, government
pressures continue to be a challenge for the companies operating
in the sector, as evidenced by the recent increase in crude oil
export duties to 25% from 20% and the introduction of a 20%
export duty for natural gas. Nevertheless, PAE should continue
maintaining adequate financial performance, even under lower
crude international prices and despite the lower domestic
realization price, given its moderate financial profile and good
production cost structure.

Strong financial performance (helped by unusually high crude oil
prices), increased production, and a moderate capital structure
allowed EBITDA interest coverage to reach a strong 16.4x for
fiscal 2003 from approximately 2.4x in fiscal 1998. Standard &
Poor's expects PAE's coverage ratios to remain strong, with
funds from operations to total debt above 20%, and EBITDA
interest coverage of 4x throughout a normal price cycle. The
debt-to-capitalization ratio, at 15.7% as of December 2003, is
expected to remain at moderate levels, in the range of 20%-30%.

Liquidity.

PAE's liquidity position is strong for the ratings category. As
of Dec. 31, 2003, short-term debt amounted to $225 million,
while cash and short-term investments accounted for $155
million. Although PAE's financial flexibility is reduced by
current market conditions, its strong cash-flow generating
ability (with funds from operations covering 84% of total debt
for fiscal 2003), boosted by the unusually high crude oil price
since March 2002, should help maintain liquidity in the short to
medium term. Nevertheless, Standard & Poor's expects PAE to
maintain an adequate level of liquidity in a scenario of lower
crude oil prices. As is common in most Latin American countries,
the company does not have committed credit lines.

Because the company can pace the development of its reserves,
Standard & Poor's does not expect PAE's liquidity position to be
significantly affected by the large capital expenditure
requirements. Accordingly, in a lower crude oil price scenario
and with uncertainties regarding natural gas realization prices,
Standard & Poor's expects PAE to reduce its investments,
resulting in lower growth rates. Nevertheless, at 2003
production levels, and considering its performance through the
cycle, PAE should be able to meet its financial obligations. In
the less likely scenario that the company decides to continue
investing heavily despite lower prices, its conservative
financial profile provides some room to finance increasing
indebtedness and still maintain an adequate financial profile.

Outlook

The stable outlook reflects Standard & Poor's expectations that
PAE will maintain strong coverage ratios during the next few
years, even with lower crude oil prices in the international
markets. Both the rating and outlook assume no significant
changes in the regulation affecting the sector, particularly the
exemption for oil-producing companies from the repatriation
requirement of up to 70% of their export proceeds. Should any
such change take place, the ratings will be adjusted to reflect
either the improvement or deterioration in PAE's repayment
ability.

ANALYSTS:  Pablo Lutereau, Buenos Aires (54) 114-891-2125
           Luciano Gremone, Buenos Aires (54) 11-4891-2143
           Marta Castelli, Buenos Aires (54) 114-891-2128


PAPELERA ANGEL ZOPETTI: Court Issues Bankruptcy Ruling
------------------------------------------------------
Cordoba Court No. 6 declared Papelera Angel Zopetti S.R.L.
bankrupt after the company defaulted on its debt payments,
states Infobae. A court-appointed trustee will submit individual
reports based on claims presented by the Company's creditors for
court approval on July 22, 2004. A general report will also be
submitted on September 3, 2004.

CONTACT: Papelera Angel Zopetti S.R.L.
         Salta 551
         Cordoba


PETROBRAS ENERGIA: Commences Sale of New Premium Fuel
-----------------------------------------------------
Petrobras Energia SA, the Argentine unit of Brazilian oil giant
Petroleo Brasileiro SA, revealed Monday that it has launched the
sale of a new premium fuel called Podium, relates Dow Jones
Newswires.

In a press statement, Petrobras Energia's Country Manager
Alberto Da Fonseca Guimares said: "This launch, together with
the inauguration of the most modern service stations, is
undeniable proof of Petrobras' decision to play an active role
in Argentina's growth."

With the launching of Podium, Petrobras Energia will be able to
compete in the more lucrative high-octane sector of Argentina's
struggling fuel market.

CONTACTS:  Daniel E. Rennis
           E-mail: drennis@petrobrasenergia.com
           Alberto Jankowski
           E-mail: ajankows@petrobrasenergia.com
           Tel: (5411) 4344-6655


SIDECO AMERICANA: Extra-Judicial Arrangement Up for Court OK
------------------------------------------------------------
COURT NOTICE

The First-Instance National Commercial Court No. 18, temporarily
in charge of Dr. German Paez Castaneda, Secretary's Office No.
36, located at Marcelo T. de Alvear 1840, 3rd floor, Buenos
Aires, Republic of Argentina, hereby makes known that on May 18,
2004, an Out-of-Court Arrangement with Creditors made by Sideco
Americana S.A. (CUIT No. 30-51716453-0) was certified to be in
existence pursuant to the terms of Section 74 of Law No. 24522.

Also, it is hereby made known that the identified creditors are:

Banco Ciudad of Buenos Aires, Banco Provincia de Buenos Aires,
Banco Rio de la Plata S.A., Banco Nacion Argentina, Banca
Nazionale de Lavoro S.A., Banco de Galica y Buenos Aires, IFC
International Finance Corporation, Pistrelli, Henry Martin y
Asociados, MBA Banco de Inversiones S.A., Klein and Franco S.C.,
Strat S.A., Latin American Consulting Group, Chadbourne & Park,
Fernando Carlos Munoz de Toro, Escribana Cinque, Bolsa de
Comercio de Buenos Aires, Claudio A. Achino, Gustavo Casir,
Munoz de Toro and Munoz de Toro S.R.L., Fabian Eduardo de Aiello
y Miguel Alfredo Moore.

And in addition, the note-holder creditors:

RBC Dominion Securities Inc., JP Morgan Chase Bank, Citibank
N.A., BNP Paribas Brokerage Services Inc., Goldman, Sachs and
Co., Lehman Brothers Inc., Raymond, James and Associates Inc.,
Anibal Alejandro Guttierez, Hugo Caesar Schargorodsky, Gerardo y
Sebastian Schargorodsky, Karina Edith Servello, Alfredo DePalma,
Roque A. De Palma y Alfredo A. Depalma, Ernesto Andres Barugel,
Javier Garcia Poquet, Alejandro Maria Larroude, and Ana Rosa
Larroude.

The period for the filing of oppositions is ten days after the
last publication of court notices, and if such period lapses
with no opposition having been filed, the honorable judge may
approve the arrangement, as the number of creditor consents
given thereto is deemed sufficient.

It is hereby made known that on the Internet website
www.cncom.gov.ar - Case records for consultation, First-Instance
National Commercial Court No. 18, Secretary's Office 36, File
No. 044787: "SIDECO AMERICANA S.A., s, ACUERDO PRECONSURAL"
("Sideco Americana S.A., Pre-Reorganization Arrangement"), the
updated composition of the debtor's assets and liabilities is
shown, on the basis of a determination made by the court and
included both in the preliminary and the final report that are
an integral part of the records of the case. It shall be
published in the Financial Times, it is hereby ordered.

Buenos Aires, May 24TH 2004.


SOCDEL: Judge Issues Liquidation Order
--------------------------------------
Judge Uzal of Buenos Aires Court No. 26 issued a ruling
declaring Socdel S.A. bankrupt, relates Infobae. The order
places control of the company's assets in the hands of a trustee
who will eventually dispose it to pay Socdel's debts, reported
to total US$1,067,555. Clerk No. 51 assists the court on this
case.

CONTACT: Socdel S.A.
         Soler 3787
         Buenos Aires


TGS/TGN: Offers Open Tender for Construction of New Pipelines
-------------------------------------------------------------
Argentina's two main gas transporters, Transportadora de Gas del
Sur SA (TGS) and Transportadora de Gas del Norte SA (TGN),
launched a tender process Friday for the construction of 800
kilometers worth of new gas pipelines, says Dow Jones Newswires.

TGS will pay for the construction of 500 kilometers of pipeline,
which will run through seven provinces from the southern Santa
Cruz province to Buenos Aires. The pipeline construction is
expected to create some 2,000 direct jobs and 6,000 extra work,
according to TGS Chief Executive Officer Eduardo Ojea Quintana.
The pipeline will add transport capacity of 3 million cubic
meters daily and will cost around ARS675 million ($1=ARS2.965).

Meanwhile, TGN will pay for the construction of 300 kilometers
of pipelines, three new gas compression plants and work to
expand production at four existing compression plants. The new
pipelines will add 1.8 million cubic meters daily in Argentina's
north and 1 million cubic meters daily to transport capacity in
western Argentina. The pipelines will cost some ARS500 million
to build.

The construction of these pipelines is part of the latest
attempt to address an energy crisis that threatens major gas and
power shortages in coming years.


VIP VIDA PROTEGIDA: Court Rules Bankruptcy
------------------------------------------
Vip Vida Protegida S.A. will enter bankruptcy after Buenos Aires
Court No. 11 declared it "Quiebra," reports Infobae.

With assistance from Clerk No. 22, the court named Mr. Hugo
Adriano Zaragoza as trustee. He will verify creditors' claims
until August 5, 2004.

Following claims verification, the trustee will submit the
individual reports, which were prepared based on the
verification results, to the court on September 16, 2004. The
general report is due for submission on October 28, 2004.

The Company's bankruptcy case will close with the liquidation of
its assets to pay its creditors.

CONTACT: Mr. Hugo Adriano Zaragoza, Trustee
         25 de Mayo 596
         Buenos Aires



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

TELEMAR: Unit to Invest $26M in Expansion Project
-------------------------------------------------
Brazilian call center Contax, a unit of holding company Telemar
Participacoes SA, plans to open three new centers and expand its
unit in Recife, capital of northeastern Pernambuco state.

According to Business News Americas, the Company will be
spending BRL80 million (US$26 million) on the project.

Contax reported gross revenues of BRL135 million for the first
quarter of 2004, up 46% from the same period in 2003.

CONTACT:  TNE - INVESTOR RELATIONS GLOBAL CONSULTING GROUP
          Roberto Terziani
          (terziani@telemar.com.br)
          55 21 3131 1208

          Kevin Kirkeby
          (kkirkeby@hfgcg.com)

          Carlos Lacerda
          (carlosl@telemar.com.br)
          55 21 3131 1314
          Fax: 55 21 3131 1155
               1 646 284 9494
          Tel: 1-646-284-9416;

Website: www.telemar.com.br/ir


VARIG: Belies Reports on TAP Acquisition Plans
----------------------------------------------
Brazilian airline Varig disproved a newspaper report that TAP-
Air Portugal is looking to take a 20% stake in the former over
the next three years, relates Dow Jones Newswires.

A Varig spokesman said there was no substance to such
speculation, adding there were no talks between the two
companies.

Earlier, Portuguese weekly newspaper Expresso quoted a TAP
source as saying: "In three years time, it would be interesting
if TAP were authorized to take up to 20% of Varig's capital."

However, a spokeswoman for TAP said the report was baseless.

TAP, along with South African Airways and Finland's Blue1, were
inducted into the world's largest airline grouping, Star
Alliance, on Saturday. Varig is already a member of the network
that covers 755 airports in 132 countries.

CONTACT:      VARIG (Viacao Aerea Rio-Grandense, S.A.)
              Rua 18 de Novembro No. 800, Sao Joao
              90240-040 Porto Alegre,
              Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
              Phone: (51) 358-7039/7040
                     (51) 358-7010/7042
              Fax: +55-51-358-7001
              Home Page: www.varig.com.br/english/
              Contacts:
              Dorival Ramos Schultz, EVP Finance and CFO
              E-mail: dorival.schultz@varig.com.br

              Investor Relations:
              Av. Almirante Silvio de Noronha,
              n  365-Bloco "B" - s/458 / Centro
              Rio de Janeiro, Brazil



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C O S T A   R I C A
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ICE: Comptroller To Resolve Contract Dispute
---------------------------------------------
Costa Rica's office of the Comptroller General will issue a
ruling on June 10 over the disputed country wide fiber-optic
contract awarded to Swedish telecom vendor Ericsson by the
country's telecom regulator, ICE, that is being opposed by rival
ECI Telecom.

ECI Telecom's appeal hinges on its concerns over the Swedish
company's use of out-sourced hardware for the project as well as
alleged defects in the construction of the system.

Business News Americas reports that the comptroller has
requested ICE to provide documents concerning inconsistencies in
Ericsson's equipment and installations cost estimates.

The development deal, originally granted to Alcatel in 2002,
calls for the construction of a nation-wide fiber-optics web
capable of interconnecting fixed and mobile phones with the
Internet and corporate networks.



=====================
E L   S A L V A D O R
=====================

* S&P Affirms Ratings on El Salvador; Outlook Stable
----------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed
its 'BB+' long-term and 'B' short-term sovereign credit ratings
on the Republic of El Salvador. The outlook remains stable.

According to Standard & Poor's Ratings Services credit analyst
Richard Francis, the ratings are supported by El Salvador's
strong and well-regulated banking system, long-standing program
of structural reform, moderate debt, and falling interest rates-
although widespread poverty, demands on fiscal policy, and
limited economic growth pressure the country's credit standing.

"The stable outlook balances the risk associated with El
Salvador's still significant (albeit improving) fiscal deficit
for a fully dollarized economy against the anticipated boost to
economic growth and flexibility supported by structural reform
and monetary stability," Mr. Francis said. "The government has
no monetary flexibility, and it is therefore imperative that
fiscal performance be prudent," he added.

Mr. Francis explained that interest rates have fallen by more
than half because of the stable monetary environment created by
the 2001 adoption of the U.S. dollar as the local currency.
Inflation, which has not been a problem in recent years, is
expected to closely follow that of the U.S., and balance-of-
payments risk has been substantially reduced. This should
facilitate investment, in concert with the anticipated approval
of the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

"If the fiscal deficit fails to decline and growth falters, the
credit standing of the government could come under pressure,"
Mr. Francis noted. However, if fiscal discipline is strengthened
significantly (most likely through further improvements in
revenue generation) and economic growth rises, El Salvador's
ratings could improve," he noted.



=============
G R E N A D A
=============

* S&P Affirms Grenada Sovereign Credit Ratings; Outlook Stable
--------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed its 'BB-' long-term
and 'B' short-term sovereign credit ratings on Grenada. The
outlook remains stable.

According to Standard & Poor's credit analyst Olga Kalinina, the
ratings on Grenada are constrained by the general government's
high debt burden and vulnerabilities brought about by the
country's small size and openness. On the other hand, the
ratings are supported by the country's stable, predictable
political environment; relatively diverse economic base and
strong human development indicators; and membership in the
Eastern Caribbean Currency Union.

"The stable outlook reflects Standard & Poor's expectation that
the government is committed to reducing the fiscal deficit, as
demonstrated by the improved fiscal results in 2003 and the 2004
budget, and that Grenada's strong economic performance, based on
the improvements in the island's infrastructure and ongoing
private investment, will continue," said Mrs. Kalinina. "As a
result, debt is estimated to begin declining from the high peak
of 2003," she added.

Ms. Kalinina explained that the improving debt profile (recent
refinancings helped to extend maturity and lower the interest
costs) also underpins the favorable debt dynamic. "However, if
the fiscal deficits do not decline further or growth prospects
fade (both of which would lead to further increases in debt and
in the cost of its servicing), the sovereign's creditworthiness
will be impaired," she concluded.

ANALYSTS:  Olga Kalinina, CFA, New York (1) 212-438-7350
           Helena Hessel, New York (1) 212-438-7349



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

EMPRESAS ICA: Signs MXN195 Million JV Agreement With Cotrisa
------------------------------------------------------------
Empresas ICA Sociedad Controladora (NYSE and BMV: ICA), the
largest engineering, procurement, and construction company in
Mexico, announced Monday the signing of a 50-50 joint venture
agreement between its subsidiary, Ingenieros Civiles Asociados,
S.A. de C.V., and Construcciones y Trituraciones S.A. de C.V.
(Cotrisa), for the joint development of a project, valued at
MXN195 million at the time of the contract award, which is part
of the sanitation and drainage enlargement works in Mexico City.

On December 22, 2003, Cotrisa was awarded the contract for the
development of the Rio de los Remedios Interceptor Tunnel by
Fideicomiso 1928, coordinated by the National Water Commission.
This work consists in the construction of five shaftways, the
excavation of 9,874.6 meters of tunnel, and the fabrication of
9,600 concrete sewer sections. This contract is part of the
wastewater management project in the Valley of Mexico.

Combining efforts and seeking synergies, ICA and Cotrisa will
jointly fabricate the 9,600 sections over a term of 18 months,
with work beginning on June 1 and scheduled completion on
November 30, 2005. This portion of the project has a total value
of MXN195 million, at the date of the contract award.

Founded in 1947, ICA has completed construction and engineering
projects in 21 countries. ICA's principal business units include
Civil Construction, and Industrial Construction. Through its
subsidiaries, ICA also develops housing, manages airports, and
operates tunnels, highways, and municipal services under
government concession contracts and/or partial sale of long term
contract rights.


HYLSAMEX: Projects Higher EBITDA for 2Q04
-----------------------------------------
Mexican steelmaker Hylsamex told the local stock exchange Monday
that it is expecting an EBITDA of between US$190 million and
US$210 million for the second quarter of the year.

The expected result would be higher than the US$45 million
EBITDA Hylsamex posted in the same period of 2003, and the
US$110 million in EBITDA the Company reported for the first
quarter of this year.

The Monterrey-based steelmaker, which is part of the Alfa
industrial conglomerate, is bullish about its outlook as it
posted strong sales volumes in April and May amid heavy demand
for steel in Mexico and abroad. This demand for steel has also
allowed Hylsamex to raise prices on several products. The
company says its production costs have risen only modestly,
despite higher industry-wide costs for materials and energy.

"Hylsamex remains cautiously optimistic for the rest of 2004,"
the Company said in the filing.

Hylsamex posted a US$63-million net profit for the first quarter
of this year, reversing a US$35-million year-on-year loss. Sales
volumes grew 9% during the period to 788,000t, helping revenues
soar 30% to US$461 million.

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



=================================
T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O
=================================

CDC: Striking Workers Seek End to Lockout
-----------------------------------------
Striking workers at Caribbean Development Company (CDC) have
asked an Industrial Court to slap an injunction on the Company's
decision to lock them out.

According to a Trinidad Guardian report, the court will hear the
matter on June 15.

CDC's management decided to lock workers out on May 24 after
learning that on the previous day, workers voted to go on
strike. The lockout action, according to David Inglefield, ANSA
McAL's group marketing director, took place to protect the
equipment and the plant.

Members of the National Union of Government and Federated
Workers (NUGFW) voted to go on strike demanding a 17% increase
in salary, which is more than the Company's offer of a 12% hike.
In addition, the workers demand a special bonus plan whereby
workers will receive 50 cents on each saleable carton.

Aside from the demands, the union is also objecting to CDC's
proposal to include random drug testing in the collective
agreement, as well as reduce the number of union officers at the
plant.

The Guardian reports that CDC workers were paid for the weeks
ended May 16, 2004 and May 23 2004 on Friday. A representative
from the Company confirmed the workers were paid as stipulated
in a notice taken out in the daily newspapers. The notice said
there was a delay in payment due to diminished payroll resources
at the plant. The deadline for payment was last Thursday.



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

PDVSA: Experts Question Legality of Keeping $750M From Oil Sales
----------------------------------------------------------------
Venezuelan state oil giant Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA)
kept back US$750 million from oil sales to start a development
fund that according to PDVSA President Ali Rodriguez, could
reach up to US$2 billion.

However, the move, according to Bloomberg News, raised
apprehensions among experts.

"What Petroleos de Venezuela is doing is scary, it's wrong and
it's illegal," said Robert Bottome, head of the Caracas- based
research firm Veneconomy. "This isn't transparent, and it's not
going through the central bank or national assembly."

However, in an interview with the Venpress state news agency,
Rodriguez asserted that the decision to keep the funds back and
not sell the dollars to the central bank complies with the law.

"In general, this is a very positive measure, and I insist,
applying correct economic and financial policies, this can be
very good for the national economy," Venpres quoted Rodriguez as
saying.

Meanwhile, analysts such as Ricardo Amorim of IDEAglobal said
the move is designed to boost President Hugo Chavez's popularity
before a recall election in two months.

"The government is trying to hold onto and spend as much of the
oil windfall as possible to boost President Chavez's popularity
before the referendum," said Amorim, head of Latin American
research at the New York company. "The creation of this fund is
something like they tried to do earlier, tapping into the
central bank's international reserves."

Venezuelans go to the polls in August to vote on a recall of
Chavez. A poll in March by Datanalisis showed 59 percent of the
1,291 people surveyed saying they would vote to recall the
former paratrooper.


* Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Offers to Buy Back Bonds
-----------------------------------------------------------
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ("Venezuela") announced
Monday an offer (the "Offer") to purchase for cash its 1.15%
Notes due September 30, 2004 (the "Notes"), on the terms and
subject to the conditions set forth in the offer to purchase
dated June 7, 2004 (the "Offer to Purchase") and the related
letter of transmittal (the "Letter of Transmittal"), at the
price per U.S.$500 original principal amount of Notes tendered
of U.S.$500, plus accrued and unpaid interest up to, but not
including, the settlement date.

Holders wishing to tender their Notes pursuant to the Offer must
deliver to the Depositary, Deutsche Bank AG, at or prior to
12:00 P.M., New York City time, on June 18, 2004 (the
"Expiration Date"), or such other time and date as specified by
Venezuela if it chooses to extend the submission period, a
properly completed Letter of Transmittal by facsimile, courier
or hand delivery.  Letters of Transmittal must be submitted
during the submission period.  Holders must also arrange to
deliver bond instructions with respect to the Notes they wish to
tender in the form and in accordance with the deadlines
described in the Offer to Purchase.  Bond instructions must be
delivered by a direct participant in Euroclear or Clearstream,
Luxembourg. Holders who hold Notes through a custodian, such as
a broker, bank or other financial advisor, should contact that
custodian to request that the custodian submit a Letter of
Transmittal on their behalf.  Venezuela further reserves the
right, in its sole discretion, not to accept any tenders
pursuant to the Offer.

After reviewing the tenders submitted pursuant to the Offer,
Venezuela will, at or around 5:00 P.M., New York City time, on
the first business day after the Expiration Date, or as soon as
practicable thereafter, announce the results of the Offer and
whether Venezuela will accept any tenders for the Notes, and, if
so, the original principal amount of the Notes accepted for
purchase in the Offer and proration information, if applicable.

Settlement is scheduled to occur on June 25, 2004.

    The Dealer Managers for the Offer are:

     ABN-AMRO                        Barclays Capital
     55 East 52nd Street             200 Park Avenue
     New York, New York  10025       New York, New York 10166
     United States                   United States
     Inside the U.S.: Toll-Free      Inside the U.S.: Toll-Free
     (866) 409-7643                         (866) 307-8991
     Outside the U.S.: Call Collect  Outside the U.S.: Call
     (212) 409-6255                  Collect (212) 412-4072

This communication shall not constitute an offer to sell or buy
or the solicitation of an offer to buy or sell nor shall there
be any sale of the securities referenced in this communication
in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation
or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification
under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.

The distribution of materials relating to the Offer, and the
transactions contemplated by the Offer, may be restricted by law
in certain jurisdictions. If materials relating to the Offer
come into your possession, you are required by Venezuela to
inform yourself of and to observe all of these restrictions. The
materials relating to the Offer do not constitute, and may not
be used in connection with, an offer or solicitation in any
place where offers or solicitations are not permitted by law.
If a jurisdiction requires the Offer to be made by a licensed
broker or dealer and any Dealer Manager or any affiliate of a
Dealer Manager is a licensed broker or dealer in that
jurisdiction, the Offer shall be deemed to be made by such
Dealer Manager or affiliate on behalf of Venezuela in that
jurisdiction.



                            ***********


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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