TCRLA_Public/040708.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

             Thursday, July 8, 2004, Vol. 5, Issue 134



AGUAS ARGENTINAS: ARI Party Seeks To Nullify Government Accord
BANCO NACION: Government to Call for New Bank Audit Bids
BOUCLES S.R.L.: Court Issues Bankruptcy Ruling
CLINICA COLON: Trustee Finalizing Claims Verifications
EDEMSA: Three Buyers Await French Government OK on Takeover

FLORIDA AUTOMOTORES: Trustee to Conclude Claims Review Today
INTERBRICK S.R.L.: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
JOCKEY CLUB: Claims Verification Deadline Reached
LA ESPIGA: Debt Payments Halted, Set To Reorganize
LUDO: Creditor Claims Filing Due Today

MEDECAL S.A.: Judge Approves Bankruptcy
PANELMASTER: Seeks Bankruptcy Protection
SIDERAR: Details $82M Investment for Current Year Operations


FOSTER WHEELER: Institutional Investors Backing Exchange Deal
NORTHERN OFFSHORE: Damaged Ship Repair Cost $1M, Lost Revenues


EMBRATEL: Strikes Marketing Alliance With Drugstore Chain
GERDAU: Allocates BRL83 Million for Ceara Subsidiary Expansion


PACIFICTEL: Interim President to Become Permanent Head
PACIFICTEL: Arbitration Panel Favors Company in LAT Dispute

E L   S A L V A D O R

BANCO AGRICOLA: Cabei Authorizes $30M Loan
TESAL: Fitch Leaves Rating Unchanged


HYLSAMEX: Reports Preliminary 2Q04 EBITDA of $222M


BLADEX: Adopts New Branding Strategy, Corporate Identity


PDVSA: Delayed 2003 Results to be Filed in September
PDVSA: Plans $9.5 Bln Outlay In Five Years

     - - - - - - - - - -


AGUAS ARGENTINAS: ARI Party Seeks To Nullify Government Accord
Argentina's leftist ARI party is seeking to invalidate a
transitional accord signed between waterworks operator Aguas
Argentinas and the government in May, reports Dow Jones Business
News. In a press statement issued Tuesday, the party said it
will ask a federal judge to block the bridge agreement because
the executive branch violated aspects of two laws that regulate
the renegotiation of public service contracts.

One of the laws in question was emergency legislation passed in
July 2002 during the country's economic crisis, and the other
law, passed in October 2003, extends the contract renegotiation
period until Dec. 31, 2004. Under those two laws, new public
service contracts must be approved by Argentina's congress.

However, the government signed the bridge agreement with Aguas
in May even without congressional approval, presumably because
the accord was a transitional one and not the final concession.

"The ARI expresses its absolute rejection of the accord signed,
and it considers that conditions have been given for the
recission of Aguas Argentinas' contract," the press statement

BANCO NACION: Government to Call for New Bank Audit Bids
Argentina is canceling the current tender to select a
consultancy to audit federal bank Banco de la Nacion, reports
Business News Americas. Sources close to the government revealed
that bidders in the current bid lack experience in federal bank
audits. The bidders, which presented their bids for the Nacion
contract on May 5, are Booz Allen Hamilton, AON Consulting, DFC,
and Aguirre y Gonzalez y Suarez y Menendez. Regulators are now
planning to call for a new tender for the contract.

The audit is part of an agreement between the government and the
IMF to restructure Argentina's major state banks. Under the
agreement, the tender process for the bank should be completed
by the end of June. But since that is not the case, the
Argentine government may have to request a so-called waiver from
the IMF on the tender issue.

BOUCLES S.R.L.: Court Issues Bankruptcy Ruling
Judge Chomer of Buenos Aires Court No. 10 declared Boucles
S.R.L. bankrupt, says La Nacion. The ruling comes in approval of
the bankruptcy petition filed by the Company's creditor, Mr.
Jorge Ceballos, for nonpayment of US$38,128 in debt.

The Company's trustee, Mr. Jorge Ceballos, will examine and
authenticate creditors' claims until September 30, 2004. This is
done to determine the nature and amount of the Company's debts.
Clerk No. 20, Dr. Gigglberger, assists the court on the case,
which will conclude with the liquidation of the Company's

CONTACT: Boucles S.R.L.
         Esmeralda 584
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Jorge Ceballos, Trustee
         Aguaribay 6736
         Buenos Aires

CLINICA COLON: Trustee Finalizing Claims Verifications
The Lomas de Zamora civil and commercial tribunal is scheduled
to receive individual reports pertaining to the Clinica Colon
S.R.L. reorganization today, July 8, 2004.

The individual reports, prepared by court-appointed trustee Ms.
Patricia Monica Narduzzi, contain information on creditors'
claims that will serve as basis for the settlement plan being
prepared by the Company.

The informative assembly, the last stage of a reorganization
process, will be held on December 14, 2004.

CONTACT: Ms. Patricia Monica Narduzzi
         Rodriguez Peña 296
         Lomas de Zamora

EDEMSA: Three Buyers Await French Government OK on Takeover
EDF, France's state-controlled power company, formally agreed to
sell its interest in troubled Argentine energy distributor
Edemsa to a group of local businessmen, reports Business News

In a deal signed July 1, EDF agreed to sell control of the unit
to Argentine businessmen Jose Angulo, Jacques Matas and Omar
Alvarez for US$50 million. The businessmen reportedly have the
backing of an unidentified foreign investor who would finance
the purchase.

Already, Mr. Yves Desrousseaux, EDF Americas representative, has
given a go-signal to the sale, which will take three months of
"bureaucratic paperwork" to be approved by the French
government, EDF's controllers.

EDF, through the Sodemsa consortium, purchased Edemsa for US$237
million in a 1998 privatization. Edemsa has over 1,000km of high
voltage transmission lines, over 12,000km of distribution lines,
and a 110,000sq. km concession area.

Edemsa has been buffeted by the country's rates freeze in recent
months. The pesofication of these rates as well as the end of
dollarization has also affected the company's bottom line.

FLORIDA AUTOMOTORES: Trustee to Conclude Claims Review Today
The trustees supervising the Florida Automotores S.A.
bankruptcy, Ms. Ines Etelvina Clos and Mr. Ruben Eduardo
Calgano, will conclude the validation of creditors' claims
today, July 8, 2004. Once the claims are reviewed, the trustee
will prepare individual reports and submit it in court on
September 6, 2004.

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

INTERBRICK S.R.L.: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
Judge Dieuzeide of Buenos Aires Court No. 1 declared local
company Interbrick S.R.L Bankrupt, relates La Nacion. The
bankruptcy order was issued upon the request of Mr. Jacinto
Ibanez for unpaid debts totaling US$1,451.38.

The Company will undergo the bankruptcy process with Ms. Lydia
ALbite as its trustee. Creditors are required to present their
proofs of claims to the trustee for verification before
September 17, 2004. Creditors who fail to have their claims
authenticated by the said date will not qualify for the payments
to be made after the Company's assets are liquidated at the end
of the bankruptcy process.

Dr. Fernandez Garello, Clerk No. 1, assists the court on the

CONTACT: Interbrick S.R.L.
         Estomba 2226
         Buenos Aires

         Ms. Lydia Albite, Trustee
         Tacuari 119
         Buenos Aires

JOCKEY CLUB: Claims Verification Deadline Reached
Creditors of Jockey Club Mar del Plata must have submitted
proofs of their claims by today, July 8, 2004, to qualify for
disbursements to be made once the company's assets are
liquidated. All claims for validation should be coursed through
Ms. Adriana Mabel Sereno the court-appointed trustee serving on
this case.

CONTACT: Jockey Club Mar del Plata
         Salta 2269
         Mar del Plata

         Ms. Adriana Mabel Sereno, Trustee
         Mariani 4780
         Mar del Plata

LA ESPIGA: Debt Payments Halted, Set To Reorganize
The Buenos Aires civil and commercial tribunal is currently
reviewing the merits of the reorganization petition filed by Le
Espiga de Oro S.A. Reorganization will allow the troubled food
company to avoid bankruptcy by negotiating a settlement with its

La Nacion recalls that the company filed the petition following
cessation of debt payments since August 31, 2003. Judge Kolliker
Frers of Buenos Aires Court No. 16, with the assistance of Clerk
No. 31 Dr. Ibarzabal, handles the Company's case.

CONTACT: La Espiga de Oro S.A.
         Rivadavia 1157
         Buenos Aires

LUDO: Creditor Claims Filing Due Today
Mr. Luis Juan Kuklis, the trustee supervising the liquidation of
Ludo S.A., will close the verification of claims today, July 08,
2004. Creditors with unverified claims will not be able to
participate in the payments to be made upon the liquidation of
the Company's assets.

         Avda Roque Saenz Pe¤a 943
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Luis Juan Kuklis, Trustee
         Lavalle 1619
         Buenos Aires

MEDECAL S.A.: Judge Approves Bankruptcy
Medecal S.A., a financing firm based in the city of Buenos
Aires, was declared bankrupt after Judge Garibotto of the city's
Court No. 2 endorsed the petition filed by Ms. Laura
Wojciechowski for the Company's liquidation. Argentine daily La
Nacion reports that the creditor has claims totaling US$50,000
against Medecal.

Mr. Fancisco Granja will supervise the liquidation process as
trustee. He will verify creditors' proofs of claims until
September 20, 2004.

CONTACT: Medecal S.A.
         Pasaje del Carmen 750
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Francisco Granja, Trustee
         Parana 467
         Buenos Aires

PANELMASTER: Seeks Bankruptcy Protection
Panelmaster S.A., a paper company operating in Buenos Aires, has
filed for bankruptcy after defaulting on its debt payments since
February 1, 2002. The case is pending before Judge Villar of the
city's Court No. 13. Dr. Guerri, Clerk of Court No. 25, assists
on this case.

CONTACT: Panelmaster S.A.
         Marcelo Torcuato de Alvear 1381
         Buenos Aires

SIDERAR: Details $82M Investment for Current Year Operations
Argentine steelmaker Siderar will allocate US$82 million for
operations this year, AE Setorial reports, citing a Siderar
executive. Mr. Daniel Novegil, Executive VP at Siderar's 51%-
owner, Buenos Aires-based Techint, the Company will spend US$25
million to restart a blast furnace, US$45 million to "fine tune"
production, and US$12 million to upgrade IT.

Additionally, the Company seeks to expand its presence in the
local auto industry, which is showing some signs of recovery.

Siderar produced 2.5Mt of steel in 2003, a company record.


FOSTER WHEELER: Institutional Investors Backing Exchange Deal
Foster Wheeler Ltd. (OTCBB: FWLRF) announced Tuesday that
additional investors have agreed not to transfer their Foster
Wheeler securities. Including these additional investors'
holdings, institutional investors holding 56.8% of the 6.75%
senior notes due 2005, 83.7% of the 6.50% convertible
subordinated notes due 2007, 91.5% of certain of the Robbins
bonds due 2009, and 19.6% of the 9% trust preferred securities
have executed agreements not to transfer their securities.

While Foster Wheeler has not yet requested these institutional
investors to tender their securities in the offer, Foster
Wheeler believes they will do so when requested. The amended
exchange offer is subject to review by the Securities and
Exchange Commission and other regulatory agencies, and revised
offering materials will be distributed as soon as practicable.

As previously announced, the exchange offer contemplates the
issuance of warrants. The holders of the trust preferred
securities would be issued five-year warrants to purchase
additional voting equity securities representing, at the minimum
required participation level for the trust preferred securities,
approximately 15% of the Company's fully diluted equity, and the
holders of common stock outstanding prior to the closing of the
proposed exchange offer would receive a dividend in the form of
three-year warrants to purchase additional voting equity
securities representing approximately 5% of the Company's fully
diluted equity.

The warrants would be exercisable commencing one year after the
completion of the exchange offer and would have an exercise
price equal to the share price at which the holders of the
convertible subordinated notes due 2007 who have tendered their
notes in the exchange offer receive a par recovery. The Company
currently expects the exercise price to be approximately $0.47.
The warrants would be in addition to the other previously
described voting equity securities to be issued in the exchange

The foregoing reference to the proposed registered exchange
offer and any other related transactions shall not constitute an
offer to buy or exchange securities or constitute the
solicitation of an offer to sell or exchange any securities in
Foster Wheeler Ltd. or any of its subsidiaries.

Investors and security holders are urged to read the following
documents filed with the SEC, as amended from time to time,
relating to the proposed exchange offer because they contain
important information:

(1) the registration statement on Form S-4 (File No. 333-107054)
and (2) the Schedule TO (File No. 005-79124).

These and any other documents relating to the proposed exchange
offer, when they are filed with the SEC, may be obtained free at
the SEC's Web site at You may also obtain these
documents for free (when available) from Foster Wheeler by
directing your request to:

   John A. Doyle
   Telephone: 908-730-4270
   Perryville Corporate Park
   Clinton, NJ 08809-4000

Foster Wheeler Ltd. is a global company offering, through its
subsidiaries, a broad range of design, engineering,
construction, manufacturing, project development and management,
research and plant operation services. Foster Wheeler serves the
refining, oil and gas, petrochemical, chemicals, power,
pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and healthcare industries. The
corporation is based in Hamilton, Bermuda, and its operational
headquarters are in Clinton, New Jersey, USA.

CONTACTS: Foster Wheeler Ltd.
          Maureen Bingert, 908-730-4444


          John Doyle, 908-730-4270


          Other Inquiries:

          Web Site:

Global Crossing (NASDAQ: GLBCE) announced Tuesday that a NASDAQ
Listings Qualifications Panel has granted the company's request
that its common stock continue to be traded on the NASDAQ
National Market until July 30, 2004, giving the company until
that date to return to full compliance with exchange listing

To return to compliance, the company will need to provide
additional information to NASDAQ regarding the company's
response to the cost of access issue and to re-file with the SEC
audited 2002 and 2003 financial statements and unaudited first
quarter 2004 financial statements, and related periodic reports.
The company is working toward meeting the July 30, 2004 deadline
and reported making progress toward that goal. The panel also
conditioned the company's ongoing listing on timely filing of
all periodic reports with the SEC for the next year.

"We've made significant progress on both internal and
independent reviews of cost of access issues, including the
completion of Deloitte and Touche's investigation which did not
reveal any management integrity issues," said John Legere,
Global Crossing's chief executive officer. "We're grateful for
the panel's decision today, which gives us time to finalize our
financials and return to compliance."

Grant Thornton LLP is in the process of conducting audit
procedures with respect to the company's cost of access
liabilities and cost of access expenses and evaluating the
appropriate accounting treatment for any potential
understatement to determine whether it can reissue its
previously withdrawn audit reports. Once Grant Thornton
completes its audit work, the company hopes to make the
appropriate filings with the SEC to regain compliance with SEC

Global Crossing provides telecommunications solutions over the
world's first integrated global IP-based network. Its core
network connects more than 300 cities and 30 countries
worldwide, and delivers services to more than 500 major cities,
50 countries and 6 continents around the globe. The company's
global sales and support model matches the network footprint
and, like the network, delivers a consistent customer experience

Global Crossing IP services are global in scale, linking the
world's enterprises, governments and carriers with customers,
employees and partners worldwide in a secure environment that is
ideally suited for IP-based business applications, allowing e-
commerce to thrive. The company offers a full range of managed
data and voice products including Global Crossing IP VPN
Service, Global Crossing Managed Services and Global Crossing
VoIP services, to more than 40 percent of the Fortune 500, as
well as 700 carriers, mobile operators and ISPs.

CONTACTS: Press Contacts
          Ms. Becky Yeamans
          + 1 973-937-0155

          Ms. Tisha Kresler
          + 1 973-937-0146

          Ms. Fernanda Marques
          Latin America
          + 55 21-3820-4712

          Mr. Mish Desmidt
          +44 (0) 7771-668438

          Web Site:

NORTHERN OFFSHORE: Damaged Ship Repair Cost $1M, Lost Revenues
Northern Offshore Ltd. (NOF.OS), an Oslo-listed Bermuda-based
drilling vessels operator, revealed that one of its drill ships
collided with a passenger vessel late Sunday morning en route
from Singapore to Indonesia. The Company said the collision
severely damaged the ship called Energy Searcher. Repairing it
would take at least two weeks and cost US$1 million, including
lost revenue.

Energy Searcher was sailing to Indonesia to commence a three-
month contract with Medco Langsa Indonesia. But Northern
Offshore is confident that it will still be able to commence a
drilling contract with Medco Langsa Indonesia once Energy
Searcher is fully operational.

Northern Offshore recently announced that it is preparing for
liquidation. The move followed an impasse between the Company
and its creditors. The Company had indicated that although an
unofficial committee of unsecured creditors had formed to
consider the Company's restructuring proposal, the committee had
sent a letter and term sheet to the Company stating that it
would not engage in negotiations with the Company without the
Company's immediate payment of US$7.2 million of interest due on
May 15, 2004 in connection with the 10.0% senior notes due 2005
and further on July 6, 2004 pay interest which is due on that
date on the outstanding NOK bonds.


EMBRATEL: Strikes Marketing Alliance With Drugstore Chain
Brazilian telecoms operator Embratel and drugstore chain
Farmacias Pague Menos have agreed to form a marketing
partnership, reports Business News Americas. Under the deal
signed this week, Farmacias will offer 21% discounts on
medications to customers who buy Embratel's prepaid phone cards.
Customers can make calls from any fixed or mobile phone. The
cards can also be used outside the country to call Brazil are
valid for three to six months. The Company is charging around
BRL0.45 (US$0.15) a minute for local fixed-to-fixed calls.

Embratel recently commenced an offer to exchange up to US$275
million aggregate principal amount of Embratel's registered 1.0%
Guaranteed Notes due 2008 (the "New Notes") for any and all of
Embratel's outstanding unregistered 11.0% Guaranteed Notes due
2008 (the "Old Notes"). The expiration date for the exchange
offer will be 5:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (EST), on July
28, 2004, unless extended.

Embratel is the premium telecommunications provider in Brazil
and offers an ample variety of telecom services -- local and
long distance telephony, advanced voice, high-speed data
transmission, Internet, satellite data communications, and
corporate networks. The Company is a leader in the country for
data services and Internet, and is highly qualified to be an
all-distance network carrier in Latin America. Embratel's
network spreads countrywide, with almost 29 thousand kms of
optic cables, which represents about one million and sixty-nine
thousand km of fiber optics.

CONTACTS: Ms. Silvia M.R. Pereira
          Investor Relations
          tel: (55 21) 2121-9662
          fax: (55 21) 2121-6388

          Web site:

GERDAU: Allocates BRL83 Million for Ceara Subsidiary Expansion
The Gerdau Group, the largest flat steel producer in the
Americas, will invest BRL83 million in expansion and
technological upgrades at Gerdau Cearense, a steel mill located
in the municipality of Maracanau (state of Ceara). The new cycle
of investments, programmed to take place over the next five
years, will expand the unit's annual production by 50%, from 100
thousand metric tons to 150 thousand metric tons. In addition to
improving the quality of Gerdau Cearense products, it will also
increase productivity in the industrial line by 43%, which are
destined for the civil construction and industrial sectors.
Investments are also being made to upgrade environmental
protection equipment and enhance social projects involving the
local community.

The main highlight of the program is a new rolling mill natural
gas reheat furnace, purchased for BRL7.5 million. The equipment
heats the billets produced in the melt shop, transforming them
into final products for the civil construction and industrial
sectors, such as rebar, bars and angles. One of the advantages
of the new, fully automated furnace is its adjustable reheating
temperature, which varies from 1050 to 1150 ºC (1922 to 2102 ºF)
depending on the type of steel. With the investment, the unit's
production capacity during this stage of the process will
increase from 20 metric tons per hour to 40 metric tons per

Investments will be made throughout the significant stages of
the production process:

Scrap yard

Gerdau Cearense transforms 100% of the ferrous scrap generated
in the state of Ceara into steel. It also uses scrap from other
states, covering an area that extends from the state of Rio
Grande do Norte to the state of Amazonas. This process
contributes to the cleanup of the cities while generating jobs
for the collection of the raw material.

In the area where the scrap is prepared to enter the furnace,
new shearing presses and mechanical trusses will be installed to
expand the unit's capacity to process and clean the raw

Melt shop

The main highlight of the program is the installation of a new
25-ton electric furnace used to transform ferrous scrap - the
unit's main raw material - into liquid steel. It incorporates
advanced technology, such as Eccentric Bottom Tapping (EBT),
which is designed to enhance the quality of the products while
streamlining the production process.

Upgrades will also be performed for the continuous casting unit,
where liquid steel is solidified in the form of billets. With
the investment, larger gauge billets (120 mm x 120 mm) will be
produced enhancing both the productivity and the operating
efficiency of the final product.

Rolling mill

In addition to the new reheat furnace noted above, the Group
will invest in a technological upgrade designed to automate the
rolling mill, thus increasing efficiency during this stage of
the steel making process. The upgrade will increase the quality
of the products destined for the civil construction and
industrial sectors. At the rolling mill, billets are transformed
into final products such as rebar, bars and angles.


The new level of production at Gerdau Cearense will also demand
improvements in the mill's internal logistics to facilitate the
receipt of raw materials and organize production flows. The
investments regarding logistics are directed at the construction
of new paved access ways and entrances in addition to the
acquisition of new industrial transportation equipment.


A total of BRL7 million will be directed at technological
upgrades of air and water protection equipment.

To reinforce its eco-efficiency practices, the Gerdau Group will
invest BRL6 million in the technological upgrade of the mill's
air protection equipment. The melt shop dust removal system,
which filters solid particles and gases generated during the
production process, will undergo an expansion: the bag house
will be doubled in size, reaching the 1,000 filter mark. In
addition, a new cowl will be installed with the capacity to
collect 800 thousand cubic meters.

Currently, water resources are protected by the water treatment
and recirculation systems. These systems assure that 100% of the
water used during the production process returns to the
industrial line and not returned to nearby rivers. Due to the
mill's new production level, a BRL1 million investment is
planned to adjust the process water treatment process and
recirculation systems. The systems' flow rate and heat exchange
in the entire plant will increase from 900 to 2,100 cubic


The Gerdau Group will also invest in improving the quality of
customer services at the Rebar Fabricating Facility, designed to
meet the demands of the region's civil construction sector. The
unit supplies rebar that is fabricated to meet the specific
requirements of each project. Its primary technological
advantage is the elimination of steel waste at construction
sites, where the average loss of such material can reach as high
as 15%.

The Armafer Rebar Fabricating Service adds value to the
traditional concrete structure frame, offers gains in
productivity and improves construction site organization in
addition to contributing to the technological evolution of the
civil construction sector.


Resources will be invested in three community projects

The Gerdau Group is also directing resources at three new social
projects in the state of Ceara. By the end of 2006, the Group
plans to construct 10 multi-sport courts in local public
schools, representing an investment of BRL1.5 million. One of
the new courts will be installed in the municipality of
Maracanau and another in the municipality of Juazeiro do Norte.
Working with government officials, the locations of the other
courts will be determined shortly. The resources will be
generated by Fundo Pró-Infância dos Profissionais Gerdau (Gerdau
Professionals' Pro-Childhood Fund), a nation-wide program
designed to assist needy children and adolescents who are; at
risk, chemically dependant or have special needs.

The Prato Popular restaurant, created to assist the low-income
population, will be yet another highlight in the social area.
With an opening date scheduled for December, the project will
serve healthy and nutritionally-balanced meals to 350 people in
the municipality of Maracanau. The Gerdau Group will remodel the
building, purchase furniture and utensils and provide publicity
of the venture within the community. Costs of this project are
estimated to be approximately BRL100 thousand. The company will
also be responsible for supporting the difference between the
actual cost of the meal and the BRL.50 price paid by the
consumer, an investment that is estimated to reach BRL250
thousand per year. The restaurant will be open from Monday to
Friday and will operate in partnership with the Maracanau City
Government, SESI and SERLARES.

To encourage the local community to play an active role in
preserving nature, the Gerdau Group plans to participate in the
Ceara Environmental Education Program (Programa de Educacao
Ambiental do Ceara or PEACE) developed by the State Ombudsman
and Environmental Departments in local schools. The
environmental awareness program will be implemented through
educational activities in the Padre Cicero (Father Cicero)
trailer, a mobile classroom that will be equipped with a sound
system, VCRs, air-conditioning, a study table and a library. The
vehicle will travel to several locations in the state.


The Gerdau Group has already invested BRL213 million in Ceara
since the end of the 1970's. The Group's first venture in the
state was the opening of a Comercial Gerdau branch in the city
of Fortaleza in 1979. In 1981, construction began for the Gerdau
Cearense steel mill, which was built to meet the demands of the
civil construction and industrial sectors in the region by using
the most modern industrial technologies. Over time, the unit has
benefited from a continuous cycle of investments designed to
guarantee the excellence of the products and services offered to

In 2001, the Armafer Rebar Fabricating Facility began operations
in order to meet the needs of the civil construction sector.
During the same year, a new branch of Comercial Gerdau was
inaugurated in the municipality of Juazeiro do Norte. The new
unit soon joined the service network of the largest steel
product distributor in Brazil. Two years later, Gerdau Group
operations were expanded in the state, with the inauguration of
a downstream operation center for flat steel in the city of
Fortaleza, designed to meet the needs of the industrial sector.

CONTACT: Gerdau Group
         Press Office +55(51) 3323-2170

         Web Site:


PACIFICTEL: Interim President to Become Permanent Head
Ecuador's solidarity fund (FS), which controls state-owned
telecoms operator Pacifictel, is expected to name Alberto Perez-
Llona as permanent president of the Company today, July 8,
reports Business News Americas. Mr. Perez-Llona has been interim
president since the beginning of this year and has been ratified
following a lengthy selection process.

In addition, four directors and eight new executives will be
named to run the Company. FS manager Milton Ordonez said the
executives, selected by international consulting firm
PricewaterhouseCoopers, would take office between Tuesday and

Local press are speculating that Angel Torres Noboa will be
appointed as chairman of the board, with Guillermo Guerrero,
Manuel Vivanco and Jose Luis Hidalgo as directors.

PACIFICTEL: Arbitration Panel Favors Company in LAT Dispute
The arbitration panel of Guayaquil's chamber of commerce (CCG)
ordered international carrier Latin American Telecom (LAT) to
award part of the US$14 million in settlement fees to
Pacifictel, reports Business News Americas. The panel was made
up of three judges: Vladimiro Alvarez, Gustavo Ortega and
Jacinto Loaiza.

The payment relates to the fees owed to Pacifictel for
terminating international calls in Ecuador between October 2000
and November 2002.

Additionally, the panel ruled that Pacifictel must use the
US$0.04 a minute charge applied to other carriers for any calls
terminated by LAT after November 2002.

The panel didn't order LAT to pay all the fees because both
parties admitted they had broken terms of the interconnection

E L   S A L V A D O R

BANCO AGRICOLA: Cabei Authorizes $30M Loan
El Salvadoran bank Banco Argricola is set to receive US$30
million in additional financing after The Central American Bank
for Economic Integration (Cabei) approved a loan increase.
Business News Americas reports that the new loan brings
Agricola's total debt in Cabei to US$64 million. The fund is
earmarked for medium and long-term financing projects.

Cabei is a cross-border financial development organization
supporting the economic integration of Central America. Its main
office is located in Honduras, and it has a regional presence in
each Central American member nation.

TESAL: Fitch Leaves Rating Unchanged
Credit ratings agency Fitch reaffirmed its B(slv) rating on
Telefonica Moviles El Salvador (Tesal), a unit of Spain's
Telefonica Moviles, reports Business News Americas. The action
came despite a boost on Tesal's revenues in the first quarter.
Fitch indicated that the Company is struggling to keep up with
fierce competition.

The Company's high debt level is also affecting the ratings.
Tesal's total debt is US$139 million and although the Company
continues to benefit from the good grace of its parent company,
"the financial flexibility of the company remains limited,"
Fitch said. Any new debt could worsen the Company's debt
profile, Fitch added, referring to Tesal's efforts to seek
financing to build a US$40 million GSM network to operate
alongside its existing CDMA network.


HYLSAMEX: Reports Preliminary 2Q04 EBITDA of $222M
Mexican steelmaker Hylsamex SA (HYLSAMX.MX) informed Mexico
City's bourse that initial results for the quarter ended June 30
showed an EBITDA of US$222 million, up from US$45 million in the
same year ago period. Preliminary revenue rose to US$589 million
from US$369 million.

"Better steel prices, sustained volumes and relatively stable
costs explain the figures," Hylsamex said. The Company shed
US$95 million in net debt in the second quarter of the year
thanks to the growth, ending with US$867 million.

Hylsamex is yet to provide additional information.

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


BLADEX: Adopts New Branding Strategy, Corporate Identity
Bladex, Banco Latinoamericano de Exportaciones , S.A. (NYSE:
BLX), announced the launch of its new corporate identity and
branding strategy at a gala held on Monday Evening and at a
seminar held on Tuesday in Panama City.  Before an audience of
distinguished executives from Latin American banks, Bladex
unveiled its new image, which is the focal point of the new
corporate identity.  It coincides with Bladex's 25th
anniversary, which is being celebrated at events throughout the
year with clients, shareholders, business partners and

Gonzalo Menendez Duque, Chairman of Bladex's Board of Directors,
stated, "Bladex's new image culminates a period of momentous
change at the Bank and symbolizes its continuous commitment to
Latin America, contributing to profitable initiatives benefiting
many countries throughout the Region.  As Bladex celebrates its
25 year anniversary, it emerges in the most financially solid
position of its history with a vision to become the financial
leader in foreign trade services of Latin America."

Jaime Rivera, Chief Executive Officer, added, "The new branding
strategy is clearly aligned with the Company's business goals
and is a major step towards optimizing Bladex's client coverage
model, segment the client base and initiate cross-selling
tactics to capitalize on new product opportunities."

Bladex's new logo, which resembles the shapes of its areas of
influence: Central America, the Caribbean and South America,
reflects the uniqueness that is synonymous with Bladex.

While Bladex's legal name will continue to be Banco
Latinoamericano de Exportaciones , S.A, it will phase out the
use of this name for daily business purposes and emphasize the
name "Bladex" as it commercial trademark.   This measure is
aimed at further increasing Bladex's brand recognition.

The launch followed extensive research from external consultant,
BrandSpin , who identified Bladex as a highly-committed,
professional and reliable lender of choice with its clients
throughout Latin America.  Based on the conclusions from the
research, Bladex is positioning itself as a leading provider of
trade finance products, services and funding, and will continue
to broaden its services and products portfolio to leverage its
strong client relationships and recognition in the Region.

Bladex will introduce its new corporate identity to the
international investor community during a series of special
events in New York City in October 2004.   Management will ring
the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on October 11 th
and will host a luncheon with presentations from Mr. Gonzalo
Menendez Duque, Chairman of the Board, and Mr. Jaime Rivera,
Chief Executive Officer, on October 12th. The details of these
events will be announced in the coming weeks.

CONTACT: Bladex Head Office
         Calle 50 y Aquilino de la Guardia
         Panama City, Panama

        Mr. Carlos Yap
        Senior Vice President for Finance
        Tel. No. (507) 210-8581


        Investor relations firm
        i-advize Corporate Communications, Inc.
        Ms. Melanie Carpenter / Peter Majeski
        Tel: (212) 406-3690

        Web Site:


PDVSA: Delayed 2003 Results to be Filed in September
Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., the state-controlled oil company,
intends to file its 2003 financial results with the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission by early September, says the
Associated Press.

The filing is expected to come two months after SEC's June 30
deadline. The company was unable to comply with the filing
deadline because of administrative problems stemming from the
two-month strike that paralyzed production in 2003.

PDVSA is currently required to file with the SEC because it
operates several wholly owned units in the U.S. If the Company
succeeds in buying back more than half of the US$2.6 billion
outstanding debt it has recently tendered, reporting
requirements to the U.S. regulators would be relaxed.

PDVSA: Plans $9.5 Bln Outlay In Five Years
Investments totaling US$9.5 billion will be poured into PDVSA
over the next five years in order to improve its refining
capacity and raise gas output. The cash infusion is expected to
boost production from 6.3 billion cubic feet per day to 11
billion by 2009. The company will finance the investment through
its own funds and loans from Citigroup (C) and J.P Morgan Chase
(JPM), said Mr. Nelson Martinez, head of PdVSA Gas.

In a report from Business News Americas, the deputy manager for
the Company's Paraguana refinery, Mr. Fernando Padron, said that
the investment amounts to 42 percent of the total spending
needed to fully exploit refining capacity in the whole of Latin
America. Fossil fuels are expected to comprise 90 percent of the
region's energy source in the next twenty years.

The state-owned oil company relies on ongoing on-shore and
offshore exploration projects such as Plataforma Deltana and
Mariscal Sucre to increase its current production. Venezuela
plans to eventually funnel its excess gas production to
neighboring Colombia through a pipeline project extending from
Maracaibo in Venezuela to Colombia's Guajira Peninsula.

In addition the planned capital outlay, PDVSA has also allotted
US$1.1 million aimed at improving product quality in order to
comply with stricter U.S. standards.


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

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