TCRLA_Public/040804.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, August 4, 2004, Vol. 5, Issue 153



AGUAS ARGENTINAS: Congressional Committee to Scrutinize Accord
ALIMENTOS FARGO: Government Yet to Issue Formal Sale Notice
ASYDISA ASTILLEROS: Court Favors Creditor's Bankruptcy Call
BANCO FRANCES: Moody's Withdraws FC Debt Rating of Caa1
CALJET S.A.: Court OKs Creditor's Bankruptcy Motion

CODIAZ 1939: Liquidating Assets to Pay Debts
EL JUMILLANO: Wants to Restructure Debt
FARMACEUTICOS ARGENTINOS: Seeks Insolvency Protection
GRINFA S.A.: Asks Court for Reorganization

PALMA DE MALLORCA: Enters Insolvency Protection
PAPELERA PERGAMINO: Reorganization Concluded
PESQUERA AUSTRAL: Individual Reports Due Thursday
RATTAZZI: Court Orders Liquidation

TELECOM ARGENTINA: Reaches Majority Required To Restructure Debt
VERMAT S.A.: Judge Approves Bankruptcy


BRASKEM: Ratings Unaffected by Report of Second-Quarter Results
CEMIG: Clarifies Dividend Payment Terms
CSN: Ratings Unaffected by Second-Quarter Results
CSN: To Prioritize Purchase of Assets Abroad
TELEMAR: Comments on Oi's Usage Remuneration Hike in 2Q04

TELEMAR: Launches $350M Amazonas Satellite

C O S T A   R I C A

ICE: Likely to Award Fiber Contract to Israeli Firm Soon

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

* Dominican Republic Must Meet Debt Obligations Says Report


PACIFICTEL: To Downsize Workforce Before Year-End


BANORTE: To Send Home 2,000 Workers by Sept.
DESC: To Issue New Stock Certificates
VITRO: Inaugurates New Vitromart Stores


* IMF Board Completes Paraguay's Stand-by Arrangement Review

T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

BWIA: Meeting With Stockholders To Discuss Ownership


CITGO: Records 2Q04 Net Income of $172M
IBH: Posts $12.2M Net Profit in 3Q04
PDVSA: Inks Maintenance Deal With Argentina

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -


AGUAS ARGENTINAS: Congressional Committee to Scrutinize Accord
Argentina's congress is yet to approve a transitory contract
renegotiation agreement signed between the government and water
utility, Aguas Argentinas in May.

An official from the office of senator Ernesto Sanz confirmed to
Business News Americas that a joint chamber committee from
Argentine's congress will be conducting a review this week on
the findings of a report into the renegotiation agreement.

If the committee, chaired by Sanz, approves the report, the
findings will be submitted to the full congress for approval,
the official said.

Last month, Argentina's leftist ARI party said it would 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.

Now, the differences between committee members of the ruling
party and opposition could stymie the agreement's approval.

Aguas, whose principal shareholder is France's Suez group, won
its 30-year operating concession in 1993 and provides water to
11.5 million residents and sewerage service to 7.5 million
residents in greater Buenos Aires.

           16, rue de la Ville-l 'Ev^que
           75383 PARIS Cedex 08
           Tel: +33 1 40 06 64 00

           Press Department
           Tel: +33 1 40 06 66 51 / 68
           Fax: +33 1 40 06 64 76

           Press Officiers:
           Catherine Guillon, E-mail:
           Antoine Lenoir, E-mail:

ALIMENTOS FARGO: Government Yet to Issue Formal Sale Notice
The Argentine government has not yet notified Compania de
Alimentos Fargo SA of the antitrust watchdog's supposed approval
on the sale to Mexican confectionery Grupo Bimbo, the bakery
chain said Monday.

According to Dow Jones, Fargo was responding to an inquiry from
stock exchange authorities about the government's approval of
the transaction.

Economy Minister Roberto Lavagna said last week that the
National Commission for the Defense of Competition cleared
Bimbo's acquisition, on two conditions -- Bimbo and Fargo must
sell the Argentine company's Lactal bread and bakery brand and
its plant in Pacheco in Buenos Aires province.

Bimbo's takeover had sparked concerns that it would have too
large a concentration in the packaged bread market. Once the
Lactal brand is sold off, the companies will be left with a
collective 66% market share, rather than the 79% they would have
controlled had they kept the brand.

ASYDISA ASTILLEROS: Court Favors Creditor's Bankruptcy Call
Mr. Daniel Apolinario Baez successfully requested the bankruptcy
of Asydisa Astilleros y Diques S.A. after Judge Gonzalez of
Buenos Aires' Civil and Commercial Tribunal No. 8 declared the
Company "Quiebra," reports La Nacion.

As such, the maritime firm will start the bankruptcy process
with Mr. Juan Ariel Giannazzo as trustee. Creditors of the
Company must submit their proofs of claim to the trustee before
September 30. 2004 for authentication. Failure to do so will
mean a disqualification from the payments that will be made
after the Company's assets are liquidated.

The creditor sought for the Company's bankruptcy after the
latter failed to pay debts amounting to US$44,693.70.

Dr. Saravia, Clerk No. 16, assists the court on the case, which
will end with the liquidation of all Company assets.

CONTACT: Asydisa Astilleros y Diques S.A.
         Avenida Leandro N. Alem 424
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Juan Ariel Giannazzo, Trustee
         Avenida de Mayo 1370
         Buenos Aires

BANCO FRANCES: Moody's Withdraws FC Debt Rating of Caa1
Moody's Investors Service said Monday it has withdrawn the
foreign currency debt rating of Caa1 for BBVA Banco Frances for
business reasons.

At the same time, the ratings agency affirmed its foreign
currency deposit and financial strength ratings for BBVA Banco
Frances, including the E financial strength rating (BFSR) and
long and short term foreign currency deposit ratings of Caa2 and
Not Prime, respectively.

BBVA Banco Frances is the Argentine unit of Spanish financial
holding company Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA.

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

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

CALJET S.A.: Court OKs Creditor's Bankruptcy Motion
Caljet S.A. entered bankruptcy after Judge Gonzalez of Buenos
Aires Court No. 8 approved a bankruptcy motion filed by Banca
Nazionale del Lavoro S.A., reports La Nacion. The Company's
failure to pay US$182,597.53 in debt prompted the liquidation

Working with Dr. Lezaeta, the city's Clerk No. 15, the
court assigned Ms. Nancy Edith Gonzalez as trustee for the
bankruptcy process. The trustee'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 trustee before October 29,

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: Caljet S.A.
         Avenida Belgrano 225
         Buenos Aires

         Ms. Nancy Edith Gonzalez, Trustee
         Lavalle 1290
         Buenos Aires

CODIAZ 1939: Liquidating Assets to Pay Debts
Codiaz 1939 S.A. 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, Estudio Ferrari Herrero. The
accounting firm will verify creditors' proofs of claims until
October 26, 2004. The validated claims will be presented in
court as individual reports on February 3 next year.

The firm 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 March 25, 2005.

The bankruptcy process will end with the disposal of company
assets to repay its debts.

CONTACT: Codiaz 1939 S.A.
         Avda Cnel Diaz 1939
         Buenos Aires

         Estudio Ferrari Herrero, Trustee
         Esmeralda 684
         Buenos Aires

Mr. Jorge Sahade, the trustee serving in the Componentes para
Acumuladores S.A. bankruptcy case, will close the verification
of creditors' claims on August 5, 2004. All claimants must
submit proof of the Company's indebtedness before the deadline
to qualify for the post-liquidation payments that will be made.

Judge Paez Castaneda of Buenos Aires' Civil and Commercial
Tribunal Court No. 42 handles this case with the assistance of
Dr. Barriero, Clerk No. 42.

          Palpa 2422
          Buenos Aires

          Mr. Jorge Sahade, Trustee
          Ave de Mayo 1324
          Buenos Aires

EL JUMILLANO: Wants to Restructure Debt
Buenos Aires-based Company El Jumillano S.A. is seeking
permission to restructure its liabilities, relates Infobae. The
reorganization petition, or "concurso preventivo", was filed
with the City's Civil and Commercial Tribunal Court No. 13. Once
placed under insolvency protection, the Company will be able to
draft a settlement plan with its creditors.

CONTACT: El Jumillano S.A.
         Almirante F.J. Segui 1547
         Capital Federal

FARMACEUTICOS ARGENTINOS: Seeks Insolvency Protection
Court No. 6 of Buenos Aires' Civil and Commercial Tribunal is
currently reviewing the merits of the reorganization petition
filed by Farmaceuticos Argentinos S.A.

Infobae reports that the Company filed the petition after
failing to pay its debts. A reorganization will allow the
Company to avoid bankruptcy by negotiating a settlement with its

Clerk No. 12 assists the court on this case.

CONTACT: Farmaceuticos Argentinos S.A.
         Piedras 1073
         Buenos Aires

GRINFA S.A.: Asks Court for Reorganization
Grinfa S.A., a company operating in Buenos Aires, requested
reorganization after failing to pay its creditors, says Infobae.

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

The case is pending before of Court No. 18 of the city's Civil
and Commercial Tribunal. Clerk No. 16, assists on this case.

CONTACT: Grinfa S.A.
         T. Gordillo 1772
         Buenos Aires
         (54-11) 46877820

PALMA DE MALLORCA: Enters Insolvency Protection
Court No. 5 of Mar del Plata's Civil and Commercial Tribunal
issued a resolution opening the reorganization of Palma de
Mallorca S.A. This pronouncement authorizes the Company to begin
drafting a settlement Plan for its creditors in order to avoid

The reorganization also allows the Company to retain control of
its assets subject to certain conditions imposed by Argentine
law and the oversight of a court appointed trustee.

Mr. Ottorino Oscar Mucci will serve as trustee during the course
of the reorganization. He will be validating creditors' proofs
of claims until September 17, 2004. The results of the
verification will be presented in court as individual reports on
November 17, 2004.

The trustee is also required to give the court a general report
of the case on February 17, 2005. The general report summarizes
events relevant to the reorganization and provides an audit of
the Company's accounting and business records.

The Company will present the completed settlement proposal to
its creditors during the informative assembly scheduled on June
15 next year.

CONTACT: Palma de Mallorca S.A.
         Boulevard Maritimo
         Peralta Ramos 4811
         Mar del Plata

         Mr. Ottorino Oscar Mucci, Trustee
         Rawson 2272
         Mar del Plata

PAPELERA PERGAMINO: Reorganization Concluded
The settlement plan proposed by Papelera Pergamino S.A. for its
creditors acquired the number of votes necessary for
confirmation. As such, the plan has been endorsed by the court
and will now be implemented by the company.

CONTACT: Papelera Pergamino S.A.
         Pzavaleta 790
         Buenos Aires

PESQUERA AUSTRAL: Individual Reports Due Thursday
Individual Reports from the Pesquera Austral S.A. bankruptcy
case will be presented in Buenos Aires' Civil and Commercial
Tribunal Court No. 14 on August 5, 2004.

Mr. Ernesto Luis Hilman, the trustee overseeing the Company's
liquidation, will prepare this report from all creditors' claims
submitted during the verification period.

CONTACT: Mr. Ernesto Luis Hilman, Trustee
         Viamonte 1446
         Buenos Aires

RATTAZZI: Court Orders Liquidation
Rattazzi y Compania S.R.L. prepares to wind-up its operations
following the bankruptcy pronouncement issued by San Isidro
Court No. 13. The declaration effectively prohibits the company
from administering its assets, control of which will be
transferred to a court-appointed trustee.

Infobae reports that the court appointed Mr. Mario Sebastian
Colla as trustee. He will be reviewing creditors' proofs of
claims until August 25, 2004. The verified claims will be the
basis for the individual reports to be presented for court
approval on August 25, 2004. Afterwards, the trustee will also
submit a general report on November 17, 2004.

Clerk No. 7 assists the court on this case, which will end with
the disposal of the company's assets to cover its liabilities.

CONTACT: Mr. Mario Sebastian Colla, Trustee
         Ituzaingo 349
         San Isidro

SanCor, a dairy cooperative, and Dairy Partners Americas
Argentinas SA (DPAA) formed a new joint venture that will market
yogurts, fresh cheeses and desserts, reports Dow Jones

DPAA is owned 50-50 by Swiss giant Nestle SA (NESN.VX) and New
Zealand-based dairy multinational Fonterra Cooperative Group

The new venture, which will be called Union Sancor CUL-DPAA UTE,
will start its operations Aug. 16. The new company's production
will be based in two plants, one belonging to Sancor and the
other to DPAA, and will employ 300 workers. SanCor will manage
distribution through its national network.

SanCor struck a preliminary debt accord with its creditor
committee two months ago to restructure US$167 million in debt.
Under the agreement, SanCor will repay the debt in eight years
with a grace period of two years. The first stage will consist
of interest payments, followed by capital payments with minimal
(interest) rates.

SanCor sees a definitive debt agreement soon.

TELECOM ARGENTINA: Reaches Majority Required To Restructure Debt
Telecom Argentina S.A. (TECO, D/--/--), an integrated telecom
provider, announced Monday that it has reached the majorities
required to restructure its financial debt under an out-of-court
agreement, or Acuerdo Preventivo Extrajudicial (APE), which was
announced on May 10, 2004, launched on June 22, and modified on
July 9. Nevertheless, TECO will extend the offer until Aug. 6,
2004 to provide time to process all transmittal letters received
on July 30. To become effective, the APE must now be endorsed by
a Commercial Court of the City of Buenos Aires and go through
additional steps. In addition, Telecom Personal, TECO's mobile
subsidiary, extended until Aug. 13, 2004 the invitation to
participate in the APE launched on July 2, 2004. TECO's proposal
includes the capitalization and restructuring of part of the
interests accrued up to Dec. 31, 2003 and the payment of
interests accrued since Jan. 1, 2004, and gives creditors three
options, including new amortizing notes (that mature in 2014 and
2011) and cash.

Telecom Personal's proposal is similar to the one offered by
TECO. As of March 31, 2004, total consolidated debt amounted to
the equivalent of approximately US$3,474 million and cash
holdings to US$971 million. Standard & Poor's will reassess the
ratings once the APE is concluded.

ANALYSTS: Ivana Recalde, Buenos Aires (54) 114-891-2127
          Marta Castelli, Buenos Aires (54) 114-891-2128

VERMAT S.A.: Judge Approves Bankruptcy
Vermat S.A. of Buenos Aires was declared bankrupt after Judge
Gonzalez of the city's Court No. 8 endorsed a liquidation
petition filed by Charles de Guerrero S.A. Argentine daily La
Nacion reports that the creditor has claims totaling US$33,600
against Vermat.

The court assigned Mr. Alberto Francisco Romero to supervise the
liquidation process as trustee. Dr. Saravia, Clerk No. 16,
assists the court on this case.

CONTACT: Vermat S.A.
         Tte. General J. D. Peron 940
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Alberto Francisco Romero, Trustee
         Parana 275
         Buenos Aires


BRASKEM: Ratings Unaffected by Report of Second-Quarter Results
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said Monday that the results
announced by Braskem S.A. (Braskem; LC: BB-/Stable/--; FC:
B+/Positive/--) last week are in line with expectations and do
not have an immediate impact on the ratings or outlook assigned
to the company. Despite pressures from very high naphtha
feedstock (which accounts for 65% of total costs and averaged
$351/ton in second-quarter 2004, being at record nominal highs),
Braskem managed to report positive operating results in the
quarter, with EBITDA of $699 million in the 12 months ended June
2004 (margin of 22%) due to favorable petrochemical prices
worldwide, cost cutting and synergy-capturing initiatives, and
the recovery in the domestic market, where volume sales grew by
12% on average for the company's main plastic resins year-to-
date. In the second quarter alone, EBITDA reached $202 million,
the highest since the company's creation. Debt levels remain a
relevant constraining factor for the ratings (total debt of $2.8
billion and gross debt-to-EBITDA at 4.0x), but Braskem's
liquidity condition provides some cushion to face short-term
maturities. Standard & Poor's sees Braskem's ability to maintain
strong cash generation (due to its strong business fundamentals
and EBITDA margin above 20%) and its current positive liquidity
as key factors supporting the ratings.

ANALYST:  Reginaldo Takara, Sao Paulo (55) 11-5501-8932

CEMIG: Clarifies Dividend Payment Terms
Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais (CEMIG), in view of
articles published in widely circulated newspapers, hereby
offers the following clarification to the public:

1. Payment to stockholders of dividends and interest on equity
in the amount of R$ 320,494,000, approved by the General Meeting
of Stockholders of 30 April 2004, will be made on or before 31
December 2004, and the Supervisory Board of Cemig may, by
delegation from the said General Meeting of Stockholders, bring
forward the date of payment of these benefits.

2. The interest on equity, in the amount of R$ 200 million, will
be taken into account and offset in the calculation of the
minimum obligatory dividend for the business year 2004, and the
form and date of its payment will be decided at a meeting of the
Supervisory Board to be held at an opportune date.

3. On 8 July 2004, the Federal Judge of the 24th Court of the
Judiciary of Minas Gerais, in accordance with law and in
compliance with Fiscal Judgment Payment Order 2004.38.00.018775-
0/6103, resulting from an application by the Brazilian
Development Bank (BNDES) in proceedings relating to Southern
Electric Brasil Participa‡oes Ltda., has determined that Cemig
should pay into court all the dividends and other proceeds from
shares which may be payable to Southern Electric Brasil
Participacoes Ltda.

4. Cemig will comply with the determination of the court only
when the dates referred to above have been decided and when the
payments to all stockholders haves been authorized.

We emphasize that the information relating to the dividends and
interest on equity is filed with the CVM (Securities
Commission), was duly made available to the general public
through widely circulated newspapers, and is also permanently
available on our site

Belo Horizonte, 30 July 2004
Flavio Decat de Moura
Chief Financial and Investor Relations Officer

CONTACT: Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais
         Avenida Barbacena, 1.200 - Terreo
         Belo Horizonte,  30190
         Phone: (877) 248-4237

         Web Site:

CSN: Ratings Unaffected by Second-Quarter Results
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said Monday that the results
announced by Companhia Siderurgica Nacional (CSN, local-
currency: BB/Stable/--; foreign-currency: B+/Positive/--) last
week are in line with expectations and will not immediately
affect the ratings or outlook assigned to the company. Current
conditions are very favorable to low-cost steel makers such as
CSN, and despite some feedstock pressures (namely coal and
coke), the company managed to continue reporting a robust 40%
consolidated EBITDA margin (as calculated by Standard & Poor's).
Domestic volume sales grew by 9% in first-half 2004, but CSN has
benefited most in the export market, with exports rising to 35%
of total sales in the same period. The company is sold out
through September at solid price levels, pointing to the
maintenance of robust cash generation (EBITDA of US$1.1 billion
in the past 12 months ended June 30, 2004) throughout 2004 and
2005. Although there are signs that global steel prices are
reaching accommodation, market conditions are expected to remain
favorable through 2005. In the particular case of CSN, margins
should also be positively affected by product mix improvements,
as the company grows higher value-added sales with GalvaSud.
Finally, CSN's efforts to stretch debt tenors out are also
noticeable in the reduction of short-term maturities to US$664
million, even more so in the context of comfortable cash
reserves of US$831 million.

ANALYST: Reginaldo Takara, Sao Paulo (55) 11-5501-8932

CSN: To Prioritize Purchase of Assets Abroad
Brazilian flat steelmaker CSN (NYSE: RIO) is likely to
prioritize the acquisition of assets abroad over a possible
local expansion as it embarks on a growth strategy, local news
service AE-Setorial reports, citing company president Benjamin

"The ideal thing would be to do both at the same time, but if we
have to give a priority to one of them, we will choose to grow
overseas," Steinbruch told the news service.

In light of the strong demand for steel products worldwide, the
purchase of new assets would allow the Company to increase
production rapidly and capitalize on the positive industry
scenario, the president said, adding that CSN is eyeing assets
in the rolling, slabs or galvanized steel segments, offering a
minimum 13% return on investment.

TELEMAR: Comments on Oi's Usage Remuneration Hike in 2Q04
Network usage remuneration at Telemar's Oi increased from
R$161.9 million in 1Q04 to R$178.9 million in 2Q04.

According to Telemar, the 10.5% change QoQ was mainly due to the
full impact of the 7.2% mobile interconnection (VU-M) tariff
increase which took place in February this year, as well as the
15.5% growth in Oi's customers base, which was mostly composed
of prepaid plan net adds.

Through the end of 1H04, Oi had invested around R$ 2.72 billion
in its network.

As regards to Oi's SMS (short message service), Telemar said the
service has shown a significant growth as Oi's customer base
have increased and message exchange agreements have been signed
with other mobile operators.

In 2Q04, Oi registered 93 million messages billed (compared to
58 million in 1Q04 and 34 million in 2Q03).

CONTACT: Investor Relations
         Mr. Roberto Terziani - 55 (21) 3131-1208
         Mr. Carlos Lacerda - 55 (21) 3131-1314
         Fax: 55 (21) 3131-1155

TELEMAR: Launches $350M Amazonas Satellite
The launch of the US$350 million Amazonas communications
satellite will allow Brazilian telecom firm Telemar access to
the remotest places in the Amazon Region and place it within
Embratel's satellite market, reports the Associated Press.

The satellite, which will be launched by Hispamar Satellites - a
joint venture between Telemar and Spain's Hispasat - is designed
to provide clients with comprehensive communications services
inter-linking the region, says Hispamar's CEO Luiz Francisco

The new satellite would also give clients an alternative to
Embratel's own service, which currently handles most of the
Brazilian satellite communications market. However, Mr. Perone
stated that Hispamar will not initiate a price war with

C O S T A   R I C A

ICE: Likely to Award Fiber Contract to Israeli Firm Soon
Costa Rica's electrical and telecoms monopoly ICE is close to
awarding the tender for its Border-to-Border national fiber
optic project to Israeli firm ECI Telecom.

In an interview with Business News Americas, project director
Oscar Rodriguez revealed that the Company has already sent the
recommendation. If there are no appeals within the next ten
days, they will close the tender, the director said.

But the Company believes no firm will make an appeal as the
country's comptroller general has already eliminated all those,
which could possibly make one.

ECI bid US$72 million but the bid is being revised in light of
discounts and other adjustments. Rodriguez did not have a final
figure for the tender award, but said that work on the project
will likely start at the beginning of 2005.

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

* Dominican Republic Must Meet Debt Obligations Says Report
The Dominican Republic will have to confront its debt
obligations to the International Monetary Fund and the Paris
Club after its new tax reforms are passed, says DR1 Daily News.

Mr. Claudio Cabrera, an economic journalist writing for Hoy,
said the country could fall into default if it fails to conclude
the second review of the IMF Standby Accord.

In addition, the country has to secure US$100 million by the end
of October to close the gap left by its negotiations with the
Paris Club. An alternative for this would be to call for a debt
moratorium with the financial community.

A default or a moratorium in payments could affect the new PLD
government, which is still reeling from the most recent banking
crisis to hit the country.


PACIFICTEL: To Downsize Workforce Before Year-End
Ecuadorian state-run fixed line operator Pacifictel plans to
give pink slips to 354 employees this year, according to
Pacifictel chairman Pablo Chambers.

Local daily Expreso reports that the Company expects to save
US$14 million from the measure, thereby allowing it to spend
more on assets and improving service quality.

Pacifictel employs a total of 3,243 workers, and has about 750
outsourced staff for tasks such as security and maintenance.


BANORTE: To Send Home 2,000 Workers by Sept.
Grupo Financiero Banorte SA, Mexico's fourth-largest bank, plans
to dismiss up to 2,000 workers, or 12% of the workforce, by
September, Bloomberg reports, citing Chief Executive Luis Pena.

The downsizing plans come at the backdrop of the bank's efforts
to increase consumer lending as it faces increased competition
from international banks including Citigroup Inc., HSBC Holdings
Plc and Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA.

"We are seeking to cut fat, not muscle," Pena said. "We are
addressing the upper layers of the organization rather than the

Bloomberg reports that Mr. Jason Mollin, an analyst with Bear
Stearns & Co. Inc., believes the payroll reduction may help
boost Banorte's 2004 earnings 10%. Banorte had a cost-efficiency
ratio of 76% last year, above the international average of 55%,
the analyst said in an emailed report.

The ratio, calculated by dividing operating costs by net
revenue, measures how well a bank controls costs, such as
payroll expenses, that aren't related to interest rates.

Standard & Poor's recently upgraded the bank's credit rating one
level, citing the bank's rising consumer lending. S&P increased
Banorte's foreign-currency rating to BB+/B, or one level below
investment grade, from BB/B. The outlook is stable, S&P said.

DESC: To Issue New Stock Certificates

At a meeting of the Board of Directors of DESC, S.A. de C.V.,
held on July 20, 2004, the directors approved a resolution to
exchange the final or provisional stock certificates that are
currently outstanding for new stock certificates.

Said resolution was approved as a result of the determination
made by the Board of the amount representing the capital stock
of DESC, S.A. de C.V., which determination was made pursuant to
the faculties delegated to the Board of Directors at the General
Ordinary and Extraordinary Shareholders Meeting dated March 8,
2004. The new stock certificates will have coupons numbered from
21 to 29.

The aforementioned exchange shall be carried out against the
delivery of the currently outstanding stock certificates with
coupon 20, during business hours on business days, at the
Company's Treasury, located on the 27th floor of Paseo de los
Tamarindos 400-B, Col. Bosques de las Lomas, M‚xico, Distrito
Federal, commencing on August 17, 2004. The company shall
directly exchange the stock certificates deposited with S.D.
Indeval S.A. de C.V.,(Instituci¢n para el Dep¢sito de Valores).

Mexico City, Federal District,
August 2nd, 2004

Secretary of the Board of Directors

CONTACT: Desc Sociedad de Fomento Industrial SA de CV
         Paseo de los Tamarindos 400-B
         Bosques de las Lomas
         Mexico, D.F.,  05120
         Phone: (525) 261-8000
         Fax: (525) 261-8096

         Web Site:

VITRO: Inaugurates New Vitromart Stores
Vitro, S.A. de C.V. (BMV: VITROA; NYSE: VTO) last Tuesday
through Thursday, inaugurated the first Vitromart's stores in
Mexico City Metropolitan area and Guadalajara. These form part
of the new store chain dedicated to the distribution of
architectural and construction glass, that integrates its value
chain which was created to be closer to its final consumers, by
achieving and anticipating their needs, as well as to
consolidate its market share in Mexico.

With the opening of these new stores, Vitro continues with the
process of integrating 150 stores in 100 cities in Mexico, and
revolutionizing the glass industry.

The new stores are located in:

- In Mexico City Metropolitan area, Boulevard Manuel Avila
Camacho No. 2999, between Madre Selva and Helio, Fraccionamiento
Las Rosas, in Tlalnepantla, State of Mexico.

- In Guadalajara, Ave. Lazaro Cardenas No. 3729, Colonia
Jardines de San Ignacio, in Zapopan, Jalisco. With the opening
of Vitromart, Vitro takes important steps in its strategy of
supporting its customers that have a key position and experience
in the glass market, and through this effort Vitro strengthens
its value chain in construction and interior design glass to
benefit its final consumers.

Vitromart, the solution's center for construction and interior
design glass requirements, applications and use, will meet the
needs of architects, construction professionals, interior
designers, installers, product processing businesses, as well as
of retailers, furniture manufacturers and home owners, among

Three are the key objectives of this new distribution store
chain in Mexico:

1. To promote growth and profitability among Vitro's glass
distribution channel by better integrating them to its value

2. To be closer to its final consumers by achieving and
anticipating their needs.

3. To consolidate its market share in Mexico.

"Vitromart will strengthen the construction and interior's
design commercial channel by integrating its dealers to the
distribution process in order to support their profitability and
growth", said Humberto Flores, Flat Glass' Commercial Director.

There are several advantages for customers who buy their
products and services at every Vitromart shop; first, they will
find an integral solution to their construction and interior
design glass challenges; second, they will have access to best
quality products and services; third, there will be solutions
for each customer's problem; fourth, competitive prices; fifth,
we guarantee safety products; sixth, they will have access to
the wide variety of Vitro's products in the same store, and the
seventh reason is that our dealers will have the important
support of know-how and experience of a Company that has been
serving the market for close to 100 years.

Vitro, 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

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.

         Col. Valle del Campestre,66265
         San Pedro Garza Garcia
         Nuevo Leon, 66250
         Phone: (528) 329-1210
         Fax: (528) 335-7210

         Web Site:


* IMF Board Completes Paraguay's Stand-by Arrangement Review
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has
completed the second review under a SDR 50 million (about
US$72.9 million) 15-month Stand-By Arrangement for Paraguay,
which the authorities are treating as precautionary.

In completing the second review, the Executive Board agreed to
the authorities' request for waivers of the nonobservance of
March 2004 quantitative performance criterion on the ceiling of
the wage bill, a May 2004 structural performance criterion on
the approval by Congress of the Administrative Reorganization
and Fiscal Adjustment Law, and a waiver of the continuous
performance criterion on the non-accumulation of new external
payments arrears.

Following the Executive Board's discussion of Paraguay's
economic performance, Takatoshi Kato, Deputy Managing Director
and Acting Chair, said:

"Paraguay's economic performance has improved substantially over
the past year. Growth rebounded in 2003 due to strength in the
agricultural sector, and in 2004 the nonagricultural economy has
begun to recover, while inflation has fallen below this year's
target. External vulnerability has been reduced significantly as
a result of the higher-than-expected accumulation of
international reserves, a resolution of the external payments
difficulties, and the initiation of important fiscal and
structural reforms.

"The Paraguayan authorities have shown their continued strong
commitment to follow through on the reform agenda supported by
the current Stand-By Arrangement, as evidenced by the recent
passage of the Administrative Reorganization and Fiscal
Adjustment Law and the Customs Code. This legislation provides a
sound basis for fiscal consolidation in the medium term, and
will help generate resources for essential capital investment in
high-quality projects and increased social spending.

"The authorities have achieved remarkable progress in raising
the efficiency of tax and customs collections. They plan to
institutionalize these gains by restructuring the tax and
customs authorities. Current expenditures have been tightly
controlled, and it will be important to continue to resist
pressures for increases and maintain prudent wage policies.
Steps have been taken to improve the performance of the public
enterprises, including the completion of external audits of the
main firms, but further efforts are required. Over the medium
term, greater private participation in the investment and
management of the public enterprises should be permitted.

"Improved monetary policy management has resulted in lower
inflation and higher reserves, and the authorities are
encouraged to continue to strengthen their monetary policy
strategy with a view to moving to formal inflation targeting.
Passage of the Public Bank Reform Law will be a key objective
for the authorities in the period ahead as part of their efforts
to further strengthen the banking system. Other important goals
will be the approval of comprehensive banking legislation, the
extension of a supervisory regime to cooperatives, and mandatory
introduction of international risk classifications in all banks.

"Continued structural reform and human capital development-along
with support from the international community-will be needed to
raise GDP growth, reduce poverty, and enable Paraguay to move
towards the Millennium Development Goals. The authorities are to
be commended for making an impressive start on these endeavors,
and have shown strong leadership and commitment in implementing
difficult reforms, including in the governance area," Mr. Kato

CONTACT: International Monetary Fund
         External Relations Department
         700 19th Street, NW
         Washington, D.C. 20431 USA

         Public Affairs:
         Phone: 202-623-7300
         Fax: 202-623-6278

         Media Relations:
         Phone: 202-623-7100
         Fax: 202-623-6772

T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

BWIA: Meeting With Stockholders To Discuss Ownership
Government representatives will meet with BWIA's major
stockholders to pass resolutions that will formalize its control
of the ailing carrier.

Trade Minister Kenneth Valley said in a Trinidad Express report
that the notice for the special shareholders meeting will be
released this week.

The Trinidad Government wrested control of BWIA after an
unsuccessful rights issue effectively raised its stake in the
airline from 34 to 75 percent. The government had underwritten
this issue by assuming US$30 million of BWIA's liabilities and
pouring US$10 million in cash.

However, the airline's woes continue even with government at the
helm. On Sunday, one of its Boeing 737 aircrafts bound for New
York was forced to return to Piarco International Airport after
experiencing mechanical problems.


CITGO: Records 2Q04 Net Income of $172M
Mr. Luis Marin, CITGO Petroleum Corporation's President and CEO,
announced on Monday second quarter net income of $172-million
and six months ended June 30 net income of $207-million.  Net
income during the second quarter and first six months of the
year exceeded that of the same time periods in 2003 (excluding
insurance recoveries) by $80-million and $51-million,
respectively.  This outstanding performance in 2004 exceeded
2003 results (excluding insurance recoveries) by 88-percent for
the second quarter and 32-percent for the first six months of
the year and also significantly exceeded budgeted expectations.

According to Mr. Marin, the company's outstanding performance
was based on employees' efforts in accomplishing the following:

Strong cash flows permitted the repayment of the $200-million
Senior Secured Term Loan prior to its maturity, which was
scheduled for February 27, 2006.

The $200-million Senior Secured Term Loan was supported by the
Company's equity interests in Colonial and Explorer pipelines.
Consequently, all of CITGO's remaining debt is unsecured and
future interest expense will be reduced.

CITGO was also successful in extending the maturities on $95-
million of outstanding Letters of Credit supporting various tax-
exempt industrial revenue bonds in the second quarter.

The second of two new gasoline hydrotreaters was completed and
brought on-line at the Lake Charles, La. refinery as part of the
Tier II gasoline program.  These units help produce the
environmentally friendly gasoline that will aid in the
improvement of air quality in CITGO's marketing areas.

All of CITGO's refineries were recognized by the National
Petrochemical & Refiners Association (NPRA), receiving multiple
awards for outstanding safety performance.

Utilization of our light oils refineries was limited to 84-
percent in the first quarter due to an unusually heavy level of
scheduled turnarounds.  Following completion of the first
quarter turnarounds, utilization in the second quarter increased
to 99-percent, allowing us to take advantage of strong market
conditions during the period and positioning us to take full
advantage of market opportunities for the balance of the year.

Overall, we had outstanding performance in the execution of our
turnarounds, which were completed on schedule and on budget.
Total turnaround expenses during the first half of the year,
most of which were incurred during the first quarter, approached
$80-million, which compares with a historical annual average of
about $60-million.

The capital spending in 2004 associated with the implementation
of the Tier II environmental projects, the major expansion at
Lake Charles, and the replacement of coker drums at Lake Charles
continued on budget and on schedule.

"With the strong foundation built in the first half of this
year, we expect continued improvement in our performance for the
rest of 2004," concluded Mr. Marin.


CITGO Petroleum Corporation is a leading refining and marketing
company based in Tulsa, Okla., with approximately 4,000
employees and annual revenues of approximately $25 billion.
CITGO's ultimate parent is Petr¢leos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA),
the national oil company of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
and its largest supplier of crude oil.

CITGO operates fuels refineries in Lake Charles, La., Corpus
Christi, Texas, and Lemont, Ill., and asphalt refineries in
Paulsboro, NJ and Savannah, Ga. The company has long-term crude
oil supply agreements with PDVSA for a portion of the crude oil
requirements at these facilities.

CITGO is also a 41-percent participant in LYONDELL-CITGO
Refining LP, a joint venture fuels refinery located in Houston,
Texas. CITGO's interests in these refineries result in a total
crude oil capacity of approximately 865,000 barrels per day.

Serving nearly 14,000 branded, independently owned and operated
retail locations, CITGO is also one of the five largest branded
gasoline suppliers within the United States.

CONTACT: PR Contacts
         CITGO Petroleum Corporation
         P.O. Box 3758, Tulsa, OK 74102

         Ms. Kate Robbins
         Phone: 918-495-5764
         Fax: 918-495-5269

         Ms. Jennifer Hill
         Phone: 918-495-4260
         Fax: 918-495-5269

IBH: Posts $12.2M Net Profit in 3Q04
International Briquettes Holding, IBH, subsidiary of Sivensa,
reported sales in the amount of US$ 34.0 million for the period
April-June, 2004, compared to US$ 20.5 million sales registered
during the same quarter of 2003.

An operating profit of US$ 13.1 million and a net profit of US$
12.2 million were achieved, compared to US$ 2.8 million and US$
3.7 million respectively, registered in the same quarter of the
previous fiscal year.


The average reference price of the reduced iron briquettes
unloaded on barge in the port of New Orleans, United States of
America was US$ 271.7/MT, compared to US$ 263.3/MT in the
previous quarter (January-March 2004) and US$ 152.3/MT (1)
during the same period of the previous fiscal year (April-June

Upon reaching unprecedented levels during the month of March,
metallic prices experienced a correction, starting in April,
stabilizing in May and June, to bounce back in July. The factors
causing the recent rise in prices are the increase of worldwide
steel production, driven among other reasons, by the growth of
China and the United States of America, and the shortage of
coke, which has led integrated steel mills to demand more scrap.


Venprecar's production during the quarter was 192.717 MT,
similar to that achieved in the same quarter of the previous
fiscal year of 199.550 MT, both figures near the design capacity
of the plant.


The Orinoco Iron Plant produced 224.668 MT during the period
April-June 2004, compared to 194.759 MT during the same period
of the preceding fiscal year. During the quarter April-June 2003
only production trains 1 and 2 were available, while trains 1, 2
and 3 were available during the quarter April-June 2004, and
starting May 27, train 4 became available. The number of days-
train effectively operated during the quarter April-June 2003
was 145.5, compared to 192 days-train operated during the
quarter April-June 2004.

The duration of the train runs and the effective production/day
is still under expected levels, due to:

1) inefficiencies in the process attributable to certain
characteristics of the iron ore; studies have been initiated to
analyze the problem from the mine to the plant, including on-
going discussions with the supplier;

2) failure in the reactors, an on-going situation being reviewed
jointly with Voest Alpine Industrieanlagenbau (VAI) (3); and

3) difficulty in the availability of specific parts which
require large manufacturing periods, and which will be delivered
at the end of 2004 calendar year.

During the quarter reported (April-June 2004), Orinoco Iron's
production was also affected by a deficit in the iron ore volume
received. At the date of publication of this report, the
supplier has initiated a process to regulate the situation
related to the mineral supply.

Orinoco Iron's sales during the quarter reached US$ 40.1 million
(4), compared to US$ 25.8 million sales reported in the same
quarter of the preceding fiscal year. Orinoco Iron's operating
loss was US$ 5 million, compared to the US$ 0.3 million
operating profit during the period April-June 2003.

Orinoco Iron's costs during the quarter reported were affected
due to:

1) the start up and testing of train 4 at the end of May 2004,

2) the substantial price increase of gas (197% between the
second quarter of 2003 and the second quarter of 2004), which,
due to contractual conditions, is subject to variation in oil,
gas and scrap index prices in the international market. Orinoco
Iron's net loss was US$ 19 million, versus a net loss of US$ 10
million during the same quarter of fiscal year 2003.


As previously disclosed in the report presented by the Board of
Directors of International Briquettes Holding (IBH) to the
Shareholders General Meeting held on January 29, 2004, and in
the Opinion and Notes to IBH Financial Statements of September
30, 2003, and also in IBH consecutive quarterly reports, during
1997, IBH and its subsidiary Venprecar, issued guarantees in
favor of the Orinoco Iron creditor financial institutions
related to a loan received by the latter to finance its
industrial facilities.

In March, 2001, BHP Billiton, the partner of IBH in Orinoco
Iron, announced that it would write off its investment in
Orinoco Iron, and cease any further contributions to the
project. In April 2001, Orinoco Iron failed to comply with its
payment obligations under the loan agreements, and the Trustee
demanded full payment of the total amount due.

Following, BHP paid the Orinoco Iron creditor banks the sum
related to its 50% interest established in the Common Security
Agreement for the debt incurred into for the construction of the

During a period of more than three years, which has elapsed in
default, Orinoco Iron and IBH have held conversations with the
senior lenders, BHP Billiton and the Corporaci¢n Venezolana de
Guayana (CVG), majority stockholder of the iron ore and
electricity supplier companies, in order to refinance Orinoco
Iron's financial and commercial debt.

During the month of June 2004, JP Morgan Chase Bank (the
Trustee) acting in accordance to instructions from senior
lenders, and exercising the rights set forth in the Common
Security Agreement, the Completion Agreement and the Pledge
Agreements5, disposed of funds derived from Orinoco Iron and
Venprecar exports and accounts receivables, in an amount of US$
32 million, which were applied to reduce the debt.

Considering the contingent liability which represents Orinoco
Iron's portion of the debt secured by IBH, IBH's future
performance depends on the solution to Orinoco Iron's financial
situation. As stated in previous reports, the negotiations seek
the redefinition of the terms and conditions of Orinoco Iron's
debt with BHP Billiton, the completion of negotiations with the
senior lenders to restructure Orinoco Iron's debt, and obtain
the required working capital for operations. During the April-
June 2004 quarter, the parties continued discussing these

International Briquettes Holding, IBH, consolidates the
financial results of Venprecar and has a 50/50 joint venture
with BHP Billiton, which operates the plants of Orinoco Iron,
Operaciones RDI plants, and Brifer which holds the intellectual
property rights of the FINME Technology.

To see financial statements:

CONTACT: International Briquettes Holding, IBH
         Mr. Antonio Osorio
         Telephone: 58-212-707.62.80
         Fax: 58-212-707.63.52

         Web Site:

PDVSA: Inks Maintenance Deal With Argentina
Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) will be relying on Argentina's
Astilleros Rio Santiago shipyard for the repair of its oil
tankers, reports Oil & Gas Journal Online. The Argentine
shipyard is scheduled to do maintenance work on PDVSA's "Luisa
Caceres de Arismendi" tanker in September next year.

PDVSA's Subsidiary, PDV Marina, recently inked the deal that
both countries hope will further boost development and
cooperation between them. PDVSA President Ali Rodr¡guez Araque
said that: "it is expected that sometime in the future Argentine
shipyards could build tankers for the PDV Marina fleet."

Mr. Rodriguez adds that PDVSA's Interven unit is poised to form
an alliance with Argentine energy firm Energas. This development
was discussed during President Hugo Chavez's recent visit to


S U B S C R I P T I O N   I N F O R M A T I O N

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