TCRLA_Public/040809.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

             Monday, August 9, 2004, Vol. 5, Issue 156

                            Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

CHUTRAU: Enters Acuerdo Preventivo Extrajudicial With Creditors   
DIRECTV LA: Improves Operating Performance in 2Q04
FUOCO S.A.: Court Consents to Reorganization
MARCOS MARTINI: Court Resets Reorganization
PANADERIA PARIS: Court Grants Reorganization Plea

REPSOL-YPF: Unit Sells Global Petroleum Stake for $43M
REPSOL-YPF: Posts EUR1,075 Mln Net Income In 1H04
TGS: Peso Devaluation Sends Company Into the Red in 2Q04
YACYRETA: IDB Followed Procedures During Project Says Panel


B E R M U D A

ANNUITY & LIFE: Posts $6.4Mln Net Loss in 2Q04
CENTRE SOLUTIONS: A.M. Best Downgrades, Withdraws Rating
GLOBAL CROSSING: To Connect LatAm and Europe R&E Communities
SEA CONTAINERS: Records $6.8Mln in Net Earnings in 2Q04


B O L I V I A

* IDB Channels US28.8Mln Loan for Bolivia's Social Programs


B R A Z I L

BRASKEM: Issues Independent Auditor's Report
ENRON: Petrobras To Acquire Rio Power Plant
GERDAU: International Sales Contribute 64% of Revenue
PARMALAT: Antitrust Authorities Release Investigation Results  


C O L O M B I A

AVIANCA: Pilots' Strike Looms


M E X I C O

DESC: Ratings Not Affected by Sale of Velcon
ISPAT INTERNATIONAL: Posts $325Mln in Net Income in 2Q04
ISPAT MEXICANA: S&P Withdraws Export Certificates' Rating



P A N A M A

CHIQUITA: Reports Net Income of $30M in 2Q04


V E N E Z U E L A

CANTV: Vows To Secure Referendum Data
PDVSA FINANCE: S&P Cuts Ratings To 'B'
SIDOR: Attains Record Sales in 1H04
WILPRO ENERGY: Gets Notice Default From PDVSA

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -                            

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

CHUTRAU: Enters Acuerdo Preventivo Extrajudicial With Creditors   
---------------------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires-based Company Chutrau S.A.C.I.F. announced that it
entered into "Acuerdo Preventivo Extrajudicial" with its
creditors. No further details came with the said announcement.

Infobae says that Court No. 8 of the city's Civil and Commercial
Tribunal handles this case with the assistance of Clerk No. 15

CONTACT: Chutrau S.A.C.I.F.
         Alsina 2174 (1090)
         Buenos Aires
         Tel: (011) 4951-9021
         Fax:(011) 4952-7743


DIRECTV LA: Improves Operating Performance in 2Q04
--------------------------------------------------
The DIRECTV Group, Inc. (NYSE:DTV) reported Thursday that second
quarter revenues increased 21% to $2.64 billion and operating
profit before depreciation and amortization(1) was $143 million
compared to $251 million in last year's second quarter. In
addition, The DIRECTV Group reported a second quarter 2004
operating loss of $28 million and net loss of $13 million
compared with operating profit of $66 million and net income of
$22 million in the same period last year.

Also in the quarter, DIRECTV U.S. added an all-time record
944,000 gross owned and operated subscribers, 49% more than in
the second quarter of 2003. Net owned and operated subscriber
additions in the quarter of 455,000 increased 151% compared to
the same period last year due in part to an improved monthly
churn rate of 1.4%. DIRECTV U.S. revenues increased 23% to $2.22
billion driven by strong subscriber additions over the last year
as well as a 7% increase in average monthly revenue per
subscriber (ARPU) to $65.00. In the second quarter, DIRECTV U.S.
operating profit before depreciation and amortization and
operating profit declined to $175 million and $63 million,
respectively, compared with operating profit before depreciation
and amortization of $325 million and operating profit of $201
million in the same period last year primarily due to the higher
subscriber acquisition costs associated with the record gross
subscriber additions.

"It's clear that even in an increasingly competitive market and
in what historically has been a seasonally-weak period, demand
for DIRECTV in the U.S. is stronger than ever," said Chase
Carey, president and CEO of The DIRECTV Group. "Having passed
the 13 million total platform subscriber mark in the second
quarter, DIRECTV U.S. has strong momentum and we continue to
make improvements across all key operational areas, including
the launching of new local markets, expanding our international
programming, and opening new customer call centers."

Carey continued: "Furthermore, we continue to take critical
steps to position DIRECTV for long-term growth highlighted by
our recent agreements to purchase the direct broadcast satellite
assets of Pegasus Satellite Television (Pegasus) and the
subscribers from the National Rural Telecommunications
Cooperative (NRTC) members. These transactions will give DIRECTV
a true ability to reach every home in America, provide us with
the full economics and cash flows from approximately 1.4 million
additional subscribers, allow our distributors to seamlessly
sell our service nationwide, and provide us with an opportunity
to significantly expand DIRECTV's subscriber base in desirable
rural territories."

Carey finished: "We have also made significant progress toward
our goal of focusing our business on DIRECTV by arranging to
sell our ownership interests in PanAmSat, Hughes Network
Systems' set-top box manufacturing business, Hughes Software
Systems, and our equity investments in several companies,
including XM Satellite Radio. We have a singular focus -- to
make DIRECTV the best television experience in the United States
-- and we believe we are well on our way toward achieving that
goal."

                THE DIRECTV GROUP'S OPERATIONAL REVIEW

                                Three Months     Six Months
                               Ended June 30,  Ended June 30,
                              --------------- ---------------
                                 2004    2003    2004    2003
  --------------------------- ------- ------- ------- -------
Revenues ($M)                  $2,643  $2,187  $5,136  $4,239
  --------------------------- ------- ------- ------- -------
Operating Profit Before Depreciation
and Amortization(1) ($M)         143     251     233     404
  --------------------------- ------- ------- ------- -------
Operating Profit (Loss) ($M)      (28)     66    (125)     32
  --------------------------- ------- ------- ------- -------
Net Income (Loss) ($M)            (13)     22    (652)    (29)
  --------------------------- ------- ------- ------- -------
Earnings (Loss) Per Common
Share(2) ($)                   (0.01)   0.02   (0.47)  (0.02)
  --------------------------- ------- ------- ------- -------
Cash Flow(3) ($M)                 619      61     313      78
  --------------------------- ------- ------- ------- -------

Second Quarter Review

In the second quarter of 2004, The DIRECTV Group's revenues
increased 21% compared to the second quarter of 2003 to $2.64
billion driven principally by an increase in the number of
subscribers and ARPU at DIRECTV U.S.

The lower operating profit before depreciation and amortization
of $143 million and the operating loss of $28 million were
primarily due to increased subscriber acquisition costs related
to the record gross subscriber additions and higher acquisition
costs per subscriber (SAC), as well as higher retention and
upgrade costs at DIRECTV U.S. Also impacting the quarter were
charges of $60 million related to stock-based compensation
expense, severance, and employee retention plans. These declines
were partially offset by the increase in gross profit generated
from the higher revenues at DIRECTV U.S. and improved operating
performance at DIRECTV Latin America mostly related to its lower
post-bankruptcy cost structure.

The DIRECTV Group reported a second quarter 2004 net loss of $13
million compared to net income of $22 million in the same period
of 2003 primarily due to the larger operating loss, partially
offset in 2004 by lower interest expense as well as a tax
benefit related to the loss from continuing operations. The
interest expense decline was due to the refinancing of DIRECTV
U.S. debt in the first quarter of 2004 at lower interest rates,
lower average outstanding DIRECTV U.S. borrowings, and interest
accrued on the Boeing purchase price adjustment in 2003.

Year-To-Date Review

For the first six months of 2004, The DIRECTV Group's revenues
increased to $5.14 billion, or 21% greater than the first six
months of 2003, principally due to the larger subscriber base
and higher ARPU at DIRECTV U.S. and increased sales of DIRECTVr
set-top receivers and DIRECWAY satellite broadband services at
HNS.

The lower operating profit before depreciation and amortization
of $233 million and the operating loss of $125 million were
primarily due to increased subscriber acquisition costs related
to the record gross subscriber additions and higher SAC, as well
as higher retention and upgrade costs at DIRECTV U.S. Also
impacting the period were charges of $120 million associated
with severance, stock-based compensation expenses, and employee
retention plans. These declines were partially offset by the
increase in gross profit generated from the higher revenues at
DIRECTV U.S., improved operating performance at DIRECTV Latin
America mostly related to its lower post-bankruptcy cost
structure, and at HNS due to stronger margins and revenue growth
in its primary businesses.

The DIRECTV Group reported a net loss of $652 million for the
first six months of 2004 compared to a net loss of $29 million
in the same period of 2003. The higher net loss was mostly due
to two first quarter 2004 charges: a $479 million non-cash
after-tax loss related to the pending sale of PanAmSat
(reflected in "Income (loss) from discontinued operations, net
of taxes") and a $311 million non-cash after-tax charge related
to a change in accounting for subscriber acquisition, retention,
and upgrade costs at DIRECTV U.S. (reflected in "Cumulative
effect of accounting change, net of taxes").

In addition to these items, the six month comparison was
negatively impacted by the larger operating loss and a non-cash
after-tax charge of $63 million in the first quarter of 2004 for
the early retirement of PanAmSat's PAS-6 backup satellite due to
a failure in its power system (reflected in "Income (loss) from
discontinued operations, net of taxes"), as well as higher
income tax expense related to the higher income from continuing
operations. These declines were partially offset by a first
quarter 2004 pre-tax gain of $387 million related to the sale of
approximately 19 million shares of XM Satellite Radio common
stock and a $45 million first quarter 2004 pre-tax gain
resulting primarily from the restructuring of certain contracts
in connection with the completed DIRECTV Latin America, LLC
bankruptcy proceedings, as well as higher interest expense in
2003 related primarily to a $19 million write-off of debt
issuance costs and interest accrued on the Boeing purchase price
adjustment.

Accounting Events

On April 20, 2004, The DIRECTV Group and PanAmSat announced the
sale of PanAmSat to an affiliate of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts &
Co. for $4.3 billion, including approximately $750 million of
net debt. The transaction is subject to certain conditions,
including, among others, receipt of applicable regulatory
approvals from the Federal Communications Commission and
resolution of the effect of the recently announced propulsion
system failure shortening the expected life of one of PanAmSat's
satellites. The failure allows the purchasers to not consummate
the transaction. The parties are currently in discussions
regarding these matters. The DIRECTV Group reports PanAmSat,
which formerly comprised the Satellite Services segment, as a
discontinued operation in the consolidated financial statements
for all periods presented.

On June 8, 2004, The DIRECTV Group announced the sale of its
interest in Hughes Software Systems (HSS), a 55%-owned
subsidiary of HNS, for approximately $227 million in cash, which
was received in the second quarter. The DIRECTV Group reports
HSS, which was previously reflected in the Network Systems
segment, as a discontinued operation in the consolidated
financial statements for all periods presented. The DIRECTV
Group expects to record a pre-tax gain of $178 million at the
close of the transaction which is expected in the third quarter
of this year.

Additionally, in an effort to more accurately reflect the cost
of retaining and upgrading existing subscribers, DIRECTV U.S.
reclassified certain costs that had previously been reported as
"Retention, upgrade and other marketing costs." The "Retention
and upgrade costs" reported in the DIRECTV Holdings LLC
Consolidated Statements of Operations now reflect only those
costs associated with DIRECTV U.S.' specific retention and
upgrade marketing efforts to its current subscribers. In the
second quarter of 2003, $3 million of "Retention, upgrade and
other marketing costs" was reclassified to "Programming and
other costs," and $15 million was reclassified to "General,
administrative and other marketing expenses."

SECOND QUARTER SEGMENT FINANCIAL REVIEW

Direct-To-Home Broadcast Segment

DIRECTV United States

Subsequent to the end of the quarter, The DIRECTV Group entered
into an agreement to purchase the primary direct broadcast
satellite assets of Pegasus for $875 million in cash, subject to
certain adjustments. The payment reflects full satisfaction and
dismissal of all claims between the parties, including the $63
million judgment entered in May 2004 in favor of DIRECTV U.S.
against Pegasus. Taking into account this judgment, the
aggregate purchase price is approximately $938 million. The
transaction is expected to be completed within the next four to
six weeks, subject to the approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court
in Portland, Me., and to applicable antitrust filings and
approvals. The bankruptcy court hearing to approve the
transactions is scheduled for August 25. The DIRECTV Group plans
to complete the migration of Pegasus customers to DIRECTV U.S.
within 30 to 45 days after the transactions are completed.
Pegasus had approximately 1.08 million customers as of June 1,
2004. In addition, during the period from July 1 through August
5, 2004, 94 eligible NRTC members sold their rights to
approximately 357,000 subscribers to DIRECTV U.S. for a total of
$374 million. Of this amount, $174 million was paid in cash in
July 2004 and the remainder, plus interest, will be paid in
monthly installments over the next seven years. DIRECTV U.S. is
now actively marketing its service and directly acquiring
subscribers in all the territories which were formerly NRTC
exclusive territories.

                                         Three Months
                                         Ended June 30,
                                 -------------------------------
                                       2004            2003
  ------------------------------ --------------- ---------------
Revenue ($M)                          $2,217          $1,800
  ------------------------------ --------------- ---------------
Average monthly revenue per subscriber
(ARPU) ($)                               65.00           60.90
  ------------------------------ --------------- ---------------
Operating Profit Before Depreciation
and Amortization ($M)                   175             325
  ------------------------------ --------------- ---------------
Operating Profit ($M)                     63             201
  ------------------------------ --------------- ---------------
Cash Flow ($M)                           112              54
----------------------------- --------------- ---------------

  ------------------------------ --------------- ---------------
Gross Owned & Operated Subscriber
Additions (000's)                       944             633
  ------------------------------ --------------- ---------------
Average monthly subscriber churn           1.4%            1.5%
  ------------------------------ --------------- ---------------
Net O&O Subscriber Additions (000's)     455             181
  ------------------------------ --------------- ---------------

DIRECTV U.S. gross owned and operated subscriber additions
increased by 49% to an all-time record of 944,000 in the second
quarter of 2004 due to more attractive consumer promotions and
an improved and more diverse distribution network. Average
monthly subscriber churn in the quarter improved to 1.4% driven
principally by an increase in the average number of set-top
boxes and digital video recorders (DVRs) per subscriber, as well
as increased availability and subscriber purchases of local
channels. After accounting for churn, DIRECTV U.S. added a
second quarter record of 455,000 net new owned and operated
subscribers, an increase of 151% over the same period last year.

As of June 30, 2004, the total number of DIRECTV owned and
operated subscribers was 11.60 million, representing an annual
growth rate of 17%, compared to the 9.95 million subscribers on
June 30, 2003. In the second quarter, the total number of
subscribers in NRTC territories fell by 46,000, reducing the
number of NRTC subscribers to 1.44 million on June 30, 2004,
compared to 1.61 million at the end of the same period last
year. Including the NRTC subscribers, the DIRECTV U.S. platform
had 13.04 million total subscribers as of June 30, 2004.

DIRECTV U.S. generated quarterly revenues of $2.22 billion, an
increase of 23% compared to last year's second quarter revenues.
The increase was due to continued strong subscriber growth and
higher ARPU. ARPU increased $4.10 to $65.00, or 7% higher than
the second quarter of 2003, primarily due to a March 2004
programming package price increase, higher mirroring fees from
an increase in the average number of set-top receivers per
customer, and an increase in the percentage of customers
subscribing to local channels.

Operating profit before depreciation and amortization and
operating profit for the second quarter of 2004 declined to $175
million and $63 million, respectively, due to increased
subscriber acquisition costs related to the record gross
subscriber additions and higher SAC resulting from an increase
in the average number of set-top boxes and DVRs purchased by new
subscribers. Also impacting the quarter was higher retention and
upgrade expenses due to an increase in the number of existing
customers taking DVRs, local channel equipment upgrades,
additional set-top boxes, and the movers program. These declines
were partially offset by the increase in gross profit generated
from the higher revenues.

DIRECTV Latin America

                                      Three Months
                                       Ended June 30,
                            -------------------------------
                                    2004            2003
  --------------------------- --------------- ---------------
Revenue ($M)                        $167            $143
  --------------------------- --------------- ---------------
Operating Profit (Loss) Before
Depreciation and
Amortization ($M)                    30             (29)
  --------------------------- --------------- ---------------
Operating Loss ($M)                  (16)            (74)
  --------------------------- --------------- ---------------
Net Subscriber Additions (Losses)
(000's)                              12             (35)
  --------------------------- --------------- ---------------

In the second quarter of 2004, DIRECTV Latin America added
12,000 net new subscribers compared with a net loss of 35,000
subscribers in the same period last year. The subscriber growth
was driven principally by continued stable economic conditions
in the region, particularly in Venezuela and Brazil. The total
number of DIRECTV subscribers in Latin America as of June 30,
2004, was 1.54 million compared with 1.49 million on June 30,
2003.

Revenues for DIRECTV Latin America increased 17% to $167 million
in the quarter primarily due to the consolidation of the
financial results of the Puerto Rican and Venezuelan local
operating companies as a result of the adoption of FASB
Interpretation No. 46, "Consolidation of Variable Interest
Entities - an interpretation of ARB No. 51," on July 1, 2003, as
well as the larger subscriber base.

The improvements in DIRECTV Latin America's second quarter 2004
operating profit before depreciation and amortization to $30
million and operating loss to $16 million are primarily
attributed to its lower post-bankruptcy cost structure following
its emergence from bankruptcy in February 2004.

Network Systems Segment

On June 8, 2004, The DIRECTV Group announced the sale of its
interest in HSS, a 55%-owned subsidiary of HNS, and received
$227 million for the sale in the second quarter. Beginning in
the second quarter of 2004, the Network Systems Segment will
exclude the financial results of HSS for all periods presented.
The DIRECTV Group now reports HSS as a discontinued operation in
the consolidated financial statements. The DIRECTV Group expects
to record a pre-tax gain of $178 million at the close of the
transaction which is expected in the third quarter of this year.

On June 22, 2004, The DIRECTV Group entered into an agreement
with Thomson for a long-term supply and development agreement
which included the sale of HNS' set-top box manufacturing
business. Due to the significant continuing cash flows
associated with this new agreement, the financial results of the
set-top box manufacturing business prior to June 22, 2004, will
continue to be shown in the Network Systems Segment's quarterly
comparisons and not as a discontinued operation.

                                       Three Months
                                       Ended June 30,
                           -------------------------------
                                    2004            2003
  --------------------------- --------------- ---------------
Revenue ($M)                        $364            $289
  --------------------------- --------------- ---------------
Operating Loss Before Depreciation and
Amortization ($M)                   (21)            (17)
  --------------------------- --------------- ---------------
Operating Loss ($M)                  (37)            (37)
  -------------------------- --------------- ---------------

HNS revenues increased 26% to $364 million in the second quarter
of 2004 principally due to higher sales of DIRECTV set-top boxes
and DIRECWAY broadband services for residential customers.

The higher second quarter operating loss before depreciation and
amortization of $21 million was mostly due to one-time charges
totaling $19 million related to severance costs associated with
the sale of HNS' set-top box business to Thomson, as well as an
inventory write-down. The higher loss was partially offset by
improvements in the residential DIRECWAY broadband business
related to efficiencies associated with the larger subscriber
base, as well as increased profit margin in the DIRECWAY
enterprise business. Operating loss of $37 million was unchanged
from the second quarter of 2003.

BALANCE SHEET AND CASH FLOW

   
                                   June 30,        December 31,
                             ----------------- -----------------
                                    2004              2003
  -------------------------- ----------------- -----------------
Cash and Cash Equivalents ($B)     $1.83             $1.72
  -------------------------- ----------------- -----------------
Total Debt ($B)                     2.43              2.66
  -------------------------- ----------------- -----------------
Net Debt ($B)                       0.60              0.94
  ------------------------------------------- -----------------

In the first half of 2004, The DIRECTV Group's consolidated cash
balance increased by $114 million to $1.83 billion and total
debt declined by $227 million to $2.43 billion compared to the
December 31, 2003, balances. During this period, The DIRECTV
Group had positive cash flow(3) of $313 million. The primary
sources of cash were the sale of XM Satellite Radio shares for
$478 million, the execution of the supply and development
contract and sale of HNS' set-top box assets to Thomson for $250
million, and the sale of HNS' 55% interest in HSS for $227
million. The primary uses of cash were for capital expenditures
-- primarily at DIRECTV U.S. -- and payments to creditors of
DIRECTV Latin America, LLC associated with its emergence from
bankruptcy in the first quarter of 2004. The debt balance
decline was primarily due to a required second quarter 2004
payment by DIRECTV U.S. of $201 million on its term loan
facility.

To see financial statements:
http://bankrupt.com/misc/DirecTV.htm


FUOCO S.A.: Court Consents to Reorganization
--------------------------------------------
Court No. 19 of La Plata's Civil and Commercial Tribunal issued
a resolution opening the reorganization of local Company Fuoco
S.A., reports Infobae.

This pronouncement authorizes the Company to begin drafting a
settlement proposal with its creditors in order to avoid
liquidation. Reorganization further allows the Company to retain
control of its assets subject to certain conditions imposed by
Argentine law and the oversight of the court appointed trustee.

Ms. Maria Elena Falabella will serve as trustee during the
course of the reorganization. She will be validating creditors'
proofs of claims until September 10, 2004. The results of the
verification will be presented in court as individual reports on
October 25, 2004.

The trustee is also required to give a general report of the
case in court on December 7, 2004. The general report summarizes
events relevant to the reorganization and provides an audit of
the Company's accounting and business records.

Fuoco will present the completed settlement proposal to its
creditors during the informative assembly scheduled on March 3
next year.

CONTACT: Fuoco S.A.
         Calle 10 Nro. 623
         La Plata

         Ms. Maria Elena Falabella, Trustee
         Calle 10 Nro. 623
         La Plata


MARCOS MARTINI: Court Resets Reorganization
-------------------------------------------
Court No. 5 of Moron's Civil and Commercial Tribunal rescheduled
key events in the Marcos Martini S.A. reorganization case to the
following dates:

1. Submission of Individual Reports (Article 35) - August 20,
   2004;

2. Submission of General Report (Article 39) - September 30,
   2004;

3. Informative Assembly - November 30, 2004;

The accounting firm "Estudio Fernandez, Miro, Dazza" serves as
trustee on this case.

CONTACT: Marcos Martini S.A.
         Pasteur 2874 Castelar
         Partido de Moron

         "Estudio Fernandez, Miro, Dazza" - Trustee
         San Martin 131
         Moron


PANADERIA PARIS: Court Grants Reorganization Plea
-------------------------------------------------
Panaderia Paris, Gabelli y Garnero S.A. successfully petitioned
for reorganization after Court No. 14 of San Isidro's Civil and
Commercial Tribunal issued a resolution opening the company's
insolvency proceedings.

During insolvency, the company will continue to manage its
assets subject to certain conditions imposed by Argentine law
and the oversight of a court-appointed trustee.

Infobae relates that Ms. Felisa Mabel Tumilasci will serve as
trustee during the course of the reorganization. She will be
accepting creditors' proofs of claims for verification until
October 27, 2004.

After the verification deadline, the trustee will prepare the
individual reports and submit it in court on December 13, 2004.
The firm will also present a general report for court review on
February 28 next year.

The company will endorse the settlement proposal, drafted from
the submitted claims, for approval by the creditors during the
informative assembly scheduled on September 1 next year.

CONTACT: Panaderia Paris, Gabelli y Garnero S.A.
         Hipolito Irigoyen 1166 Martinez
         San Isidro

         Ms. Felisa Mabel Tumilasci, Trustee
         Belgrano 313
         San Isidro


REPSOL-YPF: Unit Sells Global Petroleum Stake for $43M
------------------------------------------------------
YPG, the Argentine unit of oil and gas company Repsol YPF (NYSE:
REP), informed the Buenos Aires stock exchange that it has
completed the sale of its 51% holding in Global Petroleum, a
U.S. importer and distributor of refined petroleum products, for
US$43 million, relates Dow Jones Newswires.

In a filing to the bourse Wednesday, the Company revealed it
closed the sale on July 2 and had the board's approval of the
transaction on July 29. The Company said it sold the stake to
Global Petroleum's other shareholders.


REPSOL-YPF: Posts EUR1,075 Mln Net Income In 1H04
------------------------------------------------
Repsol YPF net reported income in the first half 2004 was
EUR1,075 million versus EUR1,165 million in the same period a
year earlier. Operating income increased 2.2% to EUR2,120
million, while net cash-flow showed a slight year-on-year
improvement, reaching EUR2,461 million.

Net reported income was negatively affected by the Company's
higher tax rate, which increased from 32% to 38%, and the
average 11.4% apreciation of the euro versus the dollar.
Excluding both of these impacts, net income would have risen
13.5% to EUR1,323 million.

The earnings occurred in an international context characterized
by higher oil prices, with Brent trading at an average $33.66
compared to $28.77 per barrel a year ago, and wider refining
margins, which rose from $3.48 per barrel to $4.50 per barrel in
the first six months of 2004.

Repsol YPF's average oil and gas production continued to show
strong growth in this first half-year, reaching an average of
1,152,000 boepd, up 6.4% year-on-year. The sharp 16.6% rise in
gas production played a large part in this growth.

Financial expenses down 16%

Repsol YPF's net financial debt at 30 June 2004 was EUR5,597
million versus EUR5,316 million at the end of the first quarter
2004 and EUR6,424 million at the end of June 2003.

Debt ratio decreased from 25.9% at 30 June 2003 to 22.6% for the
same date in 2004. The cost of debt continued to decline thanks
to a reduction in average debt and its consequent lower cost.
The Company's financial expenses totalled EUR143 million, down
15.9% year-on-year, and its liquidity level at the end of June
2004 was EUR3,300 million. The covering of interests with the
operating cash-flow (EBITDA) was 18.7 times.

These figures underscore Repsol YPF's strong cash generation
capacity, EUR2,461 million for the first half of the year,
taking into account that, in addition to ordinary investments
normal cash expenditures,  the Company incurred an extraordinary
expense of EUR356,7 million relating to the acquisition of an
additional 3.7% stake in Gas Natural SDG, plus an EUR805 million
payment to the Argentine public tax office arising from the
difference between the final tax levy and the advance tax
payments made for the period, which were based on 2002 earnings

At the same time, the revaluation of the dollar since January 1,
2004 also produced an effect, of a purely accounting nature,
that increased net debt by EUR228 million. Disregarding this
impact, free cash-flow in the first six months of 2004 would
have been EUR1,037 million.

Investments in the first six months of the year were EUR1,520
million, 28.9% lower than in the same period a year earlier, and
which included the cost of acquiring an additional 20% stake in
the Trinidad & Tobago reserves. Excluding this item, investments
in this period would have been higher than in first half 2003.

Divestments totalled EUR75 million, which included the  sale of
part of the stake held by Gas Natural SDG in Enagas.

Exploration & Production:  operating income up 5.0% and oil and
gas production rises 6.4%

Operating income from exploration and production was up 5.0% in
this first-half of this year, reaching EUR1,273 million.

Several contrasting factors contributed to the increase in
operating income. The main positive factors included: the
increase in gas production and sales, particularly in Bolivia
and Argentina; higher dollar-denominated international oil
prices; and improvement in gas realisation prices.

Among the negative factors were the depreciation of the dollar
against the euro; a set of measures implemented by the Argentine
Government, such as an export tax of 20% on gas and 5% on
gasoline (in May 2004); and an increase from 20% to 25% in the
tax levied on oil exports, and from 5% to 20% in the rate
applied to LPG exports.

The transfer prices for oil production in Argentina also
suffered a cutback under the agreement between producers and
refiners with respect to final liquid fuel prices, which widened
the price differential between heavy and light oil products. The
results were also adversely affected by strikes in Argentina and
strikes and operating difficulties in Trinidad & Tobago.

Total oil and gas production increased 6.4% in these first six
months to 1,152,000 boepd. Gas production climbed 16.6% despite
the above-mentioned problems in Argentina and Trinidad & Tobago,
which resulted in an 10,400 barrel/day cutback in liquids
production.

Gas production increased mainly in Bolivia, where production
surged 43.8% on the initiation of exports to Argentina and
higher sales to Brazil, and in Argentina, where gas production
increased 16.5% to meet growing domestic demand.

Repsol YPF's liquids realisation price averaged $28.8
(EUR23.56/bbl) versus $25.8 (EUR23.4/bbl) a year earlier.
Average gas prices in the first half-year were 1.18 $/tscf,
12.4% higher than in the same period last year, reflecting the
higher dollar value of average gas prices in Argentina and the
greater relative weighting of Trinidad & Tobago in total sales,
at higher prices than the Company average.

Investments in the E&P business area totalled EUR585 million,
down 61.7% from the EUR1,529 million recorded in the first six
months of 2003 and which included payment of a call option on an
additional 20% of Trinidad & Tobago reserves. Investments in
development represented 75% of overall expenditure, spent mainly
in Argentina (62%), Trinidad & Tobago (10%), Bolivia (7%),
Venezuela (5%), Algeria (4%), Ecuador (3%), Brazil (3%), and
Libya (2%).

In the period under consideration, new gas fields came on stream
in Venezuela and the first discovery well was drilled at the
Barrancas block in that country.

Refining & Marketing: operating income rises 4.8% and sales up
1.6%

First half 2004 operating income in Refining & Marketing rose
4.8% year-on-year, to EUR739 million.

Improvement in this business area was driven mainly by higher
international refining margins. The Company's refining margin
indicator was $4.50 per barrel, 29.3% higher than the $3.48/bbl
recorded a year ago. If these indicators are expressed in
euros/barrel, the strength of the euro versus the dollar
curtails growth by 16.3%, from EUR3.16 per barrel in 2003 to
EUR3.68 per barrel in 2004.

Marketing margins, lower in Spain and in Latin America, were in
line with the market. In Argentina, these margins were curbed by
higher international product prices and the inability to pass
these costs on to customer retail prices.

Total sales of oil products in the first half of 2004 reached
26.4 million tons, up 1.6% year-on-year. Sales in Spain
increased 3.2%, and slipped 1.2% in Argentina because of a drop
in exports. First half sales of light products to our own
network grew 2.3% in Spain and 7.1% in Argentina, year-on-year.

Despite negative performance in the second quarter, Liquefied
Petroleum Gas (LPG) margins in Spain remained above 8% in the
first six months, with sales dropping 0.9% in Spain, but
climbing 4.9% in Latin America, shored up by strong growth in
Peru and Ecuador.

Investments in Refining & Marketing were EUR386 million, 55%
more than in the same period a year earlier. Expenditure was
mainly allotted to current refining projects, including a mild
Hydrocracker in Puertollano, an FCC hydro-treatment unit in La
Coru a, a vacuum unit and a visbreaking facility in Peru,
revamping of the Refap refinery in Brazil, upgrading the service
station network, and the development of LPG products in Spain
and Latin America.

In Refining & Marketing, the Company acquired the Royal
Dutch/Shell marketing and logistics business in Portugal,
excluding its LPG and lubricants business.

Chemicals: stable sales performance and lower margins

In Chemicals, first half operating income was EUR91 million
versus EUR109 million in the same period a year earlier.

Narrower international margins on our product mix, especially
those from the cracker and derivatives in Europe, were
responsible for these weaker results. Higher prices were not
able to compensate for increased feedstock costs.

Total petrochemical sales in the first six months of 2004 were
1,963,000 tons, slightly down year-on-year.

Investments in this period were EUR35 million, mainly earmarked
for small capacity increases and the upgrading of existing
units.

Gas & Power: Operating income rises 35.4%

Gas & Power operating income in the first six months of 2004 was
EUR134 million versus EUR99 million for the same period 2003.
This 35.4% increase reflects the impact of Repsol YPF's higher
stake in Gas Natural SDG and the latter's positive earnings
performance.

Gas sales in first half 2004 reached 16.52 Bcm, 12.7% higher
year-on-year owing to an increase in natural gas trading
activity by Gas Natural SDG and sales growth in Latin America
and Spain.

Gas sales in Spain rose 11.1% year-on-year to 10.91 Bcm, boosted
mainly by the rise in marketing sales which compensated for
lower distribution sales. Growth in Latin America came from
Brazil (17.2%), Argentina (9.4%), Colombia (17.3%), and Mexico
(6.4%).

CAPEX in first half 2004 reached EUR479 million, climbing 84.2%
over the same period a year ago. This rise is mainly
attributable to the acquisition of an additional stake in Gas
Natural SDG, where it now has a 30.847% participation, and the
company's higher rate of investment in 2004.


TGS: Peso Devaluation Sends Company Into the Red in 2Q04
--------------------------------------------------------
Argentine natural gas transporter Transportadora de Gas del Sur
(TGS) swung to a loss in the second quarter of the year due to
the peso's devaluation against the dollar during the period,
reports Dow Jones Newswires.

From a profit of ARS96.4 million in the second-quarter in the
previous year, TGS slid to a loss of ARS52.6 million in the
recent quarter.

The devaluation of the peso against the dollar during the second
quarter of 2004 hiked the peso cost of the Company's more than
US$1 billion in dollar debts. In the year-earlier period, the
peso appreciated against the debt and thus had the opposite
effect.

Net sales rose by 7.1% in the second quarter from a year earlier
despite a utility rate freeze which has hit the Company hard
over the past two and a half years.

The Company's sales costs were essentially flat, leading to a
gross operating profit of ARS121.2 million in the second quarter
of 2004, compared with ARS104.5 million a year earlier.

Meanwhile, the Company posted net income of ARS47.8 million in
the first half of 2004, compared with ARS314.0 million in the
year-earlier period.

The Company attributed the reduced loss to two non-cash positive
effects from 2003: the impact of a weaker peso on the Company's
debt burden and "the reduction in the deferred income tax
liability generated by a partial reduction of the capitalization
of the exchange rate loss."

The Company filed its results late Thursday, after the local
stock exchange had shut, reveals Dow Jones.

TGS is owned by a holding company controlled by Petrobras
Energia Participaciones (PZE) and a still-unformed trust fund.
The trust-fund took over a stake previously owned by U.S. Energy
company Enron Corp..

CONTACTS:  Investor Relations:
           Eduardo Pawluszek, Finance/Investor Relations Manager
           Gonzalo Castro Olivera, Investor Relations
           Email: gonzalo_olivera@tgs.com.ar
                     or
           Maria Victoria Quade, Investor Relations
           Email: victoria_quade@tgs.com.ar
           Tel: (54-11) 4865-9077

           Media Relation:
           Rafael Rodriguez Roda
           Tel: (54-11) 4865-9050 ext. 1238


YACYRETA: IDB Followed Procedures During Project Says Panel
-----------------------------------------------------------
The 3,200 MW Yacyreta Hydroelectric Project is located in the
Parana River along the border between Argentina and Paraguay.
The request for investigation under the IDB Mechanism was filed
by the Federacion de Afectados por Yacyreta de Itapoa, Paraguay,
y Misiones, Argentina (FEDAYIM). FEDAYIM claims that the IDB had
failed to follow its policies and procedures in financing the
Yacyreta project.

The IDB provided a series of loans to support the construction
and implementation of Yacyreta, the last of which was  $130
million aimed at providing mitigation and compensation to
address environmental and social problems related to the
project.

Based on the investigative panel's findings, the Board of
Executive Directors concurred that the IDB did comply with the
normative framework applicable to the design, analyses and
implementation of the project and did follow applicable
procedures.

In view of the complexity of the Yacyreta project and the
challenges that remain to bring it to a successful completion,
in particular the social and environmental aspects, the Board
directed the Bank's management to work with the Entidad
Binacional Yacyreta (EBY) to develop a project termination plan
to address social and environmental issues that will reflect
best practices and measures acceptable to both participant
governments and the financial institutions involved.

The plan should, among other things, strengthen EBY to
prioritize the resolution of pending relocation issues, improve
the information flow to local populations and dialogue with
civil society, and develop appropriate arrangements for
addressing grievances.

The Independent Investigation Mechanism of the Bank may apply in
cases of complaints alleging possible violations of IDB
operational policies or norms for the execution of these
policies in projects financed by the Bank when adverse effects
have or might reasonably be expected to occur as a result of a
violation.

CONTACT: Ms. Christina MacCulloch
         christinam@iadb.org
        (202) 623-1718   

         Mr. John Ferriter
         johnfe@iadb.org
         202 623-1394

         Web Site: www.iadb.org
   


=============
B E R M U D A
=============

ANNUITY & LIFE: Posts $6.4Mln Net Loss in 2Q04
----------------------------------------------
Annuity and Life Re (Holdings), Ltd. (Pink Sheets ANNRF)
reported Thursday financial results for the three-month period
ended June 30, 2004.

The Company reported a net loss of $(6,430,378) or $(0.25) per
fully diluted share for the three month period ended June 30,
2004, as compared to a net loss of $(68,716,440) or $(2.66) per
fully diluted share for the three month period ended June 30,
2003.

The second quarter 2004 loss includes a $5 million charge for
the expected cost of settling the purported shareholder class
action lawsuit against the Company and certain of its present
and former officers and directors, as well as a net loss of $1.8
million on the Company's annuity reinsurance agreement with
Transamerica.

The net loss on the Transamerica contract is primarily the
result of minimum interest guarantee payments of $3.6 million,
amortization of deferred acquisition costs of $2.8 million and
reduced investment income from the contract, partially offset by
a contingency reserve release of $5.0 million as a result of the
recently announced settlement of the Company's dispute with
Transamerica.

Net realized investment losses for the three month period ended
June 30, 2004 were $(137,885), as compared with net realized
investment gains of $4,896,176 for the three month period ended
June 30, 2003. Unrealized losses on the Company's investments
were $(768,803) as of June 30, 2004, as compared to gains of
$1,840,849 at December 31, 2003.

The Company's investment portfolio currently maintains an
average credit quality of AA. Cash used by operations for the
six months ended June 30, 2004 was $28,918,798, as compared to
cash used by operations of $86,149,537 for the six month period
ended June 30, 2003.

The cash used by operations in the six months ended June 30,
2004 includes payments made in connection with the settlement of
the Met Life recapture and payments made to Transamerica under
an annuity reinsurance agreement.

Book value per share at June 30, 2004 was $4.81, as compared to
$5.11 at December 31, 2003. The Company adopted SOP 03-1
effective as of January 1, 2004, which required it to increase
its liabilities by approximately $36.6 million and its deferred
acquisition costs by approximately $36.2 million. As a result,
the Company's tangible book value, which is GAAP book value less
deferred acquisition costs, declined from $2.50 per share at
December 31, 2003 to $1.12 as of January 1, 2004. Tangible book
value per share then decreased to $1.07 at June 30, 2004.

Jay Burke, the Company's Chief Executive Officer, commented:

"While we reported a loss for the quarter, it was primarily
driven by the tentative settlement of the purported shareholder
class action lawsuit.

We also had a loss from the Transamerica contract. This loss was
the result of poor performance of the underlying assets, which
are managed by AMERUS Capital Management, and would have been
substantially larger had we not been able to release the $5.0
million of contingency reserves.

As we previously announced we have been delisted from the New
York Stock Exchange. We are currently trading in the pink sheets
and are attempting to move to the OTC - Bulletin Board. We plan
to seek a listing on the NASDAQ - Small Cap Market."

Annuity and Life Re (Holdings), Ltd. provides annuity and life
reinsurance to insurers through its wholly owned subsidiaries,
Annuity and Life Reassurance, Ltd. and Annuity and Life
Reassurance America, Inc.

CONTACT: Mr. John Lockwood
         Annuity & Life Re (Holdings), Ltd.
         Cumberland House
         1 Victoria Street
         Hamilton HM 11
         P.O. Box HM 98
         Hamilton HM AX
         Bermuda
         Tel: 441-296-7667
         Fax:(441) 296-7665


CENTRE SOLUTIONS: A.M. Best Downgrades, Withdraws Rating
--------------------------------------------------------
A.M. Best Co. has downgraded the financial strength rating to
C++ (Marginal) from B+ (Very Good) of Centre Solutions (Bermuda)
(Centre) (Hamilton, Bermuda) and its operating subsidiaries.
Subsequently, the rating has been withdrawn and assigned an NR-4
rating (Company Request). This is in response to Centre
management's request that Centre and its operating subsidiaries
be removed from A.M. Best's interactive rating process.

Despite a $250 million capital contribution from its parent
company, Zurich Financial Services (ZFS) earlier this year,
Centre's current downgrade reflects A.M. Best's continued
concern regarding exposure to adverse loss development and the
capital adequacy necessary to support Centre's run-off
operations. In A.M. Best's opinion, additional hard capital
support from ZFS may not be relied upon to insulate Centre from
future adverse development in its historical exposures.

The financial strength rating of Centre had been downgraded to
B+ (Very Good) from A- (Excellent) on March 12, 2004.

The financial strength rating has been downgraded to C++
(Marginal) from B+ (Very Good) and assigned a NR-4 rating for
Centre Solutions (Bermuda) and its following subsidiaries:

-- Centre Insurance International Company

-- Centre Reinsurance International Company

-- Centre Reinsurance Limited

-- Centre Solutions (US) Limited

-- CentreLine Reinsurance Limited

-- Centre Solutions (Asia) Limited

-- Centre Insurance Company

-- ZC Specialty Insurance Company

-- Centre Life Insurance Company


GLOBAL CROSSING: To Connect LatAm and Europe R&E Communities
------------------------------------------------------------
Global Crossing (NASDAQ: GLBCE) is to provide a high-capacity
network that will interconnect the research and educational
(R&E) community in Latin America and open the way for
unprecedented levels of collaboration with colleagues and
institutions in Europe.

America Latina Interconectada Con Europa (ALICE) is a three-year
project jointly funded by the European Union and the national
research and educational networks (NRENs) of 18 Latin American
countries. Under a contract awarded by the Delivery of Advanced
Network Technology to Europe (DANTE), Global Crossing will
leverage its substantial regional infrastructure and
transatlantic cable system to create RedCLARA. This IP backbone
will connect universities and research facilities in Brazil,
Argentina, Chile, Panama, Mexico and Venezuela -- while also
providing direct, high-speed connectivity to GEANT, the pan-
European research and education backbone network operated by
DANTE.

The ALICE project was born out of studies carried out in 2002 to
investigate the feasibility of connecting Latin American
national research and education networks (LA-NRENs) via a
regional network and to analyze the underlying demand for
connectivity with Europe.

Creation of the RedCLARA network represents a significant move
toward the development of an IP-based research infrastructure in
the region. It will accelerate the development of the
information society in Latin America and provide the means for
full collaboration on advanced international research projects.
Today, most universities in the region rely on 45-Mbps links
into Miami for connectivity to research networks in other parts
of the world.

RedCLARA will operate initially at 155 Mbps and will be
interconnected to GEANT, the world's largest international
academic and research network. GEANT reaches more than 3,500
research and education institutions in 32 European countries
through its direct connection to 28 NRENs around Europe. It
provides the highest capacity and offers the greatest geographic
coverage of any network of its kind in the world, enabling
researchers to compete on an international stage. At the end of
the ALICE project, the Latin American Co-operation of Advanced
Networks (CLARA) is expected to assume responsibility for the
operation of the intra-regional network and its direct
continuous connection to GEANT.

John Legere, CEO of Global Crossing, said: "This network will
overcome wide discrepancies in the cost of connectivity within
Latin America and will end the international isolation of
research institutions caused by the high traffic thresholds
currently necessary to justify international connectivity.
Global Crossing's global network will make broadband
collaboration affordable."

DANTE's general manager, Dai Davies, said: "For the first time,
Latin American countries will have high-speed networking to
conduct effective research collaboration both within the region
and with their European counterparts. ALICE has been
instrumental in acting as a catalyst for the future development
of research networking in the region via the CLARA organization.
The prospect of acquiring dedicated international access to the
global R&E community has spurred many countries in the region to
focus on the development of their NRENs."

The first fruits of the ALICE project will be realized shortly
with the successful connection of six LA-NRENs. The project's
significant contribution to the region's development will
continue with the addition of further connections to other
countries soon afterwards. At present, the four participating
European NRENs include France (RENATER), Italy (INFN/GARR),
Portugal (FCCN) and Spain (RedIRIS), all of which have close
historical and social ties with Latin America.

"With the implementation of the ALICE project, we are taking an
important step in research and education integration in the
region," said Nelson Simoes, president of CLARA. "High
performance research networks are becoming an essential support
for modern research and development."

Global Crossing will connect the Latin American network to GEANT
via a 622-Mbps diverse transatlantic link between Madrid and Sao
Paulo, Brazil. Within Latin America, Global Crossing capacity
will be used to create a backbone ring operating at 155 Mbps and
linking Sao Paulo, Buenos Aires, Santiago, Tijuana and Panama
City. Caracas in Venezuela will be connected to RedCLARA via a
45-Mbps spur connected to the Sao Paulo hub. The resilience of
the service will be assured by the use of self-healing SDH
transmission technology for the backbone ring and transatlantic
link.

The European Commission supports ALICE and is providing 80
percent of funding for the project. ALICE underpins the
Commission's @LIS program, which aims to promote the information
society and fight the digital divide throughout Latin America.

Global Crossing is an existing network provider to DANTE in the
form of a 2.5-Gbps wavelength between Dublin and Frankfurt,
together with a multi-gigabit IP Transit Service. In Latin
America, Global Crossing currently supports the international
connections of the NRENs of Argentina (RETINA), Brazil (RNP),
Chile (REUNA), Panama (RedCyT) and Venezuela (REACCIUN) as well
as the state network of Sao Paulo, which is operated by FundaOao
de Amparo . Pesquisa do Estado de Sao Paulo (FAPESP).

ABOUT DANTE
DANTE's name derives from the acronym Delivery of Advanced
Network Technology to Europe. Owned by European NRENs, it is an
organization whose purpose is to plan, build and operate pan-
European networks for research and education. Working in
partnership with Europe's NRENs and in cooperation with the
European Commission, DANTE has been fundamental to the success
of European research and education networking over the last
decade, providing the data communications infrastructure
essential to the success of many research projects in Europe
today.

ABOUT CLARA
CLARA's name derives from the acronym Cooperaci>n Latino
Americana de Redes Avanzadas -- Latin American Cooperation of
Advanced Networks. CLARA was created by a number of Latin
American NRENs in 2003, and registered in Uruguay as a non-
profit international organization. Currently, CLARA members
include NRENs from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica,
Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Paraguay,
Panama, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. The objectives of CLARA are
to promote cooperation in educational, scientific and cultural
activities within the Latin American and Caribbean region
through the use of advanced communication networks (the CLARA
network), and also to encourage inter-regional collaboration by
building network links between the CLARA network and research
and education networks in other regions of the world, beginning
with Europe.

ABOUT GLOBAL CROSSING
Global Crossing (NASDAQ: GLBCE) 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 worldwide.

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: Global Crossing

          Press Contacts
          Ms. Becky Yeamans
          + 1 973-937-0155
          PR@globalcrossing.com

          Ms. Fernanda Marques
          + 55 21-3820-4712
          LatAmPR@globalcrossing.com

          Mr. Mish Desmidt
          Europe
          +44 (0) 7771-668438
          EuropePR@globalcrossing.com

          Analysts/Investors Contact

          Mr. Mitch Burd
          +1 800-836-0342
          glbc@globalcrossing.com

          Web Site: www.globalcrossing.com

          For DANTE:

          Mr. Simon Watts
          +44 1223 371 300
          simon.watts@dante.org.uk


SEA CONTAINERS: Records $6.8M Net Earnings in 2Q04
--------------------------------------------------
Sea Containers Ltd. (NYSE: SCRA and SCRB, www.seacontainers.com)
marine container lessor, passenger and freight transport
operator, and leisure industry investor, announced on Thursday
its results for the second quarter and six months ended June 30,
2004.

Net earnings for the quarter were $6.8 million ($0.29 per common
share diluted) on revenue of $432.4 million, compared with net
earnings of $9.3 million ($0.44 per common share diluted) on
revenue of $410.3 million in the year earlier period. For the
six months net earnings were a loss of $10.1 million ($0.44 per
common share) on revenue of $805.7 million, compared with a net
loss of $1.0 million ($0.05 per common share) on revenue of
$758.5 million in the first half of 2003.

Mr. James B. Sherwood, President, said that the significant
differences in the second quarter of 2004 compared with the same
period of 2003 were first, the lack of earnings from the Isle of
Man Steam Packet Company that was sold in the third quarter of
2003. In 2003 this unit had net earnings of $3.5 million in the
second quarter. Second, the second quarter of 2003 recorded a
$5.3 million foreign exchange gain that was not repeated in the
second quarter of 2004. Mr. Sherwood reviewed results by
activity as follows (Amounts in tables are in thousands of
dollars):
    
1. Silja, the Baltic ferry operator.

             Three months ended June 30 Six months ended June 30
                   2004         2003        2004        2003
Silja operations:
Revenue         $161,179     $154,603    $299,070    $269,269
Operating and
SG&A             140,651      135,149     274,544     247,927
  expenses
EBITDA            20,528       19,454      24,526      21,342
Depreciation       9,555        9,258      19,051      17,961
Earnings before

Net finance costs$10,973     $ 10,196     $ 5,475     $ 3,381

Silja's operating profit increased 7.6% in the quarter to $11
million and 62% in the six months to $5.5 million despite higher
than budgeted fuel costs and start-up costs of introduction of
the m.v. Finnjet into a new service between Germany, Estonia and
Russia in June. Estonia's entry into the European Union on May
1, 2004 has not caused any significant change in travel patterns
on Silja's routes.

2. GNER, the intercity high speed rail service connecting London
with Leeds, Newcastle and Scotland.

            Three months ended June 30  Six months ended June 30
                    2004         2003         2004        2003
    Rail operations:
    Revenue      $208,261     $156,933     $408,466    $329,583
    Operating and
    SG&A          192,234      140,716     377,041     289,950
    expenses
    EBITDA         16,027       16,217      31,425      39,633
    Depreciation    3,577        2,458       7,992       5,171
    Earnings before net
    finance costs$ 12,450     $ 13,759    $ 23,433    $ 34,462

GNER's operating profit of $12.5 million in the quarter was down
10% from the year earlier period, due to a reduction in
compensation payments for delays from Network Rail which were
not fully offset by increased revenue.

For the first six months the operating profits were lower at
$23.4 million compared with $34.5 million in 2003, due to a non-
recurring gain of $11.5 million reported in the first quarter of
2003 in connection with settlement of damages by Network Rail
arising from the Hatfield rail accident in 2000.

As previously announced, on July 1, 2004 GNER settled a claim by
the UK Strategic Rail Authority for its participation in the
Network Rail settlement arising out of Hatfield.

The UK government announced in July, 2004 the results of its
Rail Review. It has been decided to abolish the Strategic Rail
Authority and transfer its powers to the Department for
Transport. The Department will henceforth determine service
patterns.

If the cost exceeds the Department's budget the service patterns
will be reduced. These changes are not expected to affect GNER's
service patterns. The Department for Transport has not yet
published the specification against which GNER is to bid for a
new franchise but has indicated it will be made available in
September and GNER's bid will be required in November. The Rail
Review emphasized that past performance will be an important
factor in the decision to award a new franchise and GNER
believes this policy will be to its benefit. A consortium of
Virgin Rail, Stagecoach and the German Railways which qualified
as a bidder for GNER's franchise, announced recently that it was
dropping out of the contest.

3. Other ferry operations, consisting of Hoverspeed's 5 ships
operating in UK waters, SNAV-Hoverspeed's two ships operating in
the Adriatic, two high speed ferries chartered out to other
operators and SeaStreak's 7 passenger-only fast ferries
operating commuter services between Manhattan and New Jersey.

            Three months ended June 30  Six months ended June 30
               2004          2003         2004         2003
    Other ferry
    operations:
    Revenue    $ 30,444      $ 61,404     $ 34,519     $ 88,542
    Operating
    and SG&A     34,109        59,559       43,859       88,033
    expenses
    EBITDA       (3,665)         1,845      (9,340)         509
    Depreciation  3,649         4,139        6,644        8,622
    Earnings before net
    finance costs
               $ (7,314)     $ (2,294)    $(15,984)    $ (8,113)

Losses were $5 million worse for the quarter and $7.9 million
worse for the six months due to absence of earnings from the
Isle of Man Steam Packet Company which was sold in the third
quarter of 2003. The Steam Packet's earnings before net finance
costs in the second quarter of 2003 were $5.7 million and $8.4
million for the six months.

Higher fuel costs than budgeted and SeaStreak's reduced services
in February due to ice conditions in New York Harbour
contributed to the lower results, masking improvements as a
result of Hoverspeed moving to seasonal operations. The third
quarter is in the main earnings period for Hoverspeed, however,
higher than budgeted fuel costs will adversely impact results.

4. GE SeaCo, the 50% owned joint venture with GE Capital,
engaged in the ownership and leasing out of marine cargo
containers.

           Three months ended June 30  Six months ended June 30
                    2004         2003        2004        2003
    Container operations:
    GE SeaCo Owned Fleet
    (100%)
    Revenue     $ 34,060     $ 23,100     $64,201    $ 44,351
    Operating
    and SG&A       3,912        2,790       7,645       5,957
    expenses
    EBITDA        30,148       20,310      56,556      38,394
    Depreciation  10,038        7,055      19,329      13,754
    Earnings before net
    finance costs 20,110       13,255      37,227      24,640
    Finance costs  3,547        2,783       6,981       5,433
    Earnings
    before tax  $ 16,563     $ 10,472    $ 30,246    $ 19,207
    SCL's 50%
    Share        $ 8,282      $ 5,236    $ 15,123     $ 9,603

Profits powered ahead in the wake of the strongest market seen
for the past decade. The company's share of GE SeaCo's net
earnings increased 58% to $8.3 million from $5.2 million in the
prior year period. For the six months net earnings were also up
58% to $15.1 million compared to $9.6 million in the same period
of 2003.

GE SeaCo took delivery of $147 million of new containers in the
six months ended June 30, 2004 and now expects to invest more
than $200 million for the full year 2004. The "pool fleet"
consisting of containers owned by Sea Containers and GE Capital
and managed by GE SeaCo, was 92% utilized for dry cargo types at
June 30, 2004.

Refrigerated containers in the pool fleet were 76% utilized at
June 30, 2004 (June is the low season for refrigerated container
demand when the northern hemisphere is harvesting its own
perishable foods, not having to import them from the southern
hemisphere). Utilization of other specialized types at June 30,
2004 was 84%.

New container purchase prices are beginning to ease from second
quarter peaks, in step with lower steel prices, however, demand
remains high for both new and older units. Repair costs have
risen as more expensive-to-repair containers are repaired and
brought into service but storage costs are significantly down as
less units linger in depot. Lease rates for older units are
rising as short-term contracts are renewed. The outlook for the
year is excellent.

5. Other container operations, including factories, depots, and
service facilities.

           Three months ended June 30   Six months ended June 30
                  2004          2003        2004        2003
    Other container
    operations:
    Revenue     $ 26,580      $ 30,601    $ 52,546    $ 59,102
    Operating
    and SG&A      12,682        14,484      24,805      26,363
    expenses
    EBITDA        13,898        16,117      27,741      32,739
    Depreciation  11,155        11,957      22,346      24,380
    Earnings
    before net
    finance costs$ 2,743       $ 4,160     $ 5,395     $ 8,359

The reduced operating profits of $2.7 million in the quarter
compared with $4.2 million in the prior year period, as well as
the $5.4 million in the six months compared with $8.4 million in
2003 were due primarily to termination of finance lease
contracts in 2003 and consequent absence of profits from such
contracts in 2004.

The company acquired a number of container depot, service and
logistics operations based in Australia and New Zealand from the
Owens Group effective July 19, 2004. The purchase price net of
proceeds on the sale of the company's 26% interest in the
Westfield container depot in Auckland, N.Z, was $6.7 million,
approximately 3 times EBITDA.

6. Property, Plantations and Publishing. This unit includes the
company's port interests (primarily the Corinth Canal in Greece
and Newhaven, England), plantations in the Ivory Coast and
Brazil and publishing services for the company, Orient-Express
Hotels and others.

          Three months ended June 30  Six months ended June 30
                 2004          2003        2004        2003
    Other operations:
    Revenue     $ 5,925       $ 6,718    $ 11,066    $ 11,992
    Operating
    and SG&A      5,556         5,641      11,423      10,431
    expenses
    EBITDA          369         1,077       (357)       1,561
    Depreciation    328           242        620          553
    Earnings before net
    finance costs  $ 41         $ 835     $ (977)     $ 1,008

Results for the quarter and six months were down from the prior
year periods due to failure of the early table grape crop in
Brazil due to heavy rain, combined with less than optimum banana
production in the Ivory Coast.

Contracts were signed for the sale of Folkestone Port on July 2,
2004 and completion should occur within the third quarter. The
gain will be recorded in the third quarter.

7. Leisure investment. Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. in which the
company has a 42% shareholding, increased its net income in the
second quarter by 37% to $12.9 million from $9.4 million in the
year earlier period. For the six months net income was up 22% to
$8.3 million from $6.8 million.

Sea Containers' share of these earnings in the second quarter
was $5.4 million compared with $4.4 million in the prior year
period. For the six months its share was $3.5 million compared
with $3.2 million in the year earlier period.

Orient-Express Hotels is recovering from the effects of the Iraq
War, SARS and weak corporate demand in 2003 and its management
predicts that 2004 will be more profitable than 2003. Mr.
Sherwood indicated that Sea Containers has no current intention
to sell any of its shareholding in Orient-Express Hotels.

He concluded by reminding investors that the third quarter is
the main earnings period for the seasonal ferry businesses. He
said that the company's priorities are improvement of results of
UK fast ferry operations, renewal or extension of the GNER
franchise in 2005 and obtaining the new Integrated Kent
franchise, and expansion of ferry operations in the Baltic and
Mediterranean.

Management believes that EBITDA (net earnings adjusted for
interest, tax, depreciation and amortization) is a useful
measure of operating performance, to help determine the ability
to incur capital expenditure or service indebtedness, because it
is not affected by non-operating factors such as leverage and
the historic cost of assets. However, EBITDA does not represent
cash flow from operations as defined by US generally accepted
accounting principles, is not necessarily indicative of cash
available to fund all cash flow needs and should not be
considered as an alternative to earnings from operations under
US generally accepted accounting principles for purposes of
evaluating results of operations.

To view financial statements, please visit:
http://bankrupt.com/misc/SeaCont_2Q04.pdf

CONTACT: Head Office
         Sea Containers Ltd.
         Canon's Court
         21 Victoria Street
         Hamilton HM12
         Bermuda

         Tel:  +1 (441) 295 2244
         Fax:  +1 (441) 292 8666

         Web Site: http://www.seacontainers.com

  

=============
B O L I V I A
=============

* IDB Channels US28.8Mln Loan for Bolivia's Social Programs
-----------------------------------------------------------
The Inter-American Development Bank announced Thursday the
reformulation and redirection of loans of up to $28.8 million
for previously approved operations for Bolivia that will be
channeled to priority social programs to benefit low-income
sectors of the population.

The reorientation of funds approved by the IDB Board of
Executive Directors will focus on three projects identified and
agreed upon with the Government of Bolivia:

Program against Poverty and Support to Solidarity Investment:

$21.4 million will widen PROPAIS, a program of small social
projects to improve the living conditions in urban communities
with more then 70 percent of the population living below the
poverty line. It will benefit 400,000 persons and will provide
employment to about 20,000 workers.

Program of Integral Support to Small and Micro-Enterprises:

$4.8 million will extend a program already under execution to
continue to promote access to credit to the micro and small
entrepreneurs, generating new sources of employment, more income
and productivity.

Expanded Program of Immunization:

$2.6 million, already assigned originally to the Bolivian
epidemiological Shield Program, will now be channeled to the
Expanded Program of Immunization. This is one of the most cost-
effective investments in health because it generates an increase
in life expectancy through a significant reduction of disease
and mortality of children and adults due to a drastic reduction
in the incidence of immuno-preventable diseases. During 2005 the
program will finance the immunization of children against polio
and provide quintuple vaccines, as well as yellow fever vaccine
to the general population.

The reorientation of resources, previously approved with
concessional conditions, will focus efforts to strengthen
activities with greater social impact according to current
priority needs. Disbursements will be made during a period of
approximately 24 months.

CONTACT: Ms. Christina MacCulloch
         Press and Information Officer
         For: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and
Uruguay
         Inter American Development Bank         
         Tel.: (202) 623-1718
         christinam@iadb.org

         Web Site: www.iadb.org



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

BRASKEM: Issues Independent Auditor's Report
--------------------------------------------
PricewaterhouseCoopers, independent auditor for Braskem S.A.,
issued the following statement on its Limited Review of the
Quarterly Information For the period ended June 30 and March 31,
2004 and June 30, 2003:

1. We have carried out limited reviews of the Quarterly
Information (ITR) of Braskem S.A. for the quarters and periods
ended June 30 and March 31, 2004 and June 30, 2003. This
information is the responsibility of the Company's management.
The limited reviews of the quarterly information at June 30 and
March 31, 2004 and June 30, 2003 of Politeno Industria e
Comercio S.A. (jointly-controlled entity) and of Petroflex
Industria e Comercio S.A. (associated company), which are
recorded under the equity method, were conducted by other
independent accountants. Our reviews, insofar as they relate to
the amounts of these investments at June 30 and March 31, 2004,
in the amounts of R$ 206,730 thousand and R$ 192,121 thousand,
respectively, and the profits generated by them for the quarters
ended June 30, 2004 and 2003, in the amounts of R$ 27,024
thousand and R$ 9,815 thousand, respectively, are based solely
on the reports of the other independent accountants.

2. Our reviews were carried out in conformity with specific
standards established by the Institute of Independent Auditors
of Brazil (IBRACON), in conjunction with the Federal Accounting
Council (CFC), and mainly comprised: (a) inquiries of and
discussions with management responsible for the accounting,
financial and operating areas of the Company with regard to the
main criteria adopted for the preparation of the quarterly
information and (b) a review of the significant information and
of the subsequent events which have, or could have, significant
effects on the Company's financial position and operations.

3. Based on our limited reviews and on the reports on limited
reviews of the quarterly information issued by other independent
accountants, we are not aware of any material modifications that
should be made to the quarterly information referred to above in
order that such information be stated in conformity with the
accounting practices adopted in Brazil applicable to the
preparation of quarterly information, consistent with the
Brazilian Securities Commission (CVM) regulations.

4. As described in Note 16(c) to the quarterly information, a
rescissory action was filed against the Company and certain
subsidiaries, seeking to overturn a final court judgment which
exempted them from paying the social contribution on net income,
enacted by Law 7689/88. The outcome of this matter cannot
presently be determined. In addition, as described in Note 19,
the Company and its subsidiaries are parties to other judicial
and administrative processes of a tax, civil and labor nature,
including the lawsuit regarding the validity of Clause 4 of the
Collective Labor Agreement of SINDIQUIMICA. Management does not
expect significant losses from these disputes in excess of the
amounts already provided. The quarterly information of the
Company does not include a provision for losses from eventual
unfavorable outcomes to the social contribution rescissory
action and the Clause 4 lawsuit.

5. The Company belongs to a group of companies comprising the
Braskem group and carries out financial and commercial
transactions, in significant amounts, with its subsidiaries and
other group companies, under the conditions described in Note 8
to the quarterly information.

6. As described in Note 1(d) to the quarterly information, at
June 30, 2004, the Company has an excess of current liabilities
over current assets in the amount of R$ 1,699,387 thousand (in
the consolidated, the net working capital is positive in the
amount of R$ 407,519 thousand). The plans and actions of
management and the shareholders, in order to give the Company a
proper capital structure, are described in Note 1(d).

7. As described in Note 1(b) to the quarterly information, the
Company is involved in a broad business and corporate
restructuring process, as part of the overall restructuring of
the Brazilian petrochemical industry, intended to give the
industry a more adequate capital structure, greater
profitability, competitiveness and economies of scale. The
Company is being, and could continue to be, affected by economic
and/or corporate changes resulting from this process, the
outcome of which will determine how the operations of the
Company will be developed, including the management of total
liabilities and current and long-term assets. Furthermore, as a
result of this process and the matters described in Note 2, the
comparability between the quarterly information of Braskem S.A.
as of June 30, 2004 and the quarterly information as of June 30,
2003 has been impacted.

8. As described in Notes 10, 11 and 12 to the quarterly
information, the Company recognized goodwill on the acquisition
of investments based on the surplus of market over recorded
values of property, plant and equipment and the expected future
profitability of the investees. These goodwill balances are
being amortized in accordance with the period of return defined
in the independent valuation reports and the financial
projections prepared by management. The maintenance of these
goodwill balances, and the current amortization criteria in the
financial statements of future years, will depend upon the
realization of the projections of cash flows and income and
expenses used by the valuers in determining the surplus, and the
future profitability of the investees.

9. Our reviews were conducted for the purpose of issuing a
report on the limited reviews of quarterly information, referred
to in the first paragraph, taken as a whole. The statement of
cash flows is presented in the quarterly information for
purposes of additional analysis and is not a required part of
the quarterly information. This information has been subjected
to the review procedures described in paragraph 2 and we are not
aware of any material modifications that should be made to this
statement in order that such information be fairly presented in
all material respects in relation to the quarterly information
taken as a whole.

Salvador, July 28, 2004

PricewaterhouseCoopers
Marco Aurelio de Castro e Melo  
Auditores Independentes
Contador CRC 1SP153070/O-3 "S" BA  
CRC 2SP000160/O-5 "F" BA

CONTACT: BRASKEM SA
         Rua Eteno, 1561
         Polo Petroquimico de Camacari
         Camacari,  05477
         Phone: (212) 688-5144
         Fax: (212) 688-5213
         
         Web Site: http://www.braskem.com.br


ENRON: Petrobras To Acquire Rio Power Plant
-------------------------------------------
Petrobras, the state-owned energy Company, is set to complete
the purchase of Eletrobolt thermoelectric plant from bankrupt
U.S. energy company Enron in the next few days, says Valor
Economico.

The 380MW plant, servicing the state of Rio de Janiero, is worth
an estimated US$300 million. The acquisition much needed cash
for Enron. It would also allow Petrobras to reduce losses from
the plant's gas contracts.
      
CONTACT: Enron Corp.
         Public Relations Dept.
         P.O. Box 1188, Suite 1600
         Houston, TX 77251-1188
        (713) 853-5670
         public-relations@enron.com

        Web Site: www.enron.com


GERDAU: International Sales Contribute 64% of Revenue
-----------------------------------------------------
Growing demand in North and South America, strengthened global
demand and increased steel prices all had positive effects on
Gerdau Group's performance for the semester. Consolidated sales
revenue grew 51% from the same period of 2003, reaching R$ 11.3
billion.

Markets outside Brazil accounted for 64% of this total, or R$
7.2 billion, including exports from Brazil (16%) and sales from
units in North America (44%) and Argentina, Chile and Uruguay
(4%).

"The external market share has grown every year, represented by
Brazilian exports and operations in other countries and reflects
the increasingly internationalization of the Gerdau Group",
stated senior vice president, Frederico Gerdau Johannpeter.
"Three years ago, the international market was responsible for
just 42% of total revenue: in the first semester of 2003 it was
59% and now we have reached 64%."

A total of 1.4 million metric tons of steel was exported from
Brazil, generating revenues of US$ 509.2 million, 42% greater
than in the same period of the previous year.

Brazilian domestic sales grew 19% in comparison with the first
six months of 2003, to 2 million metric tons, mainly on the
basis of the good performance of the industrial sector and a
return to growth of civil construction. "We have met the growing
needs of the domestic market in full", explained Frederico
Gerdau Johannpeter.

Net sales revenue per ton of steel sold by Brazilian operations
averaged R$ 1,365, a value lower than the R$ 1,687 obtained in
North America and the R$ 1,447 obtained in the other South
American countries where the Group has operations. Even with the
increased prices of exported products, the average price
received by the Brazilian operations remained lower than those
earned from the other countries.

Sales of steel products in North America grew 7% in comparison
to the same period of 2003, to 2.7 million metric tons. Growth
was even greater in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, where sales
were up 15% to 240,000 metric tons.

Consolidated sales grew 7% in comparison to the first semester
of 2003, to 6.3 million metric tons. As a result, Gerdau Group
net profit reached R$ 1.3 billion, up 134% from the first half
of 2003.

PRODUCTION

Production of rolled products up 10%:

Consolidated steel production (slabs, blooms and billets)
totaled 6.4 million metric tons, up 5% on the 6.1 million metric
tons produced in the first semester of 2003. Mills in Brazil
increased production by 6% to 3.6 million metric tons, North
American production grew 3% to 2.6 million metric tons and the
units in Chile and Uruguay increased production by 13%, to a
total of 192,000 metric tons.

Rolled steel production for the semester grew 10% to 4.8 million
metric tons in comparison to the same period of 2003. Rolling is
the process of transforming steel into products such as rebar,
bars, profiles and wire rod.

The units in Brazil produced 2.1 million metric tons (up 14%),
those in Canada and the United States, 2.5 million metric tons
(up 6%), and those in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, 222,000
metric tons (up 23%).

INVESTMENTS

Gerdau Group accelerates investment program in Brazil:

With increased demand forecast for the Brazilian market, the
Gerdau Group is accelerating its investment program. Virtually
all mills will be making investments to boost existing melt shop
and rolling mill production capacities. This expansion will
allow the company to fully meet domestic demand and maintain an
appropriate level of exports to fulfill agreements with foreign
customers.

Highlights of the investment program include the increased
capacity at the Ouro Branco, Gerdau AOos Finos Piratini and
Gerdau Cosigua mills, in the states of Minas Gerais, Rio Grande
do Sul and Rio de Janeiro, respectively. Production capacity at
the Ouro Branco mill will increase from three to seven million
metric tons per year by 2008/09, with an intermediate phase
representing a growth of 1.5 million metric tons by 2006/07.

At Gerdau AOos Finos Piratini, rolled steel production capacity
will grow from 350,000 to 500,000 metric tons in the coming
year. By the end of 2005, capacity at the Gerdau Cosigua number
3 profile rolling mill should reach 420,000 metric tons, up from
the current 150,000 metric tons.

Investments are also planned for Gerdau Riograndense (state of
Rio Grande do Sul) and Gerdau Cearense (state of Cear ). At
Gerdau Riograndense, improved melt shop processes will help
boost production by 60,000 metric tons of steel per year by
2006. The installation of a new reheat furnace at Gerdau
Cearense, planned for 2006, will increase annual production by
50%, from 100,000 to 150,000 metric tons.

Consolidated investments for technological upgrades and
expansion of Gerdau units totaled US$ 178.4 million for the
semester, of which US$ 136.3 million (76%) was destined for
units in Brazil. North American operations received US$ 38.3
million (22%) and plants in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay, US$
3.8 million (2%). The Gerdau Group expects to invest a total of
US$ 350 million by the end of 2004.

LISTED COMPANIES IN BRAZIL

Gerdau shares show greater liquidity on stock markets

The Gerdau Group has two listed companies in Brazil: Metalurgica
Gerdau S.A. and Gerdau S.A., which will pay out interest on
capital stock and dividends for the second quarter of 2004 on
August 17. The payments will total R$ 89.1 million (R$ 1.08 per
share) for Metalurgica Gerdau S.A. shareholders and R$ 191.8
million (R$ 0.65 per share) for Gerdau S.A. shareholders.

On the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange, Metalurgica Gerdau S.A. shares
were involved in 25,656 trades, up 220% on the first semester of
2003. The total value of the trades was R$ 912.3 million, up
376% on 2003, for a daily trading average of R$ 6.7 million.
Accumulated Metalurgica Gerdau S.A. net profit for the year was
up 123% to R$ 520.3 million, representing R$ 6.31 per share.

Gerdau S.A. moved R$ 2.5 billion on the Sao Paulo Stock
Exchange, up 173% on the previous year. Daily trading average
was R$ 19.5 million, with a total of 80,330 trades for the
semester, up 85%.

Gerdau S.A. ADRs traded a total of US$ 463.1 million on the New
York Stock Exchange, giving a daily trading average of US$ 3.7
million. The company's preferred shares are also traded on the
Madrid Stock Exchange (Latibex), where they moved ? 2.3 million
in the first semester of 2004.

Net profit at Gerdau S.A. totaled R$ 1.1 billion, up 152% on the
R$ 446.2 million pro forma recorded during the same period of
2003. Profit per share was R$ 3.81.

Gerdau brings forward payment of interest on own capital for the
third quarter of 2004 The Boards of Directors of Metalurgica
Gerdau S.A. and Gerdau S.A. met on July 31 and approved payments
of interest on own capital ahead of expected results for the
third quarter of 2004.

Metalurgica Gerdau shareholders will received R$ 66 million (R$
0.80 per share) and Gerdau S.A., R$ 135.8 million (R$ 0.46 per
share). These sums will be paid on November 17 on the basis of
shares held in each company on August 13, 2004.

LISTED COMPANY IN NORTH AMERICA

Gerdau Ameristeel profits reach R$ 394.6 million for the
semester Shares in Gerdau Ameristeel, the company responsible
for the Group's North American operations, traded a total of C$
129.6 million on the Toronto Stock Exchange during the semester,
giving a daily trading average of C$ 1 million.

Net sales revenue, adjusted to Brazilian accounting principles,
was up 73% to R$ 4.6 billion for the first half of 2004. Net
profit totaled R$ 394.6 million in comparison to a loss of R$
27.6 million in the same period of 2003.

CONTACT: Gerdau Acominas
         Press Office
         +55(51) 3323-2170
         imprensa@gerdau.com.br

         Web Site: www.gerdau.com.br


PARMALAT: Antitrust Authorities Release Investigation Results  
-------------------------------------------------------------
Parmalat Finanziaria S.p.A. in Extraordinary Administration
communicates that the Antitrust Authority initiated two
investigations on 22 July 2004 with regard to Parmalat.

The investigations have been communicated to Parmalat on July
27th 2004 and have been published today on the website of the
Antitrust Authority.

The first contends that Parmalat did not respect the conditions
imposed by the Antitrust Authority in 1999 relating to the
authorization of the acquisition of Eurolat from the Cirio
Group, and specifically its failure to divest, Newlat to which
certain brands and facilities had been transferred.

The second cites the failure to communicate in advance to the
Authorities the acquisition of a controlling position in
Carnini. The actions that are the subject of the Antitrust
Authority's investigation, in which the current Extraordinary
Administration of Parmalat had no role whatsoever, are entirely
attributable to the previous management of Parmalat.

The initiations of these steps by the Antitrust Authority were
preceeded by a request for information by the Authority to
Parmalat Finanziaria S.p.A. in Extraordinary Administration that
the latter fulfilled providing all the relevant information in
its possession and cooperating fully in the preliminary phases
of the Authority's inquiries.

Parmalat Finanziaria S.p.A. in Extraordinary Administration does
not currently manage either Newlat or Carnini. On the basis of
information in his possession or which has been reported in the
press, Extraordinary Commissioner, Dr Enrico Bondi, took the
limited but prudent step, in the interest of all the creditors,
of recognising in March 2004 ownership of the holdings in Newlat
and Carnini.

CONTACT: Parmalat Finanziaria
         piazza Erculea 9, 20122
         Milano (MI), ITALIA.
         Phone: +39 02 8068801
         Fax: +39 02 8693863

         Parmalat Partecip. Do Brasil Ltda
         Rua Gomes de Carvalho
         1629 - CEP 04547-005
         Sao Paulo, SP.

         Web Site: www.parmalat.com



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

AVIANCA: Pilots' Strike Looms
-----------------------------
Pilots at Colombia's Avianca are threatening to go on strike if
the airline company will not meet their demands, says Dow Jones
Newswires.

Alberto Padilla, president of the pilots' union, said they want
the Company to pay US$97.6 million it owes retired pilots;
renegotiate the collective agreements it has with five different
unions; and approve a salary increase of 19% after not securing
a raise for two years.

The union has not yet decided on a deadline for its demands to
be met.

A strike at Avianca could potentially throw into jeopardy a
takeover bid from Grupo Sinergy, which is owned by Brazilian
entrepreneur German Efromovich.

Sinergy offered in March to inject US$64 million of capital into
Avianca and assume its debt of nearly US$300 million in return
for a 75% stake in Colombia's largest airline.

On Thursday, Efromovich met with 54 pilots in a bid to avert the
strike. He asked pilots to stop hostilities and to try to work
normally during the next 45 days, when the Company is expected
to emerge from bankruptcy.

"The future of this company is in your hands, and it is better
to keep a cool head and to take the appropriate time in order to
make a reasonable decision," said Efromovich.

Avianca is owned by Colombia's National Federation of Coffee
Growers and Valores Bavaria (VALBAVARI.BO), a leading local
conglomerate. A U.S. bankruptcy court has been overseeing the
airline's Chapter 11 case since it was filed in March 2003.



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

DESC: Ratings Not Affected by Sale of Velcon
--------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said Thursday that Desc S.A.
de C.V.'s (Desc, B+/Negative/--) announcement that it has signed
a nonbinding Memorandum of Understanding with its joint venture
partner for the sale of its 51% interest in Velcon S.A. de C.V.
will not affect the company's rating or outlook. Nevertheless,
the announcement is considered a positive development, as Desc's
efforts to strengthen its financial profile continue to move
forward. The estimated value of the transaction is in the range
of $80 million-$85 million and proceeds will be used to
strengthen Desc's financial structure. Velcon is a joint venture
with U.K.-based GKN Holdings Plc (BBB/Watch Neg/--) that
manufactures constant velocity joints for the automotive
industry.

ANALYSTS:  Jose Coballasi, Mexico City (52) 55-5081-4414
           Santiago Carniado, Mexico City (52) 55-5081-4413  


ISPAT INTERNATIONAL: Posts $325Mln in Net Income in 2Q04
--------------------------------------------------------
Ispat International N.V., (NYSE: IST US; AEX: IST NA), reported
on Thursday a record net income of $325 million or $2.75 per
share for the second quarter of 2004 as compared to a net income
of $14 million or $0.11 per share for the second quarter of
2003.

In the first quarter of 2004, the net income was $102 million or
$0.85 per share. The results for this quarter, in fact, exceeded
the best-ever annual results achieved so far.

Consolidated sales and operating income for the second quarter
were $2.1 billion and $426 million, respectively, as compared to
$1.4 billion and $58 million, respectively, for the second
quarter of 2003; and $1.8 billion and $158 million respectively
for the first quarter of 2004.

Total steel shipments were approximately 4.1 million tons1,
which represented an increase of approximately 2% over the
second quarter of 2003 and a decrease of approximately 4% over
the first quarter of 2004.

For the six-month period January-June 2004, Ispat International
N.V.'s net income was $427 million or $3.60 per share as
compared to net income of $65 million or $0.52 per share for the
six-month period January-June 2003.

Consolidated sales and operating income for the six-month period
January-June 2004 were $3.9 billion and $584 million
respectively, compared to $2.7 billion and $133 million
respectively for the six-month period January-June 2003.

Total steel shipments for the six-month period January-June 2004
were 8.3 million tons, an increase of 6% compared to the six-
month period January-June 2003.

The improved earnings were primarily due to strong demand for
our products across all markets. Our average price realization
in the second quarter 2004 improved by 43% compared to the
second quarter of 2003 and by 25% compared to the first quarter
of 2004, driven by higher base selling prices, raw material
surcharges and improved product mix.

For the six-month period January-June 2004, average price
realization was 30% higher than the corresponding period of
2003. The situation with respect to availability and procurement
prices of key raw materials such as iron ore, scrap, coke and
natural gas continued to remain challenging.

However, Ispat International was able to manage the situation
successfully, thereby maintaining shipments and customer service
levels. Overall, cost per ton during the quarter was higher by
23% as compared to the second quarter of 2003 and by 9% compared
to the first
quarter of 2004. Cost per ton during the six-month period
January-June 2004 was higher by 18% compared to the
corresponding period of 2003. There were no material unusual or
one-time items during the quarter.

Selling, general and administrative expenses were marginally
higher due to higher levels of sales activity, as well as higher
costs of logistics. Other income included a gain from the sale
of environmental credits at Ispat Inland. Net interest expense
was higher mainly due to the costs related to the issue of bonds
by Ispat Inland to refinance the previous term loan.

Details of Shipments, Sales and Operating Income at our main
operating subsidiaries were as follows:

Shipments
Subsidiary           Q2 2004       Q2 2003       Q1 2004
                    000'Tons      000'Tons      000'Tons

US and Canadian
Operating
Subsidiaries           1,801         1,785         1,825
Ispat Europe Group     1,000           940         1,125
Other Subsidiaries     1,256         1,235         1,274

Sales
Subsidiary          Q2 2004        Q2 2003       Q1 2004
                  $ Million      $ Million     $ Million

US and Canadian
Operating
Subsidiaries          1,010            714           853
Ispat Europe Group      509            373           496
Other Subsidiaries      590            323           406

Operating Income
Subsidiary          Q2 2004        Q2 2003       Q1 2004
                  $ Million      $ Million     $ Million

US and Canadian
Operating
Subsidiaries            167            (20)           95
Ispat Europe Group       54             15             5
Other Subsidiaries      205             63            58

For the six month period January - June:
Shipments
Subsidiary                Six Months      Six Months
                             2004            2003
                           000'Tons        000'Tons

US and Canadian
Operating
Subsidiaries                 3,627           3,433
Ispat Europe Group           2,126           1,941
Other Subsidiaries           2,528           2,418

Sales
Subsidiary                Six Months      Six Months
                             2004            2003
                          $ Million       $ Million

US and Canadian
Operating
Subsidiaries                 1,862          1,410
Ispat Europe Group           1,006            731
Other Subsidiaries             996            597

Operating Income
Subsidiary                Six Months      Six Months
                             2004            2003
                         $ Million       $ Million

US and Canadian
Operating
Subsidiaries                  262             31
Ispat Europe Group             60             26
Other Subsidiaries            262             76

Liquidity continues to improve. During the second quarter of
2004, working capital increased by $117 million, mainly due to
higher levels of inventories and receivables driven by higher
levels of costs and selling prices. The underlying physical
levels (represented by number of days' working capital) remained
largely unchanged. During the six month period January-June
2004, working capital increased by $275 million. Capital
expenditure during the quarter was $35 million and during the
six months of 2004 was $56 million.

As at June 30, 2004, the Company's cash and cash equivalents
were $143 million ($80 million at December 31, 2003 and $104
million at March 31, 2004). In addition, the Company's operating
subsidiaries had available borrowing capacity of $223 million as
at June 30, 2004. The comparable number was $236 million as at
March 31, 2004 and $143 million as at December 31, 2003.

During the second quarter 2004, the Company reduced net debt by
$248 million, consisting of reduction of borrowings by $209
million, largely by prepaying long-term debt at its
subsidiaries, and increase of $39 million in cash and cash
equivalents. During the six-month period January-June 2004,
borrowings was reduced by $160 million and net debt was reduced
by $223 million.

Total debt at the end of the quarter - which includes both long
and short-term debt, as well as borrowings under working capital
credit facilities - was $2.1 billion, as compared to $2.3
billion at the end of the first quarter of 2004.

During the quarter, the Company purchased 2 million of its own
shares from the market under the previously announced share buy
back program at an average price of $12 per share. During the
six-month period January-June 2004, the number of its own shares
purchased under this program was 5.3 million and the average
price was $10.25 per share.

Outlook for third quarter 2004

The Company expects continued strong demand in all its principal
markets. However, third quarter shipments are traditionally
lower due to seasonal factors. The Company expects improved
selling prices across all product segments and flat to somewhat
reduced shipments compared to second quarter. On the other hand,
there is likely to be continued pressure on availability and
cost of all major inputs.

Working capital is expected to increase due to increases in
input prices and sales. Capital expenditure is expected to be
slightly higher in the third quarter than in the second. A key
milestone during the third quarter will be the pre-commissioning
trials at the new degasser facility in Mexico.

Ispat Inland's labor contract has been extended until August 15,
2004 by mutual agreement between Ispat Inland and the United
Steelworkers of America (USWA). The contract was originally
scheduled to expire on July 31, 2004. The Company is hopeful
that Ispat Inland will be able to finalize a new agreement with
the USWA.

However, if such agreement does not take place, the existing
agreement contains provisions for recourse to binding interest
arbitration, without any disruption to operations.

Overall, the Company expects to benefit from strong market
conditions for its products. The third quarter is expected to be
a better quarter than the second.

To view financial statements, please visit:
http://bankrupt.com/misc/Ispat_2Q04.pdf


CONTACT: Ispat International Limited
         Mr. T.N. Ramaswamy
         Director, Finance
         + 44 20 7543 1174

         Citigate Financial Intelligence
         Mr. John McInerney / Ms. Jessica Wolpert
         Investor Relations
         +1 201 499 3535 / +1 201 499 3533

         Web Site: http://www.ispat.com


ISPAT MEXICANA: S&P Withdraws Export Certificates' Rating
---------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services withdrew Thursday its 'B-'
rating on the $62.1 million structured export certificates of
Imexsa Export Trust No. 96-1.

The rating withdrawal follows the complete redemption of the
certificates, which were guaranteed by future export receivables
of steel slab generated by Ispat Mexicana S.A. de C.V. (Imexsa),
a Mexican steel manufacturer.

Imexsa is a wholly owned subsidiary of Ispat International N.V.
and was formed in 1992 after the acquisition of Siderorgica del
Balsas S.A. de C.V., the state-owned steel company. Imexsa is
one of only two companies worldwide that specializes in steel
slab production for external use.

ANALYST:  Maria Tapia, Mexico City (52) 55-5081-4415  



===========
P A N A M A
===========

CHIQUITA: Reports Net Income of $30M in 2Q04
--------------------------------------------
Chiquita Brands International, Inc. (NYSE: CQB) reported on
Thursday second quarter 2004 net income of $30 million, or $0.73
per diluted share, including an after-tax loss of $4 million on
the sale of its Colombian banana production division. The
company reported net income of $57 million, or $1.41 per diluted
share, in the same period a year ago, including a $21 million
gain on the sale of the Armuelles, Panama, division and $8
million from discontinued operations, primarily representing a
gain on the sale of the company's vegetable canning operations.

"We achieved solid operating performance in the second quarter
considering the impact of asset sales, which represented a
difference of $33 million in net income year-over-year," said
Fernando Aguirre, chairman and chief executive officer. "During
the quarter, we strengthened the depth of our management team.
New leaders of our Asian business and North American category
development and marketing groups bring exceptional consumer
products experience to Chiquita.

"Our farm productivity is on track to improve 6 percent year-on-
year as we continue to focus on driving cost savings to the
bottom line," he continued. "In addition, we successfully
transitioned into the expanded European Union and are now
building brand equity through new marketing investments in
several of the new Central and Eastern European member states.
We believe these programs will yield long-term benefits as we
prepare for a tariff-only system by 2006."

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

Net sales were $848 million, up from $829 million in the second
quarter 2003. The increase resulted from favorable European
currency exchange rates and higher other fresh produce sales,
partially offset by lower local banana pricing and volume.

Operating income from continuing operations was $37 million,
compared to $61 million in the year-ago period.

The 2004 quarter included $2 million of restructuring charges at
Atlanta AG and severance, and a $9 million before-tax loss from
the sale of the Colombian banana division. The after-tax loss
from the Colombia sale was $4 million.

The 2003 quarter included a $21 million gain from the sale of
the company's banana operations in Armuelles, Panama, and $10
million in charges, primarily related to restructuring at
Atlanta, write-downs of joint ventures and severance.

Total debt at June 30, 2004, was $372 million, and cash was $198
million.

BUSINESS SEGMENT RESULTS

(All comparisons below are to the second quarter 2003, unless
otherwise specified.)

Bananas

In the company's Banana segment, net sales rose to $459 million,
up $5 million, and operating income was $37 million, compared to
$61 million.

Banana segment operating results were favorably affected by:

- $9 million net European currency and pricing benefit,
comprised of a $14 million net increase from currency exchange
rates, partially offset by $5 million in lower local European
pricing (see Exhibit C for details);

- $4 million of cost savings, primarily from improved farm
productivity;

- $3 million from the company's continued volume growth and
improvement in local prices in Asia;

- $3 million decline in charges related to severance and Atlanta
restructuring ($1 million compared to $4 million); and

- $2 million reduction in purchased fruit costs.

These items were offset by:

- $30 million adverse effect from asset sales year-over-year,
comprised of a before-tax loss of $9 million on the sale of the
Colombian banana production division in the second quarter of
2004 and a $21 million gain on the sale of the Armuelles,
Panama, division in the 2003 second quarter;

- $9 million of selling, general and administrative expenses
associated with investment spending, including a $7 million
increase in marketing costs to build brand equity in several
European countries, including those that became E.U. member
states in May 2004; and

- $3 million of legal and other costs associated with the U.S.
Department of Justice investigation of the company's recently
sold Colombian operations. These costs are included in selling,
general and administrative expenses.

Other Fresh Produce

In the company's Other Fresh Produce segment, net sales were
$372 million, compared to $358 million in the year-ago quarter,
due to sales in the new Chiquita Fresh Cut Fruit business and
increased pineapple volume.

The operating loss in the 2004 second quarter was $2 million,
compared to an operating loss of $3 million in 2003. The segment
benefited from a $5 million decline in charges related to the
Atlanta restructuring and joint venture write-downs ($1 million
compared to $6 million). This benefit was mostly offset by $4
million of losses associated with the start-up of Chiquita Fresh
Cut Fruit and lower pricing in the North American melon
business.

STOCK AND WARRANT REPURCHASE PROGRAM

Separately, Chiquita has authorized a new common stock and
warrant repurchase program. Under the program, over the next 12-
18 months, the company may make purchases of shares of its
common stock and its warrants to subscribe for common stock. The
securities may be purchased on the open market or in privately
negotiated transactions. The amounts and times of purchases will
be determined based on market conditions.

Chiquita Brands International is a leading international
marketer, producer and distributor of high-quality bananas and
other fresh produce, which are sold primarily under Chiquitar
premium brands and related trademarks. The company is one of the
largest banana producers in the world and a major supplier of
bananas in Europe and North America. The company also
distributes and markets fresh-cut fruit and other branded,
value-added fruit products.

To view financial statements, please visit:
http://bankrupt.com/misc/Chiquita_2Q04.pdf

CONTACT: Mr. Michael Mitchell
         513-784-8959
         mmitchell@chiquita.com

         Web Site: www.chiquita.com



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

CANTV: Vows To Secure Referendum Data
-------------------------------------
Venezuela's top telecommunications company CANTV on Thursday
moved to quell doubts surrounding the security and reliability
of its computers and databases during an Aug. 15 referendum
against President Hugo Chavez.

According to Reuters, CANTV has guaranteed its security system
to safeguard voting data transferred during the referendum would
protect the poll results against potential manipulation.

CANTV Manager Ramon Ramirez said any attempt to manipulate the
data would be prevented by five security mechanisms and a back
up network designed and approved by Venezuela's National
Electoral Council.

"It's an independent network. Its separation from the public
network guarantees it cannot be cracked by hackers," Ramirez
said.


PDVSA FINANCE: S&P Cuts Ratings To 'B'
--------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered its rating on PDVSA
Finance Ltd.'s outstanding notes to 'B' from 'B+' and removed it
from CreditWatch with negative implications, where it was placed
June 28, 2004.

The downgrade follows the Aug. 3, 2004, successful completion of
a tender and consent solicitation by Petroleos de Venezuela S.A.
(PDVSA). Of the $2.61 billion of debt outstanding prior to the
tender offer, $2.51 billion (96.34%) was tendered by
noteholders, leaving approximately $95.5 million in notes
outstanding after completion of the tender.

Standard & Poor's believes that amendments made to the terms of
the transaction upon completion of the tender have reduced the
structural protection afforded to investors who continue to hold
PDVSA Finance debt (as stated in the July 21, 2004, press
release, "Rating on PDVSA Finance Ltd. Notes Likely to Be
Lowered and Removed From CreditWatch Negative," available on
RatingsDirect, Standard & Poor's Web-based credit analysis
system, at www.ratingsdirect.com).

The tender and consent offer by PDVSA--the national oil company
of Venezuela--required all noteholders tendering their notes in
return for the purchase price to agree to certain amendments to
the current PDVSA Finance transaction terms. All holders of
notes outstanding after completion of the tender are now bound
by these amendments.

The key amendments and waivers now enforced include:

-- The removal as designated obligors of certain key companies
affiliated with PDVSA, including Citgo Petroleum Corp. and
Hovensa LLC;

-- A reduction in the required monthly average and percentage
amount of export receivables sold through the PDVSA Finance
transaction to 4.5 million barrels of crude oil of less than 30
degrees American Petroleum Institute (API) gravity from 27
million barrels and to 40% from 80% of total sales of oil that
is less than 30 degrees API gravity, respectively;

-- A change in the definitions of "specified events" and "events
of default" to incorporate the sale requirement changes
mentioned above; and

-- A potential reduction in the provision of accounting and
other financial information currently provided under SEC rules
should PDVSA Finance not be subject to these disclosure
requirements in the future.

Although completion of the tender offer has boosted debt service
coverage significantly, Standard & Poor's believes that the
credit quality of the transaction has declined somewhat due to
greater potential supply diversion risk, decreased transparency
with respect to PDVSA's physical and financial operations
(especially should the company de-register the PDVSA Finance
transaction), and the general trend toward greater political
interference in the operations of PDVSA by the government. In
particular, the enhanced ability of PDVSA to sell its oil
exports to buyers who are not designated customers has, in
Standard & Poor's view, increased the risk of a debt service
payment shortfall should oil prices decline sharply and/or if
the company should suffer another sharp drop in exports as
occurred during the labor strike of late 2002 to early 2003.
During that strike, oil supplies to non-PDVSA-affiliated
customers dropped severely, as PDVSA prioritized the sale of its
limited supplies to its own affiliates over nonaffiliated
customers.

Standard & Poor's also notes that maintenance of the 'B' rating
going forward will hinge on the transaction remaining in a "run-
off" mode. Should PDVSA elect to use PDVSA Finance for
additional debt issuance at a later date, Standard & Poor's
would need to review the credit issues surrounding the deal at
that time in order to assign a potentially revised facility and
new issuance rating.

ANALYSTS: Kevin Kime, New York (1) 212-438-6223
          Bruce Schwartz, CFA, New York (1) 212-438-7809  


SIDOR: Attains Record Sales in 1H04
-----------------------------------
Import substitution and the general increase in demand for steel
products pulled-up Sidor's sales to record highs during the
first half of 2004.

Business News Americas reports that the Venezuelan iron and
steel company sold more than 800,000t in the domestic market in
1H04. The company expects to end the year with over 1.7Mt in
sales. This figure would be the highest level attained in the
last 15 years.     

Sidor said that its ability to meet local demand for previously
imported steel products contributed to the sales hike. The
Company is now able to supply high-carbon steel cable, sheet
metal and structural products due to continuing product
development partnership with its clients. High demand from the
construction, oil and container sectors also boosted sales.


WILPRO ENERGY: Gets Notice Default From PDVSA
---------------------------------------------
Williams Cos. (WMB) revealed that one of its subsidiaries
received a default notice from Venezuelan state oil company
Petroleos de Venezuela SA (PVZ.YY).

In a quarterly report filed Thursday with the Securities and
Exchange Commission, Williams said that Wilpro Energy Services
(PIGAP II) Limited received a notice of default from PDVSA
relating to certain operational issues alleging that the
subsidiary is not in compliance under a services agreement.

Williams said it doesn't believe a basis exists for such notice
and is contesting the giving of the notice.

Although the notice of default could result in an event of
default with respect to project loans totaling approximately
US$219 million and could result in an adverse effect with
respect to its other debt instruments, the Company believes that
it will be able to resolve any issues arising from the alleged
notice of default without any such results occurring with
respect to its other debt instruments.

"The lenders under the project loan agreement have confirmed to
us in writing that based on the facts they currently know, they
have no intention of exercising any rights or remedies under the
project loan agreement until the issues raised in the notice and
our response are clarified," the SEC filing said.



                            ***********


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