TCRLA_Public/040924.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

          Friday, September 24, 2004, Vol. 5, Issue 190

                            Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

AMPRI S.A.: Trustee to Close Claims Check
A & B CONSTRUCCIONES S.A.: Validation Deadline Nears
BANCO RIO: Moody's Establishes New Ratings
BOHAPUI S.A.: Court OKs Creditor's Bankruptcy Call
CRESER CREDITO: To Hold Informative Assembly Today

DISTRICEL S.R.L.: Court Authorizes Reorganization
EXPOSITORA: Individual Reports Due Today
FRIGORIFICO AVICOLA: Court Appoints Trustee for Reorganization
FRIGORIFICO FERNAROLO: Verification of Claims Ends
HOSANTEL: Validation of Claims Nears End

MEDIA PERSONALIZADA: Court OKs Creditor's Bankruptcy Motion
METALURGICA MKM: Proceeds with Reorganization
SANARFARM S.A.: Bankruptcy Process Begins By Court Order
TGN: Local S&P Reaffirms `raD' Rating on Bonds
TRANSPORTES El ALBA: Trustee Readies Individual Reports


B E R M U D A

FOSTER WHEELER: S&P Lowers Corporate Credit Rating to 'SD'


B R A Z I L

SINGER: Extends Tender Offer for Brazil Secured Notes


C H I L E

MADECO: Local Fitch Ups Ratings On Improved Financial Health


D O M I N I C A

* DOMINICA: Fiscal Programs on Track, Says IMF


J A M A I C A

C&WJ: Appoints Jacqueline Holding as New President


M E X I C O

DENNY'S: Subsidiaries Close New Credit Facilities
EMPRESAS ICA: Monex Increases 2004 Target Price
GRUPO POSADAS: Fitch Rates Proposed $150M Issuance 'BB-'
TV AZTECA: To Prepay $300M Notes


V E N E Z U E L A

CERRO NEGRO: Debt Rating Raised to `BB' by Fitch
HAMACA: Fitch Ups Rating on $1.1B of Loans to `BB' From `B+'
PDVSA FINANCE: Upgrades Rating To 'BB' From 'BB-'
PETROZUATA: Fitch Raises Debt Rating to `BB' From `B+'
SINCOR: Fitch Ups Debt Rating Following Sovereign Upgrade

* Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Announces Invitation
* Venezuela's Global Bonds Rated 'B+'; Stable Outlook -- Fitch
* S&P Assigns 'B' to Venezuela's Planned $1.5B Bond Due 2014

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

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

AMPRI S.A.: Trustee to Close Claims Check
-----------------------------------------
The verification of creditor's claims for the Ampri S.A.
bankruptcy is set to end on Monday, September 27, 2004. Court
appointed trustee Hugo Alberto Trejo will verify all claims
submitted within the period for inclusion among the individual
reports due for court submission on November 9, 2004.

Court no. 17 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal,
assisted by clerk no. 17, has jurisdiction over this case.

CONTACT: Ampri S.A.
         Avda Medrano 184
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Hugo Alberto Trejo, Trustee
         Avda Cordoba 744
         Buenos Aires


A & B CONSTRUCCIONES S.A.: Validation Deadline Nears
----------------------------------------------------
Creditors of bankrupt company A & B Construcciones S.A. are
required to submit proof of their claims before the verification
ends on Monday, September 27, 2004. All submissions must be
directed to court-appointed trustee Aldo Mackman before the
deadline.

Court no. 19 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
handles this case, which will conclude with the liquidation of
the Company's assets to repay its creditors.

CONTACT: A & B Construcciones S.A.
         San Martin 977
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Aldo Mackman, Trustee
         Alsina 1441
         Buenos Aires


BANCO RIO: Moody's Establishes New Ratings
------------------------------------------
Moody's assigned first time National and Global Scale Ratings of
Aaa.ar and Ba2, respectively, to the local currency deposits of
Argentine bank Banco Rio de la Plata S.A.

The ratings reflect the importance of Banco Rio's deposit
franchise within the Argentine financial system as well as the
support of its Spanish parent, Santander Central Hispano S.A.

At the same time, Moody's also assigned a first time National
Scale Rating (NSR) of B1.ar to Banco Rio's foreign currency
deposits. The B1.ar foreign currency NSR is much lower than the
local currency NSR as it reflects foreign currency
transferability and convertibility risk, which is perceived to
be high in the case of Argentina. Moody's NSRs are assigned
based on a corresponding global rating for either local or
foreign currency-denominated instruments.

Banco Rio's foreign currency deposits are rated Caa2 on a global
basis.

Banco Rio US$4.7 billion in assets and US$2.3 billion in
deposits as of June 30, 2004.

CONTACT:  BANCO RIO DE LA PLATA S.A.
          Bartolome Mitre 480
          1036 Buenos Aires, Argentina
          Phone: +54-14-341-1081-1580
          Fax: +54-14-341-1074-1084
          Home Page: http://www.bancorio.com.ar
          Contacts:
          Ana Patricia B. S. de Sautuola y O'Shea, Chairman
          Jose L. E. Cristofani, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO
          Pablo Caride, Corporate Finance


BOHAPUI S.A.: Court OKs Creditor's Bankruptcy Call
--------------------------------------------------
Bohapui S.A. entered bankruptcy after Judge Fernandez, working
for court no. 19 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal,
approved a bankruptcy motion filed by Mr. Alberto Mantel,
reports La Nacion. The Company's failure to pay US$4,000 in debt
prompted the creditor to file the petition.

Working with Dr. Mazzoni, the city's clerk no. 37, the court
assigned Ms. Raquel Steinhaus as trustee for the bankruptcy
process. The trustee's duties include the authentication of the
Company's debts and the preparation of the individual and
general reports. Creditors are required to present their proofs
of claims to the trustee before December 21, 2004.

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

CONTACT: Bohapui S.A.
         Posadas 1564
         Buenos Aires

         Ms. Raquel Steinhaus, Trustee
         Paraguay 577
         Buenos Aires


CRESER CREDITO: To Hold Informative Assembly Today
--------------------------------------------------
Creser Credito y Servicio S.A. is scheduled to conduct an
informative assembly with its creditors today. The assembly is
the final stage of the Company's bankruptcy proceedings. Ms.
Cecilia Beatriz Montelvetti oversees the bankruptcy as the
court-appointed trustee.

Court no. 22 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
handles the Company's case, said the Troubled Company Reporter -
Latin America in an earlier report. The city's clerk no. 43
assists the court on this case.

CONTACT:  Ms. Ceicila Beatriz Montelvetti, Trustee
          General Urquiza 2134
          Buenos Aires


DISTRICEL S.R.L.: Court Authorizes Reorganization
-------------------------------------------------
Court no. 13 of Lomas de Zamora's civil and commercial tribunal
issued a resolution opening the reorganization of local company
Districel S.R.L., reports Infobae. This pronouncement authorizes
the Company to begin drafting a settlement proposal with its
creditors in order to avoid liquidation. The 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.

Mr. Horacio Jorge Czaban will serve as trustee during the course
of the reorganization. He will be validating creditors' proofs
of claims until October 18, 2004. The results of the
verification will be presented in court as individual reports on
November 26, 2004.

The trustee is also required to give the court a general report
of the case on December 29, 2004. The general report summarizes
events relevant to the reorganization and provides an audit of
the Company's accounting and business records.

CONTACT: Mr. Horacio Jorge Czaban, Trustee
         Tucuman 1295
         Banfield


EXPOSITORA: Individual Reports Due Today
----------------------------------------
The civil and commercial tribunal of Buenos Aires expects to
receive individual reports from the Expositora S.R.L.
reorganization case today. Mr. Jose Luis Carriquiry, the court-
appointed trustee, prepared these reports from all creditors'
claims submitted during the verification period. The court will
use the reports to finalize the list of creditors eligible to
receive post-liquidation payments.

CONTACT: Mr. Jose Luis Carriquiry, Trustee
         Loyola 660
         Buenos Aires


FRIGORIFICO AVICOLA: Court Appoints Trustee for Reorganization
--------------------------------------------------------------
Frigorifico Avicola Basavilbaso S.A., a company operating in
Buenos Aires, is ready to start its reorganization after court
no. 21 of the city's civil and commercial tribunal appointed
accounting firm "Estudio Ferrari Herreco S.C." to supervise the
proceedings as trustee. Clerk no. 41 assists the court on this
case.

Infobae states that the trustee will verify creditors claims
until December 27, 2004. Afterwards, the firm will present these
claims as individual reports for final review by the court on
March 7, 2005.

The firm will also provide the court with a general report
pertaining to the reorganization on April 18, 2005. The court
has scheduled the informative assembly on September 27, 2005.

CONTACT: "Estudio Ferrari Herreco S.C." - Trustee
          Esmeralda 684
          Buenos Aires


FRIGORIFICO FERNAROLO: Verification of Claims Ends
--------------------------------------------------
Mr. Juan Carlos Vilanova, the trustee directing the ongoing
reorganization of Frigorifico Fernarolo S.A., will close the
verification of creditors' claims Monday, September 27, 2004.
Creditors must submit all required documents to the trustee
before the said deadline so they can be included on the list of
creditors covered by the Company's settlement plan.

CONTACTS: Frigorifico Fernarolo S.A.
          Tacuari 371
          Buenos Aires

          Mr. Juan Carlos Vilanova, Trustee
          Hipolito Yrigoyen 1349
          Buenos Aires


HOSANTEL: Validation of Claims Nears End
----------------------------------------
Mr. Carlos Felix Pisa Barros Garcia, trustee for the Hosantel
S.A. reorganization, will be validating creditors' proofs of
claims until Monday, September 27, 2004. Creditors are required
to submit all required documents before the verification closes
in order to be included in the Company's settlement plan.

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

Court no. 25 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
handles this case with assistance from clerk no. 49

CONTACT: Mr. Carlos Felix Pisa Barros Garcia, Trustee
         Avda Corrientes 3150
         Buenos Aires


MEDIA PERSONALIZADA: Court OKs Creditor's Bankruptcy Motion
-----------------------------------------------------------
Judge Carrega, serving for court no. 4 of Buenos Aires' civil
and commercial tribunal declared local company Media
Personalizada S.A. bankrupt, says La Nacion. The ruling comes in
approval of the bankruptcy petition filed by the Company's
creditor, Ms. Maria Escobar, for nonpayment of US$30,887.43 in
debt.

The Company's trustee, Ms. Maria Alba, will examine and
authenticate creditors' claims until November 18, 2004. This is
done to determine the nature and amount of the Company's debts.
Creditors must have their claims authenticated by the trustee by
the said date in order to qualify for the payments that will be
made after the Company's assets are liquidated.

Dr. Anta, clerk no. 8, assists the court on the case, which will
conclude with the liquidation of the Company's assets.

CONTACT: Media Personalizada S.A.
         Malabia 1930
         Buenos Aires

         Ms. Maria Alba, Trustee
         Montevideo 536
         Buenos Aires


METALURGICA MKM: Proceeds with Reorganization
---------------------------------------------
Judge Bargallo, serving for court no. 11 of Buenos Aires' civil
and commercial tribunal, approved the "Concurso Preventivo"
petition filed by Metalurgica MKM S.R.L., reports local news
source La Nacion.

The Company, which listed assets of US$337,720.53 and
liabilities of US$465,298.60, will undergo a reorganization
process under the direction of trustee Hector Grun.

The Trustee will verify creditors' proofs of claim until
November 11, 2004. Verifications are done to ascertain the
nature and amount of the Company's debts. The receiver will also
prepare the individual and general reports on the case.

Dr. Macchi, clerk no. 21, assists the court on the case.

CONTACT: Metalurgica MKM S.R.L.
         Bolivia 414
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Hector Grun, Trustee
         San Martín 551
         Buenos Aires


SANARFARM S.A.: Bankruptcy Process Begins By Court Order
--------------------------------------------------------
Court no. 9 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
declared local company Sanarfarm S.A. "Quiebra," reports
Infobae. The declaration signals the Company to proceed with the
bankruptcy process, which will close with the liquidation of its
assets.

The court, assisted by clerk no. 17, appointed accounting firm
"Estudio Edgardo Brodersen y Asociados" as trustee who will
authenticate proofs of claim "pro via incidental". Afterwards,
the trustee will prepare the individual reports based on the
results of the authentication and then submit these reports to
court on November 10, 2004.

CONTACT: Sanarfarm S.A.
         Avda Corrientes 4641
         Buenos Aires


TGN: Local S&P Reaffirms `raD' Rating on Bonds
----------------------------------------------
The Argentine arm of Standard and Poor's International Ratings,
Ltd. reaffirmed the `raD' rating on bonds issued by
Transportadora de Gas del Norte, the CNV says.

The rating, taken based on the Company's financial health as of
June 30, 2004, affects the following bonds:

-- US$24 million worth of "Serie V, con vencimiento en junio de
2003, emitada bajo el programa Global de Ons simples (USD300
Mio) vencido en 03.99" coming due on June 1, 2004;

-- US$60.5 million worth of "Serie VI emitada bajo el Prorama
Global de Ons Simples por un monto de US$320 mm" coming due on
September 1, 2008;

-- US$20 million worth of "Serie VII, con vencimiento en marzo
de 2003, emitada bajo el Programa Global de Ons simples (US$300
Mio)," which came due on March 3, 2003;

-- US$20 million worth of "Serie I emitada bajo el Programa
Global de Ons Simples por un monto de US$320 million" coming due
on July 1, 2009;

-- US$154.5 million worth of "Serie II emitada bajo el programa
Global de Ons Simples por un monto de US$320 million" coming due
on August 1, 2008;

-- US$10.7 million worth of "Serie III emitada bajo el programa
Global de Ons Simples por un monto de US$320 million" coming due
on July 1, 2009;

-- US$50 million worth of "Serie III, con vencimiento en octubre
de 2004, emitada bajo el Programa Global de Obligaciones simples
(USD 300 Mio) vencido en 03.99" coming due this October 1, 2004;

-- US$9.3 million worth of "Serie IV emitada bajo el Programa
Global de Ons Simples por un monto de US$320 mm" maturing on
July 1, 2009; and

-- US$46 million worth of "Serie IV, con vencimiento en junio de
2002, emitida bajo el Programa Global de ONs simples (USD 300
Mio) vencido en 03.99" that came due on June 3, 2002.

CONTACT:  TRANSPORTADORA DE GAS DEL NORTE (TGN)
          Don Bosco 3672, (C120ABF) Buenos Aires, Argentina.
          Phone: (+54 11) 4959-2000
          Fax: (+54 11) 4959-2242
          Home Page: www.tgn.com.ar/


TRANSPORTES El ALBA: Trustee Readies Individual Reports
-------------------------------------------------------
Individual reports on the Transportes El Alba S.A.C.I.
bankruptcy case are due for court submission today. The reports,
prepared by trustee Silvia Beatriz Cusel, are based from the
creditors' proof of claims forwarded during the verification
period.

Court no. 14 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
handles this case with assistance from the city's clerk no. 27.

CONTACT: Ms. Silvia Beatriz Cusel, Trustee
         Manuel Ricardo Trelles 2350
         Buenos Aires



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

FOSTER WHEELER: S&P Lowers Corporate Credit Rating to 'SD'
----------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered its corporate credit
rating on Foster Wheeler Ltd. to 'SD' from 'CCC-'. At the same
time, Standard & Poor's lowered its senior unsecured and
subordinated debt ratings on the Clinton, N.J. -based
engineering and construction (E&C) company to 'D' from 'CC'.

The senior secured bank loan ratings were affirmed but will be
withdrawn shortly, once the company's new bank facility is
closed.

"The rating actions follow the company's announcement that it
has completed its equity-for-debt exchange offer. Since Foster
Wheeler was able to exchange several of its debt securities for
other financial instruments that, in aggregate, appear to have a
much lower value than par, we view the exchange as coercive and,
thus, a default," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Joel
Levington.

The corporate credit rating of 'SD' reflects the fact that
Foster Wheeler's senior secured bank facility was not part of
the exchange offer, and the company remains current on that
obligation with respect to interest.

"When that facility is replaced with another bank deal, we will
withdraw the rating," Mr. Levington said.

The exchange offer was necessitated by several years of poor
operating performance--involving, among other things, bidding
disciplines, change-order management, and risk and control
policies--all of which led to significant negative cash
generation and charges in excess of $1 billion.

Foster Wheeler is a large global E&C firm, mainly serving the
oil and gas, energy, chemicals, and general industrial markets.

ANALYSTS:  Joel Levington, New York (1) 212-438-7802



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

SINGER: Extends Tender Offer for Brazil Secured Notes
-----------------------------------------------------
Singer N.V. ("Singer" or the "Company") announced Wednesday that
Brazil Financing Ltd. ("BFL"), its direct, wholly-owned
subsidiary is extending its tender offer for the 10% Series A
Secured Notes due 2005 and the Series B Secured Notes due 2007
issued by Brazil Financing (II) Ltd., an indirect, wholly-owned
subsidiary of the Company.

The expiration time for the offer has been extended from 5:00
p.m., London time, on September 22, 2004 to 5:00 p.m., London
time, on September 28, 2004 (the "Offer Expiration Time"). The
closing remains subject to the satisfaction of certain
conditions including the consummation of the acquisition of BFL
and certain other subsidiaries of Singer by KSIN Holdings, Ltd.
("KSIN").

Series A Notes and Series B Notes validly tendered and not
validly withdrawn after 5:00 p.m., London time, on August 3,
2004 and at or prior to the Offer Expiration Time will receive
the offer consideration of $1,000 per $1,000 principal amount,
plus accrued and unpaid interest, and $230 per $1,000 of maximum
principal amount, respectively, if the tendered Series A Notes
and Series B Notes are accepted for purchase. As of 5:00 p.m.,
London time, on September 22, 2004, BFL received tenders from
holders of approximately $20,531,149 aggregate principal amount
of the Series A Notes, representing approximately 90% of the
outstanding principal amount of the Series A Notes and from
holders of approximately $27,525,747 aggregate maximum principal
amount of the Series B Notes, representing approximately 90% of
the outstanding maximum principal amount of the Series B Notes.

The terms and conditions of the offer, including the conditions
of BFL's obligation to accept the Series A Notes and the Series
B Notes tendered and pay the purchase price and, if applicable,
the consent payment for them are described in the Offer to
Purchase and Consent Solicitation Statement dated July 13, 2004,
copies of which may be obtained from D.F. King & Co., Inc., the
information agent for the offer, at 1-800-769-7666 (US toll
free) or, outside the United States, at (44 20) 7920 9700
(collect).

This announcement is not an offer to purchase, a solicitation of
an offer to purchase or a solicitation of consent with respect
to any securities. The offer is being made solely by the Offer
to Purchase and Consent Solicitation Statement dated July 13,
2004. All amounts are in U.S. dollars.

About Singer N.V.

Singer N.V. was incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands
Antilles on December 21, 1999. Effective September 2000, as a
result of a successful Chapter 11 reorganization, Singer became
the parent company of several Operating Companies formerly owned
by The Singer Company N.V., as well as acquiring ownership of
the SINGER(R) brand name, one of the most widely recognized and
respected trademarks in the world. Through its Operating
Companies, Singer is engaged in two principal businesses, Retail
and Sewing. The SINGER(R) trademark ties the two businesses
together and also stands on its own with licensing and
wholesaling potential.

CONTACT: John Cannon at (914) 220-5134

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



=========
C H I L E
=========

MADECO: Local Fitch Ups Ratings On Improved Financial Health
------------------------------------------------------------
The Chilean arm of Fitch Ratings upgraded the ratings of the
bonds locally issued by Chilean copper cable specialist Madeco
SA to BBB- from BB+, reports Dow Jones Newswires.

The upgrade reflects an improvement in Madeco's financial
health.

In the second quarter of this year, Madeco, a unit of Quinenco
SA, completed its second straight profitable quarter after six
years of losses. In the first half, net profit reached CLP4.73
billion ($1=CLP613.20), compared with a CLP5.11 billion loss in
the same period in 2003.

Fitch improved the ratings on Madeco's inflation-indexed, no.
222 A-series bonds maturing in April of 2011, which amount to
some $47.15 million. It kept its "first-class level four, stable
outlook" rating for Madeco shares, says Dow Jones.

Madeco S.A. (NYSE ticker: MAD) is a leading Latin American
manufacturer of finished and semi-finished non-ferrous products
based on copper, copper alloys and aluminum. Madeco is also a
leading manufacturer of flexible packaging products for use in
the packaging of mass consumer products such as food, snacks and
cosmetics.

CONTACT: Ms. Marisol Fernandez
         Investor Relations
         Madeco S.A.
         Voice: (56 2) 520-1380
         Fax: (56 2) 520-1545
         E-mail: mfl@madeco.cl
         Web Site: www.madeco.cl



===============
D O M I N I C A
===============

* DOMINICA: Fiscal Programs on Track, Says IMF
----------------------------------------------
The following statement was issued in Dominica by an
International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission staff on September 17,
2004:

"An IMF staff team visited Roseau, Dominica, during September
14-17, 2004 to discuss with the authorities developments under
their economic program and to lay the groundwork for a mission,
planned for October, that will conduct the third review under
the Poverty Reduction and Growth facility (PRGF) arrangement.
This week's discussions focused on recent economic developments,
fiscal policy, and the government's structural reform agenda.

"The mission welcomed the continuing strong implementation of
the government's IMF-supported program, which has already begun
to yield favorable results in the form of stronger economic
growth and lower inflation. Preliminary data indicate that the
fiscal program remains on track, and progress is being made in
the area of tax reform.

"The mission looks forward to continued close dialogue with the
authorities. The October mission will conduct discussions with a
view to consideration by the IMF's Executive Board of the third
review toward the end of the year. Completion of the review by
the Board will make available the next disbursement to Dominica
under the program of about SDR 0.6 million or US$0.9 million."

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

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

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



=============
J A M A I C A
=============

C&WJ: Appoints Jacqueline Holding as New President
--------------------------------------------------
Cable & Wireless, the leading provider of communications in the
Caribbean, has appointed Jacqueline Holding as the new president
of Cable & Wireless Jamaica. She will succeed Gary Barrow
effective October 1, 2004.

As the chief executive, Holding will lead continuing programs to
introduce new leading-edge products and technologies and further
improve overall customer service levels throughout the country.
She will spearhead the company's mission of providing world-
class telecommunications services and products to the people of
Jamaica. Holding will also personally oversee the company's
efforts to assist those affected by Hurricane Ivan and work with
local authorities to ensure that Cable & Wireless is doing
everything possible to help restore normalcy to the country.

Holding, who joined Cable & Wireless in 1990, is a seasoned
telecommunications executive with international and financial
expertise and a proven management track record. Previously, she
served as CEO of Cable & Wireless Seychelles. In this role, she
was responsible for managing a newly competitive market and
demonstrated an ability to maximize customer satisfaction by
quickly gaining a deep understanding of the market.

As a result of her proven ability she was named regional CEO of
the entire Middle East and Islands region. As such, she oversaw
Cable & Wireless investments in a region consisting of 16
subsidiary and associate businesses and led her team to
consistently exceed financial and operational targets.
Jacqueline has also held senior roles in the Cable & Wireless
businesses in the Maldives, Japan and Russia, further
demonstrating her ability to quickly adapt to new and diverse
markets.

"Jacqueline's knowledge of the industry, her leadership skills
and operational capabilities will complement the talents of the
Cable & Wireless team and its commitment to Jamaica and the
Caribbean region," said Len de Barros, Chief Operations Officer,
Cable & Wireless Caribbean. "In addition, Jacqueline's
experience in partnering with customers will bring immense value
as we continue to work to meet their changing needs in this
growing market. Without a doubt, she is the right person to lead
Cable & Wireless Jamaica at this time."

"I am honored and excited to be joining the Cable &Wireless team
in Jamaica," said Jacqueline Holding. "My primary goal is to
reinforce Cable & Wireless' position as the telecommunications
company of choice for all Jamaicans. So, I look forward to
partnering with our customers and building upon our recent
improvements to the infrastructure and service organization to
make that a reality."

About Cable & Wireless

Cable & Wireless is one of the world's leading international
communications companies. It provides voice, data and IP
(Internet Protocol) services to business and residential
customers, as well as services to other telecoms carriers,
mobile operators and providers of content, applications and
internet services.

Cable & Wireless' principal operations are in the United
Kingdom, continental Europe, Asia, the Caribbean, Panama and the
Middle East.



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

DENNY'S: Subsidiaries Close New Credit Facilities
-------------------------------------------------
Denny's Corporation (OTCBB: DNYY) announced that on Tuesday, its
operating subsidiaries, Denny's Inc. and Denny's Realty, Inc.,
entered into new senior secured credit facilities in an
aggregate principal amount of $420 million. The new facilities
consist of a $75 million, four-year revolving credit facility, a
$225 million, five-year first lien term loan and a $120 million,
six-year second lien term loan. Banc of America Securities LLC
and UBS Securities LLC acted as joint lead arrangers for the new
facilities.

The new credit facilities have been or will be used to refinance
the company's existing credit facility and a portion of its
existing senior notes and will be available for working capital,
capital expenditures and other general corporate purposes. The
new credit facilities are guaranteed by Denny's Corporation and
its other subsidiaries and are secured by substantially all of
the assets of Denny's and its subsidiaries.

Denny's also announced, with respect to its previously announced
tender offers and consent solicitations for the 12 3/4% Senior
Notes due 2007 issued by Denny's Corporation and its wholly-
owned subsidiary Denny's Holdings, Inc., and the 11 1/4% Senior
Notes due 2008 issued by Denny's Corporation, that it, in each
case, received the requisite consents for the proposed
amendments to the indentures governing such senior notes and has
entered into supplemental indentures with the trustee pursuant
thereto.

Denny's also accepted on Tuesday for payment and paid for
$75,125,000 (out of $111,669,000 outstanding) aggregate
principal amount of the 12 3/4% Senior Notes tendered by holders
(and for which consents were received) prior to 5:00 p.m. on the
September 20, 2004 consent date, for total consideration of
approximately $84,652,000 (including tender consideration of
106.375% and a consent fee of 0.25% of the principal amount,
plus accured and unpaid interest to date). In accordance with
the terms of the tender offer and consent solicitation for the
12 3/4% Senior Notes, the proposed amendments to the underlying
indenture, which eliminate substantially all of the restrictive
covenants and related events of default in the indenture and
reduce from 30 days to 3 days the minimum notice period for the
redemption of the notes, at the same time became operative and
binding on the remaining holders of the 12 3/4% Senior Notes.

As contemplated by the tender offer and consent solicitation for
the 12 3/4% Senior Notes, Denny's Corporation and Denny's
Holdings also issued a notice of redemption with respect to the
remaining 12 3/4% Senior Notes as of a redemption date of
October 5, 2004. In accordance with the indenture governing the
12 3/4% Senior Notes, the redemption price on that date will be
106.375% of the principal amount of such notes, plus accrued and
unpaid interest to the redemption date. The previously announced
expiration time for the tender offer for the 12 3/4% Senior
Notes, 12:00 midnight on October 4, 2004, continues in effect.
Under the terms of the tender offer, the tender consideration
for tenders of notes received after 5:00 p.m. on September 20,
2004 will be 106.375% of the principal amount of such notes,
plus accrued and unpaid interest to the date the notes are
accepted for payment. The consent fee provided to holders who
tendered their 12 3/4% Senior Notes (and delivered their
consents) prior to 5:00 p.m., September 20, 2004, is no longer
available.

With respect to the tender offer and consent solicitation for
the 11 1/4% Senior Notes, $285,169,908 (out of $343,919,624
outstanding) aggregate principal amount of such notes were
tendered (and consents received) prior to 5:00 p.m. on the
September 20, 2004 consent date, although no 11 1/4% Senior
Notes have yet been accepted for payment. Although the
supplemental indenture for the 11 1/4% Senior Notes has been
executed by Denny's and the trustee, the proposed amendments to
the indenture contained therein, which eliminate substantially
all of the restrictive covenants and related events of default
in the indenture and reduce from 30 days to 3 days the minimum
notice period for the redemption of the 11 1/4% Senior Notes,
will only become operative and binding on the holders of the 11
1/4% Senior Notes upon (1) completion of an additional financing
as described in the Offer to Purchase and Consent Solicitation
Statement for the 11 1/4% Senior Notes, and (2) Denny's
acceptance of 11 1/4% Senior Notes tendered pursuant to the
tender offer. Denny's does not expect to accept 11-1/4% Senior
Notes tendered pursuant to the tender offer, if at all, until
promptly following the expiration time for the tender offer,
currently set as 12:00 midnight on October 4, 2004.

Denny's is America's largest full-service family restaurant
chain, consisting of 553 company-owned units and 1,059
franchised and licensed units, with operations in the United
States, Canada, Costa Rica, Guam, Mexico, New Zealand and Puerto
Rico.

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


EMPRESAS ICA: Monex Increases 2004 Target Price
-----------------------------------------------
Expectations of an improved financial result for Mexico's
Empresas ICA (BMV, NYSE: ICA) this year prompted local financial
group Monex to increase its price target for the engineering and
construction company.

According to Business News Americas, Monex has increased its
2004 price target for ICA to MXN4.20 (US$0.37) on Mexico City's
bourse (BMV) from its previous MXN3.44 forecast.

Monex projects ICA net sales will increase 27% to MXN12.650
billion this year compared to last year's, while Ebitda will
grow 629% to MXN313 million and the net loss will shrink 93% to
MXN76 million.

By comparison, Monex projected ICA would report MXN12.458
billion in net sales, MXN1.426 billion in Ebitda and a MXN76.2-
million loss this year in its previous report, published August
13.

Apart from these projections, ICA also continues to win projects
and its subsidiaries have increased project backlogs.

Monex maintained its "buy" recommendation for ICA.

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

CONTACT: Empresas ICA Sociedad Controladora SA de CV
         Mineria No. 145, Edificio Central
         11800 Mexico, D.F.,
         Phone: (212) 688-6840
         e-mail: inversionistas@ica.com.mx
         Web Site: http://www.ica.com.mx/


GRUPO POSADAS: Fitch Rates Proposed $150M Issuance 'BB-'
--------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has assigned a rating of 'BB-' to Grupo Posadas,
S.A. de C.V.'s (POSADAS.MX) senior unsecured debt, including the
proposed offering of US$150 million unsecured notes due 2011.
Offering proceeds are likely to be used to refinance existing
indebtedness. The Rating Outlook is Stable.

The ratings reflect Posadas' solid business position, strong
brand name, and multiple hotel formats. The company's presence
in all major urban and resort locations in Mexico, consistent
product offerings, and quality brand image have resulted in
occupancy levels above the industry average in Mexico. The
company's use of multiple hotel formats allows it to target both
domestic and international business travelers, as well as
tourists. Posadas' operations are primarily located in Mexico,
which limits diversification; approximately one-fifth of room
capacity is located outside Mexico.

In recent years, Posadas' business strategy has evolved toward
managing and leasing, as opposed to owning new hotel properties.
This strategy has allowed the company to lower capital
investment and related borrowing while maintaining room growth;
the average capital expenditure per additional room has lowered
to US$11,600 at year-end 2003 from more than US$100,000 in 2000.
The company's expansion plans over the next two years include
opening 28 hotels, 23 in Mexico and five in Brazil, or
approximately 4,260 rooms. These properties will be mostly under
the managed-hotel format, which will lower Posadas' cash
investment to approximately US$21 million versus US$346 million
if it were to own the properties.

Posadas has ably managed its cost structure and developed
alternative revenue sources, despite the weak economic
conditions that ensued following Sept. 11, 2001. Expense per
available room lowered to US$10.50 in 2003 from US$13.40 in
2000, in addition, Posadas increased the diversification of its
revenue base through the development of the Vacation Club
concept, selling vacation ownership plans. This business now
accounts for approximately 17% of revenues, compared with 8% in
2000.

The company operates in a competitive and highly fragmented
lodging industry in Mexico. Over the past few years, rates have
been pressured due to growing room capacity in urban locations
and sluggish demand due to a weak Mexican economy. Occupancy
levels/rates in urban locations remain down 2% and 9% in
constant pesos, respectively, versus 2001 levels/rates. The
company is exposed to adverse economic and political events in
Mexico, Argentina, and Brazil that could affect occupancy levels
and rates.

The company has relatively high debt leverage with a ratio of
total debt to EBITDAR of 4.4 times (x) at Dec. 31, 2003, and
adjusted interest coverage, as measured by the ratio of EBITDAR
to financial expense plus rent expense, was 2.6x during 2003.
Credit statistics are solid for the rating category. While
profitability margins have been pressured due to increased
competition, lower occupancy/rates, and less favorable room mix
due to new openings, credit protection measures have been
stable, benefiting from lower interest rates/expense and stable
debt levels. Fitch expects gradual improvement in credit
protection measures as EBITDA gradually recovers to 2000 levels
and debt remains stable.

Grupo Posadas is the largest hotel operator in Mexico with more
than 30 years in business. The company operates 83 hotels and
15,799 rooms across Mexico (79% of total rooms), U.S. (7%),
Brazil (13%), and Argentina (1%). Approximately 72% of rooms are
in urban locations, with the remaining 28% in beach resorts. The
company manages different hotel formats under a combination of
owned, leased, and managed properties, including Fiesta
Americana and Fiesta Inn in Mexico and Caesar Park and Caesar
Business in Argentina and Brazil.


TV AZTECA: To Prepay $300M Notes
--------------------------------
TV Azteca, S.A. de C.V. (NYSE: TZA; BMV: TVAZTCA), one of the
two largest producers of Spanish language television programming
in the world, announced Wednesday that it will prepay its US$300
million 101/2% note due February 15, 2007, during the fourth
quarter of 2004. The note is callable at 101.75 up to February
15, 2005.

The resources for the note's prepayment will come from the
execution of a committed secured credit line denominated in
pesos from Banco Inbursa, S.A. for the equivalent of US$300
million at the current exchange rate, which represents extended
maturity and an anticipated improvement in financial cost
conditions for TV Azteca compared with the note.

The new credit entails the amortization of the current peso
equivalent of US$80 million, US$100 million and US$120 million
in 2006, 2007 and 2008, respectively. The gradual maturity
further enhances the company's steady debt reduction efforts,
which progressively lowers financial cost and thus improves free
cash generation.

The peso denominated loan will eliminate the foreign exchange
risk of the US$300 million debt, allowing for greater
predictability of the company's bottom line results going
forward.

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

CONTACT: Investor Relations
         Mr. Bruno Rangel
         Phone: 5255 1720 9167
         E-mail: jrangelk@tvazteca.com.mx

         Mr. Omar Avila
         Phone: 5255 1720 0041
         E-mail: oavila@tvazteca.com.mx

         Media Relations:
         Mr. Tristan Canales
         Phone: 5255 1720 5786
         E-mail: tcanales@tvazteca.com.mx

         Mr. Daniel McCosh
         Phone: 5255 1720 0059
         E-mail: dmccosh@tvazteca.com.mx



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

CERRO NEGRO: Debt Rating Raised to `BB' by Fitch
------------------------------------------------
Fitch upgraded the senior secured debt rating of Venezuelan
heavy oil project Cerro Negro Finance, Ltd. to 'BB' from 'B+'
and removed the Rating Watch Positive status.

The rating action applies to the following debt securities
issued by Cerro Negro:

--US$200 million 7.33% bonds due 2009;

--US$350 million 7.90% bonds due 2020; and

--US$50 million 8.03% bonds due 2028.

The rating action follows a recent upgrade of both the
Venezuelan sovereign and Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA).
Venezuela's sovereign rating continues to constrain Cerro
Negro's credit quality.

The project has been operating and producing synthetic crude oil
(SCO) for export since achieving its financial completion date.
As of mid-year 2004, the project continues to operate in line
with budget. Extra heavy oil production has averaged 121,000
barrels per day (bpd). Strong international oil prices have
resulted in higher-than-budgeted cash flows.

Cerro Negro is owned 41.67% by an ExxonMobil subsidiary, 41.67%
by a PDVSA subsidiary, and 16.67% by a Veba Oel subsidiary


HAMACA: Fitch Ups Rating on $1.1B of Loans to `BB' From `B+'
------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch upgraded the senior secured debt rating of Venezuelan
heavy oil project Petrolera Hamaca, S.A. to 'BB' from 'B+' and
removed the Rating Watch Positive status.

The rating action applies to total senior project loans of
US$1.1 billion, consisting of:

--US$627.8 million senior agency loan due 2018;

--US$470 million senior bank loan due 2015, borrowed on a
several (not joint) basis 30% by Corpoguanipa, S.A., a
subsidiary of PDVSA, and 70% by Hamaca Holdings L.L.C.

The rating action follows a recent upgrade of both the
Venezuelan sovereign and Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA).
Venezuela's sovereign rating continues to constrain Hamaca's
credit quality.

Hamaca is still finalizing construction with the first oil of
commercial SCO planned for mid-October, followed by final
completion testing to be scheduled in the first half of 2005.
Until financial completion is achieved (no later than October
2005), Hamaca debt-holders will benefit from a completion
guarantee with recourse to the sponsors.

As of mid-year 2004, the project continues to operate in line
with budget. Extra heavy oil production has averaged
approximately 108,000 barrels per day (bpd). Strong
international oil prices have resulted in higher-than-budgeted
cash flows.

Hamaca is owned 40% by a ConocoPhillips subsidiary, 30% by a
ChevronTexaco subsidiary, and 30% by a PDVSA subsidiary.


PDVSA FINANCE: Upgrades Rating To 'BB' From 'BB-'
-------------------------------------------------
In light of Fitch's recent upgrade of both Venezuela and
Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) to 'B+', Fitch has upgraded
the PDVSA Finance Ltd (PDVSA Finance) oil export receivables
securitization to 'BB' from 'BB-'. The sovereign upgrade
reflects increasing political and economic stability, which
positively affects both PDVSA and PDVSA Finance. The rating of
the transaction remains tempered by linkage to the sovereign and
the structural changes made during the recent tender of over 95%
of the outstanding PDVSA Finance notes.

Approximately US$2.5 billion of the outstanding $2.6 billion in
structured notes was tendered this past July. In addition, at
the same time, several amendments were made to the original
PDVSA Finance structure. The most significant structural change
was the removal of two of the largest customers, Citgo Petroleum
Corporation (Citgo) and Hovensa LLC (Hovensa). The other
amendments change the covenants and events of default to reflect
the removal of collateral and provide PDVSA with additional
flexibility regarding financial reporting.

In July, Fitch reviewed these amendments and analyzed the
potential effects they could have on the transaction. There were
some concerns associated with the removal of the collateral;
however, the overall reduction in debt alleviated these issues.
Coverages are expected to remain in excess of 90 times (x) debt
service throughout the life of the deal. With the exception of
Conoco Phillips, Lyondell Citgo, and a few others, the remaining
customers are now considered rather small, dispersed, and
potentially volatile contributors to collections. It can no
longer be said that PDVSA Finance, on behalf of investors,
controls all of the key Venezuela oil exports.

Strengths of the transaction that remain unchanged involve the
commercial relationships between PDVSA and several of the
remaining designated customers, the notice and acknowledgements,
which obligate all remaining designated customers to make
payments into the collection account, the company's dependency
on the U.S. for a large part of its crude oil and refined
product exports, and a variety of covenants and triggers,
including a DSCR trigger of 4.0x and a three-month principal and
interest reserve.

As in all future flow export receivables securitizations, this
transaction is exposed to product and payment diversion by the
company or the sovereign. Fitch believes this risk increased
when the Venezuelan government tightened its control over the
oil company after the oil strikes in early 2003 and again with
the removal of designated customers Citgo and Hovensa in July.
With that said, the sovereign and corporate upgrades reflect an
increase in stability in the country that has a direct positive
effect on the PDVSA Finance structure. The weakened structure
post-tender remains the constraining factor to the 'BB' rating.


PETROZUATA: Fitch Raises Debt Rating to `BB' From `B+'
------------------------------------------------------
Fitch upgraded the senior secured debt rating of Venezuelan
heavy oil project Petrozuata Finance Inc. (Petrozuata) to 'BB'
from 'B+' and removed the Rating Watch Positive status.

The rating action applies to the following debt securities
issued by Petrozuata:

--US$300 million 7.63% series A bonds due 2009;

--US$625 million 8.22% series B bonds due 2017; and

--US$75 million 8.37% series C bonds due 2022.

The rating action follows a recent upgrade of both the
Venezuelan sovereign and Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA).
Venezuela's sovereign rating continues to constrain Petrozuata's
credit quality.

The project has been operating and producing synthetic crude oil
(SCO) for export since achieving its financial completion date.
As of mid-year 2004, the project continues to operate in line
with budget. Extra heavy oil production has averaged
approximately 124,000 barrels per day (bpd). Strong
international oil prices have resulted in higher-than-budgeted
cash flows.

Petrozuata is owned 50.1% by a ConocoPhillips subsidiary and
49.9% by a PDVSA subsidiary.


SINCOR: Fitch Ups Debt Rating Following Sovereign Upgrade
---------------------------------------------------------
Following Fitch Ratings' recent upgrade of both the Venezuelan
sovereign and Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA) to 'B+' from
'B-', Fitch has upgraded the senior secured debt rating of
Venezuelan heavy oil Sincrudos de Oriente Sincor, C.A. (Sincor)
to 'BB' from 'B+' and removed the Rating Watch Positive status.

The rating action applies to the US$1.2 billion senior bank
loans borrowed by the sponsors of Sincor Finance Inc.

Venezuela's sovereign rating continues to constrain the credit
quality of Sincor.

The project has been operating and producing synthetic crude oil
(SCO) for export since achieving its financial completion date.
As of mid-year 2004, the project continues to operate in line
with budget. Extra heavy oil production has averaged 201,000
barrels per day (bpd). Strong international oil prices have
resulted in higher-than-budgeted cash flows.

Sincor is owned 47% by a TOTAL subsidiary, 38% by a PDVSA
subsidiary, and 15% by a Statoil subsidiary.


* Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela Announces Invitation
-------------------------------------------------------
The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela ("Venezuela" or the
"Republic") announced Wednesday an invitation (the "Invitation")
to holders of selected Venezuelan Brady bonds to offer to
exchange those bonds for U.S. dollar-denominated, SEC-registered
Global Bonds due 2014 (the "Global Bonds") to be issued by the
Republic. In addition, the transaction contemplates an offering
of Global Bonds for cash (the "Cash Offering" and, together with
the Invitation, the "Global Bond Offering").

Pursuant to the Invitation, holders can offer to exchange Front-
Loaded Interest Reduction Bonds Due 2007, USD Series A and B;
Front-Loaded Interest Reduction Bonds Due 2007, Pounds Sterling;
Front-Loaded Interest Reduction Bonds Due 2007, Swiss Franc; and
Front-Loaded Interest Reduction Bonds Due 2007, Deutsche Mark
(collectively, the "FLIRBs"); as well as Debt Conversion Bonds
Due 2007, USD Series DL; Debt Conversion Bonds Due 2008, USD
Series IL; Debt Conversion Bonds Due 2007, Deutsche Mark; and
Debt Conversion Bonds Due 2007, Pounds Sterling (collectively,
the "DCBs" and, together with the FLIRBS, the "Old Bonds") for
Global Bonds.

The Global Bonds issued pursuant to the Cash Offering will be
priced at a yield to maturity equal to (a) the yield to maturity
of the United States Treasury 4.25% Bond due August 15, 2014
(the "UST Benchmark Rate") on the date the results of the
Invitation are announced (expected to be September 29, 2004)
plus (b) a spread selected by the Republic in its sole
discretion and announced at approximately 4:00 p.m., New York
City time, on the last trading day before the date of expiration
of the Invitation.

For purposes of the Invitation, the value of the Global Bonds to
be exchanged will be determined through a modified Dutch
auction, in which (a) each bondholder submitting an offer to
exchange FLIRBs will submit a spread over the UST Benchmark Rate
that such bondholder would be willing to accept as the clearing
spread for Global Bonds issued in exchange for such bondholder's
FLIRBs and (b) each bondholder submitting an offer to exchange
DCBs will submit a spread over the UST Benchmark Rate that such
bondholder would be willing to accept as the clearing spread for
Global Bonds issued in exchange for such bondholder's DCBs. The
Republic will select, in its sole discretion, (i) a clearing
spread for the FLIRBs, and (ii) a clearing spread for the DCBs,
each of which will be used to calculate the Global Bond Exchange
Price and the Exchange Ratio. The Republic will also select the
principal amount of FLIRBs and the principal amount of DCBs it
will acquire in exchange for Global Bonds pursuant to the
Invitation. The Republic may, in its sole discretion, select one
or more series of Old Bonds in which exchange offers may be
prorated and/or decline to accept any offers in respect of any
series of Old Bonds for which exchange offers have been
submitted. The Republic may also decline to issue any Global
Bonds in the Cash Offering.

The Invitation and withdrawal rights are scheduled to expire at
4:00 p.m., New York City time, on September 28, 2004, unless
extended or earlier terminated. Results of the Global Bond
Offering will be announced by press release to Bloomberg News
and the Reuters News Service the following day, and settlement
will occur seven business days thereafter.

Copies of the Prospectus Supplement describing the Global Bond
Offering may be obtained from Georgeson Shareholder, the
Information Agent, by telephone at 212-440-9800 or through its
website at http://www.georgesonshareholder.com/venezuela.

Barclays Capital, Inc. and Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith
Incorporated are acting as joint Dealer Managers for the
Invitation.


* Venezuela's Global Bonds Rated 'B+'; Stable Outlook -- Fitch
--------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings, the international rating agency, has assigned the
upcoming dollar-denominated bond issue maturing in 2014 of the
Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela an expected long-term foreign
currency rating of 'B+'. The size of the issue may be up to
US$1.5 billion. The Rating Outlook is Stable.

Venezuela's creditworthiness has improved following the
resolution of uncertainty related to the August presidential
recall referendum and on higher international liquidity.
International reserves now stand at US$21.3 billion, well in
excess of next year's estimated $5.4 billion in interest and
principal obligations on the central government's external debt.
Longer term, credit risk remains quite high because of the
volatility in government revenues, half of which are directly
related to oil. The structural fiscal balance has clearly
deteriorated this year: rapid increases in public revenues -
most of them either directly or indirectly oil-related - have
been matched by similar boosts in spending, preventing the
government from erasing its deficit during this bonanza year.
Last year's central government deficit was over 4% of GDP, and
Fitch estimates that this year's figure will be between 3% and
6% of GDP.

As oil prices decline in the future, it will likely be
politically difficult to reduce government expenditures
commensurately, so the nominal deficit will likely increase
unless there is a large devaluation. Faced with rising deficits
in the past, governments have chosen to close them through
devaluations, which have the effect of increasing the local
currency value of dollar oil revenues. Such moves raise the
value of public debt relative to GDP and have political costs
because they reduce purchasing power. But, Fitch believes that
policymakers would again choose to devalue in the event of
stress from lower oil prices or wide misalignment of the
official and parallel exchange rates, although this might come
after significant depletion in international reserves.

Compared with other 'B' range sovereigns, Venezuela stands out
for its very low net public external debt (7% of broad exports
at year-end 2003) position and its strong external liquidity
(liquid external assets cover 316% of the stock of short-term
debt and next year's estimated debt service). Public debt,
estimated at 41% of GDP, is also below average and contracted at
relatively low interest rates, keeping current financing
requirements lower than most peers. Strong international
liquidity and financing requirements below many similarly rated
sovereigns should allow the government to weather considerable
revenue shocks over the next two years (as it did over the past
two). However, in the event of a sustained decline in oil prices
or a disorderly easing of capital and import controls,
international reserves would come under pressure, diminishing
these key external strengths. Also, over the longer term, debt
dynamics could deteriorate because the significant structural
deficit and meager prospects for sustainable economic growth may
prevent revenues from keeping pace with expenditures.

CONTACT:  Morgan C. Harting +1-212-908-0820, New York
          Therese Feng +1-212-908-0230, New York

MEDIA RELATIONS: Kenneth Reed +1-212-908-0540, New York


* S&P Assigns 'B' to Venezuela's Planned $1.5B Bond Due 2014
------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned its 'B' long-term
foreign currency rating to the Bolivarian Republic of
Venezuela's planned $1.5 billion bond due in 2014. At the same
time, Standard & Poor's affirmed its 'B' long- and short-term
foreign and local currency sovereign credit ratings on the
republic. The outlook is stable.

According to Standard & Poor's Ratings Services credit analyst
Richard Francis, the ratings reflect the balance between
increased financial flexibility due to high oil revenue and the
high fiscal deficits, political polarization, and diminished
economic prospects that continue to constrain Venezuela's
creditworthiness.

"Following the victory of President Hugo Chavez in the Aug. 15,
2004, referendum on his presidency and the independent
verification by international observers (including an audit of
the results), political instability is likely to diminish-
although the country remains highly polarized," Mr. Francis
said. "Furthermore, Venezuela's external indicators have
improved substantially over the past two years," he noted.

Mr. Francis explained that international reserves increased to
over US$21 billion as of Sept. 21, 2004, and are expected to
stay at or above this level as long as oil prices remain high.
This can be attributed to capital controls put in place in early
2003 and higher foreign exchange earnings from oil exports. As a
result, the public sector is expected to move from a net debtor
to a net creditor position by year-end 2004. Venezuela's
external liquidity indicators have improved substantially over
the past two years, and its net private sector debt-creditor
position is also expected to show further improvement.

Political polarization, weak institutions with limited checks
and balances, a large fiscal deficit despite high oil prices,
and structural economic deficiencies resulting from the
continued high and growing dependence upon oil continue to
constrain the ratings on Venezuela.

"Further improvements in creditworthiness would largely depend
upon enhanced fiscal prudence and improved prospects for the oil
sector," noted Mr. Francis. The ratings could come under renewed
pressure if oil revenue plummets or increased social unrest
leads to further economic and/or political turmoil, resulting in
falling external liquidity. Conversely, greater fiscal
discipline, coupled with improved prospects for the oil sector,
could lead to an improvement in creditworthiness," he concluded.




                            ***********


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

Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America is a daily newsletter
co-published by Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless
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Copyright 2004.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

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