TCRLA_Public/040927.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, September 27, 2004, Vol. 5, Issue 191

                            Headlines


A R G E N T I N A

ASSI S.A.: Court Authorizes Reorganization
EDEERSA: Entre Rios' Stake Sale Attracts Six Potential Buyers
GRUPO LIDER ASESORES: Trustee Winding Up Claims Review
GRUPPO FILO: Bankruptcy Initiated by Court Order
HOSPITAL PRIVADO: Court Grants Reorganization Plea

I.S. COMUNICACIONES: Court Finds Liquidation Necessary
LAYPA S.A.: Claims Verification Deadline Approaches
LERWAI S.R.L.: Required Reports Submission Set
MILLICOM INTERNATIONAL: Argentina's SCP Buys Local Joint Venture
POWER PRINT: Creditor Claims Validation to be Finalize

SALPE S.R.L.: Claims Verification Ends Tomorrow
SUPERCAUCH S.R.L.: Court Changes Bankruptcy to Reorganization


B E R M U D A

FOSTER WHEELER: Reviews Details of Recently Concluded Debt Offer


B R A Z I L

ACESITA: Forecasts Production Capacity in 2 Years
BRASKEM: Prices Public Equity Offering  
* BRAZIL: IMF Completes $40B Stand-By Arrangement Review


C O L O M B I A

VALORES BAVARIA: To Participate in Chilevision Tender


E C U A D O R

PETROECUADOR: Oil Output Drops After Coffee Growers Seized Wells


E L   S A L V A D O R

TESAL: Fitch Leaves Rating Unchanged


M E X I C O

GRUPO SIMEC: Completes Grupo Sidenor Purchase


V E N E Z U E L A

BANCO DE VENEZUELA: Fitch Ups Rtgs Following 1Sovereign Upgrade
BANCO DEL CARIBE: Fitch Upgrades Ratings
BANCO EXTERIOR: Ratings Climb Following Sovereign Upgrade
BANCO MERCANTIL: Fitch Ups LTFC Rating to `B+'
BANCO OCCIDENTAL: LTFC Rating Upgraded to `B-` From `CCC+'

BANCO PROVINCIAL: Fitch Ups Ratings Following Sovereign Upgrade
BANCO VENEZOLANO: Sovereign Upgrade Boosts Company Ratings
BANESCO BANCO UNIVERSAL: Fitch Ups LTFC Rating to B- From CCC+
SIDOR: Welcomes New Partners From Stock Sale


     - - - - - - - - - -                            


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

ASSI S.A.: Court Authorizes Reorganization
------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires-based Assi S.A. will begin reorganization following
the approval of its petition by court no. 6 of Buenos Aires'
civil and commercial tribunal. The court-approved process will
allow the company to negotiate a settlement with its creditors
in order to avoid a straight liquidation.

Accounting firm "Lopez Santiso, Villar & Asociados" will oversee
the reorganization proceedings as the court-appointed trustee.
The firm will verify creditors' claims until October 26, 2004.
The validated claims will be presented in court as individual
reports on December 7, 2004.

The trustee is also required by the court to submit a general
report essentially auditing the company's accounting and
business records as well as summarizing important events
pertaining to the reorganization. This report will be presented
in court on February 18, 2005.

The Informative Assembly, the final stage of a reorganization
where the settlement proposal is presented to the company's
creditors for approval, is scheduled on August 5, 2005.

CONTACT: Assi S.A.
         Tucuman 540
         Buenos Aires

         "Lopez Santiso, Villar & Asociados" - Trustee
         Florida 234
         Buenos Aires


EDEERSA: Entre Rios' Stake Sale Attracts Six Potential Buyers
-------------------------------------------------------------
Argentine province Entre Rios' sale of 51% stake in power
distributor Edeersa has attracted the interest of at least six
groups, Business News Americas reports, citing an Edeersa
executive. Edeersa president Carlos Molina revealed that US-
based CMS Energy, GPU Argentina Holdings, Argentina's Dolphin
Group, local construction group Roggio, construction firm
Cartelone, and law firm Conte-Gran Donsel Jones have bought
bidding rules.

According to a source close to the bidding process, Conte-Gran
Donsel Jones may have bought the bidding rules on behalf of
another company. But the source did not know which company.

The number of potential bidders is expected to grow. Bidding
rules are available until October 25, on which day technical and
economic bids must be received. Technical bids will be opened
that day and economic bids on November 18. A winner will be
announced on December 15.

Edeersa owes US$88 million in unpaid debt to British fund
Ashmore. A key aspect of the tender is that the government wants
to ensure that the concessionaire does not pass on the debt to
consumers through higher tariffs.

Ashmore has indicated it is interested in participating in the
tender but has not yet bought bidding rules.

"Ashmore has shown its interest in participating, and as they
are the creditors they have an important advantage," the source
said.

But the government is not keen on Ashmore or any other
speculative financial fund to gain control of Edeersa because
the government wants the concessionaire to have a medium- to
long-term operating plan for Edeersa, rather than just a
financial interest.

To that end, the government has introduced two bills to the
legislature: one to limit the participation of speculative funds
and the other to establish a legal framework to impose
conditions on concessions for public utilities.

The main conditions that the government hopes will discourage
speculative funds and attract potential operators are
establishing a five-year minimum concession and including a
clause that would terminate the concession if debts are not paid
within 250 days of the concession being awarded.

The winning bidder must present a US$20 million guarantee, which
would allow Edeersa to begin negotiations with Ashmore.


GRUPO LIDER ASESORES: Trustee Winding Up Claims Review
------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of bankrupt Grupo Lider Asesores de Seguros S.A. are
required to present proofs of their claims tomorrow, September
28, 2004 to court-appointed trustee Pedro Mazolla for
verification. The verified claims will be used as basis for the
final list of creditors eligible to receive post-liquidation
payments.

Sancor Cooperativa de Seguros Ltda filed the bankruptcy motion
after the Company defaulted on a US$45,000 debt Payment. Judge
Gonzalez of Buenos Aires court no. 8 handles this case with the
assistance of Dr. Lezaeta, clerk no. 15.

CONTACT: Grupo Lider Asesores de Seguros SA
         Avenida Leandro N. Alem 690
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Pedro Mazolla, Trustee
         Cramer 1759
         Buenos Aires


GRUPPO FILO: Bankruptcy Initiated by Court Order
------------------------------------------------
Gruppo Filo S.R.L. enters bankruptcy protection after court no.
13 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal, with the
assistance of clerk no. 25, ordered the company's liquidation.
The order effectively transfers control of the company's assets
to the court-appointed trustee who will supervise the
liquidation proceedings.

Infobae reports that the court selected Mr. Alberto Enrique
Lopez as trustee. He will be verifying creditors' proofs of
claims until the end of the verification phase on November 3,
2004.

CONTACT: Mr. Alberto Enrique Lopez, Trustee
         Bernardo de Irigoyen 330
         Buenos Aires


HOSPITAL PRIVADO: Court Grants Reorganization Plea
--------------------------------------------------
Hospital Privado Modelo S.A. successfully petitioned for
reorganization after court no. 6 of Buenos Aires' civil and
commercial tribunal issued a resolution opening the company's
insolvency proceedings. Under insolvency protection, 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 "Lopez Santiso, Villar & Asociados," a
local accounting firm, will serve as trustee during the course
of the reorganization. The firm will be accepting creditors'
proofs of claims for verification until October 26, 2004.

After the verification deadline, the trustee will prepare the
individual reports and submit it in court on December 7, 2004.
The firm will also present a general report for court review on
February 18, 2005.

The company will endorse the settlement proposal, drafted from
the submitted claims, for approval by the creditors during the
informative assembly scheduled on August 5, 2005.

CONTACT: Hospital Privado Modelo S.A.
         Tucuman 540
         Buenos Aires

         "Lopez Santiso, Villar & Asociados" - Trustee
         Florida 234
         Buenos Aires


I.S. COMUNICACIONES: Court Finds Liquidation Necessary
-------------------------------------------------------
Court no. 6 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
ordered the liquidation of I.S. Comunicaciones S.R.L. after the
company defaulted on its debt obligations, Infobae reveals. The
liquidation pronouncement places the company's assets under the
control of Mr. Luis Benedossi, the court-appointed trustee.

Mr. Benedossi will verify creditors' proofs of claims until
November 10, 2004. The verified claims will serve as basis for
the individual reports to be submitted in court on December 23,
2004. The submission of the general report follows on March 7
next year.

Clerk no. 11 assists the court on this case, which will end with
the disposal of the company's assets in favor of its creditors.

CONTACT: Mr. Luis Benedossi, Trustee
         Bernardo de Irigoyen 330
         Buenos Aires


LAYPA S.A.: Claims Verification Deadline Approaches
---------------------------------------------------
Mar del Plata-based Laypa S.A. reaches an important part in its
reorganization proceedings with the closing of the verification
period for creditors' claims tomorrow, September 28, 2004.
Creditors are required to submit proofs of their claims to
trustee Rodolfo Crespi Damaso before the said deadline in order
to qualify under the company's settlement plan.

Court no. 11 of the city's civil and commercial tribunal handles
this case. Clerk no. 11 assists the court in the proceedings.

CONTACT: Laypa S.A.
         Chacabuco 5176
         Mar del Plata

         Mr. Rodolfo Crespi Damaso, Trustee
         Corrientes 3028
         Mar del Plata


LERWAI S.R.L.: Required Reports Submission Set
----------------------------------------------
Ms. Andrea Rut Cetlinas, the trustee assigned to supervise the
Lerwai S.R.L. reorganization, will submit the validated
individual claims for court approval on February 7, 2005. These
reports explain the basis for the accepted and rejected claims.
The trustee will also submit a general report on March 21, 2005.

Infobae reports that court no. 2 of Buenos Aires' civil and
commercial tribunal has jurisdiction over this bankruptcy case.
The city's clerk no. 4 assists the court in the proceedings.

CONTACT: Lerwai S.R.L.
         Avda Callao 322
         Buenos Aires

         Ms. Andrea Rut Cetlinas, Trustee
         Lavalle 1678
         Buenos Aires


MILLICOM INTERNATIONAL: Argentina's SCP Buys Local Joint Venture
----------------------------------------------------------------
Millicom International Cellular S.A. (NasdaqNM: MICC)
(Stockholmsborsen: MIC) said it has sold its 65% holding in
Millicom Argentina S.A., the high speed wireless data joint
venture, to the local partner in Argentina, after having
obtained regulatory approval. Argentine conglomerate Sociedad
Comercial del Plata (SCP) obtained authorization from the
federal Communications Secretariat to purchase Millicom
Argentina.

One of SCP's units, Del Plata Propiedades SA, increased its
stake in Millicom Argentina from 35% to 100%. Del Plata paid
US$2 million for about 4 million shares of the technology
company. The seller was STAMPS Corporation NV, a subsidiary of
Millicom Latin America BV, which is in turn a holding of
Luxembourg-based global wireless company Millicom International
Cellular SA (MICC). SCP said Millicom Argentina will continue
receiving technological support from Millicom Latin America BV.

Millicom International Cellular S.A. is a global
telecommunications investor with cellular operations in Asia,
Latin America and Africa. It currently has a total of 16
cellular operations and licenses in 15 countries. The Group's
cellular operations have a combined population under license of
approximately 387 million people.

CONTACTS:  Mr. Marc Beuls
           President and Chief Executive Officer
           Millicom International Cellular S.A.
           Luxembourg
           Phone: +352 27 759 327

           Mr. Andrew Best
           Investor Relations
           Phone: +44 20 7321 5022

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


POWER PRINT: Creditor Claims Validation to be Finalize
------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Bernardo Mazer, the trustee supervising the Power Print S.A.
bankruptcy case, will verify creditors' proofs of claims until
tomorrow, September 28, 2004. Failure to comply with the
verification deadline will mean disqualification from the
official list of creditors eligible to receive post liquidation
payments.

Court no. 20 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal,
assisted by clerk no. 40, has jurisdiction over this bankruptcy
case.

CONTACT: Power Print S.A.
         Salta 596
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Bernardo Mazer, Trustee
         Avenida Corrientes 4434
         Buenos Aires


SALPE S.R.L.: Claims Verification Ends Tomorrow
-----------------------------------------------
Court-appointed trustee Alicia Zurron will verify creditors'
claims for the Salpe S.R.L. reorganization case until tomorrow,
September 28, 2004. The closing of the verification period paves
the way towards finalizing the list of creditors to be covered
by the Company's settlement plan. The plan will be presented to
the company's creditors for approval on June 22 next year.

Court no. 24 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal has
jurisdiction over this case.

CONTACT: Salpe S.R.L.
         Pasaje Rivarola 170
         Buenos Aires

         Ms. Alicia Zurron, Trustee
         Avda Corrientes 2963
         Buenos Aires


SUPERCAUCH S.R.L.: Court Changes Bankruptcy to Reorganization
-------------------------------------------------------------
Supercauch S.R.L., which was under bankruptcy protection, will
proceed with reorganization on orders from court no. 6 of Buenos
Aires' civil and commercial tribunal. Infobae reports that the
court assigned Ms. Beatriz Dominguez as trustee. The credit
verification process will be done "por via incidental."

Clerk no. 11 assists the court on this case.

CONTACT: Ms. Beatriz Dominguez, Trustee
         Avda Rivadavia 2151
         Buenos Aires



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FOSTER WHEELER: Reviews Details of Recently Concluded Debt Offer
----------------------------------------------------------------
Foster Wheeler Ltd. (OTCBB: FWLRF) announced Thursday the
following details related to the closing of its successful
equity-for-debt exchange offer. Foster Wheeler currently
anticipates that closing on the exchange of the securities
tendered through 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on September 21,
2004 will occur the afternoon of Friday, September 24, 2004 or
the afternoon of Monday, September 27, 2004. Upon the conclusion
of the closing, the new common and preferred shares and the
Class A Warrants will be distributed to those who tendered their
trust preferred securities prior to 5:00 p.m. on September 21,
2004.

The Class B Warrants will be distributed to the holders of
record of the company's common stock. The record date for the
purpose of determining such holders for such distribution will
be 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on the business day
immediately preceding the closing.

Foster Wheeler intends to distribute the Class B Warrants
promptly following the close of the subsequent offering period.
The subsequent offering period is scheduled to expire at 5:00
p.m., New York City time, on October 20, 2004.

The aggregate amount of all Class B Warrants to be issued to the
foregoing holders will be exercisable for that number of common
shares in the aggregate equal to: 5% of (A) the number of common
shares that will be outstanding immediately following the
consummation of the exchange offer assuming the preferred shares
are converted and including 39,172,675 common shares to be
issued under a restricted stock plan to members of Foster
Wheeler's senior management and directors divided by (B) 1 minus
(10% plus (20% multiplied by the final participation level for
the trust preferred securities)).

Foster Wheeler will pay a soliciting brokers' fee to registered
broker/dealers for soliciting qualifying tenders of trust
preferred securities pursuant to this exchange offer, including
those during the subsequent offering period. This fee will be
equal to 50 cents per trust preferred security (liquidation
amount $25) which the registered broker/dealers tender on behalf
of their customers and which Foster Wheeler accepts for
exchange.

Investors and security holders are urged to read the following
documents filed with the SEC, as amended from time to time,
relating to the exchange offer because they contain important
information: (1) the registration statement on Form S-4 (File
No. 333-107054) and (2) the Schedule TO (File No. 005-79124).
These and any other documents relating to the exchange offer,
when they are filed with the SEC, may be obtained free at the
SEC's Web site at www.sec.gov.

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

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

CONTACT: Foster Wheeler Ltd.
         Media Contact
         Ms. Maureen Bingert
         Tel: 908-730-4444
              or
         Investor Contact
         Mr. John Doyle
         Tel: 908-730-4270
              or
         Other Inquiries
         Tel: 908-730-4000

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



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B R A Z I L
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ACESITA: Forecasts Production Capacity in 2 Years
-------------------------------------------------
Acesita, South America's lone stainless steel maker, will be
allotting capital to increase the production capacity of its
plant within the next two years. Company president Luiz Anibal
de Lima Fernandes said in a Valor Economico report the
investment is expected to boost capacity from 850,000t/y to
950,000t/y by 2006.

However, the Company has ruled out the possibility of building a
new cold-rolling mill that would mean a US$150-US$180 million
outlay for the Minas Gerais-based Company.

Acesita's Timoteo plant presently operates at full capacity.
Around 70 percent of its production is sold locally.


BRASKEM: Prices Public Equity Offering  
--------------------------------------
Braskem S.A. (NYSE: BAK; BOVESPA: BRKM5) (LATIBEX: XBRK)
announced Thursday that it has priced its previously announced
public offering of 7,800,000 ADSs (each ADS representing 1,000
Braskem class A preferred shares) at U.S.$31.384 per ADS.

Concurrently with the international offering, Braskem is selling
3,900,000,000 of its class A preferred shares in a public
offering in Brazil at a price of R$90.00 per share.

The ADSs and the Class A preferred shares to be sold in the
international offering and the Brazilian offering represent a
new issue by Braskem. The ADSs trade on the New York Stock
Exchange under the symbol "BAK," and the class A preferred
shares trade on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange under the symbol
"BRKM5."

Braskem is the leading petrochemical company in Latin America
and has a strategic focus on thermoplastic resins --
polyethylene, polypropylene and PVC. Braskem has integrated
operations that also produce ethylene and propylene, its main
raw materials.

Credit Suisse First Boston LLC is acting as global coordinator
and sole bookrunner for the international offering, and Credit
Suisse First Boston LLC and Unibanco Securities Inc. are acting
as joint lead managers of the international offering. Braskem
has granted the underwriters for the international offering and
the underwriters for the Brazilian offering a 30-day option to
purchase an additional 1,170,000 ADSs and 585,000,000 class A
preferred shares, respectively, to cover over-allotments, if
any. The underwriters for the Brazilian offering have exercised
their option in full.

The international offering may be made only by means of
prospectus. Copies may be had at:

Credit Suisse First Boston LLC
One Madison Avenue, Prospectus Department
NY 10010-3629
Tel: 212-325-2580

A registration statement relating to these securities has been
declared effective by the U.S. Securities and Exchange
Commission. This announcement shall not constitute an offer to
sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy nor shall there be
any sales of these securities in any state or other jurisdiction
in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful
prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws
of any such state or other jurisdiction.

CONTACT: Braskem
         Investor Relations
         Mr. Jose Treiger
         Tel: (55 11) 3443 9529
         e-mail: jm.treiger@braskem.com.br
                 or
         Mr. Luiz Valverde
         Tel: (55 11) 3443 9744
         e-mail: luiz.valverde@braskem.com.br
                 or
         Mr. Vasco Barcellos
         Tel: (55 11) 3443 9178
         e-mail: vasco.barcellos@braskem.com.br


* BRAZIL: IMF Completes $40B Stand-By Arrangement Review
--------------------------------------------------------
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has
completed the eighth review of Brazil's performance under an SDR
27.4 billion (about US$40 billion) Stand By Arrangement:

Completion of the eighth review enables the release of a further
amount equivalent to SDR 911 million (about US$1.3 billion) to
Brazil. However, the Brazilian authorities have once more
indicated that they do not intend to make any further drawings
since they are treating the current arrangement as precautionary
and as a part of a strategy to exit from IMF financial support.
Another two reviews are scheduled for end-2004 and early-2005
before the program expires on March 31, 2005. Total drawings
under the Stand-By have amounted to SDR 17.2 billion (about
US$25 billion).

Following the Executive Board's discussion of Brazil's economic
performance, Ms. Anne Krueger, First Deputy Managing Director
and Acting Chair, made the following statement:

"Brazil's performance under the Stand-By Arrangement has
remained strong. The economic recovery has broadened and
gathered momentum. While export performance remains an important
source of growth, private consumption and investment have become
the main drivers. Credit is expanding, particularly to
households, and real wages and employment have continued to pick
up. Strong policies have helped Brazil weather volatile market
conditions, and the depreciation of the real in April and May
has now been reversed. Export performance has been remarkable
and there is encouraging evidence of a structural improvement in
the trade balance. The Brazilian authorities continue to treat
the program as precautionary, as part of a strategy to exit from
Fund financial support.

"The implementation of macroeconomic policies has continued to
be impressive. The central bank has been appropriately cautious
in its conduct of monetary policy, in light of an increase in
inflation and inflation expectations. This should help guide
inflation back toward government targets. Decisions to leave the
2005 inflation target unchanged and narrow the 2006 target band
should help to lower inflation in an environment of sustained
growth. Fiscal policy remains prudent, ensuring that the debt-
to-GDP ratio should stay on a downward path. The government
continues to see increasing high quality public investments as a
key budget priority. In cooperation with the Fund, it is
conducting a pilot program on public investment to assess the
best approach to providing greater room for public investment in
the budget, while maintaining fiscal sustainability. The
government is also taking steps to encourage increased private
sector involvement through public-private partnerships,
concessions, and improvements in the regulatory environment.

"Growth over the medium term will depend greatly on the
government's ability to extend and deepen its structural reform
agenda, building on recent progress and taking advantage of the
current window of opportunity provided by the favorable economic
environment. Greater budget flexibility would facilitate
increased fiscal resources for public investment, targeted
social transfer programs, and other government priorities.
Measures to reduce tax distortions, deepen financial
intermediation, and reduce obstacles to trade would also
increase long-term growth potential. Increasing labor market
flexibility would benefit productivity and growth, and lessen
incentives to operate in the informal sector. Such policies
would pave the way for a reduction in poverty and an expansion
of economic opportunities for all Brazilians,"

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



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C O L O M B I A
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VALORES BAVARIA: To Participate in Chilevision Tender
-----------------------------------------------------
Colombian holding company Valores Bavaria SA (VALBAVARI.BO) is
bidding for Chilean television broadcaster Chilevision, Maria
Celina Restrepo, press officer at Valores Bavaria, confirmed
without revealing an amount. Citing Chilean newspaper La
Segunda, Dow Jones Newswires reports that Chilevision could be
sold for a minimum of US$30 million, including US$10 million in
debt.

Valores would be competing with Chilean entrepreneur and
politician Sebastian Pinera in the tender. Chilevision is owned
by Venezuelan media holding Claxson (XSON), which is controlled
by the powerful Cisneros Group.

Valores, which is controlled by the Santo Domingo family, posted
a net loss of COP29 billion ($1=COP2,561.00) in the first half
of the year, greater than the COP16.6 billion loss in the like
period a year earlier. Valores Bavaria said costly pension
liabilities at flagship airline Avianca, which filed for
bankruptcy protection last year, produced the net loss.



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E C U A D O R
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PETROECUADOR: Oil Output Drops After Coffee Growers Seized Wells
----------------------------------------------------------------
State oil company Petroecuador saw its output fall by 10,000
barrels a day (b/d) of oil since Wednesday morning after a group
of coffee growers in the Amazon region seized the company's
wells. Citing a Petroecuador source, Business News Americas
reports that about 20 oils wells in the Auca Sur field in
Orellana province were seized by the coffee growers, which are
demanding payment of the remaining half of US$160,000 bonus
promised by the government.

The government has only paid the coffee growers US$80,000 so far
this year, the spokesperson said. The energy ministry is
currently studying how to resolve the crisis, and Petroecuador
hopes the problem will be resolved in a matter of days so
production can resume as normal, the spokesperson said.


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

TESAL: Fitch Leaves Rating Unchanged
------------------------------------
Credit ratings agency Fitch is maintaining its B(slv) rating on
Telefonica Moviles El Salvador (Tesal), a unit of Spain's
Telefonica Moviles, reports Business News Americas. The action
came despite reported revenue growth for the second consecutive
quarter and an expanding client base due to the introduction of
GSM technology, new promotions and a generally more active
telecoms sector in El Salvador.

Fitch indicated that the Company is struggling amidst fierce
competition and decreased cash generation abilities, both of
which are not expected to diminish in the short term.



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M E X I C O
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GRUPO SIMEC: Completes Grupo Sidenor Purchase
---------------------------------------------
Grupo Simec, S.A. de C.V. (Amex: SIM), a subsidiary of
Industrias CH, S.A. de C.V. ("ICH"), announced Thursday that on
September 10, 2004, it completed the acquisition of the Mexican
steel-making facilities of Industrias Ferricas del Norte, S.A.
(Corporacion Sidenor of Spain) located in Apizaco, Tlaxcala, and
Cholula, Puebla.

Simec estimates that its total investment in this transaction to
be approximately U.S. $150 million, funded with internally
generated resources of Simec and borrowings from ICH of
approximately U.S. $16 million.

Simec began to operate the plants in Apizaco, Tlaxcala, and
Cholula, Puebla, on August 1, 2004, and, as a result, the
operation of both plants will be reflected in Simec's financial
results as of such date.

During August 2004, the Apizaco and Cholula facilities produced
33,700 tons of finished product, an additional 64% in excess of
the 52,300 tons produced by Simec's Guadalajara, Jalisco, and
Mexicali, Baja California, facilities. Simec's total production
increased 59% from 54,000 tons in July 2004, to 86,000 tons in
August 2004.

Sales in August 2004 of the Apizaco and Cholula facilities were
Ps. 231 million, and sales of the Guadalajara and Mexicali
facilities were Ps. 398 million. As a result, in August 2004,
Simec generated an increase of 52% in net sales to Ps. 629
million from Ps. 412 million in July 2004. Simec estimates that
the cash flow generated in August 2004 (measured as earnings
from operations plus depreciation and amortization) was Ps. 234
million compared to Ps. 185 million in July 2004.

Simec intends to invest in capital improvements at the Apizaco
and Cholula facilities to increase their productivity.

CONTACT: Grupo Simec S.A. de C.V.
         Calzada Lazaro Cardenas 601
         Guadalajara
         Mexico 44910
         Phone: 52-3-678-59-11



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BANCO DE VENEZUELA: Fitch Ups Rtgs Following 1Sovereign Upgrade
--------------------------------------------------------------
International rating agency Fitch Ratings upgraded the ratings
of Banco de Venezuela, as outlined below:

--Long-term foreign currency upgraded to 'B+' from 'B-';
--Outlook Stable;
--Short-term foreign currency affirmed at 'B';
--Long-term local currency upgraded to 'B+' from 'B-';
--Short-term local currency affirmed at 'B';
--Individual affirmed at 'D';
--Support affirmed at '5';
--Long-term national rating upgraded to 'AA(ven)' from
'A+(ven)';
--Short-term national rating affirmed at 'F-1(ven)'.

The Rating Outlook remains Stable.

The rating action follows Fitch's upgrade of the Bolivarian
Republic of Venezuela's long-term foreign currency rating to
'B+' from 'B-' and its long-term local currency (Venezuelan
bolivar) rating to 'B+' from 'B-'.

The rating action also reflects a relative improvement in the
operating environment for banks supported by low interest rates.

In addition, other concerns relating to possible politically
motivated interference of the banking system, including but not
limited to a distressed debt exchange by the government,
directed lending, fees control, and interest rate ceilings, have
diminished as these actions have either not taken place or done
so in a watered-down form.

Banco de Venezuela is a subsidiary of Spain's Grupo Santander
Centro Hispano (SCH) (NYSE: STD). The bank offers individual and
corporate clients an online banking service, letting customers
make consultations, payments and other transactions
electronically.

CONTACT: Franklin Santarelli, Carlos Fiorillo +58 212 286 3356,
Caracas, Gustavo Lopez 1-212-908-0853, Peter Shaw 1-212-908-
0553, New York

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


BANCO DEL CARIBE: Fitch Upgrades Ratings
----------------------------------------
Fitch upgraded the ratings of Banco del Caribe, as outlined
below:

--Long-term foreign upgraded to 'B+' from 'B-';
--Outlook Stable;
--Short-term foreign currency affirmed at 'B';
--Long-term local currency upgraded to 'B+' from 'B-';
--Short-term local currency affirmed at 'B';
--Individual affirmed at 'D';
--Support affirmed at '5';
--Long-term national rating upgraded to 'A+(ven)' from 'A-
(ven)';
--Short-term national rating upgraded to 'F-1(ven)' from 'F-
2(ven)'.

The Rating Outlook remains Stable.

The rating action follows Fitch's upgrade of the Bolivarian
Republic of Venezuela's long-term foreign currency rating to
'B+' from 'B-' and its long-term local currency (Venezuelan
bolivar) rating to 'B+' from 'B-'.

The rating action also reflects a relative improvement in the
operating environment for banks supported by low interest rates.

In addition, other concerns relating to possible politically
motivated interference of the banking system, including but not
limited to a distressed debt exchange by the government,
directed lending, fees control, and interest rate ceilings, have
diminished as these actions have either not taken place or done
so in a watered-down form.

CONTACT: Franklin Santarelli, Carlos Fiorillo +58 212 286 3356,
Caracas, Gustavo Lopez 1-212-908-0853, Peter Shaw 1-212-908-
0553, New York

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


BANCO EXTERIOR: Ratings Climb Following Sovereign Upgrade
---------------------------------------------------------
Fitch upgraded the ratings of Banco Exterior, as outlined below:

--Long-term foreign currency upgraded to 'B+' from 'B-';
--Outlook Stable;
--Short-term foreign currency affirmed at 'B';
--Long-term local currency upgraded to 'B+' from 'B-';
--Short-term local currency affirmed at 'B';
--Individual affirmed at 'D';
--Support affirmed at '5';
--Long-term national rating upgraded to 'A+(ven)' from 'A-
(ven)';
--Short-term national rating upgraded to 'F-1(ven)' from 'F-
2(ven)'.

The Rating Outlook remains Stable.

The rating action follows Fitch's upgrade of the Bolivarian
Republic of Venezuela's long-term foreign currency rating to
'B+' from 'B-' and its long-term local currency (Venezuelan
bolivar) rating to 'B+' from 'B-'.

The rating action also reflects a relative improvement in the
operating environment for banks supported by low interest rates.

In addition, other concerns relating to possible politically
motivated interference of the banking system, including but not
limited to a distressed debt exchange by the government,
directed lending, fees control, and interest rate ceilings, have
diminished as these actions have either not taken place or done
so in a watered-down form.

CONTACT: Franklin Santarelli, Carlos Fiorillo +58 212 286 3356,
Caracas, Gustavo Lopez 1-212-908-0853, Peter Shaw 1-212-908-
0553, New York

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


BANCO MERCANTIL: Fitch Ups LTFC Rating to `B+'
----------------------------------------------
Fitch upgraded the ratings of Banco Mercantil, as outlined
below:

--Long-term foreign currency upgraded to 'B+' from 'B-';
--Outlook Stable;
--Short-term foreign currency affirmed at 'B';
--Long-term local currency upgraded to 'B+' from 'B-';
--Short-term local currency affirmed at 'B';
--Individual affirmed at 'D';
--Support affirmed at '5';
--Long-term national rating upgraded to 'AA(ven)' from 'A(ven)';
--Short-term national rating affirmed at 'F-1(ven)'.

The Rating Outlook remains Stable.

The rating action follows Fitch's upgrade of the Bolivarian
Republic of Venezuela's long-term foreign currency rating to
'B+' from 'B-' and its long-term local currency (Venezuelan
bolivar) rating to 'B+' from 'B-'.

The rating action also reflects a relative improvement in the
operating environment for banks supported by low interest rates.

In addition, other concerns relating to possible politically
motivated interference of the banking system, including but not
limited to a distressed debt exchange by the government,
directed lending, fees control, and interest rate ceilings, have
diminished as these actions have either not taken place or done
so in a watered-down form.

Banco Mercantil C.A. S.A.C.A. (Banco Universal) provides
commercial, corporate and consumer banking, international trade
and marketing services.

CONTACT: Franklin Santarelli, Carlos Fiorillo +58 212 286 3356,
Caracas, Gustavo Lopez 1-212-908-0853, Peter Shaw 1-212-908-
0553, New York

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


BANCO OCCIDENTAL: LTFC Rating Upgraded to `B-` From `CCC+'
----------------------------------------------------------
Fitch upgraded the ratings of Banco Occidental de Descuento, as
outlined below:

--Long-term foreign currency upgraded to 'B-' from 'CCC+';
--Outlook Stable;
--Short-term foreign currency upgraded to 'B' from 'C';
--Long-term local currency upgraded to 'B-' from 'CCC+';
--Short-term local currency affirmed at 'B';
--Individual affirmed at 'D/E';
--Support affirmed at '5';
--Long-term national rating upgraded to 'BBB(ven)' from 'BBB-
(ven)';
--Short-term national rating affirmed at 'F-3(ven)'.

The Rating Outlook remains Stable.

The rating action follows Fitch's upgrade of the Bolivarian
Republic of Venezuela's long-term foreign currency rating to
'B+' from 'B-' and its long-term local currency (Venezuelan
bolivar) rating to 'B+' from 'B-'.

The rating action also reflects a relative improvement in the
operating environment for banks supported by low interest rates.

In addition, other concerns relating to possible politically
motivated interference of the banking system, including but not
limited to a distressed debt exchange by the government,
directed lending, fees control, and interest rate ceilings, have
diminished as these actions have either not taken place or done
so in a watered-down form.

CONTACT: Franklin Santarelli, Carlos Fiorillo +58 212 286 3356,
Caracas, Gustavo Lopez 1-212-908-0853, Peter Shaw 1-212-908-
0553, New York

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


BANCO PROVINCIAL: Fitch Ups Ratings Following Sovereign Upgrade
---------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch upgraded the ratings of Banco Provincial, as outlined
below:

--Long-term foreign currency upgraded to 'B+' from 'B-';
--Outlook Stable;
--Short-term foreign currency affirmed at 'B';
--Long-term local currency upgraded to 'B+' from 'B-';
--Short-term local currency affirmed at 'B';
--Individual affirmed at 'D';
--Support affirmed at '5';
--Long-term national rating upgraded to 'AA(ven)' from
'A+(ven)';
--Short-term national rating affirmed at 'F-1(ven)'.

The Rating Outlook remains Stable.

The rating action follows Fitch's upgrade of the Bolivarian
Republic of Venezuela's long-term foreign currency rating to
'B+' from 'B-' and its long-term local currency (Venezuelan
bolivar) rating to 'B+' from 'B-'.

The rating action also reflects a relative improvement in the
operating environment for banks supported by low interest rates.

In addition, other concerns relating to possible politically
motivated interference of the banking system, including but not
limited to a distressed debt exchange by the government,
directed lending, fees control, and interest rate ceilings, have
diminished as these actions have either not taken place or done
so in a watered-down form.

CONTACT: Franklin Santarelli, Carlos Fiorillo +58 212 286 3356,
Caracas, Gustavo Lopez 1-212-908-0853, Peter Shaw 1-212-908-
0553, New York

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


BANCO VENEZOLANO: Sovereign Upgrade Boosts Company Ratings
----------------------------------------------------------
Fitch upgraded the ratings of Banco Venezolano de Credito, as
outlined below:

--Long-term foreign currency upgraded to 'B+' from 'B-';
--Outlook Stable;
--Short-term foreign currency affirmed at 'B';
--Long-term local currency upgraded to 'B+' from 'B-';
--Short-term local currency affirmed at 'B';
--Individual affirmed at 'D';
--Support affirmed at '5';
--Long-term national rating upgraded to 'A+(ven)' from 'A-
(ven)';
--Short-term national rating upgraded to 'F-1(ven)' from 'F-
2(ven)'.

The Rating Outlook remains Stable.

The rating action follows Fitch's upgrade of the Bolivarian
Republic of Venezuela's long-term foreign currency rating to
'B+' from 'B-' and its long-term local currency (Venezuelan
bolivar) rating to 'B+' from 'B-'.

The rating action also reflects a relative improvement in the
operating environment for banks supported by low interest rates.

In addition, other concerns relating to possible politically
motivated interference of the banking system, including but not
limited to a distressed debt exchange by the government,
directed lending, fees control, and interest rate ceilings, have
diminished as these actions have either not taken place or done
so in a watered-down form.

CONTACT: Franklin Santarelli, Carlos Fiorillo +58 212 286 3356,
Caracas, Gustavo Lopez 1-212-908-0853, Peter Shaw 1-212-908-
0553, New York

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


BANESCO BANCO UNIVERSAL: Fitch Ups LTFC Rating to B- From CCC+
--------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch upgraded the ratings of Banesco Banco Universal, as
outlined below:

--Long-term foreign currency upgraded to 'B-' from 'CCC+';
--Outlook Stable;
--Short-term foreign currency upgraded to 'B' from 'C';
--Individual affirmed at 'D/E';
--Support affirmed at '5';
--Long-term national rating upgraded to 'A-(ven)' from
'BBB(ven)';
--Short-term national rating upgraded to 'F-2(ven)' from 'F-
3(ven)' .

The Rating Outlook remains Stable.

The rating action follows Fitch's upgrade of the Bolivarian
Republic of Venezuela's long-term foreign currency rating to
'B+' from 'B-' and its long-term local currency (Venezuelan
bolivar) rating to 'B+' from 'B-'.

The rating action also reflects a relative improvement in the
operating environment for banks supported by low interest rates.

In addition, other concerns relating to possible politically
motivated interference of the banking system, including but not
limited to a distressed debt exchange by the government,
directed lending, fees control, and interest rate ceilings, have
diminished as these actions have either not taken place or done
so in a watered-down form.

CONTACT: Franklin Santarelli, Carlos Fiorillo +58 212 286 3356,
Caracas, Gustavo Lopez 1-212-908-0853, Peter Shaw 1-212-908-
0553, New York

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


SIDOR: Welcomes New Partners From Stock Sale
--------------------------------------------
More than 11,800 active, former and retired workers of
Venezuela's Siderurgica del Orinoco (Sidor) became new
shareholders of the iron and steel company following the
recently concluded stock sale under the work participation
program, reports Business News Americas.

The state controls 40% of Sidor shares and is turning over 20%
of that to employees under the company's democratization plan.
The total stock package placed was of 3,510,027 shares at 1997
prices of VEB43,414 (US$22.67) a share, while current market
prices are VEB72,251 (US$37.73). The state will assume the
difference in stock pricing without charging workers for stock
appreciation.

The new shareholders acquired 3,058,528 shares, or 87% of the
total offering as outlined in a 1998 agreement.

Banco de Desarrollo Economico y Social (Bandes) and the
Corporacion Venezolana de Guayana CVG were in charge of the
process.

Sidor, based in Puerto Ordaz, is Venezuela's largest steelmaker
with current installed capacity of some 3Mt.


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

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

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