TCRLA_Public/050309.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

           Wednesday, March 9, 2005, Vol. 6, Issue 48



AES CORP.: Releases Ratings Report
ARTES GRAFICAS YERBAL: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
BANCO FRANCES: Reports Smaller FY2004, 4Q04 Net Losses
ENCASA S.A.: Bankruptcy Process Begins By Court Order
ESEPE CONSTRUCTORA: Creditor's Bankruptcy Petition Granted

HECTOR ABEL ZITO: Begins Bankruptcy Process on Court Order
INPLEX S.A.: Court Authorizes Plan
MOLINOS RIO: Opens New Peruvian Facility
SOUTHERN WINDS: LAN Hints at Possible Acquisition or Alliance

TELEFONICA DE ARGENTINA: Board Ratifies Telinver Debt Transfers
TELMEX S.A.: Court Rules for Bankruptcy
TGS: Debt Restructuring Considered the Best In Latin America


FOSTER WHEELER: Receives Letter of Intent for LNG Project


BRASKEM: In Talks to Build $550M Textile Complex in Bahia
TELEMAR: Removes Internet Refunds From Subscribers' Phone Bills


CEMEX: Moody's Confirms Ba1 Senior Unsecured Ratings
DIRECTV: CEO Mitch Stern Leaves Post
EMPRESAS ICA: Closes MXP727MLn Worth of Construction Contracts
GRUPO IUSACELL: Fitch Withdraws Ratings
LEVI STRAUSS: Announces Decision in Mexican Civil Court Case

LEVI STRAUSS: Prices Private Placement of Senior Notes
NII HOLDINGS: Restates 3Q04 Results
REMY INTERNATIONAL: Moody's Cuts Ratings; Outlook Stable

T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

BWIA: Cabinet to Announce Plans Thursday


COFAC: Fitch Cuts Ratings to 'D' After Central Bank Suspension
* URUGUAY: Fitch Upgrades Sovereign Ratings to 'B+'


* VENEZUELA: Devaluation Heightens Caution in Lending
* VENEZUELA: Fitch Rates EUR1B 10-Year Global Bonds 'B+'

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -


AES CORP.: Releases Ratings Report
The 'B+' rating on The AES Corp. (AES; B+/Positive/--) reflects
the risks of its reliance on substantive distributions from
jurisdictions where considerable regulatory and operating
uncertainties exist to support its parent-level debt, some
exposure to merchant power markets, and a highly leveraged,
although improving, balance sheet. While the level of
distributions seems to have stabilized at around $1 billion,
some of those distributions are very speculative, including
fairly sizable distributions in 2004 from Venezuela ($77
million), Nigeria ($33 million), and Argentina ($39 million).
Also, 2004 distributions included a one-time distribution of
about $100 million from subsidiary AES Gener S.A. (Gener;
BB+/Stable/--) representing the release of trapped cash.

These risks are tempered by the diversification of AES'
portfolio, a stable base of cash flow coming from its
contractual generation businesses and its regulated utility,
Indianapolis Power & Light Co. (IPL; BB+/Positive/--), and a
history of strong operations at its generation and distribution
businesses. Standard & Poor's expects North American-based
contract generation combined with IPL to generate about $400
million in distributions annually over the medium term,
including $427 that the Company projected in 2005.

AES continues to move forward on its debt-reduction program,
having lowered its outstanding recourse debt from $5,939 million
to $5,152 million in 2004. This is down from a peak of $7,404
million as of March 31, 2002. AES' parent-level cash flow
(distributions less operating expenses, development expenses and
cash taxes) to interest was 1.79x in 2004, up from 1.62x in
2003. Lower total distributions and higher parent-level
operating expenses have been more than offset by lower parent-
level interest expense resulting from debt reduction. Standard &
Poor's expects this ratio to be about 1.9x in 2005, which is in
line with the 'B+' rating. The ratio of recourse debt to parent-
level capitalization improved to 62% at year-end 2004, from 81%
at year-end 2003 and 94% at year-end 2002. The ratio of parent-
level cash flow to recourse debt stood at 15.6% for 2004, up
from 14.5% in 2003. Standard & Poor's expects this to approach
17% in 2005. As a point of reference, when the rating on AES was
'BB', parent-level cash flow to interest was consistently 2.2x
to 2.4x, the ratio of parent-level debt to capitalization was
about 50% to 55%, and parent-level cash flow to debt was 15% to


AES' parent-level liquidity stood at $643 million as of Dec. 31,
2004, down from $1,071 million as of Dec. 31, 2003. AES has
stated that it will target $400 million to $600 million of
available liquidity. The larger contributors to the decrease in
liquidity are debt reduction of nearly $800 million, a $300
million investment in Gener as part of its recapitalization,
offset by a $200 million increase in revolver commitments and
$127 million in returns of capital to the parent, mostly from a
nonrecourse financing at Ebute in Nigeria. Parent-free cash flow
(distributions less all parent expenses including interest, but
before any investments into subsidiaries) was $375 million for
2004. Standard & Poor's expects parent-free cash flow of $300
million to $400 million in 2005.

Parent-level maturities are as follows--2005: $142 million;
2006: $0; 2007: $562 million; 2008: $415 million; and 2009: $467
million. The 2007 maturities include the $450 million revolving
credit facility, which is currently undrawn, although as of Dec.
31, 2004, $98 million of its capacity was used by LOCs that
support parent commitments to operating businesses.

AES' liquidity facilities contain no rating triggers. AES' bank
loans do contain a number of financial covenants, including
collateral coverage ratio, parent operating cash flow to
corporate charges, and recourse debt to cash flow. As of Dec.
31, 2004, AES remains in compliance with all of its debt

Recovery analysis

Standard & Poor's opinion on recovery prospects in bankruptcy is
reflected in the differentials between the debt ratings and the
corporate credit ratings. Standard & Poor's does not rate AES'
secured bank debt (revolving credit facility and term loan) and
makes no representation regarding its recovery prospects.
Including undrawn bank debt, AES currently has about $650
million of first-lien debt outstanding (including undrawn
revolver amounts), with the ability to issue about $275 million
more under its loan covenants. The collateral package consists
of 100% of AES' equity interests in its domestic businesses and
65% of the equity in its foreign businesses.

Standard & Poor's 'B+' rating on AES' $1.8 billion second-
priority notes reflects Standard & Poor's view that substantial
recovery (i.e., 80% to 100%) would be likely in a bankruptcy
scenario, but Standard & Poor's is not confident enough in the
prospects for full recovery to warrant raising the rating above
the corporate credit rating. Under the terms of this financing,
AES has capacity for a total of $550 million of additional
secured (first- or second-lien) debt. The 'B-' rating on all
classes of unsecured debt (i.e., two notches below the corporate
credit rating), and the 'CCC+' rating on AES' trust-preferred
securities reflect the large amount of priority debt (first and
second lien) ahead of these holders, and thus the extremely dim
prospects for recovery in a bankruptcy scenario.


AES' stated plans for continued debt reduction lead Standard &
Poor's to conclude that credit metrics are likely to improve,
and as a result, the rating is more likely to improve than
remain the same or deteriorate over a one-to-three-year time
horizon. If AES reduces its parent-level debt to about $4.5
billion while maintaining its target liquidity of $400 million
to $600 million given its current cash flow quality and
quantity, Standard & Poor's is likely to upgrade the Company to

AES' management team has demonstrated a commitment to restoring
the Company's credit quality, and moved it away from a strategy
of aggressive expansion toward a focus on its core competency of
operations. AES will need to invest in new businesses to
maintain and grow its dividend stream, and the positive outlook
is predicated on such investments being credit neutral or
enhancing. Management has voiced a desire to be more disciplined
in its investment decisions than it has been historically, and
any deviation from such discipline could have a negative effect
on the ratings or outlook.

ANALYST: Scott Taylor, New York (1) 212-438-2057

ARTES GRAFICAS YERBAL: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
Court No. 11 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
declared Artes Graficas Yerbal S.A. bankrupt after the Company
failed to pay its debts. The order effectively places the
Company's affairs as well as its assets under the control of
court-appointed trustee David Leonardo Schvarztein.

As trustee, Mr. Schvarztein is tasked with verifying the
authenticity of claims presented by the Company's creditors. The
verification phase is ongoing until May 3.

Following claims verification, the trustee will submit the
individual reports based on the forwarded claims for final
approval by the court on June 15. A general report will also be
submitted on August 3.

Infobae reports that Clerk No. 22 assists the court on this case
that will end with the disposal of the Company's assets to repay
its liabilities.

CONTACT: Mr. David Leonardo Schvarztein, Trustee
         Uruguay 390
         Buenos Aires

BANCO FRANCES: Reports Smaller FY2004, 4Q04 Net Losses
BBVA Banco Frances SA, Argentina's largest private bank in terms
of deposits, lowered its net loss in the fourth-quarter of 2004
to ARS27.15 million ($1=ARS2.93) from a net loss of ARS79.603
million in the same year-ago period.

According to Dow Jones Newswires, the Company also narrowed its
full year 2004 net loss to ARS84.672 million from a 2003 net
loss of ARS275.726 million.

Improved results follow a big turnaround in the Company's
operating profit for 2004.

The Company reported operating profit of ARS249.085 million for
the year, reversing a loss of ARS310.487 million in the previous
year. The positive result is primarily due to lower interest
rates on long-term deposits, better returns on assets adjusted
for inflation and an increasing volume of loan generation

These gains were all aided by improved efficiencies as the
Company boosted its fee-based income and lowered administrative
expenses. Banco Frances said its fee-based income rose to
ARS294.712 million for the year, up from ARS231.332 million.

For the quarter, the year-on-year improvement in operating
profit was less dramatic, in part because the improvement from
the disruptions caused by the 2002 financial crisis had already
started to appear by the last quarter of 2003. Operating income
for the fourth quarter 2004 was ARS57.352 million versus
ARS3.106 million in the same period a year earlier.

Spain's Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria SA (BBV) holds a 75.97%
stake in Banco Frances.

CONTACT:  Maria Adriana Arbelbide, Investor Relations
          Tel: (5411) 4341 5036

          BBVA Banco Frances S.A.
          Reconquista 165-199
          Buenos Aires, 1000

ENCASA S.A.: Bankruptcy Process Begins By Court Order
Court No. 1 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
declared Encasa S.A. "Quiebra," reports Infobae. The declaration
signals the Company to proceed with the bankruptcy process that
will close with the liquidation of its assets.

The court, assisted by Clerk No. 1, appointed Mr. Tito J.
Gargaglione as trustee who will authenticate proofs of claim
until May 10.

CONTACT: Mr. Tito J. Gargaglione, Trustee
         Medrano 833
         Buenos Aires

ESEPE CONSTRUCTORA: Creditor's Bankruptcy Petition Granted
Miguel Lopez successfully sought the bankruptcy of Esepe
Constructora S.A. after Court No. 7 of Buenos Aires' civil and
commercial tribunal declared the Company "Quiebra," reports La

As such, the construction firm will now start the bankruptcy
process with Mr. Jorge Dolinko as trustee. Creditors of the
Company must submit their proofs of claim to the trustee before
May 9 for authentication. Failure to do so will mean
disqualification from the payments that will be made after the
Company's assets are liquidated.

The creditor sought for the Company's bankruptcy after the
latter failed to pay debts amounting to US$13,601.03.

Clerk No. 14 assists the court on the case that will end with
the liquidation of all of its assets.

CONTACT: Esepe Constructora S.A.
         Roque Perez 2943
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Jorge Dolinko, Trustee
         Tucuman 1657
         Buenos Aires

HECTOR ABEL ZITO: Begins Bankruptcy Process on Court Order
Hector Abel Zito S.A., a Company operating in Mar del Plata,
entered bankruptcy as the city's civil and commercial Court No.
12 ruled that it is "Quiebra."

Infobae reveals that the court appointed Ms. Leonor Florencia
Claros as trustee. Creditors must submit proofs of their claims
to the trustee for verification by April 8.

CONTACT: Hector Abel Zito S.A.
         Garay 3215
         Mar del Plata

         Ms. Leonor Florencia Claros, Trustee
         Catamarca 2076
         Mar del Plata

INPLEX S.A.: Court Authorizes Plan
The reorganization of Inplex S.A. has been concluded, reports
Infobae. The report states that the process ended after Court
No. 1 of Buenos Aires' Civil and Commercial tribunal homologated
the debt agreement signed between the Company and its creditors.

The city's Clerk No. 1 assists the court on this case.

Instituto Privado Argentino de Salud (IPAS) S.A. is now
"Quiebra" - meaning bankrupt, says Infobae.

Court No. 4 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
decreed the Company's bankruptcy and appointed Mr. Ernestio Iob
as trustee.

Mr. Iob will be reviewing creditors' claims until April 22.
Analyzing these claims is important because the outcome of the
process will determine the amount each creditor will get after
all the assets of the Company are liquidated.

The court, aided by Clerk No. 7, will conclude the bankruptcy
process by liquidating its assets to repay creditors.

CONTACT: Mr. Ernestio Iob, Trustee
         Presidente Peron 1186
         Buenos Aires

MOLINOS RIO: Opens New Peruvian Facility
Molinos Rio de la Plata, an Argentine packaged food
manufacturer, has opened a US$4.1 million packaging plant in
Lima, Peru for its cooking oil products, reveals Dow Jones

The new plant, which has capacity to package 2,500 tons of oil a
month, will be run by the Company's Peruvian subsidiary, Molinos
del Peru.

This recent expansion is expected to broaden Molinos' export
reach to Central America and the Caribbean.

Molinos is one of Argentina's largest food companies and
exporters of oilseeds, and the country's largest exporter of
bottled oil. The Company's controlling shareholder is Perez
Companc Family Group (PCFG) with a 64% stake. The remaining
stock trades publicly in the local stock market.

CONTACT INFO: Molinos Rio de la Plata S.A.
              Uruguay 4075 CP (B1644HKG)
              Pcia. de Buenos Aires
              Telephone: 54-11-4340-1100

              Maria Soledad Kern
              Investors Service
              Tel: (0054)-(11)-4340-1592

SOUTHERN WINDS: LAN Hints at Possible Acquisition or Alliance
Chile's dominant carrier LAN Airlines said Monday it was holding
talks for a possible purchase or association with Argentine
airline Southern Winds, which is currently under criminal

"In this context, the Company has held talks with the Argentine
government and also with Southern Winds," LAN said.

Technically a private Company, Southern Winds has planes and
flight slots, but its staffing comes from LAFSA, which was
created by the government in July 2003 so that 800 former
workers at defunct airlines Lapa and Dinar would have jobs.

LAFSA didn't have any planes of its own, so officials brokered a
deal with Southern Winds. The private carrier agreed to
infrastructure-sharing rights with LAFSA in exchange for fuel

However, the Argentine government last month decided not to
renew an 18-month cooperation agreement between LAFSA and
Southern Winds after allegations of the latter's involvement in
a major drug trafficking incident surfaced.

Southern Winds allegedly facilitated the transport of 60 kilos
of cocaine found in four abandoned suitcases on a Madrid-bound
flight last September. Two executives and an employee of the
airline have been arrested in connection with the case.

The airline blamed the incident on a small group of "unfaithful"
employees, and stressed it would cooperate with investigating

TELEFONICA DE ARGENTINA: Board Ratifies Telinver Debt Transfers
Telefonica de Argentina released the minutes of its recent Board

In Buenos Aires, on February fourteenth, two thousand five, at
9:30 a.m., under the chairmanship of Mario Eduardo Vazquez, the
undersigned Directors and their alternates met at the Company's
head offices at 723, Avenida Ingeniero Huergo, for the purpose
of holding a meeting of the Board of Directors of Telefonica de
Argentina, S.A., (the "Company"), which meeting was properly
convened. The members of the Oversight Committee, undersigned,
were also present. In addition, Jose Maria Alvarez Pallete,
Guillermo Pablo Ansaldo, Javier Benjumea Llorente, Juan Carlos
Ros Brugueras and Javier Delgado Martinez took part in this
meeting by the videoconferencing system allowed for in Article
Ten of the Company's bylaws. At the beginning of the meeting,
Mr. Vazquez took the floor and stated that, as there was a
quorum, the meeting was formally and validly in session. Then,
Mr. Vazquez placed the first item on the Agenda on the table for
consideration by the Directors, which stated:

5. "Transfer of the Company's debt. Capitalization of Telinver
S.A. Loan"

Mr. Lopez Basavilbaso took the floor, and stated that on January
3, 2005, three Debt Transfer Agreements were signed (the
"Transfer Agreements") by which Telinver S.A. transferred to its
shareholder Telefonica de Argentina S.A. the balance of the
financial debt it had with Telefonica Internacional S.A.,
originating in the loan agreements signed between both companies
on 12/28/00, 1/29/01 and 2/28/01, for a total amount of USD
63,000,000. The outstanding balance on these loans on January 3,
2005 amounted to USD 39,113,515.52, with maturity dates on
3/20/05, 1/21/05 and 2/21/05 respectively, as shown in the
Transfer Agreements and the financial statements for the 9-month
period ending on September 30, 2004. As a result of the
aforementioned transfer, Telefonica de Argentina S.A. assumed
the afore-mentioned debt with Telefonica Internacional S.A.,
therefore subrogating all of the Company's rights and
obligations with Telefonica Internacional S.A. in relation to
the debt transferred pursuant to the Transfer Agreements. In
addition, it should be noted that, by signing the Transfer
Agreements, Telefonica Internacional S.A. expressly accepted the
transfer of the debt and both parties agreed to change the
interest rate payable on the debt, reducing the spread above
LIBOR from 900 p.b. to 450 p.b.

Mr. Lopez Basavilbaso also explained that the Transfer
Agreements (in relation to the debt assumed by the Company with
Telefonica Internacional S.A.) were subject to approval by the
Company Board in satisfaction of the provisions of Article 73 of
Law No. 17.811 (pursuant to Decree No. 677/01). In fact, the
debt assumed by the Company with Telefonica Internacional S.A.,
as it falls within the scope of contracts between related
parties, pursuant to the above-mentioned Article 73, was subject
to an advance opinion from the Company's Auditing Committee.
According to that opinion, the transaction in question follows
normal and customary market conditions, based on the total
amount of loans the Company has with TISA and the current
restrictions on sources of financing. Thereafter, the item being
submitted to a vote, the Board unanimously voted to (i) approve
the Transfer Agreements according to the explanation given
above; (ii) report this resolution to the National Securities
Commission and the Buenos Aires Stock Exchange, with an
indication of the existence of the declaration by the Auditing
Committee; and (iii) make available the report by the Auditing
Committee to the shareholders at the Company's head offices
starting on February 15, 2005, and report this situation in the
proper market bulletin.

Mr. Lopez Basavilbaso continued by saying that, in exchange for
the debt transfer approved in the Transfer Agreements, Telinver
S.A. would assume a debt with the Company for an equivalent
amount of pesos, i.e., $116,519,162.73, according to the
seller's exchange rate of the Banco de la Nacion Argentina in
effect on the date of the Transfer Agreements ($2.979 to one US
dollar), which debt is documented in two loan agreements, one
for 72,519,162.73 pesos and the other for 45,000,000 pesos,
which both parties signed at the same time as the Transfer
Agreements. Therefore, after the Transfer Agreements were
signed, the Company made a loan to Telinver S.A. in the amount
of $116,519,162.73.

Mr. Lopez Basavilbaso continued, bearing in mind the negative
asset situation confronting Telinver S.A. and the need to
correct this situation to avoid application of the grounds for
dissolution set out in Article 94, item 5 of the Law on
Mercantile Corporations, a proposal was being made to the
Directors to approve the capitalization of this loan for
$71,519,162, which the Company has with Telinver S.A., for which
purpose it was necessary to ratify the action by the Company's
representatives to vote to approve it at Telinver S.A.'s
shareholders' meeting held on the same day.

Based on the forgoing, the Board of Directors unanimously voted:
(i) to ratify the Transfer Agreements and loan agreements with
Telinver S.A. referred to in this item on the Agenda and which
were signed by the Company's legal representatives; as well as
(ii) to ratify the action by the Company's representatives at
the Telinver S.A.'s meeting of shareholders to vote in favor of
the resolutions involving the capitalization of the loan for
71,519,162 pesos and the integration of the same number of

There being no other discussion by the Directors, and pursuant
to the provisions of Article Ten of the Company bylaws, the
members of the Oversight Committee confirmed the regularity of
the decisions passed, following which the meeting was adjourned
at eleven a.m.

          Avenida Ingeniero Huergo 723
          (C1107AOH) Buenos Aires, Argentina
          Phone: 54-11-4332-9200

TELMEX S.A.: Court Rules for Bankruptcy
Court No. 4 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
decreed the bankruptcy of Telmex S.A., reports Infobae. The
Company will begin the process with Ms. Maria Lilia Orazi as
Trustee. The trustee will verify creditors' claims until April

The Company's case will conclude with the liquidation of its
assets to repay creditors. The city's Clerk No. 8 assists the
court in handling the proceedings.

CONTACT: Ms. Maria Lilia Orazi, Trustee
         Montevideo 536
         Buenos Aires

TGS: Debt Restructuring Considered the Best In Latin America
Argentine natural gas transporter TGS's debt restructuring has
received the "Best Restructuring Deal in Latin America" award by
the Euromoney magazine.

TGS closed the restructuring of its US$1 billion debt with a
99.76% acceptance.

The Company offered to pay 11% of the debt in cash and hand 9-
year bonds for the rest.

Merrill Lynch was the financial advisor and Marval, O'Farrell &
Mairal acted as legal advisor.

TGS's operates the largest gas pipeline system in Latin America
capable of transporting 2.2 billion cubic feet per day
("bcf/d"). Its system connects the main gas fields in the south
and west areas of Argentina with the gas distributors in the
city of Buenos Aires and other areas.

CONTACT: Transportadora de Gas del Sur S.A.
         Don Bosco 3672, 5th Floor
         1206 Capital Federal
         Buenos Aires,
         Phone: (212) 688-5144
         Fax: (212) 688-5213
         Web Site:

Buenos Aires-based Company Venados Manufactura Plastica S.A.
concluded its reorganization process, according to data released
by Infobae on its Web site. The conclusion came after the city's
civil and commercial Court No. 1, with assistance from Clerk No.
1, homologated the debt plan signed between the Company and its


FOSTER WHEELER: Receives Letter of Intent for LNG Project
Foster Wheeler Ltd. (OTCBB: FWHLF) announced Monday that its
Australian subsidiary Foster Wheeler (WA) Pty Ltd., in a joint
venture with WorleyParsons Services Pty Ltd., has received a
letter of intent from Woodside Energy Ltd. for the engineering,
procurement and construction management (EPCm) contract for the
proposed LNG Phase V project to be built at Karratha
(approximately 1100 km north of Perth), Western Australia.
Signature of the contract is subject to approval of the project
by the North West Shelf Venture participants. Approval is
expected during the first half of 2005. The value of the joint
venture booking is currently confidential and the booking will
be recorded when the investment is authorized.

"We are delighted to receive the letter of intent from Woodside
for this major contract," said Steve Davies, chairman and chief
executive officer of Foster Wheeler Energy Limited. "We will
combine our ability to execute and manage complex world-scale
projects and our proven EPC LNG liquefaction experience,
together with WorleyParsons' project execution track record and
intimate knowledge of the existing Karratha LNG complex, to
deliver a safe, successful, high-quality facility."

This Phase V expansion project, which has an investment cost of
around US$1.58 billion, comprises the addition of a fifth train
of LNG production, with a capacity of 4.2 million tonnes a year
of LNG, to the existing LNG complex at Karratha. The complex
originally started up in 1989. The Foster Wheeler/WorleyParsons
joint venture will be responsible for engineering the new plant,
procurement and management of equipment supply, fabrication and
construction. In addition to train 5, the contract calls for the
provision of an additional fractionation unit, acid gas recovery
unit, boil-off gas compressor, two new gas turbine power
generation units, a second loading berth and a new fuel gas
system compressor. The facility is expected to start up in the
fourth quarter of 2008.

The six equal North West Shelf Venture participants in the LNG
Phase V Project are Woodside Energy Ltd. (16.67%) (Operator);
BHP Billiton (North West Shelf) Pty Ltd (16.67%); BP
Developments Australia Pty Ltd (16.67%); ChevronTexaco Australia
Pty Ltd (16.67%); Japan Australia LNG (MIMI) Pty Ltd (16.67%);
and Shell Development (Australia) Proprietary Limited (16.67%).
CNOOC NWS Private Limited is also a member of the North West
Shelf Venture but does not have an interest in North West Shelf
Venture infrastructure.

About Foster Wheeler:

Foster Wheeler (WA) Pty Ltd is a wholly owned subsidiary of
Foster Wheeler Energy Limited of Reading, UK. Foster Wheeler
Energy Limited is a subsidiary of Foster Wheeler Ltd.

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
         Phone: 908-730-4444
         Ms. Anne Chong
         Phone: +44 (0)118 913 2106
         Other Inquiries:
         Phone: 908-730-4000

         Web site:


BRASKEM: In Talks to Build $550M Textile Complex in Bahia
The Bahia state government's plan to grant tax holidays for
investment projects in the region have generated some buzz from
industrial companies hoping to beef-up their operations in the

Valor Economico reports that Brazilian petrochemical group
Braskem and six other petrochemical and synthetic textile
companies have began initial talks towards a possible joint
venture in the area.

The venture plans to build a US$550 million manufacturing
complex in Bahia to produce purified terephthalic acid (PTA), an
important component in textile production.

Also, energy giant Petrobras and Italian petrochemical group
Mossi & Ghisolfi have both revealed plans to build paraxylene
and PTA units in Bahia. The new projects are in line with the
local government's vision of developing a local polyester
production complex.

CONTACT: Braskem S.A., Sao Paulo
         Investor Relations:
         Mr. Jose Marcos Treiger
         Phone:(+55 11) 3443 9529
         Mr. Luiz Henrique Valverde
         Phone: (+55 (11) 3443 9744
         Mr. Vasco Barcellos
         Phone: (+55 (11) 3443 9178

         Web site:

TELEMAR: Removes Internet Refunds From Subscribers' Phone Bills
In compliance with an order by the telecoms regulator Anatel,
Telemar removed refunds relating to its dial-up Internet service
Oi Internet as an item in subscribers' telephone bills.

Business News Americas recalls that Telemar introduced the free
dial-up service late last month, offering a 31% discount on
connection costs for the first 500,000 subscribers.

But an Anatel spokesperson said: "Oi Internet represents an
additional value that has nothing to do with telecommunications,
and due to that fact, Oi is not allowed to include the discount
on a Telemar telephone bill."

"Oi has to give the refund in a different way that has nothing
to do with the Telemar bill," he added.

Nevertheless, a Telemar spokesperson was quoted as saying: "Our
promotion is still valid, but we are developing a different
refund system."

"The Anatel decision affects only Telemar, which is not allowed
to include Oi Internet services, so Oi Internet will contact the
500,000 subscribers and offer them different means of receiving
the 31% discount," the spokesperson added.


CEMEX: Moody's Confirms Ba1 Senior Unsecured Ratings
Approximately $1 billion in long-term debt securities affected

Moody's Investors Service has confirmed the Ba1 senior unsecured
ratings of Cemex S.A. de C.V. ("Cemex") and the Baa3 senior
unsecured ratings of Cemex Espana's guaranteed finance
subsidiary, Cemex Finance Europe B.V., and its U.S. operating
subsidiary, Cemex Inc. The outlook for all ratings is stable.

This concludes the review for possible downgrade Moody's
initiated on September 28, 2004 following the Company's
announcement of its intent to acquire RMC Group Plc ("RMC") of
the United Kingdom in an all debt-financed transaction, which
has now closed ($5.8 billion, including the assumption of
existing debt). RMC will become a subsidiary of Cemex Espana.

The ratings confirmed include:

Cemex S.A. de CV:

- Ba1 senior unsecured notes
- Ba1 senior implied

Cemex Finance Europe B.V.

- Baa3 senior unsecured ?2.0 billion MTN program

Cemex Inc.:

- Baa3 senior unsecured notes

Moody's has also withdrawn the Baa3 senior implied and Ba1
issuer ratings at Cemex Espana and upgraded Cemex's issuer
rating to Ba1 from Ba2. The notching of the Ba2 rating had
reflected the risk of structural subordination posed by
indebtedness at significant operating subsidiaries of both
companies, and the upgrade to Ba1 reflects the reduction in the
absolute amount of indebtedness at those entities.

While the RMC acquisition increases Cemex's overall business
risk, primarily associated with the integration of a Company
that equals its size, the ratings confirmation reflects Moody's
belief that Cemex management has proven adroit at effectively
integrating past acquisitions. In addition, Moody's believes
that the Company will generate sufficient free cash flow to
mitigate the credit risks associated with higher financial
leverage in the near term. The ratings are supported by Cemex's
position as the third largest global cement Company with a
leading vertical position in cement's primary downstream
distribution market, ready-mix concrete, and a significant
market share position in aggregates production. The confirmation
also recognizes Cemex's strong operating performance as
evidenced by modest revenue growth, expanding operating margins
and increasing free cash flow, which Moody's expects will be
primarily allocated to debt reduction over the next couple of

While the RMC acquisition could take up to 2 years to integrate,
Moody's anticipates there are significant potential cost
reduction and working capital efficiencies at RMC, whose
operations are largely in investment grade countries. During
this period, Cemex's legacy markets should continue to
experience moderate operating performance improvement with
increasing amounts of free cash flow, particularly due to the
Company's dominant market share in Mexico, where the Company has
above industry average margins, high return on capital invested
and significant barriers to entry.

Moody's notes, however, that the Company is faced with business
risks associated with the RMC acquisition, including a higher
concentration in lower operating margin regions, lower barrier
to entry ready-mix concrete business, higher financial leverage
and significant near-term refinancing risk as the average life
of debt is currently under 3 years. As well, while the Company
has enjoyed improved economic conditions over the last year or
so, the Company remains exposed to economic cycles in many
developing countries where revenue growth tends to track GDP
growth. Moody's anticipates a potential decrease in demand for
housing in many of Cemex's markets, particularly in the United
States and Spain as interest rates rise and in Mexico where
flagging demand in the self-construction sector is resulting in
a fairly elastic pricing environment.

Given that background, the stable outlook incorporates the
consolidated Company achieving, over the next 12 months, lease
adjusted debt to EBITDAR (2004 pro forma of approximately 3.4x)
of well under 3.5x, free cash flow to total debt (2004 pro forma
of approximately 11.5%) of 15%, and more than 3.5x EBIT interest
coverage. In order to achieve this, Moody's assumes, in 2005,
the Company will generate approximately $15.7 billion in
revenues (which is a 3.8% growth over 2004 pro forma), maintain
at least 21% EBITDA margins, convert 43.5% of that EBITDA into
more than $1.4 billion in free cash flow, and utilize 80%, or
$1.2 billion of free cash flow to reduce absolute debt
(approximately $800 million at Cemex and $400 million at Cemex
Espana). In addition, the stable outlook is predicated on the
Company addressing significant near-term refinancing risk. More
than $3 billion in debt comes due in 2006 and another $2.6
billion in 2007 resulting in an average life of less than 3

Should the Company fail to achieve the financial ratios stated
above or to improve the debt maturity profile there could be
negative pressure on the rating. A downgrade could ensue if
lease adjusted debt to EBITDAR increases to 4.0x, free cash flow
to total debt deteriorates close to 10%, and EBIT interest
coverage falls close to 3.0x.

Over the intermediate term, Moody's anticipates the two stand-
alone ratings at Cemex and Cemex Espana, which considers the two
companies' differing guarantor groups that do not provide
upstream nor downstream guarantees, are likely to converge.
Conversely, Cemex's Ba1 rating could be upgraded to Baa3 if it
is clearly evident that, prospectively, the Company will be
under 3.0x lease adjusted debt to EBITDAR, 20% free cash flow to
total debt, and 4.0x EBIT interest coverage, and a median debt
maturity profile that is a minimum of 5 years. Moody's notes
that there are currently no limitations on the movement of cash
between any of the Company's significant operating entities
further an eventual convergence of the two companies' ratings.

Cemex, headquartered in Monterrey, Mexico, is a growing global
building solutions Company that provides building products to
customers in more than 50 countries throughout the world.

New York
David Hamburger
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

New York
Mark Gray
Managing Director
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

DIRECTV: CEO Mitch Stern Leaves Post
The DIRECTV Group, Inc. (NYSE: DTV) announced that Mitch Stern,
president and CEO of DIRECTV, Inc., is leaving the Company,
effective March 7, 2005. Chase Carey, president and CEO of The
DIRECTV Group, will now oversee day-to-day operations of DIRECTV
and Mr. Stern's direct reports will report to Mr. Carey. DIRECTV
does not intend to replace Mr. Stern, who joined the Company in
December 2003.

"While we considered 2004 a transition year, DIRECTV achieved a
tremendous amount under Mitch's leadership," said Mr. Carey,
"most notably, more new subscribers chose DIRECTV last year than
any other pay television service in the country. I want to take
this opportunity to thank Mitch for all his efforts and
contributions and wish him well. DIRECTV is well positioned to
go forward and build on its leadership position in the pay
television industry."

"Serving as DIRECTV's president was very rewarding and I am very
proud of all that we accomplished in the last year," said Stern.
"DIRECTV is a great success story and a fabulous business with a
very promising future. While it was exciting to be part of such
a dynamic organization, the time was right for me to move on."

Mr. Carey was named president and CEO of The DIRECTV Group in
December 2003. Under Mr. Carey's leadership, The DIRECTV Group
has sold its non-core assets and is focused on its satellite
television businesses in the United States and Latin America.
Mr. Carey serves as a director on the boards of The DIRECTV
Group and News Corporation.

About DirecTV

The DIRECTV Group, Inc. is a world-leading provider of digital
multi-channel television entertainment, broadband satellite
networks and services. The DIRECTV Group is 34 percent owned by
Fox Entertainment Group, which is approximately 82 percent owned
by News Corporation.

         Mr. Bob Marsocci
         Phone: 310-726-4656

EMPRESAS ICA: Closes MXP727MLn Worth of Construction Contracts
Empresas ICA Sociedad Controladora, S.A. de C.V. (BMV and NYSE:
ICA), the largest engineering, construction, and procurement
Company in Mexico announced Monday the signing of four contracts
for civil construction projects totaling Ps. 727 million.

Mexico-Tuxpan Highway

Contract for the construction of additional stages to complete
the Tejocotal-Nuevo Necaxa portion of the Mexico-Tuxpan Highway
for Ps. 634.8 million pesos. The project is scheduled to be
completed over 19 months, and was awarded by the Highway and
Bridge Trust for the Central Gulf Region (Fideicomiso Autopistas
y Puentes del Golfo Centro, FAPGC). With the award of this
stage, ICA will be working on a total of 17.1 km of the highway,
from the Tejocotal interchange to the Nuevo Necaxa interchange.
This new segment is the continuation of contracts that were
previously assigned to ICA. In 2003, the Company was awarded the
contract to build a 3.1 km segment for Ps. 314.7 million. In
2004, ICA was awarded a 6 km stage for Ps. 445.6 million. Once
construction is completed, 75 percent of the 264 km total length
of the Mexico-Tuxpan highway will have been built and

Jose Lopez Portillo interchange

Extension of the contract for the Jose Lopez Portillo
interchange, which is part of the Mexico-Pachuca highway, also
for the FAPGC. The contract includes the construction of the
Heroes lower vehicular bridge and complementary works. The
contract value is Ps. 26.3 million, and is scheduled for
completion in 8 months.

Pavement slabs for the second level of the Periferico expressway

A Ps. 47.2 million contract was signed with the Trust for the
Improvement Mexico City Roads (Fideicomiso para el Mejoramiento
de las Vas de Comunicacion del Distrito Federal, FIMEVIC) for
the fabrication and storage of 1,133 prefabricated concrete
slabs that will be used in the north-south segment of the
Periferico expressway's second level, from Las Flores to San
Antonio. The contract provides for 3 months fabrication of the
slabs and two months of storage.

Toluca Airport

Airports and Auxiliary Services (Aeropuertos y Servicios
Auxiliares, ASA) awarded ICA the contract for the enlargement
and rehabilitation of the parking garage and the construction of
a perimeter road at the Toluca Airport, for a total of Ps. 18.6
million. Works are scheduled to be delivered on May 8th.

About 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 S.A. de C.V.
         Col. Escandon Del Migual Hidalgo
         Mexico City, 11800
         Phone: 525-272-9991
         Web site:

GRUPO IUSACELL: Fitch Withdraws Ratings
Fitch Ratings has withdrawn the 'D' foreign and local currency
debt ratings for holding Company Grupo Iusacell, S.A. de C.V.
and operating Company Grupo Iusacell Celular, S.A. de C.V.
(collectively referred to as Iusacell) consistent with Fitch's
policies. Fitch also withdraws its 'D' ratings on $500 million
in outstanding securities, including $350 million senior notes
due 2006 and $150 million senior notes due 2004.

The 'D' ratings for these defaulted notes reflect the payment
default that took place during 2003 and suggest potential
recovery levels for bondholders of less than 50% of principal.
Iusacell is a wireless operator in Mexico with 1.46 million
subscribers at Dec. 31, 2004.

LEVI STRAUSS: Announces Decision in Mexican Civil Court Case
On March 3, 2005, the Civil Court in the Federal District in
Mexico City, Mexico entered a judgment against Levi Strauss &
Co. in favor of a former contract manufacturer who had brought
suit alleging that its business had suffered direct damages and
harm to its reputation from an unauthorized anti-counterfeiting
raid on its Mexico City facilities in June 2001.

The lawsuit, Companie Exportadora de Maquila, Comexma v. Levi
Strauss & Co, et. al, was brought following a raid on Comexma's
Mexico City facilities that was conducted by local police and
accompanied by local media upon the initiation of the Company's
outside Mexican brand protection counsel.

The local counsel failed to follow the Company's pre-approval
procedures for initiating such a raid, which required such
counsel to check with the Company before going forward to
confirm that the target was not an authorized contractor.

No counterfeiting activity was uncovered, and the raid was
terminated upon confirmation from the Company that Comexma was
an authorized manufacturer.

The raid occurred within a few months after the Company had
notified Comexma that it was terminating its contract
manufacturing relationship, and during the period in which the
Company believes Comexma was in the process of negotiating with
its employees and others to shut down its facility.

The court awarded Comexma approximately $24.5 million in direct
damages and lost income, and an additional approximately $20.5
million in damages for harm to its reputation.

The Company strongly disagrees with the court's decision and
intends to file an appeal promptly.

On appeal, the Company will seek judgment reversal or remanded
for further proceedings, and, if the appellate court affirms the
lower court on the issue of liability, to have the amount of the
direct and additional damages reduced substantially.

A decision by the appellate court could be rendered as early as
the next two to four months.

The Company also confirmed Monday, based on information
available to date, its earlier guidance concerning estimated net
sales and operating income in the first quarter of 2005, which
ended February 27, 2005, compared to the first quarter of 2004.

Specifically, based on preliminary data, the Company believes
consolidated net sales in the first quarter of 2005 were higher
as compared to the same period in 2004 on both a reported and
constant currency basis.

The Company also believes that operating income in the first
quarter of 2005 was higher than in the first quarter of 2004,
even without taking into consideration the benefit of lower
restructuring charges in the first quarter of 2005 and after
taking into account the estimated impact of the Mexican judgment
described above.

Because the financial statements for the first quarter of 2005
have not yet been finalized, information regarding this period
is subject to change and actual results for the quarter may
differ materially from expected results.

CONTACT:  Levi Strauss & Co.
          Jeff Beckman, 415-501-1698 (Media)
          Integrated Corporate Relations, Inc.
          Allison Malkin, 203-682-8200 (Investors)

LEVI STRAUSS: Prices Private Placement of Senior Notes
Levi Strauss & Co. announced Monday that it has entered into an
agreement to sell $380.0 million principal amount of Floating
Rate Senior Notes due 2012 and EUR 150.0 million principal
amount of 8.625% Senior Notes due 2013 in a private placement
conducted pursuant to Rule 144A and Regulation S under the
Securities Act of 1933.

The securities offered will not be registered under the
Securities Act of 1933, as amended, or any state securities
laws, and unless so registered, may not be offered or sold in
the United States, except pursuant to an exemption from, or in a
transaction not subject to, the registration requirements of the
Securities Act and applicable state securities laws.

NII HOLDINGS: Restates 3Q04 Results
On March 4, 2005 the audit committee of the board of directors
of NII Holdings, Inc., upon the recommendation of management and
after discussion with its current independent registered public
accounting firm, concluded that it will restate the previously
issued financial statements and related footnotes as of and for
the nine and three months ended September 30, 2004 and 2003
contained in the quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the period
ended September 30, 2004.

Previously, as disclosed in the current report on Form 8-K filed
on October 28, 2004, the audit committee of the board of
directors had concluded on October 27, 2004 to restate certain
previously issued financial statements and related footnotes
contained in the annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended
December 31, 2003 (including the comparative 2002 periods) and
the quarterly reports on Form 10-Q for the periods ended March
31, 2004 and June 30, 2004 (including the comparative 2003

The pending restatement of the Company's previously issued
financial statements and related footnotes contained in the
quarterly report on Form 10-Q as of and for the three and nine
month periods ended September 30, 2004 and 2003 is necessary due
to income tax computational errors in the restatement footnote
combined with other identified and quantified errors related to
revenue recognized for suspended customers in Mexico, the timing
of insurance claims recorded for damaged equipment in Mexico, an
understatement of depreciation expense for handsets under
operating leases in Argentina and certain errors in the
calculation of income taxes for financial statement purposes.

All of the restatements mentioned above will also reflect
corrections relating to previously disclosed bookkeeping errors
identified at its Mexican subsidiary and the release of
valuation allowances related to deferred tax assets. The Company
will correct all of these errors in the periods in which they
originated. Additional details related to these errors are
provided at the end of Item 4.02(a) below.

All of these errors are non-cash in nature and have no material
impact on operating metrics, operating revenues or operating
income before depreciation and amortization, a non-GAAP measure.

As previously disclosed, the Company has initiated corrective
actions to improve internal controls in Mexico. The Company
continues to address additional items identified in connection
with the integrated year-end audit process, including the
Sarbanes-Oxley Section 404 reviews performed by management. In
addition, the business outlook remains strong and the Company
exceeded its 2004 guidance targets for subscribers, operating
revenues and operating income before depreciation and

The Company expects to file an amended 2003 annual report on
Form 10-K/A and an amended quarterly reports on Form 10-Q/A for
the quarters ended March 31, 2004, June 30, 2004 and September
30, 2004 on or before March 31, 2005.

Due to the time required to complete the restatements, The
Company anticipates that it will be necessary to file for an
extension pursuant to Rule 12b-25 of the filing of an annual
report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2004 and
that it will file its 2004 annual report on or before March 31,


The Company has reviewed and discussed these errors as well as
the required accounting treatment and disclosure with
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, The Company's current independent
registered public accounting firm. The Company has also reviewed
and discussed these errors, as well as the required accounting
treatment and disclosure, as it relates to 2002, with Deloitte &
Touche LLP, former independent registered public accounting
firm. The audit committee has discussed with
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP the matters disclosed in this report.

Description of Adjustments

- As previously disclosed in the quarterly report on Form 10-Q
for the quarter ended September 30, 2004, The Company identified
bookkeeping errors at its operating Company in Mexico and an
error in the application of generally acceptable accounting
principles related to the reversal of deferred tax valuation
allowances in existence upon emergence from Chapter 11

The Company recorded adjustments to correct these errors in its
consolidated financial statements as of and for the nine and
three month periods ended September 30, 2004 and 2003 included
in the quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the period ended
September 30, 2004.

In addition, the Company included a footnote in its quarterly
report on Form 10-Q for the period ended September 30, 2004 to
disclose the effect of those restatement items on the
consolidated financial statements for the years ended December
31, 2003 and 2002 and each of the periods in the nine months
ended September 30, 2004 and 2003.

Subsequent to filing the quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the
period ended September 30, 2004, The Company identified the
following additional adjustments:

- The Company reviewed the accrued revenue recognized for
customers that had service suspended in Mexico and determined
that the revenues for these customers should be accounted for on
a cash basis given the uncertainty related to the collection of
receivables from customers on a suspended status. The impact of
this change in the accounting for revenue for suspended
customers was a decrease of $1.2 million in revenue and pre-tax
income for the three months ended September 30, 2004.

- The Company reviewed the accounting treatment for various
insurance claims related to damaged equipment at the operating
Company in Mexico. As a result of this review, The Company
determined that write-downs of damaged equipment and recording
of insurance claims receivables were recorded in the incorrect
quarters within 2004 and that an insurance claim receivable
should not have been recorded as it was not deemed to be
probable. The net impact was a $0.8 million write-off of
equipment in the second quarter, which was originally recorded
in the third quarter, and a $1.8 million increase in operating
expenses for the nine months ended September 30, 2004.

- During the course of its review, The Company separately
identified an additional matter at its operating Company in
Argentina. During the monthly process to convert the operating
results from accounting principles generally accepted in
Argentina (Argentine GAAP) to accounting principles generally
accepted in the United States (U.S. GAAP), the depreciation
expense related to handsets under operating leases was
erroneously omitted for U.S. GAAP reporting purposes, resulting
in understated depreciation expense, overstated pre-tax income
and overstated net book value of property, plant and equipment
as of and for the three-month periods ended December 31, 2003
and as of and for the nine months ended September 30, 2004. The
amount of the errors related to depreciation expense in
Argentina was an increase of $0.5 million for the three months
ended December 31, 2003 and an increase of $1.6 million for the
nine months ended September 30, 2004.

- For the two months ended December 31, 2002 and the ten months
ended October 31, 2002, the Company identified errors in the
calculation of income tax expense in Mexico for financial
statement purposes. The adjustment to correct income tax expense
for this matter increases long-lived assets as of October 31,
2002 because of the application of fresh start accounting under
SOP 90-7. As a result, The Company understated amortization and
depreciation related to those long-lived assets for periods
subsequent to the ten months ended October 31, 2002. The amount
of the errors for the combined periods ended December 31, 2002
was a $6.1 million understatement of income tax expense.

- In the process of preparing amended consolidated financial
statements for 2003, The Company identified a net overstatement
of income tax expense of about $20.0 million for the year ended
December 31, 2003 included in the restatement footnote in a
previously issued financial statements contained in the
quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the period ended September 30,
2004. The Company will report the corrected amounts when its
file the 2003 annual report on Form 10-K/A.

- The Company will correct all of these errors in the periods in
which they originated, including corrections to the original
restatement adjustments recorded for previously disclosed
bookkeeping errors identified at its Mexican subsidiary and the
release of valuation allowances related to deferred tax assets.

CONTACT: NII Holdings, Inc.
         10700 Parkridge Blvd.
         Suite 600
         Reston, VA 20191
         Phone: 703-390-5100
         Web site:

REMY INTERNATIONAL: Moody's Cuts Ratings; Outlook Stable
Moody's Investors Service took the following rating actions with
regard to Remy International, Inc. ("Remy International"). These
rating actions incorporated Remy International's persistently
high debt and leverage levels, in combination with the Company's
proposed use of cash plus revolving credit availability to
finance the acquisition of substantially all of the assets and
the assumption of certain liabilities of Unit Parts Company

The rating outlook following these actions is stable.

- Downgrade to B2, from B1 of the rating for Remy
International's $125 million of guaranteed second-priority
senior secured floating rate notes due April 2009;

- Downgrade to B3, from B2 of the rating for Remy
International's $145 million 8.625% guaranteed senior unsecured
notes due December 2007;

- Downgrade to Caa1, from B3, of the rating for Remy
International's $150 million of guaranteed senior unsecured
subordinated notes due April 2012;

- Downgrade to Caa1, from B3, of the rating for Remy
International's $165 million of 11% guaranteed senior
subordinated global notes due May 2009;

- Downgrade to B2, from B1, of the senior implied rating for
Remy International;

- Confirmation of the B3 senior unsecured issuer rating for Remy

Per the terms of the proposed purchase agreement, Remy
International will pay approximately $55 million in aggregate
cash consideration upon closing the acquisition of UPC, will
potentially be obligated to pay additional consideration to the
sellers per the terms of a contingent earn out agreement (based
upon four-years of EBITDA performance of the combined electrical
aftermarket business), and will assume contracts with a few
retail customers to buy back certain inventories over time.

Moody's had previously expected Remy International to utilize
the funds generated from restructuring savings, higher
productivity, and the sale of its powertrain business for debt
reduction, with the objective of improving all-in total
debt/EBITDAR leverage below 5.0x by the end of 2004 (which ratio
includes the present value of operating leases, usage under
accounts receivables securitizations, letters of credit and
other off-balance sheet obligations as debt). However, this
measure of Remy International's leverage continues to hover near
6.0x due to the fact that the Company has instead been
reinvesting much of the incremental cash generated to support
the acquisition of UPC, the increased costs and capital
investment associated with organic revenue growth, and rising
commodity costs for oil and to a lesser extent steel. Moody's
notably does not expect Remy International to generate positive
free cash flow until 2006. Moody's additionally observes that
projected results over the near-to-intermediate term are highly
reliant upon the realization of synergies by the combined
Company through improvements to purchasing, manufacturing, and
other operating practices. In Moody's opinion, the achievement
of these synergies entails a significant degree of execution
risk. While EBIT coverage of interest is expected to continue
hovering near 1.5x, any unanticipated business disruptions (such
as materially declining vehicle production levels, delayed
launches, lost contracts, or raw materials sourcing concerns)
could cause this critical measure of the Company's debt service
ability to deteriorate.

UPC's aftermarket business is more highly focused on product
distribution through large automotive retailers, whereas Remy
International's traditional aftermarket business has been more
balanced between retailers and wholesale distributors. Moody's
believes that an increased emphasis by the combined Company on
the retail sector could result in greater pressure on Remy
International's pricing and margins, and also drive the need
over time for the Company to more aggressively enter into
unproven and potentially risky pay-on-scan inventory
arrangements with several large retailers.

The ratings more favorably continue to reflect Remy
International's good liquidity and enhanced borrowing base which
will incorporate assets of UPC. The borrowing base will thereby
support a $25 million step-up of the level of available asset-
based revolving credit commitments to $145 million. While
leverage has continued to be high, the aftermarket component of
its business has enabled Remy International's credit protection
metrics to remain relatively stable versus those of peers.

Remy International continues to maintain strong market positions
in a consolidating industry, will meaningfully improve the
breadth of its product line and customer base within the
aftermarket as a result of the UPC acquisition, has been
steadily winning new original equipment contracts for high-
value-added products, and expects to improve capacity
utilization through an increased revenue base and realization of
substantial synergies relating to the combination of UPC with
Remy International's core operations. Remy International's
business diversity and cost structure are being further enhanced
by actions that moved manufacturing operations out of unionized
US-based plants and into lower-cost countries such as Mexico,
Korea, and China. Cost savings from previous restructuring and
consolidation programs are on track to generate annualized cost
reductions of $30 million or more. Remy International's longer-
term business prospects will most likely be enhanced by the
series of initiatives in progress to generate value-added
organic growth, maximize the benefits realized as a result of
industry consolidation, achieve diversity of end markets, better
focus its product coverage on core markets, and increase the
breadth of new and remanufactured products offered within its
primary business lines.

Future events that could drive Remy International's outlook or
ratings lower include evidence that anticipated restructuring
cost savings and synergies resulting from the UPC acquisition
are falling meaningfully below expectations, that the Company is
losing market share or being forced to cut prices to maintain
share, that working capital requirements are escalating, that
the anticipated new business contracts are not materializing,
that liquidity is diminishing, that the Company is expecting to
complete additional acquisitions, or that the Company is
contemplating a return of capital to its investors prior to the
repayment of debt.

Future events that could drive an improved outlook or ratings
include evidence that Remy International's cost reductions and
anticipated synergies with UPC are taking hold as projected and
translating into improved operating cash flow performance and
debt reduction, that working capital turnover days remain stable
or improve, that the Company's book of business and coverage of
the aftermarket distribution channels are continuing to grow,
and that capital expenditures and engineering costs to develop
new products and technologies are within expectations and
producing the desired results in terms of maintaining a
competitive advantage.

Remy International, Inc., formerly known as Delco Remy
International, Inc., is headquartered in Anderson, Indiana. The
Company is a leading global manufacturer and remanufacturer of
aftermarket and original equipment electrical components for
automobiles, light trucks, heavy duty trucks and other heavy
duty vehicles. Remy International is privately owned in the
following approximate percentages by affiliates of Citicorp
Venture Capital (70%); Berkshire Hathaway (20%); and
management/miscellaneous other investors (10%). Annual revenues
over the last twelve months approximated $1.05 billion, and are
estimated at $1.2 billion pro forma for the proposed acquisition
of UPC.

T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

BWIA: Cabinet to Announce Plans Thursday
The fate of troubled national carrier BWIA will be decided on
Thursday when government reveals its response to the Company's
board-approved strategic plan submitted in January this year.

Sources interviewed by the Trinidad Express say that the Company
will most likely get fresh cash infusion from the government in
order to continue its operations. Reports have been circulating
that the airline needs as much as US$109 million in capital to
turn-around its ailing operations.

The government has also previously explored plans to restructure
BWIA and Liat, another Caribbean carrier, by combining both
Companies' resources to create a new entity.

BWIA is in drastic need of an overhaul if it is to continue
serving the Caribbean. The airline ended 2003 in the red with
US$140 million in losses. Analysts expect the Company to report
higher losses in 2004.

         Phone: + 868 627 2942
         Home Page:


COFAC: Fitch Cuts Ratings to 'D' After Central Bank Suspension
Fitch Ratings, the international ratings agency, downgraded
Monday the international long-term foreign currency debt ratings
of Uruguay's Cooperativa Nacional de Ahorro y Credito (COFAC) to
'D' from 'CCC'. At the same time, Fitch also downgraded the
bank's national long-term rating to 'D(uy)' from 'B(uy)'.

The downgrade of COFAC's international and national debt ratings
to Default follows the preventive suspension of COFAC's
activities by the Central Bank of Uruguay (BCU) due to its
insufficient capital position. As a result, COFAC will be unable
to pay any of its creditors, including depositors, for an
undefined period. The suspension of the institution's activities
will last until the BCU has evaluated the alternatives presented
by COFAC's management and has decided upon the best outcome for
the institution and its creditors.

The suspension of COFAC's activities is the result of well-
defined weaknesses in the institution's capital and liquidity
position and, in Fitch's opinion, is not indicative of a more
widespread problem in the Uruguayan financial system. Fitch has
noted severe weaknesses in COFAC's liquidity and capital
position since 2002. In 2003, COFAC was required to present a
capital adequacy plan to the regulators, which it has been
unable to fulfill, and had received several extensions from the

CONTACT:  Maria Fernanda Lopez
          Ana Gavuzzo
          Lorna Martin
          5411+4327-2444, Buenos Aires

          Peter Shaw
          Linda Hammel
          +1-212-908-0500, New York

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

* URUGUAY: Fitch Upgrades Sovereign Ratings to 'B+'
Fitch Ratings upgraded Uruguay's long-term foreign currency
ratings to 'B+' from 'B'. The long-term local currency ratings
are also raised to 'BB-' from 'B+'. In addition, the short-term
foreign currency rating is affirmed at 'B'. The country ceiling
is affirmed at 'BB-'. These rating changes affect US$6.9 billion
in bond debt. The Outlook is Stable.

According to Fitch analyst Morgan Harting, 'Uruguay's recovery
is expected to continue this year. Economic growth should reach
6% and the fiscal deficit should fall to about 2% of GDP.' The
new government that took office March 1 has committed to
maintaining broad fiscal and monetary policy settings. 'With
debt maturities equal to about 13% of GDP, and most owed to
multilateral creditors that are likely to extend new credit,
fiscal financing needs appear manageable,' said Harting.

Bond amortizations equal 4% of GDP this year, about two-thirds
of which are for foreign-issued bonds. Scheduled public debt
amortizations decline in 2006 and again in 2007. Assuming
capital market sentiment remains favorable and the government
adheres to policy commitments with multilaterals, prospects for
refinancing should be sound. Overall indebtedness remains high
at about 81% of GDP, significantly above the peer median, but
its interest and maturity profile is in line with peers, despite
most (91%) of it being in foreign currency.

Fitch expects the new government to enter into a new agreement
with the IMF soon. Such an agreement would likely include
commitments to fiscal targets consistent with reductions in
government debt and an accumulation of international reserves.
Assuming a small increase in the government's primary balance,
some continued real exchange-rate appreciation near term and
ongoing economic growth, government debt could decline to 74% of
GDP by end-2006. This trend could continue through the end of
the decade if settings are maintained.

The financial sector in Uruguay remains fragile, as evidenced by
the closure of a cooperative last week due to inadequate
capitalization. Deposits have risen in nominal terms, but growth
has not kept pace with nominal GDP, and there has been a
preference for sight deposits in dollars over term deposits in
pesos. Since the crisis of 2002-2003, authorities have made
progress on improving supervision and regulation, liquidating
assets of banks undergoing restructuring, and unfreezing
deposits. System liquidity appears to be sound, but credit
growth has not resumed, despite the acceleration in economic
activity. The government may still have to assume some
contingent liabilities associated with past support to the
system, but this would not imply an immediate cash financing
need and such support is not expected to exceed 5.5% of GDP.

The high degree of dollarization in bank deposits and
transactions is a constraint on creditworthiness. It limits the
government's ability to finance itself in local currency,
exposing it to substantial exchange rate risk. The high degree
of dollarization in bank deposits (about 90%) amounts to a
contingent claim on international reserves - despite the
adoption of a flexible exchange rate - pressuring the country's
already low international liquidity. International reserves and
banks' liquid foreign assets cover an estimated 64% of short-
term debt and debt service. Authorities have sought to reduce
dollarization through market-friendly policy changes, but
progress has been slow.

CONTACT:  Fitch Ratings
          Morgan C. Harting, CFA, +1-212-908-0820
          Roger M. Scher, +1-212-908-0240
          Kenneth Reed, +1-212-908-0540 (Media Relations)


* VENEZUELA: Devaluation Heightens Caution in Lending
Venezuelan companies and individuals are likely to be more
cautious now before taking out new loans following the recent
10.7% devaluation of the Venezuelan Bolivar, Moody's VP for
Latin America David Olivares Villagomez told Business News

The government uses devaluations to finance social programs for
the poor and extend the reach of the budget.

The recent devaluation alters the exchange rate to VEB2,150 for
one dollar from the previous VEB1,920 set in February 2004.

"A possible affect of the devaluation, which we may see in the
first or second quarter is a restructuring of debt currently
held in dollars into the local currency, or bolivares," Olivares

"The most important consequence of the devaluation will be
heightened caution when seeking lending, as the change creates a
less stable environment and debtors are not certain how interest
rates will be affected," Olivares concluded.

According to local press reports, the bolivar's value has
dropped 400% against the dollar in the past couple years.

On Monday, the Venezuelan government sold EUR1 billion (US$1.32
billion) of bonds in the European market Monday to cover between
25 and 30 percent of its financing needs for 2005.

Officials decided to increase a 10-year bond issue from EUR500
million to EUR1 billion. The coupon was set at 7 percent with an
issue price of 99.301.

The government plans to finance US$4 billion (euro3 billion)
this year through various local and overseas debt issues, said
Rudolf Romer, head of public credit office.

* VENEZUELA: Fitch Rates EUR1B 10-Year Global Bonds 'B+'
Fitch Ratings assigned a 'B+' rating to the 10-year global bonds
issued by the government of Venezuela today. The EUR1 billion
issue matures March 16, 2015 and has a 7% coupon. Venezuela's
sovereign ratings are supported by superior international
liquidity relative to similarly rated sovereigns. The ratings
are constrained by volatility in government revenues because of
heavy reliance on oil and by concerns about willingness to
service debt. The Rating Outlook is Stable.


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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