TCRLA_Public/050512.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

            Thursday, May 12, 2005, Vol. 6, Issue 93

                            Headlines


A R G E N T I N A

BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Profits Drop 50% in 1Q05
C.P. AGROINSUMOS: Court Orders Liquidation
CASA BRUSCO: Initiates Bankruptcy Proceedings
CLUB TRAFICOS: Court Grants Reorganization Motion
CONDHER S.R.L.: Required Report Schedule Set

COMPANIA BELGA: Reorganization Request Granted
CREDITO GENERAL: Judge Approves Bankruptcy
DODERO VIAJES: Initiates Bankruptcy Proceedings
ECCO S.A.: Finalizes Reorganization
EDUCAR S.A.: Debt Payments Halted, Set To Reorganize

HUE GAS: Court Authorizes Reorganization Process
LAGORIO ARGENTINA: Claims Verification Deadline Approaches
MAILNET ARGENTINA: Court Favors Creditor's Bankruptcy Motion
PAMPEANO GROUP: Seeks Court Approval to Reorganize
PETROBRAS ENERGIA: Fitch Affirms LC, FC Int'l Ratings at B

PROAFE S.A.: Claims Validation Deadline Approaches
METROGAS: Reports ARS29.421 Million Profit in 1Q05
SOUTHERN WINDS: Reorganization Process Initiated
SUMA GAS: Gets Court Approval to Reorganize
TELECOM ARGENTINA: Reports 22% Increase in Net Revenues in 1Q05

VINTAGE PETROLEUM: Increases Cash Dividend
ZIRLAND S.A.: Court Orders Bankruptcy


B E R M U D A

ANNUITY & LIFE: Swings to Red in 1Q05, Posts $768,665 Net Loss
FOSTER WHEELER: Posts Consolidated EBITDA of $31.2M for 1Q05
GLOBAL CROSSING: Cuts Losses Despite Lower Revenues in 1Q05


B O L I V I A

EMSA: Solution to Crisis Proves Elusive


B R A Z I L

BANCO BMG: Moody's Assigns Various First Time Ratings
BANCO SANTOS: Central Bank Unlikely to Find Buyer
CST: Fitch Upgrades FC Rating; Assigns Rating to CST Overseas
ELETROPAULO METROPOLITANA: Narrows Loss in 1Q05
* BRAZIL: Fitch Rates $500M Global Bonds Due 2019 'BB-'


C H I L E

ELECTROANDINA: Fitch Cuts To 'BB'; Stable Outlook


D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

* DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: World Bank Approves $150M for Power Sector


G U A T E M A L A

* GUATEMALA: World Bank to Provide Up to $780M to Promote Growth


M E X I C O

HYLSAMEX: Stockholders OK Extension L Share Conversion Date
MERIDIAN AUTOMOTIVE: Seeks Court OK to Funnel Cash to Mexico
PEMEX: Government Slaps $259M Fine on Former Executives


P E R U

BANCO WIESE: Likely Sale Expected Soon
LUMINA COPPER: Shareholders Approve Restructuring


U R U G U A Y

UTE: To Open Tender Process for New Power Plant


V E N E Z U E L A

* VENEZUELA: Moody's Says Debt Rating Supported By Debt Payments


     - - - - - - - - - -


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

BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Profits Drop 50% in 1Q05
-------------------------------------------
Banco Hipotecario S.A. (Buenos Aires Stock Exchange: BHIP)
reports first quarter of 2005 results.

Net income in the first quarter of 2005 was Ps.50.5 million,
compared to Ps.100.6 million as of March 31, 2004. Results for
the first quarter of 2005 primarily reflect: i) lower financial
income resulting from the suspension of the CVS index on
pesified mortgage loans, lower income from the buyback of
restructured financial indebtedness at market prices and lower
income from securities and other investments; ii) higher
financial expenditures from Central Bank borrowings due to the
greater impact of the CER index during the period, partially
offset by lower average outstanding balances, and higher
interest due on foreign currency-denominated financing due to
the increase in interest rates; and iii) the adverse effect of
the appreciation of the peso against the U.S. dollar on the
Bank's net foreign currency position. These effects were
partially offset by: i) higher income from derivative
transactions aimed at reducing the effect of the appreciation in
the price of the Bank's shares and currency swaps to hedge net
financial income against the effect of changes in the CER on
indexed liabilities; ii) higher income from services due to the
new services offered by the Bank; and iii) lower miscellaneous
losses, net due to losses recorded in the first quarter of 2004
resulting from the reversal of compensation rights related to
the CER/CVS asymmetric indexation in view of the low chances of
receiving them.

The Bank's net income for the first quarter of 2005 was Ps.50.5
million, a 9.4% reduction from Ps.55.7 million recorded in the
fourth quarter of 2004. This variation reflects: i) higher
financial expenditures due to the impact of the CER on Central
Bank borrowings and higher interest rates accrued on foreign
currency-denominated financing; ii) lower miscellaneous income,
net due to charges during the quarter to increase the provision
for contingent effects of the appreciation in the price of the
Bank's shares; and iii) the adverse effects of the appreciation
of the peso against the U.S. dollar on the Bank's net foreign
currency position. These effects were partially offset by: i)
increased financial income from higher interest accrued on
mortgage loans and new loans, the appreciation of derivatives
whose underlying asset is the price of the Bank's shares and
hedging transactions to reduce the effect of the CER index, and
the positive impact of inflation on guaranteed loans and other
public sector assets; ii) higher income from services related to
the Bank's new retail business; and iii) lower administrative
expenses due to the Bank's efforts to maintain its efficiency
ratios.

Financial Income

Financial income for the first quarter of 2005 was Ps.216.3
million, a decrease of Ps.13.2 million or 5.8% from the Ps.229.5
million recorded in the first quarter of 2004. This decrease was
mainly due to: i) the positive effect of the CVS index on
pesified mortgage loans recorded in the first quarter of 2004;
ii) the lower positive effect of the prepayment of financial
indebtedness at market prices; ii) lower financial income from
government and corporate securities as a result of lower income
from investments in financial trusts; and iv) the effect of the
appreciation of the peso against the U.S. dollar on the Bank's
net foreign currency position. These aspects were partially
offset by: i) higher income from compensatory and additional
Boden resulting from the increase in the Libor rate during the
quarter; ii) higher income from guaranteed loans and other
public sector loans due to the increase in the CER index; iii)
higher income from derivative operations resulting from hedging
transactions; and iv) higher interest accrued on other loans.

As compared to the fourth quarter of 2004, financial income
increased to Ps.216.3 million as of March 31, 2005, from
Ps.165.7 million as of December 31, 2004, primarily due to: i)
higher interest accrued on mortgage and other loans; ii) higher
positive effect of the CER on guaranteed loans and other public
sector assets; iii) higher financial income from compensatory
and additional Boden resulting from the increase in the Libor
rate during the quarter; and iv) higher income from hedging
transactions aimed at protecting operating income from the
impact of the appreciation in the price of the Bank's shares and
the effect of the CER index on indexed liabilities. These
effects were partially offset by lower income from securities
and other investments mainly due to lower income from
certificates of participation in financial trusts.

Financial Expenditures

Financial expenditures for the first quarter of 2005 reached
Ps.130.5 million, Ps.72.2 million higher than the Ps.58.3
million recorded in the first quarter of 2004. This increase
resulted primarily from: i) the higher impact of the CER index
accrued on Central Bank borrowings; ii) higher financial
expenditures from foreign currency-denominated liabilities due
to new external financing and higher interest accrued on
restructured debt, partially offset by lower average balances of
restructured debt; iii) higher interest liabilities resulting
from increased average balances on savings accounts and time
deposits; and iv) the negative effect of the appreciation of the
peso against the U.S. dollar on the Bank's net foreign currency
position.

As compared to the fourth quarter of 2004, financial
expenditures increased Ps.47.1 million, from Ps.83.4 million to
Ps.130.5 million in the first quarter of 2005, mainly due to: i)
the impact of the CER on Central Bank borrowings; ii) higher
interest on interbank loans resulting from higher interest rates
applicable to the Bank's borrowings and new external financing
obtained by the Bank; and iii) higher interest liabilities due
to the increase in balances of time deposits and savings
accounts. Such effects were partially offset by lower
contributions and taxes.

Net Contribution from Insurance

Net contribution from insurance during the first quarter of 2005
increased 8.8%, to Ps.9.4 million as of March 31, 2005 compared
to Ps.8.7 million as of March 31, 2004. This increase reflects
the higher premiums earned due to new origination of loans and
new insurance products offered, and to a lesser extent, lower
claims paid during the period.

As compared to the fourth quarter of 2004, net contribution from
insurance increased to Ps.9.4 million from Ps.8.8 million. This
increase was mainly due to the increase in the number of
insurance policies related to mortgage products.

Other Income from Services, Net

Other income from services, net amounted to Ps.2.5 million in
the first quarter of 2005, reflecting an increase of Ps.0.7
million from Ps.1.8 million in the first quarter of 2004. The
changes in other income from services, net resulted primarily
from higher income from services resulting from the new retail
products introduced by the Bank in 2004 and lower expenditures
on services as a consequence of debt underwriting fees recorded
in the first quarter of 2004 due to the closing of the Bank's
debt restructuring process. These effects were partially offset
by lower income from commissions related to mortgage loans.

As compared to the previous quarter, other income from services,
net increased Ps.1.3 million (109.0%) during the first quarter
of 2005. This increase was mainly due to higher income related
to the new products launched to the market and lower
expenditures on debt underwriting fees, due to the issue of
C‚dulas Hipotecarias in the fourth quarter of 2004.

Administrative Expenses

Administrative expenses for the first quarter of 2005 were
Ps.27.2 million, 19.9% higher than the Ps.22.7 million recorded
as of March 31, 2004. The main reasons for this increase were
higher salaries and social security contributions required under
applicable regulations in Argentina, higher advertising expenses
related to the launch of the Bank's new products and an increase
in other fees related to the actions adopted by the Bank in
developing its retail banking business.

As compared to the fourth quarter of 2004, administrative
expenses decreased by Ps.7.2 million from Ps.34.4 million as of
December 31, 2004, primarily as a result of lower personnel
bonuses and other fees paid during the quarter, partially offset
by higher salaries and social security contributions resulting
from the Bank's increased volume of business.

Miscellaneous Income, Net

As of March 31, 2005, miscellaneous income, net decreased to a
loss of Ps.14.5 million, Ps.39.1 million lower than the loss of
Ps.53.6 million recorded at March 31, 2004. This decrease
resulted primarily from: i) the negative effects of the reversal
of compensation rights related to the CER/CVS asymmetric
indexation recorded in the first quarter of 2004; and ii) higher
recoveries on loans during the first quarter of 2005 compared to
the comparable period in 2004. This effect was partially offset
by charges made during the quarter in order to provision for the
contingent effects related to the appreciation in the trading
price of the Bank's Class D shares, which reserve is designed to
account for the higher value attributable to the stock
appreciation rights issued with and attached to the Medium Term
Guaranteed Debt due on 2010.

Miscellaneous income, net decreased by Ps.16.1 million in the
first quarter of 2005 as compared to the fourth quarter of 2004,
mainly as a result of higher provisions for the contingent
effects related to the appreciation of the trading price of the
Bank's Class D shares.

Loans

The Bank's total loan portfolio during the first quarter of 2005
increased by Ps.18.8 million from Ps.2,703.1 million at March
31, 2004. This increase resulted primarily from higher balances
of public sector assets resulting from the increase in the CER
index during the quarter and the change in the valuation of
guaranteed loans given as security for future advances from the
Central Bank in order to subscribe additional Boden, partially
offset by lower average balances of loans to the non-financial
private sector as a result of securitizations (C‚dulas
Hipotecarias Argentinas Series I and II), the suspension of the
CVS index applied on pesified loans and the natural amortization
of mortgage loans. During the first quarter of 2005, the Bank
originated Ps.18.8 million in mortgage loans and Ps.23.4 million
in personal loans, and it expects to record further increases in
both products over the next quarters.

In addition, the Bank's total loan portfolio at March 31, 2005
decreased slightly by Ps.28.5 million to Ps.2,721.9 million from
Ps.2,750.4 million as of December 31, 2004. This increase
resulted primarily from lower average mortgage loan balances and
lower short-term advances, and was partially offset by the
increase in the CER index on guaranteed loans and other non-
financial government sector loans.

Funding Sources

Total on-balance sheet funding as of March 31, 2005, was
Ps.5,661.3 million, 2.9% higher than the Ps.5,501.4 million
recorded as of March 31, 2004. The increase in total funding in
the first quarter of 2005 is primarily the result of higher
deposits resulting from the Bank's increased retail business, in
particular time deposits and savings accounts, new foreign
currency-denominated financing in aggregate principal amount of
US$30 million, and higher liabilities due to the Central Bank as
a result of the impact of the CER index on such borrowings,
partially offset by lower average balances resulting from
prepayments and tenders.

Total debt was Ps.6,797.9 million as of March 31, 2005, up from
Ps.6,105.1 million in the first quarter of 2004, reflecting the
recording under "Other liabilities" of two US$/CER currency
swaps for US$180 million entered into by the Bank to hedge its
net liability exposure in CER.

Total on-balance sheet funding of Ps.5,661.3 million during the
first quarter of 2005 was slightly higher than in the fourth
quarter of 2004, as a result of the increase in deposits, higher
Central Bank borrowings resulting from the impact of the CER
index on such assistance and new foreign currency-denominated
financing in aggregate principal amount of US$30 million. These
effects were partially offset by the prepayment of Central Bank
borrowings as a consequence of the tenders made and buyback of
financial debt of the Bank at market prices.

As of March 31, 2005, shareholders' equity amounted to 22.0% of
assets and the ratio of debt to shareholder's equity was
2.8times.

On April 5, 2005, the Bank successfully closed its third series
of C‚dulas Hipotecarias in the local capital markets for an
aggregate amount of Ps.62.5 million, issued under the "C‚dulas
Hipotecarias Argentinas Ps.500 million Note Program". The offer
was oversubscribed by more than four times the authorized amount
issued. The Bonds accrue interest at a variable rate equal to
the higher of CER plus 1% and the interest rate for time
deposits between Ps.100,000 and
Ps.500,000, up to 59 days, reported by the Central Bank plus 2%,
subject to a floor of 8% per annum and a ceiling of 15% per
annum. The securities are collateralized by residential mortgage
loans and were rated "raAA" by Standard & Poor's.

On January 25, 2005, the Bank obtained new credit lines from
foreign financial institutions in aggregate principal amount of
US$30 million for a term of 18 months.

On December 1, 2004, the Bank paid the second interest coupon
due on its long-term debt due 2013 in an amount of US$ 7.2
million and EUR 4.2 million. On February 3, 2005, the Bank paid
the third interest coupon due on its guaranteed medium-term debt
due 2010, in an amount of US$ 2.4 million.

To see financial statements:
http://bankrupt.com/misc/1Q05_Financial_Statmnt.pdf

CONTACTS:  Marcelo Icikson
           Nicolas Vocos
           Capital Markets
           Tel. (54-11) 4347-5122
           Fax (54-11) 4347-5874
           Buenos Aires, Argentina
           E-mail: micikson@hipotecario.com.ar
                   nmvocos@hipotecario.com.ar


           Gabriel Saidon
           Chief Financial Officer
           Tel. (54-11) 4347-5759/5212
           Fax (54-11) 4347-5874/5113
           Buenos Aires, Argentina
           E-mail: gsaidon@hipotecario.com.ar


C.P. AGROINSUMOS: Court Orders Liquidation
------------------------------------------
C.P. Agroinsumos S.H. prepares to wind-up its operations
following the bankruptcy pronouncement issued by Court No. 8 of
Salto's civil and commercial tribunal. The declaration
effectively prohibits the company from administering its assets,
control of which will be transferred to a court-appointed
trustee.

Infobae reports that the court has not appointed a trustee for
this case although the submission of proof of claims is set to
end on July 1. The verified claims will serve as basis for the
individual reports to be presented for court approval on August
16. The trustee will also submit a general report of the case on
October 10.

CONTACT: C.P. Agroinsumos S.H.
         Defensa 222
         Salto


CASA BRUSCO: Initiates Bankruptcy Proceedings
---------------------------------------------
Court No. 9 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
declared Casa Brusco S.A. "Quiebra," reports Infobae. Clerk No.
17 assists the court on the case, which will close with the
liquidation of the Company's assets to repay creditors.

Mr. Jorge Luis Blazquez, who has been appointed as trustee, will
verify creditors' claims until August 25 and then prepare the
individual reports based on the results of the verification
process.

The individual reports will then be submitted to court on
September 22, followed by the general report on November 15.

CONTACT: Mr. Jorge Luis Blazquez, Trustee
         Fray Justo Santa Maria de Oro 2381
         Buenos Aires


CLUB TRAFICOS: Court Grants Reorganization Motion
-------------------------------------------------
Club Traficos Old Boys, a company operating in Pergamino, begins
reorganization proceedings after Court No. 2 of the city's civil
and commercial tribunal granted its petition for "concurso
preventivo".

During the reorganization, the company will be able to negotiate
a settlement proposal for its creditors so as to avoid a
straight liquidation.

According to Argentine news source Infobae, the reorganization
will be conducted under the direction of Mr. Federico D.
Bonello, the court-appointed trustee.

Creditors with claims against the Company must present proofs of
these debts to the trustee before May 31. These claims will
constitute the individual reports to be submitted in court on
July 27. The court also requires the trustee to present an audit
of the company's accounting and business records through a
general report due on September 8.

An informative assembly with the Company's creditors is
scheduled on March 8 next year.

CONTACT: Club Traficos Old Boys
         Velez Sarsfield 368
         Pergamino

         Mr. Federico D. Bonello, Trustee
         Avda J.A. Roca 814
         Pergamino


CONDHER S.R.L.: Required Report Schedule Set
--------------------------------------------
Mr. Diego Lionel Sivori, the trustee assigned to supervise the
liquidation of Condher S.R.L., will submit the validated
individual claims for court approval on June 21. These reports
explain the basis for the accepted and rejected claims. The
trustee will also submit a general report of the case on August
31.

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 with the proceedings.

CONTACT: Condher S.R.L.
         Zapata 100
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Diego Lionel Sivori, Trustee
         Avda Corrientes 880
         Buenos Aires


COMPANIA BELGA: Reorganization Request Granted
----------------------------------------------
Court No. 13 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
approved the "Concurso Preventivo" petition filed by Compania
Belga de Aceros S.A., reports local news source La Nacion.

The Company will undergo reorganization under the supervision of
court-appointed trustee Flora Marcela Pazas. The city's Clerk
No. 25 assists the court on the case that will close with the
sale of all the Company's assets.

CONTACT: Compania Belga de Aceros S.A.
         O'Higgins 2178
         Buenos Aires

         Ms. Flora Marcela Pazas, Trustee
         Montevideo 527
         Buenos Aires


CREDITO GENERAL: Judge Approves Bankruptcy
------------------------------------------
Credito General Pacheco S.A. was declared bankrupt after Court
No. 17 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal endorsed
the petition of Ms. Monica Pujadas for the company's
liquidation.

La Nacion Reports that the court assigned Mr. Carlos Moreno to
supervise the liquidation process as trustee. Mr. Moreno will
validate creditors' proofs of claims until June 16.

The city's Clerk No. 34 assists the court in resolving this
case.

CONTACT: Credito General Pacheco S.A.
         Zabala 1625
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Carlos Moreno, Trustee
         Tucuman 1658
         Buenos Aires


DODERO VIAJES: Initiates Bankruptcy Proceedings
-----------------------------------------------
Court No. 26 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
declared Dodero Viajes S.A. "Quiebra," reports Infobae.

Ms. Cristina Alicia Mattioni, who has been appointed as trustee,
will verify creditors' claims until July 4 and then prepare the
individual reports based on the results of the verification
process.

The individual reports will then be submitted in court on
September 6, followed by the general report on October 19.

CONTACT: Dodero Viajes S.A.
         Sarmiento 432
         Buenos Aires

         Ms. Cristina Alicia Mattioni, Trustee
         Uruguay 385
         Buenos Aires


ECCO S.A.: Finalizes Reorganization
-----------------------------------
The reorganization of Ecco S.A. has been concluded. Data
revealed by Infobae on its Web site indicated that the process
ended after the Civil and Commercial Court No. 4 of Rosario
homologated the debt agreement signed between the Company and
its creditors.


EDUCAR S.A.: Debt Payments Halted, Set To Reorganize
----------------------------------------------------
Court No. 15 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal is
reviewing the merits of a petition to reorganize submitted by
Educar S.A.

La Nacion recalls that the private school filed the petition
following cessation of debt payments this week. Reorganization
will allow the company to avoid bankruptcy by negotiating a
settlement with its creditors.

The city's Clerk No. 30 assists the court on the Company's case.

CONTACT: Educar S.A.
         25 de Mayo 347
         Buenos Aires


HUE GAS: Court Authorizes Reorganization Process
------------------------------------------------
Hue Gas S.A. successfully petitioned for reorganization after
Court No. 16 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 three accounting firms "Estudio Martinez
Angelini y Asociados", "Chiaia, Sotlzing y Asociados" and
"Disanto, Fazio, Fr" will serve as trustee during the course of
the reorganization. The trustee will be accepting creditors'
proofs of claims for verification until July 8.

After verifications, the trustees will prepare the individual
reports and submit it in court on October 3. They will also
present a general report for court review on December 14.

The company will endorse the settlement proposal, drafted from
the submitted claims, for approval by the creditors during the
informative assembly scheduled on August 2 next year.

CONTACT: "Estudio Martinez Angelini y Asociados"
          Trustee
          Libertad 877
          Buenos Aires

         "Chiaia, Sotlzing y Asociados"
          Trustee
          Suipacha 190
          Buenos Aires

         "Disanto, Fazio, Fr"
          Trustee
          Tucuman 1367
          Buenos Aires


LAGORIO ARGENTINA: Claims Verification Deadline Approaches
----------------------------------------------------------
The submission of proof of claims for the Lagorio Argentina S.A.
liquidation case will end on June 9, according to Infobae.
Creditors with claims against the bankrupt company must present
proof of the liabilities to Mr. Luis L. Abranzon, the court-
appointed trustee, by the said deadline.

Court No. 15 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
handles the company's case with assistance from Clerk No. 29.
The bankruptcy will conclude with the liquidation of the
company's assets to pay its creditors.

CONTACT: Mr. Luis L. Abranzon, Trustee
         Uruguay 390
         Buenos Aires


MAILNET ARGENTINA: Court Favors Creditor's Bankruptcy Motion
------------------------------------------------------------
Court No. 19 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
declared Mailnet Argentina S.A. bankrupt, says La Nacion. The
ruling comes in approval of the petition filed by the Company's
creditor, Banco Francas S.A., for nonpayment of US$4,675.07 in
debt.

Trustee Francisco Cano will examine and authenticate creditors'
claims until July 7. This is done to determine the nature and
amount of the Company's debts. Creditors must have their claims
authenticated by the trustee by the said date in order to
qualify for the payments that will be made after the Company's
assets are liquidated.

Clerk No. 37 assists the court on the case, which will conclude
with the liquidation of the Company's assets.

CONTACT: Mailnet Argentina S.A.
         Av. Cordoba 972
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Francisco Cano, Trustee
         Uruguay 618
         Buenos Aires


PAMPEANO GROUP: Seeks Court Approval to Reorganize
--------------------------------------------------
Pampeano Group S.A., an agribusiness consulting company
operating in Buenos Aires, requested for reorganization after
failing to pay its liabilities since November 1, 2004.

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

The case is pending before Court No. 20 of Buenos Aires' civil
and commercial tribunal. The city's Clerk No. 39 assists the
court on this case.

CONTACT: Pampeano Group S.A.
         Suipacha 190
         Buenos Aires


PETROBRAS ENERGIA: Fitch Affirms LC, FC Int'l Ratings at B
----------------------------------------------------------
Credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings Argentina unit has affirmed
local energy company Petrobras Energia's local and foreign
currency international ratings at B, reports Business News
Americas.

According to the ratings agency, Petrobras Energia's 2004
financial improvement reflects increased cash generation,
improved liquidity and added financial flexibility as well as
continued achievement of productivity and efficiency gains.

Petrobras Energia posted net profit of ARS122 million for the
1Q05, up from ARS82 million in the same year-ago period.

Fitch has also affirmed Petrobras Energia's Argentine national
scale rating at A+ (Arg) and its short-term national rating at
A1 (Arg) and confirmed its category 1 rating on PE shares. The
outlook on the ratings is positive.

PE is controlled by Brazil's federal energy company Petrobras
(NYSE: PBR), which is rated BB- by Fitch.


PROAFE S.A.: Claims Validation Deadline Approaches
--------------------------------------------------
The verification of claims for the Proafe S.A. bankruptcy case
will end on June 15 according to Infobae. Creditors with claims
against the bankrupt company must present proof of the
liabilities to Ms. Analia Beatriz Chelala, the court-appointed
trustee, by the said deadline.

Court No. 3 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
handles the company's case with the assistance of Clerk No. 6.
The bankruptcy will conclude with the liquidation of the
company's assets to pay its creditors.

CONTACT: Proafe S.A.
         Fitz Roy 2277
         Buenos Aires

         Ms. Analia Beatriz Chelala, Trustee
         Avda Corrientes 2335
         Buenos Aires


METROGAS: Reports ARS29.421 Million Profit in 1Q05
--------------------------------------------------
Metrogas (MGS) ended the 1Q05 with ARS29.421 million in profit,
the natural gas distributor revealed in a statement to the local
stock exchange. According to Dow Jones Newswires, Metrogas did
not offer further details on its results nor did it provide a
comparative figure for past quarters.

Metrogas rejected a utility contract first offered by the
Argentine government during a public hearing held late last
month. The Company wants a higher rate increase as one of the
basic requirements for a sustainable accord.

Uniren, the agency handling the government's utility contract
renegotiations, will make a final decision about Metrogas'
contract in June.

The company serves about 2 million clients in and around Buenos
Aires. U.K. energy company BG Group PLC (BRG) and Spain's
Repsol-YPF (REP) together control a 70% stake in Metrogas
through a consortium called Gas Argentino.

CONTACT: MetroGAS S.A.
         Gregorio Araoz de Lamadrid 1360
         C 1267 AAB Buenos Aires, Argentina
         Phone: 5411-4309-1000


SOUTHERN WINDS: Reorganization Process Initiated
------------------------------------------------
Court No. 15 of the civil and Commercial Tribunal of Buenos
Aires approved a petition for reorganization filed by local
company Southern Winds S.A., reports Infobae.

Accounting firm "Estudio Aguilar Pinedo, Rascado Fernandez &
Asociados" was designated as the Company's trustee. The firm's
duties include the verification of credit claims and preparation
of the individual and general report.

The court gave creditors until September 6 to present their
claims to the trustee for verification, Infobae reveals, without
stating whether the court has set the deadlines for the filing
of
the trustee's reports.

CONTACT: Southern Winds S.A.
         Suipacha 1111
         Buenos Aires

        "Estudio Aguilar Pinedo, Rascado Fernandez & Asociados"
         Trustee
         Hipolito Yrigoyen 900
         Buenos Aires


SUMA GAS: Gets Court Approval to Reorganize
-------------------------------------------
Suma Gas S.A.C.I. will begin reorganization following the
approval of its petition by Court No. 16 of Buenos Aires' civil
and commercial tribunal. The opening of the reorganization
allows the company to negotiate a settlement with its creditors
in order to avoid a straight liquidation.

Local accounting firms "Estudio Martinez Angelini y Asociados",
"Chiaia, Sotlzing y Asociados" and "Disanto, Fazio, Fr" will
oversee the reorganization proceedings as court-appointed
trustees. The firms will verify creditors' claims until July 8.
The validated claims will be presented in court as individual
reports on October 3.

The trustees will also submit a general report essentially
auditing the company's accounting and business records as well
as summarizing important events pertaining to the
reorganization. The report will be presented in court on
December 14.

An 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 2 next year.

The city's Clerk No. 32 assists the court on this case.

CONTACT: "Estudio Martinez Angelini y Asociados"
          Trustee
          Libertad 877
          Buenos Aires

         "Chiaia, Sotlzing y Asociados"
          Trustee
          Suipacha 190
          Buenos Aires


TELECOM ARGENTINA: Reports 22% Increase in Net Revenues in 1Q05
---------------------------------------------------------------
Telecom Argentina (BASE: TECO2), one of Argentina's largest
telecommunications companies, announced today consolidated net
income of P$279 million for the first quarter of fiscal year
2005 ("1Q05") mainly due to positive financial and holding
results generated by foreign exchange differences.
Comparatively, consolidated net income for the first quarter of
fiscal year 2004 ("1Q04") was P$124 million.

Major Events and Developments

During 1Q05 the following results were achieved:

-- Net Revenues amounted to P$1,237 MM (+P$220 MM or +22% vs.
1Q04), mainly due to the expansion of the mobile business.

-- Operating Profit before depreciation and amortization reached
a similar level to that of 1Q04 (+P$14 MM or 3% vs. 1Q04). This
result reflects the increased costs related to growth in the
cellular business. Additionally, the freeze in regulated tariffs
for fixed telephony services limited the ability to offset the
increase in costs caused by inflation.

-- Net Income of P$279 MM (+P$155 MM vs. 1Q04) was mainly as a
consequence of positive financial and holding results due to
currency exchange differences and to improvement in Operating
Profit.

-- Shareholders' Equity as March 31, 2005, amounted to P$781 MM
(-P$511 MM or 40% vs. 1Q04).

-- Net Financial Debt as of March 31, 2005, reached P$6,400 MM
(-P$757 MM or -11% vs. 1Q04).

-- The Ratio of Net Financial Debt to Operating Profit before
Depreciation and Amortization for the last 12 months decreased
to
3.2 (from 3.7 as of March 31, 2004), mainly due to the debt
restructurings of Telecom Personal and Nucleo that took place
during the last quarter of FY04 and to the cash flow generation
of the Group.

-- The results of the Company continue to be highly impacted by
the fluctuation of the exchange rate of the Peso vs. the Dollar
and the Euro.

Earnings/loss per share and ADR for 1Q05 amounted to P$0.28 and
P$1.42, respectively. In comparison, earnings/loss per share and
ADR for 1Q04 were P$0.13 and P$0.63, respectively.

Operating profit before depreciation and amortization, operating
profit/(loss) and net income/(loss) for 1Q05 represented 41%,
11% and 23% of net sales, respectively; compared with 49%, 6%
and 12%, respectively, for 1Q04.

The fall in the Operating Profit before Depreciation and
Amortization margin in 1Q05 is a consequence of the increase in
costs generated by higher commissions and discounts in the sale
of handsets in the cellular telephony business that allowed the
incorporation of new subscribers. Additionally, the effect of
the tariff freeze limited our ability to absorb higher costs
caused by inflation. As a consequence, Operating Profit before
Depreciation and Amortization for 1Q05 reached P$508 million, a
similar level to 1Q04.

   Company Activities

    Evolution of Consolidated Net Revenues
    (1Q05 vs. 1Q04 comparison)

Consolidated net revenues for 1Q05 totaled P$1,237 million, an
increase of P$220 million, or 22%, compared with P$1,017 million
for 1Q04. The increase can be largely attributed to the increase
in demand, particularly in the cellular business in Argentina.

    Fixed Telephony

In fixed telephony operations, local measured service revenues
increased by P$5 million, or 4%, to P$123 million during 1Q05.
Domestic long distance "DLD" revenues increased by P$2 million,
or 2%, reaching P$109 million. Revenues from domestic long
distance telephony increased due to a 7% increase in traffic,
partially offset by a decline in the average price for the
service.

Total traffic volume (Local and DLD), measured in minutes,
increased by 1%.

Monthly charges increased by P$11 million, or 7%, to P$165
million for 1Q05, mainly due to the increase in customer lines.
Customer lines as of March 31, 2005, increased to approximately
3,506,000 when compared to approximately 3,380,000 as of March
31, 2004, due to the recovery in demand. Nevertheless, the
current level of lines in service is still below the level
reached before the economic crisis in December 2001.

Revenues generated by interconnection services increased by P$6
million, or 12%, to P$56 million, mainly due to the increase in
cellular traffic transported by the fixed network.

Regarding international telephony activities, during 1Q05
revenues reached P$55 million, increasing by P$1 million or 2%,
mainly due to higher traffic levels and partially offset by a
decrease in rates of incoming and outgoing traffic.

    Internet and Data Transmission

Revenues generated by the data transmission and Internet
business totaled P$109 million, representing an increase of P$12
million, or 12%, mainly due to the increase in revenues
generated by the Internet business as a consequence of the
higher number of ADSL clients partially offset by lower dial-up
traffic. In the last two quarters, Internet minutes have fallen
due to the steady migration of clients to ADSL services.

As of March 31, 2005, total lines in service with ADSL
connections amounted to 136,000, an increase of 56,000, or 70%.
The number of Arnet's ADSL subscribers reached approximately
90,000, increasing by 76% while Internet dial-up customers
reached approximately 149,000, decreasing 5%. Internet minutes
represented 29% of total traffic measured in minutes transported
over the fixed-line network.

    Cellular Telephony
The revenues generated by the cellular business during 1Q05
increased by P$190 million, or 53%, to P$550 million.

Revenues of Telecom Personal in Argentina increased by P$188
million, or 59%, to P$506 million, mainly due to the higher
number of subscribers, to the increase in total traffic and to
the increase in sales of handsets.

In a highly competitive environment, the average monthly revenue
per customer remained stable at P$34 when compared with 1Q04, in
spite of the significant increase in the number of clients.
Additionally, total cellular traffic increased by 48% when
compared with 1Q04.

Total cellular subscribers of Telecom Personal in Argentina
reached approximately 4,223,000 at March 31, 2005, representing
an increase of approximately 1,371,000 customers, or 48%. This
increase in the client base was fueled by the impressive growth
in the number of GSM subscribers, which represents 21% of total
customer base.

Regarding its technological development, Telecom Personal
continues expanding the coverage and capacity of its GSM/GPRS
network and increasing the number of value added services.
Telecom Personal also continues with its advertising and
promotional campaigns, geared toward repositioning its brand and
to strengthen its market position.

The customer base as of March 31, 2005, amounted to
approximately 3,038,000 prepaid subscribers, representing 72% of
total customer base, and approximately 1,185,000 post-paid
subscribers, representing the remaining 28%. These percentages
were 81% and 19%, respectively, as of March 31, 2004.

Nucleo, Telecom Personal's subsidiary that provides cellular
services in Paraguay, generated P$44 million in revenues during
1Q05, which are consolidated into the mobile telephony business
together with the revenues of Telecom Personal. Nucleo's 1Q05
revenues increased by P$2 million, or 5%.

As of March 31, 2005, Nucleo had approximately 535,000 customers
or the same as in 1Q04. Nucleo has been able to recover the
clients it had lost due to the elimination of dormant customers
that took place during 2004. Nucleo's postpaid subscribers
increased by 21%, reaching 99,000 clients, representing 19% of
the customer base. Prepaid customers reached 436,000, equivalent
to a reduction of 4%. Additionally, Nucleo launched its GSM
services in Paraguay, becoming the operator with the larger
GSM/GPRS coverage in the country.

    Directories

Publicom did not register revenues for new directories during
1Q05 due to the fact that the commercial plan did not
contemplate any distribution during this period. However,
contracts for advertising in the directories continue to
increase significantly when compared to 1Q04.

    Evolution of Operating Costs

The cost of services provided, administrative expenses and
selling expenses for 1Q05 increased by P$143 million, or 15%, to
P$1,095 million. The evolution of cost is mainly related to the
increase in sales and increasing competition in the mobile
telephony business in Argentina, and to the increase in labor
cost in the cellular and fixed businesses.

Salaries and social security contributions increased by P$26
million, or 20%, to P$159 million, primarily due to the increase
in salaries and bonuses granted during FY04 and 1Q05.
Additionally, labor costs rose as a consequence of the increase
in headcount in the cellular telephony business, partially
offset by a decrease in headcount in the fixed telephony
business. As of March 31, 2005, the headcount totaled 14,228,
compared to 14,059 as of March 31, 2004.

Taxes reached $85 million, an increase of $14 million when
compared with 1Q04 due to the impact of sales tax and higher
fees paid to the regulator, both in the cellular telephony
activity.

The allowance for doubtful accounts increased to P$9 million,
mainly due to a lower level of credit recovery in the fixed
telephony business. It is important to note that the levels of
doubtful accounts are still below the historical level, both in
the fixed and cellular telephony businesses.

Sales commissions increased by P$17 million, or 45%, to P$55
million for 1Q05, as a consequence of commissions paid for new
customers and higher sales of cellular prepaid cards.

Costs related to advertising remained at P$22 million, in spite
of the fact that Telecom Personal and Arnet continued with their
promotions and media advertising campaigns.

The cost of cellular handsets increased by P$52 million reaching
P$81 million mainly due to the increase in handset sales as a
consequence of cellular business growth after the launch of the
GSM service.

TLRD (termination charges in third parties cellular networks)
and roaming cost increased by P$44 million reaching P$86
million, following the significant increase in cellular traffic.

Depreciation of fixed and intangible assets decreased by P$63
million, or 15%, to P$366 million during 1Q05 as a consequence
of the end of the amortization period of certain assets, mainly
in the fixed telephony business.

    Financial and Holding Results

The gain resulting from financial and holding results reached
P$175 million for 1Q05, as compared to a gain of P$95 million in
1Q04. The difference can be largely attributed to the P$98
million registered as net currency exchange differences. The
higher gain was a consequence of the effect of the appreciation
of the Argentine Peso against the Euro on the financial debt of
the Company. The exchange rate Peso/Euro decreased from $4.06 in
December 31, 2004, to $3.78 in March 31, 2005.

    Other Expenses

Other expenses (net) increased by P$6 million, or 19%, to P$37
million for the 1Q05, mainly as a result of higher provisions
for lawsuits and other contingencies.

    Cash flow and Net Financial Debt

Net Debt (Loans minus Cash and Banks plus Investments) decreased
by P$757 million, or 11%, to P$6,400 million for 1Q05, compared
with 1Q04 (P$7,157 million), mainly as a consequence of the
successful restructuring of Telecom Personal and Nucleo's debts
and the cash flow generation of the Company, partially offset by
accrued interests.

    Investments

Of the total amount of P$62 million invested during 1Q05, P$38
million, or 61%, corresponds to fixed-line telephony, data
transmission and Internet, and P$24 million, or 39% to the
cellular business.

    Other Matters

    Annual General Shareholders' Meeting

On April 27, 2005, Telecom Argentina held its Annual General
Shareholders' Meeting. Among other points, the Shareholders'
Meeting approved the FY04 Annual Report and Financial
Statements, the Board's proposal that the negative
Unappropriated Retained Earnings of FY04 be allocated to FY05
and the adoption of measures regarding applicability of Article
206 of Argentine Corporate Law to be postponed until the end of
the restructuring process. Moreover, the Shareholders approved
the election of members of the Board of Directors, the election
of members of the Supervisory Committee, the Audit Committee's
budget for FY05 and the designation of the
PricewaterhouseCoopers & Co. as external auditors of the
Company.

   Debt restructuring process

After the successful closing of the debt restructuring of
Telecom Personal and Nucleo in November 2004, Telecom Argentina
is in the process of obtaining the "homologation" of its APE
(Acuerdo Preventivo Extrajudicial) by the majority of its
creditors. Once the "homologation" is obtained and the debt
exchange is concluded, Telecom Argentina will report positive
Debt Restructuring results that will arise mainly from haircuts
in principal amounts and forgiveness of interest.

Telecom is the parent company of a leading telecommunications
group in Argentina, where it offers, directly or through its
controlled subsidiaries, local and long distance fixed-line
telephony, cellular, data transmission, and Internet services,
among other services. Additionally, through a controlled
subsidiary, the Telecom Group offers cellular services in
Paraguay. The Company commenced operations on November 8, 1990,
upon the Argentine Government's transfer of the
telecommunications system in the northern region.

Nortel Inversora S.A. ("Nortel"), which acquired the majority of
the Company from the Argentine government, holds 54.74% of
Telecom's common stock. Nortel is a holding company where the
common stock (approximately 68% of capital stock) is owned by
Sofora Telecomunicaciones S.A. Additionally, the capital stock
of Nortel is comprised of preferred shares that are held by
minority shareholders.

On March 31, 2005, Telecom had 984,380,978 shares outstanding.


VINTAGE PETROLEUM: Increases Cash Dividend
------------------------------------------
Vintage Petroleum, Inc. (NYSE:VPI) announced Tuesday its board
of directors has authorized a cash dividend of five and one-half
cents per share, increasing the company's quarterly dividend
rate by ten percent. This represents the twelfth increase in the
company's quarterly cash dividend rate since dividends were
initiated in 1992. The company said the dividend will be paid
July 5, 2005, to stockholders of record on June 16, 2005.

Vintage Petroleum, Inc. is an independent energy company engaged
in the acquisition, exploitation and exploration of oil and gas
properties and the marketing of natural gas and crude oil.
Company headquarters are in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and its common
shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the
symbol VPI. For additional information, visit the company
website at www.vintagepetroleum.com.

CONTACT:    Vintage Petroleum, Inc., Tulsa
Robert E. Phaneuf
Phone: 918-592-0101


ZIRLAND S.A.: Court Orders Bankruptcy
-------------------------------------
Zirland S.A. enters bankruptcy protection after Court No. 1 of
Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal, with the assistance
of Clerk No. 2, ordered the company's liquidation. The order
effectively transfers control of the company's assets to a
court-appointed trustee who will supervise the liquidation
proceedings.

Infobae reports that the court selected Mr. Nestor Adrian
Szwarcberg as trustee. Mr. Szwarcberg will be verifying
creditors' proofs of claims until the end of the verification
phase on May 17.

Argentine bankruptcy law requires the trustee to provide the
court with individual reports on the forwarded claims and a
general report containing an audit of the company's accounting
and business records. The individual reports will be submitted
on June 29 followed by the general report, which is due on
August 24.

CONTACT: Zirland S.A.
         Echeverria 1415
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Nestor Adrian Szwarcberg, Trustee
         Hipolito Yrigoyen 1349
         Buenos Aires



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

ANNUITY & LIFE: Swings to Red in 1Q05, Posts $768,665 Net Loss
--------------------------------------------------------------
Annuity and Life Re (Holdings), Ltd. (OTC Bulletin Board:
ANNRF.OB) reported Tuesday financial results for the three
months ended March 31, 2005. The Company reported a net loss of
$(768,665) or $(0.03) per fully diluted share for the three
months ended March 31, 2005, as compared to net income of
$834,394 or $0.03 per fully diluted share for the three months
ended March 31, 2004. Net income for three months ended March
31, 2004, included a charge of $(365,960) or $(0.01) per fully
diluted share for the cumulative effect of adopting the AICPA
Statement of Position (SOP) 03-1 effective January 1, 2004.

Net realized investment gains for the three months ended March
31, 2005, were $401,150, as compared with net realized
investment gains of $678,925 for the three months ended March
31, 2004. The realized gains were the result of the transfer and
sale of securities in the Company's investment portfolio to
ceding companies in connection with the Transamerica and Met
Life recaptures in the three months ended March 31, 2005 and
2004, respectively.

Gross unrealized losses on the Company's investments were
($121,169) as of March 31, 2005, as compared to gross unrealized
gains of $1,266,517 at December 31, 2004. The Company's
investment portfolio currently maintains an average credit
quality of AA. Cash used by operations for the three months
ended March 31, 2005, was $37,057,460, as compared to cash used
by operations of $36,869,555 for the three months ended March
31, 2004. The cash used by operations during the three months
ended March 31, 2005, includes payments made in connection with
the termination and recapture of the Transamerica annuity
reinsurance agreement and the novation of the Scottish and F&G
life reinsurance agreements to Transamerica. Approximately
$39,600,000 was paid to Transamerica in connection with the
novation and recapture transactions in the three months ended
March 31, 2005.

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

To see financial statements:
http://bankrupt.com/misc/Annuity&Life.htm

CONTACT:  Annuity and Life Re (Holdings), Ltd.
          John Lockwood
          +1-441-296-7667


FOSTER WHEELER: Posts Consolidated EBITDA of $31.2M for 1Q05
------------------------------------------------------------
Foster Wheeler Ltd. (OTCBB: FWHLF) announced Tuesday its first-
quarter 2005 financial results for the period ending April 1,
2005. The net after-tax income for the first quarter of 2005 was
$1.2 million. Net earnings per basic share for the first quarter
of 2005 were $0.03.

Consolidated EBITDA (earnings/loss before income taxes, interest
expense, depreciation and amortization) was $31.2 million for
the first quarter of 2005.

"The financial results for the quarter were driven primarily by
continued strong operating performance on existing contracts in
the North American Power operations, the E&C Group's operations
in Continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Asia Pacific and
North America, and the return of the European Power operations
to making a positive contribution," said Raymond J. Milchovich,
chairman, president and chief executive officer.

"Following last year's successful balance sheet restructuring,
we have continued to achieve additional milestones in the
Company's turnaround. In March, we announced that the Company
had successfully closed a new $250 million, five-year Senior
Credit Agreement. This new facility provides us with a
significantly increased level of bonding capacity to support our
global businesses, together with added liquidity and financial
flexibility that is provided by the $75 million sub-limit for
revolver borrowings."

The net after-tax loss for the first quarter of 2004 was $4.3
million and the net loss per basic share was $2.09. Consolidated
EBITDA for the first quarter of 2004 was $42.6 million.

Worldwide cash and domestic liquidity

Total cash and short-term investments at the end of the first
quarter of 2005 were $333.2 million, of which $289.3 million was
held by non-U.S. subsidiaries. This compares with $390.2 million
total cash and short-term investments at year-end 2004 and
$453.8 million at the end of the first quarter of 2004. This
decline in both domestic and worldwide cash during the last
twelve months is the result of negative operating performance of
the European Power operations, one-time fees and expenses
associated with closing the equity-for-debt exchange offer and
the new Senior Credit Agreement, and the working capital
requirements of increased cost-reimbursable bookings. The
Company's liquidity forecast continues to indicate that domestic
liquidity is adequate through the first quarter of 2006, without
domestic utilization of its $75 million revolving credit line.

Segment EBITDA

For the first quarter of 2005, the E&C Group's EBITDA was $26.3
million, compared with $35.1 million for the first quarter of
2004. The first-quarter 2004 results included a $10.5 million
gain on the sale of development rights for a power project in
Italy, which was not repeated in 2005.

The Global Power Group's EBITDA for the first quarter of 2005
was $29.7 million, compared with $20.4 million in the first
quarter of 2004. The increase in EBITDA was driven by a
continued strong operating performance on existing contracts in
the North American Power operations and the return of the
European Power operations to making a positive contribution.

Bookings, revenues and backlog

New orders booked by the Company during the first quarter of
2005 were $460.0 million, compared with $629.9 million during
the first quarter of 2004.

For the first quarter of 2005, new bookings for the E&C Group
were $324.5 million, compared with $473.2 million during the
first quarter of 2004. This decrease is primarily due to several
expected awards being delayed later into 2005. However, for a
number of these expected awards, the Company has received
partial release from the client to undertake specific project-
related activities, pending anticipated full release later in
2005.

New orders booked in the first quarter of 2005 for the Global
Power Group were $183.0 million, compared with $156.7 million in
the first quarter of 2004.

The Company's operating revenues for the first quarter of 2005
were $523.1 million, down from $666.4 million in the first
quarter of 2004.

Operating revenues for the E&C Group in the first quarter of
2005 were $330.6 million, down from $394.5 million in the first
quarter of 2004. The first-quarter 2004 revenues included higher
reimbursable flow-through costs compared with the first quarter
of 2005. Flow-through costs result in no profit or loss for the
Company.

The Global Power Group's operating revenues for the first
quarter of 2005 were $195.1 million, down from $272.2 million in
the first quarter of 2004. This reduction reflects the execution
and completion of several major projects by the Company's North
American and European operations in 2004 that were not replaced
during 2005.

The Company's backlog at April 1, 2005, was $1.9 billion,
compared with $2.0 billion at year-end 2004, and $2.1 billion at
the end of the first quarter of 2004. Company backlog at April
1, 2005, expressed in terms of Foster Wheeler scope, i.e.
excluding reimbursable flow-through costs, was $1.4 billion,
level with year-end 2004, and up from $1.0 billion at the end of
the first quarter of 2004.

E&C backlog at April 1, 2005, was $1.3 billion, substantially
level with $1.4 billion at year-end 2004, and $1.3 billion at
the end of the first quarter of 2004. E&C backlog expressed in
Foster Wheeler scope increased to $878.8 million at April 1,
2005, up from $883.4 million at year-end 2004, and $330.2
million at the end of the first quarter 2004.

Global Power Group backlog at April 1, 2005, was $617.2 million,
compared with $646.3 million at year-end 2004, and $817.5
million at the end of the first quarter of 2004. Expressed in
terms of Foster Wheeler scope, Global Power Group backlog at
April 1, 2005, was $505.3 million, compared with $534.4 million
at year-end 2004, and $712.0 million at the end of the first
quarter of 2004.

Summary

"Backlog, expressed as Foster Wheeler scope, has remained
substantially level during the quarter. A number of the major
projects which we were expecting to be awarded during the first
quarter have been delayed later into 2005. We have received
partial release to work on several of these projects, pending
final release by the client. We remain confident that 2005
should be a very positive booking year for the Company," said
Mr. Milchovich.

"I am very pleased with the Company's first-quarter operating
results. I believe that these results, and the latest financial
milestones achieved, demonstrate that the Company is now much
stronger, operationally and financially. I remain optimistic
about the outlook for Foster Wheeler in 2005 and beyond."

Calculation of EBITDA

Management uses several financial metrics to measure the
performance of the Company's business segments. EBITDA is a
supplemental, non-generally accepted accounting principle (GAAP)
financial measure. The Company presents EBITDA because it
believes it is an important supplemental measure of operating
performance. A reconciliation of EBITDA, a non-GAAP financial
measure, to net earnings/(loss), a GAAP measure, is attached
with the Company's financial statements.

The Company believes that the line item on its consolidated
statement of operations entitled "net earnings/(loss)" is the
most directly comparable GAAP measure to EBITDA. Since EBITDA is
not a measure of performance calculated in accordance with GAAP,
it should not be considered in isolation of, or as a substitute
for, net earnings/(loss) as an indicator of operating
performance.

EBITDA, as the Company calculates it, may not be comparable to
similarly titled measures employed by other companies. In
addition, this measure does not necessarily represent funds
available for discretionary use, and is not necessarily a
measure of the Company's ability to fund its cash needs. As
EBITDA excludes certain financial information compared with net
earnings/(loss), the most directly comparable GAAP financial
measure, users of this financial information should consider the
type of events and transactions which are excluded.

The Company's non-GAAP performance measure, EBITDA, has certain
material limitations as follows:

-- It does not include interest expense. Because the Company has
borrowed substantial amounts of money to finance some of its
operations, interest is a necessary and ongoing part of its
costs and has assisted it in generating revenue. Therefore, any
measure that excludes interest expense has material limitations;

-- It does not include taxes. Because the payment of taxes is a
necessary and ongoing part of the Company's operations, any
measure that excludes taxes has material limitations;

-- It does not include depreciation. Because the Company must
utilize substantial property, plant and equipment in order to
generate revenues in its operations, depreciation is a necessary
and ongoing part of its costs. Therefore any measure that
excludes depreciation has material limitations.

Consolidated Statements, including reconciliation of EBITDA,
follow.

All prior period share and per share data have been revised to
reflect the capital share alterations approved by the Company's
shareholders on November 29, 2004. The capital share alterations
included, among other things, a one-for-twenty reverse common
share split and a reduction in the par value of both the common
and preferred shares from $1.00 par value to $0.01 par value.

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,
petrochemicals, chemicals, power, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology
and healthcare industries. The corporation is based in Hamilton,
Bermuda, and its operational headquarters are in Clinton, New
Jersey, USA.

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

CONTACT:  Foster Wheeler Ltd.
          Media: Maureen Bingert, 908-730-4444
                 Anne Chong, +44 (0)118 913 2106
                         or
          Other Inquiries: 908-730-4000
          Web site: www.fwc.com


GLOBAL CROSSING: Cuts Losses Despite Lower Revenues in 1Q05
-----------------------------------------------------------
Global Crossing (NASDAQ: GLBC) reported Tuesday financial
results for the first quarter of 2005.

"Global Crossing's first quarter results continue to prove our
execution against a focused business plan that is accelerating
our pace toward profitability," said John Legere, Global
Crossing's chief executive officer. "Just as initiatives to
streamline and focus our UK business yielded significant
improvements in its 2004 results, likewise those same
initiatives are now producing results for Global Crossing's
consolidated business, particularly with respect to gross
margins and Adjusted EBITDA."

Revenue

Revenue for the first quarter of 2005 was $526 million,
representing a sequential decline of approximately 8 percent
compared with the fourth quarter of 2004, when revenue was
reported at $573 million, and a year-over-year decline of 21
percent compared with first quarter of 2004, when revenue was
reported at $666 million.

"At the end of 2004, we chose to concentrate on higher-margin
revenues from our core IP services, resulting in lower total
revenues," continued Mr. Legere. "The result has been a
significant improvement in gross margins, both as a percentage
of revenue and in terms of absolute dollars, as well as steady
growth in those core revenues."

Revenue in the company's "invest and grow" category -- that is,
Global Crossing's core businesses serving global enterprise,
government, collaboration and carrier data customers through
direct and indirect channels -- grew to $273 million in the
current period, up from $271 million in the fourth quarter of
2004 and $268 million in the first quarter of 2004. "Invest and
grow" revenue from the company's Global Crossing (UK)
Telecommunications subsidiary (GCUK) declined by $3 million to
$111 million when compared to the fourth quarter of 2004, while
such revenue from operations outside of the UK increased
sequentially by $5 million to $162 million. When comparing year-
over-year, GCUK experienced an "invest and grow" revenue decline
of $3 million, while the rest of the company's operations
increased revenues by $8 million in this revenue category.

As a result of restructuring activities initiated in 2004,
Global Crossing's "manage for margin" revenue declined by 17
percent sequentially, from $264 million in the fourth quarter of
2004 to $219 million in the first quarter of 2005. This category
of revenue, which comprises Global Crossing's wholesale voice
business, is one that management will continue to manage closely
in order to increase profitability. Wholesale voice revenue
declined 38 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2004,
when this category contributed $351 million in revenue.

"Shifting our revenue mix to include a greater percentage of
core services revenue is a key component of our global strategy,
one that will yield more stable and more profitable recurring
revenue in the long term," said Mr. Legere. "Our first quarter
results, including both the revenue mix and our successful
disposition of non-core businesses, attest to our continued
focus on our niche, providing higher-margin IP services to
global enterprises."

Last May 3, 2005, the company announced completion of the sale
of its trader voice business, generating $22 million in net cash
proceeds. Additionally, on March 21, 2005, the company announced
an agreement to sell its small business group (SBG) for expected
net cash proceeds of $35 million. Global Crossing expects to
complete the sale of SBG in the third quarter. The sales of both
businesses align with the company's plan to de-emphasize non-
strategic areas of its business, including the small- to medium-
sized enterprise space and specialized trader voice services,
while continuing to enjoy revenue from these market segments
through indirect sales by its partners. Together, the
anticipated net sales proceeds from trader voice and SBG total
$57 million, an amount included in the company's 2005 cash
guidance of $60 to $80 million to be generated from sales of
non-core assets, marketable securities and indefeasible rights
of use.

Gross Margin

Gross margin as a percentage of revenue improved significantly
in the first quarter of 2005 to 39 percent, compared with 36
percent for the fourth quarter of 2004 and 28 percent for the
first quarter of 2004. Gross margin dollars remained flat
sequentially and increased from $187 million in the first
quarter of 2004 to $206 million in the first quarter of 2005,
despite a revenue decline of $140 million.

Within the "invest and grow" category, gross margins were $149
million or 54 percent of "invest and grow" revenue in the first
quarter of 2005. This compares with $153 million or 56 percent
of this revenue category in the fourth quarter of 2004, and $133
million or 50 percent of such revenue in the first quarter of
2004. Gross margins at GCUK declined $7 million sequentially to
$77 million. Of this decline, $2 million was attributable to
GCUK's sequential revenue decline, while the balance reflected
the impact of one-time net cost of access credits of $5 million
in the fourth quarter of 2004. The $7 million sequential decline
in GCUK's gross margins in the "invest and grow" category was
partially offset by a $3 million increase to $72 million in
"invest and grow" gross margins for Global Crossing's business
in the rest of the world. The year-over-year increase in
consolidated "invest and grow" gross margins comprised an $18
million increase in contribution from the rest of the world,
partially offset by a $2 million reduction from GCUK.

Gross margins for the "manage for margin" category improved
significantly in the first quarter of 2005 to 17 percent of
revenue or $38 million in absolute terms, despite a revenue
decline of $132 million year-over-year. This compares with 13
percent of revenue or $33 million in the fourth quarter of 2004
and 9 percent of revenue or $31 million in the first quarter of
2004.

Global Crossing lowered its cost of access charges by 13 percent
sequentially, to $320 million in the first quarter of 2005, from
$367 million in the fourth quarter of 2004. Cost of access
declined 33 percent when compared to the first quarter of 2004,
when cost of access was reported at $479 million.

The sequential and year-over-year reductions in access costs
resulted primarily from lower wholesale voice volume, continued
improvement in access costs associated with all business
categories, and the company's strategic shift toward a greater
ratio of higher-margin IP services revenue, which relies to a
lesser extent on the services of access providers. The company
continues to aggressively manage its access spending by
optimizing its access network, leveraging its wide array of
access vendors, and extending its network closer to the
customer.

Operating Expenses

Operating expenses for the first quarter of 2005 were $208
million, compared with $198 million in the fourth quarter of
2004 and $193 million for the first quarter of 2004. The
sequential operating expense increase reflects an $11 million
net increase in restructuring charges, an $8 million increase in
non-income related taxes, and a $5 million increase in non-cash
stock compensation expense. These items were partially offset by
an $8 million reduction in professional fees, a $5 million
medical contribution excess, and a $2 million legal settlement
gain.

The year-over-year increase resulted primarily from a $24
million increase in the company's non-cash real estate
restructuring reserve, an $8 million increase in non-cash stock
compensation expense, and a $4 million increase in the incentive
compensation accrual. These increases were offset by $12 million
of reductions in rents and network operations, a one-time $5
million excess in medical contributions, a $2 million decrease
in non-income taxes, and a $2 million legal settlement gain.

Third party maintenance costs for the first quarter of 2005 were
$26 million, compared with $27 million and $31 million for the
fourth and first quarters of 2004, respectively.

Earnings

For the first quarter of 2005, Adjusted EBITDA (as defined in
tables that follow) was reported at a loss of $28 million,
compared with a loss of $19 million in the fourth quarter of
2004 and a loss of $37 million in the first quarter of 2004.

The $9 million sequential decline in Adjusted EBITDA resulted
primarily from the changes in operating expenses mentioned
above. For the first quarter of 2005, unusual items included $5
million in excess medical contributions, $2 million in a legal
settlement gain and a $24 million increase in the company's real
estate restructuring reserve. The fourth quarter of 2004 also
had unusual items, but there was no net impact on Adjusted
EBITDA. Absent the unusual items mentioned above, Adjusted
EBITDA for the first quarter of 2005 would have improved $7.5
million or 40 percent over the fourth quarter of 2004.

The $9 million year-over-year improvement in Adjusted EBITDA
reflected a $19 million improvement in gross margins, $5 million
in reduced third party maintenance costs, a $12 million
reduction in rents and network operations, and a $2 million
decrease in non-income taxes. Some of this improvement was
offset by an $8 million increase in non-cash stock compensation
expense and a $4 million increase in the accrual for incentive
compensation. In addition, unusual items for the first quarter
included a non-cash $24 million increase in the company's real
estate restructuring reserve, $5 million in excess medical
contributions, and a $2 million legal settlement gain. Unusual
items in the first quarter of 2004 had no net impact. Absent the
unusual items in the first quarter of 2005, Adjusted EBITDA
would have improved $25 million or 69 percent over the previous
year.

Consolidated loss applicable to common shareholders in the first
quarter of 2005 was reported at $107 million, compared with
losses of $109 million and $28 million for the first and fourth
quarters of 2004, respectively.

Pursuant to the SEC's Regulation G, a definition and
reconciliation of the company's Adjusted EBITDA measures to the
reported net income or loss for the relevant periods is included
in the attached schedules.

Capital Expenditures

For the first quarter of 2005, cash paid for capital
expenditures ("capex") and capital leases was $27 million,
compared with $32 million in the first quarter of 2004 and $21
million in the fourth quarter of 2004. Approximately two-thirds
of the company's total capex was used for success-based,
revenue-generating opportunities in IP and managed services, as
well as for enhancement of the company's Voice over Internet
Protocol (VoIP) network. As it adds capacity and capabilities to
its VoIP network in 2005, Global Crossing plans to continue
decommissioning Time Division Multiplexing (TDM) switches.

Cash and Liquidity

As of March 31, 2005, unrestricted cash and cash equivalents
were approximately $277 million. Restricted cash was $22
million.

Global Crossing's cash used in operating and financing
activities in the first quarter of 2005 totaled $57 million.
GCUK's net cash provided by operating and financing activities
was $7 million, while Global Crossing's business outside the UK
used $64 million. This cash flow was driven by a net loss from
operations, 2004 annual cash bonuses that were paid in the first
quarter, working capital changes resulting from the company's
decision to pay certain maintenance-related obligations upfront
in order to generate full-year savings, and repayment of capital
leases. Cash used in investing activities, specifically in the
purchases of property and equipment and changes in restricted
cash, amounted to $29 million. Finally, the company experienced
a $2 million reduction in cash as a result of the effects of
exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents.

The company's cash burn was significantly impacted by 2004
annual cash bonuses paid during the first quarter, and certain
front-loaded maintenance-related expenditures that will result
in lower total cash spending for the full year. Cash burn is
expected to diminish significantly throughout 2005, as operating
leverage and working capital improve. Proceeds from sales of
Global Crossing's trader voice and small business group
businesses, which the company expects to receive in future
quarters, will also reduce its cash burn. Specifically, the sale
of trader voice, which was completed on May 3, 2005, yielded net
proceeds of $22 million, and the sale of the small business
group, scheduled to close in the third quarter of 2005, is
expected to generate net proceeds of $35 million.

Global Crossing (NASDAQ: GLBC) provides telecommunications
solutions over the world's first integrated global IP-based
network. Its core network connects more than 300 cities and 30
countries worldwide, and delivers services to more than 500
major cities, 50 countries and 6 continents around the globe.
The company's global sales and support model matches the network
footprint and, like the network, delivers a consistent customer
experience worldwide.

Global Crossing IP services are global in scale, linking the
world's enterprises, governments and carriers with customers,
employees and partners worldwide in a secure environment that is
ideally suited for IP-based business applications, allowing e-
commerce to thrive. The company offers a full range of managed
data and voice products including Global Crossing IP VPN
Service, Global Crossing Managed Services and Global Crossing
VoIP services, to more than 40 percent of the Fortune 500, as
well as 700 carriers, mobile operators and ISPs.

CONTACT:  Global Cossing
          Press Contacts
          Becky Yeamans
          Phone: 1 973-937-0155
          Email ad: PR@globalcrossing.com

          Kendra Langlie
          Phone: 1 305-808-5912
          Email ad: LatAmPR@globalcrossing.com

          Mish Desmidt
          Europe
          Phone: 44 (0) 7771-668438
          Email ad: EuropePR@globalcrossing.com

          Analysts/Investors Contact
          Laurinda Pang
          Phone: 1 800-836-0342
          Email ad: glbc@globalcrossing.com



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

EMSA: Solution to Crisis Proves Elusive
---------------------------------------
Public sanitation company Emsa is struggling to stay afloat amid
threats by its employees to reject a reengineering plan devised
by the Company, reports Business News Americas. EMSA was set up
by the municipality in 1997 to provide waste collection and
street cleaning services in the central city of Cochabamba. But,
due to liquidity woes, EMSA's manager Gonzalo Romero asked the
municipality last year to close it down.

As part of an effort to avoid closure, the Company devised a
reengineering plan, which was met with strong resistance from
workers for fear that this could lead to layoffs and wage cuts.

Now, Cochabamba city's mayor Gonzalo Terceros is threatening to
use his powers to intervene in the Company if a solution is not
found.

The mayor had planned to set up an interim company to carry on
operations for three months until a new operator could be found
to replace Emsa. But he has not been able to get enough support
from councilors to wind up the Company, thus sparking the
intervention threat.

Some city councilors are insisting that all workers must have
their redundancy paid in full before approving the closure of
the company.



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

BANCO BMG: Moody's Assigns Various First Time Ratings
-----------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service assigned first time ratings to Banco
BMG S.A. These are a D minus (D-) bank financial strength
rating, long- and short-term global local-currency deposit
ratings of Ba3 and Not Prime, and national scale deposit ratings
of A3.br in the long-term and BR-2 in the short-term. All
ratings have stable outlook. The long-term foreign currency
deposit rating of B2 has a positive outlook, in line with that
for the country ceiling.

Moody's said that ratings for BMG reflect the bank's track
record of high profitability and efficiency ratios, which
compare well to peers', and which reflect the bank's niche
business strategy centered in consumer lending. The bank's core
earnings are among the highest in the Brazilian banking system,
and they are indicative of high margins and la ean operating
structure.

In Moody's view, the predictability of BMG's earnings translates
into a sound franchise value, and supports the D- (D minus)
financial strength rating. The bank's expertise in consumer
lending--and in payroll-linked loans, in particular -- is
supported by a broad and reliable loan origination platform and
by proprietary systems. Both of these advantages have helped the
bank maintain its leadership position in a highly competitive
market segment.

The rating agency noted that BMG's ratings are constrained by
the concentration of its funding structure, which is
predominantly wholesale, and by the relative short-term nature
of on-balance funds. BMG's loan-origination ability is far
higher than its fund-raising capability, thus leading the bank
to increasingly rely on securitizations and loan sales to
maintain its fast growth pace.

Moody's Ba3 global local-currency deposit rating incorporates
the bank's only modest position in the deposits market, which
reflects a very low probability of regulatory support. The bank
is the principal business of the Pentagna GuimarC#es family,
BMG's sole shareholders, and as such, it is likely that capital
and liquidity support could be forthcoming from the family to
provide for the bank's growth.

Moody's would view the bank's ability to further diversify its
deposits and overall funding alternatives as a positive factor
for the ratings, particularly as the tenor of BMG's loan
boolengthens. Improving or sustainable profitability ratios
would indicate management's ability to expand operations within
its defined strategy, while active in a scenario of increasing
competition and potentially lower interest rates. Negative
pressure on BMG's ratings could derive from a sharp increase in
interest rates, which could affect loan origination and thus
profitability over time.

BMG is headquartered in Belo Horizonte, Brazil. As of March
2005, the bank had total assets of approximately R$3.0 billion
(US$1.1 billion) and equity of R$715 million (US$269 million).

The following ratings were assigned to Banco BMG S.A.:

Bank Financial Strength Rating: D-, stable outlook.

Global Local-Currency Rating: Ba3 long-term local-currency
deposit rating and Not Prime short-term local-currency deposit
rating, stable outlook.

Long-term Foreign Currency Deposit Rating: B2, positive outlook.

Short-term Foreign Currency Deposit Rating: Not Prime, stable
outlook

National Scale Deposit Ratings: A3.br long-term deposit rating
and BR-2 short-term deposit rating, stable outlook


BANCO SANTOS: Central Bank Unlikely to Find Buyer
-------------------------------------------------
Finding a buyer for Banco Santos will prove to be a tough task
for Brazil's Central Bank, which took over the former after
financial problems and alleged irregularities pushed it into
insolvency, news source Portalino suggests.

Celina Vansetti, vice president at Moody's Investors Service,
observes other banks have shown little interest in Santos
because it is a wholesale bank that lacks a branch network.
Vansetti expects a negotiated restructuring process with support
from the bank's creditors or outright liquidation.

Moody's has downgraded Banco Santos' long-term global local and
foreign currency deposit ratings to C from Caa1, and the foreign
currency bond rating to C, from Caa3. The ratings agency also
downgraded the long-term national scale deposit rating to C.br,
from Caa1.br. All ratings have a stable outlook.

The rating action followed the announcement of Banco Santos's
liquidation by the Central bank.


CST: Fitch Upgrades FC Rating; Assigns Rating to CST Overseas
-------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has upgraded the foreign currency rating of
Brazilian steel producer Companhia Siderurgica de Tubarao (CST)
to 'BB' from 'BB-' and has assigned a rating of 'BB' to CST
Overseas. Fitch has also affirmed CST's local currency rating of
'BBB-' and the company's national scale rating of 'AA-' (bra).
The Rating Outlook for all the above mentioned ratings is
Stable.

CST's and CST Overseas' (collectively, the company) foreign
currency ratings of 'BB' exceed both Brazil's foreign currency
rating and country ceiling by one notch. These ratings reflect
the company's strong steel exporting business and associated
hard currency generation. Along with these factors, the
company's low leverage and strong liquidity position with
substantial cash balances abroad further help mitigate transfer
and convertibility risks associated with the sovereign.

In 2004, CST generated revenues of US$1.8 billion and held most
of its cash balance offshore. CST's net export revenues of
approximately US$1.1 billion covered debt service by
approximately 7.0 times(x) in 2004, and the company's offshore
cash balance of US$119 million at Dec. 31, 2004 covered short-
term debt by about 1.0x. Under current regulations, CST is able
to delay the repatriation of proceeds from exports for
approximately 200 days. The company is also able to keep U.S.
dollars offshore indefinitely from the profits of its
subsidiaries abroad. While these regulations would likely be
tightened in the event of a sovereign crisis, Fitch estimates
that CST would still have room to meet its foreign debt service,
which totals approximately US$200 million in 2005.

Fitch also believes it is possible that Arcelor, the world's
second largest producer of steel with consolidated revenues of
approximately US$40 billion in 2004, would provide CST with some
form of financial support and access to hard currency in the
event of a sovereign/liquidity crisis. Arcelor owns 70.2% of
CST's common shares and 63.3% of its total equity since
acquiring 28% of the company from Companhia Vale do Rio Doce
(CVRD) in December 2004.

CST's 'BBB-' local currency and 'AA-(bra)' national scale
ratings reflect the company's favorable competitive position as
one of the world's lowest cost producers and exporters of steel
slabs. This low cost position allows CST to generate positive
cash flows during troughs in the industry cycle. This cost
structure is the result of the company's investment in modern
equipment and in cogeneration, low labor costs and its access to
raw materials at a lower price than most of its global rivals.
These ratings also factor in the risks associated with operating
in a country rated 'BB-' and the cyclical nature of the steel
industry. This latter factor has resulted in CST's annual
average per-ton slab prices vacillating between US$340 in 2004
and US$172 in 2001.

CST's investment-grade local currency and national scale ratings
further take into consideration the company's low leverage. CST
generated EBITDA of approximately US$842 million in 2004 and
ended the year with total debt of US$517 million. This resulted
in a leverage ratio, as measured by total debt-to-EBITDA, of
0.6x. These figures represent substantial improvements from
2003, a year in which the company had US$448 million of EBITDA
and US$761 million of total debt. The increase in the company's
profitability was caused by very high steel prices and strong
sales volumes. Debt is expected to increase moderately in the
future as a result of a capital expenditure program of about
US$1.2 billion in 2005-2007. The investments are largely
directed toward the company's plan to build a new blast furnace
to increase its crude steel capacity by 50% to 7.5 million tons.

With annual production of 4.9 million tons, CST is one of the
largest steel producers in Latin America and the world's largest
exporter of steel slabs. The company benefits from its strong
ownership structure, including Arcelor of Europe and JFE Steel
Corporation, which leads a group of Japanese shareholders. In
2004, CST sold 2.9 million tons of steel slabs and 1.9 million
tons of hot-rolled products. CST Overseas is an indirect wholly
owned subsidiary of CST that was incorporated in the Cayman
Islands in 1992. CST Overseas serves primarily as a trading
company that intermediates in CST's export sales and as a lender
to CST in export receivables securitization transactions.

CONTACT: Anita Saha CFA, +1-312-368-3179, Chicago
         Joe Bormann CFA, +1-312-368-3349, Chicago
         Ricardo Carvalho +5521 4503 2600, Rio de Janeiro

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


ELETROPAULO METROPOLITANA: Narrows Loss in 1Q05
-----------------------------------------------
Eletropaulo Metropolitana Eletricidade de Sao Paulo S.A.
(Bovespa: ELPL3 and ELPL4), the largest electricity
distribution company in Latin America in revenues, announced
Tuesday its results for the first quarter of 2005. The
operational and financial information of the company, except
where otherwise indicated, are based on the figures of the
Parent Company in Brazilian Reais in accordance with Brazilian
Corporate Legislation.

All the comparisons in this release consider the first quarter
of 2005 (1Q05) compared with the first quarter of 2004 (1Q04)
or the fourth quarter of 2004 (4Q04), as specified in the text.

Gross Operating Revenue in 1Q05 increased by 21.7% in
comparison with the same period in the previous year. This
improved performance reflects:

- the average rate adjustment of 17.9% on July 4, further
increased by 0.7% on September 21, 2004;

- deferred increases in PIS/Cofins taxes with an impact of RS$
28.7 million on operating result in 1Q05, which had not
occurred in 1Q04.

Operating Expenses increased by 27.1% when compared to 1Q04.
This increase was due to:

- the average tariff adjustment of 9.4% in the Initial
Contracts and the increase in energy supplied by AES Tietˆ
(bilateral contract) and the accounting of CVA energy;

- a 42.4% increase in transmission costs, due to the adjustment
of basic grid rates (10.8%), Cust (62.0%) and Itaipu transport
(7.0%);

- the increase of 67.6% and 101.3% in CCC and CDE expenses,
respectively, as a result of the stipulated quotas in the
tariff adjustment;

- the increases in expenses related to the CVA of System
Service Charges (ESS), CCC and CDE, due to the start of the
amortization of the regulatory asset as of 3Q04.

Adjusted EBITDA for 1Q05 showed an increase of 10.7% when
compared to 1Q04, due to the growth in operating revenues,
although is was partially offset by increases in operating
expenses.

Net Adjusted Financial Result in 1Q05 amounted to an expense of
R$ 117.9 million, a year-over-year increase of 11.8%, versus
adjusted expenses of R$ 105.5 million in 1Q04. The principal
reasons for the increase in this account were:

- An increase in the average annual interbank rate (CDI) from
16.13% at the end of 1Q04 to 19.21% at the end of 1Q05;

- An increase in the Real -denominated debt indexed by the CDI,
stemming from the conversion of 47.0% of the dollar-denominated
debt into local currency in 1Q04.

Eletropaulo reported a R$ 16.7 million net loss in 1Q05,
representing a 22.8% increase in relation to the loss reported
in 1Q04, because of increases in operating expenses and in net
financial expenses in 1Q05.

On January 11, 2005, the Company received the third tranche of
the Financial Agreement with the BNDES under the Emergency and
Exceptional Financial Support Program for Electricity
Distribution Public Concessionaires amounting to R$ 243.3
million. Of this amount, R$ 142.4 million and US$ 15.4 million
were used on January 12 2005 for the proportional pre-payment
of the amount agreed with creditors in the Company's Debt
Reprofiling Process, concluded on March 12, 2004.

On March 30th and 31st 2005, the Company made a presentation on
FY 2004 results at APIMEC meetings, in the cities of Sao Paulo
and Rio de Janeiro. For its presentation made in Sao Paulo,
Eletropaulo won the award Trof‚u de Ouro(Golden Trophy) -
APIMEC Sao Paulo, for its eighth consecutive year of
presentations at that institution.

On March 30 2005, the Company filed with the Brazilian
Securities and Exchange Commission (CVM) a petition for a
debenture shelf-registration Program in accordance with CVM
Instruction No. 400 of December 29 2003. This program will be
effective for a 2-year term beginning as of the date of its
filing with the CVM and within the scope of this program, only
simple (non-convertible) debentures shall be issued. The amount
established by the program is up to R$ 1.5 billion and will be
subject to the relevant approval by shareholders and its filing
with the CVM.

On March 31 2005, the first amortization of the debt that was
renegotiated with private creditors was made. For this initial
amortization, the short-term tranches (A and B) received the
following amounts:

       Tranches           R$ - million            US$ - million
          A                   16.1                    10.6
          B                   10.8                     2.5
       Total                  26.9                    13.1

Results

- EBITDA decreased by 14.2% in 1Q05 when compared to the
previous quarter. The principal factors that contributed to
this result were:

  - Reduction in energy consumption, due to the typical
    seasonality of the period;

  - Beginning of the accounting of the CVA energy, which led to
    an increase in expense with electric energy purchase by R$
    77.0 million, as explained in the "Operating Results"
    chapter.

- The Company's adjusted EBITDA was R$ 377.6 million in 1Q05,
  13.7% less than in 4Q04. The calculation of adjusted EBITDA
  involves the following corrections:

  - Debt Confession IIa - It represents, in fact, a financial
    expense with the Cesp Foundation. It is therefore not
    included in the EBITDA and will be included as an
    adjustment to financial results.

  - RTE (Extraordinary Tariff Reset) - It is actually a portion
    of AES Eletropaulo's operating cash flow. However, it is
    deducted from gross operating revenues to amortize
    regulatory assets. In addition, as it is used to amortize
    the debt with the Brazilian Economic and Social Development
    Bank (BNDES) relative to the losses incurred from the
    rationing period, the Company also incurs in debt
    amortization expenses. The lack of an EBITDA adjustment
    would result in double counting. Thus, for the purpose of
    accuracy and fairness in the income statement, this RTE
    adjustment was made in the EBITDA.

- The final result for 1Q05 was a loss of R$ 16.7 million,
  compared with a net income of R$ 17.5 million in the previous
  quarter. This was due to the increase in financial expenses
  in 1Q05, as explained in the " Financial Results" chapter.

Capital Markets

Preferred shares of Eletropaulo depreciated by 4.6% during the
first quarter of 2005, while the Bovespa Index rose by 1.6%
during the same period.

Eletropaulo's preferred shares were negotiated in 100% of the
trading sessions held by Bovespa during the first quarter of
the year. The data on liquidity for the quarter show that there
were 12,511 trades involving approximately 2.9 billion
preferred shares and R$ 201.2 million. The quarterly daily
average was 48,352 thousand shares and R$ 3,354 thousand per
trading session at Bovespa. This volume was 0.5% greater than
the previous quarter in terms of number of shares and 3.8%
lower in terms of financial trading volume.

To see balance sheet:
http://bankrupt.com/misc/Balance_Sheet.pdf

CONTACT:  Clarice Assis
          Investor Relations Manager
          E-mail: clarice.assis@aes.com
          Tel: (55 11) 2195-2229

          Geraldo Colonhezi Jr.
          Investor Relations Analyst
          E-mail: geraldo.colonhezi@aes.com
          Tel: (55 11) 2195-2289


* BRAZIL: Fitch Rates $500M Global Bonds Due 2019 'BB-'
-------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has assigned a 'BB-' rating to US$500 million in
Republic of Brazil Global bonds due in 2019, an issue reopened
Tuesday by the Brazilian authorities. Brazil's sovereign ratings
reflect the ongoing strong international trade performance of
South America's largest economy, its declining external debt
burden, and a demonstrated commitment to sound macroeconomic
policies.



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C H I L E
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ELECTROANDINA: Fitch Cuts To 'BB'; Stable Outlook
-------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has downgraded the senior unsecured local and
foreign currency ratings of Electroandina S.A. (Electroandina)
to 'BB' from 'BB+'. Fitch has also revised the Rating Outlook to
Stable from Negative.

The downgrade reflects a continued deterioration in credit
protection measures and short-term liquidity concerns. The
material reduction in the company's credit protection measures
is primarily the result of lower than expected operational
results, which have been hurt by external variables such as the
severity of natural gas restrictions from Argentina and the
evolution of the energy fuel prices, mainly coal and diesel
prices. The company also faces amortizations of US$21.5 million
in 2005 and US$41.5 million in 2006 and 2007.

However, Electroandina's credit profile continues to be
bolstered by the inherent support from its controlling
shareholder, Suez Energy Andino S.A. (affiliate of Suez
Tractebel S.A.), and additional shareholder, Corporacion
Nacional del Cobre de Chile (CODELCO). Both of the shareholders
have actively participated in the capital structure of the
company in the form of subordinated debt guarantor and direct
loans. This shareholder support is in addition to that
demonstrated in mid-2004 when Codelco accepted to temporarily
revision of the tariffs to its Chuquicamata PPA in order to
share the burden of the Argentinean gas crisis with its energy
provider, Electroandina. Currently, the company is in the
process of renegotiating its US$122.6 million syndicated bank
loan with ABN AMRO, in an attempt to extend the maturity of this
debt beyond 2007. Conversations with the banks are at an
advanced stage and a final decision is expected by the end of
June 2005.

Electroandina reported revenues and EBITDA of US$228.8 million
and US$25.4 million in 2004, respectively. EBITDA covered
interest by 2.9 times(x) for both 2004 and 2003. Although the
company reduced debt by US$15.7 million in 2004, total
consolidated leverage ratio as measured by debt (excluding
subordinated debt)-to-EBITDA increased to 4.3x in 2004 versus
3.7x in 2003. Going forward, Electroandina's EBITDA is expected
to remain close to the 2004 levels, depending on the same
variables previously mentioned. However, the continued growth in
the region, the expansion of mining activities, and new
contracts that reflect the existing market conditions may
contribute to increased cash flow in the future.

Electroandina is the largest generator in Chile's northern
interconnected transmission system and the third largest overall
with installed capacity of 1,028 MW, including the recently
constructed 400 MW Tocopilla combined-cycle unit which began
commercial operations in February 2001. The company is owned by
Inversiones Tocopilla Ltda, which has management control, and
Codelco. Inversiones Tocopilla is controlled by Suez Energy
Andino S.A., which is 100%-owned by Suez-Tractebel. Suez-
Tractebel S.A. is an experienced operator and has a proven track
record of successfully operating private electric utilities
worldwide.



===================================
D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C
===================================

* DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: World Bank Approves $150M for Power Sector
----------------------------------------------------------------
The World Bank's Board of Directors approved Tuesday a $150
million loan for the Dominican Republic to support the
Government's strategy for the stabilization of power supply and
the financial recovery of the power sector.

"This program is designed to support the Government's strategy
to provide efficient, reliable, universal, and sustainable
electricity service to its citizens," said Caroline Anstey,
World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean. "Tackling the
problems of the electricity sector is essential for achieving
social stability, economic growth and competitiveness for the
Dominican Republic and its people."

The Programmatic Power Sector Reform Loan will support improved
cash recovery in the sector, which is indispensable for
financial sustainability, and tighter cost controls in order to
reduce the fiscal deficit. The program will help to stabilize
power supply and prevent power outages caused by the large
financial deficit of the sector.

Specifically, the program will have the following benefits:

    * Improve the quality of service and help the poor,
    * Enhance economic growth and competitiveness,
    * Minimize adverse environmental and social impacts, and
    * Give a renewed and clear positive signal regarding the
climate for foreign investment.

Addressing the sector's inefficiencies will also help the
environment by promoting the use of more efficient and less-
polluting thermal generation technologies in place of back-up
diesel generators.

"The provision of reliable electricity service will help small
businesses and consumers by reducing the widespread blackouts of
recent years, enhancing access to social services like hospitals
and schools, and improving safety, especially for women," said
Lucio Monari, World Bank task manager for the project.

The $150 million, fixed-spread loan is repayable in 17 years and
includes five years of grace. This is the first loan of a
program that consists of two policy-based loans and an
investment loan for transmission and service expansion.

CONTACTS:  Alejandra Viveros (202) 473-4306
           Aviveros@worldbank.org

           Patricia da Camara (202) 473-4019
           Pdacamara@worldbank.org



=================
G U A T E M A L A
=================

* GUATEMALA: World Bank to Provide Up to $780M to Promote Growth
----------------------------------------------------------------
The World Bank Group's Board of Directors discussed Tuesday the
institution's new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for
Guatemala, which projects financial assistance of up to US$780
million between 2005 and 2008, in addition to knowledge sharing
and advisory services.

"The current policy environment in Guatemala is a window of
opportunity to move forward on a more inclusive, accelerated
growth and poverty reduction path," said Jane Armitage, the
World Bank's Country Director for Central America.  "The new
assistance strategy will support the Government of Guatemala's
own `­Vamos Guatemala!' agenda with lending and analytical,
technical and capacity-building assistance to accelerate broad-
based growth, reduce inequality and poverty, and strengthen
governance."

Guatemala continues to suffer from persistent poverty and
inequality.  In 2000, the share of Guatemalans living in poverty
was 56 percent for the overall population and 76 percent for
indigenous groups.  In order to reduce extreme poverty by half
between 1990 and 2015 and thus accomplish the first of the
Millennium Development Goals, Guatemala needs to increase growth
(by approximately 5 percent per annum in real terms) and raise
public spending on human development and infrastructure
investments that facilitate poor people's participation in
economic growth.

To support these aims, the new CAS has been developed in close
collaboration with the Government and has benefited from wide
consultations with civil society, the international donor
community, think tanks, the private sector, and academia. The
strategy will support a new assistance program of between US$460
million and US$780 million, as well as the Bank's current
portfolio of projects in Guatemala which consists of 11
investment projects and a financial sector adjustment loan,
totaling about US$525 million (of which US$255 million is still
available). The new assistance program will be aimed at the
following objectives:

- To support growth and the investment climate, public
expenditures and governance, the strategy projects a series of
Development Policy Loans.

- To reduce poverty and inequality and continue to strengthen
public institutions, the Bank is targeting an investment program
of five operations in education, nutrition and maternal/child
health, local and rural development (including environment),
land administration, and public sector management.

- An infrastructure guarantee operation is also being
considered.

The scale of World Bank assistance will be determined by the
Government of Guatemala's ability to consistently deliver a high
level of performance in the following areas of the "­Vamos
Guatemala!" agenda:

- Strengthening fiscal performance and promoting governance and
transparency;

- Reducing inequality and promoting social inclusion;

- Stimulating growth and enhancing competitiveness.

Each of the Bank's lending operations will be supported by World
Bank Institute (WBI) capacity-building activities. In addition,
the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Multilateral
Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) will support private sector
development in the areas of banking/insurance, infrastructure,
extractive industries, manufacturing, and selected export
sectors.  The Bank will also carry out analytical work during
the CAS period on public expenditure, the financial sector,
energy and environment, poverty, economic growth, and the
investment climate.

CONTACT:  Cathy Russell (202) 458-8124
          Crussell@worldbank.org

          Alejandra Viveros (202) 473-4306
          Aviveros@worldbank.org



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

HYLSAMEX: Stockholders OK Extension L Share Conversion Date
-----------------------------------------------------------
HYLSAMEX, S.A. de C.V. (BMV: HylsamxB, HylsamxL) ("Hylsamex")
announced Tuesday it held a special shareholders' meeting to
obtain from its Series L shareholders their approval for an
extension to January 15th, 2006, of the conversion date of the
said L shares into Series B shares, which was originally set for
July 15th, 2005. The extension was approved unanimously by the
shareholders.

The special shareholders meeting had an 83% attendance, above
the minimum requirement of 75%.

"We thank our L Shareholders for the vote of confidence they
gave to management," said Dionisio Garza Medina, Hylsamex's
Chairman of the Board. "We expect the extended period would
eventually allow for value creation for all our shareholders,"
he added.

CONTACT:  Othon Diaz Del Guante
          Tel: (52-81) 8865-1240
          E-mail: odiaz@hylsamex.com.mx

          Ismael De La Garza
          Tel: (52-81) 8865-1224
          E-mail: idelagarza@hylsamex.com.mx


MERIDIAN AUTOMOTIVE: Seeks Court OK to Funnel Cash to Mexico
------------------------------------------------------------
Michigan-based auto parts maker Meridian Automotive Systems Inc.
(MAS.XX) is seeking approval from a bankruptcy court to funnel
US$10 million in cash to foreign subsidiaries, most of it to
Mexican operations, reports Dow Jones Newswires. Last month,
Meridian Automotive filed to reorganize under Chapter 11 of the
U.S. Bankruptcy Code in order to restructure its debt, which has
become unsustainable in the current market environment. The
filing didn't include its subsidiaries in Mexico, Canada and
Brazil.

But according to papers filed Friday and placed on the court
docket Monday, subsidiaries that own the stock in those overseas
operations did file for Chapter 11 protection, and Meridian
Automotive needs to advance cash to finance operations at the
Mexican, Canadian and Brazilian plants.

About US$8.5 million of the US$10 million Meridian Automotive
estimates it will pay into the overseas plants over the next 14
months will go to Mexican operations.

U.S. Bankruptcy Chief Judge Mary F. Walrath is scheduled to
review the request at a hearing in Delaware May 26.

Meridian Automotive Systems is a leading supplier of
technologically advanced front and rear end modules, lighting,
exterior composites, console modules, instrument panels and
other interior systems to automobile and truck manufacturers.
Meridian operates 22 plants in the United States, Canada and
Mexico, supplying Original Equipment Manufacturers and major
Tier One parts suppliers.

CONTACT: Gavin Anderson & Co.
         Doug Morris, 212-515-1964


PEMEX: Government Slaps $259M Fine on Former Executives
-------------------------------------------------------
Rogelio Montemayor, the former head of state-controlled oil
company Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), has been ordered to pay
US$129 million in fines for misappropriating Pemex's money to
fund the presidential campaign of Francisco Labastida from the
then-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI).

The Associated Press reports that Mexico's Public Administration
Department, in a decision released Tuesday, concluded that
Montemayor contrived with five other ex-employees to transfer
almost US$129 million of the company's money to the national oil
workers' union who then funneled the monies to PRI's war chest.

Apart from the fine, Montemayor, who once served as a senator
and as governor of Coahuila, has been banned from public service
for 20 years. Former finance director Juan Jose Domene, also
implicated in the case, was slapped with a US$48.5 million fine
plus a 15-year ban from government work. Former administrator
Carlos Fermin Juaristi also received the same penalties.

Meanwhile, ex-labor relations chief Julio Pindter Gonzalez was
ordered to pay US$29.3 million and former administrator Manuel
Gomez faces a US$3.2 million fine. Gonzalez and Gomez are barred
from government service for ten years. Another unnamed executive
was meted a five-year ban from public work.

All five offenders will pay around US$259 million in combined
fees, twice the alleged amount they pilfered from Pemex between
1997 and 2000.



=======
P E R U
=======

BANCO WIESE: Likely Sale Expected Soon
--------------------------------------
Banco Wiese Sudameris SAA, Peru's third largest bank, is about
to be sold to a group made up of local businesses, according to
El Comercio. The purchase, if successful, will see the buyers
injecting the bank US$300 million in new capital.

The newspaper report follows Finance Minister Pedro Pablo
Kuczynski's comments last week that various companies were
looking at a possible purchase of the bank. Italy's Banca
Intesa, which has a controlling share in Banco Wiese Sudameris,
has said in the past that selling the bank was an option.

Banco Wiese Sudameris is the offspring of a 1999 merger of two
banks: Banco Wiese Ltdo and Banco de Lima Sudameris. Banco Wiese
had run into problems during a downturn in the economy in the
late 1990s.

Banco Wiese Sudameris was the first Peruvian bank to be listed
on the New York Stock Exchange. It has since has delisted its
American Depositary Receipts.


LUMINA COPPER: Shareholders Approve Restructuring
-------------------------------------------------
Lumina Copper Corp. (TSX:LCC)(AMEX:LCC) announces that its
shareholders have unanimously approved the planned restructuring
of the Company. At the Company's Annual General Meeting, 99.99%
of the shareholders that voted approved the transaction.

Ross Beaty, Chairman said, "I am very pleased with the support
that our shareholders have given to the planned restructuring.
This restructuring is another example of our continuing efforts
to unlock value from our portfolio of excellent copper
properties and give shareholders superior returns on their
investment in our Company. I am very excited about all of the
new Companies' prospects and our planned exploration and
development programs in 2005."

Exploration and development plans for 2005 continue to be most
active on the Regalito, Galeno and Hushamu properties. The
metallurgical testing program at Regalito (Regalito Copper
Corp.) is progressing extremely well with the tall column
program underway. Planning for the Galeno property (Northern
Peru Copper Corp.) drill program is nearing completion and the
drilling of the first hole should commence in late May. The
exploration program at Hushamu (Lumina Resources Corp.) is on
track with the airborne geophysical survey currently underway.

On May 12th 2005, Lumina will apply for final approval of the
Plan of Arrangement from the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
It is anticipated that the date of restructuring will occur
approximately 5 to 10 days after the court gives its final
approval to the transaction. Shareholders of record at the close
of trading on the day prior to the date of the restructuring
will receive, in exchange for their Lumina shares, an equal
number of shares in the new entities Regalito Copper Corp.,
Northern Peru Copper Corp., Global Copper Corp. and Lumina
Resources Corp.

Regalito Copper will hold Lumina's most advanced project, the
Regalito copper project in central Chile, which has a measured
and indicated resource of 628Mt grading 0.43% copper.

Northern Peru Copper will hold Lumina's two Peruvian copper
properties, Galeno and Pashpap. Global Copper will hold the
Vizcachitas and Relincho copper properties in Chile and Taca
Taca and San Jorge in Argentina. Lumina Resources will hold the
Company's three Canadian properties.

CONTACT:  LUMINA COPPER CORP.
          David Strang, VP Corporate Development
          Tel: (604) 687-0407
          Fax: (604) 687-7401
          E-mail: dstrang@luminacopper.com
          URL: www.luminacopper.com



=============
U R U G U A Y
=============

UTE: To Open Tender Process for New Power Plant
-----------------------------------------------
Uruguayan state power company Administracion Nacional Usinas y
Trasmisiones Electricas (UTE) is set to receive bids in the next
three weeks for the construction of a new 100MW gas/diesel
powered turbine.

Business News Americas reported Tuesday that the UTE will
publish the bidding rules for the project this week. Company
vice president Pedro de Aurrecoechea says that the UTE expects
the facility to be online by year-end.

The winning bidder will construct three turbines that will form
Phase 1 of UTE's planned 200MW capacity increase. Total cost to
complete the project is estimated at US$50 to 75 million.



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

* VENEZUELA: Moody's Says Debt Rating Supported By Debt Payments
----------------------------------------------------------------
In its annual report on Venezuela, Moody's Investors Service
says the country's foreign-currency debt rating of B2 and stable
outlook are supported by a demonstrated policy of servicing
public-sector debt in full and on a timely basis and a strong
foreign exchange reserve position.

"Venezuela's policy on foreign exchange and capital controls has
provided foreign-exchange authorizations for servicing private-
sector debt on a timely basis. Moody's ratings and outlook
reflect our view that foreign exchange controls reduce the
possibility of a sharp and sudden decline in international
reserves, even in the event of falling oil prices," said Moody's
Vice President Luis Ernesto Martinez-Alas, author of the report.

Venezuela's total official foreign exchange reserves are
estimated to exceed $30 billion, well in excess of the yearly
debt service and the total debt of the central administration,
according Moody's report.

Recent reductions in Venezuela's debt-to-GDP ratio reflect the
combined effect of economic growth, inflation, and a moderate
adjustment to the nominal exchange rate. Venezuela's total
public debt, including that of the state-owned oil company,
PDVSA, is expected to continue to decline in 2005 to about 40%
of GDP, from 46% in 2004 and 57% in 2003. The central
administration's debt is estimated to have fallen to 39.9% of
GDP in 2004 from a peak of 45.9% in 2003, but still above the
most recent trough of 27.2% in 2000.

"Venezuela's ratings are both strongly supported and constrained
by the oil sector's influence on fiscal accounts, the balance of
payments, and the overall performance of the economy," said Mr.
Martinez-Alas.

The nation's fiscal policy is based on maintaining non-interest
primary spending at a minimum of 21% of GDP with the intent of
rejuvenating domestic investment and limiting the country's
volatile economic performance. While this unorthodox economic
policy goes against the grain of the market-oriented approaches
promoted by the United States and aid organizations such as the
World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the
administration's efforts to increase non-oil taxes as a share of
total revenues may have a chance to be successful, said Mr.
Martinez-Alas.

The core of the government's strategy is to use extra oil
resources to address longstanding social ills affecting over
half the population. The importance of oil-revenue distribution
is indicated by the subsuming of PDVSA within the Ministry of
Energy, according to the ratings agency.

The rating agency's report, "Venezuela 2005 Credit Analysis," is
a yearly update to the markets and is not a rating action.




                            ***********


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