TCRLA_Public/050520.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

             Friday, May 20, 2005, Vol. 6, Issue 99

                            Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

APSA: Files Report for Nine-Month Period Ended March 31, 2005
BANCO GALICIA: Local S&P Maintains Bonds' Ratings
BANCO HIPOTECARIO: S&P Maintains Default Ratings on Bonds
DROGUERIA SIGMA: Asks Court to Reorganize
EL EXPRESO: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders

IRSA: Files Report for Nine-Month Period Ended March 31, 2005
LA RURAL: De Narvaez Acquires Full Ownership
METALURGICA: Court Rules for Liquidation
METROGAS: Local Construction Outfit Sets Sights on Company
PETROFULL S.R.L.: Seeks Reorganization Approval From Court

TRANSENER: S&P Maintains `raD' Rating on Bonds
* ARGENTINA: IMF Executive Board Extends Repayment Expectations


B A R B A D O S

* BARBADOS: Ratings Reflect Political Stability


B E R M U D A

GLOBAL CROSSING: Clarifies Comments Made During Conference Call


B R A Z I L

CERVEJARIAS KAISER: Parent Moves to Diminish Financial Risk
CFLCL: Shareholders OK Priority Dividends
COPEL: Net Operating Revenue Increases 26.9% in 1Q05
COPEL: Issues Portion of Recent Board Meeting Minutes
LIGHT SERVICOS: Debt Plan Gains Creditors' Approval

VARIG: Controlling Shareholder Asks BNDESPar to Take Helm


C O S T A   R I C A

BICSA: Ratings Consider Low Profitability


E C U A D O R

PACIFICTEL: FS Jump-Starts Process to Search for Administrator


G R E N A D A

* GRENADA: Ratings Reflect Ongoing Restructuring Of Public Debt


J A M A I C A

* JAMAICA: Ratings Supported By Improving Liquidity Position


M E X I C O

AHMSA: Russian Steel Firm Pays Technical Visit
HYLSAMEX: Alfa Accepts Techint's Purchase Offer
MERISANT: Moody's Cuts Ratings After Earnings Decline
METALDYNE: Moody's Downgrades Ratings
PEMEX: Ratings Linked to United Mexican States Says S&P

VITRO: VENA Ratings Reflect Parent's
VITRO: Unit's Rating Reflects Structural Subordination of Issues


P A N A M A

WILLBROS GROUP: Milberg Weiss Files Class Action Suit


P E R U

LUMINA COPPER: Plan of Arrangement Completed


P U E R T O   R I C O

DORAL FINANCIAL: Law Offices of Brian M. Felgoise Files Lawsuit


V E N E Z U E L A

SIDOR: Tenaris to Put Stake Into Steel Holding

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

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

APSA: Files Report for Nine-Month Period Ended March 31, 2005
-------------------------------------------------------------
ALTO PALERMO S.A.'s (APSA) Financial Statements for the period
ended on March 31, 2005 filed with the Bolsa de Comercio de
Buenos Aires.

                                 03/31/05       03/31/04
                                -------------------------

Ordinary Period Result
(nine month period): profit     21,240,626      4,784,368
Extraordinary Period Result
(nine month period): profit - lose      -        -
Period Profit                   21,240,626      4,784,368

- Net Assets Composition:

Authorized capital               78,042,363      72,756,813
Integral adjustment of capital   84,620,909      84,620,909
Premium on shares and on
   shares negotiation           522,805,043      522,805,043
Technical revaluations            3,952,571      3,952,571
Legal reserve                     8,992,468      8,050,591
Retained earnings                80,579,445      64,123,187
Total Net Assets                778,992,799      756,309,114

The Company informed that at the moment of the end of the
Financial Statements period the authorized capital of the
Company is $78,042,363. Its share composition is divided in
780,423,632 of non endorsable registered common stock of face
value $0,10 each, and with right to 1 vote each, according to
the following detail:

* IRSA Inversiones y
  Representaciones Sociedad
  Anonima                        47,359,271      60.7  %
* Parque Arauco S.A              23,111,695      29.6  %
* Other Shares                    7,571,397      9.7  %

If all the holder of Company's Convertible Notes exercises at
the end of the period its conversion right the amount of shares
will become 215,961,711, all those non endorsable registered
common stock of V$N 0,10 each, and with right to 1 vote each,
according to the following detail:

* IRSA Inversiones y
  Representaciones Sociedad
  An˘nima                        139,939,781      64.8  %
* Parque Arauco S.A               68,244,779      31.6  %
* Other Shares                     7,777,151      3.6  %

For this calculation, the conversion price considered was 1
divided the exchange rate at the end of the period.

CONTACT: Alto Palermo S.A. (APSA)
         2/F
         476 Hipolito Yrigoyen
         Buenos Aires
         Argentina
         Phone: +54 11 4344 4600
         Web site: http://www.altopalermo.com.ar


BANCO GALICIA: Local S&P Maintains Bonds' Ratings
-------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's International Ratings, Ltd. Sucursal Argentina
maintained the ratings assigned to various bonds issued by Banco
de Galicia y Buenos Aires.

The Comision Nacional de Valores enumerated the affected bonds
with their corresponding ratings as follows:

- `raD' rating to US$9 million worth of "Obligaciones
Negociables emitidas 11-6-01 bajo el Programa de USD 1000
millones, monto original USD 12 millones" coming due on December
20, 2005;

- `raD' rating to US$21.4 million worth of "Obligaciones
Negociables simples 8-11-93, monto original USD 200 millones"
due on 01 Nov 2004;

The rating actions reflect the bank's financial status as of
March 31, 2004.

CONTACT:  Banco De Galicia Y Buenos Aires
          Tte Gral Juan D Peron 407
          Buenos Aires
          Argentina
          C1038AAI
          Phone: +54 11 6329 0000
          Fax: +54 11 6329 6100


BANCO HIPOTECARIO: S&P Maintains Default Ratings on Bonds
---------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's International Ratings, Ltd. Sucursal Argentina
maintained the `raD' rating given to US$500 million worth of
bonds described as "Series en Default bajo el Programa Global de
Cedulas Hipotecarias (EMTNP)."

S&P said that the rating is assigned to bonds that are in
currently in default or whose obligor has filed for bankruptcy.
The rating may also be used if interest payments are not made on
the date due even if the applicable grace period has not
expired, unless S&P believes that payments will be made during
the grace period.



DROGUERIA SIGMA: Asks Court to Reorganize
-----------------------------------------
Drogueria Sigma S.A. has submitted a petition to Buenos Aires
Court No. 19, seeking approval to reorganize. Approval of the
petition will pave the way for the Company to negotiate a
settlement with its creditors to avoid a straight liquidation.
Clerk No. 37 assists the court on this case.

CONTACT: Drogueria Sigma S.A.
         Tucuman 540
         Buenos Aires


EL EXPRESO: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
---------------------------------------------
El Expreso Libertad S.A entered bankruptcy protection following
an order issued by Court No. 9 of Lomas de Zamora civil and
commercial tribunal. 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 Gustavo Daniel Feysulaj
as trustee. Feysulaj will be verifying creditors' proofs of
claim until the end of the verification phase on June 8, 2005.

CONTACT: El Expreso Libertad S.A
         Columbres 168 esquina Centenario
         Adrogue (Partido de Almirante Brown)

         Gustavo Daniel Feysulaj
         Basavilbaso 2026
         Lanus Este


IRSA: Files Report for Nine-Month Period Ended March 31, 2005
-------------------------------------------------------------
INVERSIONES Y REPRESENTACIONES SOCIEDAD ANONIMA's (IRSA)
Financial Statements for the period ended on March 31, 2005
filed with the Bolsa de Comercio de Buenos Aires.

IRSA Inversiones y Representaciones Sociedad Anonima
         March 31, 2005 and 2004

1. Period Result
(nine month period ended on March 31, 2005 and 2004):

                                   In thousand of $
                              ----------------------------
                                03/31/05        03/31/04
                              -------------  -------------
Ordinary                          78,205        45,231
Extraordinary                         -          -
Period Profit                     78,205        45,231

2. Net Assets Composition:

Subscribed Capital               338,373        238,253
Treasure shares                       -          -
Integral adjustment of capital   274,387        274,387
Integral adjustment treasure
  shares                              -          -
Premium on shares                662,413        588,924
Legal Reserve                     19,447        19,447
Retained earnings               (100,083)     (220,919)

Total Net Assets               1,194,537        900,092

At the moment of the end of the Financial Statements period the
authorized capital of the Company is $338,372,526. Its share
composition is divided in 338,372,526 of non endorsable
registered common stock of face value one peso ($1) each, and
with right to 1 vote each, which are hold by shareholders or
groups of control.

On November 2002, the Company issued Convertible Notes with
warrants to buy additional shares. If all the holder of
Company's Convertible Notes exercises at the end of the period
its conversion right the amount of shares will become
419,634,708; and if all the Company's shareholders exercise
their warrants, the amount of shares will become 578,971,715.

CONTACT: IRSA Inversiones y Representaciones S. A.
         Alejandro Elsztain, Director
         Gabriel Blasi, CFO
         Tel: +011-5411 4323-7449
         E-mail: finanzas@irsa.com.ar


LA RURAL: De Narvaez Acquires Full Ownership
--------------------------------------------
Francisco De Narvaez has acquired 100% ownership of the Buenos
Aires exhibition center Predio Ferial de Palermo, also known as
"La Rural," after the shares belonging to Argentine Rural
Society (SRA) were transferred to the investment group headed by
the Argentine businessman.

With 95% of the votes, the SRA members agreed to transfer 50% of
the firm that runs the concession of the exhibition center, in
accordance with the contract signed between both parties on
April 19, 2004.

In return, the SRA will receive US$15 million as an annual
royalty up to year 2025 and a percentage of the revenues from
all the agribusiness-related events that take place in the
center. In addition, De Narvaez will assume US$20 million in
debt and will lend US$5 million for the SRA to cancel its own
debts.


METALURGICA: Court Rules for Liquidation
----------------------------------------
Court No. 5 of the Quilmes' civil and commercial tribunal
ordered the liquidation of Metalurgica Indumec S.R.L. after the
Company defaulted on its obligations, Infobae reveals. The
liquidation pronouncement will effectively place the Company's
affairs as well as its assets under the control of Daniel
Enrique Masaedo, the court-appointed trustee.

Trustee Masaedo will verify creditors' proofs of claim until May
31, 2005. The verified claims will serve as basis for the
individual reports to be submitted in court on July 13, 2005.
The submission of the general report follows on Sep. 8, 2005.

CONTACT: Metalurgica Indumec S.R.L.
         San Nicolas 2640
         Florencio Varela

         Daniel Enrique Masaedo
         Olavarria 376 Quilmes



METROGAS: Local Construction Outfit Sets Sights on Company
----------------------------------------------------------
Argentine construction firm and gas pipeline operator Emgasud is
holding talks with the intention of acquiring local natural gas
distributor Metrogas.

A source related to Emgasud told business daily El Cronista that
the company is interested in taking over Metrogas, which is 70%
controlled by Gas Argentino, a firm that is in turn owned by
British Gas and Repsol YPF.

About 20% of Metrogas is floating on the Buenos Aires and New
York stock markets and 10% is in employee hands.

According to the source, there will be news on the deal in less
than two months.

Meanwhile, Metrogas people denied having heard about the talks.

Metrogas is the biggest of the eight natural gas distributors
that emerged from the privatization of Gas del Estado in 1992.
In 2004, the Company billed ARS814 million (US$1=ARS2.91) and
reported ARS123 million in losses. Its liabilities, a big part
of which is in default, amount to ARS1.6 billion.

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


PETROFULL S.R.L.: Seeks Reorganization Approval From Court
----------------------------------------------------------
Court No. 7 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal is
currently reviewing the merits of the reorganization petition
filed by local service station Petrofull S.R.L. Argentine daily
La Nacion reports that the Company filed the request after
defaulting on its debt payments since March 31.

The reorganization petition, if granted by the court, will allow
the Company to negotiate a settlement with its creditors in
order to avoid a straight liquidation.

Clerk No. 14 assists the court on this case.

CONTACT: Petrofull S.R.L.
         Nazca 1330
         Buenos Aires


TRANSENER: S&P Maintains `raD' Rating on Bonds
----------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's International Ratings, Ltd. Sucursal Argentina
maintained the `raD' rating given to US$525 million worth of
corporate bonds issued by Transener S.A., says the CNV.

The bonds, which remain in default level, are described as
"Programa Global de Obligaciones Negociables simples no
convertibles en acciones, aprobado por Asamblea Gral. De
Accionistas de fecha Julio de 2001." These bonds, which were
issued under Program, matured on March 26, 2003.

The rating action is based on the Company's financial health as
of March 31, 2005.


* ARGENTINA: IMF Executive Board Extends Repayment Expectations
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
approved Wednesday a one-year extension of Argentina's repayment
expectations to the IMF arising between May 20, 2005 and April
28, 2006 in a total amount equivalent to SDR 1.68 billion (about
US$2.50 billion). The repayments will fall due on an obligations
basis exactly one year after the dates on which these repayment
expectations arise.

The IMF policy on repayment expectations allows for extensions
where the member's external position is not sufficiently strong
and allowing it to repay early without undue hardship or risk.
The decision to approve an extension of repayment expectations
is based on these technical considerations, and is not based on
an assessment of the authorities' economic program. Many
Executive Directors were looking forward to the opportunity to
discuss Argentina's economic policies in the context of the
upcoming Article IV Consultation Board discussion, which will be
held soon.

CONTACT: INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND
         700 19th Street, NW
         Washington, D.C. 20431 USA

         IMF EXTERNAL RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
         Public Affairs: 202-623-7300 - Fax: 202-623-6278
         Media Relations: 202-623-7100 - Fax: 202-623-6772



===============
B A R B A D O S
===============

* BARBADOS: Ratings Reflect Political Stability
-----------------------------------------------

Rationale

The ratings on Barbados reflect political stability and
consensus policymaking, as demonstrated by the long-standing,
fixed-exchange-rate regime. The government has played a central
role in shifting the economic focus from manufacturing and
agriculture toward services, and recently took important steps
to reform the pension system, improve the tourism
infrastructure, and liberalize telecommunications.

Economic growth was strong in 2004, with a 3.4% real GDP
increase following 2% growth in 2003. Further gains in tourism,
communication, and construction are expected in 2005, when real
GDP is projected to increase by 3.3%. Medium-term growth
prospects remain diluted by struggling agricultural and
manufacturing sectors and by the clouded outlook for the
offshore sector, the prospects of which are threatened by
pressure from the Organization of Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD) to equalize onshore and offshore tax rates.

The general government deficit stood at 0.6% of GDP in fiscal
2004 (2.4% excluding National Insurance Scheme [NIS] surpluses
of about 1.7% of GDP), on the back of increased VAT intake and
reduced capital expenditure. However, the improvement was offset
by off-budget spending and therefore has not reduced the debt
burden. The government's medium-term fiscal policy aims at
keeping the general government deficit at 2.5% of GDP, excluding
NIS surpluses and ongoing off-budget spending.

Modest economic growth and private sector job prospects make it
difficult to cut spending significantly. At the same time, an
increase in general government revenue is likely to be limited
because of tax cuts and the continued phasing out of import
duties, which currently account for about 10% of government
revenue. As such, the fiscal adjustment will probably be
insufficient to reduce the general government debt burden to
less than 50% of GDP, as was recorded by Barbados in the late
1990s. Currently exceeding 60% (excluding debt held by the
government-owned pension fund), the general government debt
burden is well above the 'A' median's 35% and the 'BBB' median's
40%, thus limiting Barbados' fiscal flexibility.

The government's inability to curb a high current account
deficit (rising substantially to 10% of GDP in 2004 from 6.3% in
2003) also presents a concern. Although direct investment by
nonresidents is expected to cover more than half of this
deficit, Barbados remains more vulnerable to adverse external
development than its peers.

Outlook

The stable outlook reflects the expectation that the public
sector debt burden will decrease modestly as the economic
recovery continues and the government slowly tightens public
spending. It also anticipates that the current account deficit
will ease moderately in over the medium term, particularly if
equity inflows ebb.

The outlook could be revised to negative if an economic downturn
results in higher fiscal deficits and a concomitant rise in
public indebtedness. Persistent high current account deficits
could also place downward pressures on the ratings, particularly
if offsetting equity inflows decline or pressure emerges on the
fixed-exchange-rate regime, which underpins Barbados' good
inflation performance. Conversely, if growth prospects improve
and the government is more ambitious in paring back the debt
burden, the outlook could be revised to positive.

Primary Credit Analyst: Richard Francis, New York (1) 212-438-
7348; richard_francis@standardandpoors.com

Secondary Credit Analyst: Marie Cavanaugh, New York (1) 212-438-
7343; marie_cavanaugh@standardandpoors.com



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

GLOBAL CROSSING: Clarifies Comments Made During Conference Call
---------------------------------------------------------------
Global Crossing Limited (the "Company") conducted on May 10,
2005, a conference call to discuss its quarterly financial
results for the first quarter of 2005 calculated in accordance
with accounting principles generally accepted in the United
States ("US GAAP"). During that call, the chief executive
officer (the "CEO") explained that the first quarter 2005
financial results of the Company's Global Crossing (UK)
Telecommunications Ltd. subsidiary ("GCUK") calculated in
accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the
United Kingdom ("UK GAAP") would not be discussed on the
conference call and that such results are being finalized and
will be made publicly available by June 14, 2005. However, in
response to a question posed on the call, a member of
management, other than the CEO and the chief financial officer,
incorrectly stated that GCUK's first quarter 2005 Adjusted
EBITDA (as defined in Exhibit 99.1 attached hereto) was
approximately $55 million when calculated in a manner consistent
with UK GAAP.

For the avoidance of doubt, the Company confirms the accuracy of
the financial results reported in its Quarterly Report on Form
10-Q filed on May 10, 2005 and in its press release issued May
10, 2005, including GCUK's reported Adjusted EBITDA for the
first quarter of 2005 calculated in a manner consistent with US
GAAP.

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

CERVEJARIAS KAISER: Parent Moves to Diminish Financial Risk
-----------------------------------------------------------
In a recent meeting of its board of directors, Molson Coors
Brewing Company reviewed its Brazilian business unit,
Cervejarias Kaiser. As a result, the company wishes to announce
a change in approach with respect to its operations in Brazil.

Molson Coors continues to believe that Brazil is a valuable beer
market with potential for long-term growth. From a strategic
standpoint, Molson Coors wants to participate in this market
with the Kaiser brand and possibly with its flagship Coors Light
brand.

"While we have a strong and energized Brazilian team in place
that's eager to win, and making solid progress month to month,
we are unwilling to make further cash investments in Kaiser
without greater certainty that it is a viable, long-term
platform to compete effectively in Brazil," explained Leo Kiely,
President and CEO of Molson Coors. "So, starting immediately, I
have instructed our management team to do two things. The first
is to operate the Kaiser business on at least a cash break-even
pace, on an operating basis. With the recent improvements in the
business, we think this is achievable. The second is to explore
a full range of options for Brazil. We want to be in the
Brazilian market, but only on a winning basis, and not at the
current risk level."

The company confirmed that despite losses and slightly lower
volumes over the recent months, the Kaiser business achieved
considerable progress, delivering improved financial results
compared to the previous year. For the four month period ending
April 30, 2005, the Brazilian business unit experienced a
negative cash flow from operations of US$3 million (R$8
million), compared with the same period for 2004, when the cash
use from operations was US$22 million (R$61 million).

Molson Coors Brewing Company is the fifth largest brewer in the
world. It sells its products in North America, Europe, Latin
America and Asia. Molson Coors is the leading brewer in Canada,
the second largest in the U.K, and the third largest brewer in
the U.S. The company's brands include Coors Light, Molson
Canadian, Molson Dry, Carling, Kaiser, Coors, and Zima XXX.

CONTACT: MOLSON
         Media: Sylvia Morin
         Tel: (514) 590-6345

         Investors: Dave Dunnewald
         Tel: (303) 279-6565
         URL: www.molsoncoors.com


CFLCL: Shareholders OK Priority Dividends
-----------------------------------------
Shareholders of Companhia Forca e Luz Cataguazes-Leopoldina
approved in an Ordinary General Meeting held April 29 the
payment, from 27 May, of priority cumulative dividends for
preferred shares in the Company related to the 2004 financial
period, at a rate of R$ 0.2092 per thousand class "A" preferred
shares and R$0.1255 per thousand class "B" preferred shares.

CONTACT: Companhia Forca e Luz Cataguazes-Leopoldina
         Mauricio Perez Botelho
         Investor Relations Director
         Praca Rui Barbosa, 80 - CEP 36770-901
         Cataguases, MG
         Phone: (32) 3429-6282
         Fax: (32) 3429-6480
         E-mail: mbotelho@cataguazes.com.br


COPEL: Net Operating Revenue Increases 26.9% in 1Q05
----------------------------------------------------
Companhia Paranaense de Energia - COPEL (NYSE: ELP / LATIBEX:
XCOP / BOVESPA: CPLE3, CPLE5, CPLE6), company that generates,
transmits, and distributes electric power to the State of
Parana, announced Wednesday its operating results for the first
quarter of 2005. All figures included in this report are in
thousands of Reais (R$)1000, and were prepared in accordance
with Brazilian GAAP (corporate law).

HIGHLIGHTS

- Net Operating Revenue: R$ 1,149.3 million - a 26.9% increase
compared to the first quarter of 2004.

- Operating Income: R$ 130.2 million - a 14.2% drop compared to
the same period of 2004.

- Net Income: In the first quarter of 2005, COPEL's net income
reached R$ 78.4 million (R$ 0.2865 per thousand shares).

- Increase in total power consumption through direct
distribution in the first quarter of 2005: 2.4%.

- EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and
amortization): R$ 224.9 million.

- Return on Equity: 6.01% per year.

- Debt / Shareholders' Equity ratio: 33.87%.

- COPEL's consolidated balance sheet presents, in addition to
the wholly owned subsidiaries figures (COPEL Geracao, COPEL
Transmissao, COPEL Distribuicao, COPEL Telecomunicacoes and
COPEL Participacoes) Compagas' figures. In order to maintain the
comparison base, 1Q04 financial statements were reclassified.

1Q05 KEY EVENTS

- New CEO: On February 1st, Mr. Rubens Ghilardi took office as
COPEL's Chief Executive Officer and announced he would carry on
the Company's capital expenditure plan with focus on
Transmission and Distribution, the renegotiation of the
agreement with UEG Araucaria and all other ongoing programs.

Mr. Ghilardi, a business manager and economist who had worked
for the Company for 30 years, was Chief Economic and Financial
Officer of COPEL between 1987 and 1993, and Chief Distribution
Officer between 2003 and 2005. He was also Chief Administrative
and Financial Officer of Escelsa, and Chief Financial Officer of
Itaipu Binacional. He is also keeping his position as COPEL's
Financial and Investor Relations Officer.

- Net Income: COPEL recorded a 1Q05 net income of R$ 78.4
million, equivalent to R$ 0.2865 per thousand shares.

- Market expansion: Total power consumption throughout COPEL's
direct distribution area grew by 2.4% in the first quarter of
2005.

Residential, commercial, and rural consumer segments increased
by 3.4%, 5.7%, and 4.1%, respectively. The good performance of
the commercial segment results from greater credit availability,
which has spurred the economy and led to a substantial increase
in the number of commercial customers power connections in
comparison with the last five years. The growth of the rural
segment is due mainly to the increase in exports of
agricultural, livestock, and agro-industrial products, which
resulted in higher income for the producers, enabling them to
invest in electric machinery. The expansion of residential
consumption was caused by a 2.9% increase in the number of
customers and from higher average consumption in the first
quarter (plus 0.4% over the first quarter of 2004).

Industrial consumption (not including free customers outside
COPEL's concession area) remained steady in the first quarter.

- Overdue customers: The rate increase discount afforded to
electricity bills paid when due has caused a significant drop in
the number of lapsed bills. In June 2003, overdue bills
accounted for R$ 187.0 million, or 5.4% of the Company's 12-
month gross revenues. In December 2003, this figure had dropped
to 2.6% of the 12-month gross revenues, or R$ 114.0 million, and
in December 2004, it reached R$ 106.8 million (or 2.3% of gross
revenues). In March 2005, the rate of overdue bills remained at
2.3% (or R$ 110.4 million). The levels of overdue bills are
calculated by dividing the amounts overdue for 15 to 360 days by
the 12-month gross revenues.

- UEG Araucaria: On August 14th 2003, COPEL filed a lawsuit
against UEG Araucaria ("Acao Cautelar de Producao Antecipada de
Provas"), which is currently at its final stage: the court-
ordered expert investigation has already been concluded, and the
resulting report shall soon be submitted to court. Under this
lawsuit COPEL aims to gather proof in advance to demonstrate the
current technical impossibility of operating the facility in a
continuous, safe, and permanent manner.

In July 2004, another arbitration hearing took place in Paris.
COPEL reaffirmed its argument against the arbitration, pointing
out to the fact that a Brazilian court has judged to be null and
void the clause providing for arbitration to settle the disputed
contract, which led to the procedures in Paris.

On December 6th 2004, the Arbitration Court ruled by majority
vote that it had jurisdiction over the issues at hand, but
assured that it would not consider administrative decisions
already taken by the National Electric Energy Agency (ANEEL),
such as the refusal to ratify the agreement between UEG
Araucaria and COPEL. This ruling, however, will not influence or
change the decisions of the Brazilian courts regarding the same
matter.

Even though COPEL will not recognize the jurisdiction of the
Arbitration Court over this matter, it will continue to defend
its interests before it, to prevent that the proceedings go on
in absentia. By May 15th 2005, the Company should file a
statement justifying its counterclaims against UEG Araucaria and
listing the pieces of evidence it intends to submit before the
Arbitration Court, but such deadline was postponed until May 30
at the request of UEG Araucaria on account of a rearrangement of
the Court's schedule. In early 2005, a committee was assembled
with representatives of COPEL, Petrobras, and El Paso in order
to negotiate a final deal regarding the issues of UEG Araucaria.

- Electricity Auction: COPEL participated in the 2nd auction of
existing electricity, which took place on April 2nd, 2005. At
this event, COPEL Generation sold 80 MW/year for the 2008-2015
period for a price of R$ 82,32/MWh; and COPEL Distribution
bought 53,7 MW/years for the 2008-2015 period for a price of R$
83,13/MWh

- Reduction in the Rate Discount: As of February 1st 2005, the
average discount afforded to customers who pay their bills when
due was set at 8.2% off the rates approved under ANEEL
Resolution #146/2004, thus resulting in an average rate increase
of 5%.

- Debentures: On April 25th 2005, CVM (the Brazilian Securities
and Exchange Commission) approved the filing of COPEL's 3rd
Issuance of Debentures, under a R$ 1 billion Debenture Program.
On the same date CVM also authorized the first issue under the
scope of this Program in the amount of R$ 400 million. Out of
this total, R$ 360 million correspond to public distribution
under the firm commitment scheme by Banco do Brasil, Bradesco,
HSBC, ItaŁ BBA, Santander, and Unibanco, and R$ 40 million to
distribution under the best efforts scheme.

The current issue matures in 4 years and the ratings achieved
for this operation were A+ by Fitch and A1 by Moody's. The
resources from this series were employed in full to pay off the
Eurobonds issued by the Company in 1997 in the amount of US$ 150
million.

- CRC: Agreement: Under the 4th amendment to the CRC Agreement,
signed on January 21st 2005, COPEL and the State Government
renegotiated the outstanding CRC account balance of R$ 1.197
million, which shall now be paid in 244 installments
recalculated under the "price" amortization schedule, starting
on January 30th 2005.

The remaining clauses of the original agreement will continue in
effect, being the amounts restated according to the IGP-DI
inflation index plus interest rate of 6.65% per year.

The Government of Parana has been paying the renegotiated
installments when due according to the 4th amendment to the
agreement.

- Compagas: Due to the consolidation of the data pertaining to
Compagas, COPEL's financial statements for the first quarter of
2004 were reclassified.

INANCIAL AND OPERATING PERFORMANCE

Market Expansion

In the first quarter of 2005, total power consumption through
direct distribution reached 4,503 GWh, up by 2.4% versus the
volume recorded in the same period of 2004. This consumption
growth reflects, mainly, the increase in the commercial, rural
and residential classes, with variations of 5.7%, 4.1% and 3.4%
respectively. Taking into consideration free consumers outside
the State of Parana, total consumption reached 4,615 GWh.

The commercial segment growth in the first quarter remained at
2004 levels. Such performance is a result of the increased
credit available that led to improved economic activity and,
therefore, to a greater number of new connections compared to
the last five years (3.6%).

The good performance of the rural segment is mainly due to the
increase in exports of agricultural and agribusiness products,
that resulted in higher income for rural producers and,
consequently, in purchase of additional electric products. The
number of consumers in the rural segment increased by 1.5%,
totaling 327,773 rural connected consumers on March 31, 2005.

Residential performance is a result of the 2.9% increase in the
number of consumers, as well as of the increase in the average
consumption in the period (0.4% above the number recorded in the
same period of 2004).

Industrial consumption, excluding unregulated "free" consumers
outside the State of Parana, was stable in the quarter.
Excluding the consumers that became "free" from the comparison
base, the industrial class would have increased 3.1% and the
total power consumption at COPEL's concession area would have
risen 3.6%.

The lower consumption of unregulated consumers is due to the
termination of contracts of COPEL Distribuicao with consumers
outside COPEL's concession area

In March 2005, COPEL's total number of consumers amounted to
3,203,167, up by 2.8% compared to March 2004, corresponding to
87,944 new consumers.

Revenues

Net operating revenues in the first quarter of 2005 reached R$
1,149.3 million, up 26.9% when compared to the R$ 906.0 million
recorded in the first quarter of 2004. This increase mainly
reflects:

(i) the lower discounts granted to due consumers, resulting in a
9% average adjustment as from 06/24/2004 and of 5% as from
02/01/2005;

(ii) higher supply revenue reflects the energy sold from COPEL
Geracao due to the 1  st  old energy auction (980 MW in average
for the period between 2005-2012 at R$ 57.50/MWh); and

(iii) the increase in revenue from the availability of the grid
due to transmission tariff readjustment confirmed by ANEEL
Resolution 71/2004, in addition to the incorporation of new
transmission assets at the Retail and the new tariff for the
TUSD - Tariff for the Use of Transmission Grid, after COPEL's
tariff revision.

The "Piped Gas Distribution" section relates to revenues from
Compagas' gas distribution.

Revenue Deductions

Pursuant to the Federal Laws # 10,637 and 10,833 the calculation
basis for PIS and COFINS changed and rates were increased. Due
to these changes, there was an increase in PIS expenses from
December 2002 to March 2005 and in COFINS expenses from February
2004 to March 2005.

ANEEL, through directive releases # 302/2005-SFF/ANEEL,
acknowledges the Company's indemnity rights over any additional
costs related to PIS and COFINS, defining that concession
companies should appraise the financial impact resulting from
the changes in PIS and COFINS criteria until the end of the
fiscal year and recognize the amounts on the balance sheet.
Based on such dispositions the Company recorded, this quarter,
R$ 19.4 million, in accordance with the criteria established by
ANEEL, as Long-Term Assets, thus reducing PIS and COFINS
expenses.

The Company estimates that the recorded amount will be recovered
in tariffs as from July 2005, considering that the update
criteria and the recovery term are still subject to ANEEL's
definition.

Operating Expenses

In the first quarter of 2005, total operating expenses reached
R$1,003.6 million, versus the R$ 729.0 million recorded in the
same period of 2004. The main reasons for this variation were:

- The 55.6% increase in the "energy purchased for resale" line,
because of the amount of energy hired by Copel period 2005-2012
at R$ 57.51/MWh). The main amounts booked are: R$132.0 million
from ITAIPU, R$ 79.9 million from CIEN, R$ 17.9 million from
Itiquira and R$ 110.3 million from energy auction under the
terms of CCEE (Electric power trade chamber).

- The increase in "Use of transmission grid" is due to: (i)
tariff readjustments confirmed by ANEEL Resolution 71, of June
30, 2004, and (ii) the amortization of R$ 6.4 million from CVA
recovery. Other important factor was the lower deferral from CVA
occurred this quarter (R$ 0.7 million) while in the first
quarter of 2004 it was R$ 32.7 million.

- The 40.9% increase in "personnel" line was chiefly due to wage
raises from the collective labor agreement in March 2004 (5.5%
remaining amount from the 2003 labour agreement) and October
2004 (6.5%), to the increase in the number of employees (423 new
employees) and to the additional risks agreement (R$ 19.0
million). Disregarding this last non recurring expense,
personnel costs would have increased by 21.2%.

- As a result of the consolidation of Compagas, the "raw
material and supply for electric power production" line reflects
only the amount of purchased gas and other raw materials payable
to third-parties.

- The "natural gas purchased for resale and gas operations
input" line refers to the total natural gas purchased by
Compagas from Petrobras. The provisioned amount regarding the
purchase of natural gas from Compagas by COPEL was R$ 76.1
million in the first quarter of 2005.

- The increase in "regulatory charges", under which the
following items were booked: R$ 57.5 million as Fuel Consumption
Account - CCC (a 31.2% increase), R$ 18.0 million as financial
compensation for the utilization of water resources (up by
23.1%), R$ 36.9 million as Energy Development Account - CDE (a
79.9% variation) and R$ 2.7 million as ANEEL's electric power
services oversight fee and other services (a 47.6% growth).

- The increase in "other operating expenses" was mainly due to
the booking of allowance for doubtful accounts. Such provision
was calculated in accordance with the ANEEL's Electric Power
Public Providers Booking Manual and, this quarter, amounted to
R$ 24.7 million.

EBITDA

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization -
EBITDA reached R$ 224.9 million in the first quarter of 2005,
11.3% below the number recorded in the same period of the
previous year (R$ 253.7 million).

Financial Result

The financial income by the end of March 2005 recorded a 22.3%
increase mostly due to higher average cash positions in the
period and to the appropriation of interest from the mutual
contract with Elejor.

Financial expenses grew 9.1% due to the increase of arrears
charges booked in the period, mainly regarding natural gas
purchase for UEG Araucaria (R$ 35.9 million), and the
appropriation of charges from derivative operations in the
amount of R$ 12.4 million.

Operating Result

COPEL's operating result recorded in the first quarter of 2005
totaled R$130.2 million, 14.2% below the first quarter of the
previous year.

Non-Operating Result

The non-operating result recorded in the period reflects mainly
the net effect of the write off of assets and rights registered
under permanent assets.

Net Income

Between January and March 2005, COPEL recorded net income of R$
78.4 million, a 12.6% drop compared to the same period of the
previous year.

Balance Sheet and Capex (Assets)

On 03.31.2005, COPEL's total assets amounted to R$ 10,080.0
million.

COPEL's capex in the first quarter of 2005 was R$ 95.3 million,
of which R$ 3.8 million were allocated to power generation
projects, R$ 30.8 million to transmission projects, R$ 53.0
million to distribution works, R$ 5.3 million to telecom and R$
2.4 million to gas plumbing (Compagas).

Balance Sheet (Liabilities)

As of March 31, 2005, COPEL's total debt amounted to R$ 1,766.3
million, representing a debt/shareholders' equity ratio of
33.9%.

COPEL's shareholders' equity was R$ 5,214.7 million,
representing a 5.4% increase over March 2004, and equivalent to
R$ 19.06 per thousand shares.

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

CONTACT:  Copel
          Investor Relations Department
          ri@copel.com

          Ricardo Portugal Alves
          (55 41) 3331-4311

          Solange Maueler Gomide
          (55 41) 3331-4359
          URL: www.copel.com


COPEL: Issues Portion of Recent Board Meeting Minutes
-----------------------------------------------------
EXTRACT OF THE MINUTES OF THE 70TH EXTRAORDINARY MEETING OF
THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS

1. VENUE: Rua Coronel DulcĄdio, n.§ 800, Curitiba - PR. 2. DATE
AND TIME: April 18, 2005 - at 2 pm. 3. PRESIDING BOARD: Joao
Bonifacio Cabral Junior - Chairman; Rubens Ghilardi - Executive
Secretary. 4. AGENDA AND DELIBERATIONS: In order to honor
Centrais Eletricas do Rio Jordao S.A. - ELEJOR's commitments,
and to continue Complexo Energetico Fundao - Santa Clara
improvement works, Copel's Board of Directors had approved and
additional fund contribution to ELEJOR, through an amendment to
the Mutual Contract, establishing the pass on of the following
amounts, at specific dates: R$ 5,000,000.00 (five million reais)
on April twenty five, two thousand five (04/25/2005) and; R$
14,000,000.00 (fourteen million reais) on May twenty, two
thousand five (05/20/2005).

5. SIGNATURES: JOAO BONIFACIO CABRAL JUNIOR - Chairman, ACIR
PEPES MEZZADRI, AMERICO ANTONIO GAION, LAURITA COSTA ROSA,
LINDSLEY DA S. RASCA RODRIGUES, LUIZ ANTONIO ROSSAFA, SERGIO
BOTTO DE LACERDA, RUBENS GHILARDI - Executive Secretary. The
text of the Minutes of the 70th Extraordinary Meeting of Copel's
Board of Directors was drawn up in the pages 176 and 177 of the
Company's Book #5, registered with the Board Trade of the Parana
State under # 00/056085-5, on August 8, 2000, and filed at the
Board of Trade under # 20051336200 on May 2, 2005.


LIGHT SERVICOS: Debt Plan Gains Creditors' Approval
---------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Light Servicos de Eletricidade SA have given the
Brazilian power distributor a signal to go-ahead with a plan to
restructure overdue debts worth BRL1.77 billion, reports Dow
Jones Newswires.

Under the plan, Light, a subsidiary of Electricite de France
(EdF), will split the debt into three parts, which will have
different amortization periods and pay different interest rates.
All debts will remain in their existing currencies, except for a
U.S. dollar loan from BBA Creditanstalt, which will be converted
into reals.

The deal requires Light to join the electric power credit
program offered by Brazil's National Development Bank (BNDES).

The preliminary agreement with the creditors runs through June
30, and can be automatically renewed for 60 days if Light can
prove it has sent its request for financing to BNDES.

The deal is subject to a number of other conditions, including
the conversion of credits held by parent company EDF against
Light into the Brazilian firm's shares.

The deal also obliges Light to improve corporate governance,
including listing on the more stringent Novo Mercado mechanism
of Sao Paulo's Bovespa stock exchange.

Light will not pay down any principal on a US$160 million loan
from Deutsche Bank, currently due June 2007, until it settles
its existing debts.

Furthermore, there are restrictions on Light's dividend payments
and investments, and the firm has certain financial targets to
meet.

If, from December 2006, the Company's cash flow exceeds current
expectations, Light is to use 70% to pay down debt early, to be
prorated amongst creditors.

Light serves 3.5 million customers in 31 municipalities in
Rio de Janeiro state.

CONTACT:  LIGHT SERVICOS DE ELETRICIDADE S.A.
          Avenida Marechal Floriano, 168
          20080-002 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
          Phone: +55-21-2211-2794
          Fax:   +55-21-2211-2993
          Home Page: http://www.lightrio.com.br
          Contact:
          Bo Gosta Kallstrand, Chairman
          Michel Gaillard, President and CEO
          Joel Nicolas, Executive Director, Operation
          Paulo Roberto Ribeiro Pinto, Executive Director,
                                 Investor Relations and CFO


VARIG: Controlling Shareholder Asks BNDESPar to Take Helm
---------------------------------------------------------
The Rubem Berta foundation, which owns 87% of Varig, presented
to state-run fund BNDESPar last week a proposal, under which
management of the embattled airline will be transferred to the
fund, reports AFX.

Ernesto Zanata, the president of the foundation's board, said
such transfer would boost the credibility of Varig's
restructuring process.

BNESPar fund is the investment arm of state-owned development
bank BNDES.

Meanwhile, TAP-Air Portugal is negotiating the acquisition of a
stake in Varig as part of a deal to save one of Latin America's
biggest airlines from a crippling debt crisis.

The two companies have signed a memorandum of understanding that
could see TAP acquire up to 20% of Varig and assume a dominant
role in its management.

CONTACT:  VARIG (Viacao Aerea Rio-Grandense, S.A.)
          Rua 18 de Novembro No. 800, Sao Joao
          90240-040 Porto Alegre,
          Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil
          Phone: (51) 358-7039/7040
                 (51) 358-7010/7042
          Fax: +55-51-358-7001
          Home Page: www.varig.com.br/english/
          Contacts:
              Dorival Ramos Schultz, EVP Finance and CFO
              E-mail: dorival.schultz@varig.com.br


              Investor Relations:
              Av. Almirante Silvio de Noronha,
              n  365-Bloco "B" - s/458 / Centro
              Rio de Janeiro, Brazil



===================
C O S T A   R I C A
===================

BICSA: Ratings Consider Low Profitability
-----------------------------------------

Rationale

The ratings assigned consider Banco Internacional de Costa Rica
S.A.'s (Bicsa) low profitability and the weak growth of its loan
portfolio, along with lower capitalization than one year ago.
The ratings are supported by the short-term nature of its loan
portfolio, the current refocus of the operations in its core
business of trade finance, and the reorganization that should
improve the future efficiency of the bank. Although the ratings
are assigned to Bicsa Panama, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services
monitors the bank on a consolidated basis. The negative outlook
indicates that despite the efforts taken to improve the overall
business, both loan growth and profits could remain weak given
the strong competition in the bank's core business as well as
moderate growth in the Central American region, the bank's core
market.

In the past two years, there have been credit events that have
affected the bank's bottom line and asset quality, as credit
underwriting diverged somewhat from Bicsa's core business, which
is trade finance. Some of the nontrade finance operations were
originated to compensate overall low loan growth and to improve
margins. In our view, some of those loans do not fully match
Bicsa's core business and have a higher degree of risk than do
trade finance operations. Even though an aggressive write-off
policy has improved asset quality, should new problems arise,
asset quality could deteriorate again.

Strong competition in Bicsa's main line of business has hindered
adequate loan growth, and we expect this trend to continue.
Profitability has been low as a consequence of lack of growth
and high cost structure and as provisions for credit problems
depressed profits. Profitability improved in 2004 compared to
2003, given that about 50% of net income came from a
nonrecurring capital gain. In the future, thanks to the
reorganization and cost reduction implied, profits should
improve, but could remain below those of other financial
institutions in the same rating category.

As Bicsa's profitability has not been high enough to increase
capital organically, and its main shareholders approved a $41
million dividend payment, Bicsa's adjusted total equity ratio
has been reduced. At March 2005, adjusted equity to assets was
13.3% compared to 17% at December 2003. This ratio allows Bicsa
to continue growing in the future, but softens its financial
profile compared to 2003. As capital represents a less important
source of funding, Bicsa will have to replace it with other
funding sources.

The short-term nature of its loan portfolio gives Bicsa more
flexibility than other banks to adapt to changing market
conditions. In addition, after September 2004, the bank has
refocused in trade finance and has reorganized its loan
origination group. It also transferred its credit card business
and loans denominated in Colones to Banco Nacional de Costa
Rica, its shareholder. This action will bring Bicsa back to its
core business and lower loan-portfolio risk. The reorganization
should also lower administrative costs and improve efficiency as
the number of employees was cut in half.

Outlook

Although Bicsa's core business was refocused and operating costs
were reduced, we still believe that management faces important
challenges. There is significant competition in the trade
finance business, which is driving margins to very low levels.
In addition, economic growth in the Central American region is
expected to remain moderate. Therefore, we do not expect Bicsa's
future performance to change dramatically. Should the bank's
financial performance deteriorate further, the ratings could be
lowered. Nevertheless, if financial performance improves
significantly, the outlook could be revised to stable, and if
this becomes a consistent trend, the ratings could be raised.

Primary Credit Analyst: Angelica Bala, Mexico City
(52) 55-5081-4405; angelica_bala@standardandpoors.com

Secondary Credit Analyst: Ursula M Wilhelm, Mexico City
(52) 55-5081-4407; ursula_wilhelm@standardandpoors.com



=============
E C U A D O R
=============

PACIFICTEL: FS Jump-Starts Process to Search for Administrator
--------------------------------------------------------------
Ecuadorian state holding company Fondo de Solidaridad (FS) has
restarted the process to seek a strategic administrator for its
telecoms units Pacifictel, Andinatel and Telecsa, reports
Business News Americas.

According to FS president Marcelo Arcos, FS will hold a
consultation period during June and July, open a data room
through to mid-August and select the winner by end-December.

Arcos said the process will be managed entirely by the United
Nations. The final stages will be carried out in Geneva to
ensure transparency, he added.

Under former FS president Nelson Ruiz, the institution announced
similar plans to select a foreign administrator in June 2004,
and at the time estimated the contract winner would have to
invest US$120 million in the three companies, mostly in
Pacifictel. This figure will change but should not vary greatly,
and given that it will be a long-term contract it will be in the
winner's interest to make such investments, Arcos said.

Meanwhile, Pacifictel is currently operating without a
president. Sergio Flores, who last held the post, advised the
state to consider liquidating the cash-strapped company.



=============
G R E N A D A
=============

* GRENADA: Ratings Reflect Ongoing Restructuring Of Public Debt
---------------------------------------------------------------

Rationale

The ratings on Grenada reflect the government's ongoing
restructuring of its public debt. Grenada suffered overwhelming
devastation as a result of Hurricane Ivan, which hit the country
in September 2004. The damage, estimated at US$900 million (more
than double the country's GDP in 2003), extended to all spheres
of the Grenadian economy. In particular, the island's
agriculture and tourism sectors-the main growth engines and
foreign-exchange earners of the country's economy-were severely
hit. The economy contracted by 3% in 2004 and is expected to
recover slightly this year (1% growth). The impact of the
hurricane on Grenada's fiscal position has been alleviated due
to extensive donor assistance, estimated at 9% and 16% of GDP in
2004 and 2005, respectively. Nevertheless, Grenada's high debt
burden, accumulated prior to the hurricane, resulted in the
government's inability to meet payments on its obligations due
to a position of severe financial stress.

Grenada failed to make scheduled interest payments on its debt
at the end of December 2004, and Standard & Poor's Ratings
Services subsequently lowered its foreign currency ratings on
the sovereign to 'SD'. Grenada expects to start restructuring
negotiations with the creditors shortly.

When the debt restructuring is complete, Standard & Poor's will
revise its 'SD' ratings to ratings that incorporate a forward-
looking assessment of Grenada's debt-servicing capacity.

Primary Credit Analyst: Olga Kalinina, CFA, New York
(1) 212-438-7350; olga_kalinina@standardandpoors.com

Secondary Credit Analyst: Helena Hessel, New York
(1) 212-438-7349; helena_hessel@standardandpoors.com



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

* JAMAICA: Ratings Supported By Improving Liquidity Position
------------------------------------------------------------

Rationale

The ratings on Jamaica are supported by the island's improving
fiscal and external liquidity position (despite external
shocks), ongoing commitment to fiscal austerity, and stronger
growth prospects-all of which have helped stabilize the Jamaican
dollar and increase investor confidence levels. The support of
fiscal and macroeconomic policies by trade unions and the
private sector, as demonstrated by the preparation of the
Partnership for Progress agreement and the signing of the
Memorandum of Understanding with labor unions, makes it more
likely that Jamaica will continue its fiscal consolidation in
2005 and beyond. It also lowers the risk of social tension in
times of austere reform.

On the fiscal front, the central government deficit totaled 4.8%
of GDP in fiscal 2004, according to an official calculation.
This expected outcome is higher than the initially budgeted
deficit of 4% (due to the impact of Hurricane Ivan), although
down from 5.8% reached in fiscal 2003. According to Standard &
Poor's definition, the central government deficit is expected to
total 7.3% of GDP in fiscal 2004, which includes 2.5% of off-
budget expenditure (down from 9% in fiscal 2003). The government
aims to achieve a balanced budget in fiscal 2005, supported by
new tax measures and controlled expenditure. The goal is quite
challenging, and Standard & Poor's more conservatively estimates
that Jamaica's central government deficit will total 2.9% of GDP
in fiscal 2005, including 1.1% of extrabudgetary losses.

Jamaica's external liquidity position is also improving,
reflecting increasing reserves (US$1.85 billion at year-end
2004, up from US$1.2 billion at year-end 2003) and a stronger
current account performance. The current account deficit
declined to 7.9% of GDP in 2004 from 9% in fiscal 2003, boosted
by robust mining and tourism revenue.

General government debt stock has been declining, reflecting a
fiscal performance that has been improving since mid-2003 and is
expected to total 135% of GDP by fiscal year-end 2004 (down from
138% in 2003 and 140% in 2002). Still, the looming debt size
remains a major constraining factor on the ratings. Jamaica's
debt profile is unfavorable, with a high (albeit declining)
sensitivity to interest- and exchange-rate fluctuations and an
increasing share of more expensive commercial debt. The general
government debt burden is expected to decline further, to an
estimated 129% of GDP by fiscal year-end 2005, on the back of
continued fiscal efforts and improving growth prospects.

Medium-term growth is expected to hover at about 2.5%-3.0% of
GDP, based upon significant investment in the tourism (US$600
million over the next five years) and mining (US$300 million
over the next three years) sectors. Real growth in 2004,
however, has been revised down by 1.2% to total 1.5% of GDP
because of Hurricane Ivan-the impact of which is estimated at
roughly US$600 million (7% of GDP). As such, growth prospects
remain vulnerable to the risk inherent in the island's
geographical location, size, and openness.

Outlook

The outlook balances the improvement in Jamaica's fiscal and
debt positions, supported by promising growth prospects and a
stronger external liquidity stance, with significant risk
stemming from the size of the government's debt. A lack of
progress in further fiscal consolidation could endanger public
support for reform, macroeconomic stability, and foreign
investors' sentiment toward the country, all of which will harm
Jamaica's creditworthiness. On the other hand, Jamaica's track
record of fiscal prudence (including during the next election
period) and a continuing decrease in the government debt burden
could lead to a favorable outlook revision.

Primary Credit Analyst: Olga Kalinina, CFA, New York
(1) 212-438-7350; olga_kalinina@standardandpoors.com

Secondary Credit Analyst: Richard Francis, New York
(1) 212-438-7348; richard_francis@standardandpoors.com



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

AHMSA: Russian Steel Firm Pays Technical Visit
----------------------------------------------
Russia's Severstal is looking to buy Mexican steelmaker
Altos Hornos de Mexico SA (AHMSA) in a move that would create
one of the world's largest steel firms, Reuters reports, citing
an AHMSA source.

"There is a technical visit by experts from Severstal and the
company is interested in buying, merging or a joint venture,"
AHMSA spokesman Francisco Orduna said without giving other
details.

A merger of the two companies could create cost savings and
efficiencies of some US$300 million and joint annual cash flow
of about US$3 billion, according to analysts.

"A union of the two would create a company with production
capacity of some 17 million tons per year," he said.

AHMSA and holders of the US$1.87 billion in debt it defaulted on
in 1999 met in New York last month, their first major meeting in
several years. During the meeting, the Monclova-based company,
acting through the Vector brokerage that it hired last year to
negotiate its debt, presented a proposal to pay the debt over
seven years in pesos, converting the original amounts at the
exchange rate in effect at the time of its default.

AHMSA registered a net profit of MXN1.74 billion ($1=MXN11.1450)
in the first quarter of 2005 on sales of MXN5.81 billion. Since
its default, the Company has seen its fortunes turn on soaring
steel prices.

CONTACT: AHMSA
         International Operations
         Prolongacion Juarez s/n
         Monclova, Coah., 25770
         Phone: + 52 (866) 649 34 00
         Fax: + 52 (866) 649 23 10
         E-mail: sales@ahmsa.com
         Web site: http://www.ahmsa.com.mx


HYLSAMEX: Alfa Accepts Techint's Purchase Offer
-----------------------------------------------
HYLSAMEX, S.A. de C.V. (BMV: HylsamxB, HylsamxL) ("Hylsamex"),
the Mexican steel company based in this city, announced
Wednesdaythat its parent company ALFA, S.A. DE C.V. ("ALFA") has
accepted the Techint Group's ("Techint") offer to buy ALFA's
Hylsamex shares. At the same time, Hylsamex is aware that
Techint will make a public tender offer for all of Hylsamex's
outstanding shares in the Mexican stock market, under the same
terms and conditions.

Mr. Dionisio Garza Medina, ALFA's Chairman of the Board and
Chief Executive Officer said:

"Techint is a very experienced global company, with presence in
Mexico since 1952, managed by people who are committed to the
steel industry and to the people that work in their companies.
Therefore, we believe Hylsamex will be integrated into a very
solid group, which will allow it to continue playing a key role
in the Mexican steel industry in the long term, assuring its
viability and the employment of its people in an increasingly
global industry."

He added, "It is also fair to recognize the extraordinary effort
made by Hylsamex's personnel during the difficult years, a key
element of its recovery."

Paolo Rocca, President of the Techint organization, commented:
"The Hylsamex acquisition strengthens our project of building a
leading regional group in Latin America, in order to
successfully compete in the global steel industry, which is
going through an important consolidation process."

Alejandro M. Elizondo Barrag n, Chief Executive Officer of
Hylsamex, commented:

"In the last year, the global steel industry has been immersed
in a process of consolidation, which seeks the strengthening of
the strategic position of the world's most important
steelmakers. In this sense, we knew it was convenient to play an
active role in this process."

"Although it is difficult to break up from ALFA, with which we
have profound ties, we are cheerful to join a company with a
prestige and an international presence such as Techint, which we
know since many years ago, from our association in Sidor.
Techint's professional and financial capacity will allow us to
play an important role in the future steel industry of our
region."

Hylsamex is a steel producer and processor, encompassing the
minimill route with vertical integration, which includes readily
available sources of low cost iron ore and proprietary
technology for the direct reduction of iron.

The Company manufactures a broad spectrum of steel products with
a significant emphasis on value-added products. Hylsamex, which
has a manufacturing and distribution presence in North America,
reaches its end customers through an extensive wholly-owned
distribution network.

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


MERISANT: Moody's Cuts Ratings After Earnings Decline
-----------------------------------------------------
Approximately $611 Million of Rated Debt Affected.

Moody's Investors Service downgraded the debt ratings of
Merisant Company ("Merisant") and its parent Merisant Worldwide,
Inc. ("MWI") following material earnings declines in fiscal
2004, and the likelihood that profits, cash flows, and liquidity
will remain under pressure as the company seeks to turnaround
its operating performance and combat competitive threats. The
ratings outlook is stable.

The following ratings have been affected by this rating action:

Merisant Worldwide, Inc.

  - Senior implied rating, assigned at B3;

  - 12.25% $136.04 million senior subordinated discount notes
due 5/15/14, downgraded to Caa3 from Caa1;

  - Senior unsecured issuer rating, assigned at Caa1;

Merisant Company

  - Senior implied rating, B1 withdrawn;

  - Senior unsecured issuer rating, B2 withdrawn;

  - $35 million senior secured revolving credit facility due
1/11/09, downgraded to B2 from B1;

  - $47.768 million senior secured term loan A due 1/11/09,
downgraded to B2 from B1;

  - $167.105 million senior secured term loan B due 1/11/10,
downgraded to B2 from B1;

  - 9.5% $225 million senior subordinated notes due 7/15/13,
downgraded to Caa2 from B3.

The ratings downgrade reflects Merisant's significant sales and
margin declines, which were most pronounced in the company's
North American retail division in grocery, club and mass
channels. Overall EBITDA fell from $110 million to $87 million,
resulting in an increase in enterprise level debt-to-EBITDA from
4.9x to 6.0x, a decrease in EBITDA less capex interest coverage
form 2.7x to 1.4x, and a decline in free cash flow to debt from
8.5% to 2.5%. Market share gains by Johnson & Johnson's Splenda
brand and an expensive, unsuccessful competitive response by
Merisant (Sugar Lite) were the key drivers of the earnings
shortfall. Moody's believes that further erosion in profits and
credit metrics is possible as Splenda rolls out additional
capacity worldwide or if similar market share losses begin to
impact Merisant's foodservice division, where its Equal brand
remains strong. Although Moody's recognizes the strategic
rationale put in place by the new CEO that will focus on product
innovation, the uncertainty, timing, and expense associated with
such actions are additional concerns.

The senior secured credit facilities were downgraded only one
notch and are now rated one notch higher than the senior implied
rating. The notching reflects the superior position of the
credit facilities relative to the overall enterprise rating
since the facilities, with their first claim on the assets, are
likely to experience significantly better recovery prospects
relative to the other debt classes in a distressed scenario.

Ratings are supported by Merisant's sizeable global market share
(26% dollar share in 2004) in the growing low calorie tabletop
sweeteners market, with sizeable shares in North America, the
UK, France and Mexico. Moody's recognizes the strong margins and
low capital investment requirements that enhance cash flow
generation. Merisant benefits from geographic diversity and a
broad retail and foodservice customer base with low customer
concentrations.

As indicated by the stable outlook, ratings are unlikely to
change over the near term. In particular, there is very limited
upward rating pressure in the absence of a strong and sustained
improvement in the company's operating performance and/or
reduced debt levels. However, the stable outlook also reflects
Moody's opinion that the new rating levels appropriately capture
known business and liquidity risks for the coming year, the
latter of which is somewhat aided by Merisant's recent credit
agreement amendment to loose covenants. Further, the stable
outlook reflects Merisant's successful competitive defenses in
certain regions and the expectation for positive cash flows even
in a pressure earnings environment. The failure to maintain
these conditions could prompt unfavorable near-term rating
actions, and ratings are likely to be downgraded if the company
does not remain free cash flow positive and/or it loses
borrowing access to its credit facilities.

Merisant Worldwide, Inc. is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois.
The company had fiscal-year 2004 revenues of approximately $348
million. The company packages and distributes low calorie
tabletop sweeteners (primarily aspartame and saccharin-based),
which include Equal, NutraSweet and Canderel, via food service
and retail channels in over 100 countries.


METALDYNE: Moody's Downgrades Ratings
-------------------------------------
Approximately $950 Million Of Debt Obligations Affected

Moody's Investors Service downgraded ratings for Metaldyne
Corporation ("Metaldyne") and its direct subsidiary Metaldyne
Company LLC ("Metaldyne LLC") by one notch, and concluded the
review for possible downgrade. Moody's additionally established
stable rating outlooks for both entities.

The rating downgrades were driven by challenging industry
conditions, together with certain company-specific factors which
are impeding Metaldyne's actual and prospective performance.
More definitively, operating cash flows are lagging Moody's
prior expectations as a byproduct of rising commodity prices,
declining vehicle production levels, high capital expenditures
requirements given the capital-intensive nature of Metaldyne's
production facilities, the continued need to finance significant
up-front costs associated with launching Metaldyne's large book
of awarded new business, and the costs and distractions that had
been caused by the independent investigation of Metaldyne's
accounting records during 2004. Metaldyne's expected delivery of
increased EBIT cash interest coverage above marginal 1.0x levels
and materially reduced leverage and debt levels is now delayed
until 2006 or later. EBITA cash interest coverage is expected to
run a little higher at about 1.4x. Moody's believes that the
comfort level for unused available liquidity is in excess of
$200 million (approximately 10% of revenues), versus the
approximately $75 million level that Metaldyne had guided the
market to as of the close of the first quarter of 2005.

While Moody's action placing Metaldyne's ratings on review for
possible downgrade was initially triggered by the company's
disclosure that a former Sintered Division controller admitted
to fraudulent actions with regard to the company's accounting
records, the restatement adjustments that were determined to be
necessary following the extensive independent investigation
which followed were notably all non-cash in nature and not
material enough in the aggregate to justify a downgrade on their
own. The company is still in the process of addressing various
deficiencies in internal controls that were identified during
the independent investigation and by the company's auditors. It
is the company's goal to satisfy Section 404 requirements of the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act, but the outcome in this regard is still
pending.

The stable outlook is based upon Metaldyne's recent performance
ahead of many industry peers in terms of revenue growth,
customer diversification, and North American light vehicle steel
cost recovery.

The following specific rating actions were taken with regard to
Metaldyne Corporation and Metaldyne Company LLC:

- Downgrade to Caa2, from Caa1, of the rating for Metaldyne's
$250 million of 11% guaranteed senior subordinated unsecured
notes due June 2012;

- Downgrade to Caa1, from B3, of the rating for Metaldyne's $150
million of 10% guaranteed senior unsecured notes due November
2013;

- Downgrade to B3, from B2, of the ratings for Metaldyne LLC's
$600 million ($551 million remaining) of guaranteed senior
secured credit facilities, consisting of:

- $200 million guaranteed senior secured revolving credit
facility due May 2007;

- $400 million ($351 million remaining) guaranteed senior
secured term loan D due December 2009;

- Downgrade to B3, from B2, of Metaldyne's senior implied
rating;

- Confirmation of Metaldyne's Caa1 senior unsecured issuer
rating

The rating downgrades reflect that Metaldyne's operations
(exclusive of acquisitions and divestitures) have not generated
any positive free cash flow available to service debt since
2001. The company furthermore incurred additional debt during
2004 to finance the New Castle acquisition. For the last twelve
months ended April 3, 2005, total debt/EBITDA leverage
(including redeemable preferred stock as debt) remained high at
about 5.5x and total debt/EBITDAR leverage (also including as
debt the present value of operating leases, letters of credit,
accounts receivable securitizations, and adjustments to reflect
preferred stock at liquidation value) remained very high at
about 6.5x. The company's active use of sale/leasebacks at a
rate of 15%-20% of annual capital spending has notably served to
moderate the level of on-balance sheet debt while increasing
overall available liquidity. EBIT was insufficient to cover cash
interest for the period, and is no longer expected to exceed
1.0x until 2006. EBITA cash interest coverage was slightly
better during the last twelve months ended, but still below
1.0x. On a prospective basis EBITA cash interest coverage is
expected to run a little higher at about 1.4x. Available
liquidity -- consisting of cash and unused effective
availability under committed facilities -- approximated $72
million at the close of the first quarter of 2005. While
management expects Metaldyne's credit protection measure to
improve slightly during 2005 and to demonstrate more dramatic
improvement in 2006 based upon rollouts of booked business and
estimates regarding production volumes, costs savings and
commodity price recoveries, this high-fixed-cost company remains
vulnerable to any unexpected developments that are either
specific to the company or related to the automotive industry
and/or the broader economy. Metaldyne incurred almost $18
million in fees during 2004 in connection with the investigation
of the nature and scope of the accounting fraud. This
represented a significant and unexpected cash outflow, but is
non-recurring in nature.

Metaldyne is a very high volume purchaser of steel, which
constitutes the most significant component of the company's cost
of goods sold. Management has additionally evaluated that it is
not advantageous for Metaldyne to participate in OEM steel
resale programs. Instead, the company purchases all of its steel
directly under contracts which typically have maturities of one
year or longer. Exposure to steel price fluctuations therefore
poses a significant ongoing risk to Metaldyne's performance. The
margin declines recorded by the company during 2004 were partly
attributable to the increased commodity costs for steel and
other raw materials. Raw materials spending increased year-over-
year by $53 million on a gross basis, and by $22 million net of
realized recoveries. Metaldyne's steel price recovery rate in
the North American light vehicle market notably appears to be
exceeding the rate being achieved by most of its peers.

Metaldyne's business is characterized by high capital intensity
and R&D spending. Spending on new equipment has met or exceeded
1.5x depreciation over the past two years in support of launch
activity, the initiation of new plants in lower-cost countries
such as Korea and Mexico, and the general upgrading of
manufacturing assets. Management does notably assert that 2004
was the peak spending year and that capital expenditures should
decline by about $30 million to $120 million in 2005. Metaldyne
must also continue to invest heavily in the development of new
products and technologies in order to maintain a competitive
advantage and provide value-added products for which customers
are more willing to pay higher margins.

Metaldyne is significantly concentrated with the Big 3 vehicle
manufacturers, with approximately 60% direct exposure as a Tier
1 supplier and an additional 20%+ indirect exposure as a Tier 2
supplier. Given the current market environment, it is in the
company's favor that the revenue mix has already become somewhat
more diversified. With regard to Big 3 exposure, DaimlerChrysler
became Metaldyne's largest customer of the three at
approximately 24.4% direct exposure upon the company's
acquisition of the New Castle plant. Direct exposure to Ford and
General Motors approximates 12.5% and 7.2%, respectively (based
upon 2004 revenues). Metaldyne is furthermore exposed to the
weakness of certain suppliers, which can cause interruptions in
supply and result in price increases (such as was the case with
the Chapter 11 filings of Intermet Corp. and Citation Corp.
during 2004).

Metaldyne's business strategy entails additional acquisitions to
achieve greater diversity of products, customers, and
technologies, as well as global expansion and improved market
share. While the business strategy has strategic merits, the
weakness of Metaldyne's balance sheet presents significant
potential challenges to credit quality. Moody's remains
concerned regarding the way such acquisitions will be financed,
the size of future transactions and the pace at which they will
occur, the effectiveness of the due diligence in identifying
potential detriments to value, and how expensive, time consuming
and disruptive the integration processes would be.

The stable outlooks following the rating downgrades reflect that
Metaldyne has been relatively more effective versus many peers
at efforts to counteract the negative industry dynamics. The
company notably achieved 2004 revenue growth in excess of 7.5%
(excluding the impact of the New Castle acquisition and certain
divestitures), which significantly outperformed the year's Big 3
production decline approximating 2.6%. In addition, per
management's guidance during its May 10, 2005 investor call
first quarter 2005 revenue growth was about 20.3%, versus an
approximately 9.3% decline in Big 3 production. Metaldyne's new
business backlog is with a notably more diversified set of
customers. Approximately 60% of new business is with the Big 3,
30% is with Asian manufacturers, and 10% is with European
manufacturers. The acquisition of DaimlerChrysler's New Castle
plant added about $445 million in Chassis Group revenues and is
now generating business with other customers. Hyundai is
becoming a very meaningful customer, and Metaldyne is supporting
relationship with a new plant that the company just opened in
Korea. Metaldyne also reports that it has negotiated agreements
with customers that will offset a majority of its raw materials
risk in the future. The company has initiated pass-through
indexing arrangements with many customers similar to those
already used for aluminum. Management does not expect that these
actions will result in a reduced pace of new business awards
since the company is well positioned competitively and only
about 15% of the product line today consists of commodity-like
forged components. In addition, Metaldyne is selling its own
scrap at market and implementing productivity improvements which
have thereby enabled it to reduce headcounts. On the basis of
the initiatives already taken, Metaldyne estimates that it will
achieve about 80% raw material recovery during 2005, even if
unfavorable commodity price trends continue. It is notable that
the recovery provisions contain no profit margin and stand to
drive down operating margins somewhat in a rising commodity
price environment (with the opposite effect as prices reverse).

Metaldyne has recently taken several critical steps to enhance
liquidity, which would have otherwise been nearly depleted at
the end of the first quarter. Metaldyne received more than $21
million cash upon the sale of a 16.1% interest in TriMas Corp.
stock in November 2004, and management believes that the value
of Metaldyne's remaining TriMas Corp. holdings exceeds $100
million. However, Moody's notes that TriMas Corp. just withdrew
its SEC filing for an initial public offering on May 11, 2005.
During December 2004 Metaldyne also sold its 36% interest in
Saturn Electronics for about $15 million in cash proceeds.
During December 2004 the company additionally closed an
amendment to its guaranteed senior secured credit agreement
which included provisions to loosen certain negative covenant
tests and provide greater cushion against the likelihood of
default. Metaldyne furthermore amended its accounts receivable
securitization agreement upon transferring to a new agent
lender, which thereby enhanced the applicable advance rate
formulas and extended the expiration date of the facility to
January 2007. The New Castle plant's accounts receivable were
added to the program during the first quarter. Partially
offsetting these enhancements to the securitization program was
the reduced availability permitted against General Motors
Corporation and Ford Motor Company receivables following from
their simultaneous rating downgrades by a rating agency to below
investment grade. Metaldyne's next anticipated step toward
enhancing liquidity is to replace the existing securitization
with a new and larger $175 million accounts receivable
securitization which would also benefit from further
improvements to the applicable advance rates and an extended
maturity in 2010. Execution of this new agreement should be
feasible subject to execution of the intercreditor agreement
currently under negotiation with the senior secured lenders, but
would present a higher overall cost to the company.

Future events which would be likely to result in additional
rating downgrades potentially include further deterioration in
free cash flow generation versus plan, additional sizable
acquisitions prior to an reduction of all-in leverage below
4.5x, failure to maintain unused available liquidity at
approximately $100 million, and/or determination that Metaldyne
has material Category B weaknesses in its internal controls
which evidences material concerns regarding the quality of
financial reporting.

Future events which would be likely to result in an improved
outlook or a rating upgrade include positive free cash flow
generation and deleveraging from operations, sale of the
remaining TriMas shares at the expected value and application of
the net proceeds against debt, substantial improvements to
committed liquidity, a material equity infusion, and/or
increased diversification of the revenue base.

Metaldyne Corporation, headquartered in Plymouth, Michigan, is a
manufacturer of highly engineered products for the global light
vehicle market. Metaldyne designs, engineers and assembles
metal-formed and engineered products used in transmissions,
engines and chassis of vehicles. The company's annual revenues
currently approximate $2.1 billion. Ownership of Metaldyne is
controlled by private equity sponsor Heartland Industrial
Partners LP.


PEMEX: Ratings Linked to United Mexican States Says S&P
-------------------------------------------------------

Rationale

The ratings on Petroleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), the state-owned
Mexican oil and gas company, and the United Mexican States are
linked because of the government's ownership of the company,
PEMEX's importance to the Mexican economy, the government's
heavy dependence on oil-related revenue, and the considerable
government oversight of the company, particularly with respect
to all fiscal aspects of management. PEMEX accounted for more
than 40% of Mexico's public sector revenue in 2004 through taxes
and dividends; petroleum and derivatives account for about 15%
of the country's total adjusted exports (net of "maquila"
imports). We believe PEMEX's willingness to meet its financial
obligations is determined by the United Mexican States. We also
believe PEMEX's importance as a source of tax revenues and
export receipts and as a funding vehicle constitute a strong
economic incentive for the United Mexican States to support the
issuer during a period of financial distress. Furthermore,
although the Mexican government does not guarantee PEMEX's debt,
we acknowledge that PEMEX's debt has received "pari passu"
treatment with direct creditors of the sovereign in previous
restructurings of Mexico's external debt. Also, certain notes
issued by PEMEX contain collective action clauses that are also
included in some notes issued by the United Mexican States,
again indicating the tight relationship between the debt
management of Mexico and PEMEX.

PEMEX enjoys an above-average business position, with commodity
price volatility and government interference (including the high
transfer levels that preclude appropriate capital spending by
the company) representing the primary risks to its business.
This position is supported by the United Mexican States'
extensive proved developed and undeveloped reserve base of about
17.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe; if determined in
accordance with Rule 4-10[a] of Regulation S-X of the Securities
Act of 1933, which is the reporting standard of the U.S. SEC).
PEMEX's business position is also supported by its
constitutionally protected monopoly status in most aspects of
the large Mexican oil and gas market, including exploration,
production, refining, marketing, and certain petrochemicals.
However, government ownership has also led to a heavy tax burden
that has limited the issuer's ability to increase its investment
program, despite the important investments made during the
present federal administration. This has led to a weak 3-P
reserve-replacement ratio (57% in 2004) and other operating
inefficiencies that compare unfavorably with those of other
rated oil and gas issuers in the investment-grade category.

We believe the increase in PEMEX's financial obligations has
increased the issuer's exposure to commodity price volatility,
which could lead to further weakening of its after-tax key
financial measures, as well as reduced liquidity, in the case of
lower crude oil prices. Nevertheless, PEMEX's key financial
ratios (before taxes) remain adequate for its current rating.
For the last 12 months ended March 31, 2005, the company posted
EBITDA interest coverage and total debt-to-EBITDA ratios of
14.8x and 1.1x, respectively. Considering PEMEX's total
contractual obligations and other commercial commitments,
including about $30 billion in pension liabilities, the total
debt-to-EBITDA ratio posted in 2004 was about 2.25x. PEMEX's
strong EBITDA generation (about $45 billion in 2004) reflects
its extensive proved reserves, competitive costs, and proximity
to the U.S. market. As such, the company's upstream operations
are profitable under most pricing scenarios, although a high
percentage of heavy crude oil in the production mix can
exacerbate margin compression during periods of depressed
pricing.

Nevertheless, because hydrocarbon extraction duties and other
special taxes levied on PEMEX account for about 60% of revenues
(including the Special Tax on Production and Services [IEPS]),
financial performance after taxes is weak for the rating, as
shown by a funds from operations-to-total debt ratio that has
averaged less than 25% for the past four years. The
aforementioned ratio also reflects the increase in PEMEX's total
debt between 1996 and 2004. During this period, debt (including
some debt-like liabilities recognized in the balance sheet) has
increased to about $45 billion from $16 billion to finance its
investment program.

Liquidity

PEMEX's liquidity is adequate. Its liquidity is supported by
ample access to bank financing and to the domestic and
international capital markets, and by its operating cash flow
generation (which has been in the $2.5 billion-$5 billion range
over the last five years). Also, if necessary, PEMEX's high
proved developed oil and gas reserve life of about 11 years
provides the flexibility to briefly defer investment in
exploration during periods of depressed pricing without causing
an immediate effect on production rates. As of March 31, 2005,
the company had cash and cash equivalents of about $10 billion,
which compares favorably to its short-term debt of $2.8 billion.
The company has a $1.25 billion committed facility and has
established two CP programs in the Mexican capital markets.
PEMEX's capital expenditure program for 2005 totals about $11.2
billion (including PIDIREGAS). The company's financing program
for 2005 considers raising about $8.5 billion to fund the
company's capital expenditure program.

Outlook

The stable outlook on PEMEX's foreign currency rating reflects
that of the United Mexican States. We do not expect a
significant change in PEMEX's relationship with the government
or any material reduction in the government's heavy involvement
in the sector or in the company. PEMEX's local currency rating
could be raised if the government contributed sufficient capital
to allow for a significant de-leveraging, or if the government
sharply reduced PEMEX's tax burden so the bulk of capital
expenditures (maintenance and expansion) could be internally
funded. An improvement in PEMEX's operations, particularly
reserve replacement, would also be necessary before the local
currency rating could be raised. PEMEX's local currency rating
is unlikely to fall below the current differential of one notch
below the sovereign rating unless PEMEX's financial and business
positions deteriorate materially.

Primary Credit Analyst: Jose Coballasi, Mexico City
(52)55-5081-4414; jose_coballasi@standardandpoors.com

Secondary Credit Analyst: Santiago Carniado, Mexico City
(52) 55-5081-4413; santiago_carniado@standardandpoors.com


VITRO: VENA Ratings Reflect Parent's
--------------------------------------

Rationale

The ratings on Vitro Envases Norteamerica, S.A. de C.V. (Vena)
are equalized with those of its parent company, Vitro S.A. de
C.V. (Vitro), reflecting the latter's ability and incentive to
take assets and/or burden the company with liabilities thanks to
its 100% equity interest in Vena, which contributes
approximately 50% of Vitro's consolidated EBITDA. Cross
acceleration clauses between Vena and Vitro's Yankee bonds
provide an additional incentive to the whole economic entity to
honor Vena's debt.

Vena is the largest glass container producer in Mexico and
Central America. Through its six facilities in Mexico, the
company serves 89% of the noncaptive market, a share that is
expected to remain due to the company's strong market presence
and diversified client base. Other facilities are located in
Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Bolivia.

The ratings on Vitro reflect the company's high financial
leverage, its weak free operating cash flow generation, and the
challenging operating environment faced by its operating units
across the board. The ratings also reflect the company's leading
position in flat glass, glass containers, and glassware business
in Mexico and its export activities and international operations
(particularly in the U.S.), which contribute about 50% of total
revenues.

Monterrey, Mexico-based Vitro, through its subsidiary companies,
is Mexico's leading glass producer. Vitro is a major participant
in three principal businesses: flat glass, glass containers, and
glassware. Vitro also produces raw materials and equipment and
capital goods for industrial use.

Vitro's high leverage is reflected in its key financial
indicators. For the 12 months ended March 30, 2005, Vitro posted
EBITDA interest coverage, total debt/EBITDA, and FFO/total debt
ratios of 1.6x, 4.4x, and 9.7%, respectively. Furthermore, the
company's free operating cash flow generation is considered
weak, as evidenced by a FOCF/sales ratio of 2% and FOCF/total
debt ratio of 3% posted in 2004. The operating environment for
Vitro's operations is challenging across the board, and it
reflects increased competition in the domestic market and the
continued strength in natural gas prices. In 2005, the spotlight
will be on the glass containers business, as it is expected to
drive the company's revenue and EBITDA generation. It appears
that prospects for the unit are favorable due to the acceptance
of price increases by key customers. Nevertheless, the company's
performance has been disappointing in recent years and 2005
could see another decline in the issuer's EBITDA margin.

Liquidity

The company's prefinancing cash flow generation is weak (less
than $50 million is expected in 2005) and compares unfavorably
to short-term debt maturities (including trade facilities) that
totaled $339 million as of March 30, 2005. Covenant headroom is
tight. Nevertheless, Standard & Poor's believes that Vitro's
liquidity is sufficient to meet its 2005 maturities. As of March
30, 2005, the issuer held about $185 million in unrestricted
cash, which should be sufficient to meet holding company
obligations of about $100 million that are due in the next 12
months. Vitro's financing plan for 2005 will focus on the
refinancing of debt maturities in its flat glass subsidiary
(Vitro Plan S.A. de C.V.)

Outlook

The stable outlook reflects Standard & Poor's opinion that
Vitro's liquidity is adequate to meet its debt maturities due in
2005. The ratings could be lowered if the company's key
financial indicators fail to improve during the year, as it is
expected that excess cash balances will be directed toward debt
reduction as maturities come due. Vitro's EBITDA interest
coverage and its total debt/EBITDA ratio should move toward 2.0x
and 4.0x respectively during the year in order to remain in the
current rating category. A positive rating action would demand a
substantial improvement in Vitro's operating and financial
performance relative to Standard & Poor's expectations.

Primary Credit Analyst: Jose Coballasi, Mexico City
(52)55-5081-4414; jose_coballasi@standardandpoors.com

Secondary Credit Analyst: Federico Mora, Mexico City
(52) 55-5081-4436; federico_mora@standardandpoors.com


VITRO: Unit's Rating Reflects Structural Subordination of Issues
----------------------------------------------------------------

Rationale

The 'CCC+' rating on Servicios y Operaciones Financieras Vitro
S.A. de C.V.'s notes due 2007 (which are guaranteed by Vitro
S.A. de C.V. (Vitro)) reflects the structural subordination of
the issues relative to Vitro's priority liabilities,
particularly operating company debt. Under Standard & Poor's
Ratings Services' corporate ratings criteria, when priority debt
and other liabilities amount to 30% of the assets, lower-
priority debt is substantially disadvantaged and is therefore
differentiated by two notches.

The ratings on Vitro reflect the company's high financial
leverage, its weak free operating cash flow generation, and the
challenging operating environment faced by its operating units
across the board. The ratings also reflect the company's leading
position in flat glass, glass containers, and glassware business
in Mexico and its export activities and international operations
(particularly in the U.S.), which contribute about 50% of total
revenues.

Monterrey, Mexico-based Vitro, through its subsidiary companies,
is Mexico's leading glass producer. Vitro is a major participant
in three principal businesses: flat glass, glass containers, and
glassware. Vitro also produces raw materials and equipment and
capital goods for industrial use.

Vitro's high leverage is reflected in its key financial
indicators. For the 12 months ended March 30, 2005, Vitro posted
EBITDA interest coverage, total debt/EBITDA, and FFO/total debt
ratios of 1.6x, 4.4x, and 9.7%, respectively. Furthermore, the
company's free operating cash flow generation is considered
weak, as evidenced by a FOCF/sales ratio of 2% and FOCF/total
debt ratio of 3% posted in 2004. The operating environment for
Vitro's operations is challenging across the board, and it
reflects increased competition in the domestic market and the
continued strength in natural gas prices. In 2005, the spotlight
will be on the glass containers business, as it is expected to
drive the company's revenue and EBITDA generation. It appears
that prospects for the unit are favorable due to the acceptance
of price increases by key customers. Nevertheless, the company's
performance has been disappointing in recent years, and 2005
could see another decline in the issuer's EBITDA margin.

Liquidity

The company's prefinancing cash flow generation is weak (less
than $50 million is expected in 2005) and compares unfavorably
to short-term debt maturities (including trade facilities) that
totaled $339 million as of March 30, 2005. Covenant headroom is
tight. Nevertheless, Standard & Poor's believes that Vitro's
liquidity is sufficient to meet its 2005 maturities. As of March
30, 2005, the issuer held about $185 million in unrestricted
cash, which should be sufficient to meet holding company
obligations of about $100 million that are due in the next 12
months. Vitro's financing plan for 2005 will focus on the
refinancing of debt maturities in its flat glass subsidiary
(Vitro Plan S.A. de C.V.)

Outlook

The stable outlook reflects Standard & Poor's opinion that
Vitro's liquidity is adequate to meet its debt maturities due in
2005. The ratings could be lowered if the company's key
financial indicators fail to improve during the year, as it is
expected that excess cash balances will be directed toward debt
reduction as maturities come due. Vitro's EBITDA interest
coverage and its total debt/EBITDA ratio should move toward 2.0x
and 4.0x respectively during the year in order to remain in the
current rating category. A positive rating action would demand a
substantial improvement in Vitro's operating and financial
performance relative to Standard & Poor's expectations.

Primary Credit Analyst: Jose Coballasi, Mexico City
(52)55-5081-4414; jose_coballasi@standardandpoors.com

Secondary Credit Analyst: Federico Mora, Mexico City
(52) 55-5081-4436; federico_mora@standardandpoors.com



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===========

WILLBROS GROUP: Milberg Weiss Files Class Action Suit
-----------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP announces
that it has filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of purchasers
of the securities of Willbros Group, Inc. ("Willbros" or the
"Company") (NYSE: WG) between May 6, 2002 and May 16, 2005
inclusive, (the "Class Period"), seeking to pursue remedies
under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the "Exchange Act").
A copy of the complaint filed in this action is available from
the Court, or can be viewed on Milberg Weiss's website at
www.milbergweiss.com

The action is pending in the United States District Court for
the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, against
defendants Willbros, Michael F. Curran, Warren L. Williams,
Larry J. Bump and James K. Tillery.

The Complaint alleges that Defendants issued, or caused to be
issued, false and misleading statements during the Class Period
to artificially inflate the value of Willbros stock. Willbros is
the target of numerous governmental investigations, both here in
the United States by the Securities & Exchange Commission and
Department of Justice, and abroad, because the Company engaged
in a campaign of illegal and illicit bribery of foreign
government officials in Bolivia, Nigeria and Ecuador to
successfully obtain construction projects. As a result of these
illegal actions, the Company has delayed filing its Form 10-K
for 2004; announced a restatement of its financial results for
2002, 2003 and the first nine months of 2004; instituted a
series of modifications to rectify material weaknesses in its
internal controls; provided an estimate of its possible exposure
for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") (which
could be as much as $650,000 per violation, not including
criminal penalties of more than $2 million per violation); and
withdrew its 2005 guidance. The Company estimates an astonishing
35% to 44% reduction in previously reported net income when the
restatement is completed for the collective period of 2002, 2003
and the first nine months of 2004. This means that the Company
overstated net income during that period by an incredible 53% to
80%. In addition, the Company also disclosed a number of
previously unreported related party transactions from 2002, 2003
and 2004 that materially impacted financial results. As a result
of the above restatement, the Company stands in default of its
debt covenants because of its substantial reduction in net
income. Because of its violations of FCPA, the Company could be
prohibited from bidding for future U.S. government contracts.
The Company disclosed this information on May 16, 2005 after the
market had closed. The market responded immediately and the
stock lost 31% on usually high volume of 6.9 million shares,
trading as low as $10.15 per share on May 17, 2005, down $5.77
from its previous close of $15.92.

If you bought the securities of Willbros between May 6, 2002 and
May 16, 2005 and sustained damages, you may, no later than July
18, 2005, request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff.
A lead plaintiff is a representative party that acts on behalf
of other class members in directing the litigation. In order to
be appointed lead plaintiff, the Court must determine that the
class member's claim is typical of the claims of other class
members, and that the class member will adequately represent the
class. Under certain circumstances, one or more class members
may together serve as "lead plaintiff." Your ability to share in
any recovery is not, however, affected by the decision whether
or not to serve as a lead plaintiff. You may retain Milberg
Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP, or other counsel of your choice,
to serve as your counsel in this action.

Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP (www.milbergweiss.com) has
over 100 lawyers in offices in New York City, Boca Raton, Los
Angeles, Delaware, Seattle and Washington, D.C. and is active in
major litigations pending in federal and state courts throughout
the United States. Milberg Weiss has taken a leading role in
many important actions on behalf of defrauded investors,
consumers, and others for nearly 40 years. Please contact the
Milberg Weiss website for more information about the firm and
its history. If you wish to discuss this action with us, or have
any questions concerning this notice or your rights and
interests with regard to the case, contact the following
attorneys:

   Steven G. Schulman
   One Pennsylvania Plaza, 49th fl.
   New York, NY, 10119-0165
   Phone number: (800) 320-5081
   Email: sfeerick@milbergweiss.com

                Or

   Maya Saxena
   Joseph E. White III
   5200 Town Center Circle, Suite 600
   Boca Raton, FL 33486
   Phone number: (561) 361-5000
   Email: msaxena@milbergweiss.com
          jwhite@milbergweiss.com

   Website: http://www.milbergweiss.com



=======
P E R U
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LUMINA COPPER: Plan of Arrangement Completed
--------------------------------------------
The plan of arrangement (the "Plan") to restructure Lumina
Copper Corp into four separate companies has been completed. On
May 19, 2005, Regalito Copper Corp ("RLO") formerly Lumina
Copper Corp, will continue to trade on the American and Toronto
Stock Exchanges. Lumina Resources Corp ("LUR") and Northern Peru
Copper Corp ("NOC") will begin trading on the Toronto Stock
Exchange. Global Copper Corp will remain a public, non-trading,
company for the immediate future.

Pursuant to the Plan, Regalito Copper Corp will continue as a
reporting issuer with a year-end of December 31, Northern Peru
Copper Corp will continue as a reporting issuer with a year-end
of June 30, Global Copper Corp will continue as a reporting
issuer with a year-end of September 30 and Lumina Resources Corp
will continue as a reporting issuer with a year-end of March 31.
Each of the companies will file interim financial statements for
the period ended June 30, 2005.

CONTACT: Lumina Copper Corp
         David Strang
         VP Corporate Development
         Email: dstrang@luminacopper.com
         Tel: + 604 687 0407
         Fax: + 604 687 7401



=====================
P U E R T O   R I C O
=====================

DORAL FINANCIAL: Law Offices of Brian M. Felgoise Files Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Law Offices of Brian M. Felgoise, P.C. announces that a
securities class action has been commenced on behalf of
shareholders who acquired Doral Financial Corporation (NYSE:
DRL) securities between January 17, 2001 and April 18, 2005,
inclusive (the Class Period).

The case is pending in the United States District Court for the
Southern District of New York, against the company and certain
key officers and directors.

The action charges that defendants violated the federal
securities laws by issuing a series of materially false and
misleading statements to the market throughout the Class Period
which statements had the effect of artificially inflating the
market price of the Company's securities.

No class has yet been certified in the above action. Until a
class is certified, you are not represented by counsel unless
you retain one. If you purchased the stock listed above during
the class period, you have certain rights. To be a member of the
class you need not take any action at this time, and you may
retain counsel of your choice.

If you were a purchaser of a stock listed above during the
period indicated and want to discuss your legal rights, you may
e-mail or call Law Offices of Brian M. Felgoise, P.C. who will,
without obligation or cost to you, attempt to answer your
questions. Law Offices of Brian M. Felgoise, P.C. has extensive
experience in the field of class action. You may contact Brian
M. Felgoise, Esquire at:

   261 Old York Road, Suite 423
   Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, 19046
   FelgoiseLaw@aol.com
   (215) 886-1900



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

SIDOR: Tenaris to Put Stake Into Steel Holding
----------------------------------------------
Tenaris S.A. (NYSE:TS), (BCBA:TS) (BMV:TS) (BI:TEN) announced
Wednesday that it will exchange its investments in Sidor for
shares in the company in which Techint has announced that it
intends to consolidate its holdings in flat and long steel
producers (the "Newco"). The exchange of Tenaris's 12.6% equity
interest in Sidor, held through participations in Consorcio
Siderurgia Amazonia Ltd. and Ylopa - Servicos de Consultadoria
Lda., will be made at a value to be determined by an
internationally recognized investment bank which will be engaged
for such purpose.

Newco will consolidate Sidor, the leading Venezuelan steel
producer, Siderar, the Argentine flat steel producer, and
Hylsamex S.A. de C.V., the Mexican manufacturer of flat and long
steel products, provided that, for the consolidation of
Hylsamex, Techint successfully concludes its acquisition of a
majority shareholding in Hylsamex pursuant to the agreement it
reached Wednesday with Alfa S.A. de C.V., the owner of 42.5% of
the shares of Hylsamex.

In this way, Tenaris will exchange its current participation in
Sidor for a participation in a company which is expected to be
the leading regional steel producer in Latin America with
operations in Mexico, Argentina and Venezuela, an annual
steelmaking capacity of 12 million tons and annual revenues of
US$5 billion.

Tenaris is a leading global manufacturer of seamless steel pipe
products and provider of pipe handling, stocking and
distribution services to the oil and gas, energy and mechanical
industries and a leading regional supplier of welded steel pipes
for gas pipelines in South America. Domiciled in Luxembourg, it
has pipe manufacturing facilities in Argentina, Brazil, Canada,
Italy, Japan, Mexico, Romania and Venezuela and a network of
customer service centers present in over 20 countries worldwide.

CONTACT: TENARIS
         Nigel Worsnop
         1-888-300-5432
         URL: www.tenaris.com




                            ***********


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

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Copyright 2005.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

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