TCRLA_Public/050523.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

             Monday, May 23, 2005, Vol. 6, Issue 100

                            Headlines


A R G E N T I N A

ACINDAR: Agrees to Sell Tube Plants to Two Techint Units
ALIMENTOS FARGO: Evaluadora Rates Bonds in Default
BANCO RIO: Net Loss Widens Follwing Early Debt Repayments
BIOTECNIA: Initiates Bankruptcy Proceedings
CEREAL HENDERSON: Court Orders Liquidation

CLISA: Related Companies Losses Hurt Bottom Line
CRESUD: Posts Huge Jump in YoY Net Profit, Earnings
EDELAP: Narrows Net Losses in 1Q05
LETIBI: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
METROGAS: Extends Solicitation of Consent to Restructure

NEW DELIVERY: Gets Court Approval Reorganize
PROZAR: Liquidation Mandated by Bankruptcy Court


B E L I Z E

* BELIZE: Liquidity, Financing Gap, High Debt Hurt Ratings


B R A Z I L

AES TIETE: Nossa Caixa to Sell Stake Via Public Offering
BANCO BRADESCO: Moody's Assigns Ba2 to Cayman Unit's Securities
BANCO SANTOS: Creditors Delay Petition Pending New Law
CESP: State Legislators Approve Sister Company Sale
CSN: Fitch Affirms Three Related Ratings, Outlook Stable

LOCALIZA RENT: To Place BRL350 Million of Nes Debentures
TELEMAR: Issues Update on Contax Share Listing Progress
VARIG: TAP Bailout Deal Expected in Three Weeks


D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

* DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: World Bank to Provide Up to $360M


E C U A D O R

CARROLS CORPORATION: Lenders Extend Filing Deadline Terms


H O N D U R A S

* HONDURAS: Paris Club, HIPC Creditors Extend Debt Relief


M E X I C O

CHANNEL 40: Goes Off the Air After Workers Walk off the Job
HYLSAMEX: Hylsa Ratings Unchanged By Acquisition


P A N A M A

WILLBROS GROUP: Schatz & Nobel, P.C. Announces Class Action


P A R A G U A Y

COPACO: Consindering Tender for Mobile Handsets Purchase
COPACO: Deal With Capadi Allows Fiber Network Access for ISPs


S U R I N A M E

* SURINAME: S&P Reviews Economic Prospects, Political Landscape


T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

* TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: Ratings Reflect Strong GDP, Developments


V E N E Z U E L A

PDVSA: Reassures Regular Fuel Distribution to Western Venezuela
SIDOR: Dividend Payment Negotiations With Government Continue


     - - - - - - - - - -


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

ACINDAR: Agrees to Sell Tube Plants to Two Techint Units
--------------------------------------------------------
Argentine flat steelmaker Acindar has signed a letter of intent
to sell its steel tube assets to two local units of Italian
steelmaker Techint in a deal valued at US$83.2 million. The
company intends to sell its plant in Villa Constitucion to Siat
and its tube and cold-formed product plants in San Luis to
Siderar. The deal is still subject to negotiated terms and
approval by regulators.

Acindar and Techint have long been in talks over the former
company's steel tube assets. Acindar's president and chief
executive, Arturo Acevedo, told local media last month that the
Company doesn't "consider the tube division a strategic
business," given Acindar's focus on flat steelmaking.

Acindar, which is controlled by Brazilian mining-metals company
Belgo-Mineira, reported net profit of ARS153 million (US$52.4
million) in 1Q05, up 17% from US$45.1 million in 1Q04. The
Company exports 25% of its production, primarily to Bolivia,
Brazil, Chile, Peru and the US.

CONTACT: Acindar Industria Argentina de Aceros S.A.
         2739 Estanislao Zeballos Beccar
         Buenos Aires
         Argentina B1643AGY
         Phone: +54 11 4719 8500
         Fax: +54 11 4719 8501
         Web site: http://www.acindar.ar.com


ALIMENTOS FARGO: Evaluadora Rates Bonds in Default
--------------------------------------------------
Bonds issued by Argentine company Alimentos Fargo S.A. were
rated 'D' by local ratings agency Evaluadora Latinoamericana
S.A. Calificadora de Riesgo last Thursday. The Company's
financial situation as of March 31 this year determined the
rating assigned.

The bonds, worth a total of US$120 million, were described as
"Obligaciones negociables Simples", according to the Comision
Nacional de Valores, the country's securities regulator. These
were classified under "Simple Issue" and would mature on July
24, 2008.


BANCO RIO: Net Loss Widens Follwing Early Debt Repayments
---------------------------------------------------------
Banco Rio de la Plata reported a bigger net loss in the 1Q05
compared to 1Q04 due to liability payments made to solidify
operations. According to Business News Americas, the bank, a
subsidiary of Spanish financial group Santander (NYSE: STD),
reported a net loss of ARS307 million (US$106 million) in 1Q05,
compared to a loss of ARS26.7 million in 1Q04.

Earlier this year, Rio paid corporate bond obligations worth
US$458 million ahead of schedule, while announcing a US$137-
million capital injection. It also paid its full ARS380-million
debt with the central bank.

Despite a bigger net loss during the quarter, the bank saw
strong increases in both the operating result and net financial
income compared to the same quarter last year. The operating
profit jumped 66% to ARS71.9 million and net financial income
came in at ARS85.1 million, compared to ARS33.2 million in 1Q04.

In terms of lending, Rio said loans to companies rose 26% while
consumer lending expanded 14%.

CONTACT:  BANCO RIO DE LA PLATA S.A.
          Bartolome Mitre 480
          1036 Buenos Aires, Argentina
          Phone: +54-14-341-1081-1580
          Fax: +54-14-341-1074-1084
          Web site: http://www.bancorio.com.ar


BIOTECNIA: Initiates Bankruptcy Proceedings
-------------------------------------------
Court No. 18 of the Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
declared Biotecnia S.R.L. "Quiebra," reports Infobae. Clerk No.
35 assists the court on the case, which will close with the
liquidation of the Company's assets to repay creditors.

Carlos Alberto Battaglia, who has been appointed as trustee,
will verify creditors' proofs of claim until July 7, 2005 and
then prepare the individual reports based on the results of the
verification process.

The individual reports will then be submitted to court on Sep.
2, 2005, followed by the general report on Oct. 17, 2005.

CONTACT: Biotecnia S.R.L.
         Carlos Alberto Battaglia
         Ravignani 2526
         Buenos Aires


CEREAL HENDERSON: Court Orders Liquidation
------------------------------------------
Court No. 19 of the Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
ordered the liquidation of Cereal Henderson S.A. 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 Manuel Camilo
Arias, the court-appointed trustee.

Mr. Arias will verify creditors' proofs of claim until Aug. 5,
2005. The verified claims will serve as basis for the individual
reports to be submitted in court on Sept. 19, 2005. The
submission of the general report follows on Nov. 1, 2005.

Clerk No. 37 assists the court on this case, which will end with
the disposal of the Company's assets in favor of its creditors.

CONTACT: Cereal Henderson S.A.
         Lugones 1957
         Buenos Aires

         Manuel Camilo Arias
         Amenabar 2529
         Buenos Aires


CLISA: Related Companies Losses Hurt Bottom Line
------------------------------------------------
Infrastructure and public services holding CLISA sank into the
red in the nine-month period ended March 31, 2005 due to
investment losses in related companies. Business News Americas
reveals that CLISA registered an ARS8.44-million (US$2.93mn)
consolidated net loss during the said period, versus a
ARS946,363 net profit in the comparable year-ago period.

Although sales rose 6.45% to 290 million pesos and operating
profit closed at ARS34.6 million (versus a 1.67mn-peso operating
loss in the previous period), investment losses in related
companies impacted the bottom line.

CLISA has four operating divisions: mass transportation
management (Metrovias); waste management (environmental
engineering); construction (Benito Roggio e Hijos); and toll-
road management.


CRESUD: Posts Huge Jump in YoY Net Profit, Earnings
---------------------------------------------------
CRESUD SOCIEDAD ANONIMA COMERCIAL INMOBILIARIA's Quarterly
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
                                  --------------------------
                                        $             $
1 - Period Result

Ordinary                           62,151,295      10,249,604
Extraordinary                            -              -
Period Profit                      62,151,295      10,249,604

2 - Net Assets Composition

Outstanding Shares                 162,534,470      149,453,998
Treasure shares                          -              245,000
Subscribed Capital                 162,534,470      149,698,998
Comprehensive capital adjustment   166,218,124      166,218,124
Premium on shares                  113,918,962      105,610,988
Technical Revaluations                   -              -
Legal Reserve                        7,692,591      6,087,440
Retained earnings                   93,552,857      13,908,295
Total Net Assets                   543,917,004      441,523,845

At the moment of the end of the Financial Statements period the
authorized capital of the Company is $162,534,470. Its share
composition is divided in 162,534,470 of non endorsable
registered common stock of V$N 1 each.

At March 31, 2005 the amount of 140,290,575 non endorsable
common stock of face value one peso ($1) each and with right to
1 vote each are not hold by the principal shareholders. It
amount of shares represent 86.3% of the issued authorized
capital on circulation.

The principal shareholder is Inversiones Financieras del Sur
S.A. with 22,243,895 shares, which represent the 13.7% of the
issued authorized capital on circulation.

On November 2002, the Company issued Convertible Notes with
option to buy additional shares. If the Company's entire holder
of Convertible Notes exercises at the end of the period its
conversion right the amount of shares will become 241,628,615;
and if the holders exercises its warrants together with the
other shareholders, the amount of its shares will become
321,212,258. If Inversiones Financieras del Sur S.A. exercises
its conversion right together with the other shareholders, the
amount of its shares will become 69,414,090 which represent the
28.7%; and, if exercises its warrants together with the other
holders, the amount of shares will became 116,584,285 which
represent the 36.3%.

CONTACT:  CRESUD S.A.C.I.F. Y A.
          Gabriel Blasi, CFO
          Phone: 011-54-11-4323-7449
          E-mail: finanzas@cresud.com.ar
          URL: http://www.cresud.com.ar


EDELAP: Narrows Net Losses in 1Q05
----------------------------------
Power distributor Edelap finished 1Q05 with net losses of
ARS2.92 million (US$1.01 million), the unit of U.S.-based power
company AES Corp. said in a filing with the Buenos Aires stock
market. The filing didn't provide comparative figures but
according to a previous Business News Americas report, Edelap
registered net losses of ARS17.6 million in 2004. Total equity
as of March 31, 2005 stood at ARS610 million.

Edelap recently reached a renegotiated contract with the
government, allowing it to raise hikes by 23% on its biggest
users. The Company serves 285,000 customers in a 5,700 sq. km.
concession area in Buenos Aires province.


LETIBI: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
-----------------------------------------
Letibi S.A. enters bankruptcy protection after Court No. 10 of
Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal, with the assistance
of Clerk No. 20, ordered the Company's liquidation. The order
effectively transfers control of the Company's assets to a
court-appointed trustee who will supervise the liquidation
proceedings.

Infobae reports that the court selected Isaac Jospe as trustee,
who will be verifying creditors' proofs of claim until July 1,
2005.

Argentine bankruptcy law requires the trustee to provide the
court with individual reports on the forwarded claims and a
general report containing an audit of the Company's accounting
and business records. The individual reports will be submitted
on Aug. 29, 2005 followed by the general report, which is due on
Oct. 11, 2005.

CONTACT: Isaac Jospe, Trustee
         Jose Evaristo Uriburu 1054
         Buenos Aires


METROGAS: Extends Solicitation of Consent to Restructure
--------------------------------------------------------
MetroGAS S.A. (the Company") announced Thursday that it is
further extending its solicitation (the "APE Solicitation") from
holders of its 9-7/8% Series A Notes due 2003 (the "Series A
Notes"), its 7.375% Series B Notes due 2002 (the "Series B
Notes") and its Floating Rate Series C Notes due 2004 (the
"Series C Notes" and, together with the Series A Notes and the
Series B Notes, the "Existing Notes") and its other unsecured
financial indebtedness (the "Existing Bank Debt" and, together
with the Existing Notes, the "Existing Debt"), subject to
certain eligibility requirements, of powers of attorney
authorizing the execution on behalf of the holders of its
Existing Notes of, and support agreements omitting holders of
its Existing Bank Debt, to execute an acuerdo reventivo
extrajudicial (the "APE") until 5:00 p.m., New York City time,
on July 18, 2005, unless further extended by the Company.

APE Solicitation

As of 5:00 p.m., New York City time, on May 18, 2005, powers of
attorney and support agreements had been received with respect
to approximately U.S.$ 77,314,000 principal amount of Existing
Debt.

The APE Solicitation will remain in all respects subject to all
terms and conditions described in the Company's Solicitation
Statement dated November 7, 2003.

The Settlement Agent for the APE Solicitation is JPMorgan Chase
Bank and its telephone and fax numbers are (212) 623-5136 and
(212) 623-6216, respectively.

Any holder wishing to receive a copy of the Solicitation
Statement and/or ancillary documents should contact J.P. Morgan
Securities Inc. at 1-877-217-2484 in the United States or
JPMorgan Chase Bank Buenos Aires at 54-11-4348-3475/4325-8046 in
Argentina.

CONTACT: MetroGAS S.A.
         Pablo Boselli
         Financial Manager
         Email: pboselli@metrogas.com.ar
         Phone:(5411) 4309-1511

         Lucia Domville
         Financial Information Advisor
         Email: ldomville@nyc.rr.com
         Phone:(917) 375- 1984


NEW DELIVERY: Gets Court Approval Reorganize
--------------------------------------------
New Delivery S.A. will begin reorganization following the
approval of its petition by Court No. 21 of Buenos Aires' civil
and commercial tribunal, reports Infobae. The court-authorized
process will allow the Company to negotiate a settlement with
its creditors in order to avoid a straight liquidation.

Trustee Mario Leizerow will oversee the reorganization
proceedings as the court-appointed trustee. He will verify
creditors' proofs of claim until Aug. 5, 2005. The validated
claims will be presented in court as individual reports on Sep.
19, 2005.

Trustee Leizerow is also required by the court to submit a
general report essentially auditing the company's accounting and
business records as well as summarizing important events
pertaining to the reorganization. The report is scheduled to be
presented in court on Dec. 1, 2005.

An Informative Assembly, the final stage of a reorganization
where the settlement proposal is presented to the Company's
creditors for approval, is scheduled for June 6, 2006.

Clerk No. 42 assists the court on this case.

CONTACT: New Delivery S.A.
         Talcahuano 38
         Buenos Aires

         Mario Leizerow
         Bouchard 644
         Buenos Aires


PROZAR: Liquidation Mandated by Bankruptcy Court
------------------------------------------------
Prozar S.A. will begin the process of liquidating its assets
following the pronouncement of the city's Court No. 23 of the
Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal that the Company is
bankrupt, Infobae reports.

The bankruptcy ruling places the Company under the supervision
of court-appointed trustee, Leonor Haydee Veiga. The trustee
will verify creditors' proofs of claim until July 7, 2005. The
validated claims will be presented in court as individual
reports on Sep. 5, 2005.

Trustee Veiga will also submit a general report, containing a
summary of the Company's financial status as well as relevant
events pertaining to the bankruptcy, on Oct. 19, 2005.

The bankruptcy process will end with the disposal of the
Company's assets in favor of its creditors.

CONTACT: Prozar S.A.
         Presidente Luis Saenz Pe¤a 141
         Buenos Aires

         Leonor Haydee Veiga
         Humahuaca 4165/67
         Buenos Aires



===========
B E L I Z E
===========

* BELIZE: Liquidity, Financing Gap, High Debt Hurt Ratings
----------------------------------------------------------

Rationale

The ratings on Belize reflect:

- Weak external liquidity. The public sector's liquidity
position looks especially dire for 2005, hampered by massive
amortization needs (as compared to available assets) and limited
ability to access external financing. Public sector amortization
for 2005 is estimated at US$150 million (including the
amortization of US$79 million of notes arranged by Capital
Markets Financial Services, Inc. in November 2004), compared
with gross international reserves of US$139 million. Available
(usable) reserves are lower, at roughly US$90 million, since
international reserves must cover at least 40% of the monetary
base in support of the Belizean peg. The access to the external
financing is limited and continues to suffer due to the unstable
political situation. On a country level, the financing gap for
2005 (current account deficit + principal amortization + short-
term debt) is estimated at US$504 million, or 560% of usable
reserves-one of the highest ratios among rated sovereigns.
Specifically, this estimate includes the current account deficit
(US$184 million), public sector amortization payments (US$150
million), and private sector financing needs (US$170 million).

- High general government debt with a deteriorating profile. The
government debt's upward trajectory has been difficult to
reverse due to persistent fiscal slippages and, more recently,
the government's assumption of Development Finance Corporation's
(DFC) debt as a result of the bank's financial distress. DFC-
related liabilities (including mortgage-backed securities
transactions initiated by DFC) are estimated at 9% of GDP and
are considered (starting in 2004) the government's direct,
rather than contingent, liability. As a result, general
government debt has increased to 97% of GDP in 2004 (91% on a
net basis) from 85% in 2003. More than 85% of the general
government debt is external, and more than 64% of the external
public debt is owed to commercial creditors. Such debt positions
are not sustainable, especially in the context of a fixed-
exchange-rate regime.

- Vulnerability to adverse external developments. Rising oil
prices and imminent price cuts for sugar exports (15% of
Belize's merchandise exports) are putting a strain on the
already-soaring external current account deficit (20% of GDP on
average over the last four years). Belize is also prone to
weather-related disasters (hurricanes and tropical storms). The
most recent hurricanes caused damages amounting to 34% and 19%
of GDP in 2000 and 2001, respectively.

On the positive side, the ratings reflect:

- A strong real economy, as evidenced by the healthy growth in
most sectors, continuous private investment despite political
turbulence, and an improving (albeit still narrow) economic and
export structure, reflecting ongoing diversification efforts.

Outlook

The negative outlook reflects the increasing risk of default,
given Belize's tight external liquidity position and the
persistent difficulties to secure much-needed financing. The
features of the recent financing transactions (need for
financial guarantees, put options, high interest costs, and
short maturities) undermine the government's ability to access
the international capital markets. At the same time, the chances
of Belize entering the International Monetary Fund program and
receiving assistance from that institution are low.

While liquidity pressures may subside over the next two years,
the massive debt burden will limit the sovereign's
creditworthiness. The ratings may fall further if the government
does not succeed in boosting international reserves, which could
result if it (among other things) fails to receive proceeds from
the sale of Belize Telecommuni-cation Limited shares or if
external imbalances increase pressure on the Belizean peg. On
the other hand, if the government surmounts its liquidity crunch
this year and takes decisive effort to consolidate its fiscal
position and stabilize the political environment by addressing
the issues of public discontent (lack of transparency, poor
financial management) and restoring the confidence of the
financial markets, the outlook may be revised to stable.

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


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

AES TIETE: Nossa Caixa to Sell Stake Via Public Offering
--------------------------------------------------------
Sao Paulo's government-owned bank, Nossa Caixa, will sell its
entire 8% stake in electric power-generation company AES Tiete
SA through a public offering, reports Dow Jones Newswires. In a
statement Thursday, AES Tiete said Nossa Caixa will join Banco
do Estado de Sao Paulo SA (Banespa), which announced in March it
will sell its 19.5% stake in the Company through a secondary
offering on Sao Paulo's Bovespa stock market and also to U.S.
investors under 144a rules.

Credit Suisse First Boston and Banco Santander Brasil are
coordinating the offer, for which a timeframe is yet to be
disclosed.

The banks' combined stakes represent 45% of AES's preferred
shares and 13% of voting shares, according to the statement. The
share sale would significantly increase the free float in AES
Tiete, which currently stands at about 6%.

AES Tiete is controlled by the Brasiliana holding company, which
is a joint venture between U.S.-based AES Corp. (AES) and
Brazil's National Development Bank, or BNDES.


BANCO BRADESCO: Moody's Assigns Ba2 to Cayman Unit's Securities
---------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service assigned a Ba2 rating to Banco
Bradesco S.A.- Grand Cayman Branch's US$250 million perpetual
non-cumulative junior-subordinated securities. The Ba2 rating is
the result of joint probabilities of default that are
incorporated into Bradesco's credit risk rating, which is
indicated by its A3 global local currency rating, and by Brazil
's B1 foreign currency ceiling for bonds and notes. The outlook
on the rating is positive.

Moody's noted that the subordination was taken into
consideration in the assignment of the bond rating. However, at
high rating levels on the global local currency scale, the one-
grade notching that would usually be applied to subordinated
issues does not affect the final rating outcome.

Banco Bradesco is the largest privately-owned bank in Brazil ,
with assets of approximately US$70 billion as of December 2004.
The bank's impressive market shares in various business lines
and its strong competitive position are reflected in Moody's "C-
" bank financial strength rating for Bradesco. The bank's
dominant deposit base, solid profitability, and a broad
distribution network accessible throughout the country provide
for substantial franchise value.

The rating agency noted that Bradesco's issuance is the first
hybrid security structured by a Brazilian bank, and its capital
eligibility as Tier I is still pending approval by the
regulatory authorities. Such innovative structure should provide
the Brazilian banking system with an additional source of Tier I
capital, once regulations are in place.

Banco Bradesco S.A. is headquartered in SC#o Paulo, Brazil , and
it had total assets of approximately US$70 billion as of
December 2004.

The following rating was assigned:

Banco Bradesco Grand Cayman Branch's US$250 million perpetual
non-cumulative junior- subordinated securities -- Ba2 long-term
foreign currency subordinated bond rating, positive outlook.


BANCO SANTOS: Creditors Delay Petition Pending New Law
------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Banco Santos are planning to wait until June 9 to
request that bankruptcy proceedings be initiated against the
bank. According to a Business News Americas report, Brazil's new
bankruptcy law will come into effect on the said date. The new
law allows creditors to start recuperation proceedings that
boost their chances of recovering money from a bankrupt entity.

Vanio Aguiar, whom the Central Bank appointed as receiver for
the bank, said it could take as little as 15 days to declare the
bank bankrupt.

The Central Bank intervened Banco Santos and its brokerage in
November last year due to financial woes and alleged
irregularities. The Central Bank announced just recently that it
would liquidate both entities.


CESP: State Legislators Approve Sister Company Sale
---------------------------------------------------
Sao Paulo state can now proceed with a plan to sell its
controlling stake in electric utility Cia. de Transmissao de
Energia Eletrica Paulista (CTEEP). The announcement comes
following state legislators approvval of a bill Wednesday,
paving the way for the state to raise funds to be used to
capitalize Cia. Energetica de Sao Paulo (CESP), a power
generator presently wallowing in debts of BRL10 billion
(US$4.09bn), most of which is short-term.

The sale could raise as much as BRL1 billion and is expected to
do so before year-end. With legislators' permission, the state
government will now hold a tender to hire consulting firms to
model the sale and appraise CTEEP's market value.

CTEEP has 11,617 kilometers (7,220 miles) of power lines
transmitting energy in an area covering a population of more
than 20 million and industrial consumers such as General Motors
Corp. and Empresa Brasileira de Aeronautica SA.

Sao Paulo state has a 36% controlling stake in CTEEP, directly
or indirectly through other state-controlled companies.

Meanwhile, labor unions and the Workers' Party of President Luiz
Inacio Lula da Silva will still try to bar the sale of CTEEP,
which could include going to court and seeking federal
government intervention against the sale.

CONTACT:    Companhia Energetica De Sao Paulo (CESP)
            Rua da ConsolaO o, 1.875
            CEP 01301 -100 S o Paulo, Brazil
            Phone: +55-11-234-6322
            Fax: +55-11-287-0871
            Home Page: http://www.CESP.com.br/
            Contact:
            Mauro G. Jardim Arce, Chairman
            Ruy M. Altenfelder Silva, Vice Chairman
            Vicente Kazuhiro Okazaki, Finance Director


CSN: Fitch Affirms Three Related Ratings, Outlook Stable
--------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Companhia Siderurgica Nacional's
(CSN) local currency rating of 'BBB-' and the foreign currency
rating of 'BB-', as well as the company's national scale rating
of 'AA-(bra)'. CSN's local currency rating applies to the
company's outstanding secured export notes series 2003-1, 2003-
2, and 2004-1 issued through its subsidiary CSN Islands VI Corp.
CSN's foreign currency rating is constrained by the Federative
Republic of Brazil 's 'BB-' foreign currency rating. The Rating
Outlook for all the ratings is Stable.

CSN's ratings are supported by the company's position as one of
the industry's lowest cost steel producers. CSN's low-cost
structure is due primarily to its ownership of the Casa de Pedra
mine, one of the world's largest high-quality iron ore bodies.
The company also benefits from its modern production facilities,
vertical integration, and access to low-cost labor. These
factors allow CSN to generate positive cash flows during troughs
in the steel cycle and economic downturns in Brazil. The ratings
also consider the concentrated nature of the Brazilian steel
industry, which limits competition based solely upon price.
Competition from foreign steel imports into Brazil is minimal.
Barriers to entry include the logistical challenges of
transporting steel to Brazil and within Brazil, as foreign steel
producers have limited access to efficient distribution
networks.

Over the past several years, CSN has focused on modernizing and
expanding its steel production facilities and divesting its
noncore assets. The company's current expansion strategy
involves a capital investment plan of up to approximately US$825
million from 2004-2006. The project includes a US$330 million
expansion of the annual production capacity of the Casa de Pedra
iron ore mine to 40 million tons from 14 million tons by mid-
2006. To export the increased iron ore production, CSN will also
invest about US$155 million to expand the Sepetiba port where it
currently operates a coal terminal under an exclusive concession
agreement expiring in 2047. The project may also include a
US$340 million investment to construct a pellet plant with an
annual capacity of six million tons. When the mine expansion is
concluded in 2006, the iron ore export sales are expected to
yield approximately US$400 million in incremental EBITDA.

CSN stands to benefit from the strong price environment for iron
ore and the Positive Outlook for demand over the near to medium
term. Iron ore prices rose by about 18% in 2004 and 72% in 2005.
These price increases, along with those of several other
commodities, have been driven by the confluence of an improving
global economy and China's surging demand for raw materials.
Consumers of iron ore face an international market dominated by
just a few large rivals and should welcome the opportunity to
have CSN provide another source of high-quality iron ore.
Although this expected incremental cash flow from CSN's iron ore
mine expansion is significant, CSN's credit quality will
continue to be closely linked to the performance of its steel
business as approximately 80% of the company's future cash flow
will be generated from its steel production operations.

In 2004, CSN generated EBITDA of BRL4.6billion (about US$1.6
billion), an increase of 66% compared with that of 2003 due to
the strong steel price environment and an improved value-added
product mix. For the three months ended March 31, 2005, CSN
generated EBITDA of BRL1.4billion (about US$500 million) and had
total debt of BRL9.7 billion and net debt of BRL3.6 billion.
More than one-third of CSN's cash balance of BRL6.1 million as
of March 31, 2005 will be used to fund a dividend payment in
June 2005. Due to the company's strong cash flow generation in
2005, Fitch expects CSN to maintain a total debt-to-EBITDA ratio
of less than 2.0 times (x) and a net debt-to-EBITDA ratio of
less than 1.5x.

Despite the expectation of significant free cash flow generation
in 2005 and 2006, debt reduction by CSN will be limited by
management's view that its capital structure is close to
optimal, the company's capital expenditure plans, and now, to a
lesser extent, the debt-service requirements of CSN's
controlling shareholder, Vicunha Siderurgia S.A. (Vicunha).
Vicunha has a 40.7% stake in CSN but no operating assets to
generate cash flow. Although CSN is not obligated to directly
service Vicunha's debt, CSN will pay dividends of approximately
BRL2.3 billion in 2005 to allow Vicunha to make interest and
principal payments of approximately BRL360 million on its
debentures. After this payment and a prepayment of approximately
BRL540 million in June 2005, Vicunha's outstanding debt will
total approximately BRL1.1 billion.


LOCALIZA RENT: To Place BRL350 Million of Nes Debentures
--------------------------------------------------------
Localiza Rent a Car S.A. announced Thursday it will issue BRL350
million worth of debentures and has hired Banco Itau to manage
the issue. According to a report by Dow Jones Newswires, the
debentures, which aren't convertible into stock, will be sold in
groups of 35,000 titles and will pay 108.5% of the interbank
rate.

Localiza earlier revealed plans to undertake an initial public
offering on the Sao Paulo Stock Exchange on May 23. The Company
aims to sell 21.48 million common shares, representing 34% of
its capital. Credit Suisse First Boston and Banco Pactual are
coordinating the IPO.

Localiza, the largest car rental company in Latin America, ended
the 1Q05 with lower net debt, registering BRL250 million, versus
the BRL293-million net debt at the end of 2004.


TELEMAR: Issues Update on Contax Share Listing Progress
-------------------------------------------------------
CONTAX PARTICIPACOES (Contax) announced Thursday that Comissao
de Valores Mobiliarios (CVM) approved the change in its share
listing authorization in Brazil, from the over-the-counter
market (SOMA) to the stock exchange (BOVESPA). This change,
however, does not indicate the immediate delivery of shares from
Tele Norte Leste Participacoes S.A. (NYSE: TNE). As previously
announced, conclusion of the spin-off is still dependent on
registration of Contax's ADRs with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC).

Once the registration process is completed, TNE will announce
the date on which Contax shares will be transferred to TNE
shareholders and ADR holders and the date on which the
securities will start trading at the Bovespa and in the U.S.
market; as well as the effective "exdates" for TNE shares and
ADRs.

CONTACT: Tele Norte Leste Participacoes S.A.
         Phone: (212) 815-2921
         Fax: (212) 571-3050
         Web Site: http://www.telemar.com.br/

         Investor Relations
         Email: invest@telemar.com.br
         Roberto Terziani 55 21 3131 1208
         IR Team 55 21 3131 1313 - 1317
         Fax: 55 21 3131 1155

         The Global Consulting Group
         Kevin Kirkeby (kkirkeby@hfgcg.com)
         Tel: 1-646-284-9416
         Fax: 1-646-284-9494


VARIG: TAP Bailout Deal Expected in Three Weeks
-----------------------------------------------
A deal between Viacao Aerea Riograndense SA (Varig), Brazil's
largest airline, and Portugal's TAP Air Portugal is likely to be
reached in three weeks, suggests Dow Jones Newswires. Varig and
TAP confirmed last week that they are negotiating a
capitalization plan for heavily indebted Varig. A deal between
the two may see TAP taking up to a 20% stake in Varig, according
to Varig chairman David Zylberstajn.

It may also help Varig find more investors interested in the
Brazilian airline, added the chairman, who was recently
appointed, along with a new board of directors and a new chief
executive, to find a solution to Varig's debt problem and to
negotiate with companies interested in capitalizing the Company.

Varig is saddled with BRL9.5 billion (US$3.8 billion) in debt,
and has been losing domestic market share.

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/



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

* DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: World Bank to Provide Up to $360M
-------------------------------------------------------
The World Bank Group's Board of Directors discussed Thursday the
institution's new Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) for the
Dominican Republic, which projects financial assistance of up to
US$360 million between 2006 and 2009, as well as technical and
advisory services.

"After emerging from a period of crisis, the Dominican
Republic's medium-term growth prospects are generally good, but
the country still faces a number of challenges to ensure that
all Dominicans can benefit from growth and development,
especially the poorest," said Caroline Anstey, the World Bank's
Country Director for the Caribbean. "The new assistance strategy
will support the Government's program with lending and
analytical assistance to improve growth and competitiveness and
achieve greater social equity."

After two years of deep crisis, the Dominican Republic has begun
to turn a corner. The peso has appreciated, inflation has come
down, and economic growth has resumed. Despite these
achievements, challenges mostly related to weak governance,
fragile public institutions, entrenched inequality, high rural
poverty, youth unemployment, and social exclusion remain. The
Dominican Republic is on track for meeting many of the
Millennium Development Goals, but it is unlikely to achieve the
goals related to the eradication of hunger, improvement of child
and maternal health, and environmental sustainability.

The Bank's new assistance strategy for the Dominican Republic is
the result of close collaboration with the Government and has
benefited from wide consultations with civil society, including
youth groups, and private sector representatives, as well as
with other donor agencies and academia. The CAS has three
scenarios with different World Bank lending volumes and number
of operations - low, base and high.  The base case-lending
scenario includes seven loans for a total of US$260 million over
four years:

- Institutional Strengthening Technical Assistance Project
(US$10 million)

- Social Sectors Investment Project (US$50 million)

- Community Development Project (US$30 million)

- Urban Territorial Development Project (US$20 million)

- Water and Sanitation Adjustable Program Loan (US$20 million)

- Energy Investment Project (US$30 million)

- Power Sector Development Policy Loan (US$100 million)

The high case lending scenario consists of these seven loans
plus a Development Policy Loan of US$50 million to support
public sector modernization, and an investment loan of US$50
million to support the second phase of the Water and Sanitation
Investment Program, bringing the total lending envelope to
US$360 million.  In the low case scenario, resulting from a
deterioration of portfolio performance and/or a deterioration of
key macroeconomic indicators, the Bank would support the first
four projects from the list above for a total lending of US$110
million.

As part of the assistance program, the Bank will undertake
analytical work that addresses issues of governance and
institutional strengthening, and which provides valuable input
to the policy dialogue. The analytical work will include a
Country Economic Memorandum (jointly with the United Nations
Development Programme and the Inter-American Development Bank),
a Poverty Assessment, a study on Transport for the Urban Poor, a
Financial Sector Assessment Program, a regional study on Crime
and Violence, and a review of the Country Regulatory Framework,
among others.

The Bank's assistance program will be complemented by support
from the International Finance Corporation (IFC), focused on
investing in tourism, mining, free trade zone, and human
resources development (health and education). In addition, the
Multilateral Investment Guarantee Facility (MIGA) will work with
project sponsors who are exploring long-term investments in the
country.

CONTACT: World Bank
         URL: http://www.worldbank.org/do

         In Washington:
         Alejandra Viveros
         Phone: (202) 473-4306
         Email: Aviveros@worldbank.org

         In Santo Domingo:
         Alejandra de la Paz
         Phone:(809) 566-6815, ext. 256
         Email: Adelapaz@worldbank.org



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

CARROLS CORPORATION: Lenders Extend Filing Deadline Terms
---------------------------------------------------------
Carrols Corporation ("Carrols") announced Thursday that it has
obtained a Consent and Waiver from its lenders under Carrols'
Loan Agreement dated as of December 15, 2004 (the "Senior Credit
Facility") waiving the previously disclosed Event of Default
caused by Carrols' delay in delivering its annual financial
statements for the 2004 fiscal year, and extending the time
period to deliver such financial statements, as well as its
financial statements for the first fiscal quarter of 2005, to
July 31, 2005.

Carrols Corporation is one of the largest restaurant companies
in the U.S. currently operating 538 restaurants in 17 states.
Carrols is the largest franchisee of Burger King restaurants
with 347 Burger Kings located in 13 Northeastern, Midwestern and
Southeastern states. It also operates two regional Hispanic
restaurant chains that operate or franchise more than 200
restaurants. Carrols owns and operates 127 Taco Cabana
restaurants located in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, and
franchises eight Taco Cabana restaurants. Carrols also owns and
operates 64 Pollo Tropical restaurants in south and central
Florida and franchises 25 Pollo Tropical restaurants in Puerto
Rico (21 units), Ecuador (3 units) and South Florida.

CONTACT: Carrols Corporation
         Paul R. Flanders, Chief Financial Officer
         Tel: +1-315-424-0513



===============
H O N D U R A S
===============

* HONDURAS: Paris Club, HIPC Creditors Extend Debt Relief
---------------------------------------------------------
The representatives of the Paris Club creditor countries met on
May 12, 2005 and agreed to recommend to their Governments a
reduction of Honduras' portfolio of debt. The representatives of
the creditor countries took note that Honduras had reached the
Completion point under the enhanced initiative for the Heavily
Indebted Poor Countries (enhanced HIPC initiative) on April 5,
2005.

They welcomed Honduras' determination to implement a
comprehensive poverty reduction strategy and an ambitious
economic programme providing the basis for sustainable economic
growth.

In order to contribute to restoring Honduras' debt
sustainability, they decided to cancel US$ 206 million in
nominal terms, which represents the Paris Club's share of the
effort in the framework of the enhanced HIPC Initiative. Most
creditors also committed on a bilateral basis to grant
additional debt relief to Honduras so that the amount of the
debt owed to Paris Club creditors will be reduced by a further
US$ 855 million in nominal terms.

As a result of this agreement and additional bilateral
assistance, Honduras' debt to Paris Club creditors will be
reduced from US$ 1474 million to US$ 413 million.

Honduras committed to allocate the resources freed by the
present treatment of the debt to priority areas identified in
the country's poverty reduction strategy. Creditors welcome and
support the Honduran Authorities' commitment to seek comparable
treatment from all their other external creditors (including
other creditor countries as well as commercial creditors).

Honduras' public external debt was estimated to be US$ 4.8
billion in nominal value as at end 2003 (source: IMF and IDA
document, dated March 9, 2005 to be published on the IMF web
site www.imf.org ). The debt owed to Paris Club creditors as of
March 1, 2005 was estimated to be US$ 1474 million in nominal
value (source: Paris Club May 2005).

About the Paris Club

The Paris Club was formed in 1956. It is an informal group of
creditor governments from major industrialized countries. It
meets on a monthly basis in Paris with debtor countries in order
to agree with them on restructuring their debts.

The members of the Paris Club which participated in the
reorganization of Honduras' debt were representatives of the
Governments of Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Japan,
the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the United States of
America. Observers at the meeting were representatives of the
Governments of Norway and the United Kingdom as well as the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), the International Development
Association (IDA), and the Secretariat of UNCTAD.

The delegation of Honduras was headed by Mr William Chong Wong,
Minister of Finance. The meeting was chaired by Mr. Ramon
Fernandez, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Treasury and
Economic Policy Department of the French Ministry of Economy,
Finance and Industry, Vice President of the Paris Club.



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

CHANNEL 40: Goes Off the Air After Workers Walk off the Job
-----------------------------------------------------------
CNI Channel 40, an independent television station, went off the
air Thursday after about 300 employees went on strike due to
non-payment of salary for almost six months, the Associated
Press reveals.

According to union leader Ricardo Acedo, Channel 40 owed its
workers about US$3.6 million. The non-payment of salary
underscores Channel 40's persistent financial problems, which
also led to a near take-over by rival TV Azteca.

In December 2003, TV Azteca took over Channel 40's transmission
facilities by force, seeking to impose a ruling from the Paris-
based International Court of Arbitration that validated its
contracts and option to buy 51% of the station. TV Azteca
briefly replaced the local channel's alternative content with
its own programming. Officials removed the Company from the
premises a month later.


HYLSAMEX: Hylsa Ratings Unchanged By Acquisition
------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said Thursday that its rating
and outlook on steel company Hylsa S.A. de C.V. (Hylsa; BB-
/Stable/--) will not be immediately affected by the acquisition
of Hylsamex, Hylsa's parent company, by Techint Group (Techint;
not rated). Hylsamex and Techint are waiting for the approval of
the Mexican authorities. We will be closely monitoring the
development of the company and transaction to assess if there
are any changes on Hylsa's financial profile and future plans.

Primary Credit Analyst: Juan P Becerra, Mexico City (52) 55-
5081-4416; juan_becerra@standardandpoors.com

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



===========
P A N A M A
===========

WILLBROS GROUP: Schatz & Nobel, P.C. Announces Class Action
-----------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Schatz & Nobel, P.C. announces that a lawsuit
seeking class action status has been filed in the United States
District Court for the Southern District of Texas on behalf of
all purchasers of publicly traded securities of Willbros Group,
Inc. ("Willbros") between May 6, 2002 and May 16, 2005 (the
"Class Period").

The Complaint alleges that Willbros violated federal securities
laws by issuing false or misleading public statements.
Specifically, the Complaint alleges that James K. Tillery, the
former President of Willbros International, Inc., and certain
other Willbros employees had engaged in multiple illegal
activities, including bribery of government officials in order
to obtain lucrative foreign construction contracts. Willbros is
currently under investigation by the United States Department of
Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission for
violations of American law, including the Foreign Corrupt
Practices Act. When this information was disclosed on May 16,
2005, Willbros stock fell from a close of $15.92 per share on
May 16, 2005, to close at $11.00 per share on May 17, 2005.

If you are a member of the class, you may, no later than July
18, 2005, request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff
of the class. A lead plaintiff is a class member that acts on
behalf of other class members in directing the litigation.
Although your ability to share in any recovery is not affected
by the decision whether or not to seek appointment as a lead
plaintiff, lead plaintiffs make important decisions which could
affect the overall recovery for class members, including
decisions concerning settlement. The securities laws require the
Court to consider the class member(s) with the largest financial
interest as presumptively the most adequate lead plaintiff(s).

For more information about the case, its claims, and your
rights, contact:

    Schatz & Nobel
    Toll-free: (800) 797-5499
    E-mail: sn06106@aol.com
    Web site: http://www.snlaw.net/



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

COPACO: Consindering Tender for Mobile Handsets Purchase
--------------------------------------------------------
State-run fixed line operator Copaco is looking to open a tender
to purchase mobile handsets within two weeks, Business News
Americas reports.

The tender, according to Copaco commercial manager Osmar Lopez,
follows part of the Company's preparation for the launch of its
mobile unit. The Company said earlier it will invest US$7
million to launch the mobile service and expects to attract
140,000 GSM subscribers, which will require 140 base stations.

Meanwhile, private operators are expressing some opposition to
Copaco's plans to launch a mobile unit. But Mr. Lopez said the
decision is already made and the project is developing as
expected.


COPACO: Deal With Capadi Allows Fiber Network Access for ISPs
-------------------------------------------------------------
Copaco has reached an agreement with the national Internet
chamber (Capadi), allowing local Internet Service Providers
(ISP) to resell Internet connections using the Company's fiber
optic network, reports Business News Americas.

ISPs represented by Capadi will be compelled to connect to
Copaco's network because rules set by local telecoms regulator
Conatel forbid them from interconnecting directly to the
international network, Capadi president Miguel Andrada said.

Capadi's 15 members have said they will not disconnect their
current connection channels at least until Copaco demonstrates
the quality of its service and its availability.

Commenting on prices established by Copaco, Andrada said they
are lower than current prices ISPs pay to satellite providers,
but exceed the regional average.

To solve this conflict, the executive suggested the definite
price should be similar to the regional average, which would
increase the penetration of broadband connections.



===============
S U R I N A M E
===============

* SURINAME: S&P Reviews Economic Prospects, Political Landscape
---------------------------------------------------------------

Rationale

The ratings on the Republic of Suriname reflects its improving
medium-term economic prospects, which are the result of new
investment projects in the bauxite, gold, and oil sectors.
Recently started and upcoming projects are expected to generate
fiscal revenue, increase export receipts, and provide a boost to
employment. There has also been progress in tightening monetary
policy, which has resulted in lower inflation, the near
convergence of official and market exchange rates, and improved
regulation of the financial sector.

On the other hand, the ratings also reflect a weak policy
execution, which is a result of the high political
fragmentation, vested interests, and slow-moving nature of the
ruling coalition. Although certain progress has been achieved in
strengthening the financial sector, most other structural reform
(including the privatization of major state-owned enterprises
and the restructuring of the public sector and four weak, small
banks) has stalled in the preelection period. In addition, the
upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections (May 2005)
introduce the risk of policy reversal if the opposition comes to
power. Therefore, despite signs of macroeconomic stabilization
achieved by the governing coalition, political risk weighs
heavily on the ratings. Furthermore, Suriname suffers from the
vulnerabilities inherent in an open, narrow, middle-income
economy. A pronounced export dependency on alumina (more than
70% of merchandise exports) underscores commodity-price and
demand-related risk. Finally, there is a weak debt culture,
reflected in recurring payment arrears on official bilateral
debt.

Outlook

The stable outlook balances Suriname's improved monetary
stability and better growth prospects (on the back of promising
investment projects) with the slow speed of structural reform
and an uncertain political outlook. Growth sustainability will
hinge on meaningful development of the private sector. In
addition, the parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled
for May 2005 represent an important crossroads for Suriname: the
continuation of the current stabilization policies will depend
upon the composition of the new government and the identity of
the new president. If the incumbent coalition stays in power,
ensuring the continuation of current reform, the rating could be
revised upward. However, if the opposition wins the elections,
both current policies and relationships with donors are likely
to come under pressure, which could have a negative implication
for the ratings.

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



=================================
T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O
=================================

* TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: Ratings Reflect Strong GDP, Developments
---------------------------------------------------------------
Rationale

The ratings on the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago are supported
by:

    * A growing net public-sector external creditor position,
which is estimated at 25.3% of current account receipts (CAR) in
2004 and will be buttressed in the future by continuing strong
current account surpluses;
    * A booming energy economy, which underpins impressive real
GDP growth and improving fiscal flexibility; and
    * Prudent monetary policy focusing on exchange-rate
stability and moderate inflation.

The ratings are constrained by:

    * The contingent liability posed by off-budget nonfinancial
public sector enterprises, some of which suffer persistent
losses and heavy indebtedness; and
    * Slow development of labor-intensive nonenergy industries,
which leaves the country dependent upon energy price shifts and
creates dual-economy challenges.

The ratings on Trinidad and Tobago reflect significant
improvement in its fiscal and external balance sheets, which in
turn underpin strong economic growth prospects; real GDP growth
is estimated at 7% for 2004. Economic growth has picked up in
recent years, as high foreign direct investment-coupled with
prudent macroeconomic policies-has resulted in continuous
increases in investment, production, and export capacity in the
oil and gas sectors and to significant current account
surpluses. The impact of energy-price movements over the near
term should be mitigated by the long-term nature of many of the
energy projects and by new investment in aluminum projects.

The general government is expected to record a small surplus of
about 0.1% of GDP in 2004, as it looks to spend most of the
higher energy revenue on social infrastructure and education.
However, the government does have significant expenditure
flexibility and has previously demonstrated its ability to pare
spending in times of disappointing energy revenue. It is
important to note that increased energy revenue masks a
worsening nonenergy deficit. A narrowing of this deficit, along
with formalization and expansion of the interim revenue-
stabilization fund, would be positive steps toward ensuring
long-term fiscal sustainability.

Net general government debt continues to decline, and is
estimated at a modest 16.4% of GDP at year-end 2004. However,
the government is making slow progress in privatizing and
rationalizing inefficient government-owned entities. For
example, the delay in liberalizing the telecommunications
industry is indicative of the important role government-owned
enterprises play in the economy and the political challenges
inherent in the rationalization process.

Outlook

The positive outlook reflects the potential for a ratings'
upgrade as the government makes progress in increasing revenue
to create an effective buffer against energy downturns. Plans
include modest debt retirement and contributions to the interim
revenue-stabilization fund. The successful restructuring of
Caroni Ltd. and BWIA West Indies Airways Ltd., and the
privatization of the port, could boost fiscal savings and
gradually reduce the stock of guaranteed debt. At the same time,
the long-term nature of the contracts for many of the new energy
projects and the deterioration in political stability in some
other oil- and gas-producing regions suggest less risk at
present for Trinidad and Tobago.

Primary Credit Analyst: Roberto Sifon Arevalo, New York (1) 212-
438-7358; roberto_sifon-arevalo@standardandpoors.com

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



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

PDVSA: Reassures Regular Fuel Distribution to Western Venezuela
---------------------------------------------------------------
Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) released details regarding fuel
distribution system for Zulia-Los Andes areas, stating that the
system is working adequately. As such, PDVSA believes it is
supplying fuel to western Venezuela on regular basis.

Distribution plants such as Bajo Grande (Maracaibo city); San
Lorenzo (east coast of Maracaibo Lake) and El VigĦa (M‚rida
State) have enough inventories to supply fuel to western
Venezuela, altogether reporting a delivery average of 550 oil
trucks per day to provide fuel to service stations located in
Andean States and Zulia State.

An average of 220-230 oil trucks daily departs from the Bajo
Grande Distribution Plant while other 130 approximately do so
from San Lorenzo Distribution Plant; and some other 190-195 from
El VigĦa. These volumes fit in the distribution standard
parameters for the States of Zulia, M‚rida and Trujillo.

The Bajo Grande multipurpose pipelines system is totally
operating in its full capacity, pumping over 66,240 oil barrels
per day to the aforementioned distribution plants.

Dock and coastal shipping tankers operations, supplying fuel to
Bajo Grande Distribution Plant from which fuel is delivered to
El VigĦa and San Lorenzo Distribution Plants, have been
consistent and normal.

Based on the forgoing information, PDVSA urges the public to
avoid buying fuel in a nervous manner; a practice that could
lead to unnecessary volatility in inventory levels at fuel
facilities.

CONTACT: Petroleos de Venezuela S.A.
         Edificio Petroleos de Venezuela
         Avenida Libertador, La Campina, Apartado 169
         Caracas, 1010-A, Venezuela
         Phone: +58-212-708-4111
         Fax: +58-212-708-4661
         Web site: http://www.pdvsa.com.ve


SIDOR: Dividend Payment Negotiations With Government Continue
-------------------------------------------------------------
Workers of steelmaker Sidor are currently in talks with the
mining and basic industries ministry (Mibam) and the state heavy
industry holding company CVG to resolve the conflict about
dividends, reports Business News Americas. According to CVG,
Sidor's class B shareholders disagree with the government and
CVG on how much should be distributed through dividends.

The problem affects nearly 2,000 workers from Sidor, including
retired workers, pensioners, disabled workers and active workers
who were involved in the work participation program (PPL)
promoted by Venezuela's government through CVG.

Among the options being considered by the government are
building houses for shareholders that do not have one and
extending interest-free credits with a three-year grace period
and a payment deadline of up to 10 years.


                            ***********


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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* * * End of Transmission * * *