TCRLA_Public/050531.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

            Tuesday, May 31, 2005, Vol. 6, Issue 106

                            Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

BALONCHARD S.R.L.: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
COM 2: Begins Liquidation
COMPANIA DE NAVEGACION: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
CORTADO: Court Issues Bankruptcy Ruling
CRESUD: Reduces Debt by US$36,463

LINEA 22: Files Petition to Reorganize
SALTA HYDROCARBON: Fitch Affirms Global Scale FC, LC Ratings
* SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO: Fitch Upgrades Series 04, 05 Notes to 'CC


B A H A M A S

ULTRAPETROL: Ratings Lowered To 'B'; Outlook Remains Negative


B E R M U D A

J&A INVESTMENTS: Begins to Wind-Up Operations
MINOT INVESTMENT: Proceeds With Voluntary Wind-Up
SEPSIS DIAGNOSTICS: Names Robin Mayor as Liquidator  


B R A Z I L

BANCO SANTANDER: S&P Releases Ratings Analysis
GERDAU: Beaumont Steel Mill Halts Ops Pending Labor Agreement
NII Holdings: Appoints New Vice President, Controller


C H I L E

MANQUEHUE NET: Expresses Confidence in This Year's Results


M E X I C O

AHMSA: Supplies Hot, Cold Rolled Products to Tuberias Procarsa
BALLY TOTAL: Board Resolves to Amend By-laws
BALLY TOTAL: Grants Employment Inducement Awards
CINTRA: Board Advises Foreign Bidders to Align With Local Buyers
HYLSAMEX: Alfa Executive Defends Sale to Techint

SATMEX: Responds to Noteholders' Involuntary Chapter 11 Filing
XIGNUX: S&P Releases Ratings Analysis


P A N A M A

WILLBROS GROUP: Lerach Coughlin Files Class Action Suit
WILLBROS GROUP: Another Law Firm Files Class Action Suit


P E R U

MINERA VOLCAN: Workers Down Tools, Seek Slice of 2004 Profits


P U E R T O   R I C O

DORAL FINANCIAL: Fitch Cuts Senior Debt Rating to 'BB+'
DORAL FINANCIAL: Provides Update Letter to Shareholders
DORAL FINANCIAL: Scott + Scott Files Class Action Lawsuit


U R U G U A Y

BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Minister Paints Gloomy Picture of Future
FUCEREP: Local Fitch Downgrades Ratings; Outlook Stable


V E N E Z U E L A

SINCOR: Ramirez's Announcement Stuns Venture Partners

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

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

BALONCHARD S.R.L.: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
-------------------------------------------------
Balonchard S.R.L. entered bankruptcy on orders from Court No. 3
of Rosario's civil and commercial tribunal, reveals Infobae. The
court assigned Mr. Wilfredo H. A. Borsani as receiver. He
verified creditors' claims until Feb. 25, 2005.

Creditors who failed to have their claims validated before the
deadline were disqualified from receiving any payments to be
made after the Company's assets are liquidated.

The individual reports, which were due on April 11, 2005, were
prepared upon completion of the verification process. The court
also required the receiver to prepare a general report and file
it on June 17, 2005. This report contains a summary of the
results in the individual reports.

CONTACT: Balonchard S.R.L.
         Avda Arijon 177
         Bis Rosario (Santa Fe)

         Wilfredo H. A. Borsani, Trustee
         Cordoba 1147
         Rosario (Santa Fe)


COM 2: Begins Liquidation
-------------------------
Com 2 Tv S.A. of Buenos Aires will begin liquidating its assets
after Court No. 16 of the City's civil and commercial tribunal
declared the Company bankrupt. Infobae reveals that the
bankruptcy process will commence under the supervision of court-
appointed trustee, Jose Luis Sebastian Ciccociopo.

The trustee will review claims forwarded by the Company's
creditors until Aug. 25, 2005. After claims verification, Mr.
Ciccociopio will submit the individual reports for court
approval on Oct. 11, 2005. The general report will follow on
Nov. 22, 2005. Clerk No. 32 assists the court on this case.

CONTACT: Com 2 Tv S.A.
         Soler 4380
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Jose Luis Sebastian Ciccociopo, Trustee
         Vidal 3375
         Buenos Aires


COMPANIA DE NAVEGACION: Court Declares Company Bankrupt
-------------------------------------------------------
Compania de Navegacion Argentina Conar S.R.L. entered bankruptcy
on orders from the Court No. 20 of Buenos Aires' civil and
commercial tribunal, reveals Infobae.

Working with Clerk No. 39, the court assigned Mr. Juan Carlos
Herr as receiver. He is to verify creditors' claims until July
8, 2005.

Creditors who fail to have their claims validated before the
deadline will be disqualified from receiving any payments to be
made after the Company's assets are liquidated.

The individual reports, which are due on Sep. 5, 2005, are to be
prepared upon completion of the verification process. The court
also requires the receiver to prepare a general report and file
it on Oct. 17, 2005. This report contains a summary of the
results in the individual reports.

CONTACT: Mr. Juan Carlos Herr, Trustee
         Alicia Moreau de Justo 846
         Buenos Aires


CORTADO: Court Issues Bankruptcy Ruling
---------------------------------------
Cortado en Vaso S.R.L. will now enter bankruptcy after Court No.
12 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal declared it
"Quiebra," reports Infobae.

With assistance from Clerk No. 24, the court named Mr. Humberto
Chelala as receiver. He will verify creditors' claims until July
1, 2005.

Following claims verification, the receiver will submit the
individual reports, which were prepared based on the
verification results, to the court on Aug.30, 2005. The general
report is due on Oct. 13, 2005.

The Company's bankruptcy case will close with the liquidation of
its assets to pay its creditors.

CONTACT: Mr. Humberto Chelala, Trustee
         Avda Corrientes 2335
         Buenos Aires


CRESUD: Reduces Debt by US$36,463
---------------------------------
Cresud S.A.C.I.F. y A. (Nasdaq: CRESY - News; BCBA: CRES), a
leading Argentine producer of agricultural products, informed
the Bolsa de Comercio de Buenos Aires and the Comision Nacional
de Valores that a holder of Company's Convertible Notes
exercised its conversion rights. Hence, the financial
indebtedness of the Company shall be reduced in US$ 36,463 and
an increase of 71,805 ordinary shares face value pesos 1 (V$N 1)
each was made. The conversion was performed according to terms
and conditions established in the prospectus of issuance at the
conversion rate of 1.96928 shares, face value pesos 1 per
Convertible Note of face value US$ 1. As a result of that
conversion the amount of shares of the Company goes from
162,534,470 to 162,606,275. On the other hand, the amount of
registered Convertible Notes is US$ 40,127,544.

CONTACT: Cresud S.A.C.I.F. y A
         Av. Roque Saenz Pena 832
         8th Fl.
         Buenos Aires
         Argentina
         Phone: 001-54-1-3287808


LINEA 22: Files Petition to Reorganize
--------------------------------------
Linea 22 S.A. filed a "Concurso Preventivo" motion, reports
Infobae. The Company is seeking to reorganize its finances
following cessation of debt payments. The Company's case is
pending before Court No. 12 of Buenos Aires' civil and
commercial tribunal, assisted by Clerk No. 23.

CONTACT: Linea 22 S.A.
         Esmeralda 923
         Buenos Aires


SALTA HYDROCARBON: Fitch Affirms Global Scale FC, LC Ratings
------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has affirmed the 'CCC' global scale foreign and
local currency ratings of Salta Hydrocarbon Royalty Trust
US$234,000,000 targeted amortization notes. The rating has been
removed from the Rating Watch Negative status. The Rating
Outlook is Stable.

The rating action is based on the better cash flow performance
showed by the bond since 2004, due to an increase in the
hydrocarbon well-head prices which impact the collateralized
royalty incomes positively, despite a context of decreasing
production levels. These revenues achieved nominal growth of
16.9% and 16.6% in 2004 and in the first quarter of 2005,
respectively, allowing the bond to make timely payments of
interest. Nevertheless, these funds remained insufficient to
make principal payments at the original targeted schedule until
Dec. 28, 2004. As of March 28, 2005, this trend was reversed,
registering a principal payment above the targeted payment,
showing for the first time a decline in the difference between
the actual outstanding debt and the balance in the original
amortization schedule. As of March 28, 2005, the outstanding
debt is US$220,863,901 (the original schedule states outstanding
debt should be US$212,572,767). Additionally, the offshore six-
month liquidity reserve account remains fully funded.

Even though hydrocarbon production decreased during the last
three quarters, compared with the same period the previous year,
which triggered a hold-back event under the transaction, Fitch
expects increasing collateralized royalty incomes in 2005 due to
the higher average gas price reported for the first three months
of 2005, compared to the average 2004 price (0.97 US$/MBTU
versus 0.82 US$/MBTU). This should produce a further reduction
in the difference between the actual outstanding debt of the
Trust and the original targeted amortization by 2006.

In a more predictable scenario of increasing prices and clear
rules for the sector - with less Federal Government interference
- hydrocarbon production may grow based on some capital
expenditures with maintenance of wells observed in the basins
affected by the bond in 2004. Consequently, Fitch expects the
structure to continue to perform well in the medium term.

However, in Fitch's opinion, the short-term legal environment
remains uncertain. The interference of the Federal Government of
Argentina in the hydrocarbon sector is still high in that the
government continues to set hydrocarbon prices through an export
withholding tax for oil and a scheduled step-up of fixed gas
prices. This limits the long-term capital expenditure programs
of Concessionaires, which are required to increase hydrocarbon
production levels. Also, it is probable that the complete
liberalization of gas prices will not occur by August 2005
because of the internal pressure that a rise on prices would put
on the domestic price and consumption of gas. Fitch will
continue to monitor developments in the oil and gas sector as
well as legal issues that may affect the performance of this
transaction.


* SANTIAGO DEL ESTERO: Fitch Upgrades Series 04, 05 Notes to 'CC
----------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has upgraded the global scale foreign and local
currency ratings of the Argentine Province Santiago del Estero's
series 04 and 05 medium-term note program to 'CC' from 'C'. The
Rating Outlook is Stable.

Series 04 of US$12 million issued in August 1998 and series 05
of US$108 million issued in November 1999 under a US$120 million
medium-term notes program constitute direct and unconditional
obligations of Santiago del Estero. Both series rank pari passu
and share the collateral assigned to the program (10% of monthly
co-participation tax revenue of the Province). Series 05 was
restructured in June 2002, and the restructuring included an
extension in maturity from June 2006 to June 2016, while the
coupon remained fixed at a rate of 15.875% p.a. These notes make
semi-annual interest payments, and semi-annual principal
payments beginning on June 2005.

The rating upgrade reflects the better cash flow performance of
both series in 2004 and the positive prospects for the coming
months. This optimism is due to the significant growth of
federal co-participation tax revenues and, consequently, the
increase in the cash flows collateralizing these notes, based on
growing national tax collections. Additionally, fiscal and
financial improvements in the Province during 2004 resulted in a
financial surplus of US$98 million, which represents excellent
coverage of the debt service payments under the notes,
especially in the case of possible shortfalls in the co-
participation flows going forward.

Finally, the ratings upgrade considers the positive outlook
generated by the new Provincial Government, which took office on
March 2005 after one year of Federal Intervention, giving a more
stable political and institutional environment. However, the
notes are still affected by currency risk since collateralized
flows are in Argentinean pesos and debt service payments are in
dollars; thus, there is the devaluation risk to the notes.

In 2004, the national tax collection and the co -participation
transfers to the Provinces increased significantly, growing 55%
compared to the previous year. In a stable environment of both
co-participation cash flows and exchange rate, the debt service
coverage ratio for both series will continue improving,
isolating the performance of the notes from the Province's
ability to make additional transfers in order to cover the
shortfalls, as occurred in the past. As of Friday, the
collateralized funds corresponding to series 05 are sufficient
to make the next debt service payment of interest and principal
on June 2005 (US$10,828,019). The last series 04 payment in
February 2005 was made as scheduled for US$1,065,088.

Fitch Ratings will continue monitoring cash flow performance and
debt service coverage, in order to evaluate the strengthening of
the structure in the medium term, as well as the development of
the new Provincial Government.



=============
B A H A M A S
=============

ULTRAPETROL: Ratings Lowered To 'B'; Outlook Remains Negative
-------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered Friday its local and
foreign corporate credit rating on Bahamas-based shipping
transportation company Ultrapetrol (Bahamas) Ltd. to 'B' from
'BB-'.

At the same time, the rating on Ultrapetrol's $180-million
Preferred Ship Mortgage Notes due 2014 was also lowered to 'B'.
The outlook on the corporate credit ratings remains negative.

"The downgrade reflects Standard & Poor's expectations that
slower progress in cash flows, higher uncertainty about the
future performance of recently acquired vessels, and potentially
higher debt to finance vessel acquisitions in the medium term
will not allow Ultrapetrol to reach the financial profile
targeted for the end of 2005 and beyond," said Standard & Poor's
credit analyst Reginaldo Takara.

We expect Ultrapetrol to face bigger challenges in expanding its
fleet in that acquisition opportunities have been scarce and
expensive. Appropriate funding may also be more difficult,
considering that part of the cash reserves raised in 2004 from
the company's bond issuance and sale of vessels has already been
partly depleted.

The ratings on Ultrapetrol reflect its aggressive financial
profile characterized by substantial debt leverage, an
increasing exposure to regional economic patterns with barge and
oil products transportation services in the region,
uncertainties about its ability to increase cash flows with
recently acquired vessels, sizable capital expenditures
programmed for the next several years that may result in further
debt leverage, and a concentrated customer base. These negatives
are partly offset by fair-to-positive short-term prospects,
particularly in the case of its oceangoing vessels currently
servicing grain and ore trades; a favorable market position in
the barge business at the Parana River's 'Hidrovia'; close
relationships with the main oil companies in South America; the
long-term profile of its debt maturity schedule (with the 2014
bond accounting for the bulk of its debt); and some business
diversification reflected in the company's fleet profile.

Ultrapetrol is a small diversified shipping company incorporated
in the Bahamas with offices in Buenos Aires. Revenues and EBITDA
in the past 12 months ended March 31, 2005 amounted to $106
million and $39 million, respectively.

The negative outlook on Ultrapetrol's ratings reflects the
uncertainties about the company's fleet strategy implementation
in 2005 and the years ahead, as assuming a conservative cash
flow projection after the recent fleet changes undertaken in
first-quarter 2005, we expect free cash flows to be very
limited. The ratings may be lowered further if additional debt
has to be raised to fund new vessel acquisitions, especially if
incremental cash flows coming from recently acquired vessels
turn out to be below expectations. While new equity
contributions are not required by UP Offshore, we are also
following the developments for these new vessels that will find
delivery through the rest of the year. Negative developments on
this front may also have a negative effect on the ratings. The
ratings may be stabilized if
Ultrapetrol is able to obtain larger cash flows from its
reformatted fleet and to add new profitable vessels under the
limits of its liquidity and internal cash constraints.

Primary Credit Analyst: Reginaldo Takara, Sao Paulo
(55) 11-5501-8932; reginaldo_takara@standardandpoors.com

Secondary Credit Analyst: Milena Zaniboni, Sao Paulo
(55) 11-5501-8945; milena_zaniboni@standardandpoors.com  



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

J&A INVESTMENTS: Begins to Wind-Up Operations
---------------------------------------------
         IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPANIES ACT 1981
    
                         And

        IN THE MATTER OF J&A Investments Limited

The Members of J&A Investments Limited, acting by written
consent without a meeting on May 23, 2005, passed the following
resolutions:

1) that the Company be wound up voluntarily, pursuant to the
provisions of the Companies Act 1981; and

2) that Robin J. Mayor be and is hereby appointed Liquidator for
the purposes of such winding-up, such appointment to be
effective forthwith.

The Liquidator informs that:

- Creditors of J&A Investments Limited, which is being
voluntarily wound up, are required, on or before June 10, 2005,
to send their full Christian and Surnames, their addresses and
descriptions, full particulars of their debts or claims, and the
names and addresses of their solicitors (if any) to Robin J
Mayor at Messrs. Conyers Dill & Pearman, Clarendon House, Church
Street, Hamilton, HM DX, Bermuda, the Liquidator of the said
Company, and if so required by notice in writing from the said
Liquidator, and personally or by their solicitors, to come in
and prove their debts or claims at such time and place as shall
be specified in such notice, or in default thereof they will be
excluded from the benefit of any distribution made before such
debts are proved.

- A final general meeting of the Members of J&A Investments
Limited will be held at the offices of Messrs. Conyers Dill &
Pearman, Clarendon House, Church Street, Hamilton, Bermuda on
July 1, 2005 at 9:00 a.m., or as soon as possible thereafter,
for the purposes of:

1) receiving an account laid before them showing the manner in
which the winding-up of the Company has been conducted and its
property disposed of and of hearing any explanation that may be
given by the Liquidator; and

2) by resolution determining the manner in which the books,
accounts and documents of the Company and of the Liquidator
shall be disposed of; and

3) by resolution dissolving the Company.

CONTACT: Mr. Robin J. Mayor, Liquidator
         Clarendon House
         Church Street
         Hamilton, Bermuda


MINOT INVESTMENT: Proceeds With Voluntary Wind-Up
-------------------------------------------------
           IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPANIES ACT 1981

                           And

     IN THE MATTER OF Minot Investment Company Limited

The Members of Minot Investment Company Limited, acting by
written consent without a meeting on May 23, 2005, passed these
resolutions:

1) that the Company be wound up voluntarily, pursuant to the
provisions of the Companies Act 1981; and

2) that Robin J. Mayor be and is hereby appointed Liquidator for
the purposes of such winding-up, such appointment to be
effective forthwith.

The Liquidator informs that:

- Creditors of Minot Investment Company Limited, which is being
voluntarily wound up, are required, on or before June 10, 2005,
to send their full Christian and Surnames, their addresses and
descriptions, full particulars of their debts or claims, and the
names and addresses of their solicitors (if any) to Robin J.
Mayor at Messrs. Conyers Dill & Pearman, Clarendon House, Church
Street, Hamilton, HM DX, Bermuda, the Liquidator of the said
Company, and if so required by notice in writing from the said
Liquidator, and personally or by their solicitors, to come in
and prove their debts or claims at such time and place as shall
be specified in such notice, or in default thereof they will be
excluded from the benefit of any distribution made before such
debts are proved.

- A final general meeting of the Member(s) of Minot Investment
Company Limited will be held at the offices of Messrs. Conyers
Dill & Pearman, Clarendon House, Church Street, Hamilton,
Bermuda on July 1, 2005 at 9:00 a.m., or as soon as possible
thereafter, to:

1) receive an account laid before them showing the manner in
which the winding-up of the Company has been conducted and its
property disposed of and of hearing any explanation that may be
given by the Liquidator; and

2) by resolution, determine the manner in which the books,
accounts and documents of the Company and of the Liquidator
shall be disposed of; and

3) by resolution, dissolve the Company.

CONTACT: Mr. Robin J. Mayor, Liquidator
         Clarendon House, Church Street
         Hamilton, Bermuda


SEPSIS DIAGNOSTICS: Names Robin Mayor as Liquidator  
---------------------------------------------------
             IN THE MATTER OF THE COMPANIES ACT 1981

                          And

        IN THE MATTER OF Sepsis Diagnostics Products, Ltd.

The Members of Sepsis Diagnostics Products, Ltd., acting by
written consent without a meeting on 19th May 2005 the following
resolutions:

1) that the Company be wound up voluntarily, pursuant to the
provisions of the Companies Act 1981; and that

2) that Robin J. Mayor be and is hereby appointed Liquidator for
the purposes of such winding-up, such appointment to be
effective forthwith.

The Liquidator informs that:

- Creditors of Sepsis Diagnostics Products, Ltd., which is
being voluntarily wound up, are required, on or before June 10,
2005, to send their full Christian and Surnames, their addresses
and descriptions, full particulars of their debts or claims, and
the names and addresses of their lawyers (if any) to Robin J
Mayor, at Messrs. Conyers Dill & Pearman, Clarendon House,
Church Street, Hamilton, HM DX, Bermuda, the Liquidator of the
said Company, and if so required by notice in writing from the
said Liquidator, and personally or by their lawyers, to come in
and prove their debts or claims at such time and place as shall
be specified in such notice, or in default thereof they will be
excluded from the benefit of any distribution made before such
debts are proved.

- A final general meeting of the Members of Sepsis Diagnostics
Products, Ltd. will be held at the offices of Messrs. Conyers
Dill & Pearman, Clarendon House, Church Street, Hamilton,
Bermuda on June 29, 2005 at 9:30 a.m., or as soon as possible
thereafter, for the purposes of:

1) receiving an account laid before them showing the manner in
which the winding-up of the Company has been conducted and its
property disposed of and of hearing any explanation that may be
given by the Liquidator; and

2) by resolution determining the manner in which the books,
accounts and documents of the Company and of the Liquidator
shall be disposed of; and

3) by resolution dissolving the Company.

CONTACT: Mr. Robin J. Mayor, Liquidator
         Clarendon House
         Church Street
         Hamilton, Bermuda



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

BANCO SANTANDER: S&P Releases Ratings Analysis
----------------------------------------------
Rationale

On April 19, 2005, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed
its 'BB-/B' foreign currency and 'BB/B' local currency
counterparty credit ratings on Banco Santander Brasil S.A.,
Banco Santander Meridional S.A., and Banco do Estado de Sao
Paulo S.A. (Banespa). The outlook is stable.

The ratings on the three entities of Santander Banespa
incorporate the uncertainties of operating in Brazil and
exposure to the economic risk of the financial system; their
operating efficiency being below that of some local competitors
(although the group is concentrating efforts to improve its
efficiency); and the relatively smaller share of the retail
segment as compared to the other major retail banks. These
negative factors are compensated by the Santander Banespa
group's strong position in the Brazilian market, mainly in the
South/Southeast regions of the country where the bank has a
powerful distribution network and a critical mass, as well as by
the benefits of belonging to its parent bank group, Spain's
Banco Santander Central Hispano S.A. (A+/Stable/A-1), which
leverages its know-how to its Brazilian subsidiary. In addition,
the ratings consider the good financial profile of Santander
Banespa, mainly its strong profitability and asset quality that
is higher than the average Brazilian standards, and its
experienced and strong management team.

Santander Banespa is the fourth-largest private Brazilian
financial group in terms of assets. Despite holding a relatively
lower market share than those of its major retail peers in terms
of loans and deposits, Santander Banespa's business profile has
consistently improved given the group's better product coverage,
strong commercialization efforts, and segmentation of its client
base. The group increased its market share in some segments,
such as private pension products, consumer lending, and asset
management; however, its market position in the retail segment
is still lower than those of its major peers in the retail
market (such as Bradesco and Itau). When compared to other
retail banks such as HSBC and Unibanco, Santander Banespa has a
similar market share position. The bank is challenged to operate
in the competitive retail market; however, its long-term
strategy based on growth, aligned with its strong brand name,
should be key factors for its success.

Santander Banespa's strong profitability-with an annualized ROA
of 2.4% in 2004-reflects the high intermediation result of the
group (generated from higher credit revenues to individuals and
Treasury gains), the capacity to improve cross selling and
generate higher fee income revenues, and its lower need to
create provisions. Reflecting a commercial effort added to a
broader range of products, Santander Banespa is expected to
continue to increase fee-income generation, which by December
2004 represented 23% of total revenues. On the other hand, large
investments to reinforce the group's sales structure and to
integrate/upgrade its technological base, as well as higher
marketing expenses, produced higher operating costs during 2004
(noninterest expenses-to-revenues ratio reached 74% in 2004).
Santander Banespa is challenged to improve its efficiency ratio
with the maintenance of its operating expenses (which we expect
will only increase with inflation in 2005) and higher capacity
to generate revenues from its major business lines.

Santander Banespa showed asset quality indicators better than
the banking system average. Its good asset quality indicators
reflect the implementation of sound credit concession,
monitoring, and collection policies and procedures, following
the parent's lead. As of December 2004, the combined entity's
figures showed nonperforming ratios (credits classified from E
to H) over total loan portfolio of 4.4% (which is below the
industry average of 6.1%). As with all banks operating in
Brazil, the ratings on Santander Banespa reflect the exposure to
government risk in the form of open-market operations and
marketable securities of 2.7x its equity, as well as the
challenging Brazilian operating environment.

Outlook

The stable outlook on the local currency ratings reflects the
expectation that the group will retain its dynamism in the
commercial area, maintaining its market position while
preserving its good profitability (with continued efforts on the
efficiency front) and asset quality despite significant credit
growth. The outlook on the foreign currency rating mirrors the
outlook attributed to the Federative Republic of Brazil. At its
current level, Santander Banespa's foreign currency credit
rating should move in tandem with the foreign currency credit
rating on the sovereign. The local currency credit rating would
automatically follow negative changes in the sovereign credit
rating, if the latter is downgraded or if its outlook is revised
to negative; however, if the sovereign local currency credit
rating were to improve (positive outlook or upgrade), the impact
on Santander Banespa would have to be assessed.

Primary Credit Analyst: Tamara Berenholc, Sao Paulo
(55) 11-5501-8950; tamara_berenholc@standardandpoors.com

Secondary Credit Analyst: Milena Zaniboni, Sao Paulo
(55) 11-5501-8945; milena_zaniboni@standardandpoors.com


GERDAU: Beaumont Steel Mill Halts Ops Pending Labor Agreement
-------------------------------------------------------------
Gerdau Ameristeel ceased operations Thursday at its Beaumont,
Texas mill in an effort to encourage the United Steelworkers of
America (USWA) labor union to act on the company's "last, best
and final" agreement offer presented to the union committee on
May 9, 2005.

"We regret that the union committee has forced us to take this
action until a labor agreement is achieved," said Philip Bell,
director of human resources for Gerdau Ameristeel. "The company
has exercised this legal provision to end the uncertainty both
sides face by not having a new labor contract. We are eager to
get the mill reopened as soon as an agreement is reached. We
want our employees back at work as soon as possible."

The company and its workforce have been working without a labor
agreement since March 31, 2005, and have been negotiating since
January 18, 2005.

The final contract options proposed by Gerdau Ameristeel are
very similar to the contract previously in place at the Beaumont
mill. The company's proposals include the opportunity for a
long-term agreement and competitive benefits and pay.

The company's goal is to achieve an agreement that allows the
mill to compete against imported steel and offer good wages and
benefits. "Employees are the Beaumont mill's competitive
advantage. The best thing Gerdau Ameristeel can do for the
workforce, their families, the community, the company, and our
customers is to work diligently with the union and our employees
to make the Beaumont wire rod mill competitive on a global basis
and help protect quality jobs in Beaumont," added Bell.

About the Beaumont Mill

The Beaumont mill recycles more than 500,000 tons of steel each
year to produce wire rod commonly used to manufacture closet
shelving, clothes hangers, and nails. Gerdau Ameristeel
purchased the mill in November 2004 and has invested more than
$500,000 in improvements based on input from employees. The
company has ear-marked more than $25 million to upgrade mill
operations pending a long-term agreement.


NII Holdings: Appoints New Vice President, Controller
-----------------------------------------------------
NII Holdings, Inc. (Nasdaq: NIHD) (the "Company") announced
Friday that Daniel Freiman has been appointed to serve as Vice
President and Controller by the Board of Directors.

Ricardo Israele, who served as Vice President and Controller
until Mr. Freiman's appointment to the position, remains with
the Company in the position of Vice President - Internal Audit.

Mr. Freiman, 33, was the Company's Director of Investor
Relations from June 2004 to April 2005, Director of External
Financial Reporting from November 2002 to June 2004 and Senior
Manager of External Financial Reporting from September 2000 to
November 2002. Prior to September 2000, he was a manager in the
audit practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Washington, D.C.

NII Holdings, Inc., a publicly held company based in Reston,
Va., is a leading provider of mobile communications for business
customers in Latin America. NII Holdings, Inc. has operations in
Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Peru, offering a fully integrated
wireless communications tool with digital cellular service,
text/numeric paging, wireless Internet access and International
Direct Connect(SM), an extension of Direct Connect(R), a radio
feature that allows Nextel subscribers to communicate instantly
and across national borders.

CONTACT: NII Holdings
         Investor Relations:
         Tim Perrott
         Phone:(703) 390-5113
         Email: tim.perrott@nii.com

         Media Relations:
         Claudia E. Restrepo
         Phone:(786) 251-7020
         Email: claudia.restrepo@nii.com

         URL: http://www.nii.com



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MANQUEHUE NET: Expresses Confidence in This Year's Results
----------------------------------------------------------
This year looks to be promising for Chilean telephony and
broadband provider Manquehue Net, which has been in the red
since its launching in 2000, says Business News Americas.

"The company's margins and Ebitda have grown lately, which makes
us believe 2005 should be a good year. We have achieved this
growth by being more efficient internally and in our sales
processes," Diario Financiero quoted the company's general
manager Jorge Troncoso as saying.

Manquehue Net reported a net loss of CLP3.17 billion (US$5.42mn)
in 2004, cutting by half the previous year's net loss of CLP6.17
billion.

For the first time however, the Company recorded an operating
profit in 2004, registering CLP1.31 billion, compared to an
operating loss of COP286 million in 2003 following a reduction
in operating expenses and administrative costs.

Manquehue Net said earlier this year it will focus on providing
broadband service, the only business area that has recorded
positive growth with a client base of 15,000 connections.



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

AHMSA: Supplies Hot, Cold Rolled Products to Tuberias Procarsa
--------------------------------------------------------------
Tuberias Procarsa, S.A. de C.V. obtains its steel coils from
AHMSA, steel plant that is just a few steps away from their
facilities. Both companies maintain an excellent relationship,
which guarantees the raw material procurement.

Tuberias Procarsa was founded in 1963 and is the main ERW/HFI
Steel Line Pipe producer in Mexico. The Company is located in
the city of Frontera, Coahuila, about 110 miles south from Eagle
Pass, Texas.

The range of production of Procarsa goes from 2 3/8" to 4 1/2"
in plant No. 1 and from 5 9/16" to 20" in plant No. 2. The wall
thickness goes up to 0.500" and grades X-70 and below. The plant
is certified with ISO 9001/9002, API Q1, API 5L and API 5CT.

The plant is built in an area of 1,072,000 sq. feet, and it has
the most modern continuous forming pipe mill in Mexico.

Procarsa obtains its steel coils from AHMSA, steel plant that is
just a few steps away from their facilities. Both companies
maintain an excellent relationship, which guarantees the raw
material procurement.

The Company is part of the Vigil Group, a fast growing
Corporation which is involved in the production of special
steel, small pipes, steel bars, steel angles, rounds and tools.

Procarsa has rapidly increased its exports not only to the
United States, but also to countries like Colombia, Venezuela,
Guatemala, Nigeria, Costa Rica, Chile, Peru, Brazil, Ivory
Coast, Ecuador, and Bangladesh among others. We are also
following different projects in South East Asia and other
regions.

CONTACT: AHMSA
         Customer Service
         Email: service@ahmsa.com
                sales@ahmsa.com
         Fax: 52 (866) 633 23 90 and 633 76 24
         Phone: 01 800 71 86 290 (Only in Mexico)

         International Operations
         Phone: 52 (866) 649 34 00
         Fax: 52 (866) 649 23 10
         Email: sales@ahmsa.com

         Web Site: http://www.ahmsa.com/defaulti.htm


BALLY TOTAL: Board Resolves to Amend By-laws
--------------------------------------------
The board of directors of Bally Total Fitness resolved to amend
and restate the Company's by-laws, effective as of May 25, 2005.
The following summary of the principal by-law amendments adopted
by the Board does not purport to be complete and is qualified in
its entirety by reference to the by-laws, which are incorporated
herein by reference.

The provisions of the by-laws relating to stockholders meetings
were amended to:

(i) provide that stockholder meetings (whether annual or
special) shall occur at a time and place, if any, as designated
by the Board in order to permit stockholder meetings to be held
over the internet, if necessary;

(ii) permit notices of stockholder meetings to be delivered by
electronic transmission and specifying when notice of a
stockholder meeting, if mailed, shall be deemed to be delivered;

(iii) permit stockholder meetings to be adjourned from time to
time without prior notice, subject to certain conditions;

(iv) clarify that the voting standard set forth in the by-laws
applies to all matters submitted to a stockholder vote except as
otherwise provided by the certificate of incorporation, the by-
laws, stock exchange rules or applicable law;

(v) revise the provision dealing with the requirement to make
the stockholder list available prior to a stockholder meeting on
a reasonably accessible electronic network or at the principal
place of business of the Company;

(vi) provide that the Company shall appoint an inspector of
elections at stockholder meetings to execute specified tasks in
accordance with the Delaware General Corporate Law ("DGCL"); and

(vii) delineate the powers of the individual presiding at any
stockholder meeting and provide that the Board may adopt the
rules and regulations for the conduct of such meetings.

The provisions of the by-laws relating to Directors were amended
to:

(i) provide that directors may consent to any action in writing
or by electronic transmission;

(ii) permit the Board (or committees thereof) to participate in
Board meetings (or committee meetings) by means of conference
telephone or other communications equipment; and

(iii) expressly state that each committee of the Board may make
its own rules for the conduct of its business.

The provisions of the by-laws relating to the Company's capital
stock were amended to:

(i) delete a superfluous reference to the establishment of
record dates for stockholder actions taken by written consent;
and

(ii) add the default rules with respect to the establishment of
record dates as set forth in Section 213 of the DGCL.

The by-laws also were amended to include a separate
indemnification article that supplements, but does not limit,
the corresponding provisions set forth in the certificate of
incorporation. The amendments provide for the mandatory
advancement of the defense costs for all officers and directors
of the Company. In addition, the amendments provide that any
repeal or modification to the indemnification and advancement
rights provided in the by-laws shall not affect the right of any
person covered thereunder for any act or omission occurring
prior to such repeal or modification.

The provisions of the by-laws relating to dividends were amended
to provide that the Company, prior to paying any dividend, must
set aside funds in an amount that the Board deems sufficient to
maintain compliance with Delaware law.

CONTACT: Bally Total Fitness
         Phone: 773-380-3000
         Fax: 773-399-1120
         Web Site: http://www.ballyfitness.com


BALLY TOTAL: Grants Employment Inducement Awards
------------------------------------------------
As required by New York Stock Exchange rules, Bally Total
Fitness Holding Corporation (NYSE:BFT) reported Friday the grant
of stock option and restricted stock inducement awards to new
employees Carl J. Landeck, Senior Vice President and Chief
Financial Officer, Jim McDonald, Senior Vice President and Chief
Marketing Officer, and Katherine L. Abbott, Vice President and
Treasurer.

Mr. Landeck was granted 75,000 options and 100,000 shares of
restricted stock, subject to vesting conditions. Mr. McDonald
was granted 20,000 options and 100,000 shares of restricted
stock, subject to vesting conditions. Ms. Abbott was granted
20,000 shares of restricted stock, subject to vesting
conditions.

The stock options vest in three equal annual installments on the
anniversary of the grant date and are subject to forfeiture in
the event of resignation or termination for cause prior to
vesting. The restricted stock has a four-year cliff vesting
provision and vests in full upon a change in control or
termination of employment by the Company without cause.

In accordance with NYSE Rule 303A.08, the restricted stock and
stock option grants require a public announcement of the awards
and written notice to the NYSE.

Bally Total Fitness is the largest and only nationwide
commercial operator of fitness centers, with approximately four
million members and 440 facilities located in 29 states, Mexico,
Canada, Korea, China and the Caribbean under the Bally Total
Fitness(R), Crunch Fitness(SM), Gorilla Sports(SM), Pinnacle
Fitness(R), Bally Sports Clubs(R) and Sports Clubs of Canada(R)
brands. With an estimated 150 million annual visits to its
clubs, Bally offers a unique platform for distribution of a wide
range of products and services targeted to active, fitness-
conscious adult consumers.

CONTACT:  BALLY TOTAL FITNESS
          8700 West Bryn Mawr Avenue
          Chicago, IL 60631
          www.BallyFitness.com
          Matt Messinger - Tel. (773) 864-6850


CINTRA: Board Advises Foreign Bidders to Align With Local Buyers
----------------------------------------------------------------
The board of Mexican airline holding company Cintra SA has
decided that foreigners who are looking to take stakes in either
AeroMexico or Mexicana must align themselves with Mexican
investors, relates Dow Jones Newswires.

Cintra is looking to launch the process to sell 51% of each
airline in June. Credit Suisse First Boston is advising Cintra
on the sale.

Bidders can place offers for both airlines but can only purchase
stakes in one package.

AeroMexico will be sold together with regional carrier
Aerolitoral while Mexicana will be packaged with a new low-cost
carrier, Click.

Any remaining shares not acquired will remain in the hands of
Cintra, which will retain veto rights over some strategic
decisions regarding the carriers and the right to sell minority
shares in a public offering.

CONTACT: Cintra S.A. de C.V.
         Av Xola 535 piso 16 col. del Valle Mexico
         Phone: (5)448 - 8000
         E-mail: infocintra@cintra.com.mx
         Web site: http://www.cintra.com.mx


HYLSAMEX: Alfa Executive Defends Sale to Techint
------------------------------------------------
Alfa president Dionisio Garza Medina defended the Company's
recent decision to sell its 42.5% share in steelmaker Hylsamex
(BMV: HYLSAMXB) to Argentine-Italian group Techint for
approximately US$2.25 billion, suggests Business News Americas.

According to the executive, the decision was the best option for
both Alfa and Hylsamex, both companies' shareholders and the
wider community.

The sale will cut Alfa's debt from US$1.2 billion to US$160
million and allow Alfa to invest further in its auto parts,
petrochemicals and food sectors, Garza Medina said.

Considering that Alfa's operating cash flow was US$641 million
last year, a "normal debt" level for the Company would be
approximately US$1 billion, giving Alfa lots of room for
investment, he said.

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 unit 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


SATMEX: Responds to Noteholders' Involuntary Chapter 11 Filing
--------------------------------------------------------------
Satelites Mexicanos, S.A. de C.V. (Satmex) received Thursday
notification that certain of its creditors had filed an
involuntary Chapter 11 petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for
the Southern District of New York seeking a financial
reorganization.

Satmex anticipated this filing as one of several likely
scenarios. The Company is currently evaluating its options and
will respond appropriately in the near term.

Satmex intends to maintain continuous communication with its
counterparties during this process with the objective of working
collaboratively toward an equitable and just solution to its
financial situation.

Satmex has explained the steps it has taken to its customer
base, in anticipation of this possibility, ensuring the
continuity of the company's world-class customer service and of
day-to-day operations.

CONTACT: Satelites Mexicanos
         Blvd. Manuel Avila Camacho 40
         Piso 24 Col. Lomas de Chapultepec
         Mexico, D.F. 11000
         Mexico
         Phone: 5201-0898(In Mexico)
                01-800-800-7286 (Toll-Free)


XIGNUX: S&P Releases Ratings Analysis
-------------------------------------
Rationale

The ratings on Xignux S.A. de C.V. (Xignux) reflect its high
leverage, the cyclical nature of some of its end markets, and
increasing costs as a result of the strength of the Mexican peso
in recent years. The ratings also consider Xignux's significant
market-share positions, product diversity, and vertical
integration. Its emphasis on high quality has attracted world-
recognized joint-venture partners, providing Xignux, a
diversified holding company, with low-cost access to state-of-
the-art technology and enhancement of its export possibilities.

The 'B+' rating assigned to Xignux's notes due 2009 reflects the
structural subordination of the issue relative to the company's
priority liabilities. Despite the debt at the holding company
being guaranteed by some of the subholding and operating
subsidiaries, the proportion of priority liabilities (i.e.,
current and long-term liabilities, in addition to short- and
long-term debt, at the operating company level) relative to
consolidated total assets is significant (about 30%), leading to
a possible low residual claim for Xignux's holding company
creditors.

Xignux is a diversified holding company whose subsidiaries
manufacture a variety of products, mostly for industrial
markets. The company sells auto parts, chemicals, food, cable,
foundry, power, and distribution transformers.

The company's high leverage is reflected in its key financial
ratios. For the 12 months ended March 31, 2005, Xignux posted
EBITDA interest coverage, total debt-to-EBITDA, and funds from
operations-to-total debt ratios of 3.5x, 2.7x, and 21.2%,
respectively. The sharp drops in consolidated revenues posted by
the company versus first-quarter 2004 reflect the sale of Grupo
Primex (a petrochemical company). Pro forma for the sale of
Grupo Primex, during first-quarter 2005 Xignux posted revenue
growth across the board and consolidated EBITDA increased 7.4%
versus the year-ago period.

Liquidity

Xignux's liquidity is adequate. As of March 31, 2005, Xignux
held about $77 million in cash and equivalents, which compares
favorably to short-term debt of $72 million. During 2005, free
operating cash flow is expected to reach about $40 million, and
the focus of the company's financing plans will be the extension
of debt maturities due 2006 and 2007, given that dividend
payments of about $30 million are expected during the year.

Outlook

The stable outlook on the global scale ratings and the positive
outlook on the national scale rating anticipate that Xignux's
financial performance and liquidity will continue to improve.
The aforementioned improvement will result in a one-notch
upgrade in the national scale. A significant improvement in
financial performance could lead to a positive rating action in
the global scale. Weakness in the company's financial and
operating performance could lead to a negative rating action.

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

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



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

WILLBROS GROUP: Lerach Coughlin Files Class Action Suit
-------------------------------------------------------
Lerach Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP ("Lerach
Coughlin") announced Friday that a class action lawsuit has been
commenced in the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Texas on behalf of purchasers of Willbros Group Inc.
("Willbros" or the "Company") (NYSE:WG) common stock during the
period between October 6, 2003 and May 16, 2005 (the "Class
Period").

If you wish to serve as lead plaintiff, you must move the Court
no later than July 17, 2005. If you wish to discuss this action
or have any questions concerning this notice or your rights or
interests, contact plaintiff's counsel:

    LERACH COUGHLIN STOIA GELLER RUDMAN & ROBBINS LLP
    Samuel H. Rudman
        or
    David A. Rosenfeld
    800/449-4900
    619/231-1058
    E-mail: wsl@lerachlaw.com

If you are a member of this class, you can view a copy of the
complaint as filed or join this class action online at
http://www.lerachlaw.com/cases/willbros/.Any member of the  
purported class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff
through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and
remain an absent class member.

The complaint charges Willbros and certain of its officers and
directors with violations of the Securities Exchange Act of
1934. Willbros describes itself as an "independent contractor
serving the oil, gas and power industries, providing engineering
and construction, and facilities development and operations
services to industry and government entities worldwide."

As alleged in the Complaint, the Company's International
operations were engaging in bribery and tax evasion, among other
things, and the Company would have to restate its financial
statements for fiscal years 2002 to the present, as the Company
had materially overstated its financial condition by failing to
account for the bribes it was paying or the taxes it was
evading. In addition, Willbros has announced that it likely
violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA"), which
prohibits bribery of foreign officials to obtain business.

Then, on May 16, 2005, Willbros revealed the true extent of the
problems at Willbros International. On that date, the Company
issued a press release announcing the completion of its Audit
Committee investigation into the activities of defendant James
K. Tillery and other employees and consultants of Willbros
International and its subsidiaries. The investigation revealed,
among other things, that: (a) Willbros International was bribing
foreign officials in order to obtain business in at least
Bolivia, Nigeria and Ecuador. These payments were not being
properly accounted for on the Company's financial statements and
exposed the Company to the risk that should the payments be
subjected to regulatory scrutiny the Company could face large
fines and penalties; (b) Willbros International was evading the
payment of taxes in various locales, thereby materially
overstating the Company's financial results and exposing the
Company to potential fines and penalties; (c) the Company was
engaging in substantial undisclosed related party transactions;
and (d) the Company's financial statements were not prepared in
conformity with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles
("GAAP") and were materially false when issued. Willbros has now
admitted that its financial statements were materially false
when issued as it has acknowledged that it will be restating its
financial statements for fiscal years 2002 through 2004 and that
the total amount of reductions to net income range between $7.2
and $9.2 million.

In response to the announcement of the findings of the Audit
Committee, the price of Willbros stock fell $4.92 per share or
more than 30% to close at $11.00 per share, on unusually heavy
trading volume.

During the Class Period, prior to the disclosure of the problems
at Willbros International and the Company's false financial
statements, the Company: (i) completed an offering of $70
million of its 2.75% Convertible Senior Notes; (ii) entered into
an expanded credit agreement for a new $150 million three-year
senior secured credit facility; and (iii) enabled insiders to
sell 462,354 shares of their personally held Willbros common
stock thereby reaping more than $7 million in gross proceeds.

Plaintiff seeks to recover damages on behalf of all purchasers
of Willbros common stock during the Class Period (the "Class").
The plaintiff is represented by Lerach Coughlin, which has
expertise in prosecuting investor class actions and extensive
experience in actions involving financial fraud.


WILLBROS GROUP: Another Law Firm Files Class Action Suit
--------------------------------------------------------
The law firm of Schwartz, Junell, Greenberg & Oathout, LLP
announces that on May 18, 2005 it 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.

This action, C.A. No. 4:05-cv-1778, is pending before Judge
Keith P. Ellison 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, in the
United States by the Securities & Exchange Commission and
Department of Justice, and abroad, because the Company is
alleged to have 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 Schwartz,
Junell, Greenberg & Oathout, LLP, or other counsel of your
choice, to serve as your counsel in this action.

     Roger B. Greenberg
     Schwartz, Junell, Greenberg & Oathout L.L.P.
     Two Houston Center
     909 Fannin, Suite 2000
     Houston, Texas 77002
     Telephone: (713) 752-0017
     Facsimile: (713) 752-0327
     Email: rgreenberg@schwartz-junell.com
     Website: http://schwartz-junell.lawoffice.com



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MINERA VOLCAN: Workers Down Tools, Seek Slice of 2004 Profits
-------------------------------------------------------------
Workers at two of zinc-lead miner Volcan Compania Minera SAA's
units - Cerro de Pasco and Yauli - began a strike Thursday,
demanding a portion of last year's profits.

Newspaper La Republica Friday quoted a union official as saying
that workers went on strike to back demands for higher worker
bonuses tied to company profits.

Raul Avanda of Volcan's human resources department said talks
are underway to end the walkout. He said union leaders have
accepted that they aren't legally entitled to the worker profit
participation payments, but that the Company is looking at
making a cash payment under another concept.

Volcan produced 235,000t of zinc last year, ahead of its nearest
rival the Antamina copper-zinc mine, which produced 224,000t,
according to the country's ministry of energy and mines.

Cerro de Pasco in central Peru's Pasco department provided
131,000t of last year's production. Yauli in central Peru's
Junin department contributed roughly 104,000t.

Volcan had been hard hit by low zinc prices but managed to post
a consolidated net profit of PEN71.2 million (US$21.9mn) in
2004, turning around a net loss of PEN25.1 million the previous
year thanks to increased sales volumes and improved metal
prices.

Peru is the world's third largest producer of zinc.

CONTACT:  Volcan Compania Minera S.A.A.
          Av Gregorio Escobedo 710 Jesus Maria
          Lima, Peru
          Phone: (51-1) 219-4000
          Fax: (51-1)261-9716
          E-mail: contact@volcan.com.pe



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

DORAL FINANCIAL: Fitch Cuts Senior Debt Rating to 'BB+'
-------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has lowered Doral Financial Corporation's (Doral)
senior debt rating to 'BB+'. The ratings also remain on Rating
Watch Negative by Fitch. A list of ratings is provided at the
end of this release.

The rating action is in response to Doral's announcement that it
is not in compliance with covenants in two bond indentures
relating to the timely filing of financial statements due to the
delay in the restatement of its financials. The inability to
make timely filing of financial statements follows the company's
announcement on April 19, 2005 that it was not properly valuing
its portfolio of interest-only securities. The indentures
governing two existing debt securities total approximately $1
billion. Presently, either the trustee or 25% of the noteholders
could present the company with a notice of default and force an
acceleration of payment if the technical default is not cured.
The technical default under the indenture allows for a 60 and a
90 day period in which to cure the default.

Moreover, Doral could also be in violation of other credit
agreements if it is not able to provide timely financial
statements. Incorporated in Fitch's action is the likelihood
that Doral receives waivers from all necessary creditors should
the need arise. Fitch's original expectations were for the
timely resolution of the financial restatements prior to any
prospect of technical default arising on its obligations. In
addition, there remain additional risks of increased regulatory
scrutiny and litigation, event risk, as well as the continuing
uncertainty regarding the ultimate accounting charge. In
recognition of these heightened risks, Fitch has lowered the
ratings of Doral and its subsidiary bank.

Resolution of the Negative Watch status will follow the
restatement of financials, the status of Doral's compliance with
obligations under indentures and other major credit facilities,
review of actions taken to address internal control and risk
management deficiencies, and Doral's prospects in light of these
factors.

Fitch has lowered the following ratings and kept them on Rating
Watch Negative:

Doral Financial Corporation

- Long-term senior unsecured to 'BB+' from 'BBB';
- Short-term to 'B' from 'F2';
- Individual to 'C/D' from 'B/C';
- Preferred stock to 'BB-' from 'BB+'.

Doral Bank

- L-T deposit obligations to 'BBB' from 'BBB+';
- L-T non-deposit obligations to 'BBB-' from 'BBB';
- S-T deposit obligations to 'F3' from 'F2';
- S-T non-deposit obligations to 'F3' from 'F2';
- Individual 'C'.

Ratings affirmed by Fitch:

Doral Financial Corporation
- Support '5'.

Doral Bank
- Support '5'.
  
CONTACT:  FITCH RATINGS
          Peter Shimkus, 312-368-2063 (Chicago)
          Ileana Cervantes, 312-368-5472 (Chicago)
          Kenneth Reed, 212-908-0540 (Media Relations, New York)


DORAL FINANCIAL: Provides Update Letter to Shareholders
-------------------------------------------------------
Doral Financial Corporation (NYSE: DRL) announced Friday that it
has mailed a special letter to shareholders, providing certain
operational data for the first quarter of 2005 and an update on
its restatement process and related matters. The full text of
the letter follows:

May 27, 2005

Dear Shareholder:

Over the past several weeks, we have received many inquiries
from shareholders and investors regarding the status and timing
of the restatement effort Doral Financial Corporation is
undertaking. This is understandable given our announcement of a
restatement and the loss of equity value in Doral shares. While
we are working diligently through the restatement process, it is
premature for us to report definitive information on the timing
and conclusion of the process. We currently estimate that the
change in our valuation model will result in a reduction in the
recorded fair value of our floating rate interest only strips
(IOs) of approximately $600 million. However, we have not yet
completed the restatement analysis or computed how this amount
will be distributed among the affected periods.

Doral's management team, working closely with the Board of
Directors, is working expeditiously to resolve the accounting
and valuation issues that led to the need to restate our
financial results. Throughout this process, we will, to the
extent possible, update our shareholders on the performance of
our business. We, therefore, feel it is important that you be
aware of the following:

-- Doral's banking, mortgage origination, insurance and
brokerage businesses are sound and currently operating strongly.

-- The senior management of Doral Financial Corporation, the
Board of Directors and the Audit Committee composed of
Independent Directors of the Board all are focused on addressing
the issues related to the restatement and the Company's business
model going forward.

-- At the same time operating management of the Company is
keeping its focus on running Doral's businesses and realizing
their growth potential.

-- The issues leading to the restatement are related to the
accounting and valuation treatment of our IOs. The correction
will be non-cash in nature.

-- Doral is committed to rebuilding the value of its equity and
achieving strong, sustainable growth in shareholder value over
the long term.

With the restatement process underway, Doral will not report
financial results in accordance with the Corporation's regular
quarterly timeframe. We are able to present certain unaudited
and preliminary operational data for the first quarter ended
March 31, 2005 that shows that strong operating progress was
being achieved during the quarter:

-- As of March 31, 2005, the Company had cash and cash
equivalents of $2.8 billion, compared to $2.5 billion as of
December 31, 2004 and $2.0 billion as of March 31, 2004. Of this
amount, $1.85 billion was unencumbered as of March 31, 2005.

-- Our banking subsidiaries had aggregate deposits of
approximately $3.5 billion as of March 31, 2005, about equal
with the $3.6 billion as of December 31, 2004 and in excess of
the $3.2 billion held as of March 31, 2004.

-- Our mortgage loan servicing portfolio increased to $14.6
billion as of March 31, 2005, compared to $14.3 billion as of
December 31, 2004 and $13.1 billion as of March 31, 2004.

-- Loan production continued strong during the first quarter of
2005, aggregating $2.2 billion, compared to $1.8 billion for the
first quarter of 2004, of which $1.2 billion was internally
originated in each period.

-- Doral Financial and our banking subsidiaries are, and will
remain following the restatement, well-capitalized institutions
for federal banking regulatory purposes.

As Doral has previously reported, we have identified certain
items that will require adjustments to our prior period
financial statements for some or all of the periods from January
1, 2000 to December 31, 2004. As part of the restatement
process, we are also reviewing other areas of our accounting.
Based on our progress evaluation to date, we can provide you
with the following update:

-- We will calculate future cash flows from our portfolio of
floating rate IOs with a valuation model that uses an implied
interest rate based on the forward yield curve rather than using
actual contractual or period-end LIBOR rates. We estimate that
this change in valuation model will result in a reduction in
their recorded fair value of approximately $600 million.

-- Working closely with our external advisors, First Manhattan
Consulting Group, we have developed new procedures to improve
our risk management systems and processes.

-- Our Audit Committee, comprised entirely of independent
directors, has instructed Latham & Watkins LLP to conduct an
independent examination into the circumstances leading to the
restatements.

-- Yesterday, we filed a Current Report on Form 8-K with the
Securities and Exchange Commission, providing an update on the
restatement process and summarizing some of the consequences and
potential risks to the Company from the restatement. We
encourage you to read this report. A copy of the report can be
obtained from the Securities and Exchange Commission's website
at www.sec.gov or from the Company's website at
www.dorafinancial.com.

At the conclusion of this thorough process, we will communicate
with you promptly and fully as to the effect of the restatement
on our historical earnings, as well as the basis for the
Company's business model moving forward.

The Board and management team of Doral Financial are committed
to the long- term best interests of Doral shareholders. We are
meeting the banking, mortgage, insurance and brokerage needs of
our customers, and are confident that our many competitive
strengths will translate into future growth and value creation
for shareholders. We appreciate your continuing confidence in
us.

Sincerely,

/s/ Salomon Levis

The Company, a financial holding company, is the largest
residential mortgage lender in Puerto Rico, and the parent
company of Doral Bank, a Puerto Rico based commercial bank,
Doral Securities, a Puerto Rico based investment banking and
institutional brokerage firm, Doral Insurance Agency, Inc. and
Doral Bank FSB, a federal savings bank based in New York City.

CONTACT: DORAL FINANCIAL CORPORATION
         Salomon Levis or Ricardo Melendez
         787-474-1111


DORAL FINANCIAL: Scott + Scott Files Class Action Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------------------
Scott + Scott, LLC announced Friday that on April 21, 2005, its
client filed a shareholder class action lawsuit on behalf of all
purchasers of Doral Financial Corporation (NYSE:DRL) securities
who purchased between October 10, 2002 and April 19, 2005 the
"Class Period" Shares of Doral continued to drop Friday after
the Company said that it will reduce the value of its interest-
only securities by as much as $600 million and is in default on
two indentures. The stock traded below $10 in the first half-
hour of trading this morning. During the Class Period, the stock
traded over $ 49.00.  

Scott + Scott's complaint alleges that Doral and certain of its
officers and directors violated the securities laws by
improperly valuing its I/Os by using flawed loss assumption,
artificially high prepayment assumptions and artificially low
discount rates. As a result of such conduct, Doral's stock price
traded at artificially inflated levels. The complaint alleges
that while the stock price was artificially inflated certain
insiders sold more than $10, 000,000 in Doral stock and earned
cash incentive bonuses.  

If you would like information about Scott + Scott's original
complaint or would like to discuss with an attorney the numerous
other complaints filed against Doral, contact the following
attorneys:

      Neil Rothstein
      (800-332-2259)
      E-mail: nrothstein@scott-scott.com
           or
      Amy K. Saba
      (800/332- 2259)
      E-mail: asaba@scott-scott.com.
      URL: http://www.scott-scott.com



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

BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Minister Paints Gloomy Picture of Future
-----------------------------------------------------------
Housing Minister Mariano Arana said state-run mortgage loan bank
Banco Hipotecario (BHU) is a "disaster" and "will remain that
way for some time," relates Business News Americas.

BHU, a wholly owned state bank, posts a monthly profit of US$6
million, of which US$2 million goes to fellow state bank Banco
de la Republica Oriental del Uruguay (BROU) to cover debts
stemming from the 2002 financial crisis; US$1.5 million to
construction firms to develop works currently under construction
and US$2.5 million in other operational costs, Arana revealed.

In contrast, Economy minister Daniel Astori said BHU will not
continue to be a "bottomless barrel" and should recover to serve
the Uruguayan public.

Early this month, ratings agency Moody's said the financial and
franchise viability of BHU was "questionable" due to serious
financial impairment and limited commercial capacity.


FUCEREP: Local Fitch Downgrades Ratings; Outlook Stable
-------------------------------------------------------
The Uruguayan arm of Fitch Ratings slashed its ratings on local
cooperative Fucerep in light of the latter's questionable
ability to comply with a regulation that increased minimum
capital requirements.

According to Business News Americas, Fitch Uruguay cut Fucerep's
local and global ratings to CCC and B from B- and BB+
respectively, with a stable outlook.

Fucerep was granted by the central bank a three-month period to
come up with a plan to improve its capital situation.

Fitch also said that the downgrade reflects the Company's
decreasing market share in the Uruguayan financial system.

As of December 31, 2004, Fucerep's assets totalled US$10.7
million.



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

SINCOR: Ramirez's Announcement Stuns Venture Partners
-----------------------------------------------------
A source from Statoil disproved Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez's
allegations that the Sincor heavy crude project, in which
Statoil is a minority partner, is "overproducing" and evading
taxes.

Ramirez accused Sincor last week of violating its contract,
saying the Company was only authorized to produce 114,000
barrels a day (b/d) and is now producing 210,000b/d, which it
plans to increase to 250,000b/d in the short term.

Ramirez added that the government was preparing measures to hike
the royalty rate on any additional output to 30% from 16.6%.

But according to the source, the 200,000 b/d threshold was
authorized under "a separate approval" and that the Company
hopes to clear up the issue.

"We are working on a meeting with Ramirez and the National
Assembly," said the source.

Statoil has a 15% stake in the venture.

Meanwhile, French energy company Total, which has a 38% stake in
the venture, said it is "surprised" by the announcement that
Venezuela's government will levy a higher royalty on a large
part of its crude production from Sincor.

"We have absolute confidence in the firmness of the contracts
and agreements we signed as well as in our legal and financial
position. We have received formal approval from congress as well
as from the energy and oil ministry and we have respected them
completely," a Total spokesperson said.

Total "calmly awaits" any request for information from
Venezuelan authorities. "We are open for consultations to clear
up the misunderstandings," the spokesperson added.



                            ***********


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