TCRLA_Public/050601.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

            Wednesday, June 1, 2005, Vol. 6, Issue 107



AMERICAN FALCON: Commences $3M Debt Restructuring
CUIDAR SALUD: Verification Deadline Approaches
MASTELLONE HERMANOS: Postpones Deadline of Swap Offer
MORON VIAL: Court OKs Creditor's Involuntary Bankruptcy Motion

PAN AMERICAN ENERGY: Turns to IFC for 2005 Capex Financing
REPSOL YPF: Investors Want Dependence Shifted From LatAm
SOUTHERN WINDS: Rejects Creditors' Purchase Offer
THUNDER V: Proceeds With Liquidation

TRANSENER: Petrobras Has Until March 31, 2006 to Offload Stake
VICTORIO LOMBARDI: Judge Approves Bankruptcy


BANCO ITAU: Gets $400M Credit Line From Syndicate of 18 Banks
CESP: Shareholders to Meet June 9 to Discuss Capitalization
GERDAU: Authorizes Acquisition of Shares


* CHILE: IMF Managing Director de Rato Issues Statement


ECOPETROL: To Open Tender for Llanos Project June 15


PETROECUADOR: Settles Dispute With Orellano Residents

S T .  L U C I A

* ST. LUCIA: CDB Board Approves Country Strategy


NBC: Upcoming Privatization Attracts Interest From Venezuelans


PDVSA: Exxon Remains Committed to $3B JV Project
SIVENSA: IBH Announces Merger of Venprecar and Orinoco Iron

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -


AMERICAN FALCON: Commences $3M Debt Restructuring
Argentine airline American Falcon, co-owned by businessman Fayez
Chehab and a US-based investment fund, has initiated formal
restructuring proceedings in an attempt to restructure US$3
million in debt. Mr. Chehab is looking for European investors
that could be interested in American Falcon, which has an
important number of domestic routes, trained staff and is still
authorized to fly.

CUIDAR SALUD: Verification Deadline Approaches
The verification of claims for the bankruptcy of Cuidar Salud
S.A. will end on June 10, 2005 according to Infobae. Creditors
with claims against the bankrupt company must present proofs of
claim to Oscar Chapiro before the deadline.

Mr. Chapiro was appointed by Court No. 4 of Buenos Aires' civil
and commercial tribunal to handle the Company's case with the
assistance of Clerk No. 7. The bankruptcy will conclude with the
liquidation of the Company's assets to pay its creditors.

CONTACT: Mr. Oscar Chapiro, Trustee
         Avda Raul Scalabrini Ortiz 151
         Buenos Aires

Court No. 9 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
approved a petition for reorganization filed by Establecimiento
Metalurgico Bursztyn S.A., according to a report from Argentine
daily La Nacion.

Trustee Miguel Angel Troisi will verify claims from the
Company's creditors until July 26, 2005. After verification
period, the trustee will submit the individual and general
reports in court. Dates for submission of these reports are yet
to be disclosed.

The informative assembly will be held on Feb. 22, 2006.
Creditors will vote to ratify the completed settlement plan
during the said assembly.

The city's Clerk No. 17 assists the court on the case.

CONTACT: Establecimiento Metalurgico Bursztyn S.A.
         Pedernera 933
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Miguel Angel Troisi, Trustee
         Cerrito 146
         Buenos Aires

MASTELLONE HERMANOS: Postpones Deadline of Swap Offer
Argentine dairy company Mastellone Hermanos announced the
extension of its note exchange offer to June 2, 2005. As of May
25, holders of US$102.5 million out of US$157.2 million in notes
accepted Mastellone's debt restructuring offer.

MORON VIAL: Court OKs Creditor's Involuntary Bankruptcy Motion
Court No. 6 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
declared Moron Vial S.A. bankrupt, says La Nacion. The ruling
comes in approval of the petition filed by the Company's
creditor, Ms. Jane Elizabeth Melville Tapia, for nonpayment of
US$4,672.02 in debt.

Trustee Luis Kuklis will examine and authenticate creditors'
claims until Aug. 30, 2005. This is done to determine the nature
and amount of the Company's debts. Creditors must have their
claims authenticated by the trustee by the said date in order to
qualify for the payments that will be made after the Company's
assets are liquidated.

Clerk No. 11 assists the court on the case, which will conclude
with the liquidation of the Company's assets.

CONTACT: Moron Vial S.A.
         Viamonte 1660
         Buenos Aires

         Mr. Luis Kuklis, Trustee
         Lavalle 1619
         Buenos Aires

PAN AMERICAN ENERGY: Turns to IFC for 2005 Capex Financing
Oil company Pan American Energy (PAE) has requested the
International Finance Corporation (IFC) to provide financing of
up to US$250 million for its 2005 capital expenditure program
for the continued development and production of three blocks in
the Golfo San Jorge basin.

The blocks are Cerro Dragon, Piedra Clavada and Koluel Kaike.
The Project contemplates: drilling for oil and gas, optimization
of water-flooding projects and installation of facilities in the
Cerro Dragon field; and drilling and water flooding projects in
the Koluel Kaike and Piedra Clavada blocks.

The IFC board will deliberate on PAE's request on June 30.

PAE is engaged mainly in the exploration, development and
production of oil and gas. The company holds interests in
thirteen oil and gas production blocks in Argentina and ten
active oil and gas production and development blocks in Bolivia,
through its indirect Bolivian subsidiary Empresa Petrolera Chaco
S.A. (Chaco).

In addition, PAE holds interests in 15 exploration blocks, eight
in Argentina and seven in Bolivia. PAE was the second largest
oil and gas producer in Argentina during 2004, accounting for
approximately 15% of the country's total oil production and
approximately 12% of its total gas production.

The company's blocks in Argentina are located in the four major
hydrocarbon basins - Golfo San Jorge, Austral, Neuquen and
Northwest. The most significant blocks in terms of average net
daily production, as of 2004, were Cerro Dragon in the Golfo San
Jorge Basin, Cuenca Austral in the Austral Basin, and Acambuco
in the Northwest Basin.

REPSOL YPF: Investors Want Dependence Shifted From LatAm
Investors are calling on Repsol YPF to lessen its dependence on
Latin America to revive the stock, which has lagged behind rival
European oil companies.

According to Bloomberg, Repsol generates almost two thirds of
earnings from countries such as Argentina and Bolivia, where
higher tax rates and price caps crimp growth.

"The key challenges facing Repsol are to de-concentrate from
Argentina specifically, and from Latin America in general, and
to improve the level of reinvestment returns," Edward Westlake,
a London-based analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston, said in a
note to investors May 26. He has a "neutral" rating on the

Repsol is the largest holder of gas and oil reserves in
Argentina and the largest holder of gas reserves in Bolivia, and
political changes and currency risks in those countries can lead
to major earnings swings. Repsol posted a 2001 fourth-quarter
loss of EUR652 million because of Argentina's currency

SOUTHERN WINDS: Rejects Creditors' Purchase Offer
Mr. Juan Maggio, owner of Southern Winds (SW), turned down an
offer presented by a group of creditors, led by Mr. Martin
Varsavsky, to buy the airline and its US$50-million debt for a
total of US$100,000. Mr. Varsavsky, a businessman, gave US$4
million to SW last October.

SW filed a "Concurso Preventivo" or reorganization petition in
March this year, declaring assets of US$109,743,220 and debts of
US$184,915,296. Court No. 15 of Buenos Aires' civil and
commercial tribunal approved the petition in early May, giving
the airline permission to start its reorganization.

SW continues to fly within Argentina with 500 employees.

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

         Estudio Aguilar, Pinedo, Rascado Fernandez
         Hipolito Yrigoyen 900
         Buenos Aires

Fixed-line carrier Telecom Argentina S.A. (TEO) announced Monday
that a local commercial court has endorsed the out-of-court
agreement, or Acuerdo Preventivo Extrajudicial (APE), subscribed
by the Company and its creditors, relates Dow Jones Newswires.

The endorsement paves the way for Telecom Argentina to conclude
its US$2.63 billion debt restructuring.

According to Telecom, the court ruling gives holdout creditors
10 days from Tuesday to exchange their debt under the terms of
the court-approved deal.

Under an APE, a two-thirds creditor agreement allows a company
to submit its offer for legal approval, which then makes the
repayment terms binding on all creditors.

Telecom secured 94.47% creditor approval when its exchange offer
closed in August of last year. The company filed its
restructuring offer with the local court in October.

With the court approval, Telecom Argentina now expects to report
positive debt restructuring results that will arise mainly from
haircuts and in principal amounts and forgiveness of interest.

CONTACT:  Telecom Argentina S.A.
          Alicia Moreau de Justo 50, 10th Floor
          Capital Federal (1107) Republica Argentina
          Phone: +54 11 4968 4000
          Web Site:

THUNDER V: Proceeds With Liquidation
Efren Canosa successfully sought for the bankruptcy of Thunder V
& P S.R.L. after Court No. 10 of Buenos Aires' civil and
commercial tribunal declared the Company "Quiebra," reports La

As such, Thunder V & P S.R.L. will now start the process with
Mr. Cesar Stock as trustee. Creditors must submit proofs of
claim to the trustee by June 28, 2005 for authentication.
Failure to comply with this requirement will mean a
disqualification from the payments that will be made after the
Company's assets are liquidated.

The creditor sought for the Company's liquidation after the
latter failed to pay debts amounting to $10,600.

The city's Clerk No. 19 assists the court on the case that will
close with the sale of all of its assets.

CONTACT: Thunder V & P SRL
         Florida 165
         Buenos Aires

         Cesar Stock
         Av. Corrientes 4149
         Buenos Aires

TRANSENER: Petrobras Has Until March 31, 2006 to Offload Stake
Petrobras Energia, the Argentine subsidiary of Brazil's federal
energy producer Petrobras, has until March 31, 2006 to sell its
stake in the nation's leading electric power transporter,
Transener S.A.

The deadline was established by the Energy Secretariat in a
resolution published Monday. The resolution gave Petrobras
Energia 15 days to provide the Secretariat with its divestment

Petrobras Energia and local investment group Dolphin Fund
Management hold equal stakes in Citelec, Transener's holding
company. Petrobras Energia gained the stake when it took over
Argentine company Perez Companc in 2003.

As part of the deal, Petrobras promised Argentine antitrust
regulators that it would sell its stake in Transener amid
concerns that the Perez Companc takeover placed control of
Argentina's biggest power transporter in the hands of a foreign

Petrobras Energia had long said it would be unable to unload
Transener until at least 2005 because the power transporter had
been thrown into default by a government decree from January
2002 that converted utility rates into devalued pesos and froze
them amid the nation's economic meltdown.

Transener has since restructured its debt. Last month, the
Company reached a final acceptance level of 98.8% for its US$465
million debt restructuring. Transener is also expected to see a
rates increase later this year as part of a new utility contract
deal with the government.

According to reports, Petrobras Energia is seeking US$40 million
for its stake in Transener and has already turned down a US$16
million offer from Dolphin to buy its stake while also assuming
all debt.

CONTACT:  Paseo Colon 728 6th Floor
          (1063) Buenos Aires
          Republica Argentina
          Tel: (54-11) 4342-6925
          Fax: (54-11) 4342-7147
          Web site:

VICTORIO LOMBARDI: Judge Approves Bankruptcy
Victorio Lombardi S.R.L., a plastic industry, was declared
bankrupt after Court No. 6 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial
tribunal endorsed the petition of Union de Obreros y Empleados
Plasticos for the Company's liquidation. Argentine daily La
Nacion reports that the Union de Obreros y Empleados Plasticos
has claims totaling $19,677.88 against Victorio Lombardi.

The court assigned Clara Auermhan to supervise the liquidation
process as trustee. Ms. Auermhan will validate creditors' proofs
of claim until Aug. 26, 2005.

The city's Clerk No. 11 assists the court in resolving this

CONTACT: Victorio Lombardi S.R.L.
         Piedras 1077
         Buenos Aires

         Ms. Clara Auermhan, Trustee
         Uruguay 872
         Buenos Aires


BANCO ITAU: Gets $400M Credit Line From Syndicate of 18 Banks
Banco Itau (ITU) was able to raise Monday a US$400-million line
of credit from a syndicate of 18 banks.

According to Dow Jones Newswires, the credit line was unsecured,
meaning, the bank didn't provide any collateral, such as
guarantees from export receivables or insurance.

"The loan is based solely on Itau's risk," Itau's overseas
business manager, Marcelo Pegoraro, said.

Credit rating agency Moody's rates Itau's long-term foreign
obligations Ba2, while Standard & Poor's and Fitch both rate the
bank at BB-.

The credit line was closed at double the planned volume due to
high demand. HSBC acted as bookrunner for the operation and the
lead arrangers were Calyon, Standard Chartered, Wachovia and
West LB.

The line of credit is valid for two years, and the bank can draw
down funds as it needs, though each withdrawal will have a
duration of one year, Itau said. The credit line will be used as
a contingency for Itau's international business, the bank added.

The interest rate to be paid was not revealed, but according to
Pegoraro, it was fixed for the entire two-year duration,
regardless of any changes to Brazil's macroeconomic performance.

CONTACT: Banco Itau Holding Financeira S.A.
         Investor Relations
         Mr. Geraldo Soares
         Investor Relations Superintendency
         Praca Alfredo Egydio de Souza Aranha 100
         Torre Conceicao - 11  04344-902
         Sao Paulo
         Phone: +5511 5019-1549
         Fax: +5511 5019-1133

CESP: Shareholders to Meet June 9 to Discuss Capitalization
Shareholders of Sao Paulo state generator CESP will convene on
June 9 to discuss the hiring of an accounting firm, which the
Company's board chose earlier to determine the value of CESP's
shares in state-owned transmission companies CTEEP and EMAE.

Business News Americas recalls that the board chose local
accounting institute FIPECAFI at a meeting on April 15 to
determine the value of CESP's stake in CTEEP and EMAE.

CESP is selling the stakes as part of its BRL120-million
(US$50mn) capitalization plan. The Company is also considering
the issuance of local debt as part of the program.

The capitalization is part of a broader program sponsored by the
state government to inject capital into the Company involving
using proceeds from the sale of its control of CTEEP.

Sao Paulo state energy and water resources secretary Mauro Arce
has indicated the government may hire two consultancy firms in
the coming weeks to appraise the value of CTEEP as part of an
eventual plan to sell its control in the company.

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:
          Mauro G. Jardim Arce, Chairman
          Ruy M. Altenfelder Silva, Vice Chairman
          Vicente Kazuhiro Okazaki, Finance Director

GERDAU: Authorizes Acquisition of Shares
The Board of Directors of Metalurgica Gerdau and Gerdau have met
and have decided to authorize the acquisition by said companies
of shares issued by them, to remain in treasury and later

We hereby announce that the Board of Directors of METALURGICA
GERDAU S.A. and GERDAU S.A. have met, on this date, in keeping
with statutory requirements and with the terms of Instructions
10/80 and 268/97 of the Brazilian Securities Commission (CVM),
and have decided to authorize the acquisition by said companies
of shares issued by them, to remain in treasury and later

Such acquisitions will be carried out using cash funds of
existing profit reserves and according to the following limits:


Up to 7,150,000 preferred shares, representing approximately
8.74% of outstanding stock, which totaled 81,799,188 shares on
April 30th, 2005.


Up to 6,500,000 preferred shares, representing approximately
3.16% of outstanding stock, which totaled 205,393,936 shares on
April 30th, 2005.

This authorization will remain in force for a maximum of 30 days
from this date, starting May 31st 2005, it being the
responsibility of the Officers of each company to determine the
quantities of shares and appropriateness of each operation.

The operations will be carried out on stock exchanges, at market
prices, with the intermediation of the following brokers:

Bradesco S.A. Corretora de Titulos e Valores Mobiliarios
Av. Ipiranga, 282 - 1¦ S/Loja, 13§, 14§, 15§ andares - Sao Paulo
- SP - Brazil

Itau Corretora de Valores S.A.
Av. Dr. Hugo Beolchi, 900 15§ Andar - Jabaquara - Sao Paulo - SP
- Brazil

Merril Lynch S.A. Corretora de Titulos e Valores Mobiliarios
Av. Brigadeiro Faria Lima, 3400 10§ Andar - Sao Paulo - SP -

Unibanco Corretora de Valores Mobiliarios S.A.
Av. Eus‚bio Matoso, 891 - 18§ andar - Sao Paulo - SP - Brazil

UBS Corretora de Cambio e Valores Mobiliarios S.A.
Praia do Botafogo, 228 16§ Andar Ala B - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - -

Porto Alegre, May 30th, 2005.

Vice President of Finance
Director of Investor Relations


* CHILE: IMF Managing Director de Rato Issues Statement
Mr. Rodrigo de Rato, Managing Director of the International
Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement Monday in
Santiago on his visit to Chile, where he participated in the
Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)-
IMF Round Table Seminar on Building Prosperity in Latin America
and the Caribbean: Macroeconomic and Reform Priorities:

"It has been a great pleasure to come to Chile and participate
in this important roundtable that we have organized with Jose
Luis Machinea and our other friends and colleagues at ECLAC.
This is my second visit to Chile in the year since taking on the
Managing Director responsibilities at the IMF and, as before,
this has been a very rewarding trip. Today's discussion by a
distinguished and diverse group of policymakers, journalists,
and civil society representatives has yielded new insights on
policies that hold the most promise to invigorate growth, create
employment, and attack poverty within the region.

"It is fitting that we are considering these issues at a time
when the region is experiencing the fastest pace of economic
expansion in decades. This impressive performance is, in large
part, the result of implementing macroeconomic policies geared
towards promoting stability and resiliency to shocks, alongside
reforms to help countries better tap their economic potential.

"However, we should not lose sight of the fact that countries in
this region continue to confront a range of short-term
vulnerabilities and medium term challenges that have, for so
long, compromised stable growth and frustrated efforts to
improve social equity in a durable way. Public debt remains too
large in many countries, limiting government's ability to carry
out priority social and public investment expenditures, and
leaving them exposed to shifts in financial market sentiment.
Shifts in global financial conditions and commodity prices
remain a source of vulnerability for many countries. And, in
many instances, economies in the region are still too closed and
too inflexible to benefit fully from globalization.

"Today, we in the Fund have shared our thoughts and listened to
views of others on policy priorities to maximize the region's
growth potential. In the Fund's view, we continue to believe
that macroeconomic policies should remain focused on reducing
vulnerabilities through continued fiscal consolidation, as well
as by entrenching the hard-won gains of low inflation.  From a
structural perspective, we have discussed a menu of reforms,
including efforts to improve trade openness; advance flexibility
in labor and product markets; strengthen the efficiency and
soundness of financial systems; and wide-ranging governance
reforms to improve the climate for private investment.

"It goes without saying that the IMF remains committed to
working in partnership with countries in the region to develop
an agenda for growth and poverty reduction that takes into
account their economic circumstances. I am therefore please to
inform you that the IMF is also considering how we ourselves can
best fulfill this partnership. As you may know, this year we are
examining our own strategic direction. Strengthening the Fund's
surveillance, and thus our ability improve the economic
circumstances of our members, is at the heart of this review.

"On this brief trip, I have also had the privilege of meeting
with President Lagos, and to hear his views on economic and
political challenges and priorities. I also had met Central Bank
Governor Vittorio Corbo and his Board of Directors. We discussed
Chile's prospects in the near-term, which remain very favorable
on account of sustained high copper prices, relatively low
interest rates, and a favorable external environment, reinforced
by a sound and tested macroeconomic policy framework. We expect
the economy to grow by about 5«-6 percent this year, with
inflation contained. There was also broad agreement that Chile's
highly transparent inflation-targeting regime continues to
provide an important anchor for macroeconomic stability."

          Public Affairs: 202-623-7300 - Fax: 202-623-6278
          Media Relations: 202-623-7100 - Fax: 202-623-6772


ECOPETROL: To Open Tender for Llanos Project June 15
State oil company Ecopetrol is scheduled to launch on June 15
the bidding process for a contract to jointly develop a heavy
crude upgrading project in the Llanos basin, reports Business
News Americas.

According to an Ecopetrol source, the contract, which requires
investment of some US$700 million, will cover the Castilla,
Chichimene, Cano Sur, Macarenas and Agila blocks in the Llanos

Ecopetrol will have a minority stake in the project and a
private company or consortium will operate it, Colombia's energy
and mines minister Luis Mejia said earlier.

The winning bidder and Ecopetrol will shoot 2D and 3D seismic,
drill development and exploratory wells, and build a pipeline
and an upgrading plant, said Ecopetrol president Isaac Yanovich.


PETROECUADOR: Settles Dispute With Orellano Residents
State oil company Petroecuador has resolved its conflict with
the residents in the Orellano province, paving an end to the
protests, which caused the Company losses of about US$4 million,
reports Business News Americas.

In a statement, Petroecuador revealed that oil production in the
province is returning to normal.

Petroecuador had been producing about 200,000 barrels of oil a
day before protesters took over 114 wells from May 21 through
May 25 in eight of Petroecuador's oil producing fields, causing
total net losses of just over 100,000 barrels of oil.

The protesters were demanding more roads, infrastructure and
better health, education and living conditions for their

Following the agreement, Petroecuador will begin to carry out
projects benefiting surrounding communities immediately, company
president Robert Pinzon said in a statement.

S T .  L U C I A

* ST. LUCIA: CDB Board Approves Country Strategy
The Board of Directors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)
has approved a Country Strategy for St. Lucia to govern the
Bank's lending programme in that country for the period 2005 to

The Board approved the Country Strategy at a meeting of the
Board at Le Meridien Pegasus in Georgetown, Guyana, on Monday,
May 16, 2005, under the chairmanship of President, Dr. Compton

An indicative programme of financing amounting to US$111.35
million is envisaged in the strategy, which was developed in
consultation with public and private sector officials in St.

The major objective of the strategy for St. Lucia is to enhance
sustainable economic growth by strengthening and modernizing
public utilities and infrastructure; improving the
competitiveness of the tourism sector; supporting mechanisms for
spreading the benefits of growth and reducing vulnerability to
natural hazards and reducing environmental risks.


NBC: Upcoming Privatization Attracts Interest From Venezuelans
The Uruguayan government's plan to privatize state-controlled
bank Nuevo Banco Comercial (NBC) by the end of the year may have
stirred up the interest of Venezuelan banks, indicates Business
News Americas.

Venezuela-Uruguay Chamber of Commerce Secretary Carlos Pollak
said that in recent meetings, "the possibility of Venezuelan
banks purchasing NBC was mentioned."

Previous reports have suggested that Uruguay already has three
interested bidders lined up.

NBC was created in March 2003 from the assets of intervened and
suspended local banks Banco Comercial, Banco Montevideo and
Banco Caja Obrera. When it opened its doors, NBC had equity of
US$150 million and assets and liabilities worth US$825 million
and US$699 million, respectively.

The bank has 46 branches throughout Uruguay and is looking to
become a major player in the local financial system.


PDVSA: Exxon Remains Committed to $3B JV Project
US oil company Exxon Mobil Corp.'s interest in forming a joint
venture project with Venezuelan state oil company Petroleos de
Venezuela SA hasn't waned despite an ongoing tax row with the
Venezuelan government, according to the Associated Press.

Julio Medina, the planning manager for Pequiven, the
petrochemicals unit of PDVSA, said Exxon plans to move ahead
with the US$3-billion project to build a petrochemicals plant in

To reaffirm its commitment, Exxon, the world's largest oil firm,
agreed to meet with the PDVSA representative in Miami last week
to discuss the project, in which PDVSA and Exxon will each hold
a 50% stake.

"The Exxon and Pequiven project should start up in 2008 to
2010," Medina said, adding, the plant will be built near the
Jose oil upgrading project in eastern Venezuela, where many of
the nation's oil refineries are located.

The Venezuelan government shocked Exxon last year when it
suddenly imposed a royalty tax hike on the company's Cerro Negro
heavy crude upgrading project.

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:

SIVENSA: IBH Announces Merger of Venprecar and Orinoco Iron
International Briquettes Holding ("IBH"), a subsidiary of iron
and steel company Sivensa, advised its shareholders that Special
Shareholders' Meetings of its subsidiary companies Orinoco Iron
and Venprecar were held on May 24, 2005, and they approved the
merger of both companies. The surviving corporation shall be
Venezolana de Prerreducidos Caroni "Venprecar", C.A., which will
absorb the assets and liabilities of Orinoco Iron.

According to the Venezuelan Commercial Code, the merger shall
become effective three months after the approval is published.
The respective announcement was published on May 27.

Once the merger between both subsidiaries becomes effective, the
merged Venprecar will benefit from:

    a) a considerable reduction of expenses,

    b) the consolidation of a more efficient organizational
       structure, and

    c) the consolidation of financial commitments and
       obligations in a sole entity.

The merged Venprecar will have an installed capacity of
3,015,000 MT of iron briquettes, approximately 45% of
Venezuela's installed production capacity. The existing
synergies between Orinoco Iron and Venprecar, especially in the
administrative area, may be best used as a result of the merger.

Additionally, the Shareholders' Meeting of Orinoco Iron approved
the mechanism that may be used for the neutralization -
previously announced in the reports to the shareholders and the
audited reports- of an amount approximately equivalent to the
debt assigned by BHP Billiton to Orinoco Iron's creditor banks.
The set of approvals of both companies are a major advance in
the negotiations that are under way for the restructuring of
Orinoco Iron's financial debt.

CONTACT:  International Briquettes Holding, IBH
          Filial de Sider£rgica Venezolana SIVENSA S.A.
          Telephone: 58-212-707.62.80
          Telefax: 58-212-707.63.52


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

Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America is a daily newsletter
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Copyright 2005.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

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