TCRLA_Public/050713.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, July 13, 2005, Vol. 6, Issue 137



AEROLINEAS ARGENTINAS: Labor Ministry Intervenes in Dispute
AGUAS CORDOBESAS: Suez About to Renew Concession Contract
ALRAFER S.A.: Concludes Reorganization
APSA: Board to Meet for Evaluation on U.S. Legislation
BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Struggles to Conclude Agreement With BNL

CARSI S.H.: To Endorse Settlement Proposal
COMERCIAL RIO: Gets Court Approval for Reorganization
CREDITO GENERAL: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
CRESUD: Board to Call Meeting to Evaluate U.S. Legislation
IRSA: Board to Hold Shareholders' Meeting on August 2

METRO MEDICION: Trustee to Submit Individual Reports July 14
TAIMA INDUSTRIAL: Deadline for General Report Approaches
ZAPATEIRO HNOS: Gears for Reorganization


BANCO RURAL: Fitch Downgrades, Places Ratings on Watch Negative
BANCO RURAL: Moody's Changes Ratings Outlook to Negative
BERTIN LTDA: Moody's Assigns B1 to Proposed Notes Issue
PARMALAT: Brazilian Units Have Until Aug. 29 to File Plan
* BRAZIL: Fitch Affirms Ratings at 'BB-'


JAMES HARDIE: Disposes of Chilean Business for $15.8M

E L   S A L V A D O R

BANCO CUSCATLAN: Ratings Remain Despite UBCI Transaction - Fitch
INVERSIONES FINANCIERAS: Fitch Affirms `BB+' Nat'l Scale Rating


AIR JAMAICA: Hall Recommends Immediate Sale
AIR JAMAICA: Moody's Assigns Ba1 Corporate Family Rating


GRUPO MEXICO: STMMRM Pledges Support to Asarco Strikers
JONES APPAREL: To Close Denim-Making Operations in Mexico


SIDERPERU: Creates Commission to Study Berth No. 3 Expansion
SPCC/MINERA MEXICO: Fitch Upgrades FC Ratings
SPCC/MINERA MEXICO: Moody's Assigns Ba1 Rating to Sr Unsec Notes
* PERU: S&P Revises Outlook to Positive From Stable

P U E R T O   R I C O

CENTENNIAL COMMUNICATIONS: Launches Wireless Data Services


UTE: Two US Firms Compete for Contract to Build 2 Thermo Plants


PDVSA: Maintains Fuel Oil Supplies to Argentina
PDVSA: Chief Policy is to Recover Oil Rent Says Ramirez

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -                             


AEROLINEAS ARGENTINAS: Labor Ministry Intervenes in Dispute
Workers at Aerolineas Argentinas have ended their strike
following intervention by the Labor Ministry, reports Dow Jones

The pilots union, known by its Spanish acronym as APLA, had
started a 48-hour strike at Aerolineas Argentinas on Thursday to
request a 40% wage increase.

However, the Labor Ministry decided to intervene late Friday and
ordered the airline and union to operate "minimum service"
starting at 2500 GMT that night.

That measure required at least 50% of domestic flights and 75%
of international routes to be operational.

On Monday, a Labor Ministry press official said that the Company
and the union are still analyzing a government-drafted wage
accord that was presented over the weekend.

          Torre Bouchard 547, 1106 Buenos Aires, ARGENTINA
          Phone: (54-11) 4310-3000
          Fax: (54-11) 4310-3585
          Home Page:
          Officer: Patricio Zabalia Lagos, President

AGUAS CORDOBESAS: Suez About to Renew Concession Contract
Renegotiation talks between French group Suez and Cordoba
province authorities regarding Aguas Cordobesas' concession
contract in the province are nearing conclusion, suggests
Business News Americas.

Unlike Suez's negotiations with the government regarding its
water concessions in Buenos Aires and Santa Fe provinces, the
Company's negotiations regarding its Cordoba concession have
gone smoothly.

This is because the concession in Cordoba is limited to the
capital city, the works outlined in the concession contract are
almost all complete and the governor is considered to be in
favor of the private sector.

Last week, Governor Jose de la Sota said that the concession
contract of Aguas Cordobesas "is at the point of being redone."

The only thing lacking to sign the new agreement is progress in
the talks regarding Aguas Argentinas. De la Sota is reluctant to
announce an agreement with Suez until the latest problems have
been ironed out.

Aguas Cordobesas' contract involves 30-40% rate increases for
residential users. The unit is also seeking compensation for
prices having been frozen since 2002.

De la Sota revealed Aguas Cordobesas has ARS54 million
(US$18.8mn) unpaid debts, including interest. The firm claims it
owes ARS25 million in capital, but the interest is to be

ALRAFER S.A.: Concludes Reorganization
Buenos Aires-based Alrafer S.A. has concluded its reorganization
process. Data revealed by Infobae on its Web site indicated that
the process was concluded after the city's civil and commercial
Court No. 26, with assistance from Clerk No. 51, homologated the
debt agreement signed between the Company and its creditors.

CONTACT: Alrafer S.A.
         Buenos Aires

APSA: Board to Meet for Evaluation on U.S. Legislation
Alto Palermo S.A. (APSA) reported in a letter filed with the
Bolsa de Comercio de Buenos Aires and the Comision Nacional de
Valores on July 6, 2005 that the Company's Board of Directors
considered to call an ordinary Shareholder's Meeting on August
2, 2005 to discuss on the following matters related to U.S.

i) Designation of two shareholders to sign the minutes of the

ii) Review of the U.S. legislation applicable to the Company.
Consideration of exceptions for foreign private issuers, and if
necessary, modification of the Board of Directors in accordance
with the U.S. legal requirements.  

CONTACT: Alto Palermo S.A. (APSA)
         476 Hipolito Yrigoyen
         Buenos Aires
         Phone: +54 11 4344 4600
         Web site:

BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Struggles to Conclude Agreement With BNL
Argentine mortgage bank Banco Hipotecario may lose its chance to
acquire Italian bank Banca Nazionale del Lavoro's (BNL) local

According to Business News Americas, BNL is now looking for new
buyers for the assets as Banco Hipotecario is dragging its feet
to conclude an earlier purchase agreement.

Banco Hipotecario announced in mid-February that it would be
acquiring 100% of BNL Inversiones Argentinas S.A. for US$207
million. In exchange, BNL will acquire 3.7% of Banco
Hipotecario's shares with a book value of US$25 million.
However, the government, which holds a 53.9% stake in Banco
Hipotecario, has repeatedly delayed the transaction because of
business plan and management disagreements.

Although Banco Hipotecario president Clarisa Lifsic has said the
bank did not have an exclusivity contract with BNL, reports
suggest that both BNL and Hipotecario have said the deal is not
off the table yet.

CONTACT: Banco Hipotecario S.A.
         151 Reconquista
         Buenos Aires
         Phone: +54 11 4347 5546
         Web site:

CARSI S.H.: To Endorse Settlement Proposal
Carsi S.H. will present the completed settlement proposal to its
creditors during the informative assembly scheduled for Aug. 2,
2005, according to Argentine news source Infobae.

The Rosario-based Company began reorganization proceedings after
the city's civil and commercial Court No. 12 granted its
petition for "concurso preventivo". The declaration allowed the
Company to negotiate a settlement proposal for its creditors so
as to avoid a straight liquidation.  

The reorganization was conducted under the direction of the
court-appointed trustee, who verified the creditor's proofs of
the Company's indebtedness. These claims constituted the
individual reports that the trustee submitted in court.

The trustee also presented an audit of the Company's accounting
and business records through a general report due on Feb. 15,

COMERCIAL RIO: Gets Court Approval for Reorganization
Comercial Rio Grande S.A. will begin reorganization following
the approval of its petition by Court No. 1 of Rio Grande's
civil and commercial tribunal. The opening of the reorganization
will allow the Company to negotiate a settlement with its
creditors in order to avoid a straight liquidation.

Enrique Ruben Silva will oversee the reorganization proceedings
as the court-appointed trustee. He will verify creditors' claims
until Aug. 31, 2005. The validated claims will be presented in
court as individual reports on Oct. 13, 2005.

Mr. Silva is also required by the court to submit a general
report essentially auditing the Company's accounting and
business records as well as summarizing important events
pertaining to the reorganization. The report will be presented
in court on Nov. 25, 2005.

An Informative Assembly, the final stage of a reorganization
where the settlement proposal is presented to the Company's
creditors for approval, is scheduled for March 15, 2006.

CONTACT: Mr. Enrique Ruben Silva, Trustee
         O Higgins 156
         Rio Grande (Tierra del Fuego)

CREDITO GENERAL: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
Credito General Pacheco S.A. enters bankruptcy protection after
Court No. 17 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal,
with the assistance of Clerk No. 34, ordered the Company's
liquidation. The order effectively transfers control of the
Company's assets to a court-appointed trustee who will supervise
the liquidation proceedings.

Infobae reports that the court selected Carlos Erasmo Moreno as
trustee. Mr. Moreno will be verifying creditors' proofs of claim
until the end of the verification phase on Aug. 12, 2005.

Argentine bankruptcy law requires the trustee to provide the
court with individual reports on the forwarded claims and a
general report containing an audit of the Company's accounting
and business records. The individual reports will be submitted
on Sep. 26, 2005 followed by the general report, which is due on
Nov. 9, 2005.

CONTACT: Mr. Carlos Erasmo Moreno, Trustee
         Tucuman 1658
         Buenos Aires

CRESUD: Board to Call Meeting to Evaluate U.S. Legislation
The Board of Directors of CRESUD S.A.C.I.F. y A planned a
shareholder's meeting to evaluate certain matters related to
U.S. legislation. The Company reported in a letter filed with
the Bolsa de Comercio de Buenos Aires and with the Comision
Nacional de Valores on July 6, 2005 that the ordinary
Shareholders' Meeting will be held on August 2, 2005, with the
following agenda:

i) Designation of two shareholders to sign the minutes of the

ii) Review of the U.S. legislation applicable to the Company.
Consideration of exceptions for foreign private issuers, and if
necessary, modification of the Board of Directors in accordance
with the U.S. legal requirements.

          Gabriel Blasi, CFO
          Phone: 011-54-11-4323-7449

IRSA: Board to Hold Shareholders' Meeting on August 2
The Board of Directors of IRSA Inversiones y Representaciones
S.A. will hold a meeting of shareholders on August 2, 2005 in
order to accomplish the following:

i) Designation of two shareholders to sign the minutes of the

ii) Review of the U.S. legislation applicable to the Company.
Consideration of exceptions for foreign private issuers, and if
necessary, modification of the Board of Directors in accordance
with the U.S. legal requirements. Authorizations.  

CONTACT: IRSA Inversiones y Representaciones S. A.
         Alejandro Elsztain, Director
         Gabriel Blasi, CFO
         Tel: +011-5411 4323-7449

METRO MEDICION: Trustee to Submit Individual Reports July 14
Ms. Maria Alejandra Barbieri, the court-appointed trustee for
the Metro Medicion S.A. bankruptcy case, will submit individual
reports on the verified claims of the Company's creditors
tomorrow, July 14, 2005.

The individual reports were based on the claims that had been
verified by Ms. Barbieri. The verification of claims ceased on
June 3, 2005. The trustee is also expected to submit the general
report on Sep. 9, 2005.

Court No. 21 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
ordered the liquidation of Metro Medicion S.A. after the company
defaulted on its obligations. The order effectively placed the
Company's affairs as well as its assets under the control of the

The city's Clerk No. 42 assists the court on this case, which
will end with the sale of the Company's assets.

CONTACT: Maria Alejandra Barbieri
         Bartolome Mitre 1131
         Buenos Aires

         Ms. Maria Alejandra Barbieri, Trustee
         Avda Cabildo 2040
         Buenos Aires

TAIMA INDUSTRIAL: Deadline for General Report Approaches
The deadline for the general report on the Taima Industrial
Constructora S.A. bankruptcy case will be tomorrow, July 14,

Analia Victoria Beckerman, the trustee appointed by the court to
supervise the liquidation proceedings, verified the submitted
claims of the Company's creditors until April 19, 2005. The
verified claims became the basis for the individual reports that
Ms. Beckerman submitted in court on June 2, 2005.

Buenos Aires' civil and commercial Court No. 14, with the
assistance of the city's Clerk No. 28, ordered the liquidation
of Taima Industrial Constructora S.A. after the Company
defaulted on its obligations. The case will end with the
disposal of the Company's assets in favor of its creditors.

CONTACT: Ms. Analia Victoria Beckerman, Trustee
         Paraguay 1591
         Buenos Aires

ZAPATEIRO HNOS: Gears for Reorganization
Court No. 4 of Junin's civil and commercial tribunal issued a
resolution opening the reorganization of Zapateiro Hnos S.A.
This pronouncement authorizes the Company to begin drafting a
settlement proposal with its creditors in order to avoid
liquidation. The reorganization allows Zapateiro Hnos S.A. to
retain control of its assets subject to certain conditions
imposed by Argentine law and the oversight of the court
appointed trustee.

Ana Lorena Perez will serve as trustee during the course of the
reorganization. She will be validating creditors' proofs of
claim until Aug. 15, 2005. The results of the verification will
be presented in court as individual reports on Sep. 27, 2005.
The trustee is also obligated to give the court a general report
of the case on Nov. 9, 2005. The general report summarizes
events relevant to the reorganization and provides an audit of
the Company's accounting and business records.

Zapateiro Hnos S.A. will present the completed settlement
proposal to its creditors during the informative assembly
scheduled for May 24, 2006.

CONTACT: Ms. Ana Lorena Perez, Trustee
         Intendente Solana 157


BANCO RURAL: Fitch Downgrades, Places Ratings on Watch Negative
Fitch Ratings, the international rating agency, downgraded
Monday the long-term national rating of Banco Rural S.A. (Rural)
to 'BBB-(bra) from 'BBB(bra)'. At the same time, the agency
placed the short-term national rating of 'F3(bra)' and the long-
term rating on Watch Negative. The support rating of '5' was
affirmed by Fitch.

These rating actions reflect the continued negative impact on
the bank's image due to coverage in the press following
allegations brought forward against members of Congress that
were allegedly receiving improper payments through a scheme
operated using current accounts held with Rural. The impact on
Rural's image was further aggravated by the indictment presented
in the Fourth Federal Court in Belo Horizonte against five bank
executives last week, which, in the Fitch's opinion, may have a
relevant impact on the bank's funding, liquidity, and ongoing
business development.

Fitch notes that Rural's funding and liquidity, like that of
many other medium and small banks, faced strong pressure from
November 2004 to February 2005 due to the crisis unleashed when
the Brazilian Central Bank intervened in Banco Santos S.A. Since
then, Rural has intensified the redefinition of its activities
to reflect their greater susceptibility to fluctuations in the
economy and other external events.

Founded in 1948, Rural is a multiple bank controlled by five
members of the Rabello family (84.7% of the voting stock), with
a tradition in lending to small- and medium-sized companies.
Headquartered in Minas Gerais, it had 97 domestic outlets (75
branches) at March 2005 and a solid overseas presence,
consisting of seven banking entities, mostly focused on foreign
trade finance.

As indicated by the Negative Watch, Fitch will continue to
follow events as they develop and adjust the ratings if Rural's
funding and liquidity continues to deteriorate.

CONTACT: Pedro Gomes +55-11-4504-2600, Sao Paulo
         Maria Rita Goncalves +55-11-4503-2600, Rio de Janeiro
         Luiz Claudio Vieira +55-11-4503-2600, Rio de Janeiro

MEDIA RELATIONS: Jaqueline Ramos de Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro
                 Tel: +55-21-4503-2623

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

BANCO RURAL: Moody's Changes Ratings Outlook to Negative
Moody's Investors Service changed the outlook on Banco Rural
S.A's bank financial strength rating of D- to negative, from
stable. Moody's also changed to negative, from stable, the
outlook on the long-term global local-currency deposit rating of
Ba3, and on the long-term national-scale deposit rating of

Moody's noted that the outlooks on the B2 long-term foreign-
currency deposit rating and on the B1 long-term foreign-currency
bond rating remain positive, because they are constrained by
Brazil's country ceilings for deposits and bonds, both of which
have a positive outlook.

Moody's action reflected the view that the bank may face
pressure on its funding base in the wake of recent legal actions
involving Rural's operations and its management team. The
potential impact on Rural's financial performance may be
difficult to quantify in the near term, but these particular
issues may pose an image risk to the bank, Moody's said, which
could affect its funding and liquidity, and ultimately, its

The rating agency pointed out that the recent legal actions
highlight potential internal control issues- issues that
increase uncertainty about any further legal and regulatory
scrutiny. Moody's, therefore, intends to continue to monitor the

Moody's noted that, as of late last year, Rural's management was
able to align the bank's balance sheet to a lower funding base,
a contraction that was caused by substantial deposit outflows.
This was done by means of a reduced loan portfolio, which proved
to be of good quality and liquidity. "Since then", the rating
agency pointed out, "management has reduced the share of
wholesale funding in its deposit base, and it has restructured
the bank's operations aiming to conform its cost base with a
smaller size." Such a balance sheet profile may be helpful under
present circumstances, Moody's believes.

Moody's said that Rural's credit strengths continue to be,
first, its focused lending strategy to the middle market, which
is largely supported by retail-based deposits, and second, its
earnings power, which is demonstrated by the bank's 2.35% return
on average assets and 4.6% pre-provision recurring earnings in
March 2005. Those indicators compare favorably with those of its

The rating agency added that a downgrade could result from a
dramatic change in the bank's funding dynamics and cost, which
could, in turn, influence its financial fundamentals.

The outlook was changed for the following ratings:

- D- bank financial strength rating, to negative, from stable

- Ba3 long-term global local currency rating, to negative, from

- long-term national scale deposit rating, to negative,
from stable

BERTIN LTDA: Moody's Assigns B1 to Proposed Notes Issue
Approximately USD 100 Million in Debt Securities Affected

Sao Paulo, July 11, 2005 -- Moody's Investors Service today
assigned the following ratings to Bertin Ltda. ("Bertin"):

- USD 100 million in Senior Unsecured Notes with a tenor of up
to 5 years: B1

- Global local currency scale Corporate Family Rating
(previously called Senior Implied Rating) : Ba3

- The rating outlook is stable

This is the first time that Moody's has assigned a rating to


The assigned Corporate Family Rating reflects Bertin's leading
position as a major processor and exporter of fresh and
processed meat as well as leather in Brazil, benefiting from the
favorable fundamentals for the Brazilian beef and leather
industry, the company's competitive cost-structure, and the fact
that approximately 63% of Bertin's revenues are from exports.
The ratings also reflect the company's growth strategy focusing
on vertically-integrated operations and expanding its value-
added products and strategic partnerships with international

However, the ratings also reflects the company's exposure to
earnings volatility caused by commodity price movements, the
privately-held and family-owned status of the company affecting
its corporate governance practices, Bertin's interests in non-
core businesses, and the negative free cash flow generation and
event risk due to Bertin's high level of investments. It also
reflects the risk of animal disease and food safety which may
lead currently importing countries to impose sanitary barriers
against Brazilian beef exporters such as Bertin, and the
litigation risk arising from potential and pending lawsuits
against the company.

Moody's Ba3 Corporate Family Rating is based on the consolidated
financials of Bertin Ltda., which include interests in other
non-core activities, namely services related to highway
concessions held by the Bertin family. Although we recognize
that the majority of consolidated assets, cash flows, and debt
are concentrated at Bertin Ltda, Moody's believes the non-core
operations represent a risk to the company from a management and
financial perspective. The current ratings could come under
negative pressure if material cash transfers between Bertin
Ltda. and the Bertin family's other businesses were to occur or
if there was a significant increase in the amount of dividends
to the Bertin family that would cause a deterioration in the
company's cash flow to debt metrics below acceptable levels for
the Ba3 rating category.

The stable outlook is based on Moody's assumption that Bertin
will pursue a growth strategy focused on expanding value-added
products and services through investments in its own capacity
and / or strategic partnerships rather than through large scale
debt-financed acquisitions. It also factors in the expectation
that the company will aim to delever and generate positive free
cash flow from 2007 onwards when the majority of its planned
investment programs are completed.


The net proceeds of the proposed issue of approximately USD 100
million of senior unsecured Euro notes will be used to repay a
portion of existing short and long-term debt, and for general
corporate purposes.

Moody's has reviewed preliminary draft legal documentation for
the transaction. The ratings assume that there will be no
material variation from the drafts reviewed and that all legal
agreements are legally valid, binding and enforceable.


The B1 foreign-currency rating assigned to the senior unsecured
notes is one notch below the Corporate Family Rating reflecting
the junior position of these securities to a substantial amount
of existing secured debt. After taking into account the proposed
new issue, secured debt will be approximately 37% of Bertin's
total outstanding indebtedness at March 31, 2005. The B1 foreign
currency also incorporates the element of convertibility risk,
or the likelihood that the Brazilian government might declare a
general debt moratorium to counter a foreign currency crisis.
The foreign currency bond rating considers the probability of a
foreign currency default implied by the government's current B1
foreign currency rating and the likelihood that, in the event of
such a default, the government would impose a general foreign
currency payment moratorium. Bertin's B1 foreign currency rating
and a stable outlook, however, are currently not constrained by
Brazil's foreign currency sovereign ceiling (B1/positive
outlook) and the company might be exempt from a general
corporate debt moratorium, given its significant percentage of
foreign currency revenues as a major exporter.


Bertin's ratings are supported by its position as the largest
Brazilian exporter of processed beef, second largest exporter of
fresh beef, the largest processor and exporter of leather in
Brazil, and the second largest leather processor/exporter in
Latin America. Although a substantial portion of Bertin's
revenues are generated from its beef and leather divisions (66%
and 20%, respectively during FY 2004), the company also has a
growing presence in its higher-margin value-added dog toys and
personal protective equipment businesses (ca. 3% of net
revenues) as well as in its cleaning products division (ca. 10%
of net revenues). Moody's also recognizes that, with 63% of its
revenues being derived from exports, Bertin benefits from the
positive beef export environment in Brazil. Brazil's favorable
trends are largely driven by its low land, feed, and labor
costs, compared to other major global producers.

However, Bertin's ratings also consider the vulnerability of its
earnings to commodity volatility, where live cattle is the
company's primary raw material and approximately 40% of the
company's net revenues are derived from its commoditized fresh
meat business. Moody's notes, however, that the issuer owns
approximately 80,000 heads of cattle and maintains two feedlots
with a capacity to house 100,000 heads which can be used to
mitigate the risk from live cattle price fluctuations.

Bertin, similar to other companies in the meat industry, is
exposed to food safety, animal disease, and weather related
risks, as well as regulatory and environmental oversight and
changing international trade regimes. Brazil is, however,
considered to be free of BSE and is viewed as less vulnerable to
the disease because its herd grazes freely and is fed a
vegetable-based raw material without animal by-products.
However, many countries currently have sanitary barriers against
Brazil's fresh beef imports due to the outbreak of foot-and-
mouth disease (FMD) in the region. In the recent past, Brazil
has made important strides towards FMD eradication with
currently most of its herd in areas recognized by the
International Organization for Epizootics (OIE) as FMD-free with
vaccination, thus enabling countries that currently still have
sanitary barriers against Brazil to remove them in the near

Moody's views Bertin's privately-held and family-owned status of
the company as a factor in the company's generally weak
corporate governance practices. As a privately-held limited
company, Bertin is not subject to most of the corporate
governance and financial reporting practices of a publicly-
traded company.

More positively, Bertin's ratings reflect the perceived benefits
from the company's vertically-integrated growth strategy into
higher margin value-added products. For instance, in its leather
division, Bertin recently entered into a commercial agreement
with Eagle Ottawa, a leading global supplier of automotive
leather, and an operational agreement with a Chinese company to
export wet blue and finished leather. In its dog toys division,
Bertin also entered in March, 2005 into an exclusive ten-year
agreement with Hartz Inc., a leading dog toy company in the
United States, to sell all of its South American rawhide pet
products, including a minimum purchase obligation of 11,000 tons
of packaged dog toy products annually by Hartz. While this
agreement will clearly aid Bertin's strategy to grow revenues
into higher-margin businesses, Bertin's dog toy division will be
largely reliant on one single client. Moody's also notes that
Bertin's growth strategy has led to negative free cash flow in
the past three years which we expect to turn positive by 2007
when capital expenditures reduce significantly from current
levels as Bertin's planned investments are largely completed.


Bertin Ltda., headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is one of the
largest beef processing and leather exporting companies in Latin
America. In addition, the company owns and operates other
facilities to produce cleaning products, personal protective
equipment, dog toys, cans and packaging materials using by-
products of its slaughterhouses. During fiscal year 2004, the
company processed over 1.5 million heads and had net sales of
BRL 2.8 billion (ca. USD 1.1 bln) with approximately 63% of
revenues derived from exports.

PARMALAT: Brazilian Units Have Until Aug. 29 to File Plan
Bloomberg News reports that Parmalat Finanziaria S.p.A.'s
Brazilian units -- Parmalat Brasil Industria de Alimentos SA and
Parmalat Administracao e Participacoes do Brasil Ltda. -- filed
for bankruptcy protection on June 24, 2005, under Brazil's new
bankruptcy law.

The filing came after Parmalat Brasil's creditors denied the
extension of the BRL800 million payment deadline for the
company's debt.  Parmalat Alimentos has 697 million reais of
debt while Parmalat Participacoes has 1.5 billion reais of debt,
the newspaper Valor Economico said.

Parmalat Brasil first filed for bankruptcy protection in
2004under the old Brazilian bankruptcy law.  Valor says Parmalat
Brasil filed for bankruptcy again to take advantage of the New
Bankruptcy and Restructuring Law of Brazil, which became
effective on June 9, 2005.

Under the NBRL, debtors are permitted to remain in possession
and control of their businesses and properties.  In addition, as
part of the judicial reorganization under the NBRL, most
creditors are effectively prohibited from enforcing claims
against the Debtors.

A full-text copy of the NBRL is available for free at:


A judge in Sao Paulo has required Parmalat Brasil to file a Plan
of Reorganization by August 29, 2005.

According to the Brazilian Bankruptcy Court, the company must
devise a business plan including methods and timetables for
paying creditors, and have it approved by the bankruptcy judge
and Parmalat Brasil's creditor representatives.

Headquartered in Wallington, New Jersey, Parmalat
U.S.A.Corporation -- generates  
more than EUR7 billion in annual revenue.  The Parmalat Group's
40-some brand product line includes milk, yogurt, cheese,
butter, cakes and cookies, breads, pizza, snack foods and
vegetable sauces, soups and juices.  The company employs over
36,000 workers in 139 plants located in 31 countries on six
continents. It filed for chapter 11 protection on February 24,
2004 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Case No. 04-11139).  Gary Holtzer, Esq.,
and Marcia L. Goldstein, Esq., at Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP
represent the Debtors in their restructuring efforts.  When the
U.S. Debtors filed for bankruptcy protection, they reported more
than $200 million in assets and debt.  The Bankruptcy Court
confirmed the U.S. Debtors' Plan of Reorganization on March 7,
2005. (Parmalat Bankruptcy News, Issue Nos. 57; Bankruptcy
Creditors' Service, Inc., 215/945-7000)

* BRAZIL: Fitch Affirms Ratings at 'BB-'
Fitch Ratings, the international rating agency, affirmed the
sovereign ratings for Brazil as follows:

--Long-term foreign currency 'BB-'
--Long-term local currency 'BB-';
--Short-term 'B'.

The Outlook on the ratings remains Stable. The ratings reflect a
balance between the favorable trends in Brazil's external
finances and the risk that political gridlock could hamper
improvements in public debt dynamics and constrain economic

'Recent accusations of vote-buying involving the ruling PT party
must be taken seriously,' said Roger Scher, Managing Director,
Latin American Sovereigns, Fitch Ratings. 'We will wait and see
if corruption investigations in Congress obstruct the budgetary
process and in fact lead to fiscal slippage.' The LDO budget
guidelines bill and the 2006 budget due out in August will be
key tests for this government. Output growth figures in 2H05
will indicate whether the negative political developments are
having economic ramifications.

Officials of the PT party have been accused of bribing
congressman for key votes, and coalition members of improper use
of funds in the postal and reinsurance authorities. The Lula
government has acted to contain the negative fallout by
dismissing some officials allegedly involved. Corruption
investigations could prevent the passage of reforms and stymie
the budgetary process, though Fitch does not expect any major
fiscal or monetary policy slippage as a result. A downside
political scenario cannot be ruled out, however, in which key
economic policy officials are implicated and forced to resign
and some policy slippage ensues. Difficulty getting important
government positions confirmed by the Senate is possible; for
example, in the event of the resignation of a central bank board
member. Uncertainty about the outcome of the October 2006
national elections has increased as well.

Brazilian balance of payments performance continues to be
favorable, with annual export growth over the last 2 1/2 years
averaging 27%. However, certain commodity prices (for steel and
agricultural goods) have moved lower, global growth is
softening, and the Brazilian Real has strengthened, resulting in
signs of slower Brazilian export growth.

'Given the time lag of the effect of the exchange rate on trade
performance,' said Scher, 'Fitch will closely watch fourth
quarter export figures as an indication of the sustainability of
Brazil's quite striking export growth story."

Export growth and a paydown of external obligations have driven
improving performance on one of Fitch's key external solvency
indicators. Net External Debt (NXD) to Current External Receipts
(CXR) is expected to fall to just over 100% by year-end 2005 and
90% next year from 233% in 2002, though this still lies well
above the forecast 2005 'BB' median of 43% for this indicator.

On public finances, last year the Lula government outperformed
its original primary budget surplus target of 4.25% of GDP,
achieving 4.58% on strong tax revenue growth. Nevertheless,
given how robust 2004 GDP growth was (4.9%) and how high 2004
general government (GG) debt was (75.3% of GDP), perhaps more of
the windfall could have been saved. GG debt to GDP compares
unfavorably to the 'BB' median of 51.2%; but relative to GG
revenues, at 200%, GG debt is lower than the 'BB' median of
235%. Furthermore, Brazil's government has nearly 10% of GDP in
liquid deposits at the central bank.

'With inflationary pressures ebbing, real interest rates could
move lower later this year,' said Scher. 'This is important
because without lower rates and sustained higher GDP growth, the
government debt-to-GDP ratio may not fall markedly in the near

CONTACT:  Roger M. Scher +1-212-908-0240, New York
          Morgan Harting, +-212-908-0820, New York

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


JAMES HARDIE: Disposes of Chilean Business for $15.8M
James Hardie announced Monday that it has signed an agreement
for the sale of its Chile Fibre Cement business to Compania
Industrial El Volcan S.A. for a value of US$15.8 million,
comprising of cash and assumption of external debt by the

The sale is effective immediately and does not result in a
material book profit or loss in the Company's accounts.

Since its commencement in 2001, James Hardie's Chilean business
has successfully built local demand for fiber cement, and
started returning positive earnings before interest and tax over
a year ago. Despite this success, the business no longer fits
with the Company's strategic direction for future growth.

James Hardie's Chief Executive Officer, Louis Gries said, "There
are no downsides to this sale. We received a fair offer and we
expect the operation will continue to be a good business for the
new owners.

"This sale enables us to focus our efforts and resources on the
opportunities in North America, Asia Pacific and Europe for
capitalizing on our unique manufacturing technology and
differentiated, value-added products," Mr. Gries said. (Troubled
Company Reporter - Asia Pacific, July 12, 2005, Vol. 8, Issue

CONTACT: Investor and Analyst Inquiries:
         Steve Ashe
         Vice President, Investor Relations
         Telephone: 61 2 8247 5246
         Mobile: 0408 164 011

         Media Enquiries:
         James Richards
         Telephone: 61 2 8274 5304
         Mobile: 0419 731 371
         Facsimile: 61 2 8274 5218
         Web site:

E L   S A L V A D O R

BANCO CUSCATLAN: Ratings Remain Despite UBCI Transaction - Fitch
In April 2005, Grupo Popular de Puerto Rico (GPPR) and Grupo
Cuscatlan signed an investment agreement through which GPPR will
invest US$125 million to acquire 19.99% of the common stock of
Corporacion UBC Internacional, S.A. (UBCI). The inclusion of
GPPR as a shareholder of Grupo Cuscatlan should bring commercial
opportunities to the latter through the sharing of their
clients' databases and access to new markets. Additionally,
Cuscatlan should benefit from the experience of Popular in its
main market and in the United States.

The transaction will take place through a common stock issuance
by UBCI that will be acquired by Popular International Bank,
Inc. Before the transaction takes place, all the required
regulatory approvals, including the one granted by the Federal
Reserve (U.S.), must be obtained. It is expected that the
proceeds from this issuance will be used by UBCI to capitalize
some subsidiaries within the region or for further expansion, in
addition to the scheduled dividend distribution for UBCI
stockholders. Due to the intended use of the proceeds, Fitch
considers that in the medium term this transaction will not
result in a substantial enhancement to the capital position of
UBCI or to any of the rated subsidiaries, thus this operation
should not have an immediate effect on ratings. Fitch affirms
the international ratings of 'BB' (long-term), 'B' (short-term),
Individual 'D' and Support '5', with a Negative Rating Outlook,
currently assigned to Banco Cuscatlan de El Salvador, S.A. and
its subsidiaries.

With US$4,527 million in assets as of March 31, 2005, UBCI is
the second biggest financial group in terms of assets in Central
America and Panama. UBCI has been incorporated in accordance to
the Law of the Republic of Panama and operates under the General
Law of Stock Corporations of the Republic of Panama. The entity
initiated operations as a holding company in 2001 and has a
controlling position in Inversiones Financieras Cuscatlan, S.A.
(El Salvador), Corporacion Accionaria UBC, S.A. (Costa Rica),
Grupo Cuscatlan Guatemala, S.A. (Guatemala), Grupo Cuscatlan
Panama, S.A. (Panama), Banco Cuscatlan Honduras, S.A.
(Honduras), and a minor banking concern in the British Virgin
Islands. Through an important M&A strategy, and supported by the
perceived value of the franchise, UBCI has expanded its presence
throughout the Central American region in the recent past, and
has thus diversified its sources of income.

Popular Inc., the main financial corporation in Puerto Rico and
the 29th largest bank in the U.S. financial system, has a Fitch
rating of 'A' (long-term). With more than 111 years of activity,
the institution has US$44,402 million in total assets.

CONTACTS:  Gustavo Lopez +1-212-908-0303, New York
           Linda Hammel +1-212-908-0303, New York
           Raul Castellon  +503-2275-9662, San Salvador
           Mauricio Choussy +503-2275-9662, San Salvador

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

INVERSIONES FINANCIERAS: Fitch Affirms `BB+' Nat'l Scale Rating
Fitch Ratings has affirmed the `BB+' national scale credit
rating of El Salvadorian financial holding Inversiones
Financieras Promerica, reports Business News Americas.

The outlook on the rating is positive.

The rating is influenced by the performance of Banco Promerica,
the Company's only subsidiary that has long-term and short-term
ratings of BB+/B.

The unit's rating reflects improving asset quality, its ability
to maintain a wide spread on its loans, and recent improvements
in capitalization. Factors weighing on the ratings are the
bank's small size and a concentrated deposit base.

As of Dec. 2004, Banco Promerica registered US$192 million in
assets and US$164 million in deposits.


AIR JAMAICA: Hall Recommends Immediate Sale
Dr. Marshall Hall, Chairman of the Jamaica Producers Group, has
recommended the immediate sale of cash-strapped airline Air
Jamaica, the Jamaica Gleaner reports.

According to Dr. Hall, Air Jamaica's losses are not likely to be
repaid from future earnings and instead of further indebtedness
and continued borrowing, the government should stop the bleeding
by hugging up the losses and putting the airline for sale.

"We need to do something and quickly," he declared, adding: "The
first loss is usually the cheapest and the time has passed to
stop the financial rot and get out."

Hall said the sale of Air Jamaica should be done by way of
tenders to buyers who have the know-how and requisite capital,
with proceeds used to pay down the existing debt. He also
advised the government not to retain any ownership in a
privatized Air Jamaica.

         Corporate Communications
         Tel: 876-922-3460 ext 4060-5

AIR JAMAICA: Moody's Assigns Ba1 Corporate Family Rating
Moody's Investors Service published the results of an
examination of corporate sector ratings in North, Central, and
South America in light of the introduction of its new rating
methodology for government-related issuers.

In April 2005, Moody's published a Rating Methodology report
entitled "The Application of Joint-Default Analysis to
Government-Related Issuers".  The new methodology formally
disaggregates the ratings of GRIs into four components:

   1) an assessment of the GRI's baseline credit risk;

   2) the default risk of the supporting government;

   3) the default dependence between the GRI and the government;

   4) the expected level of support from the government.

Below is a list of all corporate GRIs in the Americas affected
by the new rating methodology, including the rating changes
resulting from the application of the methodology.

For a detailed discussion of how Moody's evaluates corporate
GRIs in practice, please refer to Moody's Special Comment
entitled "Rating Government-Related Issuers in Americas
Corporate Finance".

As previously indicated, in addition to the ratings assigned to
issuers and debt securities, Moody's has also published ranges
of methodology inputs for each GRI, as:

   -- Baseline credit assessment, on a scale of 1 (lowest credit
      risk) to 6 (highest credit risk)

   -- Local currency bond rating of the supporting government
      (as published by Moody's)

   -- Dependence, expressed as low, medium or high

   -- Support, expressed as low, medium or high

These list outlines ratings affirmed or upgraded following the
application of the GRI rating methodology.  The rated entity is
listed with the rated class of debt, and the final rating
outcome and rating outlook.

         Ratings Affirmed With No Change In Rating Outlook

Administracion Nacional de Combustibles:

   * Issuer Rating (foreign currency) -- B3, Stable Outlook

Aeroports de Montreal:

   * Senior Secured (domestic currency) -- A2, Stable

Air Jamaica:

   * Backed Senior Unsecured (foreign currency), B1, Stable

Autopista Monterrey Cadereyta:

   * Senior Secured (foreign currency) - Baa3, Stable

Brilliant Power Corporation:

   * Senior Secured (domestic currency) -- A1, Stable

British Columbia Hydro & Power Authority:

   * Backed Senior Unsecured (domestic currency) -- Aa1, Stable

Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais:

   * Senior Unsecured (domestic currency) B1, Stable

Companhia Paranense de Energia:

   * Corporate Family Rating (domestic currency, Ba3, Stable
   * Senior Secured (domestic currency) -- Ba2, Stable
   * Senior Unsecured (domestic currency) -- Ba3, Stable

Deer Park Refining Ltd. Partnership:

   * Senior Unsecured (domestic currency), A2, Stable
   * Backed Senior Unsecured (domestic currency) -- A2, Stable

Edmonton Regional Airports Authority:

   * Senior Secured (domestic currency), A1, Negative

Greater Toronto Airports Authority:

   * Senior Secured (domestic currency), A2, Stable

Hovensa LLC:

   * Senior Secured (domestic currency), Baa3, Stable

HQI Transelec S.A.:

   * Senior Unsecured (foreign currency), Baa1, Stable


   * Backed Senior Unsecured (domestic currency), A1, Stable

Manitoba Hydro Electric Board:

   * Backed Commercial Paper (foreign currency), P1, Stable

Merey Sweeny L.P.:

   * Senior Unsecured (domestic currency), Baa3, Stable

Motiva Enterprises LLC:

   * Senior Unsecured (domestic currency), A2, Stable


   * Senior Secured (domestic currency), Aa3, Stable

New Brunswick Power Corporation:

   * Backed Senior Unsecured (domestic currency), Aa3, Stable

Ontario Electricity Financial Corporation:

   * Backed Senior Unsecured (domestic currency), Aa2, Stable

Ontario Power Authority:

   * Issuer Rating (domestic currency), Aa2, Stable

Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport Authority:

   * Senior Secured (domestic currency), A1, Stable

Pemex Project Funding Master Trust:

   * Backed Senior Unsecured (foreign currency), Baa1, Stable

Petrobras Energia S.A.:

   * Corporate Family Rating (foreign currency), B3, Stable

Petrobras International Finance Co.:

   * Backed Senior Unsecured (foreign currency), Ba1, Positive

Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.:

   * Senior Unsecured (foreign currency), Ba1, Positive
   * Corporate Family Rating (foreign currency), B1, Positive

Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A.:

   * Issuer Rating (domestic currency), B1, Developing
   * Issuer Rating (foreign currency), B2, Stable
   * Corporate Family Rating (foreign currency), B2, Stable

Petroleos Mexicanos:

   * Senior Unsecured (domestic and foreign currency), Baa1,

   * Corporate Family Rating (foreign currency), Baa1, Stable

   * Issuer Rating (domestic and foreign currency), Baa1, Stable

Petroleum Company of Trinidad & Tobago:

   * Issuer Rating (foreign currency), Baa3, Stable

Tennessee Valley Authority:

   * Senior Unsecured (domestic currency), Aaa, Stable

TFM S.A. de C.V.:

   * Backed Senior Unsecured (foreign currency), B2, Negative
   * Senior Unsecured (foreign currency), B2, Negative
   * Corporate Family Rating (foreign currency), B2, Negative

Winnipeg Airports Authority Inc.:

   * Senior Secured (domestic currency), (P)A1, Stable Outlook

          Ratings Affirmed With Change In Outlook

Companhia de Saneamento de Parana:

   * Senior Unsecured (domestic currency) B1, Positive Outlook

Petroleos de Venezuela S.A.:

   * Issuer Rating (domestic currency), B1, Developing Outlook

                Ratings Upgraded (New Ratings Listed)

Aruba Airport Authority:

   * Senior Unsecured (foreign currency), Baa3, Stable Outlook

Cerro Negro Finance Limited:

   * Backed Senior Secured (foreign currency), Ba3, Stable

CITGO Petroleum Corporation:

   * Corporate Family Rating (domestic currency), Ba1, Stable

   * Senior Unsecured (domestic currency), Ba1, Stable

Companhia Vale do Rio Doce:

   * Senior Unsecured Shelf Registration (foreign currency,
     (P)Baa3, Stable

   * Issuer Rating (domestic currency), Baa1, Stable

Corporacion Nacional del Cobre de Chile:

   * Senior Unsecured (foreign currency), Aa3, Stable

Empresa Nacional del Petroleo, S.A.:

   * Senior Unsecured (foreign currency), A2, Stable

Fertinitro Finance Inc.:

   * Backed Senior Secured (foreign currency), B3, Stable

Hamaca Holding LLC:

   * Senior Secured (foreign currency), Ba3, Stable

Hydro One Inc.:

   * Senior Unsecured (domestic currency), Aa3, Stable

Petrobras Energia S.A.:

   * Senior Unsecured (foreign currency), Ba2, Stable

PetroZuata Finance Inc.:

   * Backed Senior Secured (foreign currency), Ba3, Stable

Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobras) S.A.:

   * Senior Unsecured (domestic currency), A2, Stable

   * Issuer Rating (domestic currency), A2, Stable

   * Phoenix Park Gas Processor Ltd.:

   * Senior Secured (foreign currency), A3, Stable

Sincrudos de Orient:

   * Senior Secured (foreign currency), Ba3, Stable

Vale Overseas Ltd.:

   * Backed Senior Unsecured (foreign currency), Baa3, Stable

               Rating Under Review - Possible Upgrade

Furnas Centrais Eletricas S.A.:

   * Issuer Rating (domestic currency), Ba2

         Rating Continuing Under Review -- Direction Uncertain

Companhia de Energetica de Brasilia:

   * Senior Unsecured (domestic currency), Ba3

                         Rating Assigned

Air Jamaica:

   * Corporate Family Rating (domestic currency), B2, Stable


GRUPO MEXICO: STMMRM Pledges Support to Asarco Strikers
The striking workers at Grupo Mexico's US copper mining unit
Asarco LLC have gained the support of the Mexican mining and
metalworkers union STMMRM, reveals Business News Americas.

In a statement, STMMRM told workers to continue their strike
until they win their rights. The union, which condemns Grupo
Mexico's treatment of its workers, told employees they could
count on its support in the ongoing dispute.

STMMRM accused Grupo Mexico of violating legal work practices by
refusing to negotiate in good faith and by seeking to freeze
salaries and cut workers medical and pension benefits. The giant
copper miner-producer has made these demands at a time when
copper prices have reached record highs, the union added.

Over 1,500 workers have now joined the strike at Asarco mines,
smelters and mills across Arizona and Texas. The large majority
are members the United Steelworkers Union of America (USWA).

Meanwhile, Grupo Mexico claims unions have abandoned
conversations designed to confirm collective bargaining

At the moment, Grupo Mexico is mulling asset sales and corporate
reorganizations, among other "permanent" solutions, to ensure
Asarco's long-term viability.

          Avenida Baja California 200,
          Colonia Roma Sur
          06760 Mexico, D.F., Mexico
          Phone: +52-55-5264-7775
          Fax: +52-55-5264-7769
          Web site:

JONES APPAREL: To Close Denim-Making Operations in Mexico
Jones Apparel Group, Inc. (NYSE: JNY - News) announced Monday
that it has completed a comprehensive review of its denim
manufacturing operations located in Mexico. The primary action
plan arising from this review will result in closing the
laundry, assembly and distribution operations located in San
Luis, Mexico. All manufacturing will be consolidated into
existing operations in Durango and Torreon, Mexico.

The closure is to be substantially completed by the end of
September 2005. In connection with the closure, in the third
quarter the Company will incur approximately $14 million of pre-
tax restructuring costs as prescribed by Statement of Financial
Accounting Standards No. 146 "Accounting for Costs Associated
with Exit or Disposal Activities." The costs include non-cash
write-downs of property, plant and equipment and leasehold
improvements of $6.8 million and cash expenses of $7.2 million
for employee severance and other related expenses. In addition
to the restructuring costs, lost manufacturing efficiencies
associated with the excess capacity were approximately $4.6
million in the second quarter and an estimated $3.4 million to
be realized during the third quarter.

Peter Boneparth, Chief Executive Officer and President,
commented, "This was a very difficult decision, however it was
necessary to address the underutilization of our denim
manufacturing operations in Mexico. As a result of the
consolidation, our manufacturing operations will perform more
efficiently, thereby improving our operating performance. We
estimate that the consolidation will result in annual
operational savings of $5.0 million."

Approximately 3,500 employees will be affected by the closure.
The Company is undertaking a number of measures to assist
affected employees, including severance and benefits packages.

In addition, the Company incurred a charge of approximately $3.2
million in the second quarter as a result of an arbitration
award to a former employee.

Jones Apparel Group, Inc. (,a Fortune 500  
company, is a leading designer, marketer and wholesaler of
branded apparel, footwear and accessories. We also market
directly to consumers through our chain of specialty retail and
value-based stores, and operate the Barneys chain of luxury
stores. Our nationally recognized brands include Jones New York,
Evan-Picone, Norton McNaughton, Gloria Vanderbilt, Erika,
l.e.i., Energie, Nine West, Easy Spirit, Enzo Angiolini,
Bandolino, Joan & David, Mootsies Tootsies, Sam & Libby, Napier,
Judith Jack, Kasper, Anne Klein, Albert Nipon, Le Suit and
Barneys New York. The Company also markets apparel under the
Polo Jeans Company brand licensed from Polo Ralph Lauren
Corporation, costume jewelry under the Tommy Hilfiger brand
licensed from Tommy Hilfiger Licensing, Inc. and the Givenchy
brand licensed from Givenchy Corporation and footwear under the
Dockers Women brand licensed from Levi Strauss & Co. Each brand
is differentiated by its own distinctive styling, pricing
strategy, distribution channel and target consumer. We primarily
contract for the manufacture of our products through a worldwide
network of quality manufacturers. We have capitalized on our
nationally known brand names by entering into various licenses
for several of our trademarks, including Jones New York, Evan-
Picone, Anne Klein New York, Nine West, Gloria Vanderbilt and
l.e.i., with select manufacturers of women's and men's products
which we do not manufacture. For more than 30 years, we have
built a reputation for excellence in product quality and value,
and in operational execution.


SIDERPERU: Creates Commission to Study Berth No. 3 Expansion
The board of steelmaker Siderperu has appointed directors John
Hartley, Ricardo Valdez and Cesar Arbet together with company
CEO Arturo Torres to form a commission to study the possibility
of expanding its berth no. 3 at Chimbote port.

Business News Americas recalls that on May 26, 2005, Siderperu's
berth no. 3 loaded 250 containers of fishmeal for export to
Asia, the first time containers have been dispatched at
Chimbote. The dispatch was made possible through a collaboration
of Siderperu and Peru's ports authority Enapu, which are working
together to develop the local shipping and port trade. The
containers are stored in Enapu's 10,000 sq m storage space.

"We are initiating this service to convert Chimbote port into a
potential trade ally for the exit of the region's products to
international markets," says Siderperu director of logistics
Rafael Wan Ortega.

Siderperu, based in Chimbote in center-west Peru's Ancash
department, has a production capacity of 400,000t/y and is
controlled by local holding company Sider.

SPCC/MINERA MEXICO: Fitch Upgrades FC Ratings
Fitch Ratings has upgraded the foreign currency rating of
Southern Peru Copper Corporation (SPCC) to 'BB+' from 'BB' and
downgraded SPCC's local currency rating to 'BB+' from 'BBB-'.
Fitch has also upgraded the foreign and local currency ratings
of SPCC's direct subsidiary, Minera Mexico, S.A. de C.V. (Minera
Mexico) to 'BB+' from 'BB-', Rating Outlook Positive, as well as
its Yankee bonds due in 2008 and 2028. Fitch has also assigned a
preliminary foreign currency rating of 'BB+' to SPCC's proposed
US$600 million to US$680 million 30-year bond issuance whose
proceeds will be used to pay off SPCC's and Minera Mexico's
outstanding syndicated loans of US$200 million and US$480
million, respectively. The SPCC bond will not have an upstream
guarantee by Minera Mexico. The Rating Outlook for all of
ratings is Stable.

SPCC's foreign currency rating upgrade reflects enhanced
geographic diversification of operations and cash flow following
the completion of SPCC's acquisition of affiliate company,
Minera Mexico from SPCC's parent company, Americas Mining
Corporation (AMC) on April 1, 2005. SPCC now owns 99% of Minera
Mexico, Mexico's largest copper producer. SPCC's cash flow
should become more diversified as Minera Mexico is expected to
account for approximately 50% of the company's consolidated
EBITDA going forward. SPCC and Minera Mexico together generated
US$1.7 billion of EBITDA in 2004 (SPCC with US$1.0 billion and
Minera Mexico with US$676 million). In addition, the rating
upgrade reflects the company's improved capital structure and
reduced consolidated debt levels on a pro forma basis. In 2004,
strong financial performance and cash flow generation allowed
the company to reduce debt and net debt levels by 20% and 56%,
respectively, on a pro forma basis.

SPCC's foreign currency rating of 'BB+' exceeds Peru's 'BB'
country ceiling by one notch due to the cash flow generated by
its Mexican subsidiary, Minera Mexico. In the event of a
sovereign crisis in Peru, in which transfer and convertibility
restrictions were to be imposed, the free cash flow of Minera
Mexico should be able to cover SPCC's future debt service by
approximately 1.0 times (x) to 4.0x depending on copper prices.
On a consolidated basis, SPCC also generates about US$2.0
billion in exports outside of Latin America, which would provide
the company with access to hard currency in the event of
transfer and convertibility restrictions in Peru. SPCC, a
Delaware-incorporated company, has historically held most of its
cash in the United States. Cash balances outside of Peru would
provide additional sources of liquidity to the company in the
event of foreign currency restrictions. The downgrade of SPCC's
local currency rating to 'BB+' from 'BBB-' and the upgrade of
Minera Mexico's local and foreign currency rating to 'BB+' from
'BB-' reflects the consolidated credit quality of SPCC and
Minera Mexico, the new ownership structure and the rebalancing
and support of the debt by the two entities on a combined basis.

Fitch's 'BB+' ratings positively factor in the fully integrated
nature of the company's operations from mining through smelting
and refining, as well as a production cost structure that ranks
among the lowest in the world. The ratings also consider the
company's large copper reserves, which will allow it to grow
through a number of brownfield and greenfield projects with
reasonably low levels of capital investment. Additionally, the
company's production risk is spread relatively evenly between
Peru and Mexico. In 2004, the SPCC's two Peruvian mines, Cuajone
and Toquepala, accounted for about 56% of the company's
consolidated copper output, while Minera Mexico's two main
mines, Cananea and La Caridad, accounted for 42%. The size of
these mines is also relatively balanced with the largest mine,
Toquepala, accounting for 28% of the company's consolidated
copper output and the smallest, La Caridad, producing 18% of the

Balanced against these strengths are a number of risks,
including the volatile nature of the pricing cycle of copper.
This volatility, which led to copper prices averaging US$1.30
per pound in 2004 after never averaging more than US$0.82 per
pound in any year between 1998 and 2003, makes management's
long-term commitment to a conservative capital structure vital.
Although copper prices are projected to remain strong in the
near- to medium-term and SPCC's consolidated leverage is low for
the rating category, the company's management has yet to
demonstrate a long-term commitment to a conservative capital
structure that would enable it to grow during the trough in the
pricing cycle. Further factored in the company's 'BB+' ratings
is an expectation that its relationship with unionized
employees, while improved, will continue to be difficult.

The combined entity has a strong capital structure and is
expected to generate EBITDA of more than US$2.0 billion in 2005,
resulting in a consolidated total debt-to-EBITDA ratio of about
0.5x. Management of SPCC believes that a consolidated debt of
between US$1.1 billion and US$1.2 billion is appropriate.
Therefore, it does not intend to use any excess cash flow in the
future to reduce debt. In 2004, SPCC generated EBITDA of US$1.0
billion and had total debt of US$289 million, resulting in a
total debt-to-EBITDA ratio of about 0.3x. In 2004, Minera Mexico
generated EBITDA of US$676 million and had total debt of US$1.0
billion, resulting in a total debt-to-EBITDA ratio of about

SPCC is one of the world's largest private-sector copper
producers and exporters and now owns Mexico's largest copper
producer, Minera Mexico. Although SPCC is incorporated under
Delaware law, the company's operations are located in southern
Peru and consist of two large-scale, open-pit, copper mining
units, Toquepala and Cuajone, along with integrated smelting and
refining facilities in the port town of Ilo. Minera Mexico's
principal copper mining facilities, Mexicana de Cobre and
Mexicana de Cananea, are located in northern Mexico and include
two open-pit copper mines. SPCC and Minera Mexico together
produced 718,007 tons of copper in 2004 (SPCC with 397,366 tons
and Minera Mexico with 320,641 tons). SPCC is owned directly or
through subsidiaries by Grupo Mexico S.A. de C.V. (75.1%) and
common shareholders.

Fitch also rates SPCC's parent and affiliate companies Grupo
Mexico S.A. de C.V. ('BB'), AMC ('BB'), Asarco ('CCC') and Grupo
Ferroviario Mexicano, S.A. de C.V. ('BBB-')

CONTACT:  Anita Saha, CFA, +1-312-368-3179, Chicago
          Joe Bormann CFA, +1-312-368-3349, Chicago
          Alberto Moreno, +52-81-8335-7179, Mexico

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

SPCC/MINERA MEXICO: Moody's Assigns Ba1 Rating to Sr Unsec Notes
Approximately USD$947 million of Rated Debt Securities Affected

Moody's Investors Service assigned a Ba1 Corporate Family Rating
(previously called Senior Implied Rating) to Southern Peru
Copper Corporation ("SPCC") and a Ba1 rating to the company's
USD$600 million issuance of senior unsecured notes. In a related
rating action, Moody's assigned a SGL-1 speculative grade
liquidity rating. Proceeds from the $600 million note offering
will be used to repay existing debt, which could include debt at
Minera Mexico S.A. de C.V. (Minera Mexico), a wholly owned
subsidiary of SPCC. The rating assumes that a significant level
of debt at the Minera Mexico level will be repaid, thereby
materially lessening structural subordination of the SPCC
noteholders. Therefore, the rating has not been notched down
from the corporate family rating. This is the first time Moody's
has rated SPCC on a corporate basis. The ratings outlook is

At the same time, Moody's placed the ratings of Minera Mexico
(B1 Issuer Rating) under review for possible upgrade. The review
is prompted by the likelihood that a material amount of debt at
the Minera Mexico level will be repaid with the proceeds from
the SPCC note issue. The review will focus on Minera Mexico's
debt levels and debt structure, as well as its operational
performance, cost basis and capital investment requirements.

The Ba1 corporate family rating for SPCC reflects the relatively
high level of capital investment requirements, both for
strategic growth and required environmental upgrades, and in the
case of Minera Mexico, the limited investments made in 2002 and
2003 due to its financial difficulties, the short operating
history of the newly combined operations of SPCC and Minera
Mexico, and the potential for an aggressive dividend policy. A
further factor in the rating is Moody's concerns as to rising
cash costs (exclusive of by-product credits) due to higher input
costs, such as energy, a recently implemented royalty tax in
Peru and increased workers profit sharing payments in Mexico.
The rating also considers the composition of the asset base and
earnings generation from Peru and Mexico, which have foreign
currency ratings of Ba3 and Baa1 respectively and the political,
labor and environmental risks, together with currency exposures
associated with the company's operations in these countries.
Favorable attributes considered in the rating include SPCC's
position as a major global copper producer, an important
producer of molybdenum, zinc, silver and other metals, and its
current ability to mitigate rising costs due to strong by-
product credits being received from molybdenum.

SPCC, incorporated in Delaware, conducts business through its
branch in Peru and its newly acquired subsidiary, Minera Mexico,
in Mexico. On April 1, 2005, SPCC acquired the operations of its
sister company, Minera Mexico, from its controlling shareholder,
Americas Mining Corporation, a subsidiary of Grupo Mexico, S.A.
de C.V. As a result of this transaction, Grupo Mexico now owns
approximately 75% of SPCC. The balance is held publicly
following a secondary equity offering in June 2005 in which
Phelps Dodge and Cerro Trading sold their interests in SPCC. The
acquisition effectively doubled SPCC's copper production profile
to roughly 1.5 million pounds and added significantly to its
copper reserve base. The transaction also resulted in SPCC's
consolidation of approximately $922 million in debt held at

Moody's stable outlook reflects the fact that current
historically robust copper prices and strong molybdenum prices
are providing SPCC with strong earnings and cash flow
generation. The outlook is based on the assumption that SPCC
will use the free cash flow being generated at the peak of the
cycle for reinvestment in its business, will maintain production
levels at above 700 thousand tonnes per year, and will maintain
financial flexibility. Moody's would consider an upgrade to the
rating should SPCC demonstrate a track record of consistently
profitable operations at the newly combined entity and the
ability to sustain net cash costs in the $0.40/lb range.
Alternatively, Moody's would consider a negative outlook or
downward rating change should the company consistently be unable
to cover investment requirements from cash generated or re-
capitalize through a special dividend or some like cash
disbursement that reduces financial flexibility. We note that
the note's indenture has no restrictions on dividend payments to

The following ratings were assigned:

Southern Peru Copper Corporation

    i)   Ba1 Corporate Family Rating,

    ii)  Ba1 - $600 million 30 year senior unsecured notes

    iii) SGL-1 speculative grade liquidity rating

The following ratings were placed under review for possible

Minera Mexico, S.A. de C.V.

     i)   B1 Issuer Rating

     ii)  B1 US$ 222 million Series A guaranteed Senior Notes
          due 2008

     iii) B1 US$125 million Series B Guaranteed Senior Notes due      

Moody's notes that Minera Mexico has filed with the SEC a form
15 terminating the registration of the notes and resulting in
the notes becoming a private issue.

SPCC ranks among the worlds largest copper producers with pro-
forma production in 2004 of 718 thousand tonnes, which places it
fifth among the world's producers in terms of volume. An
integrated producer, SPCC has mining, smelting and SX/EW
operations in both Peru and Mexico. Production is relatively
balanced between the two locations with heritage SPCC mines
yielding around 55% of copper produced, on a combined basis, in
2004. Going forward, Moody's expects that a greater proportion
of production will come from the Mexican operations. Mining is
carried out primarily among its four major open pit mine sites
(two in Mexico and two in Peru). SPCC's refining capacity is
based from three primary locations in Peru and Mexico. In 2004,
the combined operations refined 683 thousand tonnes of copper
(approximately 95% of its copper mined), including 133 thousand
through SX-EW processes.

SPCC currently benefits from strong pricing in mining by-
products, primarily molybdenum which is now at historically high
levels and has helped to reduce the company's cash costs. In
2004, the company estimates that its cash cost, including
byproduct credits, were $0.18/lb vs. $0.85/lb without. Moody's
notes that SPCC's cash costs of production (excluding
byproducts) increased in 2004 due to higher costs due to
increased workers profit sharing, higher operating expenses
(steel, energy), lower grades at the Cuajone mine, and increased
non copper underground mining operations. Nevertheless, Moody's
believes SPCC's operations are such that realized copper pricing
could fall to the $0.80/lb level, on more normalized moly prices
and the company would remain profitable.

The SGL-1 speculative grade liquidity rating reflects the
current solid internal liquidity position of SPCC. This is
evidenced by its pro-forma cash balances of $385 million at
March 31, 2005, adjusted for the subsequent $350 million special
dividend, and the strong cash flow being generated at copper
price levels. The SGL-1 rating also considers the unsecured
nature of SPCC's debt profile and the level of receivables and
inventory that could be monetized in need. However, alternative
liquidity is limited due to the absence of committed bank
facilities following refinancings from the note placement.
Future cash requirements of SPCC will include the completion of
its Ilo smelter modernization project. Located in Peru, the Ilo
smelter will require significant capital spending in order to
bring it in compliance with environmental standards. We note the
modernization is expected to cost $500 million, of which the
company has spent $185 million through March 31, 2005 and plans
to spend a further $171 million in 2005. Other potential
projects announced by the company will focus on expanding
production capacity and could total $300-$400 million through
2007. Moody's expects that both maintenance and development
capital spending over the next two years should be comfortably
covered by internally generated cash flows and not require debt

The notes will be sold in privately negotiated transactions
without registration under the Securities Act of 1933 (the Act)
under circumstances reasonably designed to preclude a
distribution thereof in violation of the Act.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Southern Peru Copper
Corporation, a majority owned subsidiary of Grupo Mexico S.A. de
C.V. is a leading global producer of copper and other metals
with major mining and processing operations in Peru and Mexico.
On a combined basis, the company's revenues in 2004 were $3.0

* PERU: S&P Revises Outlook to Positive From Stable
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services revised its outlook on its
ratings on the Republic of Peru to positive from stable. At the
same time, Standard & Poor's affirmed its 'BB' long-term foreign
currency, 'BB+' long-term local currency, and 'B' short-term
sovereign credit ratings on the republic. Standard & Poor's also
assigned its 'BB+' local currency rating to the Peruvian Nuevos
soles (PNS) 1.5 billion (US$460 million) in bonds due in 2017
issued on July 7, 2005, as part of Peru's the overall strategy
to exchange external debt held with the Paris Club.

According to Standard & Poor's credit analyst Sebastian Briozzo,
the change in outlook reflects the growing prospect that the
improvement in Peru's economic and fiscal profile in recent
years may continue over the medium term, notwithstanding a
cyclical downturn in commodity prices. "Favorable external
conditions, as well as cautious macroeconomic management, have
boosted GDP growth and kept fiscal deficits at around 1% of
GDP," Mr. Briozzo said. "The increasing credibility of the
country's monetary authority has also helped to develop domestic
debt markets and modestly reduce the high level of dollarization
in the economy," he added.

Mr. Briozzo explained that a smooth transition to a new
administration after the presidential elections in 2006 could
provide a stronger political anchor to economic management and
strengthen economic institutions. "That, combined with the
continuing declining trend in the government's debt burden and
the strengthening of the country's external liquidity position,
could bring Peru's economic and financial profile closer in line
with higher-rated sovereigns over the next two years", he said.

Standard & Poor's said that Peru's government has been taking
advantage of the favorable international environment to reduce
some of its major credit vulnerabilities over the last three
years, in the fiscal and external sectors in particular, despite
a relatively weak political environment. However, the country's
fiscal flexibility remains limited and Peru's net external
public sector debt, at 80% of current account receipts in 2005,
is still significantly higher than the 30% median for similarly
rated sovereigns.

Peru's credit story also benefits from appropriate government
liability management, including the development of the domestic
capital market for local currency government debt. Further, the
debt exchange finalized with the Paris Club both smoothes and
lengthens the debt amortization schedule, and serves to
facilitate the replacement of some foreign-currency-denominated
debt with PNS debt.  

"Despite the improvement in economic indicators, Peru's
political and social environment remains weak and could still
undermine future improvements in creditworthiness," noted Mr.
Briozzo. "Despite relatively strong growth prospects over the
medium term, the government is challenged to deepen the sources
of growth to ensure their sustainability and facilitate job
creation. Increasing political or social instability that
undermines the consensus on, and implementation of, economic
policy would increase the risk of policy reversal, possibly
resulting in Standard & Poor's revising its outlook back to
stable," he concluded.

PRIMARY CREDIT ANALYST: Sebastian Briozzo, New York
(1) 212-438-7342;


  Jane Eddy, New York (1) 212-438-7996;

  Joydeep Mukherji, New York (1) 212-438-7351;

P U E R T O   R I C O

CENTENNIAL COMMUNICATIONS: Launches Wireless Data Services
QUALCOMM Incorporated (Nasdaq: QCOM), pioneer and world leader
of Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) digital wireless
technology, congratulated Centennial (Nasdaq: CYCL), a leading
provider of wireless services in Puerto Rico, for its launch of
wireless data services and applications based on QUALCOMM's BREW

Centennial is now able to offer subscribers a variety of
advanced content and services, including games, ringtones,
business applications, productivity tools, location-based
services, multimedia messaging and communication applications
such as email and instant messaging. Centennial subscribers can
browse, purchase and download these applications virtually
anytime, anywhere over-the-air to their BREW handsets.

"Centennial's launch of BREW services in Puerto Rico is very
exciting, and illustrates its initiative to provide customers
with a tailored wireless experience, one that goes far beyond
voice," said Bob Briggs, vice president of global business
relations for QUALCOMM Internet Services. "As Centennial
continues to demonstrate its commitment to providing the
ultimate customer experience, the BREW solution will enable the
company to add additional value to its core services quickly and

"The deployment of BREW services and applications enhances the
services portfolio we provide to our wireless subscribers, by
providing them with access to high-quality productivity,
entertainment and communication applications," said Jose Rivera,
products and development director for Centennial. "The BREW
solution is proving to be the perfect solution for our wireless
data needs and we expect our subscribers to be pleased with the
new services and applications they will be able to access."

QUALCOMM's BREW solution is designed to meet the distinct and
varied needs of wireless operators, handset manufacturers,
publishers, developers and end users around the world. BREW
products and services include an open, extensible client
platform that supports robust system and application software,
including personalized and branded user interfaces for mass
market devices; a J2EE(TM)-based, modular delivery system that
enables the distribution of content, applications and user
interfaces to wireless devices across all air interfaces; a
dedicated professional services team that supports the
integration of customized implementations; and the wireless
industry's first global marketplace to support the monetization
of applications and services developed in all programming
languages. The BREW solution can make the wireless visions of
innovative companies a reality.

Centennial Communications (Nasdaq: CYCL), based in Wall, NJ, is
a leading provider of regional wireless and integrated
communications services in the United States and the Caribbean
with over 1.1 million wireless subscribers, The U.S. business
owns and operates wireless networks in the Midwest and Southeast
covering parts of six states. Centennial's Caribbean business
owns and operates wireless networks in Puerto Rico, the
Dominican Republic and the U.S. Virgin Islands and provides
facilities-bases integrated voice, data and Internet solutions.
Welsh, Carson Anderson & Stowe and an affiliate of the
Blackstone Group are controlling shareholders of Centennial.

QUALCOMM Incorporated is a leader in developing and delivering
innovative digital wireless communications products and services
based on the Company's CDMA digital technology. Headquartered in
San Diego, Calif., QUALCOMM is included in the S&P 500 Index and
is a 2005 FORTUNE 500(R) company traded on The Nasdaq Stock
Market(R) under the ticker symbol QCOM.

         Steve E. Kunszabo
         Director, Investor Relations
         Phone: 732-556-2220


UTE: Two US Firms Compete for Contract to Build 2 Thermo Plants
Two US companies have submitted bids for a contract to build two
100MW gas-fired thermoelectric plants for Uruguay's state power
company UTE in capital Montevideo, reports Business News

The companies are GE and Pratt & Whitney. Their bids will now be
examined by UTE, a company source said, adding that the winning
company will have 150 days from the time of signing the contract
to install the first project and 360 days to install the second.

The winning bidder will be responsible for basic engineering,
site preparation, supplying the equipment, installation of the
plants, training UTE officials and supervising the plants'
operations for three months.

The idea of the tender is to increase the country's generation
capacity in light of a drought earlier this year that forced UTE
to seek imports from Brazil and switch on expensive diesel-fired


PDVSA: Maintains Fuel Oil Supplies to Argentina
Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) maintains its supplies of fuel
oil to Argentina, thereby complying with the energy agreements
entered into by both nations with the aim of deepening the
regional integration process now going forward, according to the
Venezuelan national oil company's Commerce and Supply executive

During the current year, PDVSA has delivered two shipments of
fuel oil totaling 50 million metric tons, to the ports of Bahia
Blanca (28 mmt) and Central Puerto (22 mmt), the first of which
arrived in April and the second one in May, as agreed with
CAMMESA, Argentina's administrator of its electricity wholesale

PDVSA has been supplying refined products to the Argentine
market through synergy-originated arrangements with Brazil's
Petrobras, which has enabled the optimizing of transport and
logistics. Venezuela has also availed itself of these synergies
to send fuel oil shipments to the Asian market.

PDVSA's fuel oil shipments to Argentina have been taking place
since 2004, when the governments of both nations signed energy
cooperation agreements which not only provided a boost to the
regional integration process, but also contributed to the
solution of the energy crisis which Argentina was then

Conversations between PDVSA and CAMMESA to settle differences
arising from a cargo of fuel oil shipped last year are currently
at an advanced stage, and representatives of both companies are
holding ongoing communications on this and other related
subjects while awaiting the signing of a new supply contract to
cover the remaining volumes to be shipped in 2005.

The Commerce and Supply executive directorate guarantees that
PDVSA will honor at all times the commitment undertaken by
Venezuela as part of the general cooperation agreement it signed
with the sister Republic of Argentina.

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:

PDVSA: Chief Policy is to Recover Oil Rent Says Ramirez
PDVSA's main goal is to recover Venezuela's oil rent, according
to Rafael Ramirez, the Minister of Energy and Petroleum and
President of Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA).

A number of guidelines to align PDVSA with national development
and with Venezuela's contribution to the construction of a
multipolar world was being issued.

"Our chief policy is to recover the country's oil rent for the
benefit the Venezuelan people. This should be a national policy
to be embraced by all Venezuelans, irrespective of their
political ideologies," Ramirez said before an audience of 200
engineers and technicians of PDVSA's Western, Eastern and
Southern divisions in the National Exploration and Production
Symposium held in Puerto Ordaz, in the State of Bolivar.

Ramirez also pointed out that the oil rent's destination is what
makes the difference, revolutionary in itself, between a company
like PDVSA, and the majority of oil operators.

The need for the oil rent's distribution within the country, he
said, is what drove us to become a state-owned oil company with
a people-oriented revolutionary policy. Each dollar we save,
each bolivar we can spare, goes to the Barrio Adentro Mission,
or the Mercal Mission, the Ribas Mission, to all the missions,
as well as to infrastructure development.

Ramirez explained to the oil employees that the Bolivarian
government was determined to obtain the greatest possible value
from Venezuela's hydrocarbons, for the Nation's benefit.

He added that the country and PDVSA need capable leaders, not
only to produce according to plan and solve complex technical
problems, but "also to interact with our workers, with our
communities, with the military, and with all the other players",
saying that they should also be in a position to understand what
Petrocaribe is, what the link is with social and productive
development, and why it is insisted that the Orinoco Oil Belt is
not a bitumen belt, as they tried to make it appear, against all
technical arguments to the contrary.

The Minister of Energy and Petroleum closed by confirming that
his office was issuing a number of guidelines to align PDVSA
with national development and with Venezuela's contribution to
the construction of a multipolar world.


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

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