TCRLA_Public/050725.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

            Monday, July 25, 2005, Vol. 6, Issue 145



BANCO RIO: Places ARS83.3M of Notes in Three Tranches
DROMEDARIO LOGISTICA: Claims Verification Ends
FHASE S.R.L.: Court Converts Reorganization to Bankruptcy
JOSE FERRARINI: Trustee Stops Accepting Claims

PAPELERA ANGEL: General Report Due September
PREMOLDEADOS RIVADAVIA: Reorganization Concluded
SIEMAR S.A.C. y C.: Trustee to Submit Individual Reports
VINTAGE PETROLEUM: Board Authorizes Cash Dividend


CHINA DIGICONTENT: Appoints Joint Provisional Liquidators


BANCO DE INVESTIMENTOS: Moody's Withdraws Ratings
CESP: To Launch $113M Receivables Fund
GLOBOPAR/TV GLOBO: S&P Raises Ratings to 'CCC-'
LIGHT SERVICOS: To Sell Shares on Novo Mercado on July 28
* BRAZIL: Announces Maximum Extension for the Global Bonds

* BRAZIL: Fitch Rates Global Bonds Swapped for C-Bonds at 'BB-'


EMPRESAS IANSA: S&P Releases Credit Analysis


BAVARIA: S&P Places Ratings on CreditWatch Positive


MILLICOM INTERNATIONAL: Resolves to Continue Despite Losses


GRUPO SIMEC: Net Sales Rise 51% to Ps.3,463M in 1H05
GRUPO TFM: S&P Releases Credit Analysis on KCS
MAXCOM TELECOMUNICACIONES: To Launch Switchboard Services Soon


PAN AMERICAN: New Silver-Rich Zones Discovered At Morococha Mine


DIGITEL: Tax Agency Orders 2-Day Shutdown, Payment of Fine
PDVSA: Probe Finds No Mismanagement at US Refining Arm
PDVSA: May Have Terminated Lake Maracaibo E&P Activities
PDVSA: Experts Meet to Foster Productivity

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -


BANCO RIO: Places ARS83.3M of Notes in Three Tranches
Banco Rio de la Plata SA, the local unit of Spain's Banco
Santander Central Hispano, revealed Thursday that it has placed
ARS83.3 million in mortgage-backed notes, relates Dow Jones

The bank said the securities priced at ARS99.7 with an estimated
yield of 1.1% plus CER, the inflation coefficient, and guarantee
a minimum yield of 5%. The notes were well oversubscribed, with
a total ARS123 million in offers for the three tranches.

The first tranche has a 2010 maturity, while the second expires
in 2012. The third tranche, which was much smaller, is
subordinated to the first two.

Banco Rio said local pension funds, known as AFJPs, accounted
for 39.1% of the securities issued. Insurance companies and
other investment funds made up 36.9%, with minority investors
counting for 13.1%.

The notes are trust fund titles backed by mortgages held at
Banco Rio. This placement was the first of a ARS200 million

          Bartolome Mitre 480
          1036 Buenos Aires, Argentina
          Phone: +54-14-341-1081-1580
          Fax: +54-14-341-1074-1084
          Web site:

DROMEDARIO LOGISTICA: Claims Verification Ends
The verification of the claims of creditors of bankrupt company
Dromedario Logistica S.A. will end Tuesday, July 26, 2005. Ms.
Lilian Edith Rey, the court-appointed trustee, will prepare
individual reports on the submitted claims. She will also submit
a general report on the liquidation process.

Court No. 6 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
handles this case with the assistance of Clerk No. 12. The case
will close with the liquidation of the Company's assets to repay

CONTACT: Ms. Lilian Edith Rey, Trustee
         Avda Roque Saenz Pena 651
         Buenos Aires

The authentication of the proofs of claim of creditors of
Establecimiento Metalurgico Bursztyn S.A. will stop on Tuesday,
July 26, 2005.

Miguel Angel Troisi, the trustee appointed by the court, will
present the results of the verification as individual reports on
Sep. 7, 2005.

Mr. Troisi is also obligated to give the court a general report
of the case on Oct. 20, 2005. This report summarizes events
relevant to the reorganization and provides an audit of the
Company's accounting and business records.

The completed settlement proposal will be presented by the
trustee to the Company's creditors during the informative
assembly set on Feb. 22 next year.

The Company's reorganization petition was approved by Court No.
9 with the assistance of Clerk No. 17. Reorganization allows the
Company to retain control of its assets subject to certain
conditions imposed by Argentine law and the oversight of the
court appointed trustee.

CONTACT: Mr. Miguel Angel Troisi, Trustee
         Cerrito 146
         Buenos Aires

FHASE S.R.L.: Court Converts Reorganization to Bankruptcy
Fhase S.R.L., which was undergoing reorganization, entered
bankruptcy on orders from Cordoba's civil and commercial court,
according to Infobae.

The credit verification process was done "por via incidental" by
the court-appointed receiver who was also tasked to submit the
individual and general reports, says the report. The general
report was submitted on June 15, 2005.

         Arzobispo Castellanos 46
         Alta Gracia (Cordoba)

JOSE FERRARINI: Trustee Stops Accepting Claims
Ms. Lidia Roxana, the trustee selected for the Jose Ferrarini
S.A.C.I. bankruptcy case, will stop accepting claims from the
Company's creditors on Tuesday, July 26, 2005. Ms. Roxana will
be reviewing these claims and prepare the individual reports
which are due on Sep. 7, 2005.

Court No. 7 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal also
required the trustee to submit a general report of the case on
Oct. 20, 2005.

Clerk No. 13 assists the court on this case that will end with
the sale of the Company's assets. Proceeds from the sale wil be
used to repay the Company's debts.

CONTACT: Ms. Lidia Roxana Martin, Trustee
         Avda Cordoba 1352
         Buenos Aires

PAPELERA ANGEL: General Report Due September
The general report on the Papelera Angel Zoppetti S.R.L.
bankruptcy case is due on Sep. 20, 2005, reveals Infobae. This
report contains a summary of the results in the individual
reports, which was submitted on June 14, 2005 by the trustee
appointed by Cordoba's civil and commercial Court No. 6.
Creditors who failed to have their claims validated before April
25, 2005 are disqualified from receiving any payments to be made
after the Company's assets are liquidated.

CONTACT: Papelera Angel Zoppetti S.R.L.
         Salta 551
         Ciudad de Cordoba (Cordoba)

PREMOLDEADOS RIVADAVIA: Reorganization Concluded
The settlement plan proposed by Premoldeados Rivadavia S.R.L.
for its creditors acquired the number of votes necessary for
confirmation. As such, the plan has been endorsed by Court No. 3
of Cordoba's civil and commercial tribunal and will now be
implemented by the Company.      

SIEMAR S.A.C. y C.: Trustee to Submit Individual Reports
Court-appointed trustee Alberto A. Vilela will present as
individual reports the validated claims submitted by the
creditors of Siemar S.A.C. y C. on Tuesday, July 26, 2005. Mr.
Vilela ceased accepting claims on May 30, 2005.

The trustee will also prepare a general report, containing a
summary of the Company's financial status as well as relevant
events pertaining to the bankruptcy. The report will be due in
court on Sep. 7, 2005.

Court No. 22 of the city's civil and commercial tribunal handles
the Company's case, which will conclude with the liquidation of
its assets.

CONTACT: Mr. Alberto A. Vilela, Trustee
         Rodriguez Pena 431
         Buenos Aires

VINTAGE PETROLEUM: Board Authorizes Cash Dividend
Vintage Petroleum, Inc. (NYSE:VPI) announced Thursday that its
board of directors has authorized a cash dividend of five and
one-half cents per share. The Company said the dividend will be
paid Oct. 5, 2005, to stockholders of record on Sept. 21, 2005.

Vintage Petroleum, Inc. is an independent energy company engaged
in the acquisition, exploitation and exploration of oil and gas
properties and the marketing of natural gas and crude oil.
Company headquarters are in Tulsa, Okla., and its common shares
are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol VPI.

CONTACT: Vintage Petroleum, Inc.
         Robert E. Phaneuf
         Phone: 918-592-0101


CHINA DIGICONTENT: Appoints Joint Provisional Liquidators
2001: No. 151

    IN THE MATTER OF China Digicontent Company Limited




TAKE NOTICE THAT Edward S Middleton and Jack CW Muk of 27/F
Alexandra House, 16-20 Chater Road, Hong Kong and Malcolm L
Butterfield of Crown House, Par-La-Ville Road, Hamilton in the
Island of Bermuda, have been appointed Joint Provisional
Liquidators of the Company by order of the Supreme Court dated
June 2, 2005.

CONTACT: Mr. Malcolm L Butterfield, Joint Provisional Liquidator
         Crown House, Par-La-Ville Road
         Hamilton, Bermuda


BANCO DE INVESTIMENTOS: Moody's Withdraws Ratings
Moody's Investors Service has withdrawn all ratings for Banco de
Investimentos CSFB S.A., for business reasons. The bank has no
rated foreign currency debt outstanding. This action does not
reflect a change in the banks' creditworthiness.

Banco de Investimentos CSFB S.A. had total assets of US$5
billion as of December 31, 2004.

The following ratings were withdrawn:

Bank Financial Strength Rating: D-, with stable outlook

Long-term foreign currency deposit rating: B2, with positive

Short-term foreign currency deposit rating: Not Prime, with
stable outlook

CESP: To Launch $113M Receivables Fund
A spokesperson from power generation company CESP confirmed
reports that the Company is preparing to launch a BRL650-million
(US$113mn) receivables fund to help it pay down debts.

According to Business News Americas, the receivables will be
backed by eight-year power sale contracts that CESP signed with
distributors at the government's existing power auction in
December 2004.

This is CESP's second receivables fund. In December 2004, the
Company launched a BRL450 million receivables fund.

CESP is burdened by a BRL10-billion debt for which it does not
have enough revenue to pay short-term obligations. Its
controller - the state of Sao Paulo - is planning to sell its
other power company, power transmission firm CTEEP, to
capitalize CESP and allow it to face its financial obligations.

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

GLOBOPAR/TV GLOBO: S&P Raises Ratings to 'CCC-'
Standard & Poor's Rating Services raised its corporate credit
and senior unsecured ratings on Brazilian media companies
Globopar S.A. and TV Globo Ltda. to 'CCC-' from 'D'. In
addition, the ratings were placed on CreditWatch with positive
implications. Globopar and TV Globo are part of Globo
Organizations, Brazil's largest media group.

"The rating action follows the completion of the restructuring
of about U$1.3 billion of the companies' debt," said Standard &
Poor's credit analyst Jean-Pierre Cote Gil. "The CreditWatch
action is based on the disclosed information about the debt
restructuring available to the market and reflects the expected
improvements in the group's business and financial profiles
following the debt restructuring."

Standard & Poor's expects to resolve the CreditWatch after
reviewing information on the debt restructuring and reassessing
the companies' credit quality. A clear understanding of the
group's renewed business model and financial policies will be
key determinants of the ratings outcome.

Primary Credit Analyst: Jean-Pierre Cote Gil, Sao Paulo
(55) 11-5501-8949;

Secondary Credit Analyst: Milena Zaniboni, Sao Paulo
(55) 11-5501-8945;

LIGHT SERVICOS: To Sell Shares on Novo Mercado on July 28
Electric power utility Light Servicos de Eletricidade SA will
start listing its shares on the Novo Mercado on July 28
following approval from the Company's shareholders.

The Novo Mercado is the Brazilian Stock Exchange's most rigorous
forum for listing. To qualify for listing on the Novo Mercado, a
company must sell a minimum stake of 25% while 100% of the
company's shares must be common, rather than preferred.

Light, which is controlled by France's state power company EdF,
agreed to list its shares on the Novo Mercado as part of a
restructuring effort.

The Company has total debts of about US$1.5 billion and is in
the process of restructuring BRL1.77 billion ($1=BRL2.345) in

In June, Light began to execute its debt-restructuring plan,
converting into shares some BRL1.03 billion in debts owed to its
parent company EdF.

Light also reached an agreement with Brazil's National
Development Bank, or BNDES, issuing BRL727 million in
convertible debentures to the bank.

          Avenida Marechal Floriano, 168
          20080-002 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
          Phone: +55-21-2211-2794
          Fax:   +55-21-2211-2993
          Home Page:
          Bo Gosta Kallstrand, Chairman
          Michel Gaillard, President and CEO
          Joel Nicolas, Executive Director, Operation
          Paulo Roberto Ribeiro Pinto, Executive Director,
                                 Investor Relations and CFO

* BRAZIL: Announces Maximum Extension for the Global Bonds
The Federative Republic of Brazil, in accordance with the
schedule of its previously announced invitation (the
"Invitation") to holders of certain of its outstanding C bonds
(the "Old Bonds") to submit offers to exchange such Old Bonds
for an equal par amount of 8% Amortizing Global Bonds (the
"Global Bonds"), announced Thursday that:

-- the maximum extension of maturity for the Global Bonds will
be 4.0 years; and

-- because under the invitation Brazil can no longer change the
coupon for the Global Bonds, the coupon for the Global Bonds
will remain at 8%.

The Invitation is scheduled to expire at 4:30 P.M., New York
City time, on July 21, 2005, unless Brazil, in its sole and
absolute discretion, extends it or terminates it earlier. Under
the current schedule:

-- the clearing extension period and the resulting Global Bond
maturity date pursuant to the results of the modified Dutch
auction and the principal amortization schedule and first
interest payment date for the Global Bonds will be announced at
or around 11:00 A.M., New York City time, on July 22, 2005, or
as soon thereafter as possible; and

-- settlement will occur on August 1, 2005.

Holders of Old Bonds may submit a non-competitive offer that
does not designate an extension period by either (i) including
their non-competitive offer in their bond instructions, or (ii)
delivering an electronic letter of transmittal to the settlement
agent by electronic transmission through the settlement agent's
website at
Alternatively, holders of Old Bonds may submit one or more
competitive offers by delivering, or arranging to have
delivered, an electronic letter of transmittal to the settlement
agent by electronic transmission through the settlement agent's
website at In the
case of either a competitive or non-competitive offer, only a
direct participant in Euroclear or Clearstream, Luxembourg who
has delivered bond instructions to Euroclear or Clearstream,
Luxembourg in accordance with the deadlines specified by
Euroclear or Clearstream, Luxembourg may submit an electronic
letter of transmittal.

You must include a reference code (as described below) in your
electronic letter of transmittal. Any electronic letter of
transmittal that for any reason cannot be promptly and
unmistakably reconciled with a bond instruction will be deemed
invalid by Brazil. In order to facilitate reconciliation of bond
instructions to electronic letters of transmittal, we strongly
encourage direct participants to submit one electronic letter of
transmittal per bond instruction.

Alternatively, a holder desiring to submit an exchange offer may
request one of the joint dealer managers for the Invitation to
submit an exchange offer on its behalf, although the joint
dealer managers will be under no obligation to act on the
holder's behalf and may impose additional conditions before
doing so.

Global Bond Offering materials may be obtained from The Bank of
New York, as the settlement agent, 101 Barclay Street, New York,
New York 10286, United States; The Bank of New York (Luxembourg)
S.A., as the Luxembourg exchange agent, Aerogolf Center, 1-A
Hoehenhof L-1736, Senningerberg, Luxembourg, D.F. King & Co.,
Inc., as the information agent, 48 Wall Street, 22nd Floor, New
York, New York 10005, United States, and 2 London Wall
Buildings, 2nd Floor, London Wall, London EC2M 5PP, England, or
the joint dealer managers. Holders may contact the joint dealer
managers and joint book runners for answers to questions
concerning the terms of the Global Bond Offering.

The joint dealer managers for the Invitation are:

         Credit Suisse First Boston                  
           Eleven Madison Avenue                     
       New York, New York 10010-3629                 
               United States                         
Inside the U.S.: Toll Free 1-800-820-1653           
Outside the U.S.: Call Collect 1-212-538-0652        

                270 Park Avenue                 
            New York, New York 10017            
                 United States                  
   Inside the U.S.: Toll Free 1-877-217-2484                        
Outside the U.S.: Call Collect 1-212-834-7306  

This communication shall not constitute an offer to sell or the
solicitation of an offer to buy nor shall there be any sale of
the securities referenced in this communication in any state or
jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be
unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the
securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.

The distribution of materials relating to the Global Bond
Offering, and the transactions contemplated by the Global Bond
Offering, may be restricted by law in certain jurisdictions. If
materials relating to the Global Bond Offering come into your
possession, you are required by Brazil to inform yourself of and
to observe all of these restrictions. The materials relating to
the Global Bond Offering do not constitute, and may not be used
in connection with, an offer or solicitation in any place where
offers or solicitations are not permitted by law. If a
jurisdiction requires the Global Bond Offering to be made by a
licensed broker or dealer and any joint dealer manager or any
affiliate of a joint dealer manager is a licensed broker or
dealer in that jurisdiction, the Global Bond Offering shall be
deemed to be made by such joint dealer manager or affiliate on
behalf of Brazil in that jurisdiction.

ITALY: The invitation has not been registered with the CONSOB,
as the invitation is directed to no more than 200 investors in
Italy. No global bonds may be publicly offered, sold or
delivered pursuant to the invitation, nor any public offer in
respect of old bonds made, nor may any prospectus or any other
offering or publicity material relating to the invitation or the
global bonds be distributed, in the Republic of Italy by Brazil
or the joint dealer managers or any other person on their
behalf, except in compliance with Italian law and regulations.
The global bonds may not be offered, sold or delivered pursuant
to the cash offering (including in the secondary market) except
to institutional investors (investitori professionali) as (i)
indicated in Article 25, first paragraph, of CONSOB Regulation
No. 11971 of May 14, 1999, as amended from time to time, and
(ii) defined in article 31, second paragraph, of CONSOB
regulation No. 11522 of July 1, 1998, as amended from time to
time, other than individuals.

PORTUGAL: The Global Bond Offering has not been and will not be
registered with the Portuguese Securities Exchange Commission
("Comissao do Mercado dos Valores Mobiliarios") and therefore
the Global Bond Offering is not directed to Portuguese resident
investors and the Global Bonds may not be offered or sold to the
public in Portugal or under circumstances which are deemed to be
a public offer under the Portuguese Securities Code ("Codigo dos
Valores Mobiliarios") and other securities legislation and
regulation applicable in Portugal. In addition, this document,
the Prospectus, the Prospectus Supplement and all other offering
materials are only being publicly distributed in the above noted
jurisdictions where lawful and may not be publicly distributed
in Portugal, nor may any publicity or marketing activities
related to the Global Bond Offering be conducted in Portugal.
The Global Bond Offering is not addressed to holders of Old
Bonds resident and/or located in Portugal, and no tenders from
holders of Old Bonds resident and/or located in Portugal will be
accepted, except if those holders are all institutional
investors ("investidores institucionais"), within the meaning of
article 30 of the Portuguese Securities Code or are, in
aggregate, 200 or fewer (if some or all are non institutional
investors), in which case the Global Bonds may be offered and
tendered through a private placement ("oferta particular"), in
accordance with the relevant provisions of the Portuguese
Securities Code.

UNITED KINGDOM: Stabilisation/FSA.

* BRAZIL: Fitch Rates Global Bonds Swapped for C-Bonds at 'BB-'
Fitch Ratings, the international rating agency, assigned
Thursday a 'BB-' rating to the global bonds to be issued in
exchange for some US$5.6 billion in C-bonds. The Outlook on the
rating is Stable. As part of a liability management operation,
the Brazilian treasury announced this week the issuance of the
new global bonds in exchange for the C-bonds which were issued
as part of the restructuring of Brazilian sovereign debt during
the 1980s debt crisis. The new bonds have a longer duration than
the C-bonds, improving the overall debt profile of the treasury.

Brazil's sovereign ratings, which were affirmed last week,
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 growth.

Officials of the PT (Workers Party) party have been accused of
bribing congressman for key votes, and coalition members accused
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 26%. 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.

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
to 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 4.6% 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% of GDP), perhaps more of the
windfall could have been saved. GG debt to GDP compares
unfavorably to the 'BB' median of 51%, 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.

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


EMPRESAS IANSA: S&P Releases Credit Analysis

On July 19, 2005, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned
its 'BB' local and foreign currency corporate credit rating to
the Chilean sugar producer, Empresas Iansa S.A. (IANSA). The
outlook is stable. At the same time, Standard & Poor's assigned
its 'BB' senior unsecured debt rating to IANSA Overseas Ltd.'s
upcoming $100 million 144A notes with bullet maturity in 2012,
reflecting the corporate credit rating of the guarantor, IANSA.
IANSA Overseas Ltd. is a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of
IANSA. Principal and interest on the bonds will be fully,
unconditionally, and irrevocably guaranteed by IANSA.

The ratings on IANSA reflect the challenges the company will
face to adjust raw material costs and improve profitability to
compensate for the upcoming decline in price protection levels
in the sugar market in Chile starting in 2008. These factors and
the relative client sales concentration are mitigated by the
company's good competitive position as the only sugar producer
in the protected Chilean market, and the sound ties with Chilean

IANSA operates in a protected sugar market. In December 2003, in
light of the declining prices in the international sugar market
and the increased competition from substitutes and imports, the
Chilean government replaced the previous sugar band protection
system (based on 10-year moving average prices) with a new one
of fixed prices with gradual declines beginning in 2008 (of 2%
per year up to 2011, and of 6% per year between 2012 and 2014).
These percentages are significant when compared with IANSA's
current EBITDA margin of 9%. In 2014, the President will
evaluate the future of the price support mechanisms, taking into
account the international environment, the local industry, the
consumers, and the country's commercial commitments. Although
the current system gives some predictability to the company's
cash generation in the short term, it also imposes the need for
IANSA to improve margins to compensate for the declining
protection. In turn, margin evolution depends on the increase in
the productivity of sugar beet crops and the ability of the
company to translate such increases into lower raw material
prices paid to sugar beet growers. IANSA does not own the
plantations, but purchases sugar beets from about 3,500
independent growers. During the past five years, the
implementation of a special agricultural program (that included
a further use of irrigation systems and fertilizers and better
plague controls), a stricter selection process to purchase only
from the more productive farmers, and the relative profitability
of sugar beets against other crops, has resulted in both
significant productivity gains for the growers and lower sugar
beet prices paid by IANSA. In our opinion, the productivity of
the sugar beet fields is likely to keep on increasing, but the
possibility of the company continuing to fully transfer such
increases into lower raw material prices remains a concern.

Since 2004, IANSA's financial profile has recovered from the
significant deterioration suffered during 2002 and 2003-when
profitability was affected by the entry of sugar substitutes not
covered under the sugar protection system existing at that time,
lower international sugar prices that negatively impacted the
band prices, and the extraordinary write-off of uncollectible
credits with growers. The recovery was the result of improved
sugar protection levels after the law amendments in December
2003, lower raw material prices thanks to the increased
productivity of sugar beet fields, and the reduction in IANSA's
debt with the proceeds from noncore asset sales. As a result,
IANSA's EBITDA margin improved to 9.0% in the 12 months ended
March 2005 (from 4.1% in 2003). At the same time, EBITDA
interest coverage (including the financial cost from the
financing to sugar beet growers) and funds from operations (FFO)
to debt increased to 3.7x and 12.8%, respectively, in the 12
months ended March 2005 (from 1.3x and 4.1% during fiscal 2003,

We expect IANSA to continue to reduce debt to a structural level
of $100 million by 2006 and to finance seasonal working capital
requirements-which peak in September-with short-term bank lines.
Thus, IANSA's long-term debt requirements would be covered by
the upcoming issuance of the $100 million 144A notes with bullet
maturity in 2012. While this significantly lowers refinancing
risk in the short term, IANSA's financial performance and the
ability to refinance the bond at maturity will depend on its
success in adapting to the falling price environment as
described above, and the use made of cash accumulated in the

With annual sales of $415 million, IANSA is one of the largest
agribusiness companies in Chile and the only sugar producer in
the country that provides about 77% of the sugar consumed in the
domestic market. Sugar is the group's core business, accounting
for 80% of total revenues (including related business lines).
IANSA also provides sugar supplies and technical assistance to
farmers, and participates in other businesses such as
concentrated fruit juice, tomato paste, frozen food, and animal
balanced food.

Ebro Puleva and ED&F Man indirectly control IANSA (since
November 2004). With annual sales of ?1.8 billion, Ebro Puleva
is the world's largest rice producer, Spain's largest sugar
manufacturer, and one of the country's leaders in the dairy
industry. UK-based ED&F Man specializes in sourcing, delivering,
and distributing commodities such as sugar, molasses, cocoa,
coffee, and alcohol.


IANSA's liquidity position and financial flexibility are
expected to improve as a result of the refinancing of most of
its financial debt in the long term with the issue of the $100
million notes. IANSA's cash generation should allow the company
to face a moderate investment program and projected dividends,
to reduce debt levels to about $100 million by 2006, and to
generate some cash surpluses. We assume that IANSA will not
distribute extraordinary dividends besides the $40 million
approved in 2003 (which disbursement is still pending), and that
it will maintain its 50% dividend payout (over the 30% minimum
required by law). In addition, the current rating does not
incorporate potential investments in new business lines or any
related increase in leverage.

The company is relatively protected from foreign-exchange risk.
While all the company's debt is U.S. dollar-denominated, almost
all revenues are U.S.-dollar linked (although collected in
Chilean pesos), providing for some natural hedge.


The stable outlook assumes that the company's good competitive
position, attractiveness of the crop to farmers, and improved
farmer productivity should allow IANSA to maintain or slightly
improve profitability levels to at least partly offset the
declining prices in the sugar price protection system in Chile,
should international prices continue at levels below the band
price floor. It also assumes that the company will maintain both
a modest investment program-less than $10 million per year and
in lines related to the company's core business-and the current
dividend policy (with a 50% payout ratio). Current ratings could
improve if the company achieves greater-than-expected margin
levels (with a consistent increase in EBITDA margins at about
12%) and maintains a moderate financial policy. In contrast, a
more aggressive than expected investment and dividend policy
could result in a rating revision.

Primary Credit Analyst: Ivana Recalde, Buenos Aires
(54) 114-891-2127;

Secondary Credit Analyst: Federico Rey-Marino, Buenos Aires
(54) 114-891-2130


BAVARIA: S&P Places Ratings on CreditWatch Positive
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services placed its 'BB' foreign
currency long-term corporate credit rating on Bavaria S.A. on
CreditWatch with positive implications.

The CreditWatch listing follows Colombia-based Bavaria and U.K.-
based SABMiller PLC's announcement on July 19, 2005, that
SABMiller has agreed to acquire Bavaria's operations. The 'BB'
senior unsecured debt rating on the $500 million bonds issued by
Bavaria due 2010 is also placed on CreditWatch with positive

With about 27 million hectoliters of beer sold in 2004, Bavaria
is one of the largest beer producers in Latin America, the sole
beer producer in Colombia, and the most important producer in
Peru, Panama, and Ecuador, countries with a combined population
of 89 million.

"The CreditWatch placement reflects the overall benefits Bavaria
is likely to enjoy as a result of the expected financial and
operational support of SABMiller," said Standard & Poor's credit
analyst Federico Mora. SABMiller intends to reduce Bavaria's
operating costs and invest in the development of a portfolio of
distinct and differentiated brands to drive further revenue

It is expected that the announced acquisition will be financed
from available cash balances, and from short-term to medium-term
bank facilities arranged at the parent company level.

Significant local debt at the Bavaria group level creates
structural subordination issues for SABMiller, as all
bondholders do not have equal access to the group's assets. We
expect these issues to be mitigated in the short term by
SABMiller. The choice of strategy implemented will have an
impact on the rating of the debt issued by Bavaria S.A., the
main subsidiary of the Bavaria group.

The CreditWatch is expected to be resolved as information on the
group's financial integration and its choice of remedy to
mitigate structural subordination issues becomes available.

Primary Credit Analyst: Federico Mora, Mexico City
(52) 55-5081-4436;

Secondary Credit Analyst: Santiago Carniado, Mexico City
(52) 55-5081-4413;


MILLICOM INTERNATIONAL: Resolves to Continue Despite Losses
Millicom International Cellular S.A. (Millicom) (Nasdaq:MICC)
(Stockholmsborsen:MIC), announced Thursday that the reconvened
extraordinary meeting of shareholders of Millicom was held on
July 20, 2005 and passed a resolution in accordance with the
requirements of article 100 of the Luxembourg law of August 10,
1915 on commercial companies, as amended, to the effect that
Millicom's business shall continue despite it having incurred
accumulated losses as of December 31, 2004 of more than 50% of
its issued and outstanding share capital.

Millicom International Cellular S.A. is a global
telecommunications investor with cellular operations in Asia,
Latin America and Africa. It currently has a total of 16
cellular operations and licenses in 15 countries. The Group's
cellular operations have a combined population under license of
approximately 332 million people.

CONTACT: Millicom International Cellular S.A.
         Marc Beuls
         President and Chief Executive Officer
         Phone: 352 27 759 327

         Andrew Best
         Investor Relations
         Phone: 44 20 7321 5022


GRUPO SIMEC: Net Sales Rise 51% to Ps.3,463M in 1H05
Grupo Simec, S.A. de C.V. (Amex: SIM) (Simec) announced Thursday
its results of operations for the six-month period ended June
30, 2005. Net sales increased 51% to Ps. 3,463 million in the
first six months of 2005 compared to Ps. 2,295 million in the
same period of 2004, primarily due to the inclusion of net sales
generated by the newly acquired plants in Apizaco and Cholula of
Ps. 1,427 million.

As a result, Simec recorded net income of Ps. 582 million in the
first six months of 2005 versus net income of Ps. 570 million
for the first six months of 2004.

On September 10, 2004, Simec completed the acquisition of the
property, plant and equipment and inventories, and assumed
liabilities associated with seniority premiums of employees, of
the Mexican steel-making facilities of Industrias Ferricas del
Norte, S.A. (Corporacion Sidenor of Spain) located in Apizaco,
Tlaxcala and Cholula, Puebla. Simec's total investment in this
transaction was approximately US$135 million, funded with
internally generated resources of Simec and capital
contributions from its parent company, Industrias CH, S.A. de
C.V. of US$19 million for capital stock issued in the second
quarter of 2005. Simec began to operate the plants on August 1,
2004, and, as a result, the operations of both plants are
reflected in Simec's financial results as of such date.

Simec sold 523,501 metric tons of basic steel products during
the six- month period ended June 30, 2005 (including 212,669
metric tons produced by the newly acquired plants in Apizaco and
Cholula), an increase of 60% as compared to 327,329 metric tons
in the same period of 2004. Exports of basic steel products were
74,692 metric tons in the first six months of 2005 (including
12,752 metric tons produced by the newly acquired plants in
Apizaco and Cholula) versus 50,340 metric tons in the same
period of 2004. Additionally, Simec sold 12,870 metric tons of
billet in the six-month period ended June 30, 2005 as compared
to 39,512 metric tons of billet in the same period of 2004.
Prices of finished products sold in the first six months of 2005
increased 18% in real terms versus the same period of 2004.

Simec's direct cost of sales was Ps.2,255 million in the six-
month period ended June 30, 2005 (including Ps. 1,022 million
relating to the newly acquired plants in Apizaco and Cholula),
or 65% of net sales, versus Ps.1,350 million, or 59% of net
sales, for the 2004 period. The average cost of raw materials
used to produce steel products increased 18% in real terms in
the six-month period ended June 30, 2005, versus the same period
of 2004, primarily as a result of increases in the price of
scrap and certain other raw materials. Indirect manufacturing,
selling, general and administrative expenses (including
depreciation) were Ps. 363 million during the six-month period
ended June 30, 2005 (including Ps.124 million relating to the
newly acquired plants in Apizaco and Cholula), compared to
Ps.242 million in the same period of 2004.

Simec's operating income increased 20% to Ps. 845 million during
the six- month period ended June 30, 2005 (including Ps. 281
million relating to the newly acquired plants in Apizaco and
Cholula) from Ps.703 million in the first six months of 2004.
Operating income was 24% of net sales in the six-month period
ended June 30, 2005 compared to 31% of net sales in the same
period of 2004.

Simec recorded other income, net, from other financial
operations of Ps.7 million in the six-month period ended June
30, 2005 compared to other income, net, of Ps.13 million in the
same period of 2004. In addition, Simec recorded a provision for
income tax and employee profit sharing of Ps.236 million in the
six-month period ended June 30, 2005 versus a provision of Ps.
143 million in the same period of 2004.

Simec recorded financial expense of Ps.34 million in the six-
month period ended June 30, 2005 compared to financial expense
of Ps.3 million in the same period of 2004 as a result of (i)
net interest income of Ps.8 million in the six-month period
ended June 30, 2005, compared to no net interest income in the
same period of 2004; (ii) an exchange loss of Ps.35 million in
the six- month period ended June 30, 2005 compared to an
exchange gain of Ps.8 million in the same period of 2004,
reflecting lower debt levels in the six-month period ended June
30, 2005, and an increase of 3.7% in the value of the peso
versus the dollar in the six-month period ended June 30, 2005
compared to a decrease of 1.6% in the value of the peso versus
the dollar in the six-month period ended June 30, 2004; and
(iii) a loss from monetary position of Ps.7 million in the six-
month period ended June 30, 2005 compared to a loss from
monetary position of Ps.11 million in the six-month period ended
June 30, 2004, reflecting the domestic inflation rate of 0.8% in
the six-month period ended June 30, 2005, compared to the
domestic inflation rate of 1.6% in the same period in 2004 and
lower debt levels during the 2005 period.

At June 30, 2005, Simec's total consolidated debt consisted of
approximately $0.3 million of US dollar-denominated debt. At
December 31, 2004, Simec had outstanding approximately $13.9
million of US dollar-denominated debt, including a refinanced
letter of credit for US$13.6 million.

All figures were prepared in accordance with Mexican generally
accepted accounting principles and are stated in constant Pesos
at June 30, 2005.

Simec is a mini-mill steel producer in Mexico and manufactures a
broad range of non-flat structural steel products.

CONTACT: Grupo Simec, S.A. de C.V.
         Adolfo Luna Luna
         Jose Flores Flores
         Phone: 011-52-33-1057-5740

GRUPO TFM: S&P Releases Credit Analysis on KCS
Kansas City Southern
Corporate Credit Rating:   BB-/Negative/--

Kansas City Southern Railway Co.
Corporate Credit Rating:   BB-/Negative/--

TFM S.A. de C.V.
Corporate Credit Rating:   BB-/Negative/--


Kansas City Southern
Sr unsecd debt
Local currency: B+

Sr secd debt
Local currency: BB+

Pfd stk
Local currency: B-

TFM S.A. de C.V.
Sr unsecd debt
Foreign currency: B+

Major Rating Factors

    * Favorable risk characteristics of the freight railroad
    * Strategically located rail network with diversified
traffic mix; and
    * Controlling ownership in TFM S.A. de C.V., the largest
Mexican freight railroad, which increases the strategic
importance of the Kansas City Southern rail network

    * Limited scale;
    * Significant debt levels;
    * Subpar, but improving, financial performance;
    * Potential funding requirement related to the Mexican
government's put of its remaining ownership position in TFM; and
    * Challenges of integrating TFM


The ratings on Kansas City Southern were recently affirmed
following Standard & Poor's Ratings Services review of Kansas
City Southern's operating outlook and the impact of its
acquisition of a controlling interest in Grupo TFM (the parent
company of TFM S.A. de C.V., the largest Mexican freight
railroad). Standard & Poor's believes that the TFM transaction,
which occurred on April 1, 2005, has improved Kansas City
Southern's business profile and that favorable industry
conditions will enable Kansas City Southern to strengthen its
currently extended financial profile to levels consistent with
its rating over the near to intermediate term.

Kansas City Southern, based in Kansas City, Mo., is a Class 1
(large) U.S. freight railroad. It is significantly smaller and
less diversified than its peers but operates a very
strategically located rail network. By taking control of TFM,
Kansas City Southern should be better able to take advantage of
its north-south route orientation and NAFTA trade opportunities.
TFM serves the three largest cities in Mexico, representing a
majority of the Mexican population and GDP. Its rail lines
connect with the principal border gateway and largest freight
exchange point between the U.S. and Mexico at Nuevo
Laredo/Laredo and serves three of the four principal seaports in

Kansas City Southern had previously maintained a 49% voting
interest in Grupo TFM. Now that it has a controlling interest,
Kansas City Southern should be able to more fully integrate its
operations with those of TFM, thereby achieving marketing and
cost synergies over time. Although Kansas City Southern will now
influence the management of day-to-day operations at TFM, the
two companies will retain separate legal identities and will
continue to finance their operations separately.

Two TFM-related issues remain outstanding: the long-running
value-added-tax (VAT) dispute with the Mexican government and
the put option that the Mexican government can exercise to sell
its remaining ownership interest in Grupo TFM, which would give
Kansas City Southern full ownership of TFM. The VAT dispute,
which dates back to the privatization of TFM in 1997, could
result in a significant payment to TFM--potentially as much as
$1.1 billion. The purchase price of the put, measured as of Dec.
31, 2004, was about $468 million. Although it is unclear how
these issues will be resolved, the most likely scenario at this
point appears to be a VAT-put swap, and this was factored into
the recent review. Standard & Poor's will continue to monitor
the status of these two items and will assess the credit impact
of whatever resolution is achieved.

With the exception of the automotive sector, most end markets
served by the two companies have favorable outlooks at present.
This should translate into improved revenues and earnings over
the near-to-intermediate term. Kansas City Southern should also
continue to benefit from improved operating efficiency and
service metrics as a result of a transportation computer system
implemented several years ago that is helping the company manage
its rail operations more efficiently. Over time, the company
expects to implement this system at TFM, which should lead to
efficiency improvements there. Continuing high fuel prices will
likely still pose a challenge for both companies, although fuel
surcharges will likely offset the impact to a large extent at
Kansas City Southern and to an increasing extent at TFM.

Kansas City Southern's operating performance has improved over
the past year, and further gains are expected. Funds from
operations (FFO) to debt (adjusted for operating leases) was
about 19% in 2004 and adjusted debt to capital was about 47%.
Pro forma for the proposed refinancing, TFM's adjusted debt to
capital is in the mid-40% area, and adjusted FFO to debt is
estimated to be around 10%. Pro forma for the combined entity,
adjusted debt to capital is estimated to be in the low-60% area,
and adjusted FFO to debt is estimated to be in the low-teen
percentage area.


Liquidity is adequate at both companies. Kansas City Southern
recently increased its bank facility to improve its liquidity
position in anticipation of the TFM transaction. At March 31,
2005, Kansas City Southern had about $41 million of cash and
nothing outstanding under its $100 million revolving credit
facility. The bank agreement includes limitations on the
incurrence of additional debt, asset sales, mergers, and
restricted payments. In addition, it contains various financial
covenants, including minimum interest expense coverage and
leverage ratios. Kansas City Southern was in compliance with
covenants as of March 31, 2005. Adding to financial risk and
uncertainty in the near-to-intermediate term is the Mexican
government's right to exercise a put of its ownership interest
in TFM.


The Kansas City Southern credit facility consists of a $249.2
million term loan maturing in 2008 and a $100 million revolving
credit facility maturing in 2007. The facility is rated two
notches above the corporate credit rating with a recovery rating
of '1', indicating high expectation of full recovery of
principal in the event of default. The collateral package for
the credit facility consists of all shares of capital stock and
intercompany debt of the borrower and each present and future
domestic subsidiary; as well as all property and assets, real
and personal, including machinery and equipment, inventory,
accounts receivable, owned real estate, leaseholds, intangibles,
and cash. The current value of the collateral (which excludes
TFM assets) pledged to the credit facility is believed to be
higher than the net book value.

In assigning the bank loan rating, Standard & Poor's evaluated
the recovery prospects for secured lenders under a distressed
scenario using a discrete-asset-value approach. This methodology
incorporates downward adjustments to the values of accounts
receivable and inventory, as well as to property, plant, and
equipment, to reflect the stresses inherent in a default
scenario. Property (mostly track) comprises the bulk of the
collateral pool. The bank loan rating incorporates Standard &
Poor's expectation that the collateral package will retain
significant value in the event of a default or bankruptcy, as
Kansas City Southern's strategically located track and
facilities would be attractive to potential buyers, and that,
accordingly, there is a high expectation of full recovery of
principal (100%), given the pledged collateral pool.


The outlook is negative. Ratings assume that credit protection
measures will improve at both Kansas City Southern and TFM over
the next two years as a result of benefits from the acquisition
and from continuing healthy market fundamentals. Failure to
achieve the expected improvement could lead to a review of the
ratings for a downgrade. In addition, ratings reflect the
expectation that the VAT and government put issues will be
resolved without a material impact on credit quality. Should
Kansas City Southern be forced to pay the full amount of the put
option with no offsetting VAT proceeds, ratings could be
reviewed for a downgrade. Conversely, if the improvement in
credit protection measures does occur as expected, and if the
VAT and put issues are resolved without adverse financial
consequences, the outlook would likely be revised to stable.

Primary Credit Analyst: Lisa Jenkins, New York (1) 212-438-7697;

MAXCOM TELECOMUNICACIONES: To Launch Switchboard Services Soon
Mexico City-based Maxcom Telecomunicaciones, S. A. de C. V. is
scheduled to launch this week switchboard services for SMEs
using an HPBX switching center called Genus Voice System,
reports Business News Americas.

By outsourcing the service to Maxcom's platform, clients will be
able to cut access costs as they will not be required to
purchase equipment and will be able to manage their calls from a
PC, mobile phone, PDA or fixed line phone.

The new service is expected boost Maxcom's SME subscriber base
to 235,000 by year-end, up 17.5% from the current 200,000.

Meanwhile, Maxcom has seen excess demand for the recent
placement of MXN150 million (US$14.1mn) in bond certificates on
the local market, prompting the Company to suggest it may issue
further debt.

Maxcom is a telecommunication services provider for the
small- and medium-size business and for residential users in
Mexico City and the States of Puebla and Queretaro. Maxcom
started operations in 1999 and currently offers local and long
distance telephony services and data services. Additional
information can be found at:


PAN AMERICAN: New Silver-Rich Zones Discovered At Morococha Mine
Pan American Silver Corp. (PAAS: NASDAQ; PAA: TSX) announced
Thursday that 14,000 meters of exploration and infill drilling
conducted over the past six months at its 87% owned Morococha
mine in Peru has expanded known mineralized systems and has
identified several new silver-rich zones. As a result, proven
and probable reserves, measured and indicated resources and
inferred resources have expanded significantly.

Proven and probable reserves have increased 1.2 million tonnes
containing 6.4 million ounces of silver (100% basis). This
increase is net of production for the first half of this year.
Measured and indicated resources have increased by 1.0 million
tonnes, containing an additional 6.1 million ounces of silver,
and inferred resources have increased by 1.7 million tonnes at a
grade of 241 g/tonne silver.

The reserve and resource increases come primarily from three
newly discovered mantos as well as from the expansion of two
others previously identified. All of these mantos are large
mineralized ore deposits that are significantly thicker and
wider than the vein systems that have been the primary producers
on the property. As a result, it is expected that bulk
mechanized mining in these zones will be at a much lower cost.

Given the success of the exploration efforts to date, another
14,000 meters is scheduled for drilling through the remainder of
2005. The Company expects this program to convert resources into
proven and probable reserves and to further add to the reserve
base and mine life.

According to Pan American President and CEO, Geoff Burns,
"Morococha is an excellent example of how value can be added
with a focused exploration program properly executed on a high-
potential property. We are adding high-quality silver reserves
and resources for just pennies an ounce. These discoveries are
confirming what we believed when we decided to purchase
Morococha. This mine has the potential to deliver decades of
low-cost silver production."

The following table represents the Morococha mine (100%)
reserves and resources as at June 30, 2005.

          Tonnes     Grade   Grade   Grade   Grade   Contained
                    (g/t Ag) Zn(%)   Pb(%)   Cu(%)   Silver (Oz)

Reserves  2,309,110    201   4.19    1.52    0.41    14,922,151

Reserves    980,437    220   4.00    1.37    0.74     6,934,787

Total     2,126,285    162   3.04    1.40    0.28    11,074,579

Resources 9,283,418    241   3.94    1.75    0.38    71,930,932

(Mineral reserve estimates, measured and indicated resource
estimates and inferred resource estimates were prepared under
the supervision of or were reviewed by Michael Steinmann, P.Geo,
Vice-President Geology - Operations, the Qualified Person as
defined in NI 43-10. Drilling is ongoing and future results, as
well as results to date, will be reviewed and compiled into a
new reserve statement as of December 31, 2005.)

CONTACT: Pan American Silver
         Brenda Radies
         VP Corporate Relations
         Phone: (604) 684-1175


DIGITEL: Tax Agency Orders 2-Day Shutdown, Payment of Fine
Venezuela's tax agency Seniat closed Thursday the administrative
offices of cellular company Digitel, the country's third-largest
telecom, on alleged bookkeeping irregularities.

According to Dow Jones Newswires, Seniat officials ordered a
two-day closure and a payment of VEB159.5-million fine.

The order came after a review on Digitel's paperwork showed that
the Company's receipts didn't match information recorded in its
tax books.

Seniat officials assured that the closure will not affect
cellular phone service in any way.

PDVSA: Probe Finds No Mismanagement at US Refining Arm
The results of the investigation carried out by a subcommittee
of lawmakers from Venezuela's national assembly into CITGO
Petroleum Corp. showed that there was no mismanagement at the US
refining arm of state oil company PDVSA.

Business News Americas reports that the investigation had
focused on CITGO's decision in October 2004 to buy back US$550
million in bonds due 2011. The subcommittee's report concluded
that redeeming the debt before it fully matured was a sound
financial decision and one that helped Citgo.

"The less risky decision was taken in financial terms for Citgo,
since the capital structure was improved and the financial risk
diminished as well as the restrictions on repatriating dividends
to Venezuela," the report stated.

During the weeks of testimony, a picture emerged of a profitable
company that paid a record dividend of US$400 million last year.

Venezuela's energy and oil minister and PDVSA president Rafael
Rodriguez announced the CITGO investigation in March this year
following rumors that PDVSA is looking to get rid of the
subsidiary citing liquidity concerns.

Former CITGO officials have claimed that the Company was

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: May Have Terminated Lake Maracaibo E&P Activities
State oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) may have
discontinued its exploration and production activities (E&P) in
Lake Maracaibo, Business News Americas reports.

PDVSA have left idle about 30 barges in Lake Maracaibo, some for
more than a year and some ever since before President Hugo
Chavez took power in 1999. These barges are usually used for
exploration and production work.

Lake Maracaibo is the main production area for PDVSA's western
division which, according to PDVSA, is producing below its 2005

Earlier this year, several managers at the western division were
dismissed by company president and energy and oil minister
Rafael Ramirez, allegedly for incapacity and mismanagement.  

Ramirez had promised in January an E&P plan of about US$5.6
billion, which is US$600 million higher than last year.

By June, a series of E&P successes where reported by PDVSA
deputy E&P president Luis Vierma to the national assembly,
stating an addition of 51,000 barrels a day (b/d) to the present
production capacity of 2.2Mb/d.

Vierma said that PDVSA was going to drill about 1,200 new wells
this year, bringing the total to more than 14,000.

PDVSA: Experts Meet to Foster Productivity
Petroleos de Venezuela's (PDVSA) Exploration and Production
vice-president Luis Vierma made several announcements related to
the training plan for a new generation of workers in the state-
owned operator during the Meeting of Exploration and Production
Experts, held Tuesday, July 19, in Barinas.

"Training is the number one priority in the new PDVSA and thus
we are making decisions that will permit a group of young
engineers to take professional advancement courses both in
Venezuela and abroad. This will increase exploration and
production activities in our company", stated Vierma.

Franklin Angel, who works in the Central-Southern Division in
Apure area, was the first engineer selected to take a post-
graduate course in Madrid's Higher School of Energy in Spain.
Likewise, a group of managers will take a post-graduate course
in managerial training in the Complutense University of Madrid
and the University of Burgos, both in Spain.

It was also informed that the joint program between the French
Petroleum Institute (IFP) and the Venezuelan Petroleum
Technology Institute (INTEVEP) is already underway. This program
will benefit twenty students from the Exploration and Production
Areas and will be taught by a highly qualified group of

This technical training process is possible thanks to bilateral
agreements signed by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela's
government and countries such as Spain, Iran, Cuba, and Egypt.

Experts in Exploration and Production Meet in Barinas

A team of top managers from the East, West and Central-Southern
Divisions met Tuesday in the city of Barinas to give continuity
to the proposals and agreements attained during the Exploration
and Production Seminar, recently held in Puerto Ordaz.

On this occasion, each of the crude exploration and production's
proposals, schedules, actions, scopes and dimensions was
reviewed in order to consolidate our national oil industry.

"Our aim is to optimize our processes but this time in a fully
sovereign and socially aware company," declared Vierma to the

Vierma considered this work meeting as a propitious occasion to
debate new methods and technologies and to reaffirm PDVSA's
commitment with the Venezuelan people.

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:


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.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed
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