TCRLA_Public/060120.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

          Friday, January 20, 2006, Vol. 7, Issue 15

                            Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

AOL LATIN: Files Monthly Operating Report for November 2005
BANCO FRANCES: Reports Death of Vice President
DIGAR S.H.: Verification Ends March 23
INDUSODA S.A.C.I.: Liquidating Assets to Pay Debts


B A R B A D O S

BARBADOS: 2004-2005 Revenue Up by 1.7% to BBD$1.898 Billion


B E R M U D A

ANNUITY & LIFE: Transactions Under Master Agreement Completed
ASPEN INSURANCE: A.M. Best Affirms BB Rating on US$500-Mil Stock
BERMUDA & FIRE: Completes BBD$52-Mil ICBL Stock Acquisition
FOSTER WHEELER: Roger L. Heffernan Resigns from Board
LINES OVERSEAS: Wants Stay on SEC's 4 Administrative Subpoenas


B R A Z I L

BRAZIL: Discloses Country Has Four Months' Cash
TIBET S.R.L.: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders


C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S

CAYMAN LENDER: Creditors Given 30 Days to Submit Claims
CUFRA CONSULTING: Shareholders Resolve to Liquidate
EDGE INVESTMENT: Enters Voluntary Wind Up
LAMPADA LTD.: Appoints Paolo Giacomelli as Liquidator
PICO LTD.: To Lay Accounts on Liquidation Feb. 10


C H I L E

AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL: Subsidiary Gets Fitch's Negative Outlook


G U A T E M A L A

BANCO INDUSTRIAL: Outbids Two in Acquiring Banco de Occidente


J A M A I C A

DIGICEL: Telecom Network Expansion Plans Continue This Year
JAMAICA: S&P Affirms B Rating on Sovereign Debt


M E X I C O

BALLY TOTAL: Liberation Insists on Toback Ouster
BALLY TOTAL: Opens New Franchise in Seoul, Korea
CFE: Allocates MXN163 Billion Operating Budget for 2006


N I C A R A G U A

NICARAGUA: IMF Approves Reviews Under PRGF Arrangement


P A N A M A

COPA HOLDINGS: Continental Sells Nine Million Shares for $172Mil


U R U G U A Y

NUEVO BANCO: Earned US$18.6 Million in 2005
URUGUAY: IMF Completes Second Review of Stand-By Arrangement


V E N E Z U E L A

CANTV: Amount of Debt to Pensioners, Former Employees Undecided
PDVSA: Signs Agreement with IFP, Axens to Implement HDH Plus
PDVSA: Supplying $250 Million Worth of Oil to Argentina
* Moody's Says Latin American ABS & MBS Will Surpass US$14.5-Bil

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

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


AOL LATIN: Files Monthly Operating Report for November 2005
-----------------------------------------------------------
On Jan. 6, 2005, America Online Latin America, Inc., and its
debtor-affiliates, filed their monthly operating report for the
month ended November 2005, with the United States Bankruptcy
Court for the District of Delaware.

For the month ending Nov. 30, 2005, the Company's Income
Statement shows:
                                                  Net Income/
                                      Revenue     (Net Loss)
                                      -------     -----------
America Online Latin                       $0    ($91,276,904)
America, Inc.

AOL Latin America Management,         $70,000     ($1,126,621)
LLC

AOL Puerto Rico Management            $67,713       ($102,519)
Services, Inc.

America Online Caribbean Basin,      $967,335        $489,027
Inc.

At Nov. 30, 2005, the Company's balance sheet shows:

              America Online Latin America, Inc.
              __________________________________

      Current Assets                        $17,521,544
      Total Assets                          611,359,353
      Current Liabilities                     6,247,580
      Total Liabilities                     166,247,580
      Total Stockholders' Equity           $445,111,773


              AOL Latin America Management, LLC
              _________________________________

      Current Assets                        $13,647,804
      Total Assets                           13,739,186
      Current Liabilities                    27,371,691
      Total Liabilities                      27,371,691
      Total Stockholders' Deficit          ($13,632,505)


          AOL Puerto Rico Management Services, Inc.
          _________________________________________

      Current Assets                           $261,487
      Total Assets                              392,782
      Current Liabilities                     6,388,753
      Total Liabilities                       6,406,459
      Total Stockholders' Deficit           ($6,013,677)


             America Online Caribbean Basin, Inc.
             ____________________________________

      Current Assets                        $19,631,861
      Total Assets                           19,652,011
      Current Liabilities                      (843,164)
      Total Liabilities                        (843,164)
      Total Stockholders' Equity            $20,495,175

A full-text copy of America Online Latin America, Inc., and its
debtor-affiliates' Monthly Operating Report for the month ended
November 2005, is available at no charge at:

                http://ResearchArchives.com/t/s?44a

Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, America Online Latin
America, Inc. -- http://www.aola.com/-- offers AOL-branded
Internet service in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, and Puerto Rico,
as well as localized content and online shopping over its
proprietary network.  Principal shareholders in AOLA are
Cisneros Group, one of Latin America's largest media firms,
Brazil's Banco Itau, and Time Warner, through America Online.
The Company and its debtor-affiliates filed for chapter 11
protection on June 24, 2005 (Bankr. D. Del. Case No. 05-11778).
Pauline K. Morgan, Esq., and Edmon L. Morton, Esq., at Young
Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP and Douglas P. Bartner, Esq., at
Shearman & Sterling LLP represent the Debtors in their
restructuring efforts.  When the Debtors filed for protection
from their creditors, they listed total assets of $28,500,000
and total debts of $181,774,000.


BANCO FRANCES: Reports Death of Vice President
----------------------------------------------
Banco Frances S.A. announced in a letter sent on Jan. 16, 2006,
to the Bolsa de Comercio de Buenos Aires, Comision Nacional de
Valores and Mercado Abierto Electronico the death of Mr. Juan
Ignacio Gimenez Echeverria, the Company's vice president

BBVA Banco Frances S.A. provides financial services to
corporations and individuals in Argentina.  The company offers
deposit products, such as current accounts, sight accounts,
savings accounts, time deposits, and Cedros.  It also offers
investment banking products, such as trustees; international
banking services, including foreign trade services, such as
letters of credit, collections, bank drafts, fund transfers, and
foreign currency transactions; and capital market transactions,
such as stock exchange brokerage.  The company also provides
short and medium-term financing, such as overdrafts on demand
accounts, personal and mortgage loans, car financing, and credit
card financing, as well as offers notes discounted and working
capital financing.  It also manages pension and retirement
funds; provides insurance and insurance advisory services; and
offers telephone banking and Internet banking services.  The
company invests in the securities issued by the Argentine and
other governments, and private issuers.  As of December 31,
2004, it operated a network of 227 branches and 512 automatic
teller machines in 23 provinces of Argentina, as well as in the
city of Buenos Aires.  The company was founded in 1886.  It was
formerly known as Banco Frances del Rio de la Plata S.A. and
changed its name to BBVA Banco Frances S.A. in 2000.  The
company is based in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  BBVA Banco Frances
S.A. is a majority owned subsidiary of Banco Bilbao Vizcaya
Argentaria S.A.


DIGAR S.H.: Verification Ends March 23
--------------------------------------
The verification of creditors' claims against Digar S.H will end
on March 23, 2006, Infobae reports.

The Company was declared bankrupt by Santa Fe's civil and
commercial court after it defaulted on its debt obligations.
The liquidation pronouncement effectively places the Company's
affairs as well as its assets under the control of the court-
appointed trustee, who is tasked with the verification.  The
trustee will also prepare individual reports out of the
validated claims, and also present a general report on the
Company's case.

CONTACT:  Digar S.H.
          Aristobulo del Valle 4100
          Ciudad de Santa Fe


INDUSODA S.A.C.I.: Liquidating Assets to Pay Debts
--------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires-based Indusoda S.A.C.I. will begin liquidating its
assets following the pronouncement of the city's civil and
commercial court that the Company is bankrupt, reports Infobae.

The bankruptcy ruling places the Company under the supervision
of court-appointed trustee, Mr. Alfonso Enzo Michielin.  The
trustee will verify creditors' proofs of claim until March 8,
2006.  The validated claims will be presented in court as
individual reports on May 3, 2006.

Mr. Michielin will also submit a general report, containing a
summary of the Company's financial status as well as relevant
events pertaining to the bankruptcy, on June 21, 2006.

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

CONTACT:  Indusoda S.A.C.I.
          Mitre 1191
          Berazategui, Buenos Aires

          Mr. Alfonso Enzo Michielin, Trustee
          Aristobulo del Valle 742
          Quilmes, Buenos Aires


===============
B A R B A D O S
===============


BARBADOS: 2004-2005 Revenue Up by 1.7% to BBD$1.898 Billion
-----------------------------------------------------------
Barbados' revenue in the fiscal period for 2004/2005 increased
by 1.7% over the previous period to BBD$1.898 billion, CBC
reports.

The latest official data show that the corporation tax paid to
the treasury during this term went up 23%, while personal income
tax declined by eight per cent, CBC reports.  At the same time
expenditure increased to BBD$2.38 billion in the 2004/2005
period -- representing a 2.7% expansion over the previous
period.

                        *    *    *

Standard & Poor's on July 29, 2005, revised its outlook on
Barbados' long-term foreign and local currency sovereign credit
ratings to negative from stable, citing rising external
pressures due to high current account deficits.

An increase in external debt, much of it short-term, was also
a factor for the downward revision, Reuters said.  S&P also
cited its declining international reserves, deteriorating
external liquidity, and weakening of key liquidity indicators
in 2005-2006.


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


ANNUITY & LIFE: Transactions Under Master Agreement Completed
-------------------------------------------------------------
The transactions contemplated by the Master Agreement that
Annuity and Life Reassurance America, Inc., and Annuity and Life
Reassurance, Ltd., entered with subsidiaries Prudential Select
Life Insurance Company of America and Wilton Reinsurance Bermuda
Limited on Aug. 10, 2005, were consummated on Jan. 17, 2006,
which was the closing date.

The Master Agreement provided for the novation to or 100%
coinsurance by the Wilton Subsidiaries of all of the Annuity
Subsidiaries' life and annuity reinsurance treaties identified
in the Master Agreement, effective as of June 30, 2005.

As the Annuity Subsidiaries and the Wilton Subsidiaries did not
obtain the consent of the counterparties to certain Treaties,
which would have allowed those Treaties to be novated to the
appropriate Wilton Subsidiary, on the Closing Date, the
appropriate Annuity Subsidiary and Wilton Subsidiary entered
into Coinsurance Agreements providing for the 100% indemnity
coinsurance of such Treaties, effective as of the Effective
Date.  Approximately $1.1 billion of the Annuity Subsidiaries'
life insurance in force as of the Effective Date has been 100%
reinsured through the Coinsurance Agreements.

As a result of entering into a 100% indemnity coinsurance
arrangement covering the Treaties that were not novated, the
Annuity Subsidiaries continue to be bound, as reinsurers, by the
original Treaties with the primary insurer.  The appropriate
Wilton Subsidiary is, in turn, subject to the terms and
conditions of the applicable Coinsurance Agreement, obligated to
reimburse the appropriate Annuity Subsidiary for any payments
made under a coinsured Treaty.  In addition, the Coinsurance
Agreements provide that, beginning on the Transition Date, the
Wilton Subsidiaries will provide all administrative and
management services necessary to administer and manage the
Treaties covered by the Coinsurance Agreements, as well as any
associated ancillary agreements or retrocession agreements.

The Master Agreement requires the Annuity Subsidiaries and the
Wilton Subsidiaries to continue to use commercially reasonable
efforts to obtain the consent of each counterparty to each of
the Treaties that was not novated to allow the novation of such
Treaties to the Wilton Subsidiaries.  To the extent a Treaty is
novated to the Wilton Subsidiaries after the Closing Date, it
would no longer be covered by the Coinsurance Agreements.

The two Annuity companies are each a direct or indirect wholly
owned operating subsidiary of Annuity and Life Re (Holdings),
Ltd., while Prudential and Wilton Reassurance are each a direct
or indirect wholly owned operating subsidiary of Wilton Re
Holdings, Ltd.

Completion of Acquisition or Disposition of Assets

On the Closing Date, the Annuity Subsidiaries and the Wilton
Subsidiaries consummated the transactions contemplated by the
Master Agreement, effective as of the Effective Date.  As a
result, each of the Treaties has been novated to, or coinsured
by, the Wilton Subsidiaries.  The Treaties comprised all of the
Annuity Subsidiaries' remaining reinsurance treaties as of the
closing date.

At the closing, the Annuity Subsidiaries transferred to the
Wilton Subsidiaries the rights to certain funds withheld by
ceding companies that, at the effective date, had a value of
approximately $58.4 million.  Further, the Annuity Subsidiaries
transferred to the Wilton Subsidiaries certain investment assets
that had been purchased following the execution of the Master
Agreement for approximately $32.6 million, as well as cash in
the net amount of approximately $547,000.  In addition, pursuant
to the terms of the Master Agreement, within five business days
following the Closing Date, the Annuity Subsidiaries shall
calculate the cash flows arising from the Treaties and the
earnings on the invested assets transferred to the Wilton
Subsidiaries between the Effective Date and the Closing Date.
If such cash flows are positive, such positive amount will be
paid to the Wilton Subsidiaries.  If such cash flows and
earnings are negative, the negative of that amount will be
credited to the Annuity Subsidiaries.

The Annuity Subsidiaries will continue to administer the
Treaties in a manner consistent with current practices.  The
Wilton Subsidiaries will pay the Annuity Subsidiaries a fee of
$30,000 per month for these administration services and will
reimburse the Annuity Subsidiaries to the extent that the cost
of any approved third party engaged to provide such services
exceeds the $30,000 fee.

The Master Agreement also includes mutual indemnification
provisions covering, among other things, all costs and expenses
arising or resulting from any breach of any representation or
warranty, any breach of any covenant and certain excluded
liabilities.  Neither the Annuity Subsidiaries nor the Wilton
Subsidiaries will have any liability for indemnification with
respect to losses relating to breaches of representations or
warranties under the Master Agreement, unless and until the
total of all such losses exceeds $25,000, and then only for the
amount by which such losses exceed $25,000.  The total liability
for losses relating to breaches of representations or warranties
under the Master Agreement shall not exceed $2,000,000 in the
aggregate for the Annuity Subsidiaries, on the one hand, or the
Wilton Subsidiaries, on the other hand.  In order to secure
their indemnification obligations under the Master Agreement,
each of the Annuity Subsidiaries is required to maintain
statutory capital and surplus of at least $2,000,000 for 18
months following the Closing Date, and Annuity has agreed not to
take any action that would reduce the statutory capital and
surplus of the Annuity Subsidiaries below such levels.


ASPEN INSURANCE: A.M. Best Affirms BB Rating on US$500-Mil Stock
----------------------------------------------------------------
A.M. Best Co. has affirmed the financial strength rating of A
and the issuer credit rating of "a" of Aspen Insurance UK
Limited.  At the same time, A.M. Best has affirmed the ICR of
"bbb" of AIUK's ultimate parent, Aspen Insurance Holdings Ltd.
(Bermuda) and the debt rating of "bbb" on the USD 250 million 6%
senior notes issued by AHL.  Concurrently, A.M. Best has
affirmed the indicative ratings of "bbb" on senior unsecured
notes, "bbb-" on subordinated notes, "bb+" on junior
subordinated notes and "bb" on preferred stock of AHL's USD 500
million universal shelf registration filed in February 2005. The
outlook on all ratings has been revised to negative from stable.

The negative outlook reflects the expected level of Aspen
group's consolidated risk-adjusted capitalization at year-end
2005, taking into account A.M. Best's two-event stress test.
Although A.M. Best believes there is likely to be strengthening
in 2006-2007, this is based on anticipated improvement in
performance, which remains subject to significant volatility
derived from the group's substantial property catastrophe
account.

A.M. Best believes AIUK's risk-adjusted capitalization remains
excellent, factoring a GBP 87 million (US$150 million) capital
injection from AHL in January 2006 to compensate for the impact
of the 2005 hurricane season.  A.M. Best expects the maintenance
of AIUK's current level of risk-adjusted capitalization to be
highly dependent on a reduction in exposure to major loss events
implemented as part of a group-wide risk tolerance reassessment.
These measures help compensate for the potential volatility
incurred due to the proportion of property reinsurance
transferred to AIUK in 2006 as a result of a reciprocal quota
share arrangement with AHL's Bermudan operation, Aspen Insurance
Limited.

A.M. Best anticipates a strong profit after tax in 2006 and a
return on premium of more than 15% (factoring a return to normal
levels of catastrophe experience).  A.M. Best also expects a
combined ratio of between 85%-90% and a stable investment return
in excess of 3% in 2006. Despite exposure to the major
catastrophes in the second half of 2005, A.M. Best expects AIUK
to report a small profit after tax, although the combined ratio
is likely to increase significantly from the 79.3% recorded in
2004.

In A.M. Best's opinion, AIUK benefits from an excellent business
profile based on its well established book of property and
casualty reinsurance, primary U.K. commercial insurance, and
specialty insurance and reinsurance business (comprises marine
liability, hull, energy and aviation business).  A.M. Best
expects AIUK to report an increase in its gross premium written
of approximately 4% in 2006, resulting primarily from the
reciprocal quota share arrangement with AIL, and an anticipated
30% growth in its specialty account.


BERMUDA & FIRE: Completes BBD$52-Mil ICBL Stock Acquisition
-----------------------------------------------------------
Bermuda Fire & Marine Insurance Company has acquired 52% of the
Insurance Corporation of Barbados' stock for BBD$51.7 million,
CBC News reports.

ICBL's new chairman, Glenn Titterton, told CBC that he intends
to diversify the company's operations while expanding to other
regions.  Mr. Titterton added that he aims to strengthen ICBL's
position as a general insurer and find opportunities in the life
insurance market and other financial services.

Bermuda Fire has a presence in life, health and pension
insurance in Bermuda.

Mr. Titterton told reporters ICBL will remain a Barbados
company.


FOSTER WHEELER: Roger L. Heffernan Resigns from Board
-----------------------------------------------------
Mr. Roger L. Heffernan's resignation from the Board of Directors
of Foster Wheeler Ltd. took effect on Wednesday, Jan. 18, 2006.

Mr. Heffernan filed his resignation on Jan. 16, 2006.  He was a
member of the Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors.

Foster Wheeler Ltd. is a global company offering, through its
subsidiaries, a broad range of engineering, procurement,
construction, manufacturing, project development and management,
research and plant operation services.  Foster Wheeler serves
the refining, upstream oil and gas, LNG and gas-to-liquids,
petrochemical, chemicals, power, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology
and healthcare industries.  The corporation is based in
Hamilton, Bermuda, and its operational headquarters are in
Clinton, New Jersey, USA.

At Sept. 30, 2005, Foster Wheeler's balance sheet showed a
$375,004,000 equity deficit.


LINES OVERSEAS: Wants Stay on SEC's 4 Administrative Subpoenas
--------------------------------------------------------------
Jeannine Klein Menzies, writing for the Royal Gazette, reports
that Lines Overseas Management and its Managing Director Scott
Lines asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Colombia
to stay four administrative subpoenas from the U.S. Securities
and Exchange Commission.

The U.S. Appeals Court for the D.C. Circuit has granted an
administrative stay of those compliance orders to afford it more
time to consider the Lines Overseas' request, Ms. Menzies
reports.

District Judge Richard Roberts previously refused Lines
Overseas' one-month stay appeal of the four subpoenas.

The SEC wanted Mr. Lines and his company to produce information
including telephone recordings related to the agency's
investigation of market manipulation of Sedona Software
Solutions Inc. and SHEP Technologies Inc.  Mr. Lines argued that
complying with the SEC's demands will put them in violation of
Bermuda law.  The company has now asked the Bermuda Supreme
Court Puisne Justice Geoffrey Bell to decide on the requested
disclosure.


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


BRAZIL: Discloses Country Has Four Months' Cash
-----------------------------------------------
According to Bloomberg News, Brazil's Treasury Secretary said
that the country has enough cash for four months before having
to rely on selling debt.  The country wants to avoid the 2002
cash crunch that almost put it in default.  The country has
approximately $62 billion in cash reserves.

President Inacio Lula da Silva said that because of the
government's tight rein on its budget, it was able to boost
social spending to more than US$10 billion.  Inflation in the
country has also slowed for the fourth year in a row.

In Dec. 2005, Brazil paid all of its $15.5 billion debt to the
International Monetary Fund.


TIBET S.R.L.: Enters Bankruptcy on Court Orders
-----------------------------------------------
Tibet S.R.L. entered bankruptcy protection after Bahia Blanca's
civil and commercial court 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 Mr. Alberto Daniel
Annese as trustee.  Mr. Annese will be verifying creditors'
proofs of claim until the end of the verification phase on
March 14, 2006.

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 April 27, 2006, followed by the general report, which is due
on June 12, 2006.

CONTACT:  Tibet S.R.L.
          Castelar 1514
          Bahia Blanca (Buenos Aires)

          Mr. Alberto Daniel Annese, Trustee
          Alsina 19
          Bahia Blanca (Buenos Aires)


===========================
C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S
===========================


CAYMAN LENDER: Creditors Given 30 Days to Submit Claims
-------------------------------------------------------
                        Cayman Lender Ltd.
                    (In Voluntary Liquidation)
                   Companies Law (2004 Revision)

The following written resolution was passed by the sole
shareholder of Cayman Lender Ltd. on December 27, 2005:

THAT the Company be wound up voluntarily and that Christopher D.
Johnson and Russell Smith, of Chris Johnson Associates Ltd.,
Strathvale House, George Town, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands, be
and are hereby appointed Joint Liquidators for the purposes of
winding-up the Company and that either of them shall have the
power to act alone in the winding-up.

Creditors of the Company are required, within 30 days of the
publication of this notice, to send in their names and addresses
and the particulars of their debts and claims and the names and
addresses of their attorneys-at-law (if any) to the undersigned.
In default thereof, they will be excluded from the benefit of
any distribution made before such debts are proved.

Date of Liquidation: December 30, 2005.

CONTACT:  Messrs. Christopher D. Johnson and Russell Smith
          Joint Voluntary Liquidators
          Chris Johnson Associates Ltd.
          P.O. Box 2499GT, Strathvale House
          North Church Street, George Town
          Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
          Phone: (345) 946 0831
          Fax: (345) 946 0864


CUFRA CONSULTING: Shareholders Resolve to Liquidate
---------------------------------------------------
                      Cufra Consulting Ltd.
                   (In Voluntary Liquidation)
                The Companies Law (2004 Revision)

The following special resolution was passed by the shareholders
of Cufra Consulting Ltd. at an Extraordinary General Meeting
held on December 22, 2005:

RESOLVED THAT the Company be voluntarily wound-up and that Paolo
Giacomelli, of MBT Trustees Ltd., Grand Cayman, be appointed as
liquidator of the Company for that purpose.

Creditors of the Company are to prove their debts or claims on
or before February 6, 2006 and to establish any title they may
have under the Companies Law (2004 Revision), or to be excluded
from the benefit of any distribution made before such debts are
proved or from objecting to the distribution.

CONTACT:  Mr. Paolo Giacomelli, Voluntary Liquidator
          P.O. Box 30622 S.M.B.
          Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
          Telephone: 945-8859
          Facsimile: 949-9793/4


EDGE INVESTMENT: Enters Voluntary Wind Up
-----------------------------------------
               Edge Investment Offshore Fund, Ltd.
                   (In Voluntary Liquidation)
                      Notice of Liquidation
                The Companies Law (2004 Revision)

The following special resolution was passed by the shareholders
of Edge Investment Offshore Fund, Ltd. on December 21, 2005:

RESOLVED THAT the Company be voluntarily wound up and that
A.R.C. Directors Ltd, P.O. Box 10250 APO, Grand Pavilion
Commercial Centre, Suite # 7, 802 West Bay Road, Grand Cayman,
Cayman Islands, be and is appointed as liquidator of the Company
for that purpose.

Notice is hereby given that creditors of the Company are to
provide details of and prove their debts or claims to the
liquidator of the Company on or before January 23, 2006 and to
establish any title they may have under the Companies Law (2004
Revision) or to be excluded from the benefit of any distribution
made before such debts or claims are proved or from objecting to
the distribution.

CONTACT:  A.R.C. Directors Ltd., Voluntary Liquidator
          PO Box 10250 APO
          Grand Pavilion Commercial Centre
          Suite # 7, 802 West Bay Road
          Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

          Campbells
          4th Floor, Scotia Centre
          P.O. Box 884 George Town
          Grand Cayman, Ref: RCS

          Phone: 1 345 769 3400
          Fax: 1 345 769 3404


LAMPADA LTD.: Appoints Paolo Giacomelli as Liquidator
-----------------------------------------------------
                           Lampada Ltd.
                    (In Voluntary Liquidation)
                 The Companies Law (2004 Revision)

The following special resolution was passed by the shareholders
of Lampada Ltd. at an Extraordinary General Meeting held on
December 28, 2005:

Resolved that the Company be voluntarily wound-up and that Paolo
Giacomelli, of MBT Trustees Ltd., Grand Cayman, be appointed as
liquidator of the Company for that purpose.

Creditors of the Company are to prove their debts or claims on
or before February 6, 2006 and to establish any title they may
have under the Companies Law (2004 Revision), or to be excluded
from the benefit of any distribution made before such debts are
proved or from objecting to the distribution.

CONTACT:  Mr. Paolo Giacomelli, Voluntary Liquidator
          P.O. Box 30622 S.M.B.
          Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
          Telephone: 945-8859
          Facsimile: 949-9793/4


PICO LTD.: To Lay Accounts on Liquidation Feb. 10
-------------------------------------------------
                           Pico Ltd.
                  (In Voluntary Liquidation)
               The Companies Law (2004 Revision)

Pursuant to section 145 of the Companies Law (2004 Revision),
the final meeting of Pico Ltd. will be held at the registered
office of the Company on February 10, 2006, at 10:00 a.m.

Business:

1. To lay accounts before the meeting showing how the winding up
   has been conducted and how the property has been disposed of,
   to the date of final winding up on February 10, 2006.

2. To authorize the Liquidators to retain the records of the
   Company for a period of six years from the dissolution of the
   Company after which they may be destroyed.

Proxies: Any person who is entitled to attend and vote at this
meeting may appoint a proxy to attend and vote in his stead. A
proxy need not be a member or creditor.

CONTACT:  Mr. David A. K. Walker, Joint Voluntary Liquidator
          Aysha Jackson
          PO Box 219GT, Grand Cayman
          Cayman Islands
          Telephone: (345) 914 8695
          Facsimile: (345) 949 4590


=========
C H I L E
=========


AMERICAN INTERNATIONAL: Subsidiary Gets Fitch's Negative Outlook
----------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has downgraded its outlook on the Chilean annuity
subsidiary of U.S. insurance giant American International Group
Inc. (NYSE: AIG) to negative from stable after local Grupo
Security's recent takeover announcement.

Last week local financial holding Grupo Security offered 67bn
pesos (US$128mn) for 100% of AIG's Interamericana Rentas Seguros
de Vida in a deal expected to close before the end of the month.

The outlook downgrade acknowledges the company's lower financial
support after the takeover, Fitch said in a report.

AIG also owns Chile's second largest P&C insurer and life
insurer Interamericana Seguros de Vida.


=================
G U A T E M A L A
=================


BANCO INDUSTRIAL: Outbids Two in Acquiring Banco de Occidente
-------------------------------------------------------------
Corporacion BI, owner of Banco Industrial SA, won in a bidding
to acquire Guatemala's fifth largest bank, Banco de Occidente,
Ken Parks for Business News Americas reports.  The winning bid
amount was not disclosed.

Other bidders were Central Grupo Banistmo and BAC International
Bank, in which General Electric (NYSE: GE) owns a 49.99% stake.

Acquisition of Occidente would result in a 25% market share for
Banco Industrial, Business News relates.  Banco Industrial has
17.2 billion quetzals (US$2.26 billion) in assets.

Last year, the bank borrowed US$30 million from the World Bank's
International Finance Corporation to enable the bank "to play a
leading role in the ongoing consolidation of the domestic
banking sector by strengthening BI's capital base," Business
news says.

                        *    *    *

On Nov. 10, 2005, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed
its 'BB-/B' counterparty credit and CD ratings on Banco
Industrial S.A.  S&P said the outlook was stable.  At the same
time, it affirmed Banco Industrial's 'BBB-' bank survivability
assessment.


=============
J A M A I C A
=============


DIGICEL: Telecom Network Expansion Plans Continue This Year
-----------------------------------------------------------
As previously reported, mobile operator Digicel Limited sold
US$300 million of seven-year senior notes in the 144a private
placement market.  The bond attracted more than US$3 billion in
orders.  Citigroup Global Markets Inc. and J.P. Morgan were the
joint lead managers for the sale.

Digicel said in published reports that it intends to continue
its expansion plans this year using the proceeds from the sale
of the senior notes.

Digicel is the largest provider of wireless telecommunications
in the Caribbean with over 1.7 million subscribers and LTM
revenues of $477 million.

Digicel's $300 million 9-1/4% senior notes due Sept. 1, 2012, is
rated B3 by Moody's and B by Fitch.


JAMAICA: S&P Affirms B Rating on Sovereign Debt
-----------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said that it affirmed its 'B'
long- and short-term sovereign credit ratings on Jamaica. The
outlook remains stable.

According to Standard & Poor's credit analyst Olga Kalinina, the
ratings are supported by the government's ongoing commitment to
fiscal discipline and debt reduction amid external shocks.

"The ratings also reflect expected higher growth prospects,
boosted by the strong inflow of foreign direct investment in the
tourism and mining sectors," Ms. Kalinina said.  "The confidence
level of domestic businesses and international investors remains
strong, reflecting the government's timely and appropriate
policy response to adverse external developments.  Transparent
dialogue between the government and market participants
regarding economic
performance and policy direction are important ingredients of
Jamaica's stable investment and political environment," she
added.

Ms. Kalinina explained that, while economic growth may pick up,
the government faces a challenging task to generate fiscal
surpluses in 2006 and beyond.  Fiscal 2005 (ending March 31,
2006) is now expected to yield a general government deficit of
1.6% of GDP, below that targeted but a significant improvement
over fiscal 2004's 7% deficit.  A 1.5% of GDP general government
deficit is expected in fiscal 2006.  The two-year public sector
wage freeze expires in March 2006, and capital expenditure needs
remain high.

"Nevertheless, the government remains committed to fiscal
prudence and expects to support it with better tax
administration, simplification of the tax system, and further
restraining of capital expenditure where feasible,"
Mrs. Kalinina said.

Despite a worse-than-expected fiscal performance, government
debt is projected to decline to 127% of GDP at the end of fiscal
2005, down from 133% one year earlier.  Interest payments now
consume 43% of general government revenue, down from 53% in
fiscal 2004.

Real GDP growth is expected to rise to 2.5% in 2006, up from an
estimated 1.5% in 2005.  Medium-term growth is expected to hover
at about 2.5% of GDP, based upon significant investment in the
tourism and mining sectors.

"The stable outlook balances the expectation of prudent fiscal
policies and promising growth prospects with significant risk
stemming from the high interest- and foreign-exchange-rate
sensitive government debt and rising fiscal pressures," noted
Mrs. Kalinina.  "Standard & Poor's expects that higher economic
growth, continued popular support for the government's
stabilization program, and a disciplined fiscal stance will help
keep fiscal accounts in check.  If this scenario does not
materialize, however, missed fiscal targets in 2006 will likely
endanger public support for reform, macroeconomic stability, and
foreign-investor sentiment toward the country, all of which
will harm Jamaica's creditworthiness," she concluded.


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


BALLY TOTAL: Liberation Insists on Toback Ouster
------------------------------------------------
Bally Total Fitness Corp. shareholder Liberation Investments
continues to pressure the Company to fire Chief Executive Paul
Toback, Reuters reports.

The hedge fund, which owns about 14.4% of Bally's shares and
spearheads proposals at the Company, said that Bally
shareholders should be able to vote on Toback's record to show
what they think of his leadership.

Liberation's Chief Executive Emanuel Pearlman said that Toback
should welcome a referendum on his performance if he believes in
his own press. Mr. Pearlman accused the Company's public
relations team of trying to divert the focus away from the need
for real change at Bally and stated a report by Institutional
Shareholder Services in which the proxy advisory firm
recommended that shareholders support the election of a
dissident slate of directors.

However, Bally spokesman Matt Messinger explained that the
Company was trying to show shareholders the management's
successes and how management was moving the company forward.

"There's a real turnaround here, and we think that's the story,"
Mr. Messinger said.

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

                         *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Dec. 6, 2005,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services revised its CreditWatch
implications on Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp. to developing
from negative.  The corporate credit rating remains at 'CCC'.

Bally's ratings were originally placed on CreditWatch on
Aug. 8, 2005, following the commencement of a 10-day period
after which an event of default would have occurred under the
company's $275 million secured credit agreement's cross-default
provision and the debt would have become immediately due and
payable.  Subsequently, Bally entered into a consent agreement
with lenders to extend the 10-day period until Aug. 31,
2005.  Prior to Aug. 31, the company received consents from its
bondholders extending its waiver of default to Nov. 30, 2005.


BALLY TOTAL: Opens New Franchise in Seoul, Korea
------------------------------------------------
Bally Total Fitness, the nation's leader in health and fitness,
announced Wednesday the opening of a new franchise facility in
Seoul, Korea.  The new fitness center is the company's third
franchise in the area and plans for a fourth facility to open
this spring are already underway.  The new fitness club will
help meet Korea's growing need for health and fitness options
and will provide residents with another full service fitness
center to meet their needs.

According to Paul Toback, chairman and CEO of Bally Total
Fitness, the company has renewed its focus on franchising.
"Franchising is a key initiative for Bally Total Fitness and an
important part of our turnaround plan as it allows us to build
our brand and increase revenue without investing capital."

In the last decade, the percentage of overweight South Koreans
has jumped from 22 percent to 36 percent, increasing the demand
for fitness centers like Bally Total Fitness.  The South Korean
government is focusing heavily on ways to fight this epidemic
and is considering taking measures such as placing labels on
foods that are deemed unhealthy and cutting fast food
commercials from daytime television in order to fight obesity.

"We recognize the need for state-of-the-art, yet affordable
fitness centers in Seoul and are excited to offer residents
another Bally Total Fitness location.  We are expanding in the
South Korean market at an appropriate time given the
government's focus on health and fitness and are committed to
helping residents get fit and will continue to look for
additional growth opportunities," said Robert Moschorak,
managing director of franchise operations for Bally Total
Fitness.

The new facility, located in an affluent residential area of
Seoul, features a wide variety of cardio and resistance training
equipment, as well as a free weight area.  Group exercise
classes are also offered, with the most popular being Yoga,
Bosu(R) and Kwando(R).  The club also has a staff of 20 personal
trainers who are available to help members set goals and get
started on a workout program.  Other club amenities include
eight indoor golf lanes as well as a sauna, nail salon, juice
bar and sport massage therapy clinic, all within the facility.

The club is located at 12, Banpo-2dong, Seochu-gu, Seoul, 137-
042 Korea.

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

                         *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Dec. 6, 2005,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services revised its CreditWatch
implications on Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp. to developing
from negative.  The corporate credit rating remains at 'CCC'.

Bally's ratings were originally placed on CreditWatch on
Aug. 8, 2005, following the commencement of a 10-day period
after which an event of default would have occurred under the
company's $275 million secured credit agreement's cross-default
provision and the debt would have become immediately due and
payable.  Subsequently, Bally entered into a consent agreement
with lenders to extend the 10-day period until Aug. 31,
2005.  Prior to Aug. 31, the company received consents from its
bondholders extending its waiver of default to Nov. 30, 2005.


CFE: Allocates MXN163 Billion Operating Budget for 2006
-------------------------------------------------------
Mexico's state power firm Comision Federal de Electricidad or
CFE has set MXN163 billion (US$15.2 billion) operating budget in
2005, allocating about MXN17 billion for January 2006 alone,
which is the highest monthly amount budgeted for this year.

CFE revealed that the budget will mainly be used to pay salaries
and debt.

Expenses related to payroll, the Pidiregas public financing
scheme and other expenses account for MXN154 billion.

Expenses for debt and interest payments and some extra expenses
total MXN9 billion.

The budget includes resources from the federal budget.  There
were no details on the breakdown of monthly budgetary
allocations.

CFE is a state-owned integrated power company that dominates
generation, transmission and distribution in Mexico.  It has
20.6 million clients, 39,182km of transmission infrastructure,
156,647MVA transformation capacity and 163 generation plants
that at end-March 2003 had 40,350MW combined capacity.  Seventy
five per cent of sales are direct to the client, 24.5% are to
Mexico City distributor Luz y Fuerza del Centro and the
remaining 0.5% are exports.  The industrial sector accounts for
61% of direct sales, followed by residential (23%), commercial
(7%), agriculture (5%) and services (4%).

The company suffered increasing losses for 2003 and 2004.  CFE
incurred MXN6.2 billion loss in 2003, and MXN119 billion loss in
2004.


=================
N I C A R A G U A
=================


NICARAGUA: IMF Approves Reviews Under PRGF Arrangement
------------------------------------------------------
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund completed
Wednesday the seventh, eighth and ninth reviews of Nicaragua's
performance under its Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility
arrangement.  In completing the reviews, the Executive Board
approved Nicaragua's requests for a waiver of performance
criteria and an extension of the arrangement from February 28,
2006 to December 12, 2006.  In addition, the Executive Board
completed the financing assurances review under Nicaragua's PRGF
arrangement.

The completion of the reviews makes available SDR 13.9 million
(about US$20.1 million) for disbursement.  Nicaragua's three-
year PRGF arrangement amounting to SDR 97.5 million (about
US$140.9 million) was approved in December 2002.  Completion of
the latest reviews will bring total disbursements under the
arrangement to SDR 69.7 million (about US$100.7 million).

After the Executive Board's discussion of Nicaragua, Mr. Agustin
Carstens, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, issued the
following statement:

"Nicaragua's performance under the PRGF arrangement has
strengthened, as the domestic consensus for economic reforms has
been rebuilt despite a difficult political environment.  Key
policy measures under the PRGF-supported reform program have
been approved, including fiscal and financial sector reforms.
Nicaragua's recent approval of the US-Central America-Dominican
Republic Free Trade Agreement is also very welcome.

"Economic developments were broadly positive in 2005,
notwithstanding pressure from higher oil prices.  Output
continues to grow at a moderate pace, reserves have increased,
and the fiscal deficit has been contained, although the high
level of inflation remains a concern.  The IMF has granted
Nicaragua debt reduction under the Multilateral Debt Relief
Initiative, and the authorities are committed to using the
resources thus freed for poverty-reducing spending.  At the same
time, it is important to strengthen debt reduction efforts by
continuing negotiations with Nicaragua's creditors, including
non-Paris Club creditors.

"Nicaragua nevertheless continues to face important economic
vulnerabilities, in particular from a still-high public debt, a
large external current account deficit, and widespread financial
dollarization.

"The authorities' medium-term strategy focuses on boosting
growth through private sector development while maintaining
macroeconomic stability, to help further reduce poverty while
moving toward achieving the Millennium Development Goals.  Going
forward, the fiscal consolidation process will need to continue,
as will efforts to strengthen the investment climate so as to
take full advantage of the opportunities afforded by CAFTA-DR.

"The fiscal strategy for 2006 is centered on containing the
budget deficit, while preserving the room for poverty reducing
spending.  The authorities are committed to keeping growth of
the public sector wage bill in line with expected inflation to
maintain stability, protect competitiveness and avoid crowding
out poverty spending.  Steps have also been taken to eliminate
losses in the electricity sector, and the authorities intend to
review the legal framework for the sector to eliminate
distortional interventions that could deter needed investment.

"Nicaragua's key challenge going forward will be to strengthen
the fiscal framework to assure sustainability, and preserve the
space for needed investment and poverty-reducing spending.  In
this vein, tax administration will need to be strengthened,
including by revising the tax code.  It will also be important
to move ahead with reforms of the decentralization framework to
ensure that the transfer of revenues to municipalities is
matched by the devolution of spending responsibilities.  Focus
will also need to be placed on returning the public pension
system to actuarial soundness, and developing a credible fiscal
responsibility framework.

"The authorities have moved forward with reforms to strengthen
the financial sector, including the passage of important
financial sector legislation.  They plan to prepare a roadmap to
implement additional reforms recommended in the context of the
Financial Sector Assessment Program.

"The authorities are to be commended for their strong commitment
to the reform agenda, which has helped to maintain a stable
macroeconomic framework and set the stage for the implementation
of structural reforms that will be key to growth and poverty
reduction.  The authorities' focus on good governance and the
fight against corruption is also essential to achieving strong
and lasting growth and poverty alleviation.  At the same time,
Nicaragua will continue to depend on international support to
reinforce its reform efforts," Mr. Carstens said.


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


COPA HOLDINGS: Continental Sells Nine Million Shares for $172Mil
----------------------------------------------------------------
Joel Millman, writing for the Wall Street Journal, reports that
Continental Airlines sold the nine million shares it held in
Copa Holdings SA, operator of Panama's Compania Panamena de
Aviacion, or Copa Airlines.  The shares sold for $172 million in
an initial public offering.  It however, retained 30% of Copa's
Class A shares.  Continental bought the shares for $53 million
in 1998.

"Copa and Continental Airlines can retain all the commercial
benefits of our strategic alliance even after monetizing part of
our stake," Pete Garcia, Continental's vice president for Latin
America, told the Journal.

Industry analysts said in reports they believe that Continental
sold its shares to have a cash cushion to avoid bankruptcy.

                        *    *    *

On Dec. 14, 2005, Fitch Ratings affirmed the 'CCC' issuer
default rating of Continental Airlines, Inc. (NYSE: CAL).  Fitch
also affirmed Continental's senior unsecured rating of 'CC',
with a recovery rating of 'RR6'.  Continental's senior unsecured
rating applies to approximately $700 million of outstanding
debt.  Fitch said the Rating Outlook for Continental remains
Stable.


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


NUEVO BANCO: Earned US$18.6 Million in 2005
-------------------------------------------
Nuevo Banco Comercial aka NBC, Uruguay's largest private bank,
posted earnings of 451 million pesos (US$18.6 million) in 2005,
a 50% increase from the previous year, Business News Americas
reports.

The bank's operating profits soared 381% to 1.66 billion pesos,
with net service income increasing 19% to 248 million pesos.

NBC's assets fell 2% to 24.8 billion pesos while loans decreased
9% to 18.1 billion pesos at December 31, 2005.  However, its
past-due loan ratio hit 3.2% compared with 8.8% year-end 2004.

In September last year, Uruguay sold NBC to a syndicate led by
U.S. investment fund Advent International for US$167 million.
The deal awaits the central bank's approval. NBC was created in
March 2003 from the assets of three banks intervened and
suspended as a result of a run on deposits during the country's
financial crisis in 2002.


URUGUAY: IMF Completes Second Review of Stand-By Arrangement
------------------------------------------------------------
The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund completed
Wednesday the second review under the three-year, SDR766.3
million (US$1.11 billion) Stand-By Arrangement for Uruguay.
Completion of this review makes SDR 30.7 million (about US$44.3
million) immediately available to Uruguay.

In completing the review, the Board granted waivers for the
nonobservance of the end-November 2005 performance criterion on
reform of the police pension system, the nonobservance of the
end-December performance criterion on financial sector reform
based on the decision to keep the supervisory authority within
the central bank supported by Fund staff, and a waiver of
applicability for the end-December quantitative performance
criteria, for which data was not available.

The Executive Board also approved Uruguay's request for
extending repayment expectations arising between February and
December 2006-in an amount equivalent to SDR 540.9 million
(US$781.8 million)-to an obligation basis in 2007.

In commenting on the Board review, Mr. Agustin Carstens, Deputy
Managing Director and Acting Chair, said:

"Uruguay's performance under the Stand-By Arrangement continues
to impress.  Sound economic policies, adequate program
ownership, and generally favorable external financial conditions
have contributed to a strong recovery, low inflation, rising
international reserves and an improved debt outlook.  Still,
some macroeconomic vulnerabilities persist, and continued focus
on fiscal discipline, financial sector reforms, and
strengthening the investment climate will be necessary to ensure
sustained rapid growth and debt sustainability.

"The fiscal program is on track, and the medium-term fiscal
outlook is anchored by the recently approved budget for 2005-09
which envisages sustained large primary surpluses.  The
authorities' plans for deep fiscal reforms, both on the revenue
and expenditure sides, are well placed.  In particular, the
planned tax reform and ongoing efforts to strengthen tax
administration will be critical to ensure achievement of the
ambitious revenue targets in the budget.  The authorities'
renewed commitment to pension reform is equally welcome as an
important pillar of long-term fiscal sustainability.

"Monetary policy has successfully contained inflation in the low
single digits, and the central bank's focus on achieving the
program's inflation objective is appropriate.  Looking forward,
incipient inflationary pressures need to be monitored carefully,
and it will be important that the authorities follow up on their
commitment to adjust policies if necessary to safeguard the
inflation objectives.

"Financial sector reforms are progressing as programmed.  Draft
legislation submitted to congress to enhance the central bank's
autonomy, strengthen financial supervision, and improve the bank
resolution and deposit insurance frameworks will further upgrade
policy capabilities and reduce financial sector vulnerabilities.
An action plan to improve the ailing housing bank (BHU) has been
developed and the state bank (BROU) has continued to advance its
restructuring efforts.  An ongoing financial sector assessment
program (FSAP) is taking stock of the reform process, to help
identify the priorities for the future reform agenda.

"Uruguay has made a strong start under the Fund-supported
program adopted in mid-2005.  Executive Directors look forward
to a continued strong program implementation to ensure sustained
rapid growth and a lasting exit from Fund financial support,"
Mr. Carstens said.


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

CANTV: Amount of Debt to Pensioners, Former Employees Undecided
---------------------------------------------------------------
The amount that Cantv owes its pensioners and former employees
is yet to be decided.

Business News Americas reports that the central bank of
Venezuela BCV could be the entity to do the job.

According to an anonymous source, the decision to select the BCV
as the court-appointed expert in the case was apparently made by
the lower court judge, who was charged with determining the
amount of the Company's pension debt.

The bank, in theory, could refuse to accept the court's request.

The Company initially estimated its debt at VEB750 billion or
US$349 million while former employees claimed that the real
amount of debt is closer to US$800 million.  Analysts, however,
said that the amount could be anywhere between US$350 million
and US$2 billion.

No deadline has been set for determining the amount of debt,
said Cantv president Gustavo Roosen.

Compania Anonima Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela (CANTV) offers
telecommunications services.  The Company provides domestic and
international long distance telephone services throughout
Venezuela, wireless telephone services, and Internet access, and
publishes telephone directories.


PDVSA: Signs Agreement with IFP, Axens to Implement HDH Plus
------------------------------------------------------------
State oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela or PDVSA has entered an
accord with French oil institute IFP and Axens to implement its
HDH plus refining technology at its Puerto La Cruz and el Palito
refineries, Business News Americas reports.

The new heavy crude refining technology is developed by PDVSA
technology subsidiary Intevep to upgrade heavy and extra-heavy
crude from Venezuela's Orinoco oil belt.

About 235 billion barrels of Venezuela's 300Bb of crude reserves
are extra-heavy crude, mainly in the Orinoco oil belt.

Energy and oil Minister and PDVSA President Rafael Ramirez said
that the technology is suited for the treatment and processing
of reserves of heavy and extra-heavy crude. PDVSA also plans to
use HDH Plus for new international refining projects in South
American countries such as Uruguay, Ramirez added.

HDH Plus would allow PDVSA to increase production of high-
quality diesel, gasoline and other fuels for the international
market, said Jean Sentenac, chairman and CEO of Axen, IFP's R&D
technology arm.

IFP President Olivier Appert said, "This agreement deals with an
issue important for the world: the conversion of heavy crudes.
And all this thanks to the work by Intevep in the area of
conversion and also the progress made by IFP and Axens in the
area of hydro treatment for the processing and transformation of
this type of crude."

PDVSA is Venezuela's state oil company in charge of the
development of the petroleum, petrochemical and coal industry,
as well as planning, coordinating, supervising and controlling
the operational activities of its divisions, both in Venezuela
and abroad.


PDVSA: Supplying $250 Million Worth of Oil to Argentina
-------------------------------------------------------
State oil company Petroleos de Venezuela or PDVSA will supply
$250 million worth of oil to Argentina.

According to Industrialinfo.com, about five million barrels of
crude oil will be delivered to Argentina within the next year.
It will be paid with pregnant cows, hospital elevators, and
equipment to improve the production of animal husbandry in
Venezuela.

Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and his Argentine
counterpart Nestor Kirchner have agreed to build a $4 billion
gas pipeline.

The pipeline, spanning more than 12,000 kilometers between the
two countries, will start in Venezuela's Atlantic fields and the
Caribbean (which contain 56% of Latin America's gas reserves)
and run to Rio de la Plata (Argentina) as part of a network
including Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay.

"The outlining, route, connections, cost, period of completion
and start of operation correspond to a feasibility study for
which we will call for auction," Kirchner explained.

PDVSA is Venezuela's state oil company in charge of the
development of the petroleum, petrochemical and coal industry,
as well as planning, coordinating, supervising and controlling
the operational activities of its divisions, both in Venezuela
and abroad.


* Moody's Says Latin American ABS & MBS Will Surpass US$14.5-Bil
----------------------------------------------------------------
Latin American asset-backed securities and mortgage-backed
securities in both domestic and cross-border markets in 2006
should top last year's US$14.5 billion issuance, says Moody's
Investors Service in a new outlook and year-in-review report for
the region.

Major trends that were present last year in local markets should
continue into 2006, with increased volume, more structured
finance participants, and expansion into new asset types.
Mexico and Brazil, Latin America's two biggest economies, which
last year accounted for 72% of the region's domestic volume,
should once again set the pace, says Moody's analyst Maria
Muller, author of the report.

Looking at specific markets for 2006, Mexico, the largest market
in Latin America, should see more securitizations of first-lien
mortgages and construction loans by the Sofoles.  "The Mexican
housing market should remain an attractive space for
international players in 2006, as it was in 2005," says Moody's
analyst Chris Corcino, co-author of the report.

"Cross-border transactions should remain low in relation to
domestic issuance because of the likely continuation of
favorable domestic and international market conditions for
Brazilian issuers, who traditionally issue the bulk of cross-
border market structured finance debt in Latin America.
However, there remains strong investor appetite for cross-border
structured bonds from Latin American issuers because of strong
historical deal performance," adds Muller.

Cross-border issuance is expected from Central American
financial entities, some Brazilian entities, and Mexican housing
sofoles.

2005 in Review

Overall, combined domestic and cross-border issuance of ABS and
MBS increased 31% to approximately US$14.5 billion in 2005, up
from US$11.1 billion a year earlier.

"The increase was driven once again by robust growth in domestic
market issuance, especially in Brazil, Mexico, and Argentina.
Domestic market issuance grew to US$12.2 billion from US$8.1
billion in 2004," Muller says.

Domestic market issuance surpassed the volume of cross-border
market issuance for the second year in a row since Moody's
started publishing its annual review in 1998.

"Growth in the domestic Latin American markets has skyrocketed
over the last two years.  An important driver of this growth is
that local investors have become more familiar with structured
finance products, and many now consider them viable investment
alternatives to the government paper that institutional
investors typically buy," the analyst says.

Also, international investors (including hedge funds) are now
part of the investor base that is looking for opportunities in
local Latin American securitizations.

In addition, many countries are enjoying historically low
inflation rates, which has allowed many monetary authorities to
maintain or lower domestic interest rates across the region.
Low and stable inflation and domestic interest rates are
particularly conducive to capital market deepening.

In Mexico, its $4.8 billion of issuance was led by credit-linked
obligations and deals backed by mortgages and mortgage-related
assets.

In Brazil, last year's volume of $3.9 billion was fueled by the
use of cost-effective issuing vehicles Fundos de Investimentos
em Direitos Credit˘rios that accounted for 88% of domestic
issuance. The main asset type backing securitizations was
domestic future flows.

The Argentine securitization market, which represents about 15%
of the region's volume, continued to show signs of strengthening
during 2005, with issuance rising to $1.8 billion.  Personal and
consumer loans back a large percentage of securitizations in
Argentina.

"Securitizations of personal and consumer loans are becoming
very popular in the local markets, particularly in Brazil and
Argentina.  In 2005, they surpassed MBS as the asset with the
second-largest securitized volume.  These deals -- which
typically securitize receivables owed to chain retailers,
supermarkets, and regional banks -- accounted for 17% of total
domestic issuance in 2005," Corcino says.

The volume of Latin American cross-border securitizations
decreased to US$2.3 billion in 2005 from US$3.0 billion in 2004,
a 23% decline.

"A principal factor contributing to the decline in 2005 was that
frequent cross-border issuers, especially those domiciled in
Brazil, continued to find alternative funding sources at
attractive rates outside the securitization arena," adds Muller.

A key development was the first issuance of cross-border deals
backed by existing assets (take-out securitizations of
construction loans) in Mexico.  Prior to 2005, existing asset
securitizations were limited to domestic issuance only.

The report goes onto list each country in the region that
participated in the structured finance markets and the dollar
amount of its issuance.

The report is titled "2005 Review and 2006 Outlook: Latin
American ABS/MBS -- Domestic Market Issuance Drives the Growth,
While Cross Border Issuance Takes a Backseat."


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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 2006.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

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