TCRLA_Public/060207.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

          Tuesday, February 7, 2006, Vol. 7, Issue 27

                            Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

DOUGLAS GROUP: Trustee Validates Claims until March 31
IDIAMAR S.R.L.: Claims Verification Phase Ends on April 20
LA NUBECITA: Proof of Claims to be Verified until April 6
LE PLACE: Trustee to Stop Accepting Claims on March 27
REPSOL YPF: Lowers Oil Reserves in Argentina by 509 Mil. Barrels

SERVICIOS MEDICOS: Verification Deadline Fixed on May 21
TELECOM ARGENTINA: State of Mendoza Resets $18 Mil. Auction
TELEFONICA DE ARGENTINA: Mendoza Revives $18 Mil Auction


B E R M U D A

CAPITAL RECRUITMENT: Claims to be Verified until February 23
DIGICEL: Assures Blackberry Services Won't Be Suspended
ENERGY & TECHNOLOGY: Appoints Provincial Liquidator
LORAL SPACE: Michael B. Targoff Elected Chief Executive Officer
MAN-QUANTITIVE: Liquidator Will Accept Claims Until Feb. 15

OVERSEAS PARTNERS: Claims to be Validated by March 31
REFORMATION GROUP: Proofs of Claim Deadline Set at Feb. 17
WILLIAMS INT'L (BERMUDA): Creditors to Present Claims by Feb. 15
WILLIAMS INT'L (ECUADORIAN): Claims Verification Ends Feb. 15


B R A Z I L

ACINDAR: Techint Completes Acquisition of Company's Tubes Unit
AOL LATIN: Inks Severance Agreement with President & CEO
BANCO DO BRASIL: Government Launches US$1.55 Billion PPP Fund
CEMIG: Minas Gerais Brings in BRL22.5MM for Hydro Power Project
CSN: Paying US$421 Million in Dividends on February 9

CVRD: Deutsche Bank Lowers Caemi Target Price to US$1.78
FURNAS CENTRAIS: Gets Concessions for 3 Hydroelectric Projects
GERDAU: Launches Scrap Recycling, Dedusting Systems in Aconorte
TELEMAR: Adopts DigitalGlobe's High-Resolution QuickBird Imagery


C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S

ALPHAMIX FUND: Authentication of Claims Ends on February 24
CHANDLER INVESTMENT: Liquidators to Verify Claims until Feb. 24
HARBERT FIXED (MASTER): Verification of Claims Ends on Feb. 24
QUADIX VOLATILITY: Creditors Have Until Feb. 24 to Submit Claims


C O L O M B I A

COLOMBIA TELECOM: Acquires Batelsa for COP208 Billion


H O N D U R A S

BANADESA: Banking Reg. Wants More Capital to Prevent Closure


J A M A I C A

NATIONAL WATER: Seeks to Restore Profit Through Waste Reduction


M E X I C O

GRUPO ELEKTRA: Subsidiary's Profits Doubles in 2005


P U E R T O   R I C O

DORAL FINANCIAL: Completes Consent Solicitation for 2016 Notes
DORAL FIN'L: Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend on Common Stock
MUSICLAND HOLDING: Walks Away from 68 Real Property Leases
MUSICLAND HOLDING: Wants to Maintain Existing Insurance Policies


T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

RBTT FINANCIAL: Reports US$129 Million in Pre-Tax Earnings


U R U G U A Y

COFAC: Fitch Downgrades Currency Debt Ratings to 'D'


V E N E Z U E L A

BANPLUS: Central Bank Approves Sale to Privatize Company
PDVSA: Proposes Increases in Royalty and Tax Rates
* Appropriating $3.25 Billion to Create Eleven Companies
* VENEZUELA: S&P Raises Long-term Credit Rating to Lower BB-

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

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A R G E N T I N A
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DOUGLAS GROUP: Trustee Validates Claims until March 31
------------------------------------------------------
Court-appointed trustee Jorge Blazquez will validate claims
forwarded by the creditors of bankrupt company Douglas Group
S.A. until March 31, 2006, reports La Nacion.  Creditors who
fail to present their claims will be disqualified from the
payments that will be made after the company's assets are
liquidated.

Mr. Damian Martinez Lahitou successfully sought for the
bankruptcy of Douglas Group S.A. before Court No. 9 of Buenos
Aires' civil and commercial tribunal.

The city's Clerk No. 18 assists the court on the case that will
close with the sale of all of its assets.

Douglas Group S.A. can be reached at:

         Bruselas 567
         Buenos Aires

Mr. Jorge Blazquez, the trustee, can be reached at:

         Fray Justo Santa Maria de Oro 2381
         Buenos Aires


IDIAMAR S.R.L.: Claims Verification Phase Ends on April 20
----------------------------------------------------------
The verification phase for the creditors' claims against
bankrupt company Idiamar S.R.L. will end on April 20, 2006,
reports Argentine daily La Nacion.  Creditors who fail to
submit the required documents by the said date will not qualify
for any post-liquidation distributions.  Mr. Miguel Rudnitzky,
the court-appointed trustee, is assigned for the verification.
Court No. 21 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal --
with the assistance of Clerk No. 41 -- declared local company
Idiamar S.R.L. bankrupt in favor of the bankruptcy petition
filed by Mr. Manuel Rojas, whom the Company has debts amounting
to $6,670.

Idiamar S.R.L. can be reached at:

         Vuelta de Obligado 1550
         Buenos Aires

Mr. Miguel Rudnitzky, the trustee, can be reached at:

         Uruguay 328
         Buenos Aires


LA NUBECITA: Proof of Claims to be Verified until April 6
---------------------------------------------------------
La Nubecita Blanca S.R.L.'s creditors must present proofs of
claim to Mr. Jose Angel Tsanis -- the trustee appointed by the
court for the company's liquidation -- on or before April 6,
2006.

Infobae relates that the validated claims will serve as basis
for the individual reports, which the trustee will present in
court on May 24, 2006.  The submission of the general report on
the case will also follow on July 7, 2006.

La Nubecita Blanca S.R.L. entered bankruptcy protection after a
Lomas de Zamora court ordered the company's liquidation for
defaulting on its debt payments.

La Nubecita Blanca S.R.L. can be reached at:

         Madariaga 374/86
         Avellaneda (Buenos Aires)

Mr. Jose Angel Tsanis, the trustee, can be reached at:

         Mariano Acosta 137
         Avellaneda (Buenos Aires)


LE PLACE: Trustee to Stop Accepting Claims on March 27
------------------------------------------------------
Ms. Elisa Tomatti, the trustee appointed by Court No. 9 of
Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal for the Le Place
S.R.L. bankruptcy, will stop accepting claims from the company's
creditors on March 27, 2006, La Nacion reports.  The validation
of claims is done to determine the nature and amount of the
company's debts.  Creditors who fail to present their proofs of
claims to Ms. Tomatti will be excluded from any distribution or
payment that the company would make.

La Nacion relates that the court, with the assistance of Clerk
No. 18, declared Le Place S.R.L. bankrupt in favor of the
petition filed by the company's creditor, Ms. Marta Idiarte de
Berrino, for nonpayment of $28,200.33 in debt.

Le Place S.R.L. can be reached at:

         Mansilla 3802
         Buenos Aires

Ms. Elisa Tomatti, the trustee can be reached at:

         Rodriguez Pena 110
         Buenos Aires


REPSOL YPF: Lowers Oil Reserves in Argentina by 509 Mil. Barrels
----------------------------------------------------------------
Repsol YPF lowered its proven reserves by 509 million barrels of
oil equivalent due to uncertainty over contract extensions and
difficulties in extracting gas from certain fields, the Wall
Street Journal reports.

Antonio Brufau, Repsol's Chairman and Chief Executive told a
staff at the Journal that the revisions would lower Repsol's
reserve replacement rate -- the amount of new oil and gas
reserves added annually to replace production each year -- from
32% to about 20% this year.  Mr. Brufau said that the company,
which typically has been weaker than its peers at finding new
oil and gas, would seek to boost its exploration and production
activities, but through organic growth rather than acquisitions.

"Repsol still face[s] a lot of challenges upstream, but at least
now, they know where they are starting from -- it is sort of a
clean slate," said Derek Butter, head of corporate analysis at
energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie, in Edinburgh, Scotland, to
the Journal.

As previously reported, Repsol also lowered its reserves in
Bolivia by 25% to 1.25 billion barrels of oil due to alleged
political uncertainy and technical reassessments of gas fields
in that region.

                        *    *    *

On June 20, 2005, Moody's Investors Service upgraded the ratings
of Spanish oil company Repsol YPF's local subsidiary YPF S.A.
Moody's upgraded YPF's senior unsecured rating to Ba3 from B1
and the unit's domestic currency issuer rating to Baa2 from
Baa3.

YPF's foreign currency issuer rating of Caa1 remained unchanged,
as it is constrained by the sovereign ceiling of Argentina.
YPF's Corporate Family Rating (formerly known as the senior
implied rating) is aligned with the foreign currency issuer
rating at Caa1.


SERVICIOS MEDICOS: Verification Deadline Fixed on May 21
--------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Servicios Medicos S.R.L. must present proofs of
claim against the company by March 21, 2006, reports Infobae.
Trustees Alejandro P. Garriga, Jose Alberto Cmet, Ricardo Omar
Castro are tasked to validate the forwarded claims.

The trustees will prepare individual reports out of the
validated claims and present it in Cordoba's court for approval
on May 24, 2005.

A general report on the case is also expected in court on Sep.
25, 2006.

On March 30, 2007, the company's creditors will vote on the
settlement proposal prepared by the company.

Servicios Medicos S.R.L. can be reached at:

         Naciones Unidas 984
         Barrio Parque Velez Sarsfield
         Ciudad de Cordoba (Cordoba)

Messrs. Alejandro P. Garriga, Jose Alberto Cmet, Ricardo Omar
Castro, the trustees, can be reached at:

         Pasaje Turrado Juarez 2125
         Barrio Colinas de Velez Sarsfield
         Ciudad de Cordoba (Cordoba)


TELECOM ARGENTINA: State of Mendoza Resets $18 Mil. Auction
-----------------------------------------------------------
As previously reported, Mendoza, Argentina, was closed to
awarding an $18 million contract to Telefonos de Mexico aka
Telmex for the implementation of a communication system for the
local police.

Telecom Argentina S.A. and Telefonica de Argentina S.A.
questioned Telmex's capacity to provide the telecom services
under the award.  The two telephone companies brought the matter
before a provincial court after their proposals were turned
down, leaving Telmex's proposal on the table.

Telefonica and Telecom Argentina said they had met all of the
requirements for the contract and believed the government's
decision was arbitrary.

As a result, the province of Mendoza cancelled the previous
auction and will hold a new tender in which the three bidders
are expected to re-submit bids for the contract.

No date has been set for the new auction.


Mendoza is planning to install a communications system with the
capacity to transmit images and other data.  When completed, the
system will allow the provincial police to monitor traffic
patterns, identify drivers and vehicles, and better coordinate
law enforcement resources.

Telmex -- http://www.telmex.com.mx-- is Mexico's incumbent
telco with control of about 95% of the country's fixed line
infrastructure.  The company and its subsidiaries offer a wide
range of advanced telecommunications, data and video services,
internet access as well as integrated telecom solutions for
corporate customers.

Headquartered in Buenos Aires, Telecom Argentina S.A. --
http://www.telecom.com.ar/index-flash.html-- is the fixed-line
operator for local and long-distance services in northern and
southern Argentina.  It also provides cellular and PCS phone
services in Argentina, as well as in Paraguay through a 68%
stake in Núcleo.  France Telecom formerly controlled the company
through its Nortel Inversora venture with Telecom Italia.
France Telecom sold most of its stake in 2003 to the Werthein
Group, an Argentine agricultural concern owned in part by vice
chairman Gerardo Werthein. Nortel continues to be Telecom
Argentina's largest shareholder with a 55% stake.  Nortel is
owned by Sofora, a consortium owned by Telecom Italia (50%), the
Werthein Group (48%), and France Telecom (2%).

                        *    *    *

Telecom Argentina's $64,128,000 and $54,124,000 notes due Oct.
15, 2014, carry Standard & Poor's and Fitch's B- ratings.


TELEFONICA DE ARGENTINA: Mendoza Revives $18 Mil Auction
--------------------------------------------------------
As previously reported, Mendoza, Argentina, was closed to
awarding an $18 million contract to Telefonos de Mexico aka
Telmex for the implementation of a communication system for the
local police.

Telecom Argentina S.A. and Telefonica de Argentina S.A.
questioned Telmex's capacity to provide the telecom services
under the award.  The two telephone companies brought the matter
before a provincial court after their proposals were turned
down, leaving Telmex's proposal on the table.

Telefonica and Telecom Argentina said they had met all of the
requirements for the contract and believed the government's
decision was arbitrary.

As a result, the province of Mendoza cancelled the previous
auction and will hold a new tender in which the three bidders
are expected to re-submit bids for the contract.

No date has been set for the new auction.

Mendoza is planning to install a communications system with the
capacity to transmit images and other data.  When completed, the
system will allow the provincial police to monitor traffic
patterns, identify drivers and vehicles, and better coordinate
law enforcement resources.

Telmex -- http://www.telmex.com.mx-- is Mexico's incumbent
telco with control of about 95% of the country's fixed line
infrastructure.  The company and its subsidiaries offer a wide
range of advanced telecommunications, data and video services,
internet access as well as integrated telecom solutions for
corporate customers.

Headquartered in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Telefonica de
Argentina S.A. -- http://www.telefonica.com.ar/-- provides
telecommunication services which include telephony business both
in Spain and Latin America, mobile communications businesses,
directories and guides businesses, Internet, data and corporate
services, audiovisual production and broadcasting, broadband and
Business-to-Business e-commerce activities.

                        *    *    *

Telefonica's $148,200,000 and $134,644,000 notes due Aug. 1,
2011, carry Standard & Poor's B- rating and Fitch's B rating.


=============
B E R M U D A
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CAPITAL RECRUITMENT: Claims to be Verified until February 23
------------------------------------------------------------
The claims of creditors against Capital Recruitment Limited --
company in voluntary liquidation -- will be verified until Feb.
23, 2006.  Mr. John C. McKenna, the liquidator, will not accept
claims forwarded later than the said date.

Creditors must submit their names, addresses and the particulars
of their debts or claims to Mr. McKenna.  The liquidator may
require the creditors to prove their claims at the time and
place that the liquidator shall specify.  Creditors who fail to
have their claims authenticated will be excluded from the
benefit of any distribution or payment that the company will
make.

A final general meeting is set for March 16, 2006.  It will be
held at Reid Hall, 3 Reid Street, Hamilton at 9:30 a.m., or as
soon as possible, for the purpose of:

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

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

   3) by resolution dissolving the company.

Capital Recruitment Limited was wound up voluntarily on Jan. 27,
2006.

Mr. John C. McKenna, the liquidator, can be reached at:

         Reid Hall, 3 Reid Street
         Hamilton, Bermuda


DIGICEL: Assures Blackberry Services Won't Be Suspended
-------------------------------------------------------
Cheryl Packwood, Digicel Limited's general manager told Lilla
Zuill at the Royal Gazette, that Blackberry users in Bermuda
need not worry about service interruption as a result of NTP
Inc.'s legal actions against Research In Motion Ltd., the
device's manufacturer.  The Blackberry technology includes
wireless email solution, wireless handhelds and wireless modems.

Ms. Packwood is confident that RIM's workaround solution in an
event of an injunction will keep Bermuda users online.

Ontario-based RIM has been locked in dispute with closely held
NTP Inc. over claims that RIM has used NTP patented technology
without permission.  NTP is seeking an injunction to halt
Blackberry service to U.S. users.

RIM lost one round in the legal battle, with the U.S. Supreme
Court turning down a request to review issues surrounding the
international reach of U.S. patent law.  A ruling on the
injunction request is expected this month.

                        *    *    *

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.


ENERGY & TECHNOLOGY: Appoints Provincial Liquidator
---------------------------------------------------
Mr. Michael W. Morrison has been appointed as the provincial
liquidator of Energy & Technology Company, Ltd.  Mr. Morrison
will supervise the company's liquidation and verify claims from
the creditors.

Mr. Michael W. Morrison, the provincial liquidator, can be
reached at:

         KPMG Financial Advisory Services Ltd.
         Crown House, 4 Par- La-Ville Road
         Hamilton, HM 08, Bermuda


LORAL SPACE: Michael B. Targoff Elected Chief Executive Officer
---------------------------------------------------------------
The board of directors of Loral Space & Communications Inc.
announced Thursday that -- in connection with the retirement of
Bernard L. Schwartz, effective March 1, 2006 -- Michael B.
Targoff has been elected chief executive officer of Loral.  Mr.
Targoff has served since November 2005 as vice chairman of
Loral's board.  The position of non-executive chairman will be
assumed by Dr. Mark H. Rachesky.

"The knowledge of both the company and the industry that Mickey
Targoff has accumulated over his long relationship with Loral
will certainly serve the company well and we are fortunate that
he has accepted this new assignment," stated Mr. Schwartz.
"From 1981 to 1998, as general counsel and ultimately as
president and chief operating officer of Loral, Mickey displayed
all the capabilities we value at Loral: a strong grasp of the
complexities of the satellite industry, integrity, respect for
our employees and the vision to build long-term value for our
constituents.  The continuity Mickey brings to Loral's
management team will be very advantageous and I'm confident the
company will prosper under his leadership."

Mr. Targoff said, "I am honored to follow Bernard Schwartz as
CEO of Loral and enthusiastic about the opportunity to lead the
company.  Loral's resources, capabilities and market leadership,
as demonstrated by its excellent performance during its
reorganization, provide a solid platform for renewed prosperous
growth.  I am gratified by the board's endorsement and buoyed at
the prospect of working again with the corporate and operations
executives led by president and COO Eric Zahler."

Mr. Targoff is the founder of Michael B. Targoff & Co., which
has sought active or controlling investments in
telecommunications and related industry early stage companies.
He also is chairman of the board of Communication Power
Industries and Leap Wireless International, Inc., and serves as
chairman of their audit committees.  Mr. Targoff is a director
of ViaSat, Inc., and is non-executive chairman of three private
telecom companies.  He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from
Brown University and his Juris Doctor from Columbia University
School of Law, where he was a Hamilton Fisk Stone Scholar and
Editor of the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems.

Dr. Rachesky is a co-founder and the president of MHR Fund
Management LLC, managers of various private funds that invest in
distressed and deeply undervalued middle-market companies.  He
currently serves as non-executive chairman of the board of
directors of Leap Wireless International, Inc., and is on the
board of directors of Emisphere Technologies, Inc., among
others.

Loral Space & Communications (NASDAQ: LORL) is a satellite
communications company.  It owns and operates a fleet of
telecommunications satellites used to broadcast video
entertainment programming, distribute broadband data, and
provide access to Internet services and other value-added
communications services.

                     About Loral Space

Loral Space & Communications -- http://www.loral.com/-- is a
satellite communications company.  It owns and operates a fleet
of telecommunications satellites used to broadcast video
entertainment programming, distribute broadband data, and
provide access to Internet services and other value-added
communications services.  Loral also is a world-class leader in
the design and manufacture of satellites and satellite systems
for commercial and government applications including direct-to-
home television, broadband communications, wireless telephony,
weather monitoring and air traffic management.

The Company and various affiliates filed for chapter 11
protection (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Case No. 03-41710) on July 15,
2003.  Stephen Karotkin, Esq., and Lori R. Fife, Esq., at Weil,
Gotshal & Manges LLP, represent the Debtors in their successful
restructuring.  As of Dec. 31, 2004, the Company listed assets
totaling approximately $1.2 billion and liabilities totaling
approximately $2.3 billion.  The Court confirmed the Debtors'
chapter 11 Plan on Aug. 1, 2005.


MAN-QUANTITIVE: Liquidator Will Accept Claims Until Feb. 15
-----------------------------------------------------------
Ms. Beverly Mathias, the liquidator of Man-Quantitive Equities
Trading Limited, will stop accepting claims from the company's
creditors on Feb. 15, 2006.  Creditors must therefore send their
full Christian names, addresses and descriptions, the full
particulars of their debts or claims and the names and addresses
of their lawyers (if any) to the liquidator on or before the
said date.  Ms. Mathias may require the creditors to prove their
claims personally or by their lawyers at the time and place
specified by the liquidator.  Creditors who are unable to have
their claims validated will be disqualified from accepting any
distribution or payment that the company shall make.

A final general meeting will be held at the offices of Argonaut
Limited, Argonaut House, 5 Park Road, Hamilton HM O9, Bermuda,
on March 3, 2006, at 9:30 a.m., or as soon as possible, for the
purposes of:

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

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

   3) by resolution dissolving the company.

Man-Quantitive Equities Trading Limited entered voluntary
liquidation on Jan. 27, 2006.

Ms. Beverly Mathias, the liquidator, can be reached at:

         c/o Argonaut Limited
         Argonaut House, 5 Park Road
         Hamilton HM O9, Bermuda


OVERSEAS PARTNERS: Claims to be Validated by March 31
-----------------------------------------------------
Creditors' claims against Overseas Partners, Ltd., will be
validated until March 31, 2006.  Joint liquidators Peter C.B.
Mitchell and Mr. Nigel J.S. Chatterjee are tasked for the
validation of the claims.

Creditors must therefore submit their full names, addresses
descriptions, the full particulars of their debts or claims, and
the names and addresses of their attorneys (if any) to Peter
C.B. Mitchell and Mr. Nigel J.S. Chatterjee.  They may be
required by the liquidators to prove their claims against the
company personally or by their attorneys at the time and place
set by the liquidators.  Creditors who fail to prove their
claims shall be excluded from the benefit of any distribution
that the company will make.

Overseas Partners, Ltd., entered voluntary wind up on Jan. 31,
2006.

Mr. Peter C.B. Mitchell and Mr. Nigel J.S. Chatterjee, the
liquidators, can be reached at:

         PricewaterhouseCoopers
         P.O. Box HM 1171
         Hamilton, HM EX, Bermuda


REFORMATION GROUP: Proofs of Claim Deadline Set at Feb. 17
----------------------------------------------------------
Creditors must present proofs of claim against Reformation
Group, Ltd., by Feb. 17, 2006.  Ms. Georgette Barit, the
company's liquidator, is tasked to validate the claims.

Creditors must therefore send their full Christian names,
addresses, descriptions, full particulars of their debts or
claims, and the names and addresses of their lawyers (if any) to
Ms. Barit.  The trustee may require the creditors to prove their
claims personally or through their lawyers at the time and place
that the liquidator shall specify.  Failure to have the claims
validated shall exclude the creditors from the benefit of any
distribution or payment that the company shall make.

A final general meeting is also scheduled for March 3, 2006.  It
will be held at the offices of XL Capital Ltd, XL House House,
One Bermudiana Road, Hamilton HM 11, Bermuda at 9:30 a.m., or as
soon as possible thereafter, for the purposes of:

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

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

   3) by resolution dissolving the company.

Reformation Group, Ltd., was wound up voluntarily on Feb. 1,
2006.

Ms. Georgette Barit, the liquidator, can be reached at:

         XL Capital Ltd
         XL House, One Bermudiana Road
         Hamilton, HM 11, Bermuda


WILLIAMS INT'L (BERMUDA): Creditors to Present Claims by Feb. 15
----------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Williams International Ventures (Bermuda) Ltd.,
which is undergoing liquidation, are required to prove their
claims by Feb. 15, 2006, to Mr. Ernest A. Morrison, the
company's liquidator.  Creditors must therefore submit their
names, addresses and the particulars of their debts or claims
and, if so required by the liquidator, they shall prove their
debts or claims at the time and place that the creditor shall
specify.  Creditors who fail to have their claims validated will
not be included in the benefit of receiving any distribution or
payment that the company would make.

The final general meeting will be held at the offices of Cox
Hallett Wilkinson, Milner House, 18 Parliament Street, Hamilton
HM12, on March 6, 2006, at 11:00 a.m. for the purposes of:

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

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

   3) by resolution dissolving the company.

Williams International Ventures (Bermuda) Ltd. began liquidating
its assets on Jan. 19, 2006, and appointed Mr. Ernest A.
Morrison as liquidator.

Mr. Ernest A. Morrison can be reached at:

         Milner House
         18 Parliament Street
         Hamilton, Bermuda


WILLIAMS INT'L (ECUADORIAN): Claims Verification Ends Feb. 15
-------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Williams International Ecuadorian Ventures
(Bermuda) Ltd. -- company in voluntary liquidation -- have until
Feb. 15, 2006, to submit proofs of claim to Mr. Ernest A.
Morrison, the company's liquidator.  Creditors are required to
send their names, addresses and the particulars of their debts
or claims.  Mr. Morrison may require the creditors to prove
their debts or claims at the time and place that the liquidator
shall specify.  Creditors who fail to present proofs of claim
will be excluded from the benefit of any distribution or payment
that the company will make.

A final general meeting will be held at the offices of Cox
Hallett Wilkinson, Milner House, 18 Parliament Street, Hamilton
HM12, on March 6, 2006, at 10:00 a.m. for the purposes of:

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

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

   3) by resolution dissolving the company.

Williams International Ecuadorian Ventures (Bermuda) Ltd. wound
up operations on Jan. 19, 2006, pursuant to the provisions of
the Companies Act, 1981, and appointed Mr. Ernest A. Morrison as
liquidator.

Mr. Ernest A. Morrison, the liquidator, can be reached at:

         Milner House
         18 Parliament Street
         Hamilton HM 12
         Bermuda


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


ACINDAR: Techint Completes Acquisition of Company's Tubes Unit
--------------------------------------------------------------
Acindar Industria Argentina de Aceros completed on January 31
the transfer of its tubes division to the Techint group, Acindar
spokesperson Gustavo Pittaluga told Business News Americas.

According to the company representative, the move is part of
Acindar's strategic plan to focus more on its core activity,
which is long steel.

In May 2005, Acindar signed a letter of intent for the sale of
the assets to Techint for US$83.2 million.

Techint's indirect subsidiaries Siat and Siderar will pick up
Acindar's steel tube plant in Villa Constitucion and secure tube
and cold-formed product plants in Rosario and San Luis.  The two
plants produces 140,000t/y of tubes.

Siat is a unit of Luxembourg-based steel pipe manufacturer,
Tenaris (NYSE: TS).  Siderar is part of the Latin American
steelmaking giant, Ternium.  Both Ternium and Tenaris are
related to the Techint group.

Acindar, controlled by Brazilian steelmaker Belgo-Mineira,
produces non-flat steel products such as steel pipe, cable, hot-
rolled and cold-drawn steels for concrete, forged bars and
blocks for distributors of steel products, other steel
companies, manufacturers of original equipment for several
industrial sectors including the automotive and the oil and gas
industries and end users, mainly in the construction and
agricultural sectors of the economy.  Its principal market is
Argentina, although it exports its products to Brazil, Chile and
the United States, Bolivia and Uruguay through its sales office.

                        *    *    *

As previously reported on Dec. 23, 2005, Fitch Argentina
Calificadora de Riesgo S.A. maintained the 'D(arg)' rating given
to a total of US$100 million of corporate bonds issued by long
steelmaker Acindar Industria Argentina de Aceros.

Comision Nacional Valores, the country's securities regulator,
relates that the rating action was based on the Company's
finances as of Sep. 30, 2004.

The bonds, which matured in February 16 last year, are described
as "Obligaciones Negociables simples, no 5.8.96."


AOL LATIN: Inks Severance Agreement with President & CEO
--------------------------------------------------------
America Online Latin America Inc., aka AOL Latin America Inc.,
disclosed in a Form 8-K filing with the Securities and Exchange
Commission that on Jan. 31, 2006, it entered into a Severance
Agreement and Release of Claims agreement with Charles
Herington, the company's president and chief executive officer.
The company expects Mr. Herington's employment to end on March
2, 2006.

Under the agreement (still subject to approval by the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware), Mr. Herington
will receive $538,067 in severance pay and a $461,200 ordinary
course performance bonus for 2005.  Additionally, Mr. Herrington
will also receive either:

    (a) reimbursement for COBRA expenses for a 14-month period,
        or

    (b) payment of a lump sum equivalent to the cost of
        obtaining similar health insurance for a 14-month
        period.

The company says that the bonus payment is expected to made upon
approval by the bankruptcy court and severance payment is
expected to be paid in September 2006.

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 DO BRASIL: Government Launches US$1.55 Billion PPP Fund
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Brazilian government launched a 3.43 billion real (US$1.55
billion) fund that will guarantee government payments to
investors under the public-private partnership schemes for
infrastructure projects, a treasury spokesperson told Business
News Americas.

Business News relates that the Bank is managing the
independently administered fund, under the rules of the national
securities commission.  The fund is made up of minority stakes
or excess shares the government has in a number of companies,
including Banco do Brasil (representing 1.12 billion reais of
the fund's total), mining company Vale do Rio Doce (1.44 billion
reais), and federal power company Eletrobras (862 million
reais).

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has advocated PPPs as a
promising model for increasing the private sector's
participation in infrastructure improvements and public
endeavors, Business News relates.

                        *    *    *

On Jan. 10, 2006, Moody's Investors Service assigned a Ba1
rating to Banco do Brasil S.A.- Grand Cayman Branch's proposed
US$300 million perpetual non-cumulative junior-subordinated
securities.  The Ba1 rating was the result of joint
probabilities of default that are incorporated into Banco do
Brasil's credit risk rating, which was indicated by its A3
global local currency rating, and by Brazil's Ba3 foreign
currency ceiling for bonds and notes.  The outlook on the rating
was stable.

Moody's noted that the subordination and other features of the
proposed securities were taken into consideration in the
assignment of the bond rating.  However, given the A3 global
local currency rating, the grading that would usually be applied
to subordinated issues did not affect the final foreign currency
rating outcome.

In addition, the rating agency noted that the proposed
securities were assigned a basket B on its Debt-Equity Continuum
(A is most debt-like and E is most equity-like).  As such, they
were treated as 25% equity and 75% debt when Moody's applied its
adjustments to Banco do Brasil's credit metrics.  Moody's noted
that upon approval of Tier 1 regulations by the Central Bank of
Brazil, Banco do Brasil may elect to qualify the securities as
Tier 1 capital, at which point Moody's may reassess its basket
treatment.  In determining the basket assignment under its
Hybrid Criteria, Moody's ranked hybrid securities relative to
the features of common equity, including:

   * No Maturity,
   * No Ongoing Payments, and
   * Loss Absorption.

The rankings can be either none, weak, moderate or strong
relative to common equity, with none being the closest to debt
and strong the closest to equity.

Moody's basket B designation considered the features of the
proposed securities, including the perpetual maturity, and
optional, non-cumulative payment deferral mechanism.  The
securities represent the bank's most junior subordinated debt
and rank pari passu with the most senior preferred stock, if any
would be issued (Banco do Brasil currently has no preferred
stock outstanding).  Moreover, there are limited rights to
investors, no material events of default, and the securities do
not cross-default.  As such, the securities would form a loss-
absorbing cushion for senior creditors.

Banco do Brasil is the largest bank in Brazil, with assets of
approximately US$110 billion as of September 2005.  The bank's
franchise and distribution network, which is geographically and
product-diversified, ensures its dominance over the banking
system's core deposits, with 21% market share.  The increasing
contribution of core revenues to the bank's profits reflects the
strength of its business franchise and the commitment of its
management to align the bank with market standards.

Moody's recently upgraded Banco do Brasil's financial strength
rating to D, in an indication of improved financial metrics
earnings and capital quality, in particular.  Moody's also
assigned an A3 global local currency rating to Banco do Brasil ,
which incorporated the strong likelihood of government support
in the event of a systemic crisis.  This conclusion was based
on:

   * Banco do Brasil's dominant share of the Brazilian deposits
     market;

   * its importance to the Brazilian banking system; and

   * its ownership and history of support.

Banco do Brasil S.A. is headquartered in Brasilia, Brazil, and
it had total assets of approximately US$110 billion as of
September 2005.

This rating was assigned:

Banco do Brasil S.A. Grand Cayman Branch's US$300 million
perpetual non-cumulative junior- subordinated securities -- Ba1
long-term foreign currency subordinated bond rating.

Moody's said the outlook is stable.


CEMIG: Minas Gerais Brings in BRL22.5MM for Hydro Power Project
---------------------------------------------------------------
State power firm Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais aka Cemig
has received BRL22.5 million (US$10.2 million) from the
government of Minas Gerais, Business News Americas reports. The
amount will be used for the completion of its 360MW Irape
hydroelectric power construction project.

The money was taken from the emission of 25-year debentures
bought by the state government.  According to Business News, a
Cemig official stated that it is part of the BRL100 milion
investment Minas Gerais committed to invest directly in the BRL1
billion project.

"The government is investing in the power company because it is
interested in developing one of the poorest regions in the
state," the official said.

Business News relates that Cemig acquired a concession for Irape
in 2000.  However, construction was put on hold until 2002, when
the company obtained the full environmental licensing.  It was
on Dec. 13 that the company began filling the 137 sq km
reservoir.

The Irape project, which is on the Jequitinhonha river, will
start operations of the first 120MW turbine in February.  The
remaining two 120MW turbines will begin in April and June, as
recorded in power regulator Aneel's schedule.

Irape is one of the three hydroelectric generation projects
Cemig is investing in this year.  The others are 240MW Capim
Branco I and 210MW Capim Branco II, which will be fully
operational in 2007.  Because of this, the company's 6,110MW
installed capacity is expected to raise to over 6,500MW.

Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais -- http://www.cemig.com.br/
-- is one of the largest and most important electric energy
utilities in Brazil due to its strategic location, its technical
expertise and its market.  CEMIG's concession area extends
throughout nearly 96.7% of the State of Minas Gerais, Brazil.
CEMIG owns and operates 52 power plants, of which six are in
partnership with private enterprises, relying on a predominantly
hydroelectric energy matrix.  Electric energy is produced to
supply more than 17 million people living in the state's 774
municipalities.  In addition to those 52 plants, another three
are currently under construction.

CEMIG is also active in several other states, through ventures
for the generation or the commercialization of energy in these
Brazilian states: in Santa Catarina (generation), Rio de Janeiro
(commercialization and generation), Espírito Santo (generation)
and Rio Grande do Sul (commercialization).

                        *    *    *

Cemig's BRL312,500,000 12.7% debentures due Nov. 1, 2009, carry
Moody's B1 rating.


CSN: Paying US$421 Million in Dividends on February 9
-----------------------------------------------------
Business News Americas reports that the Board of Directors of
Brazilian integrated steelmaker CSN aka Cia Siderurgica Nacional
(NYSE: SID) has approved a dividend payment that starts on
February 9 for the results ended on June 2005, the company told
Sao Paulo's Bovespa stock exchange.

The steelmaker will pay its shareholders a total of 937 million
reais (US$421 million), or 3.64 reais per share,


Companhia Siderurgica Nacional SA manufactures and distributes
hot rolled, cold rolled and galvanized steel products and tin
mill products.  CSN distributes primarily to customers in the
automobile, auto-parts, civil construction, tubes and pipes and
electrical equipment industries.  The Company markets its
products mainly in Latin America, North America, Europe and
Asia.

                        *    *    *

On Jan. 26, 2006, Standard and Poors' Rating Services assigned a
'BB' corporate credit rating on Brazilian flat carbon steelmaker
Companhia Siderurgica Nacional.

The 'BB' corporate credit rating on CSN reflects the company's
exposure to volatile demand and price cycles, increasing
competition in its home and predominant market of Brazil,
aggressive dividend policy and capital investment plan, and
sizable gross-debt position.  These risks are partly offset by
CSN's privileged cost position and sound operating profile,
favorable market position in Brazil, strong export capabilities
to offset occasional domestic demand sluggishness, and
increasing business diversification.

CSN is one of the lowest-cost steel producers in the world,
which is a result of its access to proprietary, high-quality
iron ore (at the Casa de Pedra mine); self-sufficiency in
energy; streamlined facilities; and logistics advantages.  This
is in addition to the group's strong market position in the
fairly concentrated steel industry in Brazil.


CVRD: Deutsche Bank Lowers Caemi Target Price to US$1.78
--------------------------------------------------------
As previously reported, CVRD aka Companhia Vale Do Rio Doce,
announced its plan to exchange 1.6 billion of Caemi Mineracao e
Metalurgica SA's preferred shares with new CVRD preferred
shares.  The move will make Caemi a 100% owned subsidiary of
CVRD, which would then de-list the company's shares.

Currently, CVRD owns 100% of Caemi's common shares and 40.1% of
Caemi's preferred shares.

Non-controlling Caemi shareholders would receive 0.04115
preferred shares of CVRD for each Caemi preferred share.

As a result of the proposed merger of shares, Deutsche Bank AG
lowered its price target for Caemi to 3.95 reais (US$1.78),
Business News Americas reports.

"Our new price target is based on the swap ratio announced by
Brazilian iron ore miner CVRD (NYSE:RIO)," Deutsche said in a
report, which does not specify the previous target price.  "We
believe Caemi shares should perform in line with CVRD shares. We
have received confirmation from CVRD that the share swap ratio
announced will be kept constant regardless of stock price
fluctuations."

Caemi Mineracao e Metalurgica SA is a holding company with
direct and indirect interests in the industrial mining sector
(iron ore and kaolin) and railroad transportation.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Companhia Vale do Rio
Doce -- http://www.cvrd.com.br/-- engages primarily in mining
and logistics businesses. It engages in iron ore mining, pellet
production, manganese ore mining, and ferroalloy production, as
well as in the production of nonferrous minerals, such as
kaolin, potash, copper, and gold.

                        *    *    *

On Jan. 5, 2006, Fitch Ratings assigned a long-term foreign
currency rating of 'BB' to Vale Overseas Limited's proposed
US$300 million issuance due 2016. Vale Overseas is a wholly
owned subsidiary of Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, a large
diversified mining company located in Brazil.  The notes are
unsecured obligations of Vale Overseas and are unconditionally
guaranteed by CVRD.  The obligation to guarantee the notes rank
pari passu with all of CVRD's other unsecured and unsubordinated
debt obligations.  Fitch expects the proceeds of this issuance
to be used for general corporate purposes and primarily to pay
down US$300 million of Vale Overseas' 9.0% guaranteed notes due
2013.

Fitch also maintains these ratings for CVRD and CVRD Finance
Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of CVRD:

  -- CVRD foreign currency rating: 'BB', Outlook Positive;
  -- CVRD local currency rating: 'BBB' Outlook Stable;
  -- CVRD national scale rating: 'AAA(bra)', Outlook Stable;
  -- CVRD Finance Ltd.: series 2000-1 and series 2000-3: 'BBB';
  -- CVRD Finance Ltd., series 2000-2 and series 2003-1: 'AAA'.


FURNAS CENTRAIS: Gets Concessions for 3 Hydroelectric Projects
--------------------------------------------------------------
Furnas Centrais Eletricas S.A. was awarded new build-and-operate
concessions for three hydroelectric projects at the Brazilian
government's future generation capacity auction held on Dec. 16,
2005.  The three projects have combined installed capacity of
some 526MW, Agencia Estado reports.

The largest of these projects is the 333MW Simplicio project,
which will need investments of some 1.2 billion reais, Agencia
Estado reports.  The company is also studying whether it will
bid for more new projects in this year's two future generation
capacity auctions that the government hopes to schedule.

Furnas is also considering obtaining financing from national
development bank BNDES for the new projects, Agencia Estado
says.

Furnas is a subsidiary of Eletrobras - Centrais Eletricas
Brasileiras S.A.  The company operates some 19,000km of
transmission lines and has installed capacity of 9,476MW.

                        *    *    *

On Jan. 30, 2006, Moody's Investors Service puts a Ba2 issuer
rating on Furnas Centrais Eletricas S.A.


GERDAU: Launches Scrap Recycling, Dedusting Systems in Aconorte
---------------------------------------------------------------
Gerdau S.A. (NYSE: GGB) disclosed in a statement a 34.5 million
reais (US$15.6 million) investment in scrap recycling equipment
that started operations February 1 at its Aconorte mill in
Pernumbuco, Brazil.

The equipment can recycle 1,200 vehicles a day and will increase
annual plant scrap recycling capacity by 70%.  Gerdau's 11
million tons per year of recycled scrap makes it the world's
largest recyler, the statement said.

The Pernambuco mill also started its dedusting system on
February 1 through an 8 million reais investment.  The equipment
filters dust created from scrap and the steel transformation
process, enhancing the quality of air released into the
environment, Business News Americas relates.

Gerdau invested 115 million reais over the past five in
technological upgrades in Pernambuco.

Gerdau Aconorte has installed capacity of 280,000t/y of steel
and 250,000t/y of rolling products.  The plant targets the civil
construction and the agrobusiness industries.

Headquartered in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Gerdau S.A. --
http://www.gerdau.com.br-- produces and distributes crude
steel and related long rolled products, drawn products, and long
specialty products.

Gerdau SA's $600 million 8-7/8% perpetual bond is rated Ba1 by
Moody's, BB+ by S&P, and BB- by Fitch.


TELEMAR: Adopts DigitalGlobe's High-Resolution QuickBird Imagery
----------------------------------------------------------------
Business News Americas reports that Telemar aka Tele Norte Leste
Participacoes SA is using high-resolution imagery solutions made
by U.S. tech firm DigitalGlobe.

The system is being delivered by DigitalGlobe's Brazilian
partner Intersat, a local satellite imaging company.

Telemar will use DigitalGlobe's high-resolution QuickBird
imagery in conjunction with Intersat's own geographic
information system called Basic Urban Map, Business News
relates.

The QuickBird imagery combined with Basin Urban Map enables
Telemar to integrate location-based data to analyze areas such
as network planning and operations, marketing and sales,
Business News relates.

Telemar's coverage consists of 16 states including Brazil's
state of Rio de Janeiro.

Telemar operates approximately 18 million fixed lines and nine
million mobile lines.

                        *    *    *

On Nov. 9, 2005, Fitch Ratings assigned a 'BB-', Positive
Outlook to Telemar Overseas proposed offering of US$150 million
notes to be issued in Brazilian Reais and paid in U.S. currency.
Telemar Norte Leste S.A will unconditionally and irrevocably
guarantee the proposed notes.

The 'BB-' rating of the proposed notes incorporates transfer
and convertibility risks associated with the settlement of the
notes, as they will be issued in Brazilian reais and paid in
U.S. dollars at market exchange rates; the new issuance will
not add foreign exchange risk to the company's financial risk
profile. The Positive Outlook reflects the recent change in the
Rating Outlook to Positive from Stable of several Brazilian
corporates, including Telemar Norte Leste S.A., as a
consequence of the revision of the Outlook to Positive to the
'BB-' foreign currency rating of the Federative Republic of
Brazil.


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


ALPHAMIX FUND: Authentication of Claims Ends on February 24
-----------------------------------------------------------
The authentication of the claims of Alphamix Fund Limited's
creditors will end on Feb. 24, 2006.  Creditors must present
proofs of claim and establish any title they may have under the
Companies Law 2004 Revision on or before the date.  Failure to
do so would mean exclusion from any distribution or payment that
the company would make.

Alphamix Fund Limited entered voluntary wind up on Dec. 22,
2005, and appointed Ms. Muriel Bonnet as liquidator.

Ms. Muriel Bonnet, the liquidator, can be reached at:

         c/o Finaltis, 30 rue d'Astorg
         75008 Paris, France


CHANDLER INVESTMENT: Liquidators to Verify Claims until Feb. 24
---------------------------------------------------------------
Messrs Ian Wight and Stuart Sybersma, liquidators of Chandler
Investment Corp., will accept and verify claims from creditors
of the company on or before Feb. 24, 2006.  Creditors who fail
to prove their claims and establish any title they may have
under the Companies Law 2004 Revision after the date will be
excluded from accepting any distribution that the company would
make.

Chandler Investment Corp. began winding up operations on Dec.
30, 2006.

Mr. Stuart Sybersma, the joint voluntary liquidator, can be
reached at:

         P.O. Box 1787 GT, Grand Cayman
         Cayman Islands

         Joshua Taylor, Deloitte
         Telephone: (345) 949 7500
         Facsimile: (345) 949 8258


HARBERT FIXED (MASTER): Verification of Claims Ends on Feb. 24
--------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Harbert Fixed Income Spread Opportunities Master
Fund, Ltd. -- company in voluntary liquidation -- are required
to submit proofs of claim to Mr. Joel B. Piassick, the company's
liquidator, on or before Feb. 24, 2006.  Creditors must
establish any title they may have under the Companies Law 2004
Revision or be excluded from receiving any distribution or
payments that the company would make.

Harbert Fixed Income Spread Opportunities Master Fund, Ltd.
started liquidating its assets on Jan. 12, 2006.

The company can be reached at:

         P.O. Box 1234GT, Grand Cayman
         Cayman Islands

Mr. Joel B. Piassick, the liquidator, can be reached at:

          Birmingham, Alabama, USA

          Julie O'Hara
          Telephone: (345) 949 9876
          Facsimile: (345) 949 1986


QUADIX VOLATILITY: Creditors Have Until Feb. 24 to Submit Claims
----------------------------------------------------------------
Quadix Volatility Fund's creditors are given until Feb. 24,
2006, to prove their debts and claims and to establish any title
they may have under the Companies Law 2004 Revision or be
excluded from the benefit of any distribution made before the
debts are proved or from objecting to the distribution.

Quadix Volatility Fund entered voluntary liquidation on Dec. 22,
2005 and appointed Ms. Muriel Bonnet as the company's
liquidator.

Ms. Muriel Bonnet, the liquidator, can be reached at:

         c/o Finaltis, 30 rue d'Astorg
         75008 Paris, France


===============
C O L O M B I A
===============


COLOMBIA TELECOM: Acquires Batelsa for COP208 Billion
-----------------------------------------------------
Colombia Telecomunicaciones S.A. -- Telecom -- has purchased
Barranquilla Telecomunicaciones S.A. aka Batelsa for COP208
billion ($91.5 million), Dow Jones Newswires reports.  The
amount was the minimum price asked by the telephone regulator.

State-owned Telecom was the only bidder for Batelsa, a regional
telephone company that operates 135,000 lines in the coastal
city of Barranquilla.

Telecom plans to invest COP50 billion to upgrade the regional
telephone company's networks, said Telecom Chief Executive
Alfonso Gomez

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on Oct. 17, 2005,
taxpayers might shoulder Colombia Telecomunicaciones' debt,
particularly the first COP5 trillion of Telecom's COP6-trillion
pension liability.

To prevent this from happening, Telecom must make investments in
mobile telephony, which would require a partner willing to make
significant investments, to generate the income necessary to pay
the pension debt, according to treasury minister Alberto
Carrasquilla.

Carrasquilla stated that the partner must be at least of the
caliber of Mexico's Telmex, and the partner's offer must be
equal to or better than the Telmex offer, which the Colombian
government rejected earlier this month.


===============
H O N D U R A S
===============

BANADESA: Banking Reg. Wants More Capital to Prevent Closure
------------------------------------------------------------
Banco Nacional de Desarrollo Agrícola -- Banadesa -- has been
asked by the Honduran National Commission of Banks and Insurance
to infuse 672.2 million lempiras in capital to prevent the
agency's closure, according to the Honduras This Week Online.

In a press conference, Enrique Castejón, Banadesa's president,
said that after he assumed control of the bank, he asked
financial authorities to help Banadesa recuperate.  However,
CNBS has asked the bank to put into place an enormous amount of
financial reserves, despite the recuperation of the bank and its
mission.

Mr. Castejón is against the CNBS applying the principle of
"business in march" to the bank as this indicates that the
organization is presumed to be in permanent existence, except
for some specifications.  The figures of their financial
statements will represent historical values, or modifications of
them, which have been systematically obtained.


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


NATIONAL WATER: Seeks to Restore Profit Through Waste Reduction
---------------------------------------------------------------
The National Water Commission of Jamaica says it plans to cut
the level of water waste by 20% to restore the agency's
profitability, Horace Hines at the Jamaican Observer reports.

According to the agency's records, 70% of the water it pumps is
unaccounted for -- through theft, leaks, under-registering,
unmetered accounts, under-measuring, and discrepancies in
consumer database, the Observer relates.  The 20%reduction would
contribute US$8 million to the water agency's bottom line.

EG Hunter, the commission's head, cautioned that the water waste
reduction program won't cut rates.

"Our rates are set by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR),"
Mr. Hunter told reporters.  "It is conceivable though that in
their consideration for tariff adjustments they will look at the
robustness of our financial position, and have the right to
increase rates to keep rates the same or to reduce it."

The Observer relates that the water commission has been
criticized in the past for failing to act promptly in cutting
its losses.  Several groups have argued that the agency musn't
be allowed to increase its rates unless it improves in its
efficiencies.

For the fiscal years 2002 and 2003, the water commission
accumulated a net loss of $2.11 billion.  The deficit fell to
$1.86 billion the following year, and to $670 million in 2004
and 2005.


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


GRUPO ELEKTRA: Subsidiary's Profits Doubles in 2005
---------------------------------------------------
Grupo Elektra SA de CV's subsidiary Afore Azteca saw 2005
profits increase more than double compared to 2004, Business
News Americas reports.  The boost was attributed to strong
client growth.  Afore Azteca reported a 47% rise in client base,
equivalent to 1.21 million accounts.

The Mexican pension fund manager Afore Azteca told regulator
Consar that profits reached MXN25.5 million (US$2.44 million).
In 2004, the company had only MXN11.9 million.

There was an 86% increase in total revenues -- reaching 190
million -- along with commission revenues soaring 84% to MXN175.
Costs got a 67% boost, resulting to MXN150 million.

Assets under management at Afore's two Siefore investment
vehicles rose 246% to MXN9.61 billion, equivalent to about 2% of
the MXN600 billion pesos in assets handled by the 16 Afore
pension companies at the end of the year.

Grupo Elektra sells retail goods and services through 1,022
stores in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Peru.  The
group's financial services division operates Afore Azteca,
retail bank Banco Azteca and insurance company Seguros Azteca.

                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on May 27, 2005, Fitch
Ratings affirmed and withdrew the 'BB-' international scale
foreign and local currency ratings of Grupo Elektra, S.A. de
C.V.  Fitch has withdrawn the ratings in consistency with
Fitch's policies due to the paydown of all of the company's
dollar-denominated bonds.

Fitch also affirmed Elektra's national scale short term rating
of 'F2(mex)' and would continue to follow the company on the
national scale.


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


DORAL FINANCIAL: Completes Consent Solicitation for 2016 Notes
--------------------------------------------------------------
Doral Financial Corporation announced Friday that it -- together
with the trustee under the indenture relating to its
$100,000,000 7.65% senior notes due 2016 -- has executed a
supplemental indenture in connection with the company's consent
solicitation with respect to those notes.  The consent
solicitation expired at 5:00 p.m., on Feb. 2, 2006.

According to the supplemental indenture, the company will have
until May 4, 2006, to file with the trustee its quarterly
reports on Form 10-Q for the quarterly periods ended March 31,
2005, June 30, 2005, and Sep. 30, 2005.

The company shall have until June 3, 2006, to file its annual
report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2005.

Failure to file those reports becomes a default under the
indenture that would allow holders of those notes to deliver a
notice of default to the trustee.  After receipt of any notice
of default, the company would have a 90-day grace period to cure
the default before it became an event of default under the
indenture.

The company obtained the consent of holders of the notes to the
amendments to the indenture, which amendments are effected by
the supplemental indenture.  The company also obtained waivers
of certain defaults that have occurred and that may occur under
the indenture as to those notes.  The amendments and waivers
became effective as to the notes upon execution of the
supplemental indenture on Friday at approximately 2:40 p.m.

The company will pay a consent payment of $2.50 per $1,000
principal amount of notes to holders of the notes that consented
prior to the expiration time.

As previously reported, the company extended the expiration
date for its $100,000,000 7.65% senior notes due 2016 from 5:00
p.m., on Jan. 27, 2006, to 5:00 p.m., on Feb. 2, 2006.

Doral Financial Corporation -- http://www.doralfinancial.com/--  
a financial holding company, is the largest residential mortgage
lender in Puerto Rico, and the parent company of Doral Bank, a
Puerto Rico based commercial bank, Doral Securities, a Puerto
Rico based investment banking and institutional brokerage firm,
Doral Insurance Agency, Inc. and Doral Bank FSB, a federal
savings bank based in New York City.

                          *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Nov. 1, 2005,
Moody's Investors Service downgraded to Ba3 from Ba1 the senior
debt of Doral Financial Corporation.  The ratings have been
downgraded a number of times since Moody's initial review
process began in April 2005.  According to Moody's, a number of
negative developments have occurred since the most recent
downgrade, which was on Sept. 6, 2005.

A partial list of ratings that have been downgraded:

    * Senior debt to Ba3 from Ba1 and
    * Subordinated debt to B1 from Ba2.


DORAL FIN'L: Declares Quarterly Cash Dividend on Common Stock
-------------------------------------------------------------
Doral Financial Corporation, a diversified financial services
company, announced Friday that the board of directors declared a
quarterly cash dividend of $0.08 per common share to be paid on
March 10, 2006, to shareholders of record on Feb. 17, 2006.

Doral Financial Corporation -- http://www.doralfinancial.com/--  
a financial holding company, is the largest residential mortgage
lender in Puerto Rico, and the parent company of Doral Bank, a
Puerto Rico based commercial bank, Doral Securities, a Puerto
Rico based investment banking and institutional brokerage firm,
Doral Insurance Agency, Inc. and Doral Bank FSB, a federal
savings bank based in New York City.

                          *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Nov. 1, 2005,
Moody's Investors Service downgraded to Ba3 from Ba1 the senior
debt of Doral Financial Corporation.  The ratings have been
downgraded a number of times since Moody's initial review
process began in April 2005.  According to Moody's, a number of
negative developments have occurred since the most recent
downgrade, which was on Sept. 6, 2005.

A partial list of ratings that have been downgraded:

    * Senior debt to Ba3 from Ba1 and
    * Subordinated debt to B1 from Ba2.


MUSICLAND HOLDING: Walks Away from 68 Real Property Leases
----------------------------------------------------------
Musicland Holding Corp. and its debtor-affiliates have commenced
the Chapter 11 Cases with a goal to promptly facilitate a
balance sheet and operational reorganization by pursuing a
business plan focused on a smaller group of core stores,
together with their web platform and new business categories.

James H.M. Sprayregen, Esq., at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, explains
that to avoid paying unnecessary administrative expenses, the
Debtors have identified 68 nonresidential real property leases
that are no longer integral to the Debtors' ongoing business
operations and present burdensome contingent liabilities.

While some of these Leases may have expired prior to or on
January 31, 2006, the Debtors sought and obtained the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York's
permission to reject the Leases as of the later of:

   -- the date that the Debtors vacate the premises by
      delivering the keys to the landlord at the mall manager's
      office; or

   -- January 31, 2006.

Further, any property left in the premises after the effective
date of rejection will be deemed abandoned by the Debtors.

Mr. Sprayregen notes that some of the Leases have kick-out
provisions that give the Debtors the right to terminate the
Lease and vacate the property based on not having earned a
specified dollar amount in sales.

The Debtors will serve a copy of the Court order granting their
request and notice of the Order to parties-in-interest.  The
Notice will provide that any objection to entry of the Order
must be filed with the Court no later than 10 days after the
service of the Order and served upon counsel to the Debtors and
the Notice Parties.  If no objection is timely filed and served,
the request will be considered granted on a final basis.

If any objection to the Order is timely and properly filed and
served, the Debtors will attempt to reach a consensual
resolution of the objection.  If the parties are unable to so
resolve any objection, the Debtors will schedule a hearing
before the Court.  If the objection is overruled by the Court or
withdrawn the rejection of the affected lease will be deemed
effective on the Petition Date.

A schedule of the 68 Real Property Leases is available for free
at http://bankrupt.com/misc/Musicland_68jan31leases.pdf

                          Objections

(1) Taubman Landlords

Andrew S. Conway, Esq., at Honigman Miller Schwartz & Cohn LLP,
in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, tells the Court that the Debtors
entered into non-residential real property leases, which are
limited to commercial use, at Woodfield in Schaumburg, Illinois,
and Stamford Town Center in Stamford, Connecticut.

However, the Debtors failed to pay administrative rent under the
Taubman Leases since January 12, 2006.  The Debtors' failure to
pay rent and other charges results in a substantial injury to
the landlords.

Mr. Conway also asserts that pursuant to Section 365 (d)(3) of
the Bankruptcy Code, the Taubman Landlords are entitled to a
reimbursement of their attorney's fee as part of the requirement
that the Debtors fulfills all of their contractual obligations.

Therefore, the Taubman Landlords ask the Court to compel the
Debtors to immediately pay all postpetition administrative
amounts due, including the amounts due for the January 12
through January 31, 2006, along with interests and attorneys
fees.

(2) CBL and Glimcher Properties

On behalf of CBL & Associates Management, Inc., and Glimcher
Properties Limited Partnership, Ronald E. Gold, Esq., at Frost
Brown Todd LLC, in Cincinnati, Ohio, points out that the Debtors
should not be permitted to reject the Leases prior to vacating
the leased premises in the Shopping Centers because the Debtors
have not offered any basis for nunc pro tunc rejection of the
Leases.

In addition, although the Debtors do not indicate their
objective with respect to the payment of rent and other
obligations under the Leases, Mr. Gold tells the Court that any
rejection of the Leases must comply with the Debtors'
obligations under Section 365 to timely pay all rent and other
obligations due under the Leases through the later of the
effective date of rejection and the date the Debtors vacate the
Leased Premises.

Mr. Gold discloses that as of January 27, 2006, the Debtors have
not paid the Objecting Landlords stub rent for January 2006.

Furthermore, an order authorizing the rejection of the Leases
must require the Debtors to return the Leased Premises to the
Objecting Landlords in accordance with the terms and conditions
of the Leases, and must provide that any property remaining at
the Leased Premises after the Debtors vacate will be deemed
abandoned.

Headquartered in New York, New York, Musicland Holding Corp., is
a specialty retailer of music, movies and entertainment-related
products.  The Debtor and 14 of its affiliates filed for Chapter
11 protection on Jan. 12, 2006 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Lead Case No.
06-10064).  James H.M. Sprayregen, Esq., at Kirkland & Ellis,
represents the Debtors in their restructuring efforts.  When the
Debtors filed for protection from their creditors, they
estimated more than $100 million in assets and debts.
(Musicland Bankruptcy News, Issue No. 4; Bankruptcy Creditors'
Service, Inc., 215/945-7000)


MUSICLAND HOLDING: Wants to Maintain Existing Insurance Policies
----------------------------------------------------------------
Musicland Holding Corp. and its debtor-affiliates maintain
numerous insurance policies that provide coverage for general
liability, workers' compensation, directors and officers
liability, umbrella liability, automotive liability, crime,
special risk, fiduciary liability and property.

Those policies are essential to the preservation of the Debtors'
business, property and assets.  In many cases, coverage is
required by various regulations, laws and contracts that govern
the Debtors' business conduct.

James H.M. Sprayregen, Esq., at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, tells the
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York that
the Debtors finance the premiums on some of their policies
pursuant to premium financing agreements.  Accordingly, the
total annual premium for the policies currently financed by the
Debtors is $1,772,964.

The Debtors have four unpaid Premium Financing Agreements with
AFCO Credit Corporation and one with St. Paul Travelers.  AFCO
alleges that it is a secured creditor with regard to the AFCO
PFAs.

Mr. Sprayregen discloses that the total annual premium for the
Policies is $1,772,966.  In June 2005, November 2005, December
2005 and January 2006, the Debtors made down payments totaling
$444,887 and have financed the remaining $1,328,077 pursuant to
the Existing PFAs.

The Existing PFAs presently require monthly installments
totaling $141,074 and bear total finance charges of $20,413 on
the $905,970 total financed amount.

Mr. Sprayregen points out that if the Debtors were unable to
continue making payments on the Existing PFAs, the insurers
would try to terminate the Policies, or AFCO would seek
modification of the automatic stay to cancel the AFCO-financed
Policies and receive its collateral.

In addition, if the Policies were terminated, the Debtors would
be required to obtain replacement insurance on an expedited
basis and at tremendous cost.

If the Debtors do not pay the premiums for the Policies, some
carriers may be reluctant to continue doing business with the
Debtors.  In the current insurance market, any reduction in the
number of available carriers may result in an increase in the
Debtors' future insurance premiums.  Further, maintenance of the
directors and officers liability policy is also necessary to the
retention of the Debtors' management.

Mr. Sprayregen informs that the Debtors are presently engaged in
negotiations with various premium-financing companies to decide
the most favorable means of financing those premiums.

Therefore, the Debtors ask the Court's permission to pay the
financed premiums for the Policies and make loan payments to
AFCO on account of the AFCO PFAs.

Further, the Debtors seek the Court's authority to enter into
new PFAs under Section 364(c)(2) of the Bankruptcy Code and the
collateral be the unearned premiums that will be created.

Mr. Sprayregen notes that the Debtors do not seek to assume the
Policies at this time.

                    Creditors Committee Objects

The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors tells the Court
that it is necessary for the Committee to review the Policies in
order to properly respond to the Debtors' request.

According to Mark T. Power, Esq., at Hahn & Hessen LLP, in New
York City, the Committee has requested information about the
Policies from the Debtors and their financial advisors.
However, as of January 25, 2006, neither the Committee nor their
financial advisors have received sufficient information to
enable the Committee to evaluate the merits of the request.

Mr. Power says, that without an understanding of the basic
provisions of the Policies as to coverage and terms, the
Committee and the Court lack the information needed to determine
whether the Debtors' request is appropriate.

Accordingly, the Committee asks the Court to adjourn the hearing
until the Committee and the Court can properly review the
Policies underlying the PFAs.

Headquartered in New York, New York, Musicland Holding Corp., is
a specialty retailer of music, movies and entertainment-related
products.  The Debtor and 14 of its affiliates filed for Chapter
11 protection on Jan. 12, 2006 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Lead Case No.
06-10064).  James H.M. Sprayregen, Esq., at Kirkland & Ellis,
represents the Debtors in their restructuring efforts.  When the
Debtors filed for protection from their creditors, they
estimated more than $100 million in assets and debts.
(Musicland Bankruptcy News, Issue No. 4; Bankruptcy Creditors'
Service, Inc., 215/945-7000)


=================================
T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O
=================================


RBTT FINANCIAL: Reports US$129 Million in Pre-Tax Earnings
----------------------------------------------------------
Peter J. July, RBTT Financial Holdings Ltd.'s chairman,
announced pre-tax earnings of US$129 million, and profit
attributable to shareholders for the nine months ended Dec. 31,
2005, of US$105 million.

The latter represents an increase of US$10 million or 11% over
the comparable period in 2004.  Fully diluted earnings per share
also increased by 10 per cent, from US$0.28 to US$0.31.

Total assets increased by US$785 million, or 13%, to US$7
billion during the nine month period, with loans and advances to
customers growing by US$315 million, or 12%, to US$3 billion, as
the group continued to increase market share in its larger
markets.  Investment securities also increased by US$354
million, or 18%, to US$2.3 billion.

Asset growth was attained through strong, organic growth in all
the jurisdictions in which the group operates.

The company's results include a number of factors which impacted
the second and third quarters.  The most significant of these
were an impairment charge of US$6.3 million arising from the
restructuring of the Government of Grenada debt, and losses of
US$7.4 million on structured products and other securities in
their investment portfolios.

Retail and commercial banking, as well as trust and asset
management business segments, achieved year on year growth in
pre-tax earnings of 19% and 37% respectively.

Investment banking business, on the other hand, registered a
decline in business volumes and profits over the prior year, as
a result of changes in regional market conditions and narrowing
spreads, as new entrants competed in the market.

"We have a positive outlook for the fourth quarter," Mr. July
said. "We expect that the steps we are taking to solidify our
position in the investment banking market will bring good
results. We also expect the strong profit trend in the retail
and commercial banking and asset management segments to continue
as we upgrade our systems."

RBTT Financial Holdings Limited is a financial services
conglomerate consisting of 35 subsidiaries and associated
companies located in 12 legal jurisdictions in the Caribbean
region, including 10 licensed commercial banks with 84 branches.
The group's major subsidiaries include RBTT Bank Limited and
RBTT Merchant Bank Limited, a leading regional merchant bank.

                        *    *    *

Fitch assigns its BB+ rating on RBTT Financial Holdings
Limited's foreign currency long-term debt.  Fitch also places a
B rating on the company's foreign currency short-term debt.


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


COFAC: Fitch Downgrades Currency Debt Ratings to 'D'
----------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has downgraded the long-term foreign currency debt
ratings of Uruguay's Cooperativa Nacional de Ahorro y Credito
aka COFAC to 'D' from 'CC'.  At the same time, Fitch also
downgraded COFAC's national long-term rating to 'D(uy)' from 'B-
(uy)'.  The Negative Rating Watch on the bank's national ratings
has been removed.

The downgrade follows the suspension of the entity's operations
by the Central Bank of Uruguay aka BCU, thereby preventing the
timely payment of the institution's obligations.  This is the
second suspension of the entity's activities by the BCU in the
past year.  The entity was permitted to open seven days after
the first suspension, during which time the bank agreed to a
capitalization plan and the imposition of more stringent
regulatory requirements.

The BCU's recent decision to suspend COFAC's operations was
based on these considerations:

   -- an increasing level of deposit withdrawals facing the
      institution during the second half of January;

   -- insufficient liquidity to service the current level of
      deposit withdrawals;

   -- failure to comply with minimum deposit reserve
      requirements as of Jan. 30;

   -- failure to adopt corrective measures required by the
      Superintendency of Financial Institutions to prevent
      further capital erosion.

Fitch had placed the entity's national rating on Rating Watch
Negative on Jan. 24; in Fitch's view the entity was unlikely to
meet capital targets as set out by the BCU.  Fitch will continue
to monitor the evolution of this situation over the coming days,
including the potential capital injection by Venezuelan
development bank, Banco Nacional de Desarrollo de Venezuela, as
well as measures taken by the Central Bank to protect
depositor's interests.

COFAC was the largest credit-cooperative in Uruguay, focused
principally on families and small- and medium-sized businesses,
with asset and deposit market shares of 1.5% and 1.6% at end-
June 2005.


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


BANPLUS: Central Bank Approves Sale to Privatize Company
--------------------------------------------------------
Banking regulator, Sudeban, said in a prepared statement that
Venezuela's central bank has approved the sale of Banplus.

Eight banks are reportedly interested in buying Banplus.

Trino Diaz, Sudeban's head, said in the statement that the
decision to privatize Banplus also has to be approved by the
country's banking supervisory committee.

The bank, which operates through 10 branches, has equity
totaling some VEB18.9 billion (US$6.71 million).

Banplus was intervened on Oct. 7, 2005, after Sudeban detected
irregularities in its loan portfolio and poor solvency
indicators.


PDVSA: Proposes Increases in Royalty and Tax Rates
--------------------------------------------------
According to the El Universal, a special committee from
Venezuela's national assembly will recommend increasing the
royalty rate on four extra-heavy upgrading projects in the
Orinoco oil belt to 30% from 16.7%.

Rafael Ramirez, energy and oil minister and PDVSA aka Petroleos
de Venezuela SA's president, said last year that hiking the
royalty for the Orinoco projects is going to be one of this
year's priorities.

PDVSA has also asked the national assembly for a 50% tax rate on
the Orinoco projects, 16% up from the current 34% rate.

The four projects currently operating in the Orinoco produce
660,000 barrels a day of extra-heavy crude that is upgraded into
some 600,000b/d of synthetic crude.  According to Business News
Americas, PDVSA is partners in all four projects with U.S. oil
firms ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM), ConocoPhillips (NYSE: COP) and
Chevron (NYSE: CVX), France's Total (NYSE: TOT), UK firm BP
(NYSE: BP) and Norway's Statoil (NYSE: STO).

The government only generated a 1% royalty from the Orinoco
projects during the administrations of former presidents Carlos
Andres Perez and Rafael Caldera as a key incentive to attract
investment in the then untried Orinoco.  The royalty rate was
raised to 16.66% in 2004.

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.

                        *    *    *

On Jan. 23, 2005, Fitch Ratings upgraded the local and
foreign currency ratings of Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. aka
PDVSA to 'BB-' from 'B+'.  The rating of PDVSA's export
receivable future flow securitization, PDVSA Finance Ltd, was
also upgraded to 'BB+' from 'BB'.  In addition, Fitch has
assigned PDVSA a 'AAA(ven)' national scale rating.  The Rating
Outlook is Stable.  Both rating actions follow Fitch's November
2005 upgrade of Venezuela's sovereign rating.


* Appropriating $3.25 Billion to Create Eleven Companies
--------------------------------------------------------
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez plans to spend $3.25 billion to
create 11 state companies that will produce goods ranging from
cotton to steel, part of an effort to create jobs and reduce
imports, Bloomberg reports.  The 11 companies will be part of
the country's new heavy industries holding company, Compania
Nacional de Industrias Basicas.

Victor Alvarez, Basic Industries and Mining Minister, was quoted
by Bloomberg saying that the new companies will create
approximately 5,000 new jobs.  The businesses will include a new
state steel mill, an aluminum laminating company and ventures in
cotton, iron ore, mining and paper pulp.

"Many of the products will replace imports," Minister Alvarez
said in a press conference.

The move is designed to reduce Venezuela's importing of about
70% of the goods it consumes.   President Chavez said earlier
this month that oil revenues will be used to help develop the
nation's industries.

The new companies will also compete with international and
private companies in the country, including Siderurgica del
Orinoco CA, which is Venezuela's largest steelmaker and was sold
by the government in 1997, Bloomberg relates.

Venezuela's foreign currency long-term debt is rated B2 by
Moody's, BB- by Standard & Poor's, and BB- by Fitch.


* VENEZUELA: S&P Raises Long-term Credit Rating to Lower BB-
------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said Friday that it raised
its long-term sovereign credit rating on the Bolivarian Republic
of Venezuela to 'BB-' from 'B+'.  Standard & Poor's 'B' short-
term sovereign credit rating on Venezuela remains unchanged.
The outlook is stable.

"Continuing sharp improvements in Venezuela's external and debt
indicators motivated the upgrade," said Standard & Poor's credit
analyst Richard Francis.

Mr. Francis stated, "High oil prices have generated large
current account surpluses for the country, which in turn has
boosted the external assets of the public sector.  Standard &
Poor's expects the government to use some of these assets to
retire debt and, in the process, reduce the government debt
burden and lengthen the debt's average maturity."

Standard & Poor's expects the country's net external debt
position to reach a positive 91% of current account receipts at
year-end 2006 from 44% at year-end 2004.  Similarly, gross
general government debt to GDP is expected to fall to 33% of GDP
at year-end 2006 from 40% at year-end 2004.

"Although the balance sheet of the government warrants the
upgrade, Venezuela's policy mix remains problematic and will
become more of a constraint at this rating level," Mr. Francis
noted.

"Fiscal expenditure rose an estimated 25% in real terms in 2005,
interest rates are sharply negative in real terms,
administrative controls on the economy have become more
pervasive, and government operations are increasingly opaque.
However, this policy mix should not unravel as long as oil
prices remain at or near current levels, which is Standard &
Poor's base case assumption for the next few years," Mr. Francis
concluded.

                            ***********


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
co-published by Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless
Hills, Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick,
Maryland USA. John D. Resnick, Marjorie C. Sabijon and Sheryl
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Copyright 2006.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
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* * * End of Transmission * * *