TCRLA_Public/060221.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 21, 2006, Vol. 7, Issue 37

                            Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

AGUAS ARGENTINAS: Foreign Shareholders Push ICSID Rates Suit
AGUAS PROVINCIALES: Services Halted, ASSA Takes Over
BANCO FRANCES: Aims Increase in Private Sector Loan Portfolio
BANCO GALICIA: Registers US$62 Million Profit in 2005
COMPANIA DE SERVICIOS: Verification Deadline Set for March 6

EDENOR: Creditors Have Until Today to Vote on Debt Swap Offer
FABRICACIONES INTEGRALES: Claims Verification Ends March 22
FREECOW S.A.: Files for Bankruptcy Due to Missed Payments
GRALEX S.A.: Trustee Ceases Verification of Claims on March 20
NOVEL TIME: Claims Verification Phase Ends on April 10

SCADUTO S.A.: Verification of Claims to End on May 8
SCANNER FORMS: Creditors Given until April 21 to Present Claims
TRANS CARD: Creditors to Submit Claims to Trustee by April 7


B A R B A D O S

DIGICEL: Gets Government's Okay to Merge with Cingular Wireless


B O L I V I A

BOLIVIA: Suspends Auction of US$500 Million El Mutun Project


B R A Z I L

BANCO BRADESCO: Creates Banco Bradesco de Investimento
BANCO DO BRASIL: Alianca Reports US$72 Million Profit in 2005
BRAZIL: May Sell Local Bonds with Longer Maturities
ELETROBRAS: Inks Debt Settlement for 903MW Lajeado Hydro Plant      
EL PASO: Inks Letter of Intent with COPEL for Power Plant Sale


C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S

CABL LIMITED: Claims to be Verified until March 6
MULTI ASSETS: Liquidator Begins Verifying Claims
NHT LIMITED: Liquidator Stops Verifying Claims on March 6
NICOS SHOPPING: Creditors Given until March 6 to Submit Claims
STFG FUNDING: Creditors Must Present Claims by March 6


C O L O M B I A

BBVA COLOMBIA: Plans US$178 Million Subordinated Bond Issuance


D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

FALCONBRIDGE: Inco Merger Creates Concern over Nickel Supply


J A M A I C A

JAMAICA: Inks Offshore Exploration Pact with Finder Exploration


M E X I C O

AHMSA: Micare Pulled Out of Payment Suspension Status
IUSACELL: Not Considering Unefon Merger for the Moment      


P A N A M A

BLADEX: Discloses US$80 Million of Net Income in 2005


P U E R T O   R I C O

ANGEL BERRIOS: Taps Luis Medina Torres as Bankruptcy Counsel
MUSICLAND HOLDING: Court Approves Assumed & Assigned Leases
MUSICLAND HOLDING: Merchants Wants Stay Lifted to Continue Suit


V E N E Z U E L A

CITGO: Provides Initial Response to Congressional Inquiry
PDVSA: Discussing Renewable Energy Sources on March 27-28
PDVSA: Minister Says Firms Can't Book Oil Using Old Contracts

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -  

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


AGUAS ARGENTINAS: Foreign Shareholders Push ICSID Rates Suit
------------------------------------------------------------
Reuters reports that Aguas Argentinas will withdraw a rate-
related complaint that it filed at the International Centre for
Settlement of Investment Disputes, World Bank's arbitration
body, against the government of Argentina.  However, the
company's foreign shareholders, Suez and Aguas de Barcelona,
will continue pursuing it.

The complaint is centered on Argentina's 2002 decision to
convert utility rates from dollars into devalued pesos and
freeze them.

"With the aim of eventually facilitating an agreement, Aguas
Argentinas is withdrawing its complaint," a statement from the
company said.  "This withdrawal should not interfere with the
demands by foreign shareholders, which will continue."

Suez declared last September that it is withdrawing its stake in
Aguas Argentinas after contract negotiations with the government
failed.  It has since continued to operate the business, and
will until a new buyer is identified.

Suez owns 39.93% stake in Aguas Argentinas, making it the
largest shareholder of the company.  Aguas employs 3,800 workers
and distributes drinking water and provides sewer drains to
about 10 million people in the Argentine capital and its
suburbs.

Suez has also recently decided to dissolve another of its
Argentine businesses, Aguas Provinciales de Sante Fe, which has
passed into provincial control.

Aguas Argentinas currently has a $600 million debt that Suez was
unsuccessful in restructuring.  Banco de la Nacion rejected
Suez's lobbying to refinance the debt.   


AGUAS PROVINCIALES: Services Halted, ASSA Takes Over
----------------------------------------------------
As previously reported, the foreign shareholders of Aguas
Provinciales de Santa Fe has decided to cancel their concession
contract after Santa Fe's local government prevented Suez and
Aguas de Barcelona from transferring their shares to local
company, Alberdi Aguas.  

As a result, Aguas Santafesinas was established by the
government to take over the water and sewerage services in 15
cities in the south of Argentine.  The government will hold a
51% stake in the new company, while the 15 municipalities served
by the company are expected to hold 39%, with the employees
controlling 10% under the property-sharing program.

"We are not the state, we are a [business] that is taking
control of the company," Aguas Santafesinas' President Juan
Carlos Venesia was quoted as saying by daily Ambito Financiero.  
"will have the capacity of a private company, but with the
management of the state, which is the controller and owner of
the shares."


BANCO FRANCES: Aims Increase in Private Sector Loan Portfolio
-------------------------------------------------------------
BBVA Banco Frances wants to increase its lending to the private
sector by 45% this year, Business News Americas quoted the
bank's investor relations manager Adriana Arbelbide during a
conference call.

"Our main goal for 2006 is to expand our private sector loan
portfolio, capitalizing on our growth potential," Arbelbide said
during the conference.  "We did well in 2005. We strengthened
our market position in terms of loans, deposits and in
transactional business while also improving the quality of our
balance sheet."

BBVA Banco Frances posted net income of 117 million pesos
(US$11.1 million) in 2005, up 317% from the previous year due to   
better margins and non-interest income.

Net interest income grew 60% to 822 million pesos, while net
non-interest income from fees rose 22.5% to 361 million pesos.

Lending to the private sector jumped 69% to 3.89 billion pesos
(US$1.27 billion) thanks to strong growth in both the corporate
and retail segments, the bank said in a statement.  BBVA Frances
reduced its exposure to the public sector 33% to 5.03 billion
pesos at end-December, or 35.5% of total assets.

In September 2005, BBVA Banco Frances prepaid a 1.83 billion
debt to the central bank.  The debt stemmed from the financial
assistance the central bank provided to the majority of the
country's banks during the worst days of the Argentine crisis in
late 2001 and 2002.

"The main challenges for BBVA Banco Frances include a reduction
of its still-high exposure to the sovereign and the reduction of
the mismatches that persist in its balance sheet, which make
results subject to the volatility of macroeconomic variables
such as inflation, real interest rates and the exchange rate,"
S&P analyst Federico Rey-Marino told Business News.

BBVA Banco Frances is a subsidiary of Spanish financial group
BBVA (NYSE: BBV) and is one of Argentina's three largest private
banks.

                        *    *    *

Moody's Investor Service rates BBVA Banco Frances' long-term
bank deposits at Caa1.


BANCO GALICIA: Registers US$62 Million Profit in 2005
-----------------------------------------------------
Banco Galicia reported 191 million (US$62 million) net profit
for 2005, compared to a 109 million loss in 2004.

Revenues were up 73% to 2.37 billion pesos mainly due to the
appreciation of sovereign-related assets indexed in the CER
inflation coefficient.  Financial expenses rose 57% to 1.88
billion pesos.

Loan loss provisions were down 59% to 76.7 million pesos, while
net service income rose 20% to 525 million pesos.

The bank's annualized ROAA hit 0.88% last year compared to -
0.38% in 2004, while the annualized ROAE rose to 14.8% from -
8.47%.

Galicia's net loan portfolio grew 25.2% to 10.5 billion pesos
last year.  Loans to the public sector grew 48.1% to 5.64
billion pesos, increasing its market share in that segment to
7.3% from 6.4% at Dec. 31, 2004.

Bad loans as a percentage of total loans fell to 3.49% from
7.74% in 2004.  The bank's exposure to the public sector rose
29.8% to 7.12 billion pesos.

"Banco Galicia succeeded in increasing loans to the private
sector while maintaining adequate asset quality and efficiency
levels.  The bank reflected slight improvements in its balance
sheet through a reduction in the exposure to the sovereign -- in
relative terms -- the partial cancellation of its debt with the
central bank and the sale of part of its non-performing
portfolio," S&P credit analyst Federico Rey-Marino told Business
News Americas.

In October last year and January 2006, the bank prepaid an 850
million pesos debt held with the central bank, which contributed
to the strengthening of the bank's balance sheet.

"Going forward, Banco Galicia faces several challenges including
increasing loans to the private sector, maintaining the
operating efficiencies attained in the aftermath of the crisis,
strengthening its capital base and reducing its still-high
exposure to the sovereign," S&P's analyst told Business News.

The bank's market share in deposits and loans was 5.95% and 9.7%
respectively at Dec. 31, 2005.  Deposit accounts rose 10% to
some 1.11 million.

Galicia's deposits rose 35% to 8.10 billion pesos.  Assets were
up 8.5% to 25.5 billion pesos with liabilities growing 8.1% to
24.1 billion pesos.

Shareholders' equity rose 16% to 1.39 billion pesos.

Galicia is one of the top three private banks in Argentina and
operates through 328 branches with over 6,700 employees.

Local financial group Grupo Galicia (NasdaqSC: GGAL) controls
Banco Galicia.

                        *    *    *

Moody's Investor Service assigns Caa1 to Banco Galicia's Issuer
Rating and Long-term Bank Deposits.


COMPANIA DE SERVICIOS: Verification Deadline Set for March 6
------------------------------------------------------------
The end of the verification of claims of Compania de Servicios
Monasterio S.A.'s creditors will be on March 6, 2006, Infobae
reports.

Compania de Servicios Monasterio started winding up operations
when a Buenos Aires court declared it bankrupt and appointed Mr.
Luis Juan Kuklis as trustee.

Mr. Luis Juan Kuklis, the trustee, can be reached at:

         Lavalle 1619
         Buenos Aires


EDENOR: Creditors Have Until Today to Vote on Debt Swap Offer
-------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Edenor, Argentina's power distributor, have until
today to submit consents for the company's debt swap offer and
receive additional cash payments, Business News Americas
reports.

Edenor launched on Jan. 20 its offer to restructure $537 million
in debt that the company defaulted on in 2002 amid the nation's
financial crisis.  The offer calls for the exchange of its
US$537 million debt for a combination of cash and new notes
through a voluntary offer and out-of-court restructuring
agreement.

The debt swap offered a fixed-rate 11-year bond, a variable rate
and Libor-based 14-year bond, or a combination option that
included an 85% cash buyback and a discount 9-year bond.

The Company said that the restructuring will allow the reduction
of Edenor's debt by $161 million, as well as reduction of the
annual interest payments that reached $36 million until last
year, to $12 million, on average, during the coming years.  The
deal also extends payment terms to 14 years.

The official exchange offer and the invitation to sign the APE
will still expire at 5 p.m., New York City time, on February 28.

As of February 13, creditors holding 85.9% of the aggregate
principal amount of Edenor's debt had committed by signing
agreements with the company to tender their debt in the
voluntary exchange offer or submitting consents to the APE.

Edenor has also received indications of interest from creditors
holding 5.8% of its debt to submit their consents.

An APE is an insolvency procedure available to debtors under
Argentine Bankruptcy law consisting of an out-of-court agreement
between a debtor and creditors holding at least two-thirds of
its unsecured debt, which is submitted to a court for approval.  
Once approved, the APE is binding on all unsecured creditors,
including non-consenting creditors, whether or not they have
participated in the negotiation or execution of the APE
agreement.

Edenor could choose not to file an APE for court approval if
creditors holding at least 93% of the debt submit consents.

                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on Jan. 2, 2006, the
Argentine arm of credit ratings agency Fitch Ratings maintained
its 'D' local scale rating on US$600 million of bonds issued by
power distributor Edenor.

Fitch attributed the rating to Edenor's inability to make its
credit payments, which are in US dollars, due to the devaluation
of the peso and the government having frozen rates.


FABRICACIONES INTEGRALES: Claims Verification Ends March 22
-----------------------------------------------------------
The verification of claims of Fabricaciones Integrales S.R.L.'s
creditors will end on March 22, 2006, reports Infobae.  Verified
claims will be presented in court as individual reports on May
8, 2006.  

Fabricaciones Integrales started reorganization after a court in
Villa Constitucion approved its motion and appointed Ms. Nidida
Guillermina Moreno as trustee.

A general report on the case is also expected on June 21, 2006.

An informative assembly, the last phase of the reorganization,
will be held on Nov. 3, 2006.  During the assembly, the
company's creditors will vote on the settlement proposal
prepared by the company.

Fabricaciones Integrales S.R.L. can be reached at:

         Jose Ingenieros 840
         Villa Constitucion (Santa Fe)

Ms. Nidida Guillermina Moreno, the trustee, can be reached at:

         Belgrano 998
         Villa Constitucion (Santa Fe)


FREECOW S.A.: Files for Bankruptcy Due to Missed Payments
---------------------------------------------------------
Freecow S.A. filed for bankruptcy before Buenos Aires' Court No.
6, reports La Nacion.  The company defaulted on its payments
since July 4, 2005.

Clerk No. 11 assists on the case.

Freecow S.A. can be reached at:

         Avenida del Libertador 4530
         Buenos Aires


GRALEX S.A.: Trustee Ceases Verification of Claims on March 20
--------------------------------------------------------------
Ms. Jessica Andrea Minc -- the trustee appointed by a Buenos
Aires court for the bankruptcy of Gralex S.A. -- will stop
verifying creditors' claims on March 20, 2006.

Infobae relates that Ms. Minc will prepare individual reports
out of the verified claims.  The reports will be presented in
court for approval on May 4, 2006.  

The submission of a general report on the case will follow on
June 16, 2006.

Ms. Jessica Andrea Minc, the trustee, can be reached at:

         Avda. Santa Fe 2534
         Buenos Aires


NOVEL TIME: Claims Verification Phase Ends on April 10
------------------------------------------------------
The verification phase of the claims of creditors against
bankrupt company Novel Time S.A. will end on April 10, 2006,
reports Argentine daily La Nacion.  Creditors whose claims are
not verified after the said date will be disqualified from
receiving any distribution that the company would make

Novel Time was declared bankrupt by Buenos Aires' Court No. 11,
with the assistance of Clerk No. 22., after the company failed
to pay $41,709.42 to Cooperativa Vabriela S.R.L.

Novel Time S.A. can be reached at:

         Honduras 3743
         Buenos Aires

Ms. Rosa Santos, the trustee, can be reached at:

         Avenida Corrientes 6031
         Buenos Aires


SCADUTO S.A.: Verification of Claims to End on May 8
----------------------------------------------------
Court-appointed trustee Juan Treppo will end the verification of
claims forwarded by creditors of Scaduto S.A., a company
undergoing reorganization, on May 8, 2006.  

La Nacion relates that Scaduto S.A. entered insolvency
proceedings after Buenos Aires' Court No. 6 approved the
company's petition to reorganize.  The company disclosed assets
of $819,126.39 and debts of $485,235.

An informative assembly, which will end the reorganization, is
scheduled on Sep. 13, 2007.

Clerk No. 11 assists the court on the case.

Scaduto S.A. can be reached at:

         Rodriguez Pena 231
         Buenos Aires

Mr. Juan Treppo, the trustee, can be reached at:

         Sarmiento 1183
         Buenos Aires


SCANNER FORMS: Creditors Given until April 21 to Present Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------
Scanner Forms S.A.'s creditors are given until April 21, 2006,
to submit their claims against the company to the court-
appointed trustee, Ms. Elena B. Tancredi.  

Infobae relates that Scanner Forms entered wind up proceedings
after a Buenos Aires' court declared the company's bankruptcy.

Ms. Elena B. Tancredi, the trustee, can be reached at:

         Ecuador 1185
         Buenos Aires


TRANS CARD: Creditors to Submit Claims to Trustee by April 7
------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors are required to submit claims against Trans Card
S.R.L., a Buenos Aires-based bankrupt company, by April 7, 2006,
reports Infobae.  

Submitted claims will be verified by Ms. Miryam Lewenbaum, the
court-appointed trustee.  Ms. Lewenbaum will then prepare
individual reports out of the verified claims, and submit them
on May 22, 2006.  

A general report on the case is expected on July 5, 2006.

Trans Card S.R.L. can be reached at:

         Avda. Cordoba 391
         Buenos Aires

Ms. Miryam Lewenbaum, the trustee, can be reached at:

         Montevideo 666
         Buenos Aires


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


DIGICEL: Gets Government's Okay to Merge with Cingular Wireless
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Barbados government has approved a proposed merger between
Digicel Limited and Cingular Wireless, CBC quoted chief
telecommunications officer Chelston Bourne as saying.

Mr. Bourne said that the Cabinet approved the merger after
Digicel met a number of conditions, CBC relates.  CBC did not
enumerate what those conditions were.

                 About Cingular Wireless

Cingular Wireless -- http://www.cingular.com/-- provides mobile  
voice and data communication services. Includes rate plans,
equipment, and area coverage maps.  The company is 60%-owned by
AT&T Inc. (formerly SBC Communications) and 40% by BellSouth.

                 About Digicel Limited

Digicel Limited 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.


=============
B O L I V I A
=============

BOLIVIA: Suspends Auction of US$500 Million El Mutun Project
------------------------------------------------------------
Alex Emery, writing for Bloomberg, reports that the Republic of
Bolivia has suspended the auction of a US$500 million iron mine
project -- the El Mutun deposit, Bolivia's largest iron
reserves.  The government said it plans to produce its own steel
and iron rather than export its ore to steelmakers abroad.

Economic Development Minister Carlos Villegas said in a prepared
statement that the government also wants the mine's developer to
use natural gas from Bolivia, which has South America's second-
largest reserves, instead of coal as planned in the call for
bids on the project.  

"We'll meet with social organizations to set bidding conditions
that benefit the regions and the country," Minister Villegas
said in the statement.  "We propose industrialization instead of
exporting raw materials."

Pre-qualified bidders to develop the El Mutun deposit include
the world's biggest steelmaker, Rotterdam-based Mittal Steel Co.
NV, New Delhi-based Jindal Steel & Power Ltd., China's Shandong
Luneng Hengyuan Trading Group Co Ltd., Brazil's EBX Siderurgica
Bolivia and a joint venture between Argentina's Siderar SAIC and
Techint Argentina SA, according to the Ministry of Economic
Development.

The suspension triggered a day-long shutdown of the country's
eastern border by protesters demanding the project, which is
expected to create 2,000 jobs and produce 1.5 million tons of
iron ore a year, go forward, Mr. Emery states.

El Mutun is expected to generate $200 million a year in export
revenue.

                        *    *    *

Bolivia's foreign currency long-term debt is rated:
B3 by Moody's, B- by S&P and D by Fitch.


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


BANCO BRADESCO: Creates Banco Bradesco de Investimento
------------------------------------------------------
Banco Bradesco announced during a conference call that it has
created an investment bank, Banco Bradesco de Investimento.

The investment bank will focus on local and international
capital markets, particularly in asset management and business
structuring.  BBI will also be take over the responsibility of
Bradesco's brokerage acitivities, Bradesco Securities in New
York and Bradesco Private Bank, Business News Americas quoted
chief executive officer Marcio Cypriano as saying.

"We already had everything [that will now comprise BBI]," Mr.
Cypriano said during the conference. "But we wanted to group
them together for a more direct focus.  And our focus will be
capital markets as well as mergers and acquisitions."

At the end of last year Bradesco's capital market department
recorded a total volume of 26.9 billion reais (US$12.7 billion),
while assets under management were 121 billion reais.

Bradesco Private Bank is reserved for clients with more than 1
million reais in assets.  It closed 2005 with 13 billion reais
in assets.  Bradesco Securities is located in New York and
serves international clients.

Headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Banco Bradesco S.A. Banco --
http://www.bradesco.com.br/-- prides itself on serving low-  
and medium-income individuals in Brazil since the
1960s.  Bradesco is Brazil's largest private bank, with more
than 3,000 banking branches, and also a leader in insurance and
private pension management.  Bradesco has branches throughout
Brazil as well as one in New York, two in the Bahamas, and four
in the Cayman Islands.  Bradesco offers Internet banking,
insurance, pension plans, annuities, credit card services
(including football-club affinity cards for the soccer-mad
population), and Internet access for customers.  The bank also
provides personal and commercial loans, along with leasing
services.

                        *    *    *

Banco Bradesco's $100 Million notes due Sept. 2, 2006, is rated
Ba3e by Moody's and BB- by Composite.


BANCO DO BRASIL: Alianca Reports US$72 Million Profit in 2005
-------------------------------------------------------------
Business News Americas reports Alianca do Brasil's financial
results for 2005.  Alianca do Brasil is the insurance unit of
federal bank, Banco do Brasil.

Alianca do Brasil, posted net profits of 155 million reais
(US$72 million) in 2005, an increase of 24% over the previous
year.

ROE rose to 71.3% in 2005 from 69.6% in the previous year.  
Direct premiums climbed 10% to 1.2 billion reais (US$56 million)
at end-2005.

Alianca do Brasil President, Luis Luz, told local paper Gazeta
Mercantil the company hopes a 12% increase in earnings from
premiums this year compared to 2005.

"We predict a 3% drop in the Selic rate this year, which will
affect the financial results," Gazeta quoted Mr. Luz as saying.
The Selic is Brazil's benchmark interest rate, which currently
stands at 19%.

The sales of individual life insurance policies accounted for
the majority of the premiums collected by the company last year.
Alianca do Brasil sells most of its insurance policies at
branches of its banking parent.

"We want to strengthen our relationship with BB and stimulate
sales of international transportation insurance," Luz said,
adding the agricultural sector would also be a priority for the
company this year.

Alianca do Brasil is the second largest insurance company in
Brazil, behind only Bradesco Seguros e Previdencia, in terms of
sales of life insurance and personal accident insurance.  

                        *    *    *

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.

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.

Headquartered in Brasilia, Brazil, 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.


BRAZIL: May Sell Local Bonds with Longer Maturities
---------------------------------------------------
Bloomberg reports that Brazil may extend its local fixed-rate
bond maturities to take advantage of an expected increase in
foreign investors' demand for the securities, Treasury Secretary
Joaquim Levy said.  

The expected increase in foreign investments is a result of the
government's announcement of a 15% local bond tax exemption for
foreign investors.

Brazil may sell fixed-rate, real-denominated bonds maturing in
2015 or 2020.  The government's current longest fixed-rate local
bond matures in 2012, Bloomberg states.

"There's demand for longer tenor bonds in reais," Secretary Levy
said during the Latin American Borrowers and Investors Forum in
Miami.

Secretary Levy said he expects foreigners' holdings of local
bonds to double to $10 billion within a year.

                        *    *    *

On Nov. 29, 2005, Standard & Poor's upgraded Brazil's credit
outlook to positive from stable.  Brazil's effort to trim down
external public and private sector external debt is paying off,
at least on the ratings.

S&P analysts Lisa Schineller said the debt reduction, coupled by  
solid exports, are reducing the likelihood of a default.   
However, its dependence on debt to finance the budget  
continues to restrict its rating.

Reuters said S&P expects Brazil's financing needs to remain  
near 85% in 2005 and 2006, close to the median for 'BB-'-
rated countries.  Also restricting its fiscal and economic  
progress is high interest rates, but S&P believes efforts to  
cut bureaucratic red tape should boost its prospects.


ELETROBRAS: Inks Debt Settlement for 903MW Lajeado Hydro Plant      
--------------------------------------------------------------
Eletrobras arrived at a settlement agreement with its partners
in the 903MW Lajeado hydroelectric power plant concerning a 1.07
billion reais (US$596 million) in unpaid sector charges,
Business News Americas reports.

Under a share exchange agreement, Eletrobras converted its
37.52% stake in the special purpose company Investco that owns
Lajeado into 40.07% stakes in the four companies that control
Investco.

Eletrobras now has 40.07% stakes in:

   -- EDP Lajedao, which was controlled by Portugal's state
      power company EDP before the agreement;

   -- Rede Lajeado, previously controlled by Brazilian power
      company Grupo Rede;

   -- CEB Lajeado, previously controlled by Federal District
      power company CEB; and

   -- Paulista Lajeado formerly controlled by U.S. power company
      CMS Energy.  

The debt-for-equity swap was estimated at 415 million reais.  In
exchange for the shares in each of Investco's shareholders,  
Eletrobras wrote off part of the 1.07 billion real debt to the
same value as the operation.  

The remaining 653 million reais debt will be paid off yearly by
bonds issued by each of the Investco shareholders and handed
over to Eletrobras.  The bonds guarantee that at least 10% of
Investco's profits will be used to pay down the debt through
2032, when Lejado's power generation concession contract
expires, Business News states.

According to Business News, the share swap deal is the latest in
a series of moves by Eletrobras to increase its presence in
Brazil's power generation sector.  Eletrobras's generation  
subsidiary, Furnas, recently acquired a 40% stake in the 850MW
Foz do Chapeco hydroelectric power generation project.  

Lajeado is located on the Tocantins river in northern Brazil  
and started generating power in 2001.  Investment in the project
was 1.6 billion reais.
  
Eletrobras manages several sector charges levied on generation,
transmission and distribution operations, which are used to
subsidize some government programs such as the expansion of
power supply in poor regions, Business News relates.  

                        *    *    *

As reported on Nov. 15, 2005, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services
has assigned its 'BB-' rating to Eletrobras - Centrais Eletricas
Brasileiras S.A.'s forthcoming US$300 million unsecured and
unsubordinated notes due in 2015.  The global scale corporate
credit ratings at 'BB-' foreign currency and 'BB' local currency
were also affirmed.  S&P said the outlook is positive.


EL PASO: Inks Letter of Intent with COPEL for Power Plant Sale
--------------------------------------------------------------
El Paso Corporation (NYSE: EP) entered into a Letter of Intent
with COPEL (Companhia Paranaense de Energia) for the sale of El
Paso's interest in the Araucaria power plant in Brazil and the
settlement of a dispute over that plant.

Under the terms of the Letter of Intent, El Paso will receive
$190 million in exchange for its 60% ownership of the plant.  
Additionally, pending Petrobras' formal approval, El Paso and
COPEL, as co-owners with Petrobras of the plant, agreed that
legal proceedings, which currently exist in the courts of Brazil
and in international arbitration, will be suspended.  El Paso
hopes to complete the sale of the Araucaria plant in the first
half of the year.

"The announcement represents another step forward for our
Brazilian power business," said Doug Foshee, president and chief
executive officer of El Paso Corporation.  "The sale will allow
us to recover our initial investment in the Araucaria plant,
sharpening our focus on the significant potential of our
exploration and production program in Brazil."

                           About COPEL

Headquartered in Parana, Brazil, COPEL aka Companhia Paranaense
de Energia SA -- http://www.copel.com/-- transmits and  
distributes electricity to more than 3 million customers in the
state of Paran  and has a generating capacity of nearly 4,600
MW, primarily from hydroelectric plants.  COPEL also offers
telecommunications, natural gas, engineering, and water and
sanitation services.  The company restructured its utility
operations in 2001 into separate generation, transmission, and
distribution subsidiaries to prepare for full privatization,
which has been indefinitly postponed.  In
response, COPEL is re-evaluating its corporate structure.  The
government of Paran  controls about 59% of COPEL.

                       About El Paso Corp.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, El Paso Corporation --
http://www.elpaso.com/-- provides natural gas and related  
energy products in a safe, efficient, and dependable manner.  
The company owns North America's largest natural gas pipeline
system and one of North America's largest independent natural
gas producers.  

                          *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Feb. 17, 2006,
Moody's Investors Service placed under review for possible
upgrade the ratings on the debt and supported obligations of El
Paso Corporation and its subsidiaries.  These rating actions
reflect the prospect of EP reducing more than previously
expected amount of debt in the near future, the company's
progress in reducing its business risks and contingent
liabilities, and signs of recovery in its production operations.  
These positive factors, combined with a large available cash
balance, help to improve the outlook for its near-term liquidity
and its credit profile overall.

On Review for Possible Upgrade:

   Issuer: ANR Pipeline Company

      * Issuer Rating, Placed on Review for Possible Upgrade,
        currently B1

      * Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed on
        Review for Possible Upgrade, currently B1

   Issuer: Colorado Interstate Gas Company

      * Issuer Rating, Placed on Review for Possible Upgrade,
        currently B1

      * Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed on
        Review for Possible Upgrade, currently B1

   Issuer: El Paso CGP Company

      * Subordinated Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed on Review
        for Possible Upgrade, currently Caa3

   Issuer: El Paso Capital Trust II

      * Preferred Stock Shelf, Placed on Review for Possible
        Upgrade, currently (P)Caa3

   Issuer: El Paso Capital Trust III

      * Preferred Stock Shelf, Placed on Review for Possible
        Upgrade, currently (P)Caa3

   Issuer: El Paso Corporation

      * Corporate Family Rating, Placed on Review for Possible
        Upgrade, currently B3

      * Speculative Grade Liquidity Rating, Placed on Review for
        Possible Upgrade, currently SGL-3

      * Preferred Stock Shelf, Placed on Review for Possible
        Upgrade, currently (P)Ca

      * Senior Secured Bank Credit Facility, Placed on Review
        for Possible Upgrade, currently B3

      * Subordinated Conv./Exch. Bond/Debenture, Placed on
        Review for Possible Upgrade, currently Caa3

      * Subordinated Shelf, Placed on Review for Possible
        Upgrade, currently (P)Caa3

   Issuer: El Paso Energy Capital Trust I

      * Preferred Stock, Placed on Review for Possible Upgrade,
        currently Caa3

   Issuer: El Paso Exploration & Production Company

      * Corporate Family Rating, Placed on Review for Possible
        Upgrade, currently B3

      * Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed on
        Review for Possible Upgrade, currently B3

   Issuer: El Paso Natural Gas Company

      * Issuer Rating, Placed on Review for Possible Upgrade,
        currently B1

      * Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed on
        Review for Possible Upgrade, currently B1

   Issuer: El Paso Tennessee Pipeline Co.

      * Preferred Stock 2 Shelf, Placed on Review for Possible
        Upgrade, currently (P)Ca

   Issuer: Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company

      * Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Placed on
        Review for Possible Upgrade, currently B1


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


CABL LIMITED: Claims to be Verified until March 6
-------------------------------------------------
The claims of creditors of CABL Limited will be verified until
March 6, 2006.  Creditors must prove their debts or claims by
the said date and establish any title they may have under the
Companies Law (2004) Revision.  Creditors who are not able to do
so after the date will be excluded from receiving any
distribution or payment that the company will make.

CABL Limited began winding up operations on Jan. 24, 2006, and
appointed Piccadilly Cayman Limited as liquidator.

CABL Limited can be reached at:

         3rd Floor Royal Bank House, Shedden Road
         George Town, Grand Cayman
         Cayman Islands

Piccadilly Cayman Limited, can be reached at:

         P.O. Box 10632 APO
         Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

         Ellen J. Christian
         Telephone: 345 945 9208
         Fax: 345 945 9210


MULTI ASSETS: Liquidator Begins Verifying Claims
------------------------------------------------
Multi Assets Corporation's liquidator, Piccadilly Cayman
Limited, has started verifying proofs of claim.  The
verification of claims will stop on March 6, 2006.  Creditors
who are unable to submit their claims by the said date will be
disqualified from receiving any payment that the company will
make.

Multi Assets Corporation began liquidating assets on Jan. 24,
2006, and appointed Piccadilly Cayman Limited as liquidator.

Multi Assets Corporation can be reached at:

         3rd Floor Royal Bank House, Shedden Road
         George Town, Grand Cayman
         Cayman Islands

Piccadilly Limited, the voluntary liquidator, can be reached at;

         P.O. Box 10632 APO
         Grand Cayman
         Cayman Islands

         Ellen J. Christian
         Telephone: 345 945 9208
         Fax: 345 945 9210


NHT LIMITED: Liquidator Stops Verifying Claims on March 6
---------------------------------------------------------
Piccadilly Cayman Limited, liquidator of NHT Limited, will stop
validating proofs of claim from the company's creditors on March
6, 2006.  Creditors who are unable to have their claims
validated after the said date will not be included in receiving
any distribution or payment that the company will make.

NHT Limited entered voluntary liquidation on Jan. 24, 2006.

NHT Limited can be reached at:

         3rd Floor Royal Bank House, Shedden Road
         George Town, Grand Cayman
         Cayman Islands

Piccadilly Cayman Limited, the liquidator, can be reached at:
         P.O. Box 10632 APO
         Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

         Ellen J. Christian
         Telephone: 345 945 9208
         Fax: 345 945 9210


NICOS SHOPPING: Creditors Given until March 6 to Submit Claims
--------------------------------------------------------------
Nicos Shopping Credit Receivables Corp. III's creditors are
given until March 6, 2006, to have their claims validated by
Piccadilly Cayman Limited, the company's liquidator.  Creditors
must establish any title they may have under the Companies Law
(2004 Revision), or be exluded from the benefit of any
distribution made.

Nicos Shopping Credit Receivables Corp. III started liquidating
assets on Jan. 24, 2006.

The company can be reached at:

         3rd Floor Royal Bank House, Shedden Road
         George Town, Grand Cayman
         Cayman Islands

Piccadilly Cayman Limited, the liquidator, can be reached at:

         P.O. Box 10632 APO
         Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

         Ellen J. Christian
         Telephone: 345 945 9208
         Fax: 345 945 9210


STFG FUNDING: Creditors Must Present Claims by March 6
------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of STFG Funding Corporation must submit claims to
Piccadilly Cayman Limited, the company's liquidator, by March 6,
2006.  Failure to do so would mean exclusion from any
distribution that the company would make.

STFG Funding Corporation entered voluntary liquidation on Jan.
24, 2006.

STFG Funding Corporation can be reached at:

         3rd Floor Royal Bank House, Shedden Road
         George Town, Grand Cayman
         Cayman Islands

Piccadilly Cayman Limited, the voluntary liquidator, can be
reached at:

         P.O. Box 10632 APO
         Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

         Ellen J. Christian
         Telephone: 345 945 9208
         Fax: 345 945 9210


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


BBVA COLOMBIA: Plans US$178 Million Subordinated Bond Issuance
--------------------------------------------------------------
BBVA Colombia SA intends to ask its shareholders on February 28
to approve a 400 billion peso (US$178 million) subordinated bond
issue.

BBVA Colombia also approved the issuance of 314 billion pesos
worth of new shares, Business News Americas reports.  

The bank will call for another shareholders' meeting on March 30
to propose a 107 billion pesos dividend as well as a share swap
for the acquisition of state-owned mortgage lender Granahorrar,
with 5,872 shares of the latter, representing one share of BBVA
Colombia, Business News relates.  

In October 2005, BBVA Colombia won the auction for Granahorrar
with a 970 billion pesos bid, making BBVA the biggest mortgage
lender in Colombia with a 21.4% market share, Business News
relates.  The bank expects to close the acquisition in April.

BBVA Colombia is the country's second largest bank in terms of
overall market share after Bancolombia.

                        *    *    *

As previously reported on Nov. 9, 2005, Fitch Ratings, the
international rating agency, took these actions on the ratings
assigned to BBVA Colombia:

  -- long-term foreign currency rating affirmed at BB;
     and       
  -- short-term foreign currency rating affirmed at B.

Fitch said the outlook was stable.


===================================
D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C
===================================


FALCONBRIDGE: Inco Merger Creates Concern over Nickel Supply
------------------------------------------------------------
The Wall Street Journal relates that concerns over a possible
control over a nickel alloy that can withstand the heat of jet
engines could create antitrust problems for mining group Inco
Ltd.'s US$10.8 billion planned takeover of rival Falconbridge
Ltd.

Once the merger is completed, the combined companies will become
the world's largest nickel producer, surpassing Russia's OAO
Norilsk Nickel, the Journal says.  The merged companies will
control 90% of the high-grade nickel needed to create super
alloys.

Steve Mitchell, Inco's spokesman, told the Journal that the jet-
engine market represents a very small market for primary nickel.  
Inco also disputes that the merger will significantly narrow the
supplier base.

The dispute comes at a sensitive time, the Journal says.  Strong
demand in China has sent nickel prices skyward during recent
years.

Additionally, defense contractors, among the main users of
nickel super alloys, are raising national-security worries.  In
November, the U.S. Justice Department asked the companies for
more detailed information on the deal.  The Justice Department
doesn't comment on pending antitrust cases.

European regulators have a Feb. 24 deadline to clear the deal or
launch a four-month, in-depth investigation.  On the other hand,
Canadian regulators have already given the deal its go signal.

"We expect to hear about remedies required [in the U.S. and
Europe] to resolve competitive concerns over the next two
weeks," Mr. Mitchell told the Journal.  "We believe there are no
serious competitive concerns that need to be addressed that we
have not already evaluated."

Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Falconbridge Limited --
http://www.falconbridge.com/-- produces nickel products.  It   
owns nickel mines in Canada and the Dominican Republic; it
operates a refinery and sulfuric acid (used in refining) plant
in Norway.  It is also a major producer of copper (38% of sales)
through its Kidd mine in Canada and its stake in Chile's
Collahuasi mine and Lomas Bayas mine.  Its other products
include cobalt, platinum group metals, and zinc.

                        *    *    *

Falconbridge's CDN$150 million 5% convertible and callable bond
due April 30, 2007, carries Standard & Poor's BB+ rating.


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


JAMAICA: Inks Offshore Exploration Pact with Finder Exploration
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Oil & Gas Journal relates that Australia's Finder
Exploration Pty. Ltd. will explore offshore about eight
kilometers south of Jamaica.

Raymond Wright, an official at Jamaica's Ministry of Industry
and Commerce, said that Finder Exploration will cover the US$3
million cost of the operation.

If oil or gas is eventually discovered, Finder Exploration will
give a 12.5% royalty to Jamaica, the Journal states.

Fugro Limited, of Norway, will conduct a series of seismic
surveys for Finder,

                        *    *    *

Jamaica's foreign currency long-term debt is rated B1 by Moody's
and B by S&P.


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

AHMSA: Micare Pulled Out of Payment Suspension Status
-----------------------------------------------------
Business News Americas reports that Micare, the coal mining
subsidiary of Altos Hornos de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. has been
pulled out of a payment suspension status after a court in the
Coahuila state issued a ruling lifting its suspension.  

As previously reported, Ahmsa inked an agreement with creditors,
which include Banamex-Citibank and Caterpillar, to lift its coal
mining subsidiary Micare out of its suspension of payment
status.  Once Micare is free of suspension status, its creditors
will receive full payment over a three-year period.

The suspension of payment status for a US$200 million debt took
effect after AHMSA went bankrupt in 1999.  AHMSA received legal
protection in Mexico and permission to continue operating under
a form of bankruptcy protection after failing to pay US$1.8
billion in debt.

Micare operates two open-pit and three underground mines in
Coahuila state, where it annually mines between 5M-8Mt of
thermal coal, which is used for power generation.

Altos Hornos de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. or AHMSA is an integrated
steel producer in Mexico.  The Company manufactures and markets
flat steel products such as hot and cold rolled coil and
tinplate.  AHMSA also produces heavy and light structural
sections, wire rods, and reinforcing bars.  The Company serves
the manufacturing, construction, petroleum, packaging and home
appliance industries.


IUSACELL: Not Considering Unefon Merger for the Moment      
------------------------------------------------------
Grupo Iusacell S.A. de CV's chief executive officer Gustavo
Guzman told reporters that the company is not considering right
now a merger with its sister company, Unefon Holdings SA de CV.   
The CEO however, does not rule out a possible merger with Unefon
in the future.

Mr. Guzman said that given that Unefon is the only other CDMA
mobile operator in Mexico and much of it is controlled by the
same shareholders, he could not rule out a merger, Business News
Americas quoted Mr. Guzman during a speech he made at the
Expocom telecommunications conference in Mexico City,  

"Only Unefon and Iusacell use CDMA technology. The competition  
use GSM and are monstrously large companies, so it sounds
logical that some day it [the merger] could happen," Mr. Guzman
said.  "We can't forget that Grupo Salinas owns 50% of Unefon
and the majority of Iusacell."

Given their technological compatibility, Iusacell and Unefon  
rent spectrum capacity to each other in different parts of the
country.  However, the collaboration ends there, Mr. Guzman
said.  

"Today from operational terms there is zero possibility [of a  
merger] with the exception of renting capacity. We don't do any
other work together," Mr. Guzman said.  

The chief executive also clarified to Business News that the
company was not up for sale.  Having reached a deal with its
creditors to restructure a US$800 million debt, the company's
only focus was on strengthening its market position through the
launch of new value-added services.

Grupo Iusacell provides cellular services reaching about 90% of
Mexico's population, including Mexico City. It has 1.3 million
subscribers (75% are prepaid). It also offers local and long-
distance telephony, paging, and data transport services. Verizon
Communications and Vodafone Group together acquired 74% of the
Company in 2001 from the Peralta family, which founded Iusacell
in 1989. But following its default on debts, the two companies
in 2003 sold their stake to Ricardo Salinas Pliego's Movil@ccess
in a deal valued at $7.4 million. It agreed to sell more than
140 signal towers to US-based American Tower.

                        *    *    *

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on May 5, 2005,
Grupo Iusacell received on April 29, 2005, a notice from The
Bank of New York, acting as trustee for the $350 million 14 1/4
% notes due December 2006, reminding Grupo Iusacell of its non-
payment of interest since June 1, 2003, an unspecified
percentage of noteholders had requested the acceleration of
principal and accrued interest on the notes.

In Jan. 2006, the company reached a deal with its creditors
to restructure its debt.  The US$350 million bond due 2006 with
a coupon of 14.25% was exchanged by the Company for a new bond
worth US$175 million with a 10% interest rate that matures in
December 2013.


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


BLADEX: Discloses US$80 Million of Net Income in 2005
-----------------------------------------------------
Banco Latinoamericano de Exportaciones, S.A. BLX or Bladex
announced its results for the fourth quarter ended December 31,
2005.

       Fourth Quarter 2005 Financial Highlights

     -- Credit disbursements increased 12% to US$2.3 billion;
        the credit portfolio increased 6% to US$3.6 billion; the
        trade portfolio increased 3% to US$2.6 billion.

     -- Driven by lower reversals of credit provisions and
        impairment losses, net income for the quarter decreased
        17% to US$16 million.  Excluding the impact of reversal
        of credit provisions and impairment losses, net income
        increased 23% to US$9 million.

        Full Year 2005 Financial Highlights

     -- Credit disbursements increased 47% to US$6.8 billion;
        the credit portfolio increased 23%; the trade portfolio
        increased 21%.  Excluding the impact of the collection
        of impaired credits, the credit portfolio increased 35%.

     -- Driven by lower reversals of credit provisions and
        impairment losses, net income was US$80 million,
        compared to US$142 million in 2004.  Excluding the
        impact of provision reversals and net revenues from the
        impaired portfolio, net income grew by 42%.

     -- During the year, 84% of the impaired portfolio in
        Argentina was collected.  December 31, 2005, balances,
        net of reserves, were US$17 million.
                         
Jaime Rivera, CEO of Bladex, commented on the company's quarter
results:

     "The fourth quarter marked a fitting end to a solid
     year. As was the case in the third quarter, all relevant
     indicators moved in the right direction. The results were
     driven by a continued rise in our volume of business, with
     over US$2.3 billion in disbursements, 12% above the
     previous quarter's already solid results. With thin but
     steady margins, commission income on the rise, and gains in
     the securities portfolio, the increasing revenues offset
     both seasonal and one-time increases in quarterly expenses.
     The resulting operating income totaled close to US$9
     million, 23% higher than in the third quarter. In addition,
     during the fourth quarter, non-accrual balances dropped by
     39% to US$42 million.
     
     "For the year, the US$80 million net income figure was
     driven by a number of important business drivers working in
     the Bank's favor, and only a few minor ones lagging our
     expectations. Among the former, we have resolved nearly in
     full our impaired Argentine portfolio and grown both our
     volume of business and operating profit. Significantly,
     during 2005, operating income from the impaired portfolio
     represented only 20% of our total operating income, versus
     45% a year earlier. Items working against us during the
     year included the negotiations geared around the Bank's
     digital identity project which, although successful, took
     longer than anticipated, and our payments revenue stream,
     which remains small, in spite of increasing volumes.

     "From a stockholder perspective, we are glad to have shared
     the company's success via the recently announced
     extraordinary dividend and increased quarterly common
     dividends. The principle behind our capital management
     strategy remains unchanged: we will privilege financial
     strength, growth and investments, and return capital not
     needed to our shareholders.

     "For 2006, our business strategy remains unchanged as well:
     more products to more clients, within an external
     environment that, other than continued pressure on credit
     spreads, is largely expected to be favorable. We will
     continue working on client diversification, and on
     deploying the new initiatives that we have announced."

Headquartered in Panama City, Panama, Bladex --
http://www.bladex.com-- is a supranational bank originally  
established by the Central Banks of Latin American and Caribbean
countries to promote trade finance in the Region. Based in
Panama, its shareholders include central banks and state- owned
entities in 23 countries in the Region, as well as Latin
American and international commercial banks, along with
institutional and retail investors.  Through December 31, 2005,
Bladex had disbursed accumulated credits of over US$135 billion.

                        *    *    *

Moody's Investor Service assigned a D- rating on Bladex's bank
financial strength.

Banks with financial strength's rated D- by Moody's, display
modest intrinsic financial strength, potentially requiring some
outside support at times. Such institutions may be limited by
one or more of the following factors: a weak business franchise;
financial fundamentals that are deficient in one or more
respects; or an unpredictable and unstable operating
environment.


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


ANGEL BERRIOS: Taps Luis Medina Torres as Bankruptcy Counsel
------------------------------------------------------------
Angel Manuel Santiago Berrios and Carmen Ivette Melendez Padilla
ask the U.S. Bankruptcy Code for the District of Puerto Rico for
authority to hire Luis A. Medina Torres, Esq., of San Juan,
Puerto Rico, as their bankruptcy counsel.

Mr. Torres is expected to represent the Debtors during their
bankruptcy proceedings in accordance with the Bankruptcy Code.

The Debtors disclose they've paid Mr. Torres a $5,000 retainer.  
For his professional services, Mr. Torres bills $150 per hour.

To the best of the Debtors' knowledge, Mr. Torres is a
disinterested person as that term is defined in Section 101(14)
of the Bankruptcy Code.

Headquartered in Bayamon, Puerto Rico, Angel Manuel Santiago
Berrios and Carmen Ivette Melendez Padilla, dba Comerio
Ambulance Service, dba Flamingo Gift Center, filed for chapter
11 protection on Jan. 31, 2006 (Bankr. D. Puerto Rico Case
No.06-00234).  When the Debtors filed for protection, they
listed $1 million to $10 million in assets and debts.


MUSICLAND HOLDING: Court Approves Assumed & Assigned Leases
-----------------------------------------------------------
As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Feb. 8, 2006,
Musicland Holding Corp. and its debtor-affiliates proposed to
notify each lessor of a proposed assumption and assignment of
the 61 Media Play leases.  The Debtors will also provide a
schedule of all their outstanding obligations under the Leases
through the bankruptcy filing.

                            DDR Objects

Developers Diversified Realty Corporation is the owner or agent
for the owner of four shopping centers in which Debtors operate
or previously operated retail stores pursuant to written leases.

DDR objects to any proposed assumption and assignment of its
Leases unless Debtors and the proposed assignee comply with all
of the requirements of Sections 365(b) and (f) of the Bankruptcy
Code.  Absent the ability, or willingness, of the assignee and
Debtors to satisfy those requirements the proposed assumption
and assignment must be denied.

DDR complains that the Debtors failed to provide adequate
assurance information in advance of the scheduled hearing.  
Thus, DDR wants the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern
District of New York to continue the hearing at a later date
until the Debtors provide adequate assurance information.

                           *     *     *

Judge Stuart M. Bernstein approved the assumption and assignment
of certain Sale Agreements.  A list of the assumed and assigned
leases subject to the Court-approved Sale Agreements is not
available in the Court docket.

In connection with the assumption and assignment of certain Sale
Agreements, the Court authorizes the Debtors to pay these
amounts to the landlord, in full and final satisfaction of all
obligations to cure defaults:

       Store No.        Cure Amount
       ---------        -----------
         8124              $14,150
         8125                12,48
         8205               32,540
         8109               85,585
         8144               77,508
         8190               54,485
         8254              106,871
         8147              135,603

Judge Bernstein also authorizes the Debtors to pay the landlord
to Store No. 8292 an $81,579 cure amount.  However, the Court
directs the Debtors to place $11,804 of the allowed cure amount
in a segregated account, to be disbursed only upon further Court
order or mutual agreement of the parties.

The Court authorizes the Debtors to pay the landlord of Store
No. 8292 $93,384 in full and final satisfaction of all
obligations to cure defaults.

The hearing to consider the remaining Sale Agreements and
Developers Diversified Realty Corporation's objection is
continued to a later date.

The Court also approves certain Lease Termination and Lease
Settlement Agreements.  A list of these agreements is not
available in the Court docket.

The Court rules that leases not assumed, assigned or otherwise
terminated, rejected or subject to a Disposition by January 31,
2006, are deemed rejected as of January 31, 2006, or the date of
surrender.

A list of the 42 Rejected Leases is available for free at:


http://bankrupt.com/misc/Musicland_42RejectedMediaplayLeases.pdf

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. 5; Bankruptcy Creditors'
Service, Inc., 215/945-7000)


MUSICLAND HOLDING: Merchants Wants Stay Lifted to Continue Suit
---------------------------------------------------------------
Debtor Musicland Group, Inc., leased Media Play Store No. 8701,
located at Merchants Walk Shopping Center, in Marietta, Georgia,
from Merchant's Walk (E&A), as assignee of Merchants Walk
Associates, L.P., pursuant to a lease agreement dated August 31,
1993.

Pursuant to an assignment and assumption of lease dated Oct. 31,
1996, Musicland Group assigned its leasehold rights in the
Premises to Media Play, Inc., a Musicland subsidiary and debtor.

According to James S. Carr, Esq., at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP,
in New York City, prior to the Petition Date, Media Play failed
to pay payments due under the Lease, consequently triggering
default provisions.  Merchant's Walk notified Media Play that
the rent was past due and that it had 10 days to cure the
default.  However, Media Play failed to cure the default within
the time prescribed.

On December 28, 2005, Merchant's Walk informed Media Play that
it elected to terminate the Lease effective December 31, 2005.

Notwithstanding the termination of the Lease, Media Play
continued to use the Premises, Mr. Carr states.  On January 9,
2006, Merchant's Walk initiated a holdover proceeding to regain
possession of the Premises by filing a complaint in a state
court in Georgia.  A summons was served on Media Play on the
same day.

By this motion, Merchant's Walk asks the U.S. Bankruptcy Court
for the Southern District of New York to lift the automatic stay
to allow it to proceed with the Holdover Proceeding.

Under Georgia law, the applicable law governing the Lease, a
provision in a commercial lease allowing a landlord to terminate
the lease in the event of a default by giving notice of
termination is enforceable, Mr. Carr notes.  Thus, the
termination of the Lease is enforceable under applicable state
law.

As a result, the Debtors have no legal right or entitlement to
remain in possession of the Premises because Merchants' Walk
exercised its termination right under the Lease and the
termination became effective under the terms of the Lease prior
to the Petition Date, Mr. Carr contends.

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. 5; Bankruptcy Creditors'
Service, Inc., 215/945-7000)


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


CITGO: Provides Initial Response to Congressional Inquiry
---------------------------------------------------------
CITGO Petroleum Corporation responded Friday to a request for
information from U.S. Reps. Joe Barton and Ed Whitfield
regarding the company's discounted heating oil program.  CITGO
has indicated that the company will attempt to provide the
information requested by the congressmen.

CITGO received a letter from the congressmen on Feb. 15, 2006,
requesting information about CITGO's discount heating oil
program for low-income people.  CITGO initiated this program as
a continuation of CITGO's response to Hurricanes Katrina and
Rita when heating oil prices began to increase.  

CITGO's interest in a discount heating oil program for low-
income people began about the same time as a request from a
number of United States Senators asking energy companies to
provide heating oil assistance to low-income people.

CITGO's discount heating oil program to low-income people has
been implemented through existing charities that historically
have provided low-cost heating oil to low-income people.  These
charities select the recipients of the program.

CITGO shall attempt to comply with the congressmen's request and
expects to be able to answer questions and provide copies of all
records pertaining to the discount heating oil program in
CITGO's possession but it will take longer than a week, and
likely close to 30 days.  

CITGO is owned by PDV America, an indirect, wholly owned
subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela S.A., the state-owned oil
company of Venezuela.

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.

                        *    *    *

As reported on Feb. 16, 2006, Standard and Poor's Ratings
Services assigned a 'BB' rating on CITGO Petroleum Corp.

The ratings on CITGO Petroleum Corp. reflect a satisfactory
business risk profile and an aggressive financial risk profile,
limited by the ratings of the company's parent, Petroleos de
Venezuela S.A. aka PDVSA.

CITGO's credit strength as a stand-alone entity is based on the
scale and complexity of its refining operations, which have net
crude processing capacity of 970,000 barrels per day through
three wholly owned fuel refineries, two asphalt refineries, and,
in a nonoperating position, a 41% interest in the Lyondell-CITGO
Refining L.P. joint venture.

The company's throughput places it among the largest refiners in
the US.  CITGO gains substantial competitive advantage from its
ability to process large volumes of heavy, sour crude oils,
which trade at sharp discounts to better-quality crude oil, into
high-margin products, and large average unit sizes that
translate into economies of scale.

The refiner's profitability is limited by the concentration of
its operations in the highly competitive Gulf Coast market,
which usually has the lowest margins in the US Geographic
concentration also exposes the company to the risk of regional
disruption, as demonstrated by recent hurricanes.  The credit
effect of interrupted operations at the Lake Charles refinery
was offset somewhat by strong refining margins realized at
CITGO's other facilities.

Standard & Poor's 'BB' rating on CITGO is higher than the 'B+'
corporate credit rating on PDVSA, because of the relative
strength of the refiner's financial profile and the asset
protection afforded to CITGO creditors, if CITGO defaults for
PDVSA-specific reasons -- for example, a Venezuela sovereign
default.  Nevertheless, CITGO could be challenged by events
surrounding PDVSA.

                        *    *    *

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.


PDVSA: Discussing Renewable Energy Sources on March 27-28
---------------------------------------------------------
PDVSA aka Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. will take part in a power
generation using renewable energy sources discussion on March 27
to 28 at the Foro XXI conventions center in Caracas.  The forum
is organized by Codelectra, an electric industry group, Business
News Americas reports.

The event will be the first time that proposals such as
generation through biomass will be formally discussed in public
in Venezuela.  The forum will also include more traditional
methods of saving liquid fuels in thermal generation such as
increased use of natural gas will also be discussed, Business
News relates.  Nuclear power generation has not been mentioned
in the program despite Venezuela's interest in it.

"We will put the spotlight on a number of technologies that do
not get discussed very often on account of Venezuela being rich
in conveniently priced liquid fuels," a Codelectra
representative told Business News.  "For instance, we have a
representative from El Palmar [one of Venezuela's largest sugar
mills] and he will discuss generation through biomass by using
leftover sugarcane pulp."

Codelectra has drafted the quality control norms and regulations
for Venezuela's electric industry since 1967.

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.


PDVSA: Minister Says Firms Can't Book Oil Using Old Contracts
-------------------------------------------------------------
Thirty-two foreign oil companies that have signed preliminary
agreements with PDVA, aka Petroleos de Venezuela SA, to migrate
their existing operating contracts in Venezuela will not be able
to continue booking reserves with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission, Dow Jones Newswires relates.

Venezuelan Oil Minister and PDVSA President, Rafael Ramirez,  
said that booking recoverable reserves under the old contracts
is completely illegal and has to stop.  

Private oil companies signed preliminary agreements last year to
migrate all 32 existing operating agreements in the country to
new joint ventures controlled by PDVSA, which will have an
average 60% stake in all new joint venture contracts, Business
News Americas relates.  The 32 fields previously under operating
agreements are now under a transition scheme controlled by
special "transitional technical committees" to guarantee their
normal operations and transition to the new contract model.

The new contract is designed to substitute the old operating
agreements that cost PDVSA US$4 billion last year. PDVSA hopes
to save US$3 billion in operating costs in 2006
through the new contracts.

Repsol YPF slashed its recoverable reserves estimates, and cited
contract changes in Venezuela as one of the reasons.  Other
firms, like BP PLC, have said they hope to continue booking
reserves and hope to resolve the issue through negotiations with
PDVSA, Dow Jones relates.

Minister Ramirez said in reports that if any of the firms take
the contract changes to international arbitration, they will
lose.  He hopes to deliver the business models for the new mixed
companies to the National Assembly for approval before the end
of March, Dow Jones relates.

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.


                            ***********


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

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