TCRLA_Public/060313.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

          Monday, March 13, 2006, Vol. 7, Issue 51

                            Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Will Structure US$25 Million Securitization
INDUSTRIAL SODERA: Verification of Creditors Claims Ends Mar. 28
LESCOT SRL: Creditors Must Present Claims to Trustee by May 30
REPAS S.A.: Concludes Reorganization After Debt Pact Approved
SCADUTO S.A.: Claims Verification Deadline Moved to March 8

SIDERAR: Releases Financial Results for the Year-Ended Dec. 31
SLA SISTEMAS: Trustee to Stop Accepting Claims on April 19
TALENTOS S.R.L.: Claims Verification Begins, Ends April 24
TARAI S.A.: Debt Payments Halted, Moves to Reorganize
TELECOM ARGENTINA: Net Revenues Up 27% in Fiscal Year 2005

VICENTE TRAPANI: Individual Reports Due on Aug. 4


B A R B A D O S

DIGICEL: Hopes to Better Market Position with Cingular Purchase


B E L I Z E

BELIZE: S&P Assigns CCC- Rating on US$283 Million Debt


B R A Z I L

BANCO PANAMERICANO: Net Profits Climbed 71.7% in 2005
BNDES: Opto Eletronica Receives BRL6.7 Million Financing
BRAZIL LETRAS: S&P Assigns BB+ Currency Long-term Debt Rating
CVRD: May be Willing to Lower Bar on Iron-Ore Prices
TV GLOBO: Inks Video Images Distribution Partnership with Claro

USIMINAS: Posts Net Profit of BRL3.9 Billion in 2005


C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S

DIAMOND INVESTMENT: Sets March 20 Claims Filing Deadline
FEROX CREDIT: Creditors Must File Proofs of Claim by Mar. 23
FK CAPITAL: Sets March 20 Deadline for Creditors to File Claims
HOTEL FINANCE: Creditors Claim Filing Deadline Is Today
HUTCHISON WHAMPOA: Sets Mar. 20 Deadline for Claims Filing


C O L O M B I A

BANCO DE BOGOTA: Moody's Assigns D+ Financial Strength Rating
BANCOLOMBIA S.A.: Moody's Assigns Ba3 Foreign Currency Rating
BBVA COLOMBIA: Moody's Assigns Ba3 Foreign Currency Rating
* BOGOTA: Moody's Assigns Ba2 Currency Rating, Outlook Stable
* COLOMBIA: Moody's Assigns Ba2 Foreign Currency Rating


E C U A D O R

* ECUADOR: Oil Output Plummets Due to Strike, Results in Losses
* ECUADOR: Strike Put to End, Oil Production Continues


E L   S A L V A D O R

BANISTMO: Posts 10% Increase in Earnings in 2005


M E X I C O

RCN CORP: Sells 48.93% of Mexican Units to Pay Debt
UNIDAS: S&P Assigns B Currency Corporate Credit Ratings
XIGNUX S.A.: S&P Assigns B+ Rating on Notes Due 2009


P E R U

* PERU: Government Allows Rate Hike to Expand Water Services


P U E R T O   R I C O

MUSICLAND HOLDING: Committee Hires Hahn & Hessen as Counsel


T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

CITIZEN INSURANCE: Fin'l Weakness Cues Central Bank to Intervene
GOODWILL GEN: Weak Fin'l Status Cues Central Bank to Intervene


U R U G U A Y

* URUGUAY: Government Inks IT Solution Pact with Venezuela


V E N E Z U E L A

PDVSA: Surpasses Daily Output and Sales by 9,200 Barrels
* ALAV Believes U.S. Flight Ban Will Yield Positive Outcome
* VENEZUELA: Government Inks IT Solution Pact with Uruguay

     -  -  -  -  -  -  -  -

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


BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Will Structure US$25 Million Securitization
--------------------------------------------------------------
The 5% of Banco Hipotecario's US$25 million securitization will
be structured, El Pais reports.  Credit Agricole, KPMG and a law
firm were appointed to do the job.

Business News Americas reports that the securities will be
offered to institutional and retail investors.  Proceeds of the
transaction will be used to raise the bank's liquidity and
regenerate credit lines.

In January, Banco Hipotecario President Miguel Piperno, told
Business News that the company will be able to call for bidders
for this portfolio in July after a credit risk certifier is
chosen.

Banco Hipotecario, a government-owned bank, offers home
mortgages in Argentina.  The Bank underwrites mortgage insurance
and services its own and third parties' mortgage portfolios.
Banco Hipotecario distributes its products through its own
branch network and through commercial banks.

Banco Hipotecario posted net income of 253 million pesos (US$83
million) in 2005, down 9.3% compared to the previous year due to
higher expenses and lower loan volume.

                        *    *    *

On Jan. 25, 2006, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned
'B-' foreign currency senior unsecured debt rating to Banco
Hipotecario S.A.'s $100 million issuance.  The issuance
constituted the second tranche of BH's Series IV notes due Nov.
16, 2010, issued under the $1.2 billion senior unsecured global
MTN program.  With this issuance, the series (whose first
tranche was rated 'B-' on Nov. 16, 2005) will total US$250
million.   At the same time, Standard & Poor's affirmed its
ratings on the Argentine bank's outstanding debt and its 'B-
/Stable/--' counterparty credit ratings.  S&P said the outlook
is stable.


INDUSTRIAL SODERA: Verification of Creditors Claims Ends Mar. 28
----------------------------------------------------------------
The verification phase for the claims submitted by creditors
against Industrial Sodera S.R.L. will end on March 28, 2006,
Infobae reports.  

Industrial Sodera S.R.L. started reorganization after Santa Fe's
court approved its petition.  Ms. Nelida Mokdasy was appointed
as trustee.

Industrial Sodera S.R.L. can be reached at:

         Pedro Vittori 3781
         Ciudad de Santa Fe
         Santa Fe, Argentina

Ms. Nelida Mokdasy, the trustee, can be reached at:

         Balcarce 2132
         Ciudad de Santa Fe
         Santa Fe, Argentina


LESCOT SRL: Creditors Must Present Claims to Trustee by May 30
--------------------------------------------------------------
Lescot S.R.L.'s creditors are required to present their claims
against the company to Ms. Analia Chelala, the company's
trustee, on May 30, 2006.

Argentine daily La Nacion relates that Buenos Aires' Court No.
3 declared the company's bankruptcy in favor of the company's
creditor Ms. Marta Zamora for nonpayment of about $112,029.96 in
debt.

Clerk No. 6 assists the court with the proceedings.

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

         Lavalle 2330
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

Ms. Analia Chelala, the trustee, can be reached at:

         Corrientes 2335
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


REPAS S.A.: Concludes Reorganization After Debt Pact Approved
-------------------------------------------------------------
The reorganization of Buenos Aires-based Repas S.A. has ended.  
Data revealed by Infobae on its Web site indicated that the
process was concluded after a Buenos Aires court homologated the
debt agreement signed between the company and its creditors.


SCADUTO S.A.: Claims Verification Deadline Moved to March 8
-----------------------------------------------------------
The deadline for verification of creditors' claims for the
Scaduto S.A. insolvency case will be on May 8, 2006, Infobae
reports.  

Infobae relates that Mr. Juan Roque Treppo, the court-appointed
trustee tasked with examining the claims, will submit the
validation results as individual reports on June 22, 2006.  He
will also present a general report in court on Aug. 15, 2006.

On Feb. 19, 2007, the company's creditors will vote on the
settlement proposal prepared by the company.  Infobae adds that
a Buenos Aires court handles the company's reorganization case.

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

         Sarmiento 1183
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


SIDERAR: Releases Financial Results for the Year-Ended Dec. 31
--------------------------------------------------------------
Nosis reports the financial results of Siderar for the year
ended Dec. 31, 2005.  The company gained 1,164,914,910 pesos,
13.3% less than its earnings in 2004.

The company, which Techint group has recently included in the
siderurgic Ternium, together with Hylsamex and Sidor, indicated
that the lower utility was basically generated by the
extraordinary results and the investments on the related
societies.

The operative ordinary result was of 1,450,3,000 pesos, against
1,416,6 00 acquired during the same period of the previous
exercise.

The net income for 4,405,5,000 pesos, which means an interannual
growth of the 20.2%, while costs increased 31.4% to 2,679,000.

The operating generation reached 1,674,000 pesos, equivalent to
the 35% of the income, when on the last exercise it reached
1,642,4,000.

The financial results showed a gain of 154.8 million pesos.

Lastly, the results for investments in related societies reached
a gain of 254.6 million pesos, a 33.5% less than on the previous
exercise.

During the fourth quarter, the gain was of 232.6 million pesos,
compared with October/December 2004 where it gained 487.3
million.

The net patrimony of the company reached 3,692,800 pesos.


SLA SISTEMAS: Trustee to Stop Accepting Claims on April 19
----------------------------------------------------------
Ms. Liliana Rodriguez, the trustee appointed for the bankruptcy
of Buenos Aires-based SLA Sistemas Logisticos Argentinos S.R.L.,
will no longer accept claims from the company's creditors after
April 19, 2006.

La Nacion relates that the company was declared bankrupt by the
city's Court No. 21, with the assistance of Clerk No. 41.  The
court made the ruling in favor of the company's creditor,
Mediterranean Shipping Company.

SLA Sistemas Logisticos Argentinos S.R.L. can be reached at:

         Bolivar 218
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

Ms. Liliana Rodriguez, the trustee, can be reached at:

         Viamonte 2359
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


TALENTOS S.R.L.: Claims Verification Begins, Ends April 24
----------------------------------------------------------
Mr. Oscar Epstein, court-appointed trustee, has started
verifying claims against Talentos S.R.L.  Verification is set to
end on April 24, 2006.

La Nacion relates that Buenos Aires' Court No. 25 declared the
company's bankruptcy in favor of Mr. Hugo Dominguez, to whom the
company owes debts amounting to $27,967.99.

Clerk No. 49 assists the court in this case.

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

         Sarmiento 643
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

Mr. Oscar Epstein, the trustee, can be reached at:

         Viamonte 1620
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


TARAI S.A.: Debt Payments Halted, Moves to Reorganize
-----------------------------------------------------
Court No. 22 of Buenos Aires is studying the request for
reorganization submitted by local company Tarai S.A., says La
Nacion.

The report adds that that the company filed for reorganization
following cessation of debt payments on Feb. 10, 2006.

The city's Clerk No. 43 assists the court on this case.

Tarai S.A. can be reached at:

         Rivadavia 3265
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


TELECOM ARGENTINA: Net Revenues Up 27% in Fiscal Year 2005
----------------------------------------------------------
Telecom Argentina announced Thursday consolidated net income of
ARS1,334 million for the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2005, mainly
due to the positive effect of ARS1,424 million as a consequence
of the closing of the debt restructuring process of Telecom
Argentina.

Comparatively, consolidated net loss for fiscal year 2004 was
ARS666 million.  Consolidated net loss for the fourth quarter of
fiscal year 2005 was ARS289 million, affected by the
depreciation of the Argentine Peso.  Comparatively, consolidated
net loss for the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2004 was ARS175
million.

Earnings/loss per share and ADR for fiscal year 2005 amounted to
ARS1.36 and ARS6.78, respectively.  In comparison, (loss) per
share and ADR for fiscal year 2004 were ARS(0.68) and ARS(3.38),
respectively.  Earnings/loss per share and ADR for the fourth
quarter of 2005 amounted to ARS(0.29) and ARS(1.47),
respectively.  In comparison, (loss) per share and ADR for the
fourth quarter of 2004 were ARS(0.18) and ARS(0.89),
respectively.

Consolidated net revenues for the fiscal year 2005 totaled
ARS5,718 million, an increase of ARS1,224 million, or 27%,
compared with ARS4,494 million for fiscal year 2004, mainly as a
consequence of the increase in revenues generated by the
cellular and Internet businesses.

Operating profit before depreciation and amortization, operating
profit/(loss) and net income/(loss) for fiscal year 2005
represented 35%, 9% and 23% of net sales, respectively, compared
with 46%, 9% and (15%), respectively, for fiscal year 2004.  
Operating profit before depreciation and amortization, operating
profit/(loss) and net income/(loss) for the fourth quarter of
2005 represented 31%, 9% and (17%) of net sales, respectively,
compared with 44%, 15% and (14%), respectively, for the fourth
quarter of 2004.

The strong expansion evidenced in the cellular market, and
resulted in a substantial increase in subscriber acquisition
cost -- including handset subsidies, agent commissions and
advertising -- eroding the operational margins.

Evolution of Consolidated Net Revenues

-- Fixed Telephony

    In fixed telephony operations, local measured service
    revenues increased by ARS6 million to ARS524 million.   
    Domestic long distance aka DLD revenues increased by ARS8
    million, reaching ARS449 million.  Revenues in both services
    increased as a consequence of higher numbers of lines in
    service.

    Total traffic volume -- Local and DLD -- measured in
    minutes, increased by 2% when compared to fiscal year of
    2004.

    Monthly charges increased by ARS41 million, or 6%, to ARS676
    million, mainly due to the increase in customer lines that
    had reached 3,625,000, equivalent to an increase of 4%.  It
    must be noted that the number of lines in service recovered
    by the end of 2005 to the same level it had as of December
    2001, when the economic crisis began.

    Revenues generated by interconnection services increased by
    ARS44 million, or 21%, to ARS254 million, mainly due to the
    increases in cellular traffic transported and terminated on
    Telecom's fixed line network.

    During fiscal year 2005 revenues, international telephony
    activities reached ARS224 million, increasing by ARS9
    million, or 4%, mainly due to higher incoming and outgoing
    traffic partially offset by a decrease in prices.

-- Internet and Data Transmission

    Revenues generated by the data transmission and Internet
    business totaled ARS467 million, representing an increase of
    ARS51 million, or 12%, due to the increase in ADSL
    connections as a consequence of commercial policies, an
    enhanced portfolio of products and an increased coverage of
    the services.

    As of Dec. 31, 2005, total lines in service with ADSL
    connections amounted to 226,000, an increase of 98,000, or
    77%.  ADSL subscribers with Telecom ISP reached
    approximately 162,000, increasing by 100%, while Internet
    dial-up customers reached approximately 125,000, decreasing
    18%.  In addition, migration of customers to ADSL
    connections has provoked a decrease in dial-up traffic.

-- Cellular Telephony

    The economic environment and the implementation of new
    technologies and state-of-the-art services fueled the
    significant growth in the cellular market, increasing
    penetration to over 50% of the population.  This resulted in
    the increase of the customer base and consumption of
    cellular services.

    In this context, total cellular subscribers of Telecom
    Personal in Argentina reached approximately 6,150,000 as of
    Dec. 31, 2005, representing an increase of approximately
    2,315,000 customers, or 60%.  This increase in the client
    base was fueled by an impressive growth in the number of GSM
    subscribers, which currently represents 64% of the total
    customer base.

    In spite of the strong competition, the average monthly
    revenue per customer in Argentina increased to ARS36, or 3%,
    when compared with fiscal year 2004.  Additionally, total
    cellular traffic increased by 55% when compared with the
    fiscal year 2004.  Outgoing SMS grew from an average of 33
    million per month in fiscal year 2004 to an average of 243
    million per month in fiscal year 2005.

    Nucleo, Telecom Personal's controlled subsidiary that
    provides cellular services in Paraguay, generated the
    equivalent of ARS221 million in revenues during the fiscal
    year 2005, representing an increase of ARS55 million, or
    33%.

    As of Dec. 31, 2005, Nucleo had approximately 651,000
    customers, an increase of prepaid subscribers, representing
    66% of the total 149,000, or 30%.  Nucleo's postpaid and         
    Cuentas Claras subscribers increased by 29%, reaching
    121,000 clients, representing 19% of the customer base.  
    Prepaid customers increased by 30%, reaching 530,000,
    equivalent to 81% of the customer base.  GSM subscribers as
    of Dec. 31, 2005, represented 43% of the subscriber base.

    The customer base in Argentina as of Dec. 31, 2005, amounted
    to approximately 4,038,000 customer base, and approximately
    2,112,000 postpaid subscribers, representing the remaining
    34% -- including clients of Cuentas Claras a hybrid
    prepaid/postpaid product.  These percentages were 74% and
    26%, respectively, as of Dec. 31, 2004.  The substantial
    improvement in the composition of the customer base results
    from Telecom Personal's strategy in Argentina of focusing in
    the acquisition of high-value subscribers and increasing the
    participation in the postpaid services, among them the
    Cuentas Claras product, taking into account the current
    demand of the cellular market.

    Telecom Personal revenues in Argentina, after inter-company
    revenue elimination, reached ARS2,797 million, increasing by
    ARS1,064 million, or 61%.  This growth is explained by the
    increase in the customer base, total traffic, and sales of
    handsets.

-- Directories

    Publicom sales increased by ARS7 million, or 16%, reaching
    ARS50 million due to higher advertising space sales and the
    acquisition of new customers.  Customer base grew by 39% in
    fiscal year 2005.

-- Evolution of Operating Costs

    The cost of services provided, administrative expenses and
    selling expenses for the fiscal year 2005 totaled ARS5,214
    million increasing ARS1,120, or 27%.  The evolution of costs
    is mainly related to the increase in sales, the effect of
    inflation in the overall cost structure and the competition
    in the mobile telephony business in Argentina.  For example,
    subscriber acquisition cost -- including handset subsidies,
    agent commissions and advertising -- increased by ARS391
    million or 157% reaching ARS640 million.

    Salaries and social security contributions increased by
    ARS92 million, or 16%, to ARS685 million, primarily due to
    the increase in salaries.  As of Dec. 31, 2005, the
    headcount totaled 14,542, compared to 14,053 employees as of
    Dec. 31, 2004.  The increase in headcount is also related to
    the expansion of the cellular business.

    Taxes reached $395 million, an increase of $94 million when
    compared with the fiscal year 2004, due to the impact of
    taxes that are calculated on the basis of revenues and
    higher fees paid to the regulator, the latter, in the
    cellular telephony activity.

    The allowance for doubtful accounts increased to ARS29
    million, equivalent to 0.5% of net revenues.

    Sales commissions increased by ARS209 million, or 118%, to
    ARS386 million for fiscal year 2005, mainly as a consequence
    of the commissions paid for the acquisition of new customers
    and higher sales of prepaid cards, mainly in the cellular
    business.

    Costs related to advertising increased by ARS59 million, or
    63%, to ARS152 million, mainly due to higher media
    advertising expenses for the cellular and Internet
    businesses.

    The cost of cellular handsets increased by ARS376 million,
    reaching ARS613 million, mainly due to the increase in
    handset sales related to the expansion of the subscriber
    base.

    TLRD -- termination charges in third parties cellular
    networks -- and roaming cost increased by ARS184 million,
    reaching ARS386 million, due to the increase in traffic
    among cellular operators.

    Depreciation of fixed and intangible assets decreased by
    ARS148 million, or 9%, to ARS1,498 million during FY05 as a
    consequence of the end of the amortization period of certain
    assets in the fixed telephony business.

-- Financial and Holding Results

    The Financial and Holding Results resulted in a loss of
    ARS306 million for fiscal year 2005, compared to a loss of
    ARS1,172 million in fiscal year 2004.  The difference can be  
    largely attributed to the ARS865 million gain registered as
    net currency exchange differences.  The gain was a
    consequence of the effect of the appreciation of the
    Argentine Peso against the Euro and the Dollar registered
    during fiscal year 2005.

-- Other Expenses

    Other expenses (net) increased by ARS87 million, or 112%, to
    ARS165 million mainly as a consequence of higher provisions
    for lawsuits and other contingencies.

Net Financial Debt (Nominal Value) -- Debt Restructuring Results

On Aug. 31, 2005, Telecom Argentina successfully completed its
debt restructuring process by issuing the new Notes and paying
the cash consideration in exchange for the Outstanding Debt, in
accordance with the terms of the Acuerdo Preventivo
Extrajudicial entered into by Telecom Argentina and its
financial creditors, the APE, resulting in the extinguishment of
all Outstanding Debt pursuant to the APE.  The company also made
prepayments on the new Notes issued pursuant to the APE, further
strengthening it post restructuring debt profile.

As a consequence, the company has registered a profit of
ARS1,424 million in the third quarter of 2005.

The nominal value of Net Debt -- Loans minus Cash and Banks plus
Investments -- decreased by ARS2,527 million, or 36%, to
ARS4,505 million for fiscal year 2005, compared to ARS7,032
million in FY04, mainly as a consequence of debt reduction due
to the successful restructuring of Telecom Argentina and the
positive cash flow generation in fiscal year 2005.

Telecom Personal Refinancing

On Dec. 22, 2005, Telecom Personal successfully concluded the
refinancing of all the debt instruments issued as a consequence
of its financial restructuring process.  The new debt incurred
in this refinancing transaction was approximately US$381
million.  The main objective of this transaction was to improve
the amortization profile of the debt and eliminate certain
restrictions affecting Telecom Personal's ability to continue
developing its growing cellular business.

Capital Expenditures

Of the total amount of ARS553 million invested in fixed assets
during fiscal year 2005, ARS260 million, or 47%, corresponds to
fixed-line telephony, data transmission and Internet, and ARS293
million, or 53%, to the cellular business.  The most significant
expenditures in the cellular business are related to the
development and expansion of the GSM network.

Others matters

On March 6, 2006, the company subscribed a Letter of
Understanding with the Unidad de Renegociacion y Analisis de
Contratos de Servicios Publicos aka UNIREN on behalf of the
Argentine government.

Among the terms agreed upon, Telecom Group committed to continue
making investments in its network, the termination charge for
incoming international call will be adjusted and hour bands for
reduced local tariff will be reduced.

In addition, the company and its indirect shareholders Telecom
Italia SpA and the W de Argentina-Inversiones, S.L., assume
certain commitments related to demands presented, or that could
be presented in relation to the effects of Law No. 25.561 of the
Public Emergency Law.

The parties agree to comply and maintain the contractual
conditions established in the Transfer Agreement and in the
current regulation.

Finally, the Executive Branch compromises its efforts to
consolidate an adequate and homogeneous regulatory framework for
the telecommunication industry. To that effect, a bill will be
presented to the Legislative Branch.

                      Bondholders' Meeting

Consent Solicitation

Aiming to eliminate certain restrictions affecting the
subsidiary Telecom Personal, Telecom Argentina has summoned to
Holders of notes to attend an extraordinary meeting of
noteholders on March 27, 2006, in order to deal with some
amendments to the covenants of the notes issued under the
Indenture dated Aug. 31, 2005.

The company is soliciting authorizations from holders of its
notes, authorizing representatives to vote in favor of the
proposed modifications.  The solicitation period will expire on
March 17, 2006.

Telecom is the parent company of a leading telecommunications
group in Argentina, where it offers, directly or through its
controlled subsidiaries, local and long distance fixed-line
telephony, cellular, data transmission and Internet services,
among other services.  Additionally, through a controlled
subsidiary, the Telecom Group offers cellular services in
Paraguay.  The company commenced operations on Nov. 8, 1990,
upon the Argentine government's transfer of the
telecommunications system in the northern region.

Nortel Inversora S.A., which acquired the majority of the
company from the Argentine government, holds 54.74% of Telecom's
common stock.  Nortel is a holding company where the common
stock -- approximately 68% of capital stock -- is owned by
Sofora Telecomunicaciones S.A.  Additionally, Nortel capital
stock is comprised of preferred shares held by minority
shareholders.

On Dec. 31, 2005, Telecom had 984,380,978 shares outstanding.

               Non-financial data unaudited

                           As of December 31
                             2005    2004    Change   % Change

Consolidated net
revenues
(in ARS million)           5,718   4,494    1,224       27%
     
Fixed Telephony            2,871   2,718      153        6%
     
Cellular                   2,797   1,733    1,064       61%
     
Directories edition           50      43        7       16%
    
Operating Profit
before D&A
(in ARS million)           2,002   2,046     (44)       -2%
    
Operating Profit
(in ARS million)             504     400      104       26%
    
Net income/(Loss)
(in ARS million)           1,334   (666)    2,000     -300%
    
Shareholder's equity
(in ARS milllion)          1,836     502    1,334      266%
    
Net financial debt --
Nominal value
(in ARS million)           4,505   7,032  (2,527)      -36%
    
CAPEX (in ARS million)       553     425      128       30%
    
Lines in service
(Fixed lines -
in thousands)              3,950   3,790      160        4%
    
Cellular customers
(in thousands)             6,801   4,337    2,464       57%
     
Telecom Personal           6,150   3,835    2,315       60%
     
Nucleo (Paraguay)            651     502      149       30%
    
ADSL Total lines
(in thousands)               226     128       98       77%
    
Arnet subscribers
(in thousands)               287     233       54       23%
     
Dial-up and others           125     152     (27)      -18%
     
ADSL                         162      81       81      100%
    
Fixed line traffic
(in MM minutes, Internet
Traffic not included)     16,949  16,642      307        2%
    
Incoming/Outgoing
cellular traffic
in Argentina
(in MM minutes)            5,578   3,602    1,976       55%
    
Average Revenue
per user (ARPU)
Fixed Telephony/voice
(in ARS)                      40      40        0        0%
    
Average Revenue
per user (ARPU)
Cellular Telephony
Arg. (in ARS)                 36      35        1        3%

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 Nocleo.  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.


VICENTE TRAPANI: Individual Reports Due on Aug. 4
-------------------------------------------------
The individual reports on the validated claims of Vicente
Trapani S.A.'s creditors are due in court on Aug. 4, 2006,
Infobae reports.

A general report, which will contain the company's audited
business records as well as a summary of events pertaining to
the liquidation, will be presented in court on Sep. 18, 2006.

An informative assembly is scheduled on May 18 next year.

Vicente Trapani S.A. started reorganization after a Buenos Aires
court approved its petition to reorganize.

Vicente Trapani S.A., the trustee, can be reached at:

         San Miguel de Tucuman
         Tucuman, Argentina


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


DIGICEL: Hopes to Better Market Position with Cingular Purchase
---------------------------------------------------------------
Digicel Limited sees opportunity for more growth and is planning
to expand its operations in new areas, the Caribbean
Broadcasting Corporation relates.

Digicel has recently acquired Cingular Wireless and hopes to
integrate the two operations in six to eight weeks time in order
to strengthen its position in Barbados' mobile phone market.

Chief Executive Officer, Kevin White, says that the full
integration of the two companies within the next six to eight
weeks will provide customers with wider coverage and competitive
rates, BBC relates.

Mobile phone rates in the nation have fallen by about 60% in the
last two years.  There has been about a 20% growth in the
industry the last 12 months, according to BBC.

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 E L I Z E
===========


BELIZE: S&P Assigns CCC- Rating on US$283 Million Debt
------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned a 'CCC-' credit
rating to Belize's US$283 million debt issuance.

Along with two issuers from Europe particularly in the UK and
one issuer from Canada, Latin America's Belize was featured on
S&P's weakest-links list.

As of March 9, 2006, a total of 17 weakest links entities
remained vulnerable to default on rated debt worth US$5.4
billion, one more than a month earlier but lower than the
average of 20 entities recorded over full-year 2005.  

These weakest-link issuers are defined as issuers rated 'CCC' or
lower with either a negative outlook or ratings on CreditWatch
with negative implications.  Negative outlooks and CreditWatch
placements serve as good leading indicators of actual
downgrades.  A long-term study published by Standard & Poor's
Global Fixed Income Research corroborates this unequivocally.  
CreditWatch status and outlooks are strong predictors of ratings
behavior, both in the aggregate as well as when broken out by
rating category, region, or sector.  For example, of all ratings
that are 'CCC' or lower and are on CreditWatch with negative
implications, 54% are lowered.


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


BANCO PANAMERICANO: Net Profits Climbed 71.7% in 2005
-----------------------------------------------------
Banco PanAmericano's net profits climbed 71.7% in 2005, Business
News Americas reports.

The year 2005 resulted to about BRL72.1 million in net profits.  
According to PanAmericano CFO Wilson de Aro, the boost in the
profits was due to the bank's growing loan portfolio, which
increased 37.3% to BRL3.42 billion for the year.

PanAmericano disclosed in its annual report that it entered an
accord with another Brazilian bank, Banco Bradesco, in 2005 and
handed over all consigned credit operations.  

Business News relates that the company also operates credit card
ventures with Banco Itau, Unibanco and Banco Votorantim.

Minus the partnerships and agreements mentioned, PanAmericano's
loan portfolio reached BRL1.84 billion on the year -- a 9.5%
growth, the bank said.

The bank, states Business News, ended the year with 11.7 million
credit cards in circulation -- both Visa and MasterCard.  This
means a boost of about 24.5% from end-2004.  Expenses to cover
credit risks were up 40.9%, reaching BRL276 million.

                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on Feb. 3, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned its 'B/B' corporate
credit rating to Banco PanAmericano S.A.  The outlook is stable.  
At the same time, Standard & Poor's assigned its 'B' senior
unsecured debt rating to the company's proposed $50 million
bonds to be issued under the $300 million MTN program with three
years' tenor.


BNDES: Opto Eletronica Receives BRL6.7 Million Financing
--------------------------------------------------------
Opto Eletronica S/A will be the first company to receive BNDES
financing for the new credit line created to stimulate the
production at industrial scale of products that aggregate
technological innovations.  The financing of the bank will be
BRL6.7 million -- equivalent to 55% of the investments that will
be carried out by the company to implant a new production line
of vitreous anaspheric lenses -- with unprecedented technology
in the country and creation of a generation of products that
will utilize the new lenses.

Currently, Opto is known for the production of high technology
optical equipment, based on aspheric lenses.  The anaspheric
lenses are more advanced, as they have surfaces with no constant
curvature ray and allow clearer images.  

Opto was established in 1985 by a group of professors,
researchers and technicians of Instituto de Fisica of the campus
of Universidade de Sao Paulo in the city of Sao Carlos.  With
100% national control, Opto produces medical-ophthalmic
equipment -- in addition to optical system of industrial use --
with sales in the internal market and also in exports to the
USA, Latin America and Europe.

The project that will receive BNDES financing forecasts machines
and equipment imports that have no equivalent in Brazil, for the
production of anaspheric lenses, the expansion of the company's
constructed area, as well as researches and development of
products based on the new lenses.  

For such, there will be hiring of new professionals and
competence in the use of techniques and high precision machines.  
With the knowledge of the new technology, Opto Eletronica S/A
will have more competitiveness regarding its international
competitors.  

For Brazil, the development of the project has strategic
interests, providing more exports with high added value and also
internalizing advanced technology for the use in medical and
odontological areas, in addition to employment in the defense
area.

The credit line Innovation Production has financial cost
composed only by the Long Term Interest Rate -- currently 9% per
year -- without the collection of remuneration for the Bank,
plus the assessment of the risk spread.

                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on March 3, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its foreign currency
counterparty credit rating on Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento
Economico e Social S.A. aka BNDES to 'BB' with a stable outlook
from 'BB-' with a positive outlook.  The company's local
currency credit rating was also shifted to 'BB+' with a stable
outlook from 'BB' with a positive outlook.


BRAZIL LETRAS: S&P Assigns BB+ Currency Long-term Debt Rating
-------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its local currency
long-term debt rating on Brazil Letras Financeiras do Tesouro to
'BB+' from 'BB'.

Meanwhile, the foreign and local currency ratings on government-
supported banks were raised to 'BB' and 'BB+', respectively,
moving in tandem with the sovereign credit rating on Brazil.  
S&P raised earlier its foreign-currency rating on the country to
'BB' from 'BB-' and its local-currency rating to 'BB+' from
'BB'.  The outlook on the sovereign ratings is stable.

"All changes in foreign currency and national scale credit
ratings reflect the raising of the foreign-currency sovereign
rating on Brazil," S&P's credit analyst Laura Feinland Katz had
said.


CVRD: May be Willing to Lower Bar on Iron-Ore Prices
----------------------------------------------------
Geraldo Samor, writing for the Wall Street Journal, relates that
Brazil's CVRD aka Companhia Vale do Rio Doce, the world's
largest iron-ore producer, said it is taking a "long-term view"
toward ongoing price talks with steelmakers, a sign that it may
be willing to accept an increase on the low end of analysts'
expectations.

"We are not being opportunistic," Roger Agnelli, chief executive
of CVRD, was quoted by the Journal.  "When the steel industry is
well, we are well. When it's weak, we're weak."

Iron-ore companies are calling for a 20% increase or more in
contract prices for 2006, but steelmakers are resisting.  Rising
iron-ore prices have contributed to higher steel prices for
makers of everything from appliances to automobiles, according
to the Journal.

Higher iron-ore prices have helped pushed CVRD's bottom line.
Fiscal-year 2005 net profit rose 88% to $4.8 billion from $2.6
billion in 2004.  Gross revenue surged 58% to $13.4 billion.

This year, the Journal relates, steelmakers have added clout
because the Chinese government has assured that Chinese
steelmakers follow a single line on price negotiations, after
years of following Japan's lead.  In February, Beijing said it
will only allow one company, Shanghai Baosteel Group Corp., from
negotiating with global iron-ore companies.

China is seen as building a cartel of buyers but won't be able
to impose a price that isn't reflective of market conditions,
the Journal relates.

According to the Journal, mining stocks worldwide sold off on
concern about China's role, rising U.S. interest rates and a
belief that iron-ore prices may have peaked.  The start of the
Japanese fiscal year, which begins April 1, is usually seen as
an unofficial deadline for negotiations because Asian
steelmakers want to be able to start their business year knowing
what costs will be.

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'.


TV GLOBO: Inks Video Images Distribution Partnership with Claro
---------------------------------------------------------------
Brazilian mobile operator Claro has partnered with local
broadcaster TV Globo Ltda. to offer its clients soccer related
video images, according to a report from Valor Economico.

Claro, a subsidiary of Mexican Telmex will offer videos of goals
from key Sao Paulo championship football matches.  The images
can be copied from Claro's internet portal and cost 1.10 reals
(US$0.50) each, Economico relates.

                       *    *    *

On Oct. 19, 2005, Standard & Poor's Rating Services raised its
corporate credit ratings on Brazilian media companies Globopar
S.A. and TV Globo Ltda. to 'B+' from 'CCC-'.  The ratings were
removed from CreditWatch Positive, where they were placed on
July 21, 2005.  S&P said the outlook is stable.


USIMINAS: Posts Net Profit of BRL3.9 Billion in 2005
----------------------------------------------------
USIMINAS aka Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais S.A. reported
net profit of BRL3.9 billion in 2005, the highest so far in the
company's history.

The company's Chief Executive Officer, Rinaldo Campos Soares,
said:

"For the Usiminas System, 2005 is a landmark in the company's
history as a year of great challenges and major victories.  The
results herein presented are fruit of strategic decision and of
integrated, perseverant work, which confirms our capability of
overcoming obstacles in a year marked by high interest rates
over the entire period, slowdown in the level of domestic
economic activity and tepid growth of the country.  

"On the external front, we faced oscillations in the
international steel market, which suffered from high inventory
levels of steel products -- similar to what occurred in the
domestic market -- imbalance of supply and demand and, as a
consequence, lower prices, putting pressure on company margins.

"In spite of the above, such occurrences did not intimidate us
and our performance made it possible for us to reach record net
profit of R$ 3.9 billion, the highest in our history.  The focus
on value creation also produced results for our shareholders --
BRL1.1 billion are being earmarked for payment of dividends.  
Our actions were not just limited to the influence of the
operational excellence of the mills.  Participation in the
creation of Ternium is an example of this, because it expands
the solid partnership Usiminas has with the Techint Group and
strengthens even further our position in Latin America.

"The excellent current financial situation allied to our
strategic vision allows us to seek new challenges.  Thus, the
new investment cycle we have already communicated has a focus on
two fronts -- quality and improvement of the product mix of both
mills with a view to maintain our local market leadership taking
into account the potential future demand and the
internationalization of the company.  

"For all of this, we may say that these results do not surprise
us.  They result from long-range strategic planning and provide
benefits to everyone participating in this System integrated
with technology and quality, strengthened in its competitive
position and domestic market leadership.  This increasingly
evidences concrete commitment to value creation for its
shareholders with sustainable growth and social responsibility."

                              Highlights

                                       Chg.                  Var.
BRL million     4Q     4Q       3Q   4Q05/   2005    2004   2005/
                2005   2004     2005  4Q04                   2004
    
Total Sales
Volume
(000 t)       1,981   2,170   1,769   -9%   7,348   8,062   -9%
    
Net Revenues  2,969   3,809   3,126  -22%  13,041  12,243    7%
    
Gross Profit    912   1,752   1,221  -48%   5,415   5,606   -3%
    
Operating
Result
(EBIT) (a)      743   1,589   1,098  -53%   4,760   4,983   -4%
    
Financial
Result         (162)    (81)   (171)  99%    (666)   (769) -13%
    
Net Income    1,325   1,127     782   18%   3,918   3,019   30%
    
EBITDA  (b)     910   1,816   1,265  -50%   5,525   5,666   -2%
    
EBITDA (R$/t)   459     837     715  -45%     752     703    7%
    
Total Assets 18,195  16,967  16,981    7%  18,195  16,967    7%
    
Net Debt      2,012   3,486   2,243  -42%   2,012   3,486  -42%
    
Stockholders'
Equity        8,753   5,949   7,994   47%   8,753   5,949   47%

   (a) Earnings before interest, tax and participations.
   (b) Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortization
       and participations.

                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on March 2, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services placed the 'BB' corporate
credit ratings of Usinas Siderurgicas de Minas Gerais S.A. aka
Usiminas on CreditWatch with positive implications following the
raising of the foreign and local currency sovereign credit
ratings on Brazil.


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


DIAMOND INVESTMENT: Sets March 20 Claims Filing Deadline
--------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Diamond Investment Services Limited are required to
submit particulars of their debts or claims on or before March
20, 2006, to Mr. David Dyer, the company's appointed
liquidators. Failure to do so will exclude them from receiving
the benefit of any distribution that the company will make.

Diamond Investment Services Limited started liquidating assets
on February 10, 2006.

The liquidator can be reached at:

             Mr. David Dyer
             Deutsche Bank (Cayman) Limited
             P.O. Box 1984 George Town
             Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands


FEROX CREDIT: Creditors Must File Proofs of Claim by Mar. 23
------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Ferox Credit Master Fund Limited are required to
submit particulars of their debts or claims on or before March
23, 2006, to Mr. Johann Le Roux and Mr. Jon Roney, the company's
appointed liquidators.  Failure to do so will exclude them from
receiving the benefit of any distribution that the company will
make.

Ferox Credit Master Fund Limited started liquidating assets on
February 6, 2006.

Creditors must send their full names, addresses, descriptions,
the full particulars of their debts or claims and the names and
addresses of their solicitors (if any) to the liquidator.

The liquidators can be reached at:

Mr. Johann Le Roux and Mr. Jon Roney
Maples Finance Limited
P.O. Box 1093 George Town
Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands


FK CAPITAL: Sets March 20 Deadline for Creditors to File Claims
---------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of FK Capital are required to submit particulars of
their debts or claims on or before March 20, 2006, to Mr. Mark
Wanless and Mr. Liam Jones, the company's appointed liquidators.
Failure to do so will exclude them from receiving the benefit of
any distribution that the company will make.

FK Capital started liquidating assets on February 8, 2006.

The liquidators can be reached at:

      Maples Finance Jersey Limited, 2nd Floor
Le Masurier House, La Rue Le Masurier
St. Helier, Jersey JE2 4YE


HOTEL FINANCE: Creditors Claim Filing Deadline Is Today
-------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Hotel Finance Limited, which is being voluntarily
wound up, are required on or before March 13, 2006, to present
proofs of claim to Mr. Ica Eden, the company's liquidator.

Creditors must send their full names, addresses, descriptions,
the full particulars of their debts or claims and the names and
addresses of their solicitors (if any) to the liquidator.

Ica Eden, the liquidator can be reached at:

             Westport Services Ltd.
             P.O. Box 1111
             Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
             Tel: 345 949 5122
             Fax: 345 949 7920


HUTCHISON WHAMPOA: Sets Mar. 20 Deadline for Claims Filing
----------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Hutchison Whampoa Finance Limited, which is being
voluntarily wound up, are required on or before March 20, 2006,
to present proofs of claim to Mr. Ying Hing Chiu and Ms. Diana
Chung Miu Yin, the company's liquidator.

Hutchison Whampoa Finance Limited started liquidating assets on
January 26, 2006.

The liquidators can be reached at:
             
        Level 28, Three Pacific Place
        1 Queen's Road East, Hong Kong


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


BANCO DE BOGOTA: Moody's Assigns D+ Financial Strength Rating
-------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service assigned a 'Ba3' long-term foreign
currency deposit rating on Banco de Bogota and changed the
outlook to stable from negative.  Moody's also assigned a 'D+'
bank financial strength rating on the company, while the outlook
remained stable.

Moody's changed to stable from negative the outlook on the
foreign currency deposit ratings assigned to the three banks it
rates in Colombia.  This action is the direct result of Moody's
decision to change the outlook on Colombia's foreign currency
country ceilings for bonds and deposits to stable from negative.

This action does not affect the Colombian banks' bank financial
strength ratings aka BFSR.

Moody's indicated that the outlook for Banco de Bogota's BFSR of
D+ changed to stable from stable (m), reflecting the alignment
of outlooks between the bank's BFSR and the foreign currency
deposit ratings.


BANCOLOMBIA S.A.: Moody's Assigns Ba3 Foreign Currency Rating
-------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service assigned a 'Ba3' rating on Bancolombia
S.A.'s long-term foreign currency deposit and changed the
outlook to stable from negative.

Moody's changed to stable from negative the outlook on the
foreign currency deposit ratings assigned to the three banks it
rates in Colombia.  This action is the direct result of Moody's
decision to change the outlook on Colombia's foreign currency
country ceilings for bonds and deposits to stable from negative.

This action does not affect the Colombian banks' bank financial
strength ratings aka BFSR.

Moody's noted that Bancolombia's BFSR of D remains under review
for possible upgrade.


BBVA COLOMBIA: Moody's Assigns Ba3 Foreign Currency Rating
----------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service assigned a 'Ba3' long-term foreign
currency deposit rating on BBVA Colombia.  The outlook was
changed to stable from negative.

Moody's has changed to stable from negative the outlook on the
foreign currency deposit ratings assigned to the three banks it
rates in Colombia.  This action is the direct result of Moody's
decision to change the outlook on Colombia's foreign currency
country ceilings for bonds and deposits to stable from negative.

This action does not affect the Colombian banks' bank financial
strength ratings aka BFSR.

Moody's noted that the outlook for BBVA Colombia's BFSR of D
remains positive (m).  


* BOGOTA: Moody's Assigns Ba2 Currency Rating, Outlook Stable
-------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service has changed a 'Ba2' foreign currency
bond rating for Bogota, Distrito Capital and changed the outlook
to stable from negative.  The action followed a similar change
made earlier on Thursday to Colombia's foreign currency country
ceiling for bonds.

Concurrently, Moody's affirms the stable outlook on Bogota's
'Baa3' domestic currency rating.


* COLOMBIA: Moody's Assigns Ba2 Foreign Currency Rating
-------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service has changed the outlook on Colombia's
'Ba2' foreign currency country ceiling for bonds and 'Ba3'
foreign currency country ceiling for deposits to stable from
negative.  The outlook for the government's 'Ba2' foreign
currency bond rating is also changed to stable.  

At the same time, Moody's has placed the government's 'Baa2'
domestic currency bond rating on review for possible downgrade.  
The Local Currency Guideline and the Local Currency Deposit
Ceiling remain unchanged at 'A1'.

Moody's said that the move to stable on the foreign currency
ratings was supported by the significant improvement in the
country's external finances, including a steep decline in the
ratios of external debt to current account receipts and to GDP.  
In addition, the government's active debt management policies
have reduced the amount of government debt denominated in
foreign currencies.  These factors have lessened the country's
vulnerability to external shocks and reduced the burden of
servicing the foreign-currency debt, according to Moody's.

The review of the domestic currency bond rating was prompted
primarily by Moody's view that the foreign and domestic currency
ratings should be more closely aligned.  The gap between the two
ratings is high in the case of Colombia.  

In addition, however, the rating agency said that the trajectory
of central government finance over the next few years indicated
somewhat larger deficits and higher ratios of central government
debt to GDP.  

Thus, although the consolidated public sector moved to a
balanced position in 2005, central government debt may continue
to rise in the future.  As a result, the review will focus on
the outlook for the central government deficit and its financing
over the medium term.

Moody's noted that Colombia's economy strengthened in recent
years, with strong nominal export growth and rising domestic
demand.  

In addition, improved macroeconomic management brought about
increased investment, rising domestic demand, and lower
inflation and interest rates.  All these factors combined to
strengthen the medium-term outlook, according to the rating
agency.  

Nonetheless, Moody's said, risks remain, as these improvements
have come at a time of very high prices for Colombia's exports
and ample liquidity in global financial markets.  A change in
these conditions over the medium term could affect Colombia's
external financial position.


=============
E C U A D O R
=============


* ECUADOR: Oil Output Plummets Due to Strike, Results in Losses
---------------------------------------------------------------
Oil production in Ecuador decreased due to protest for payment
of three months back wages by oil workers.

Oil revenues, which represent about 43% of the national budget,
were affected by the production slowdown.  Normally, production
of Ecuador's state and private companies total about 535,000
barrels of crude daily.

The strike could affect oil export, said state oil firm
Petroecuador, chief money-earner and the source of 35% of
government's yearly spending.

Petroecuador's output has dropped 72% since the strike began.  
Output report on Thursday revealed a production of about 55,696
barrels per day, while production before the strike was about
200,000 barrels a day.  

On Wednesday Petroecuador reported lost production of 197,545
barrels, costing the company $9.8 million.  Its E&P arm
Petroproduccion also missed about 156,992 barrels of oil
production -- equivalent to about US$8 million in lost revenue.  
The strike halted the company's production on Monday.

The strike started with job walkouts on Monday, which was
followed by oil installations takeover on the Auca field in
Orellana on Tuesday.

Operations in 291 wells in Petroproduccion's five oil fields,
Sacha, Auca, Shushufindi, Libertador and Lago Agrio, have
ceased.

Petroecuador technicians tried to reactivate several wells to no
avail, due to lack of personnel.  According to Petroecuador, the
technicians said some facility damage has been discovered.

Unionists alongside professors at the state-funded university
aired demands for back payments and higher payment during the
two-day strike.  

While professors asked for higher pay, striking oil workers
demanded payment of three months back wages, direct hiring by
Petroecuador and reforms to the company's budget law.

The workers were also pushing for the payment of the company's
US$51 million debt to oil service companies.  Petroecuador is
behind in its payments to private companies, which are essential
to keeping the oil flowing.  The government has withheld
payments to the state oil company, demanding improvement in its
accounting's transparency.

As a result, a state of emergency has been declared in Orellana,
Sucumbios and Napo, three of the country's oil-producing
regions.  It was the second time this year that the government
has had taken such measures.

Four demonstration leaders were arrested.  According to a report
by Channel 4 television, the oil workers federation president,
Remigio Sornoza, was detained by police and handed over to
military authorities, charged for attacking oil production.

Fernando Gonzalez, the new president of Petroecuador, met with
workers on Tuesday to explain his perspective on the oil
industry.  Gonzalez said it was necessary for the government to
develop an oil policy that would enable the country to take full
advantage of its hydrocarbons resources, improving the standard
of living for all Ecuadorians.

Private participation in the oil industry is important but on
equitable terms so that both parties receive a fair share of
profits, said Gonzalez.

The state oil head revealed to the workers that he plans to
submit to congress a bill that would permit the company to
recover its autonomy from the finance ministry.

David Medranda, another strike leader, said that talks between
the government and the workers continue.  

Business activity was normal in Ecuador's main urban centers.  
In Quito operations went on, although there were still strikers
in the streets as well as in the immediate vicinity of protests,
where many stores and offices closed.  


* ECUADOR: Strike Put to End, Oil Production Continues
------------------------------------------------------
The 48-hour strike carried out by Ecuadorian oil workers ended
on Wednesday, Business News Americas reports.  Oil operations
have resumed.

In a statement, state oil company Petroecuador said that armed
forces cleared access roads to the main oil producing fields,
allowing production to continue.

Business News states that the first areas where production was
partially restored were the fields of Lago Agrio, Sacha,
Libertador and Shushufindi.  On Wednesday night, these fields
were producing at a rate of 96,360 barrels a day (b/d), an
improvement from the 40,600b/d reported on Wednesday morning.

Petroproduccion, state oil company Petroecuador's E&P arm, has
also restarted operations, according to Business News.  
Petroproduccion ceased production on Monday at around 12:00 a.m.
when workers took over the oil installations on the Auca field.

Business News relates that Petroproduccion technicians will
inspect the fields where operations halted for any possible
damage that would prevent resumption of certain operations.

Petroproduccion Vice President Jaime Crow told Business News
that production will reach the normal 200,000b/d rate once
damaged equipment is replaced.  Crow was also positive that by
March 13, total production levels would reach 180,000-
190,000b/d.

Oil production in Ecuador had decreased due to protest for
payment of three months back wages by oil workers.

Oil revenues, which represent about 43% of the national budget,
were affected by the production slowdown.  Normally, production
of Ecuador's state and private companies total about 535,000
barrels of crude daily.

The strike could affect oil export, according to Petroecuador --
chief money-earner and the source of 35% of government's yearly
spending.

In the state oil firm alone, output dropped 72% after the strike
began.  Output report on Thursday revealed a production of about
55,696 barrels per day, while production before the strike was
about 200,000 barrels a day.  

By Wednesday Petroecuador reported lost production of 197,545
barrels, costing the company $9.8 million.  Its E&P arm
Petroproduccion also missed about 156,992 barrels of oil
production, equivalent to about US$8 million in lost revenue.  
The strike halted the company's production on Monday.

The strike started with job walkouts on Monday, which was
followed by oil installations takeover on the Auca field in
Orellana on Tuesday.

A state of emergency was declared in Orellana, Sucumbios and
Napo, three of the country's oil-producing regions.  It was the
second time this year that the government took such measures.


=====================
E L   S A L V A D O R
=====================


BANISTMO: Posts 10% Increase in Earnings in 2005
------------------------------------------------
Primer Banco del Istmo aka Banistmo's saw a 10% boost in its
earnings last year, Business News Americas reports.  

The company earned US$115 million in 2005 while in 2004 it
acquired only about US$104.

The company said in its website that the increase was due to
strong revenues.

Business News states that net interest income climbed 29% to
US$257 million, net commission income reached US$33.6 million --
a 30% increase -- and trading gains were up 38% to US$59.4
million.  This is despite an increase of 48% in the general and
administrative expenses -- US$178 million.

There was a 12% growth in assets at year-end, arriving at
US$6.96 billion, according to Business News.  Net loans rose 16%
to US$4.49 billion.  Total retail and wholesale deposits
increased 10% to US$4.34 billion.

Business News relates that Banistmo and its subsidiaries
reorganized under holding company Grupo Banistmo in 2005.  The
group will serve as an acquisition medium for further expansion
in Central America.

                        *    *    *

As previously reported Nov. 9, 2005, Moody's Investors Service
affirmed the D+ financial strength rating and Ba1 foreign
currency deposit rating of Primer Banco del Istmo, S.A.  The
affirmation follows the announcement that Banistmo's
shareholder, Grupo Banistmo, S.A., has agreed to purchase
between 51% and 60% of Inversiones Financieras Bancosal S.A.,
the owner of Banco Salvadoreno, El Salvador's third largest
bank.


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


RCN CORP: Sells 48.93% of Mexican Units to Pay Debt
---------------------------------------------------
RCN Corporation (NASDAQ: RCNI), announced that it has reached an
agreement to sell its 48.93% interests in Megacable, S.A. de
C.V. and Megacable Communicaciones de Mexico S.A. for net after-
tax proceeds of $300 million in cash.

Teleholding, S.A. de C.V., a Mexican entity comprised of the
current shareholders of Megacable and MCM, will purchase the
interests.  The boards of directors of both companies have
approved this transaction.

RCN will apply the proceeds from the sale to repay debt, as
required under its various debt agreements, resulting in nearly
$30 million of annualized interest savings.  On a pro forma
basis (as of September 30, 2005), after these repayments, and
after adjusting for the previously announced acquisition of
Consolidated Edison Communications Holding Company, Inc., RCN's
total debt outstanding will be reduced to approximately $200
million, and net debt will be reduced to approximately $80
million.

"The sale of our stake in Megacable and MCM represents an
important milestone for RCN," stated James F. Mooney, Chairman
of RCN's board of directors.  "By unlocking the value of these
assets, we can significantly reduce our debt and enhance our
financial and strategic flexibility."

Peter Aquino, President and Chief Executive Officer of RCN
added, "This win-win deal represents a timely opportunity to
realize strong asset value, and enables us to now focus all of
our attention on RCN's core business in the U.S.  We continue to
execute well on all facets of our strategic plan, including the
pursuit of selected acquisition and divestiture opportunities."

Mike Sicoli, Chief Financial Officer of RCN, stated, "We worked
closely with our Mexican partners to structure a transaction
that was tax efficient for RCN.  Taking into account the tax
structure and related indemnities that we received in the
transaction, we estimate the sale to be worth approximately $350
million to RCN on a pre-tax basis.  This transaction serves as a
catalyst for us to realize an immediate and dramatic improvement
in our credit profile by significantly reducing our leverage and
positioning us to generate positive free cash flow in 2006, well
ahead of schedule."

The transaction is expected to close in March 2006.  The sale is
conditioned upon certain regulatory filings to be made by
Teleholding, but is not subject to the receipt of any regulatory
approvals or consents.

Deutsche Bank Securities, Inc. acted as financial advisors, and
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP acted as legal advisors to
RCN in connection with the transaction.

RCN will report fourth quarter and full-year 2005 results on
Wednesday, March 15, 2006 and will provide a 2006 financial
outlook at that time.

                      About RCN Corp.

Headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey, RCN Corporation --
http://www.rcn.com-- is one of the largest facilities-based  
competitive providers of cable, high-speed internet and phone
services delivered over its own fiber-optic local network to
residential customers in the most densely populated markets in
the U.S.

The Company, along with its affiliates, filed for chapter 11
protection (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Case No. 04-13638) on May 27, 2004.
The Debtors' confirmed chapter 11 Plan took effect on December
21, 2004.  Frederick D. Morris, Esq., and Jay M. Goffman, Esq.,
at Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, represent the Debtors
in their restructuring efforts.  When the Debtors filed for
protection from their creditors, they listed $1,486,782,000 in
assets and $1,820,323,000 in liabilities.

The Debtor consummated its plan of reorganization and formally
emerged from Chapter 11 protection.  The plan, confirmed on

Dec. 8, 2004, by Judge Robert Drain of the Bankruptcy Court in
New York, converted approximately $1.2 billion in unsecured
obligations into 100% of RCN's new equity, and eliminated
approximately $1.8 billion in preferred share obligations.


UNIDAS: S&P Assigns B Currency Corporate Credit Ratings
-------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned 'B' long-term local
and foreign currency corporate credit ratings on Industrias
Unidas S.A. de C.V. aka IUSA.  The outlook is stable.

The ratings assigned to Industrias Unidas S.A. de C.V. reflect
the inherent cyclicality of the construction industry, the
company's high leverage, commodity price volatility, competitive
pressure on core products and markets, tight liquidity, and low
operational margins.  These factors are partially offset by the
company's leading market positions in Mexico and the US, product
mix, and some geographic diversification in the manufacturing
and distribution of copper tubing, copper-alloy products,
valves, controls, watt-hour meters, wire and cable, and
electrical devices.

IUSA is one of Mexico's largest diversified industrial
companies, offering a large variety of products through
integrated manufacturing and distribution operations located
principally in Mexico and the US.  The company's operations are
conducted by seven principal business groups: copper tubing,
wire and cable, copper alloys, electrical products, watt-hour
meters, valves and controls, and diversified assets group.

IUSA's performance in the second half of the year was strong.  
Nevertheless, it was not enough to offset completely the
weakness of the group's first-half results.

During 2005, IUSA posted EBITDA interest coverage, total
debt/EBITDA, and FFO/total debt ratios of 2.0 times, 3.8 times
and 5.4%, respectively.  Including working capital, facilities
total debt-to-EBITDA and FFO/total debt ratios stand at about
5.1 times and 4.0%, respectively.

Notwithstanding the improvements in profitability due to a more
disciplined commercial strategy, pricing pressure, particularly
in the US, and higher copper prices -- that have led to margin
pressures in the past and demand higher working capital
investments -- could lead to renewed weakness in the issuer's
operating performance.

IUSA's liquidity is tight.  As of Dec. 31, 2005, the company had
about $22 million in unrestricted cash and equivalents, which
compares unfavorably to debt maturities of $144 million --
including about $56 million under its euro CP program -- during
the next 12 months.

Nevertheless, the group refinancing efforts, and to a lesser
extent its cash balances, have enabled it to meet debt
maturities as they come due.

In light of what was stated, and the group's commitment to
maintaining a disciplined commercial strategy, we expect that it
will continue to meet its debt maturities and obtain waivers
under its credit facilities.

Free operating cash flow generation has historically been weak,
as evidenced by the negative free operating cash flow posted in
2005, which highlights the need to obtain long-term financing to
improve the company's debt maturity schedule to reduce its
refinancing risk, particularly of its CP program, and to free
liens, which also limits the company's liquidity.  S&P also
anticipates that the company will seek to resume its refinancing
plans.

The stable outlook reflects our expectations that IUSA's
refinancing efforts, and to a lesser extent its cash balance,
coupled with its commitment to maintain a disciplined commercial
strategy, should allow it to continue to meet its debt
maturities as they come due.

Nevertheless, renewed weakness in the group's operating
performance could lead to further weakness in liquidity and a
negative rating action.


XIGNUX S.A.: S&P Assigns B+ Rating on Notes Due 2009
----------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned a 'B+' rating on
Xignux S.A. de C.V.'s notes due 2009.  

The ratings on Xignux reflect its high leverage and the cyclical
nature of most of its end markets, particularly the construction
and automotive industries.  The ratings also consider Xignux's
significant market share positions, product diversity, and
vertical integration.  Its emphasis on high quality has
attracted world-recognized joint-venture partners, providing
Xignux, a diversified holding company, with low-cost access to
state-of-the-art technology and enhancement of its export
possibilities.

The rating on Xignux's notes reflects the structural
subordination of the issue relative to the company's priority
liabilities.  Despite the debt at the holding company being
guaranteed by some of the subholding and operating subsidiaries,
the proportion of priority liabilities -- for example, current
and long-term liabilities as well as short- and long-term debt
at the operating-company level -- relative to consolidated total
assets is significant, more than 15%, leading to a possible low
residual claim for Xignux's holding-company creditors.

Xignux is a diversified holding company.  Its subsidiaries
manufacture a variety of products, mostly for industrial
markets.  The company sells auto parts, food, cable, foundry,
power, and distribution transformers.  

Over the next two years, Xignux is expected to focus its efforts
on increasing value-added products and services to increase its
market share in the cable & wire and power transformers
business.  

During the same period, the group is expected to continue its
tight control on costs and expenses in the automotive business.  

Of particular importance in this business segment are the
operations that have been established in Central America in
order to contain the continued pricing pressure from original
equipment manufacturers.

In the food division, S&P expects that the group will continue
its efforts to increase its market share -- particularly in the
mom and pop distribution channel -- and improve its
productivity.

Notwithstanding the aforementioned, S&P believes that the nature
of Xignux's business portfolio still leaves the company exposed
to the inherent risks associated with the cyclicality of the
construction and automotive industries.

As a result, to weather the potential weakening of the group's
top line during the down part of the cycle, S&P believes that
Xignux's capital expenditures and investment program should not
exceed $100 million over the next two calendar years.

As expected, Xignux posted a solid performance during the fourth
quarter, particularly the wire & cable segment.  As a result,
the group's key financial ratios remained in line with those
posted during the third quarter.

During 2005, Xignux posted EBTIDA interest coverage, total
debt/EBITDA, and FFO/total debt ratios of 3.7x, 2.4x, and 24.4%,
respectively.  Adjusting for the sale of Grupo Primex, Xignux
posted double-digit growth in revenues and EBITDA during the
year.

Xignux's liquidity is adequate.  As of Dec. 31, 2005, Xignux
held about $38 million in cash and equivalents and had about $60
million available under committed credit facilities, which
compares favorably with short-term debt of $78 million.  Free
operating cash flow totaled $68 million during 2005 and should
be about $30 million during 2006.

The outlook is positive.  Xignux's efforts to reduce its debt
and improve its capital structure -- coupled with the group's
ongoing initiatives to strengthen its competitive position --
have laid a foundation that could lead to a stronger financial
profile.  

A positive rating action is possible should Xignux's LTM EBITDA
interest coverage, total debt/EBITDA, and FFO/total debt ratios
remain steady at about 4.5x, 2.5x, and 25% during 2006 and going
forward.

A weakening of the company's financial and operating
performance, particularly as a result of lower operating margins
in the down part of the cycle, could lead to a negative rating
action.

Headquartered in San Pedro Garza Garcia, Mexico, Xignux --
http://xignux.com/-- manufactures and sells auto-part,  
lighting, chemicals, food, cable, foundry and electrical goods
in more than 40 countries.


=======
P E R U
=======


* PERU: Government Allows Rate Hike to Expand Water Services
------------------------------------------------------------
The Peruvian government will allow utility companies to hike
rates in order to expand water services throughout the country,
El Peruano reports.

The government plans to implement a number of measures to
improve water services, which include modifying the law to allow
a readjustment in water rates in line with inflation every three
months, Business News Americas relates.
  
One of the first measures to be implemented is the restructuring
of the debts assumed by public sanitation companies -- EPS.
The EPS's financial standing will be further strengthened with
the government's promotion of private investment in the
sanitation sector, Business News relates.  Furthermore,
municipal companies will expand services into rural areas.

Also, the government will create two work groups that will
discuss and solve the current water rates crisis in Peru --
especially with water utility Sedapal, which serves capital Lima
and port city Callao -- the government has created two work
groups to discuss the matter, Business News relates.

The groups are composed of technicians from the housing ministry
and the country's basic service regulator -- Sunass.  One of the
groups will address the Sedapal issue, while the other will
review the EPSs' current situation within the national context.
The groups are scheduled to meet March 13, Business News
relates.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Peru:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     BB      Nov. 18, 2004
   Long Term IDR       BB      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      BB+     Dec. 14, 2005


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


MUSICLAND HOLDING: Committee Hires Hahn & Hessen as Counsel
-----------------------------------------------------------
The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors seeks authority
from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New
York to retain Hahn & Hessen LLP as its counsel in Musicland
Holding Corp. and its debtor-affiliates' chapter 11 cases, under
a general retainer.

According to Curtis Roberts, co-chairman of the Committee, Hahn
& Hessen is thoroughly familiar with and experienced in chapter
11 matters.

The Committee believes that Hahn & Hessen's attorneys are well
qualified to represent the interest of the Committee and its
constituency.  Hahn & Hessen has been representing creditors'
interests in insolvency proceedings for more than 70 years.

As counsel, Hahn & Hessen will:

    (a) render legal advice to the;

    (b) assist the Committee in its investigation of the acts,
        conduct, assets, liabilities and financial condition of
        the Debtors, the operation of the Debtors' businesses,
        the desirability of continuing business and any other
        matters relevant to the proceedings or to the business
        affairs of the Debtors;

    (c) advise the Committee on any proposed reorganization
        plan, the Debtor's prosecution of claims against third
        parties, and any other matters relevant to the
        proceeding or to the formulation of a plan of
        reorganization;

    (d) assist the Committee in requesting the appointment of a
        trustee or examiner pursuant to Section 1104 of the
        Bankruptcy Code, if necessary; and

    (e) perform other legal services, which may be required by
        the unsecured creditors.

Mr. Roberts says that Hahn & Hessen has assured the Committee
that it will not represent any other entity in connection with
the Chapter 11 cases.

Mark S. Indelicato, Esq., a member of Hahn & Hessen LLP, assures
the Court that to the best of his knowledge, the firm does not
have any connection with the Debtor.

In addition, Mr. Indelicato attests that Hahn & Hessen does not
represent any interest adverse to that of the Committee or the
Debtors' estates in the matters upon which it is to be engaged.

Hahn & Hessen will be paid at its customary hourly rates for
services rendered and for actual expenses incurred:

       Partners                          $410 to $595
       Associates                        $280 to $350
       Paralegals                         $90 to $175

Mr. Indelicato notes that Hahn & Hessen has not received a
retainer from the Committee or from anyone else for its
retention.

                           *     *     *

Judge Bernstein authorizes the Committee to retain Hahn & Hessen
LLP, as its counsel, under a general retainer, effective as of
Jan. 20, 2006.

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.   Mark T.
Power, Esq., at Hahn & Hessen LLP, represents the Official
Committee of Unsecured Creditors.  When the Debtors filed for
protection from their creditors, they estimated more than $100
million in assets and debts.  (Musicland Bankruptcy News, Issue
No. 6; Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., 215/945-7000)


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


CITIZEN INSURANCE: Fin'l Weakness Cues Central Bank to Intervene
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Trinidad Guardian reports that Trinidad and Tobago's Central
Bank has served a notice of intervention on Goodwill General
Insurance Company and Citizen Insurance Company due to their
financially weak conditions.

According to Central Bank notices appearing in the daily
newspapers, both Citizen Insurance and Goodwill General
Insurance were described as unable to pay their debts under
section 77 of the Insurance Act.

The Central Bank has identified other financially weak
institutions but kept the information private until it has
exhausted its consultative process, the Guardian relates.

The consultative process will be done among Inspector and Deputy
Inspector of Financial Institutions at the bank, Catherine Kumar
and Wendy Ho Sing.   The Central Bank would advise companies as
to the best way forward during various meetings with management.  
Letters will follow those meetings and if no corrective action
is taken, the bank will make a determination on the appropriate
time to serve notice of its intention to intervene in the
affairs of those companies, the Guardian relates.

Speaking of the Goodwill and Citizen scenarios, Ms. Kumar said:
"The Central Bank determined that intervention in the affairs of
Citizen Insurance Company and Goodwill General Insurance Company
was necessary to prevent further deterioration of the financial
condition of the companies.

"There is precedence for this action both in Trinidad and Tobago
and other jurisdictions. It is important to note that the
Central Bank does not have the authority to take over the
management of the companies and this remains the responsibility
of the directors and managers."

Kumar described the current Insurance Act as "outdated and
certainly not in keeping with the Financial Institutions Act and
international best practice."

"The powers of the regulator are not wide enough to allow for
active, risk focused supervisory process where issues can be
identified early enough so that timely and appropriate action
can be taken to resolve problems," Ms. Kumar said.

According to the intervention requirements for Goodwill, the
company has to refrain from effecting any contracts of insurance
whether new or renewal or varying existing contracts of
insurance with effect from March 7, 2006, until such time as the
company obtains a share capital injection in cash of an amount
determined by the Central Bank, the Guardian says.

As for Citizen, the intervention notice provides that it has to
refrain from effecting any new contracts of insurance in all
classes of business with effect from January 4, 2006, but is
permitted to effect renewal business only, the Guardian says.

In a separate report, Ms. Kumar scolded companies who delayed in
paying or were unwilling to pay claims to their policy holders.  


GOODWILL GEN: Weak Fin'l Status Cues Central Bank to Intervene
--------------------------------------------------------------
The Trinidad Guardian reports that Trinidad and Tobago's Central
Bank has served a notice of intervention on Goodwill General
Insurance Company and Citizen Insurance Company due to their
financially weak conditions.

According to Central Bank notices appearing in the daily
newspapers, both Citizen Insurance and Goodwill General
Insurance were described as unable to pay their debts under
section 77 of the Insurance Act.

The Central Bank has identified other financially weak
institutions but kept the information private until it has
exhausted its consultative process, the Guardian relates.

The consultative process will be done among Inspector and Deputy
Inspector of Financial Institutions at the bank, Catherine Kumar
and Wendy Ho Sing.   The Central Bank would advise companies as
to the best way forward during various meetings with management.  
Letters will follow those meetings and if no corrective action
is taken, the bank will make a determination on the appropriate
time to serve notice of its intention to intervene in the
affairs of those companies, the Guardian relates.

Speaking of the Goodwill and Citizen scenarios, Ms. Kumar said:
"The Central Bank determined that intervention in the affairs of
Citizen Insurance Company and Goodwill General Insurance Company
was necessary to prevent further deterioration of the financial
condition of the companies.

"There is precedence for this action both in Trinidad and Tobago
and other jurisdictions. It is important to note that the
Central Bank does not have the authority to take over the
management of the companies and this remains the responsibility
of the directors and managers."

Kumar described the current Insurance Act as "outdated and
certainly not in keeping with the Financial Institutions Act and
international best practice."

"The powers of the regulator are not wide enough to allow for
active, risk focused supervisory process where issues can be
identified early enough so that timely and appropriate action
can be taken to resolve problems," Ms. Kumar said.

According to the intervention requirements for Goodwill, the
company has to refrain from effecting any contracts of insurance
whether new or renewal or varying existing contracts of
insurance with effect from March 7, 2006, until such time as the
company obtains a share capital injection in cash of an amount
determined by the Central Bank, the Guardian says.

As for Citizen, the intervention notice provides that it has to
refrain from effecting any new contracts of insurance in all
classes of business with effect from January 4, 2006, but is
permitted to effect renewal business only, the Guardian says.

In a separate report, Ms. Kumar scolded companies who delayed in
paying or were unwilling to pay claims to their policy holders.  


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


* URUGUAY: Government Inks IT Solution Pact with Venezuela
----------------------------------------------------------
The Uruguayan government, through the basic industry and mining
ministry, has signed an agreement with the Venezuelan government
to implement an IT solution for state-owned telecoms operator
CVG Telecom, Business News reports.

Under the terms of the agreement, Uruguay will implement a
solution that will allow CVG to operate information systems,
databases, prepaid platforms, text messages, customer support
and human resources platforms, Business News relates.

The agreement will allow Venezuela to have access to new
technology and develop software solutions within CVG that will
add more value to primary resources, Business News states.  It
will also allow Venezuela to to sell the solution, once
developed, to other state-run companies in other countries in
the region.

Genexus, the company selected to deploy the project, will also
provide all the software and hardware infrastructure needed to
improve CVG administration, Business News relates.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Uruguay:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     BB-      Mar. 7, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B+      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      BB-      Mar. 7, 2005

                        *    *    *

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

                        *    *    *

On Nov. 29, 2005, Fitch Ratings assigned expected 'BB-' ratings
to the pending issues of Venezuelan government bonds maturing
Feb. 26, 2016, and Dec. 9, 2020.  The 2016 bond has a 5.75%
fixed coupon and the 2020 bond has a 6% fixed coupon.  The bonds
are being marketed in Venezuela to be purchased in local
currency at the official exchange rate but under New York law,
with all coupon and principal payments in U.S. dollars.

Venezuela's sovereign ratings are supported by superior  
international liquidity and low external financing  
requirements relative to similarly rated sovereigns.  The  
ratings are constrained by vulnerability to external shocks  
because of oil dependency; diminished capacity of the private  
sector to absorb shocks because of heavy government  
intervention in the productive sector; recent spending  
increases that reduce fiscal flexibility; and concerns about  
the rule of law and potential political instability.  Fitch said
the Rating Outlook is Stable.


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


PDVSA: Surpasses Daily Output and Sales by 9,200 Barrels
--------------------------------------------------------
State oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela aka PDVSA surpassed daily
production and sales by about 9,200 barrels in February, the
company's Western Division told Prensa Latina last week.

Prensa Latina reports that of Venezuela's 3.3 million barrels
produced daily production, 953,500 barrels come from the Western
Division.  

A press release by PDVSA stated that the company said that such
performance stems from the recovery of additional boilers for
steam generation, the repair of lift gas lines in wells and
wires connected to pumping wells, among others.

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.


* ALAV Believes U.S. Flight Ban Will Yield Positive Outcome
-----------------------------------------------------------
Humberto Figuera, the vice-president of the Venezuelan Airlines
Association or ALAV, displayed optimism about U.S. Federal
Aviation Administration, the FAA, and the Venezuelan Aviation
Institute or INAC, overcoming an impasse involving a flight ban
on U.S. carriers in Venezuela, the El Universal reports.

Mr. Figuera told El Universal that the problem regarding the
suspension of certain American airlines from flying to Venezuela
won't be solved before the March 30 deadline that the country
set.

Venezuela declared the ban in hopes of negotiating greater
access for domestic carriers in the United States.

Venezuelan carriers are blocked from adding to their U.S.
flights by a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration decision in
1995 that downgraded the country's security, safety and
technical rating.

Flights by Delta Air and Continental Airlines will be cut by up
to 70%, and American Airlines flights will also be affected.

Mr. Figuera informed El Universal that both the FAA and INAC
have showed willingness to reach an agreement.  "There is a
climate of full understanding of Venezuelan stance. I think a
meeting between aviation authorities should be set very soon.
And we are very optimistic about solution of this issue in the
short term," he said.

                        *    *    *

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

                        *    *    *

On Nov. 29, 2005, Fitch Ratings assigned expected 'BB-' ratings
to the pending issues of Venezuelan government bonds maturing
Feb. 26, 2016, and Dec. 9, 2020.  The 2016 bond has a 5.75%
fixed coupon and the 2020 bond has a 6% fixed coupon.  The bonds
are being marketed in Venezuela to be purchased in local
currency at the official exchange rate but under New York law,
with all coupon and principal payments in U.S. dollars.

Venezuela's sovereign ratings are supported by superior  
international liquidity and low external financing  
requirements relative to similarly rated sovereigns.  The  
ratings are constrained by vulnerability to external shocks  
because of oil dependency; diminished capacity of the private  
sector to absorb shocks because of heavy government  
intervention in the productive sector; recent spending  
increases that reduce fiscal flexibility; and concerns about  
the rule of law and potential political instability.  Fitch said
the Rating Outlook is Stable.


* VENEZUELA: Government Inks IT Solution Pact with Uruguay
----------------------------------------------------------
The Uruguayan government, through the basic industry and mining
ministry, has signed an agreement with the Venezuelan government
to implement an IT solution for state-owned telecoms operator
CVG Telecom, Business News reports.

Under the terms of the agreement, Uruguay will implement a
solution that will allow CVG to operate information systems,
databases, prepaid platforms, text messages, customer support
and human resources platforms, Business News relates.

The agreement will allow Venezuela to have access to new
technology and develop software solutions within CVG that will
add more value to primary resources, Business News states.  It
will also allow Venezuela to to sell the solution, once
developed, to other state-run companies in other countries in
the region.

Genexus, the company selected to deploy the project, will also
provide all the software and hardware infrastructure needed to
improve CVG administration, Business News relates.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Uruguay:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     BB-      Mar. 7, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B+      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      BB-      Mar. 7, 2005

                        *    *    *

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

                        *    *    *

On Nov. 29, 2005, Fitch Ratings assigned expected 'BB-' ratings
to the pending issues of Venezuelan government bonds maturing
Feb. 26, 2016, and Dec. 9, 2020.  The 2016 bond has a 5.75%
fixed coupon and the 2020 bond has a 6% fixed coupon.  The bonds
are being marketed in Venezuela to be purchased in local
currency at the official exchange rate but under New York law,
with all coupon and principal payments in U.S. dollars.

Venezuela's sovereign ratings are supported by superior  
international liquidity and low external financing  
requirements relative to similarly rated sovereigns.  The  
ratings are constrained by vulnerability to external shocks  
because of oil dependency; diminished capacity of the private  
sector to absorb shocks because of heavy government  
intervention in the productive sector; recent spending  
increases that reduce fiscal flexibility; and concerns about  
the rule of law and potential political instability.  Fitch said
the Rating Outlook is Stable.

                            ***********


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

Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America is a daily newsletter
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Copyright 2006.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

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