TCRLA_Public/060407.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

          Friday, April 7, 2006, Vol. 7, Issue 70

                         Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

BANCO BISEL: Only Two Companies Participate in April 4 Auction
BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Bids Lower than Macro Bansud in Bisel Auction
BANCO HIPOTECARIO: S&P Affirms B Rating on US$200MM Senior Notes
MACRO BANSUD: Presents Highest Bid in Banco Bisel Auction
MANTISA S.A.: Trustee Stops Validating Claims on May 19

TAPAMAR S.A.: Claims Verification Deadline Is May 4
TARABORELLI S.A.: Trustee Stops Accepting Claims on May 16
TERCER MILENIO: Trustee Stops Accepting Claims on May 18
TEXLEN S.C.A.: Trustee Stops Validating Claims by May 27
TEX S.R.L: Validation of Proofs of Claims Ends on June 16

TURTLE LINE: Verification of Proofs of Claim Ends on May 4

* Metsae-Botnia Refuses to Halt Pulp Mill Works for 90 Days

B E R M U D A

QUANTA CAPITAL: Reports US$105.9 Million of Net Loss for 2005
MONTPELIER RE: Declares US$0.075 Per Share Quarterly Dividend

B O L I V I A

COMIBOL: Inks Four Silver Veins Joint Pact with Franklin Mining

* BOLIVIA: Charges Up to 70% Tax for Oil Transnationals
* BOLIVIA: Total Talks with President Morales for New Ventures

B R A Z I L

BNDES: Appropriating US$70 Million for 2006 Biodiesel Projects
BRASKEM: Considers Biofuel as Renewable Fuel Alternative
CSN: Benjamin Steinbruch Says Company's Not for Sale
CVRD: Investing US$34 Million in Camacari Terminal by 2008
NET SERVICOS: Completes Prepayment of Net Sul's Senior Notes

PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: Supreme Court Allows Simplified Bidding

C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S

COMMERCIAL PLAZA: Shareholders Hold Final General Meeting
CUBIC TWO: Holds Final General Meeting Today
DAVIDOFF (CAYMAN): Holds Shareholder & Liquidator Meeting Today
EAST GROUP: Shareholders Held Last Meeting
ERISWELL: Calls on Shareholders for Final Meeting on April 10

C O L O M B I A

MEGABANCO: Will Merge Operations with Banco de Bogota

C O S T A   R I C A

* COSTA RICA: Begins Developing Investment Accord with Israel

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

* DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Energy Sector Sees US$97M Coal Earnings

E C U A D O R

* ECUADOR: May Exchange US$3 Billion of Debts for New Securities
* ECUADOR: Petroecuador Struggling to Recover from Strike
* ECUADOR: Tax Exemption Law May Result to US$400M Loss a Year

G U A T E M A L A

* GUATEMALA: Will Begin Talks on FTA with Neighboring Nations

H O N D U R A S

* HONDURAS: Pension System May Set Up Third Mobile Operator
* HONDURAS: Wal-Mart Begins Central America Operations

M E X I C O

DIRECTV GROUP: EchoStar Purchase Plan Faces Regulatory Hurdles
GRUPO MEXICO: Workers at Agua Prieta Lime Plant Launch Strike
KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN: Late Filing Cues Moody's to Review Ratings

P A N A M A

BLADEX: Moody's Affirms D- Bank Financial Strength Rating

* PANAMA: State Generation Company Gets Cabinet Approval

P A R A G U A Y

MILLICOM INTERNATIONAL: Buys Out Two Minority Partners

P E R U

* PERU: HSBC Recommends Selling Peruvian Bonds Before Election

P U E R T O   R I C O

MUSICLAND HOLDING: Balks at Marisa Uriarte's Lift Stay Motion

U R U G U A Y

* Metsae-Botnia Refuses to Halt Pulp Mill Works for 90 Days

V E N E Z U E L A

AMERICAN AIRLINES: INAC Investigates Two Caracas Flights
PDVSA: Faces Possible Lawsuit from Eni Over Oil Field Takeover
PDVSA: Takes Back Control of Seven Oil Fields from Private Firms

* VENEZUELA: Won't Cut Off Oil Exports to United States


                          - - - - -

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


BANCO BISEL: Only Two Companies Participate in April 4 Auction
--------------------------------------------------------------
Only Macro Bansud and Banco Hipotecario have participated in
Nuevo Banco Bisel's auction on April 4, Business News Americas
reports.

Business News relates that seven firms purchased the bidding
rules.  Hoever, companies Galicia, Nuevo Banco de Santa Fe, Pago
Facil, Vicentin and a law firm representing a foreign-owned bank
did not participate in the auction.

A source from Banco Nacion told Business News that Macro Bansud
made a ARS830 million bid -- higher than that of Banco
Hipotecario, which is ARS608 million.

Banco Nacion, according to Business News, will announce the
winner -- based on the two firm's business plans -- in two
weeks.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 29, 2006,
Banco Nacion moved to April 4 from March 28 the auction of local
bank Nuevo Banco Bisel as requested by mortgage lender Banco
Hipotecario.

The Troubled Company Reporter also reported on March 27, 2006,
that seven companies submitted bids for Banco Bisel's auction.
The potential bidders were Macro Bansud, Galicia, Hipotecario,
Nuevo Banco de Santa Fe, Macri, Vincentin and an unnamed law
firm.  The bidding rules -- published by Banco Nacion earlier in
March -- were made available until March 27, 2006.

According to Bisel president Guillermo Ferraro, the winner of
the auction would have to face an immediate ARS27 million loss.

Banco Bisel was among the subsidiaries left by French bank
Credit Agricole after the latter withdrew from Argentina in the
midst of the country's economic and financial crisis in 2002,
according to Business News.  The other subsidiaries were Banco
Bersa and Banco Suquia.

The subsidiaries were taken over by Banco Nacion, aiming to sell
them back to the private sector at a later stage.

Suquia was purchased by Banco Macro Bansud in October 2004 for
US$180 million in the first re-privatization while Bersa was
sold to Nuevo Banco de Santa Fe for US$60 million last June.

                       *    *    *

On Dec. 13, 2005, Moody's Investors Service affirmed the credit
ratings of Banco Macro Bansud S.A. following the latter's
announcement that it has acquired the 75% stake in
Banco del Tucuman S.A. from Banco Comafi S.A. for US$17.3
million.

In affirming Macro's ratings, Moody's said that the acquisition,
which is pending regulatory approval, does not change the bank's
risk or business profile.

Macro announced on November 9 it was taking over selected assets
and liabilities of Banco Empresario de Tucuman, worth
approximately US$35.8 million, which included eight branches in
the Province of Tucuman. These acquisitions should grant the
Macro group a dominant position in the province.

Banco Macro Bansud S.A. is headquartered in Buenos Aires,
Argentina. As of June 2005, the bank's total assets were US$2.4
billion.

The following ratings of Banco Macro Bansud S.A. were affirmed:

    -- Bank Financial Strength Rating: E -- Positive Outlook
    -- Long- Term Global Local Currency Deposits: Ba3
    -- Short -Term Global Local Currency Deposits: Not Prime
    -- National Scale Rating for Local Currency Deposits: Aa2.ar
    -- Long -Term Foreign Currency Deposits: Caa1
    -- Short -Term Foreign Currency Deposits: Not Prime
    -- National Scale Rating for Foreign Currency Deposits:
       Ba1.ar.
                  *    *    *

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on Dec. 12, 2005,
Moody's Latin America Calificadora de Riesgo S.A. is maintaining
its 'D' rating on various corporate bonds issued by local bank,
Banco Bisel S.A.

The National Securities Commission, the CNV, revealed that the
rating, which denotes the issuer has defaulted on payments,
affected the following bonds:

  -- US$54 million worth of "Obligaciones Negociables
     Subordinadas" classified under "Series and/or Class." The
     bonds matured on July 20, 2000.

  -- US$100 million worth of "Programa Global de Obligaciones
     Negociables" classified under "Program." These bonds also
     matured on July 20, 2000.

  -- US$300 million worth of "Programa de Emision de Titulos de
     Deuda a Mediano Plazo" classified under "Program." These
     bonds matured on July 20, 2000.

  -- US$200 million worth of "Programa Global de Emision de
     Obligaciones" classified under "Program." The maturity date
     of the bonds was not indicated.

                        *    *    *

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.

                        *    *    *

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on March 28, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised the foreign and local
currency counterparty credit ratings on Banco Hipotecario S.A.
At the same time, Standard & Poor's placed the ratings on
several Argentine entities on CreditWatch with positive
implications.  These rating actions follow the upgrade on the
Republic of Argentina.

Earlier, S&P raised our global foreign and local currency
ratings on Argentina to 'B' from 'B-' and the ratings on the
national scale to 'raAA-' from 'raA', reflecting Argentina's
improved external and fiscal flexibility.

S&P said the outlook on the sovereign rating is stable.

S&P's transfer and convertibility risk assessment for Argentina
was raised to 'BB-', two notches higher than Argentina's foreign
currency rating.

S&P raised the rating on Banco Hipotecario one notch to
'B/Stable/--', in tandem with the sovereign upgrade on
Argentina, reflecting the close linkage between the credit
quality of the sovereign and that of its financial system.


BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Bids Lower than Macro Bansud in Bisel Auction
----------------------------------------------------------------
Argentina's Macro Bansud surpassed Banco Hipotecario's ARS608
million bid in the Nuevo Banco Bisel auction, a source from
Banco Nacion told Business News Americas.

According to the source, Macro Bansud made the highest for Banco
Bisel at ARS830 million.

Business News relates that Macro Bansud and Hipotecario were the
only bidders for the Bisel auction on Tuesday, out of the seven
companies that purchased the bidding rules.  Companies Galicia,
Nuevo Banco de Santa Fe, Pago Facil, Vicentin and a law firm
representing a foreign-owned bank did not participate in the
auction.

Banco Nacion, according to Business News, will announce the
winner -- based on the two firm's business plans -- in two
weeks.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 29, 2006,
Banco Nacion moved to April 4 from March 28 the auction of local
bank Nuevo Banco Bisel as requested by mortgage lender Banco
Hipotecario.

The Troubled Company Reporter also reported on March 27, 2006,
that seven companies submitted bids for Banco Bisel's auction.
The potential bidders were Macro Bansud, Galicia, Hipotecario,
Nuevo Banco de Santa Fe, Macri, Vincentin and an unnamed law
firm.  The bidding rules -- published by Banco Nacion earlier in
March -- were made available until March 27, 2006.

According to Bisel president Guillermo Ferraro, the winner of
the auction would have to face an immediate ARS27 million loss.

Banco Bisel was among the subsidiaries left by French bank
Credit Agricole after the latter withdrew from Argentina in the
midst of the country's economic and financial crisis in 2002,
according to Business News.  The other subsidiaries were Banco
Bersa and Banco Suquia.

The subsidiaries were taken over by Banco Nacion, aiming to sell
them back to the private sector at a later stage.

Suquia was purchased by Banco Macro Bansud in October 2004 for
US$180 million in the first re-privatization while Bersa was
sold to Nuevo Banco de Santa Fe for US$60 million last June.

                       *    *    *

On Dec. 13, 2005, Moody's Investors Service affirmed the credit
ratings of Banco Macro Bansud S.A. following the latter's
announcement that it has acquired the 75% stake in
Banco del Tucuman S.A. from Banco Comafi S.A. for US$17.3
million.

In affirming Macro's ratings, Moody's said that the acquisition,
which is pending regulatory approval, does not change the bank's
risk or business profile.

Macro announced on November 9 it was taking over selected assets
and liabilities of Banco Empresario de Tucuman, worth
approximately US$35.8 million, which included eight branches in
the Province of Tucuman. These acquisitions should grant the
Macro group a dominant position in the province.

Banco Macro Bansud S.A. is headquartered in Buenos Aires,
Argentina. As of June 2005, the bank's total assets were US$2.4
billion.

The following ratings of Banco Macro Bansud S.A. were affirmed:

    -- Bank Financial Strength Rating: E -- Positive Outlook
    -- Long- Term Global Local Currency Deposits: Ba3
    -- Short -Term Global Local Currency Deposits: Not Prime
    -- National Scale Rating for Local Currency Deposits: Aa2.ar
    -- Long -Term Foreign Currency Deposits: Caa1
    -- Short -Term Foreign Currency Deposits: Not Prime
    -- National Scale Rating for Foreign Currency Deposits:
       Ba1.ar.
                  *    *    *

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on Dec. 12, 2005,
Moody's Latin America Calificadora de Riesgo S.A. is maintaining
its 'D' rating on various corporate bonds issued by local bank,
Banco Bisel S.A.

The National Securities Commission, the CNV, revealed that the
rating, which denotes the issuer has defaulted on payments,
affected the following bonds:

  -- US$54 million worth of "Obligaciones Negociables
     Subordinadas" classified under "Series and/or Class." The
     bonds matured on July 20, 2000.

  -- US$100 million worth of "Programa Global de Obligaciones
     Negociables" classified under "Program." These bonds also
     matured on July 20, 2000.

  -- US$300 million worth of "Programa de Emision de Titulos de
     Deuda a Mediano Plazo" classified under "Program." These
     bonds matured on July 20, 2000.

  -- US$200 million worth of "Programa Global de Emision de
     Obligaciones" classified under "Program." The maturity date
     of the bonds was not indicated.

                        *    *    *

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.

                        *    *    *

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on March 28, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised the foreign and local
currency counterparty credit ratings on Banco Hipotecario S.A.
At the same time, Standard & Poor's placed the ratings on
several Argentine entities on CreditWatch with positive
implications.  These rating actions follow the upgrade on the
Republic of Argentina.

Earlier, S&P raised our global foreign and local currency
ratings on Argentina to 'B' from 'B-' and the ratings on the
national scale to 'raAA-' from 'raA', reflecting Argentina's
improved external and fiscal flexibility.

S&P said the outlook on the sovereign rating is stable.

S&P's transfer and convertibility risk assessment for Argentina
was raised to 'BB-', two notches higher than Argentina's foreign
currency rating.

S&P raised the rating on Banco Hipotecario one notch to
'B/Stable/--', in tandem with the sovereign upgrade on
Argentina, reflecting the close linkage between the credit
quality of the sovereign and that of its financial system.


BANCO HIPOTECARIO: S&P Affirms B Rating on US$200MM Senior Notes
----------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned its 'B' foreign
currency senior unsecured debt rating to Banco Hipotecario
S.A.'s upcoming senior note issuance for up to $200 million.  At
the same time, Standard & Poor's affirmed its ratings on the
Argentine bank's outstanding debt and its 'B' long-term
counterparty credit rating.  The outlook is stable.

The notes will bear interest at a fixed rate-expected to be
about 9.5% - and have bullet maturity in 2016.  The issuance is
part of a liability management initiative launched by BH.  The
initiative has two separate but coordinated components.
Hipotecario will launch a tender to purchase, in cash, a total
of up to $165 million of its Series I and Series II bonds
(denominated in U.S. dollars and Euros, respectively). Both
bonds bear a 5% coupon and amortize in six annual equal payments
starting in January 2008.  "While the purchase price is expected
to be less than par, we do not expect bondholders to suffer a
loss in terms of present value, nor do we perceive the offer as
coercive," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Federico Rey-
Marino.  The offer to purchase the bonds is contingent on
Hipotecario's success in placing the new bonds. "If successful,
the tender and new bond issuance will extend the duration of
Hipotecario's debt and allow Hipotecario to continue retiring
the debt issued in the context of the bank's debt restructuring
in 2004," added Mr. Rey-Marino.  Pro forma for the issuance,
Hipotecario would have replaced about 55% of the debt derived
from such process.  The new bonds will only imply a slight
increase in debt cost and debt levels and will contribute some
extra cash to continue funding Hipotecario's portfolio and
business expansion.

The ratings on Hipotecario reflect its relatively high exposure
to the sovereign's creditworthiness-mostly originated by the
government bonds received as compensation for pesification - as
is the case with the rest of the financial system.  In addition,
the ratings incorporate the bank's high concentration in
mortgage lending.  These weaknesses are counterbalanced by
Hiotecario's strong capitalization level and a high liquidity
position, smooth maturity profile, and good access to credit, as
well as significant reductions of debt with the Central Bank of
Argentina.  In addition, the ratings incorporate an improved
business environment for the financial sector in the country
after the sovereign debt restructuring, increased lending
activity to the private sector, and a lower risk from government
related assets, both given a lower participation of those assets
in the banks' portfolio and a higher credit quality for those
assets.

The stable outlook reflects our expectation that the increasing
normalization of the local operating environment will allow BH
to consolidate the improvements achieved in terms of financial
strength and to increase lending to the private sector.  Rating
upside is limited by the close linkage between the sovereign and
financial system credit quality.


MACRO BANSUD: Presents Highest Bid in Banco Bisel Auction
---------------------------------------------------------
Argentina's Macro Bansud made the highest bid for Nuevo Banco
Bisel at ARS830 million, a source from Banco Nacion told
Business News Americas.

According to the source, Macro Bansud has surpassed rival Banco
Hipotecario's bid, which is ARS608 million.

Business News relates that Macro Bansud and Hipotecario were the
only bidders for the Bisel auction on Tuesday, out of the seven
companies that purchased the bidding rules.  Companies Galicia,
Nuevo Banco de Santa Fe, Pago Facil, Vicentin and a law firm
representing a foreign-owned bank did not participate in the
auction.

Banco Nacion, according to Business News, will announce the
winner -- based on the two firm's business plans -- in two
weeks.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 29, 2006,
Banco Nacion moved to April 4 from March 28 the auction of local
bank Nuevo Banco Bisel as requested by mortgage lender Banco
Hipotecario.

The Troubled Company Reporter also reported on March 27, 2006,
that seven companies submitted bids for Banco Bisel's auction.
The potential bidders were Macro Bansud, Galicia, Hipotecario,
Nuevo Banco de Santa Fe, Macri, Vincentin and an unnamed law
firm.  The bidding rules -- published by Banco Nacion earlier in
March -- were made available until March 27, 2006.

According to Bisel president Guillermo Ferraro, the winner of
the auction would have to face an immediate ARS27 million loss.

Banco Bisel was among the subsidiaries left by French bank
Credit Agricole after the latter withdrew from Argentina in the
midst of the country's economic and financial crisis in 2002,
according to Business News.  The other subsidiaries were Banco
Bersa and Banco Suquia.

The subsidiaries were taken over by Banco Nacion, aiming to sell
them back to the private sector at a later stage.

Suquia was purchased by Banco Macro Bansud in October 2004 for
US$180 million in the first re-privatization while Bersa was
sold to Nuevo Banco de Santa Fe for US$60 million last June.

                       *    *    *

On Dec. 13, 2005, Moody's Investors Service affirmed the credit
ratings of Banco Macro Bansud S.A. following the latter's
announcement that it has acquired the 75% stake in
Banco del Tucuman S.A. from Banco Comafi S.A. for US$17.3
million.

In affirming Macro's ratings, Moody's said that the acquisition,
which is pending regulatory approval, does not change the bank's
risk or business profile.

Macro announced on November 9 it was taking over selected assets
and liabilities of Banco Empresario de Tucuman, worth
approximately US$35.8 million, which included eight branches in
the Province of Tucuman. These acquisitions should grant the
Macro group a dominant position in the province.

Banco Macro Bansud S.A. is headquartered in Buenos Aires,
Argentina. As of June 2005, the bank's total assets were US$2.4
billion.

The following ratings of Banco Macro Bansud S.A. were affirmed:

    -- Bank Financial Strength Rating: E -- Positive Outlook
    -- Long- Term Global Local Currency Deposits: Ba3
    -- Short -Term Global Local Currency Deposits: Not Prime
    -- National Scale Rating for Local Currency Deposits: Aa2.ar
    -- Long -Term Foreign Currency Deposits: Caa1
    -- Short -Term Foreign Currency Deposits: Not Prime
    -- National Scale Rating for Foreign Currency Deposits:
       Ba1.ar.
                  *    *    *

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on Dec. 12, 2005,
Moody's Latin America Calificadora de Riesgo S.A. is maintaining
its 'D' rating on various corporate bonds issued by local bank,
Banco Bisel S.A.

The National Securities Commission, the CNV, revealed that the
rating, which denotes the issuer has defaulted on payments,
affected the following bonds:

  -- US$54 million worth of "Obligaciones Negociables
     Subordinadas" classified under "Series and/or Class." The
     bonds matured on July 20, 2000.

  -- US$100 million worth of "Programa Global de Obligaciones
     Negociables" classified under "Program." These bonds also
     matured on July 20, 2000.

  -- US$300 million worth of "Programa de Emision de Titulos de
     Deuda a Mediano Plazo" classified under "Program." These
     bonds matured on July 20, 2000.

  -- US$200 million worth of "Programa Global de Emision de
     Obligaciones" classified under "Program." The maturity date
     of the bonds was not indicated.

                        *    *    *

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.

                        *    *    *

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on March 28, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised the foreign and local
currency counterparty credit ratings on Banco Hipotecario S.A.
At the same time, Standard & Poor's placed the ratings on
several Argentine entities on CreditWatch with positive
implications.  These rating actions follow the upgrade on the
Republic of Argentina.

Earlier, S&P raised our global foreign and local currency
ratings on Argentina to 'B' from 'B-' and the ratings on the
national scale to 'raAA-' from 'raA', reflecting Argentina's
improved external and fiscal flexibility.

S&P said the outlook on the sovereign rating is stable.

S&P's transfer and convertibility risk assessment for Argentina
was raised to 'BB-', two notches higher than Argentina's foreign
currency rating.

S&P raised the rating on Banco Hipotecario one notch to
'B/Stable/--', in tandem with the sovereign upgrade on
Argentina, reflecting the close linkage between the credit
quality of the sovereign and that of its financial system.


MANTISA S.A.: Trustee Stops Validating Claims on May 19
-------------------------------------------------------
Sebastian Barletta, court-appointed trustee, will stop verifying
claims against Mantisa S.A. on May 19, 2006, La Nacion reports.

La Nacion relates that Buenos Aires' Court No. 24 declared the
company's bankruptcy in favor of Jorge Ballesteros, whom the
company owes $19,363.37.

Clerk No. 47 assists the court in this case.

Mantisa S.A. can be reached at:

         Roseti 446
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

Mr. Sebastian Barletta, the trustee, can be reached at:

         Norberto de la Riestra 1209
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


TAPAMAR S.A.: Claims Verification Deadline Is May 4
---------------------------------------------------
The verification of creditors' claims against Tapamar S.A. will
end on May 4, 2006, states Infobae.  Maria Cristina Panizzo, the
court-appointed trustee tasked with examining the claims, will
submit the validation results as individual reports on June 21,
2006.  She will also present a general report in court on Aug.
16, 2006.

An informative assembly will also be held on April 2, 2007.
Infobae adds that a court in Mar de Plata, Buenos Aires handles
the company's reorganization case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Tapamar S.A.
         Int. Camusso 250, Mar del Plata
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


The trustee can be reached at:

         Maria Cristina Panizzo
         25 de Mayo 2980, Mar del Plata
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


TARABORELLI S.A.: Trustee Stops Accepting Claims on May 16
--------------------------------------------------------
Roberto Dolinko, trustee appointed by the Buenos Aires court for
the bankruptcy of Taraborelli S.A., will no longer entertain
claims that are submitted after May 16, 2006, Infobae reports.
Creditors whose claims are not validated will be disqualified
from receiving any payment that the company will make.

Individual reports on the validated claims will be presented in
court on July 12, 2006.  The submission of the general report on
the case will follow on August 30, 2006.

Mr. Roberto Dolinko, the trustee, can be reached at:

        Tucuman 1657
        Buenos Aires, Argentina


TERCER MILENIO: Trustee Stops Accepting Claims on May 18
--------------------------------------------------------
Ruben Scaletta -- the trustee of bankrupt company Tercer Milenio
-- will stop accepting claims from the company's creditors on
May 18, 2006, La Nacion reports.  Creditors who fail to submit
the required documents by the said date will not qualify for any
post-liquidation distributions.

Court No. 17 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal
declared the local company bankrupt, in favor of Mr. Pablo
Marchetti, whom the company owes US$34,553.67.

Clerk No. 34 assists the court on the case.

The trustee can be reached at:

              Ruben Scaletta
              Piedras 1077
              Buenos Aires, Argentina


TEXLEN S.C.A.: Trustee Stops Validating Claims by May 27
--------------------------------------------------------
Court-appointed trustee Osvaldo Norberto Siciliano will stop
validating claims against bankrupt company Texlen S.C.A. on May
27, 2006, Infobae reports.

Mr. Siciliano will present the validated claims in court as
individual reports on Aug. 1, 2006.  The trustee will also
submit a general report on the case on Sep. 15, 2006.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Texlen S.C.A.
         Suviria 438
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Osvaldo Norberto Siciliano
         Hipolito Yrigoyen 1349
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


TEX S.R.L: Validation of Proofs of Claims Ends on June 16
---------------------------------------------------------
The validation of proofs of claim of Tex S.R.L.'s creditors will
end on June 16, 2006, La Nacion reports.  Pablo Kainsky, court-
appointed trustee, is tasked with the validation.

La Nacion relates that Buenos Aires' Court No. 16 declared the
company's bankruptcy in favor of H. Koch y Cia, whom the company
owes US$10,618.56.

Clerk No. 32 assists the court in this case.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Mr. Pablo Kainsky
         Reconquista 715
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


TURTLE LINE: Verification of Proofs of Claim Ends on May 4
----------------------------------------------------------
The verification of creditors' claims against bankrupt company
Turtle Line S.A. will be on May 4, 2006, Infobae reports.
Verified claims will be presented in a Buenos Aires court for
approval on June 16, 2006.  The submission of a general report
on the company's case will follow on Aug. 15, 2006.

The company started winding up its operations following the
bankruptcy pronouncement issued by Buenos Aires' civil and
commercial tribunal. The court appointed Mr. Leandro Jose
Villari as trustee.

The trustee can be reached at:

               Leandro Jose Villari
               Talcahuano 316
               Buenos Aires, Argentina


* Metsae-Botnia Refuses to Halt Pulp Mill Works for 90 Days
-----------------------------------------------------------
As previously reported, the scheduled meeting between presidents
Tabare Vasquez and Nestor Kirchner was cancelled for no apparent
reason.  The talk would have centered on the dispute concerning
the construction of two pulp mills along the border separating
Argentina and Uruguay.

In a report by Bloomberg News, the summit was called off because
one of the companies taking part in the project refused to halt
construction for 90 days.

Oy Metsa-Botnia AB consortium, made up of a group of Finnish
investors, only conceeded to a 10-day work stoppage which the
Argentine government believes is not enough for a thorough
environmental impact study.

Spain's Grupo Empresarial Ence SA, Europe's No. 1 maker of pulp
from eucalyptus, last week agreed to halt the construction of a
second pulp plant along river for 90 days.

Gonzalo Fernandez, Uruguay's chief of staff, told Bloomberg "The
government deeply regrets that the company hasn't understood in
all its dimensions the seriousness of this conflict that we are
facing."

Argentine protesters have blocked some bridges into Uruguay,
slowing the flow of Argentine tourists to Atlantic Coast beach
spots during the summer season, hurting Uruguay's economy.  Last
week, demonstrators suspended the protests until the presidents
meet, Bloomberg relates.

"Botnia says it will bring $1 billion in investments for
Uruguay, but we have already lost $300 million because of the
protests," Mr. Fernandez told Bloomberg.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Argentina:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     RD      Dec. 14, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B-      Jun.  3, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      B       Jun.  3, 2005

                        *    *    *

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


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


QUANTA CAPITAL: Reports US$105.9 Million of Net Loss for 2005
-------------------------------------------------------------
Quanta Capital Holdings incurred US$105.9 million of net loss
for the year ended Dec. 31, 2005, according to a regulatory
filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company's fourth quarter loss totalled US$54.7 million,
nearly US$10 million more than its highest preliminary forecast.

Quanta Capital has been battered by losses resulting from
hurricanes over the past two years as well as the high cost of
severance packages from a wave of departing executives.

According to the Royal Gazette, the company's losses came on the
heels of last month's announcement that it was exploring
"strategic alternatives" including the sale of units, or closing
off some units to new business.  Investment bank Friedman
Billings Ramsey (one of Quanta's largest shareholders) and J.P.
Morgan Securities Inc. have been retained to offer the company
financial advice.  Quanta said it was looking to "preserve
shareholder value" and was in a financial position to meet
current liabilities.

The company expects its 2006 business lowered to less than a
quarter of last year's sales, when net policy sales totalled
US$390 million, down from US$419.5 million in 2004.

The Royal Gazette says that company's future business prospects
were called into question after ratings firm A.M. Best on March
2 downgraded its financial strength rating to B++ -- a rating
too low to attract business from many insurance buyers.

At the end of March, more than two percent of Quanta's customers
had cancelled contracts, and more cancellations are expected,
the company said in its filing.  Quanta said its downgrade was
also hurting business at its Lloyd's unit, an operation that got
off the ground last year and wasn't included as part of the A.M.
Best ratings cut.

Quanta Capital has also been cut from the approved list by
leading brokers Aon Corporation and Marsh Inc.

                    Material Weakness

PricewaterhouseCoopers, Quanta Capital's auditor, detected
several lapses in internal controls at Quanta, that could
prevent it from detecting a material accounting error.

PwC identified three material weaknesses:

   1. The Company did not maintain a sufficient complement of
      personnel within its U.S. accounting function with
      appropriate experience and training commensurate with its
      financial reporting requirements.

  2.  The Company did not maintain effective controls over the
      accuracy and completeness of, and access to, certain
      spreadsheets used in the Company's financial reporting
      process.

  3.  The Company did not maintain effective controls over the
      completion of reconciliations and analyses for gross and
      ceded premiums, losses, other expenses, and the related
      balance sheet accounts for its U.S. processed
      transactions.

Some of the deficiencies detected were ones required under
corporate governance law Sarbanes-Oxley, which is binding on
publicly-listed companies.

The company has formed a Finance Internal Control Committee,
amongst other measures, and plans to hire a chief accounting
officer to help remedy the lack of controls.

Quanta Capital Holdings Ltd., a Bermuda holding company,
provides specialty insurance, reinsurance, risk assessment and
risk consulting products and services through its subsidiaries.
Through operations in Bermuda, the United States, Ireland and
the United Kingdom, Quanta focuses on writing coverage for
specialized classes of risk through a team of experienced,
technically qualified underwriters.  The company offers
specialty insurance and reinsurance products that often require
extensive technical underwriting skills, risk assessment
resources and engineering expertise.  Quanta is listed on the
NASDAQ stock market and trades under the symbol QNTA.


MONTPELIER RE: Declares US$0.075 Per Share Quarterly Dividend
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Board of Directors of Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd. (NYSE:
MRH) has declared a quarterly dividend of $0.075 per Common
Share.  The dividend is payable on April 17th, 2006 to
shareholders of record on March 31st, 2006

Headquartered in Bermuda, Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd., through
its operating subsidiary Montpelier Reinsurance Ltd., is a
premier provider of global property and casualty reinsurance and
insurance products. During the year ended December 31, 2005,
Montpelier underwrote US$978.7 million in gross premiums
written.  Shareholders' equity at December 31, 2005 was US$1.1
billion.

                        *    *    *

On Jan. 4, 2006, Moody's Investors Service assigned Ba1 rating
on Montpelier Re Holdings Ltd.'s subordinated shelf and Ba2 on
preferred shelf.  Moody's said the outlook for the ratings is
stable.


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


COMIBOL: Inks Four Silver Veins Joint Pact with Franklin Mining
---------------------------------------------------------------
The joint venture of Bolivian state-run mining company Comibol
and Nevada's Franklin Mining will include four silver veins in
the Cerro Rico mine in the Potosi department, according to a
Franklin press release.

According to Business News Americas, Comibol would make the
mines available while the capital as well as the mining know-how
would be provided by Franklin.

Jaime Melgarejo -- Chief Executive Officer of Franklin -- told
Business News that Comibol executives are preparing a formal
estimate of the probable silver content for each of the four
veins identified in last week's meeting.

Business News relates that Comibol and Franklin have also agreed
to include a group of local cooperatives that would supply the
necessary work force.

"We feel that our Friday meetings in La Paz were productive,"
Business News quoted Mr. Melgarejo saying.

Mr. Melgarejo said that Franklin and Comibol could be few steps
away from finalizing their joint venture agreement aimed at the
improvement of Cerro Rico's productivity, Business News reports.

Franklin had said in a statement that expanding production would
mean higher revenues for Comibol, significant cash flow for
Franklin, and better wages and working conditions for the
cooperative miners.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 15, 2006,
Comibol received a proposed contract for a joint venture from
Nevada-based Franklin Mining.

Franklin Mining revealed to Business News that the joint venture
would cover the Cerro Rico silver mine in Bolivia's Potosi
department.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Feb. 6, 2006,
the restructuring of Bolivia's state mining company Comibol
could take a long time.

Bolivian President Evo Morales' initiative for the company's
restructuring will take time as currently Comibol mines are
under joint venture contracts or leasing agreements, former
Comibol president Juan Cabrera told Business News.

The former Comibol president also said that the company
recovered a series of deposits held by people who won the
concessions from Comibol but did not develop them and used them
for speculation.

However, Cabrera admitted that during his term, he was unable to
get Comibol assets reorganized.  He reasoned that Comibol is a
very large company and has very significant assets, which would
require very specialized work.

Comibol has US$85 million in assets including equipment and
machinery, which cannot be used by small and medium-scale miners
and cooperatives.  According to Cabrera, only some of that
equipment can be employed in the restructuring; the rest is too
old or is unsuitable.


* BOLIVIA: Charges Up to 70% Tax for Oil Transnationals
-------------------------------------------------------
Bolivia declared a 60% to 70% tax increase for oil
transnationals that have already recovered their investments,
and a balanced treatment for those who have not yet done so,
according to a report from the Prensa Latina.

Energy Minister Andres Soliz said his ministry will perform
audits to gauge volume of investments, production costs, and net
profits to determine whether the corporations are able to meet
the new taxes, the same report says.  The audits will also help
Bolivia sign new contracts with the companies and replace the
old ones signed under neoliberal laws.

Under the 2005 Oil law, oil taxes and royalties are raised from
18% to 50%, marking the end of the privatization trend inherited
from the previous decade, and which excessively favored
transnationals.

President Evo Morales explained the official plan to nationalize
oil by July 12 and impose State rights on the resource,
affecting neither property nor corporate presence, so as to be
able to trade as partners.

Minister Soliz also announced special regulations for companies
exploiting small and marginal fields that could not withstand
high taxes, Prensa Latina relates.

National Taxation Service President Emigdio Caceres was quoted
by Prensa Latina as saying that they expect a Supreme Court
decision on the 200 million dollar suit against oil companies in
debt since 2003.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Bolivia:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling    B-       Jun. 17, 2004
   Long Term IDR      B-       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating     B-       Dec. 14, 2005


* BOLIVIA: Total Talks with President Morales for New Ventures
--------------------------------------------------------------
French oil giant, TotalFinaElf or Total SA, told Bolivian
President Evo Morales during a meeting that the company hopes to
make significant new investments in this Andean nation, the
Dominican Today reports.

According to the same report, the French firm seeks to establish
new relationships with state-owned Yacimientos Petrolíferos
Fiscales Bolivianos.

Total representatives also discussed with President Morales his
nationalization of oil and gas program.   The head of state has
stressed that he has no plans to confiscate assets and that he
wants multinationals to continue doing business in Bolivia, but
on terms more advantageous to La Paz, the Dominican Today
relates.

Bolivia has small quantities of oil, but its estimated 48
trillion cubic feet of natural gas give it the second-biggest
reserves of that fuel in South America after Venezuela.
Currently, all of the concessions to extract the gas are held by
multinationals, including TotalFinaElf, Spain's Repsol YPF,
Brazilian state-owned giant Petrobras, Britain's BG Group and BP
and U.S.-based Exxon Mobil.

                       About Total SA

Headquartered in Paris, France, Total SA (Euronext: FP, NYSE:
TOT) is  one of the top four oil companies in the world (along
with Royal Dutch Shell, BP, and ExxonMobil).  Its businesses
cover the entire oil and gas chain, from crude oil and natural
gas exploration and production to power generation,
transportation, refining, petroleum product marketing, and
international crude oil and product trading.  Total is also a
large-scale chemicals manufacturer.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Bolivia:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling    B-       Jun. 17, 2004
   Long Term IDR      B-       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating     B-       Dec. 14, 2005


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


BNDES: Appropriating US$70 Million for 2006 Biodiesel Projects
--------------------------------------------------------------
BNDES aka Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social
S.A., Brazil's national development, will allot 150 million
reals (US$69.6 million) this year for biodiesel projects, the
bank's energy director Ricardo Cunha told the Biofuels Markets
conference in Rio de Janeiro.

The bank anticipates total lending to the sugar-alcohol sector,
which includes biomass projects, will be 449 million reals this
year compared to 188 million reals in 2005.

According to Business News Americas, companies have to put up
guarantees for 100% of the financing as opposed to 130% for
regular BNDES loans.  The bank will apply its regular domestic
content rules to the biodiesel financing.

BNDES' biodiesel portfolio covers 210 million reals financing to
six biodiesel projects with total investments of 238 million
reals, which together will produce 533 million liters a year of
biodiesel.

On the demand side, the bank also plans to finance the purchase
of machinery capable of using biodiesel as well as assisting
investment that benefits biodiesel sub-products, Business News
says.

BNDES and Brazil's government see many advantages in biodiesel:

   -- it would reduce rural poverty by creating jobs for an
      estimated 250,000 families through 2007 with a cash crop
      with a guaranteed buyer;

   -- reduce emissions and negative externalities while earning
      carbon credits; reduce the fuel import bill; and

   -- increase energy security.

Furthermore, Brazilian firms would not only export biodiesel but
also the technology and know-how with which to manufacture the
product in other countries.

                        *    *    *

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.


BRASKEM: Considers Biofuel as Renewable Fuel Alternative
--------------------------------------------------------
Brazilian petrochemicals company Braskem SA considers a number
of renewable fuels in anticipation of trends and tendencies in
Brazil's energy sector, the company's technology manager Suzana
Domingues told Business News Americas.

Braskem is focused on studying fuels derived from residues of
industrial processes such as refining, petrochemicals production
and the production of biofuels.

Business News relates that the biofuel production process leaves
a pulp material known as "torta" that Braskem could gasify and
burn in its 230MW Camacari power plant in the Bahia state.  The
plant has not been receiving the expected quantities since it
was converted to natural gas in 2004.

Ms. Domingues informed Business News that Brazil will introduce
a statutory 2% biodiesel content in diesel sold from 2008,
increasing to 5% from 2013.  The country needs a large volume of
biodiesel to meet this goal and will thus produce a large amount
of residues, and the northeast will be one of the main
production areas.

Braskem -- http://www.braskem.com.br/-- is a thermoplastic
resins producer in Latin American, and is among the three
largest Brazilian-owned private industrial companies.  The
company operates 13 manufacturing plants located throughout
Brazil, and has an annual production capacity of 5.8 million
tons of resins and other petrochemical products.

                        *    *    *

On Oct. 17, 2005, Fitch Ratings revised the Rating Outlook of
the `BB-' long-term foreign currency rating of Braskem S.A. and
Braskem International Ltd. to Positive from Stable.

The action followed the recent change in the Rating Outlook to
Positive from Stable of the 'BB-' foreign currency rating of the
Federative Republic of Brazil. The Brazilian corporate foreign
currency ratings continue to be linked to the 'BB-' foreign
currency rating of the sovereign.


CSN: Benjamin Steinbruch Says Company's Not for Sale
----------------------------------------------------
Benjamin Steinbruch, Companhia Siderurgica Nacional aka CSN
President, denied talks that the company is for sale.

Arcelor SA and Mittal Steel have reportedly been engaged in
talks with the company's top brass for the purchase of CSN.
Industry observers also said in reports that probability is high
of Mr. Steinbruch selling the company at the right price.

"This business that CSN will be sold is over. We are buyers,"
Mr. Steinbruch said in a meeting with analysts transmitted on
the company's Web site.

Dow Jones Newswires says that the company's shares rose sharply
Monday on market talk that Mittal and Arcelor are both trying to
acquire the company.

Mr. Steinbruch also said that CSN will continue its expansion
plans via acquisition of joint ventures.

"But we will only do this while maintaining a strong hand in
terms of capital and management," Mr. Steinbruch was quoted by
Dow Jones as saying.

CSN's board has approved a plan to contract with an investment
bank to structure the sale of 10% to 20% of its Casa de Pedra
iron ore mine in the state of Minas Gerais, Mr. Steinburch said.

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

                        *    *    *

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

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

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


CVRD: Investing US$34 Million in Camacari Terminal by 2008
----------------------------------------------------------
Brazilian iron ore miner Companhia Vale do Rio Doce aka CVRD
plans to invest 75 million reals (US$33.6 million) at its
Camacari multimodal terminal -- Tercam -- by 2008, the company
said in a statement.

To date, CVRD has spent 35 million reals on Tercam that began
operating in August 2005.

According to Business News Americas, the 280,000 sqm terminal is
in Bahia state and acts as a logistics hub for Brazil's south
and southeast regions.  Its principal operation is the transfer
of containers from railcars to trucks.

Tercam's main client is consumer goods supplier Unilever, which
uses the terminal as its distribution center for all of Brazil,
Business News says.  The terminal falls under Bahia's transport
logistics program -- PELT.

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'.


NET SERVICOS: Completes Prepayment of Net Sul's Senior Notes
---------------------------------------------------------
Net Servicos de Comunicacao S.A. (Nasdaq: NETC; Bovespa: NETC4
and NETC3; and Latibex: XNET) publicly reported, under the terms
of Instruction # 358/02 issued by Comissao de Valores
Mobiliarios -- Brazilian Securities Commission, that the Company
accomplished the full prepayment of the financial indebtedness
issued under the terms of the capital restructuring process
liquidating the Senior Secured Notes and the Senior Secured
Floating Rate Notes issued by Net Sul Comunicacoes Ltda., a
subsidiary of NET fulfilling clause 3.3.1 -- Use of Proceeds
-- of the 5th debentures issuance indenture.

Headquartered in Sao Paulo, Brazil, NET Servicos de Comunicacao
-- http://Nettv.globo.com/NETServ/br/home/indexNet.jsp?id=1--
is the largest subscriber TV multi-operator in Brazil, as it
operates the NET brand in major cities, including operations in
the 4 largest cities: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Belo Horizonte
and Porto Alegre.

NET also offers Broadband InterNet services through its NET
VIRTUA brand name.

                          *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 15, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Rating Services raised on its foreign and
local currency corporate credit ratings on Brazilian cable pay-
TV and broadband operator Net Servicos de Comunicacao S.A to
'BB-' from 'B+'.  The Brazil National Scale rating assigned to
NET and its BRL650 million debentures due 2011 was also revised
to 'brA' from 'brBBB+'.  S&P said the outlook on the ratings was
revised to stable from positive.

"The upgrade reflects NET's improved operational and financial
performance over the past several quarters and our expectation
that NET should be able to maintain its current performance over
the next few years," said Standard & Poor's credit analyst Jean-
Pierre Cote Gil.


PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: Supreme Court Allows Simplified Bidding
------------------------------------------------------------
Brazil's supreme court has ruled that state-owned Petroleo
Brasileiro SA, aka Petrobras, can continue to acquire goods and
equipment through a simplified bidding system, Business News
Americas quoted a court statement.

The supreme court's ruling overruled the Tribunal de Contas da
Uniao's (Court of Accounts) decision that said Petrobras should
hold full-blown tenders to buy equipment because it is
government controlled.

The supreme court issued a preliminary injunction declaring the
TCU ruling unconstitutional.

According to Business News, Petrobras has to compete since 1998
with private companies when a constitutional amendment opened up
the oil industry to the private sector.  Private companies do
not have to hold complex bidding processes.

Furthermore, Petrobras is also questioning a preliminary TCU
ruling that a 265 million-real (US$122 million) contract it
awarded local engineering company GDK to refurbish the P-34
floating production, storage and offloading vessel was
overpriced, Business News states.  P-34 is due to start oil
production at the offshore Jubarte field in the Campos basin
this year. The vessel is moored at Vitoria port in Esporito
Santo state.

Business News relates that suspicions of political influence in
the hiring of GDK arose last year when a member of the ruling
Workers Party admitted having received a 70,000-real Land Rover
as a gift from a GDK executive.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Petroleo Brasileiro
S.A. aka Petrobras was founded in 1953.  The company explores,
produces, refines, transports, markets, distributes oil and
natural gas and power to various wholesale customers and retail
distributors in the country.

                        *    *    *

Petroleo Brasileiro SA's long-term corporate family rating is
rate Ba3 by Moody's and its foreign currency long-term debt is
rated BB- by Fitch.

                        *    *    *

Fitch assigns these ratings to Petroleo Brasileiro's senior
unsecured notes:

  Maturity Date           Amount        Rate       Ratings
  ______________          ______        ____       _____
  April  1, 2008        $400,000,000    9%          BB-
  July   2, 2013        $750,000,000    9.125%      BB-
  Sept. 15, 2014        $650,000,000    7.75%       BB-
  Dec.  10, 2018        $750,000,000    8.375%      BB-


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


COMMERCIAL PLAZA: Shareholders Hold Final General Meeting
---------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of Commercial Plaza Securitisation Limited gathered
on April 6, 2006, for a final general meeting at:

           Maples Finance Limited
           Queensgate House, George Town
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Accounts on the company's voluntary winding up were presented
during the meeting.

The company's joint voluntary liquidators can be reached at:

           Suzan Merren
           Emile Small
           Maples Finance Limited
           P.O. Box 1093, George Town
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands


CUBIC TWO: Holds Final General Meeting Today
--------------------------------------------
The sole shareholder of Cubic Two Ltd. and the company's
liquidators will have a final general meeting today, April 7,
2006, at 10:00 a.m. at:

          HSBC Financial Services (Cayman) Limited
          P.O. Box 1109, George Town
          Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Accounts on the company's liquidation process will be presented
during the meeting.  The shareholder will also authorize the
liquidators to retain the records of the company for a period of
five years, starting from the dissolution of the company.

The liquidators can be reached at:

           Kareen Watler
           Jamal Young
           Attention: Marguerite Britton
           P.O. Box 1109 George Town
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
           Telephone: (345) 949-7755
           Facsimile: (345) 949-7634


DAVIDOFF (CAYMAN): Holds Shareholder & Liquidator Meeting Today
---------------------------------------------------------------
The sole shareholder of Davidoff (Cayman) Ltd. and the company's
liquidator, David Dyer, will have their final meeting today,
April 7, 2006, at:

           Deutsche Bank (Cayman) Limited
           Elizabethan Square, George Town
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Accounts on the company's liquidation process will be presented
during the meeting.

Mr. David Dyer, the liquidator, can be reached at:

            P.O. Box 1984, George Town
            Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
            Telephone: (345) 949-8244
            Facsimile: (345) 949-5223


EAST GROUP: Shareholders Held Last Meeting
-------------------------------------------
East Group Inc. held a shareholders final general meeting on
April 6, 2006, at 2:00 p.m. at:

             22nd Floor, Hang Lung Centre
             No. 2-20 Paterson Street, Causeway Bay
             Hong Kong Special Administrative Region
             People's Republic of China

Accounts on the company's liquidation process were presented
during the meeting.  The shareholders also authorized the
liquidators to retain the records of the company for a period of
five years, starting from the dissolution of the company.

The company's liquidators can be reached at:

             Campbell Corporate Services Ltd.
             For Panford Limited
             P.O. Box 884, George Town
             4th Floor, Scotia Centre
             Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
             Telephone: (345) 949-2648
             Facsimile: (345) 949-8613


ERISWELL: Calls on Shareholders for Final Meeting on April 10
-------------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of Eriswell Multi-Strategy Fund Inc. will have a
final general meeting on April 10, 2006, at 10:00 a.m. at the
registered office of the company.

Accounts on the company's liquidation process will be presented
during the meeting.  The shareholders will also authorize the
liquidators to retain the records of the company for a period of
six years, starting from the dissolution of the company.

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

For inquiries, the company's liquidator can be reached at:

           Q&H Nominees Ltd.
           Attention: Greg Link
           P.O. Box 1348, George Town
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
           Telephone: 949-4123
           Facsimile: 949-4647


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


MEGABANCO: Will Merge Operations with Banco de Bogota
-----------------------------------------------------
Grupo Aval Acciones y Valores S.A. -- a Colombian banking group
-- will merge Megabanco with Banco de Bogota S.A., Dow Jones
Newswires reports.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 20, 2006,
Grupo Aval, through its subsidiary Banco de Bogota, bought a 95%
stake in Megabanco from bankrupt Coopdesarrollo for COP808
billion in an auction.  Grupo Aval, which controls seven banks
in Colombia, will assume approximately COP733 billion in debts
owed to Fogafin by Coopdesarollo.

Luis Carlos Sarmiento, the chief executive of Grupo Aval told
reporters that the purchase of Megabanco will be financed with a
US$300 million loan from Citigroup Inc. (C) and the remainder
will come from Grupo Aval's own cash.

Megabanco, with 187 branches throughout the country and 2025
workers, controls a 2% slice of the banking market in Colombia.
The bank posted a net income of COP63 billion in 2005, compared
with COP25 billion the year before, according to Fogafin.

Esther America Paz -- the Chief Executive of AV Villas, another
bank of the group -- did not disclose to Dow Jones the timeframe
for the Megabanco merger as the operation is still pending of
regulators' approval.

                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on March 13, 2006,
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.


===================
C O S T A   R I C A
===================


* COSTA RICA: Begins Developing Investment Accord with Israel
---------------------------------------------------------------
Costa Rica has started talks with Israel to come up with a deal
to promote and protect investments, Doris Osterlof -- Costa
Rica's Deputy Minister for External Trade -- said in a press
conference.

Mr. Osterlof said during the conference that the goal of the
agreement is to regulate the treatment of investors either from
Costa Rica or Israel by setting up a series of substantial
guarantees.

The investment agreement was one more step to further the
excellent trade relations between Costa Rica and Israel,
Alexander Ben-Zvi - ambassador of Israel -- said in the same
conference.

"Costa Rica is the largest central American trade partner of
Israel," President Ben-Zvi was quoted by Xinhua News Agency
saying.  According to him, Israel citizens were active investors
in the tourism sector of the country.

Xinhua relates that Costa Rican Foreign Minister -- Roberto
Tovar -- had signed an agreement to provide support for small
and medium-sized companies when he visited Israel in 2005.

Osterlof, according to Xinhua, revealed that Costa Rica exported
an average of US$6 million to Israel each year, from 1995 to
2005.  Among main exports were coffee, integrate circuit and
gelatin based sweets.

Israel, on the other hand, brought to Costa Rica telephones,
herbicides, fertilizers and plastic tubes, Xinhua reports.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Mar. 10, 2006,
Fitch rates Costa Rica's foreign and local currency issuer
default ratings 'BB' and 'BB+', respectively.  Fitch said the
Rating Outlook is Negative.

Fitch said that while the victory of Oscar Arias in Costa Rica's
recent presidential elections bodes well for reforms, the narrow
victory margin could affect the pace of reforms.

Contrary to pre-election polls in which Mr. Arias was leading by
several percentage points, he won only by a very narrow margin.
President Arias is viewed to be in favor of the US-Central
American Free Trade Agreement aka CAFTA and is pro-fiscal reform
and pro-private enterprise, but a weaker election mandate could
undermine his ability to spearhead reforms.

"As the PLN -- the party of President Arias -- has failed to
obtain a simple majority in Congress, it remains to be seen how
quickly the new administration will be able to garner sufficient
support in a divided Congress to enact crucial reforms," said
Shelly Shetty, Senior Director in Fitch's Sovereign Group in New
York.

Fitch believes that the newly elected Arias administration needs
to make headway in CAFTA and fiscal reforms in order to place
the country on a higher growth trajectory.

Although the fiscal reform has passed the first vote in the
legislative assembly, it is unclear whether it would be passed
before the next administration takes over in May.  Fiscal reform
entailing revenue-raising measures is necessary to improve the
medium-term outlook for the Costa Rican public finances.

Although Fitch recognizes the recent reduction in Costa Rica's
fiscal deficit, it believes that a permanent reduction in the
general government deficit would require a revenue-enhancing
reform.

Inflation in Costa Rica ended at 14% last year, which is among
the highest in the Latin American region.  Additional tax
revenues are needed to recapitalize the central bank in order to
improve the effectiveness of monetary policy.  The central
bank's much lauded goal of moving toward a more flexible
exchange rate regime and reversing the widespread financial
dollarization could only be achieved after a fiscal reform is
passed.

Fitch also notes that Costa Rica is the only Central American
country that has not yet approved CAFTA in its Congress.

"Approval of CAFTA is critical to further strengthen Costa
Rica's position as a leading destination for foreign direct
investment flows in the Central American region.  It is hoped
that the new government uses its political honeymoon period to
seek a speedy approval of CAFTA," said Shetty.

Although the Pacheco government submitted CAFTA in Congress last
year, the approval of this crucial trade pact has not been easy
to obtain because of opposition from the unions and some
political parties.  The treaty will not only provide Costa Rica
with the opportunity to gain permanent access to the US market,
but it will also indirectly benefit private businesses in Costa
Rica, as the treaty requires the liberalization of state-
dominated telecom and insurance sectors.

Costa Rica's economy has experienced relatively high growth in
the past few years.  Benefiting from a favorable external
backdrop and robust tourism flows, the economy is estimated to
have grown at 4% in 2005.  However, the approval of CAFTA along
with fiscal reforms could make higher growth more sustainable.

In the coming months, Fitch will assess the ability of the Arias
administration to push through reforms in Congress.  Continued
fiscal restraint, passage of a tax-enhancing package and/or
implementation of CAFTA could help in stabilizing Costa Rica's
ratings.


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


* DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Energy Sector Sees US$97M Coal Earnings
-------------------------------------------------------------
The Dominican Energy Consortium -- CDEEE -- forecasts a US$97.2
million earnings per year with the two energy coal generation
projects of 600-megawatt each, where half of the available
energy will be bought by the country between the years 2008 and
2016, the Dominican Today reports.

CDEEE also indicates savings from costs of about US$60.4 million
a year -- which could allow for a reduction of billing rates.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Dominican Republic:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     B-       May 11, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B-      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      B        May 11, 2005


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


* ECUADOR: May Exchange US$3 Billion of Debts for New Securities
----------------------------------------------------------------
Ecuador may offer holders of US$3 billion of debts maturing in
12 months with new securities and increase a buyback of 2012
bonds to lengthen maturities and lower financing costs, Finance
Minister Diego Borja told Bloomberg News.

Minister Borja informed Bloomberg that Ecuador, which last month
said it would buy back US$740 million of 12% dollar-denominated
bonds due 2012, may repurchase the remaining US$510 million of
the same securities.

"By cutting servicing costs, we will make financing our budget
less onerous for the years to come and open some space for debt
reduction in the future," Miniser Borja explained to Bloomberg.
"It's more than simply financial engineering. It's part of a
broader plan to put the house in order without hurting growth."

Ecuador sold bonds in December 2005 for the first time since
defaulting on US$6.5 billion of debt in 1999.  Ecuador's local
and international debt is denominated in U.S. dollars after the
country adopted the U.S. currency as its own in 2000.

Ecuador's long-term foreign currency debt is rated Caa1 by
Moody's Investors Service and CCC+ by Standard & Poor's.

Moody's raised Ecuador's foreign bond rating outlook to positive
from stable in January, citing the government's success in
cutting debt.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Ecuador:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     B-      Aug. 29, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B-      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005


* ECUADOR: Petroecuador Struggling to Recover from Strike
---------------------------------------------------------
State-owned Petroecuador has yet to recover from a strike in
March by contract workers at its oil fields and installations,
with production still more than 20,000 barrels per day short of
the pre-strike level of just over 200,000 bpd, the EFE News
Service reports.

The firm said in a statement that crude oil output now stands at
199,079 bpd, up considerably from the low point of 55,696 bpd
during the strike.

Petroecuador accounts for 40% of Ecuador's total production of
550,000 barrels of crude per day.

The strike resulted from Petroecuador inability to pay its
contractors on time, whose employees mounted the strike in an
effort to force the state-owned enterprise to pay up.

Oil exports are Ecuador's main source of revenue, funding about
35% of the annual government budget.

Ecuador earned US$580.1 million from oil exports in January,
compared with US$327.3 million for the same period in 2005.

Last year's earnings from foreign sales of oil were US$5.39
billion, up from nearly US$3.9 billion IN 2004.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Ecuador:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     B-      Aug. 29, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B-      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005


* ECUADOR: Tax Exemption Law May Result to US$400M Loss a Year
--------------------------------------------------------------
The new tax exemption law the Ecuadorian Congress passed last
month may result to a US$400 million annual loss in revenues
starting next year, the economy ministry told Dow Jones
Newswires.

Dow Jones reports that the law, which will take effect on Jan. 1
2007, exempts about 40,000 inhabitants on the border with Peru
in Huaquillas, El Oro from tax payments.

Each inhabitant will have an annual quota of up to $400,000 to
import any goods, tax free, from Peru, Dow Jones relates.
Ecuador's total imports last year was $8.91 billion, for which
the national tax agency SRI charged $800 million in tariffs and
$1 billion in value-added tax aka VAT.

However, Wilson Ruales -- an advisor to the SRI -- was quoted by
Dow Jones saying that the Huaquillas law, of which the law is
popularly known, will encourage contraband, raise the fiscal
deficit and inflation, damage the productive structure, and
affect the dollarization of Ecuador's economy, and provoke the
closing of firms as well as an increase in unemployment.

"It is a complicated problem because there are other similar
bills in Parliament.  We know that Huaquillas needs special
treatment, but we don't want to harm the rest of the country,"
Dow Jones quoted Jose Modesto Apolo, the administration
secretary, saying.

The Guayaquil chamber of commerce, says Dow Jones, sought for
the law's cancellation at the Constitutional Court last week.
Congressman Ernesto Pazmino of the Democratic Left party also
presented his own proposal to abolish the law.

According to Dow Jones, Congressman Pazmino was supported by the
40 members from his own party as well as from the Pachakutik
indigenous party, the Social Christian Party and some
independents.

Dow Jones reveals that Congressman Pazmino was the only lower
house legislator to vote against the law while 74 voted in favor
of it.  The 74 congressmen now said they regret that vote.
Wilfrido Lucero -- the president of Congress -- had apologized,
saying that they did not realize what they were approving.

While some congressmen have regretted passing the law, there are
also people behind the law who have hidden interests linked to
contraband and money laundering, Congressman Pazmino said to Dow
Jones.

"We will see what side the legislators are on," the congressman
said.

Jose Modesto Apolo, the administration secretary, said to Dow
Jones that the government is looking for ways to terminate the
law.  In fact, President Alfredo Palacio is considering whether
to declare the law unconstitutional, or whether to send a new
law to Congress to overturn the original law.

Huaquillas' inhabitants and authorities have said they are
planning protests to ensure the law stands, Dow Jones reports.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Ecuador:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     B-      Aug. 29, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B-      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B       Dec. 14, 2005


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


* GUATEMALA: Will Begin Talks on FTA with Neighboring Nations
-------------------------------------------------------------
Guatemala will soon begin talks on a free-trade agreement with
El Salvador, Honduras and Colombia, the EFE News Service
reports.

El Salvador President Tony Saca told reporters after a session
with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe that he discussed trade
and investment with the latter and signed a general framework
for six rounds of free-trade accord negotiations that will end
in November this year.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 30, 2006,
El Salvador got the approval of the United States' Congress to
join the Central American Free Trade Agreement.

The U.S.-CAFTA promotes trade liberalization between the United
States and five Central American countries:

      -- Costa Rica,
      -- El Salvador,
      -- Guatemala,
      -- Honduras, and
      -- Nicaragua.

Modeled after the ten-year old North American Free Trade
Agreement, CAFTA is widely considered to be a stepping stone to
the larger Free Trade Area of the Americas that would encompass
34 economies.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on El Salvador:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     BB+      Jun. 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

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Guatemala:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling    BB+      Feb. 22, 2006
   Long Term IDR      BB+      Feb. 22, 2006
   Short Term IDR     B        Feb. 22, 2006
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating     BB+      Feb. 22, 2006

Fitch also rated Guatemala's senior unsecured bonds:

Maturity Date          Amount        Rate       Ratings
-------------          ------        ----       -------
Aug. 3, 2007        $150,000,000     8.5%         BB+
Nov. 8, 2011        $325,000,000    10.25%        BB+
Aug. 1, 2013        $300,000,000     9.25%        BB+
Oct. 6, 2034        $330,000,000     8.125%       BB+

                        *    *    *

Moody's Investor Service assigned these ratings on Honduras:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Senior Unsecured    B2       Sept. 29, 1998
   Long Term IDR       B2       Sept. 29, 1998

                        *    *    *

On May 30, 2005, Fitch Ratings has affirmed Colombia's ratings
as:

      -- Long-term foreign currency 'BB';
      -- Country ceiling 'BB';
      -- Local currency 'BBB-';
      -- Short-term 'B'.

Fitch said the Rating Outlook is Stable.


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


* HONDURAS: Pension System May Set Up Third Mobile Operator
-----------------------------------------------------------
The INJUPEMP -- state pension system for public employees -- of
Honduras may help state phone company Hondutel set up the
country's third mobile operator, according to local daily Tiempo
Digital.

Business News Americas reports that Hondutel has been studying
how to create a mobile operator to make up for lesser earnings
from the long distance market.  Hondutel was granted the
necessary license as compensation for losing its long distance
monopoly in December last year.

Approximately US$125 million is needed to set up a mobile unit,
Jacobo Regalado -- Chief Executive Officer of Hondutel -- told
Business News.

Business News Americas relates that Lucio Izaguirre -- the
director of INJUPEMP -- and representatives from the teachers'
pension fund Inprema, military employees' pension fund IPM and
the national public employees association ANDEPH had reportedly
met to work together in increasing their funds' profitability.

"We met with the other directors to study the problem of low
profitability of our pension funds which generate interest only
through banking deposits and investments in stocks," Mr.
Izaguirre told Business News.

Business News quoted Mr. Izaguirre saying that there are
sufficient funds in the pension system to create a firm that
could give substantial boost in the profitability of the
affiliated members.

                        *    *    *

Moody's Investor Service assigned these ratings on Honduras:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Senior Unsecured    B2       Sept. 29, 1998
   Long Term IDR       B2       Sept. 29, 1998


* HONDURAS: Wal-Mart Begins Central America Operations
------------------------------------------------------
Wal-Mart Stores Inc. has recently purchased controlling shares
in the leading Central American supermarket group, CARHCO aka
Central American Holding Company.

CARHCO is now known as Wal-Mart Centroamerica where Wal-Mart
Stores holds a 51% stake -- giving Wal-Mart control over three
hundred and seventy-five supermarkets in Central America,
including stores in Honduras.  Despite acquiring a significant
amount of power in the former CARHCO, representatives from
Wal-Mart claim that no drastic changes will be made.

                      About Wal-Mart Stores

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. operates retail stores in various formats
worldwide.  The Company organizes its business into three
principal segments: Wal-Mart Stores, SAM'S CLUB and
International.

                        *    *    *

Moody's Investor Service assigned these ratings on Honduras:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Senior Unsecured    B2       Sept. 29, 1998
   Long Term IDR       B2       Sept. 29, 1998


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


DIRECTV GROUP: EchoStar Purchase Plan Faces Regulatory Hurdles
--------------------------------------------------------------
DirecTV Group Inc. said it's still interested in buying smaller
rival satellite television operator -- EchoStar, but doubts the
feasibility of the plan, Reuters reports.

In 2002, DirecTV tried to merge with EchoStar, but the deal
collapsed because the U.S. Federal Communications Commission
believed that the transaction will stifle competition in the
market, Reuters relates.

"We'd be nuts not to look at it," Mike Palkovic, chief financial
officer of DirecTV, told Reuters on the sidelines of the Bank of
America Media, Telecommunications and Entertainment Conference.
"But the regulatory issues haven't gone away."

According to Leitchman Research Group, DirecTV has 55% of the
satellite TV market, or 15.1 million subscribers, and EchoStar
Communications Corp. has 45%, or 11.9 million subscribers.

DirecTV said in February it was in talks with EchoStar to create
a wireless high-speed network, which would put them in a
stronger position to compete against cable operators and
telephone companies that sell Internet, video and phone
services, Reuters relates.

"Technologies still have to be evaluated," Mr. Palkovic told
Reuters.  "It's not the easiest boiler plate to put together.
I'm personally bullish on the fact that we'll get something
done."

Mr. Palkovic explained to Reuters that a decision on some
specifics on the partnership would be made by mid-year and that
Wi-Max technology would be the most likely technology standard.

Wi-Max is an emerging technology designed to blanket whole
cities with high-speed wireless services, improving on Wi-Fi,
the dominant wireless technology used in laptops today, which is
confined to smaller areas like coffee shops.

The DIRECTV Group, Inc., formerly Hughes Electronics
Corporation, headquartered in El Segundo, California, is a
world-leading provider of multi-channel television
entertainment, and broadband satellite networks and
services.  The DIRECTV Group, Inc. with sales in 2004 of
approximately $11.4 billion is 34% owned by Fox Entertainment
Group, Inc., which is owned by News Corporation.  DIRECTV is
currently available in Latin American countries: Argentina,
Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico,
Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela and several Caribbean
island nations.

                        *    *    *

Moody's Investor Service assigned on June 8, 2005, a Ba2 rating
on DirecTV Group Inc.'s US$1.0 billion senior unsecure notes.


GRUPO MEXICO: Workers at Agua Prieta Lime Plant Launch Strike
-------------------------------------------------------------
Workers at Grupo Mexico's lime plant in Agua Prieta, Sonora
broke into strike against the company due to its alleged refusal
to review labor contracts, according to a statement by STMMRM --
Mexico's mining-metalworkers union.

Business News Americas relates the striking workers also demand
improvements in safety and hygiene conditions, adequate
equipment maintenance as well the application of actions to
reduce environmental pollution.

Business News states that another reason for the strike is the
intervention of Grupo Mexico and the government in the union's
internal affairs by trying to appoint a union leader that does
not recognize the national mining system, as claimed by union
members.

The demonstration at the lime plant is another addition to the
unrest Grupo Mexico is facing at its La Caridad copper mine in
Sonora and silver and zinc mine in Zacatecas, Business News
reports.

More than 2,500 workers are now participating in strikes against
Grupo Mexico, the statement said.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 28, 2006,
workers at the La Caridad copper-molybdenum mine of Grupo Mexico
S.A. de C.V. went on strike Friday after the mine operator
Industrial Minera Mexico reportedly refused to conduct a
collective contract review.

The country's labor ministry has extended the review deadline
again, the STMMRM union complained to Business News.

According to Dow Jones Newswires, the deadline -- originally set
on March 5 -- had been put back several times.

The STMMRM said in the statement that the workers in the union's
section 298, which represents La Caridad, are demanding that
Grupo Mexico fulfill its legal obligation and negotiate the
collective contract.

As reported by the Troubled Company Reporter on Oct. 31, 2005,
that Grupo Mexico had agreed to pay each worker in the La
Caridad mine MXN10,000 after a day of strike.

Dow Jones Newswires recalled that workers went on strike due to
Grupo Mexico's alleged refusal to share profits from 2003
results.


As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 3, 2006,
the union's ratification of Napoleon Gomez Urrutia's leadership
has been rejected by the Mexican Labor Ministry despite the
union's threat of taking further action alongside other unions.
The ministry was firm on its decision of recognizing Elias
Morales as the union's head.

The ministry said that the extraordinary general convention held
by the union between March 18 and 19 in Monclova -- where
majority of the 250,000-member union's 130 chapters ratified Mr.
Urrutia's leaderhip --failed to meet attendance and other
requirements set out in the union's laws.

According to Dow Jones, the ministry recognizes Mr. Morales as
the union's leader and cited a February 17 notification from the
union's oversight committee on Mr. Morales' appointment as union
head in place of Mr. Urrutia, who is being investigated by the
government for an alleged embezzlement of the $55 million
payment made by Grupo Mexico to the union last year.  One of the
supposed signatories, however, has denied having signed the
document.

The leadership conflict had sparked a nationwide strike that
started on walkouts at Grupo Mexico's La Caridad mine last week
due to a contract revision.

Several hundred members joined the demonstration outside the
ministry, demanding that the ministry accept the notification of
Mr. Urrtia's leadership, unfreeze union bank accounts and keep
Mr. Morales from involving in union affairs.

The union said it would remain on strike and refuse to resume
contract talks unless the negotiating team is appointed by Mr.
Urrutia.

Grupo Mexico SA de CV -- http://www.grupomexico.com/-- through
its ownership of Asarco and the Southern Peru Copper Company,
Grupo Mexico is the world's third largest copper producer,
fourth largest silver producer and fifth largest producer of
zinc and molybdenum.

                        *    *     *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings to Grupo Mexico SA de CV:

     -- foreign currency long-term debt, BB; and
     -- local currency long-term debt, BB.


KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN: Late Filing Cues Moody's to Review Ratings
----------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service placed under review for possible
downgrade all debt ratings of Kansas City Southern or KCS, and
its wholly owned subsidiaries The Kansas City Southern Railway
Company or KCSR, with senior unsecured at B2, and Kansas City
Southern de Mexico, S.A. de C.V. or 'KCSM', formerly TFM S.A. de
C.V., with senior unsecured at B2.  Moody's review was prompted
by the inability of KCS to file its Form 10-K after requesting
an extension and indicating the filing would be made by March
31, 2006.

Moody's review will focus on whether KCS will be able to file
audited financial statements over the very near term and whether
any additional adverse financial matters are disclosed, the
prospects for the separate bank syndicates for both KCSR and
KCSM to provide waivers to provide full access to the revolving
credit facilities, and whether the inability to produce
financial statements on a timely basis indicates a broader
material weakness in financial reporting and/or in control
procedures.

Neither KCSR nor KCSM are in compliance with the reporting
requirement of their respective bank agreements and, if the
financial statements are not filed by April 30, 2006, may not
comply with reporting requirements of certain lease agreements.
The company is seeking waivers to provide access to the
revolvers.  The company is still in the seasonally low portion
of the year and may need access to the revolver over the near
term to supplement its cash position.  The delay in filing stems
from the inability of the company to complete the account
reconciliation of its subsidiary, KCSM, and provide its auditor
the information to issue an opinion, although KCS acquired full
control of KCSM during 3Q, 2005.  Also, KCS previously indicated
that management's opinion was that a material weakness existed
in financial controls, but was isolated in the tax reporting
area.  Inability to file financial statements on a timely basis,
however, could indicate broader weakness in financial controls
that could give rise to future restatements.

Ratings under review for possible downgrade:

Kansas City Southern:

      -- convertible preferred at Caa1,
      -- corporate family at B1,
      -- shelf (P)B2 and (P)B3

Kansas City Southern Railway:

      -- senior unsecured at B2,
      -- senior secured at Ba3,
      -- shelf (P)B2 and (P)B3

Kansas City Southern de Mexico, S.A. de C.V.:

      -- senior unsecured at B2,
      -- corporate family at B2

Kansas City Southern, based in Kansas City, Missouri, operates a
class I railroad and owns Mexico's northeast railway concession.


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


BLADEX: Moody's Affirms D- Bank Financial Strength Rating
---------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service affirmed the D- bank financial
strength rating  of Banco Latinoamericano de Exportaciones, S.A.
aka Bladex and changed the outlook to positive from stable.
Moody's also affirmed Bladex's long and short term ratings of
Baa3 and Prime-3, respectively, with a stable outlook.

Moody's indicated that the change in the BFSR outlook was based
on Bladex's improving financial fundamentals, particularly the
increasing profitability from its core businesses.  Bladex's
management has made strides in repositioning the bank, the
rating agency said, by collecting almost the entire problematic
Argentine credit portfolio and by exploring new markets and
value-added products, as well as by upgrading staff to fulfill
those needs.

Core earnings --although still relatively modest -- should be
strengthened by continued loan growth and by management's
increasing focus on lending to corporations, which will allow
the bank to diversify its client base in markets that it knows
well, while enhancing profit margins.  The latter have been
modest relative to those of other banks, partly because of
Bladex's largely short-term trade-related loan book.

Moody's noted it would be monitoring the development of the
corporate business because it represents a slight shift in the
bank's principal focus and will likely include some new names.
However, the agency indicated that management's commitment to
banking high quality names and providing trade-related financing
should support healthy portfolio development.

Moody's added that upward movement of the BFSR would depend on
continued improvements in core earnings and the maintenance of
solid asset quality and capitalization, as an indication of the
bank's franchise potential.  Other key considerations include
the bank's ability to build fees in its core business and to
further diversify its portfolio geographically.

Affirmations of the investment grade Baa3 debt and deposit
ratings for Bladex are based primarily on the controlling
ownership and support of 23 central banks in Latin America and
the Caribbean that have veto power over issues concerning the
bank's corporate existence and mission.  Bladex continues to
enjoy preferential treatment as a creditor to the region.

As of December 31, 2005, Bladex had total assets of US$3.2
billion, loans of US$2.6 billion and equity of US$617 million.

The following ratings were affirmed for Bladex:

   -- Bank Financial Strength Rating: D-minus, change to
      positive outlook from stable;

   -- Long Term Foreign Currency Deposit Rating: Baa3, with
      stable outlook;

   -- Short Term Foreign Currency Deposit Rating: Prime-3;

   -- Foreign Currency Senior Unsecured Rating: Baa3, with
      stable outlook; and

   -- Foreign Currency Issuer Rating: Baa3, with stable outlook.


* PANAMA: State Generation Company Gets Cabinet Approval
--------------------------------------------------------
The creation of state generation company -- Empresa de
Generacion Electrica -- has been approved by the presidential
cabinet of Panama, the government said in a report.

Business News Americas reports that the government said the new
firm would be created to rival the private sector.

The cabinet, says Business News, also approved the incorporation
of an additional US$40.7 million for the rates stabilization
fund.  It also requested the public services regulator to remove
a rates increase for clients who use less than 200kWh a month.
For other users, the regulator is requested to set up a 10.7%
maximum increase through year-end.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Panama:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling    BBB      Apr.  8, 2005
   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 A R A G U A Y
===============


MILLICOM INTERNATIONAL: Buys Out Two Minority Partners
------------------------------------------------------
Millicom International Cellular S.A., a cellular operator in
emerging markets, announces that it has completed two buyouts of
its minority partners.

Millicom has acquired the outstanding 25% minority share in
Sentel GSM SA, its mobile operation in Senegal, and has also
reached agreement, conditional on regulatory approvals being
obtained, to acquire the outstanding 4% share in Telefonica
Celular del Paraguay SA, its operation in Paraguay.

Following these transactions, Millicom now has 100% ownership of
these two operations.

Mr. Marc Beuls, Millicom President and Chief Executive Officer
said: "It is encouraging that we have reached agreement to buy
out our partners in Senegal and Paraguay, following the earlier
successful buy outs in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Tanzania in
February.  Our strategy is to continue to buy out minority
holdings when we have the opportunity to do so.  The acquisition
of minority holdings delivers excellent value to shareholders in
that it enables us to control fully the revenues of these
businesses which we know well and believe to have excellent
prospects."

Millicom International Cellular S.A. is a global
telecommunications investor with cellular operations in Asia,
Latin America and Africa.  It currently has cellular operations
and licenses in 16 countries.  The Group's cellular operations
have a combined population under license of approximately 391
million people.

Millicom has assets amounting to US$1,522,900,000 and
liabilities reaching US$1,608,200,000.

                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on Jan. 24, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services placed its 'B+' long-term
corporate credit rating and 'B-' senior unsecured debt ratings
on telecommunications operator Millicom International Cellular
S.A. on CreditWatch with developing implications.


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


* PERU: HSBC Recommends Selling Peruvian Bonds Before Election
--------------------------------------------------------------
HSBC Securities USA Inc. recommended to investors to sell their
Peruvian bonds before the April 9 election because of the risk
that Nationalist Party candidate Ollanta Humala will win the
presidency, Bloomberg News reports.

HSBC Securities lowered the recommendation on Peruvian bonds to
underweight from overweight.

Strategist Vitali Meschoulam and analyst Marjorie Hernandez said
that after the first round of voting, a spread of at least 260
basis points over U.S. Treasuries would make Peruvian debt an
attractive investment again, assuming Humala doesn't win the
majority needed to avoid a runoff.  The period between the first
round and the second round will be marked by fluctuations in
prices and yields, Mr. Meschoulam explained to Bloomberg in a
telephone interview from New York.

The yield on Peru's 9-7/8 bond due 2015 rose 14 basis points, or
0.14 percentage point, to 7.374 at April 4, 3:23 p.m. New York
time.  The bond's price, which moves inversely to its yield,
fell 1 cent to 116, Bloomberg says.

                        *    *    *

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: Balks at Marisa Uriarte's Lift Stay Motion
-------------------------------------------------------------
As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Mar. 24, 2006,
Marisa Uriarte asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern
District of New York to lift the automatic stay so as to
finalize Court approval of the Class Action Settlement and allow
the Action to be brought to completion.

Gene J. Stonebarger, Esq., at Lindsay & Stonebarger, in
Sacramento, California, relates that on Feb. 2, 2005, Marisa
Uriarte, individually, and on behalf of a class of California
residents, initiated a state court litigation against Musicland
Group, Inc., alleging violations of Section 432.8 of the
California Labor Code.

Section 432.8 protects the rights of an applicant for employment
or an employee from disclosing information about a conviction
related to the possession of marijuana where the conviction is
more over two years old.

Mr. Stonebarger asserts that allowing a matter to proceed in
another forum can constitute a cause for lifting the automatic
stay.  It would be a waste of judicial and legal resources for
the Action to be reinstituted in the Bankruptcy Court, he says.

In addition, Mr. Stonebarger notes, the Action only involves
issues of state law and California law must be applied in
approving the Class Action Settlement.

                       Debtors Object

It is not certain that lifting the automatic stay will
expeditiously resolve the state court litigation against the
Debtors, David A. Agay, Esq., at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, in New
York City asserts.

If the parties meet the Superior Court's conditions for interim
approval, and the Superior Court sustains an objection to the
settlement at the final approval hearing, the Debtors will incur
the costs and risks of continuing to litigate the Action
potentially before both the Appellate Court and the Superior
Court.

Mr. Agay also points out that allowing the Action to proceed
will prejudice the interests of other creditors.  In addition,
lifting the stay would impose unwarranted expenditures and could
potentially diminish the value of the Debtors' estates.

Thus, the Debtors ask the Court to deny Ms. Uriarte's request.

The Informal Committee of Secured Trade Vendors joins in the
Debtors' objection.  The Trade Committee does not consent to the
use of its collateral for the expenses related to settlement of
the Action.

                  About Musicland Holding

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


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


* Metsae-Botnia Refuses to Halt Pulp Mill Works for 90 Days
-----------------------------------------------------------
As previously reported, the scheduled meeting between presidents
Tabare Vasquez and Nestor Kirchner was cancelled for no apparent
reason.  The talk would have centered on the dispute concerning
the construction of two pulp mills along the border separating
Argentina and Uruguay.

In a report by Bloomberg News, the summit was called off because
one of the companies taking part in the project refused to halt
construction for 90 days.

Oy Metsa-Botnia AB consortium, made up of a group of Finnish
investors, only conceeded to a 10-day work stoppage which the
Argentine government believes is not enough for a thorough
environmental impact study.

Spain's Grupo Empresarial Ence SA, Europe's No. 1 maker of pulp
from eucalyptus, last week agreed to halt the construction of a
second pulp plant along river for 90 days.

Gonzalo Fernandez, Uruguay's chief of staff, told Bloomberg "The
government deeply regrets that the company hasn't understood in
all its dimensions the seriousness of this conflict that we are
facing."

Argentine protesters have blocked some bridges into Uruguay,
slowing the flow of Argentine tourists to Atlantic Coast beach
spots during the summer season, hurting Uruguay's economy.  Last
week, demonstrators suspended the protests until the presidents
meet, Bloomberg relates.

"Botnia says it will bring $1 billion in investments for
Uruguay, but we have already lost $300 million because of the
protests," Mr. Fernandez told Bloomberg.


                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Argentina:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling     RD      Dec. 14, 2005
   Long Term IDR       B       Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR      B-      Jun.  3, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating      B       Jun.  3, 2005

                        *    *    *

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


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


AMERICAN AIRLINES: INAC Investigates Two Caracas Flights
--------------------------------------------------------
Two of American Airlines Inc.'s flights were stopped from flying
out of Caracas, Venezuela, without explanation, the company said
in a press statement.

"The fourth daily Miami-Caracas flight, which was scheduled to
restart today (Monday) since it was cancelled in January because
of the situation facing the road linking the Simón Bolívar
International Airport to Caracas, is not going to operate as
previously scheduled," American Airlines said in its statement.

"We had the impression that, once US, Venezuelan authorities
reached an agreement last week to allow US airlines to continue
flights as previously scheduled American Airlines could resume
this flight. We hope this issue can be solved soon and that AA
flight is to operate as planned."

Venezuela's National Civic Aeronautic Institute said in an
official statement quoted by El Universal that it is beginning
an administrative inquiry into flights 902 and 903 of American
Airlines that fly Miami-Caracas-Miami route for allegedly
operating without authorization.  The agency labeled the two
flights as "irregular."

According to INAC's statement, American Airlines was given a
formal notice in order to keep operations until April 25, 2006.
Therefore, the airline should refrain itself from marketing
tickets for the two flights, the statement said.

                  About American Airlines

American Airlines is the world's largest airline.  American,
American Eagle and the AmericanConnection regional airlines
serve more than 250 cities in over 40 countries with more than
3,800 daily flights. The combined network fleet numbers more
than 1,000 aircraft.  American's Web site -- http://www.AA.com/
-- provides users with easy access to check and book fares, plus
personalized news, information and travel offers.  American
Airlines is a founding member of the oneworld Alliance, which
brings together some of the best and biggest names in the
airline business, enabling them to offer their customers more
services and benefits than any airline can provide on its own.
Together, its members serve more than 600 destinations in over
135 countries and territories.  American Airlines, Inc. and
American Eagle are subsidiaries of AMR Corporation (NYSE: AMR).

                          *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Feb. 24, 2006,
Moody's Investors Service affirmed all debt ratings of AMR
Corp., and its primary subsidiary American Airlines, Inc. -
corporate family rating at B3 -- as well as all tranches of the
Enhanced Equipment Trust Certificates supported by payments from
American and the SGL-2 Speculative Grade Liquidity Rating.

The outlook was changed to stable from negative.  The stable
outlook reflects Moody's expectation of steadily improving
operating and financial performance during 2006 resulting
primarily from yield-driven revenue growth while maintaining
control of the growth of unit costs.  The company should
generate sufficient cash from operations to meet scheduled debt
maturities as well as planned capital spending without adding
additional debt.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Nov. 2, 2005,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned its 'B-' rating to
$800 million of New York City Industrial Development Agency
special facility revenue bonds, series 2005 - American Airlines
Inc., John F. Kennedy International Airport Project, which
mature at various dates.  At the same time, the ratings on
existing series 2002 bonds were raised to 'B-' from 'CCC',
reflecting changes in the security arrangements that apply to
those bonds.  Both series of bonds will be serviced by payments
made by AMR Corp. unit American Airlines Inc. under a lease
between the airline and the agency.


PDVSA: Faces Possible Lawsuit from Eni Over Oil Field Takeover
--------------------------------------------------------------
Italian oil firm Eni SpA said in a press release that it is
likely to file legal actions against Venezuelan state oil giant
Petroleos de Venezuela for the takeover of one of Eni-operated
oil fields in the country.

On Monday, Venezuela said it would retake control over two oil
fields Total SA and Eni exploited in Venezuela, given their
failure to enter into joint ventures with PDVSA, El Universal
states.

"Eni estimates that Pdvsa move is a contract breach. Eni is to
grant a term for Pdvsa to reach an agreement that fully respect
Eni rights," the firm stressed in its statement.

"In the event that no agreement is attained, Eni is to take
legal actions to defend its rights."

Eni was operating 50,000 bpd Dacion field.

Eni SpA is engaged in the exploration and production of
hydrocarbons in Italy, North Africa, West Africa, the North Sea
and the Gulf of Mexico. The company also operates in areas with
great development potential, such as Latin America and
Australia.

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

                        *    *    *

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


PDVSA: Takes Back Control of Seven Oil Fields from Private Firms
----------------------------------------------------------------
Petroleos de Venezuela aka PDVSA took control on April 1, seven
out 32 oil fields from private oil firms as these companies
failed to inked joint venture pacts with the state-oil company,
El Universal reports.

The seven fields -- producing about 15,000 barrels per day --
retaken by the PDVSA are:

       -- B2X 68/79,
       -- Maulpa,
       -- Sanvi Guere,
       -- Guarico Occidental,
       -- Quiamare-La Ceiba,
       -- Dacion field, and
       -- Jusepin field.

According to PDVSA chief executive officer Rafael Ramirez, 15
minutes before the ceremony where private companies initialed
memoranda of understanding for migration to joint ventures,
French company, Total SA, made a proposal to increase its
participation.

"Total always intended to disregard the deadline and the time
schedule. All firms were clearly advised of the deadline and the
time schedule," said Energy and Petroleum vice-minister Bernard
Mommer to El Universal.

Italian company Eni SpA, which vowed to suit PDVSA, Minister
Ramirez said that both France and Italy are friends of Venezuela
and would continue to participate in other projects, as long as
they respect Venezuelan laws.

Twenty-five oil fields operated by 16 private companies are to
become 22 joint ventures in the next few days.

Under the new contracts, PDVSA's average stake in these joint
ventures is 63%.  The total area for these operations was
reduced by 64% to 15,000 square kilometers.  Proven reserves
joint ventures are to control amount to six percent of
Venezuelan total proven reserves, production is to amount to 16
percent (some 420,000 bpd) of Venezuelan total output, El
Universal relates.

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

                        *    *    *

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


* VENEZUELA: Won't Cut Off Oil Exports to United States
-------------------------------------------------------
The Associated Press reports that Venezuela does not want to cut
off oil exports to the United States, but is looking for new
markets in case Washington decides to stop buying its petroleum,
Vice President Jose Vincente Range said.

"We are preparing for this possibility," Vice-President Rangel
said in a statement.  "We are looking for new markets in the
world ... We don't want to deliberately cut off oil to the
United States."

Previously, President Hugo Chavez threatened to stop exporting
crude to the United States if it goes "over the line" in what he
has said are attempts to destabilize his government, the AP
relates.

Venezuela -- the world's fifth-largest oil exporter -- ships 1.5
million barrels of oil a day to the United States.

Relations between the two countries have been strained over
issues of democracy in the Latin American nation and conspiracy
against the Chavez administration.

U.S. officials voiced concerns over the health of Venezuela's
democracy while President Chavez accused the United States of
conspiring to topple him or invade his country to take control
of its all-important oil industry.

Vice-President Rangel was quoted by the AP as saying that he
could not rule out the possibility of a U.S. invasion.  "The
United States cannot be trusted," he said.  "The United States
is unpredictable because it is currently governed by a group of
crazy and irresponsible people."

                        *    *    *

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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