TCRLA_Public/060501.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

          Monday, May 1, 2006, Vol. 7, Issue 85

                            Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

AURYN S.R.L.: Creditors Must Submit Claims to Trustee by June 20
CARVING COOPERATIVA: Filing of Proofs of Claim Ends on June 13
CORAGLIA HNOS: Trustee Stops Accepting Claims After May 10
C.M. TRADING: Verification of Proofs of Claim Ends on June 16
DORMIR S.R.L.: Sets May 29 as Filing Proofs of Claim Deadline

ELEMCO S.A.: Seeks Court Approval to Restructure Debts
HUACO IMPORTACIONES: Proofs of Claim Filing Ends on June 16
PREVENT A.R.C.: Creditors' Claims Verification Ends on June 27

* ARGENTINA: Denies Uruguay's Claim That Mercosur Is Biased
* ARGENTINA: Discussing Mill Conflict with Uruguay at May Summit

B O L I V I A

* BOLIVIA: Government Heads El Mutun Mining Concession

B R A Z I L

ABN AMRO REAL: Partners with Cisco Systems on Financing Scheme
ABN AMRO REAL: Will Lay Off 500 Workers Despite Profit Increase
BANCO ITAU: Considers Purchase of BankBoston's LatAm Assets
BANCO NACIONAL: Grants Koblitz BRL10M in Convertible Debentures
BANCO RURAL: Fitch Removes Short-Term Ratings from Neg. Watch

BANKBOSTON: Banco Itau Studies Possible Purchase of Firm
COMPANHIA PARANAENSE: Nears Completion of Araucaria Plant Buy
CST OVERSEAS: Fitch Upgrades Foreign Currency Rating to BB+
GERDAU AMERISTEEL: Moody's Ups Corporate & Note Ratings to Ba2
GOL LINHAS: Reports Net Revenues of BRL863M in First Quarter

PETROBRAS ENERGIA: Fitch Raises Rating on Sr. Notes to B+/RR3
RIPASA SA: Reaches Restructuring Agreement With VCP and Suzano

C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S

BOURNS INTERNATIONAL: Final Shareholders Meeting Set for May 5
CAPITAL CHOFUGAOKA: Holds Final General Meeting on May 4
DIVERSIFIED CREDIT: Sets Final Shareholders Meeting for May 10
HYDROCARBONS TRADERS: Final Shareholders Meeting Set for May 4
ORICO KNIGHTS: Invites Shareholders for Final Meeting on May 3

C H I L E

BANCO DE CHILE: Moody's Changes C+ Rating's Outlook to Positive

C O L O M B I A

BBVA COLOMBIA: Net Profits Up 19% in First Quarter of 2006
TERMOEMCALI FUNDING: S&P Ups Rating on US$153.7M Notes to CCC+

C U B A

* CUBA: Will Buy US$20 Million Agricultural Goods from Alabama

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

FALCONBRIFGE LTD: To Renew Agreement With United Steelworkers

E L   S A L V A D O R

MILLICOM INTERNATIONAL: China Mobile Refutes Bid Rumors

G U Y A N A

* GUYANA: Will Join Free Trade with Common Market & Costa Rica

H O N D U R A S

* HONDURAS: President Blames Economic Model as Cause of Poverty

J A M A I C A

AIR JAMAICA: CEO Keeps Mum on Financial Losses
AIR JAMAICA: Finance Ministry Sees US$74.18-Mil Net Loss in 2006

M E X I C O

GRUPO ELEKTRA: Reports EBITDA of Ps1,189M for 2006 First Quarter
GRUPO MEXICO: May Reduce Stake in Southern Copper Corp.
GRUPO TMM: Reports First Quarter Earnings of US$1.39 Per Share
METROFINANCIERA: Fitch Puts B Rating on US$75M Perpetual Notes
PRIDE INT'L: Reports First Quarter Net Earnings of US$70.5 Mil.

P A R A G U A Y

ACEPAR: Spends Above US$2.5 Mil. in Equipment Buys & Upgrades

P E R U

* PERU: Will Issue Sovereign Bonds to Prepay Debt to Japeco

P U E R T O   R I C O

MUSICLAND HOLDINGS: Walking Away from 26 Contracts & Leases

T R I N I D A D   &   T O B A G O

DIGICEL: At Odds with TSTT Over Network Congestion

U R U G U A Y

* URUGUAY: Argentina Denies Mercosur Showing Bias
* URUGUAY: Discussing Mill Conflict with Argentina at May Summit
* URUGUAY: President Eager for Mexico Participation in Mercosur

V E N E Z U E L A

CITGO PETROLEUM: Repatriates US$785 Million to Venezuela
CITGO PETROLEUM: Reports US$1.3 Billion in Revenues for 2005
PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Pequiven Wants Probe on Nicolas Maduro

* VENEZUELA: Urges South American Nations to Stop US Trade Pacts


                            - - - -

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


AURYN S.R.L.: Creditors Must Submit Claims to Trustee by June 20
----------------------------------------------------------------
Auryn S.R.L.'s creditors are required to present their claims
against the company to Maximo Piccineli, the court-appointed
trustee, on June 20, 2006.

Argentine daily La Nacion relates that Buenos Aires' Court No.
21 declared the company's bankruptcy in favor of the company's
creditor Juan Rageloff for nonpayment of about US$29,173.33 in
debt.

Clerk No. 42 assists the court with the proceeding.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Auryn S.R.L.
         Albarellos 3153
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Maximo Piccineli
         Montevideo 666
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


CARVING COOPERATIVA: Filing of Proofs of Claim Ends on June 13
--------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors against Carving Cooperativa de Credito Consumo y
Vivienda Limitada are required to submit proofs of claim by
June 13, 2006.  Infobae relates that the claims will undergo
a verification phase.  Claims that are verified will then be
submitted in court as individual reports on Aug. 21, 2006.

A general report, which will contain the company's audited
business records as well as a summary of events pertaining to
the liquidation, will be presented in court on Oct. 9, 2006.

The company was declared bankrupt by a Buenos Aires court.
Mario Leizerow was appointed as trustee.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Carving Cooperativa de Credito Consumo
         y Vivienda Limitada
         Reconquista 341
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Mario Leizerow
         Bouchard 644
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


CORAGLIA HNOS: Trustee Stops Accepting Claims After May 10
----------------------------------------------------------
Javier Curto, the trustee appointed by a court in Cordoba for
the bankruptcy of Coraglia Hnos. S.R.L., will no longer
entertain claims that are submitted after May 10, 2006, Infobae
reports.  Creditors whose claims are not validated will be
disqualified from receiving any payment that the company will
make.

Infobae did not disclose in its Web site the dates for the
submission of the individual and general reports.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Coraglia Hnos. S.R.L.
         Bv. Belgrano 851 Morteros,
         Depto. San Justo
         Cordoba, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Javier Curto
         Libertad 1425 San Francisco
         Cordoba, Argentina


C.M. TRADING: Verification of Proofs of Claim Ends on June 16
-------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of bankrupt company C.M. Trading S.R.L. are required
to present proofs of their claim to Marta Lucena, the court-
appointed trustee, on or before June 16, 2006, La Nacion
reports.  Creditors who fail to submit the required documents by
the said date will not qualify for any post-liquidation
distributions.

Buenos Aires' Court No. 8 declared the company bankrupt
at the behest of Elba Traventa whom the company owes
US$38,828.85.

Clerk No. 16 assists the court on the case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         C.M. Trading S.R.L.
         Sarmiento 1113
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Marta Lucena
         Parana 774
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


DORMIR S.R.L.: Sets May 29 as Filing Proofs of Claim Deadline
-------------------------------------------------------------
Court-appointed trustee Patricia Monica Lopez will stop
validating claims against bankrupt company Dormir S.R.L. after
May 29, 2006, Infobae reports.

Ms. Lopez will present the validated claims in court as
individual reports on June 29, 2006.  The trustee will also
submit a general report on the case on July 31, 2006.

A Buenos Aires court handles the company's bankruptcy case.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Patricia Monica Lopez
         Ortiz de Zarate 6450 Mar del Plata
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


ELEMCO S.A.: Seeks Court Approval to Restructure Debts
------------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires' Court No. 18 is currently reviewing the merits of
the reorganization petition filed by Elemco S.A.  Argentine
daily La Nacion reports that the company filed the request after
defaulting on its debt payments since April 4, 2006.

The reorganization petition, if granted by the court, will allow
Elemco to negotiate a settlement with its creditors in order to
avoid a straight liquidation.  Clerk No. 35 assists the court on
this case.

The debtor can be reached at:

           Elemco S.A.
           Adolfo Asina 815
           Buenos Aires, Argentina


HUACO IMPORTACIONES: Proofs of Claim Filing Ends on June 16
-----------------------------------------------------------
The validation of creditors' proofs of claim against Huaco
Importaciones, a company under reorganization, will end on
June 16, 2006, Argentine daily La Nacion reports.

Buenos Aires' Court No. 5 approved the company's petition for
reorganization filed after the company defaulted on its debt
payments.  Jose Eduardo Preve was appointed as trustee.

An informative assembly will be held on March 9, 2007.
Creditors will vote to ratify the completed settlement plan
during the assembly.

The city's Clerk No. 9 assists the court on the case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Huaco Importaciones
         Suipacha 556
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Jose Eduardo Preve
         Avenida Presidente Roque Saenz Pena 651
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


PREVENT A.R.C.: Creditors' Claims Verification Ends on June 27
--------------------------------------------------------------
Jorge Podesta, court-appointed trustee for the bankruptcy case
of Prevent Arc S.R.L., has started verifying creditors' claims.
Verification phase will end on June 27, 2006.

La Nacion relates that Buenos Aires' Court No. 2 declared the
company bankrupt at the request of Obra Social de los Empleados
de Comercio y Actividades Civiles which the company owes
US$5,835.77.

Clerk No. 3 assists the court in this case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Prevent Arc S.R.L.
         Tapalque 7450
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Jorge Podesta
         Reconquista 336
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


* ARGENTINA: Denies Uruguay's Claim That Mercosur Is Biased
-----------------------------------------------------------
The Foreign Ministry of Argentina has denied Uruguay's claim
that Mercosur only serves its large members, Keralanext.com
reports.

Keralanext.com relates that the Argentine Foreign Ministry
insisted that Mercosur is a work of all its four member nations.

Eduardo Sigal, the head of economic integration at the ministry,
told the Argentine Radio that Mercosur was not built in the
abstract but by its four member nations -- Argentina, Brazil,
Paraguay and Uruguay.

Mr. Sigal was quoted by Keralanext.com saying that the conflict
between Argentina and Uruguay over paper mills does not affect
Mercosur.

According to Keralanext.com, Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez
alleged that Mercosur was not working properly due to the
disadvantages that smaller member nations -- Uruguay and
Paraguay -- had experienced in relations with the larger Brazil
and Argentina.

Uruguay is angry at Argentina for failing to stop the protesting
Argentine environmentalists from blocking roads crossing into
Uruguay from Argentina over the paper mills issue,
Keralanext.com states.  Argentina has also rejected a request
from Uruguay to hold a meeting with the Mercosur council and of
the Mercosur Parliament commission.

Keralanext.com recalls that Argentina's President Nestor
Kirchner asked President Vasquez to conduct an environmental
impact study on the construction of the two paper mills on the
shores of the Uruguay River that marks the border between the
two nations.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned 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

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned 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


* ARGENTINA: Discussing Mill Conflict with Uruguay at May Summit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez will discuss its conflict
with Argentina regarding the construction of the pulp mills
during the European Union/Latinamerica leaders' summit this
month in Vienna, Austria, Merco Press reports.

Merco Press relates that President Vazquez was at first doubting
to participate in the summit due to the conflict with Argentina
as well as the internal disputes in Mercosur.

The president only decided to join when European Union Trade
Commissar Peter Mandelson expressed strong support for the
construction of the pulp mills, according to Merco Press.

Merco Press adds that President Vazquez is also interested in
continuing the EU/Mercosur free trade negotiations, which have
been delayed for months.

The country's diplomatic sources told Merco Press that the
president would like to see a re-launching of the free trade
talks and will personally lobby the matter.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned 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


                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned 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



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


* BOLIVIA: Government Heads El Mutun Mining Concession
------------------------------------------------------
The government of Bolivia has decided to take a controlling
interest in the El Mutun mining concession, EFE reports.

Juan Ramon Quintana, the presidential chief of staff, told La
Paz's Erbol radio station that the industrialization of El Mutun
will be done under control of the state, at the command of the
state and with the state having a majority shareholder interest.

The government was expected to conduct a bidding process in May
for the El Mutun concession, EFE states.

According to EFE, the bidding for the concession has been put on
hold several times under earlier governments but regional
leaders from Santa Cruz have demanded that the process be
finally held on May 30.

EFE relates that El Mutun has about 40 billion tons of iron ore
in a 65 square-kilometer area, making it the largest deposit in
South America.  The project, concerned on the exploitation of
the massive iron deposit, has drawn interest from Dutch-based
Mittal Steel, India's Jindal Steel and Power, the Argentine
consortium Siderar-Techint and China's Luneng Shandong.

Brazil's Grupo EBX was also interested in the deposit, according
to EFE.  The company was however was expelled from Bolivia for
alleged violations in the construction of a pig iron plant in
the vicinity of El Mutun.

Mr. Quintana told EFE that there are optimistic signs regarding
what the alliance between the Bolivian state and the large firms
working in the iron sector can be.

"The most interesting thing is that the iron market is growing
constantly, and therefore the conditions are favorable for the
firms to submit to the rules of the game that we're preparing,"
Mr. Quintana was quoted by EFE saying.

The Pro Santa Cruz Committee -- an affiliation of autonomy-
minded business, union, neighborhood and academic groups -- will
demand the adjudication of the El Mutun concession in a strike
the group will hold next Thursday, EFE reports.

                        *    *    *

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

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

Fitch said the Rating Outlook is Stable.



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


ABN AMRO REAL: Partners with Cisco Systems on Financing Scheme
--------------------------------------------------------------
Banco ABN Amro Real S.A. has inked an agreement with the
Brazilian unit of American company, Cisco Systems, to offer a
US$5 million line of credit to small and medium-sized
businesses.

Under the agreement, Banco Real arranges for loans up to 100,000
reals (US$46,816) to SMEs that buy Cisco equipment.  The
interest rates will range from 1.6% a month for six-month loans
to 2.1% a month for 12-month loans.

ABN Amro Real's net profits nationwide reached 1.44 billion
reals in 2005, 16% above the previous year.

Dutch bank ABN Amro owns Banco ABN Amro Real S.A.  ABN Amro also
controls local bank Sudameris SA.

                        *    *    *

On Oct. 19, 2005, Moody's Investors Service upgraded Banco ABN
Amro Real S.A.'s long-term foreign currency deposit rating to B1
from B2.  Moody's maintained a positive outlook on the rating.

This action followed Moody's upgrade of Brazil's foreign
currency ceiling for deposits to B1, from B2, and the foreign
currency country ceiling for bonds and notes to Ba3, from B1.
The country ceilings have a positive outlook.


ABN AMRO REAL: Will Lay Off 500 Workers Despite Profit Increase
---------------------------------------------------------------
Brazil's Banco ABN Amro Real S.A. will decrease its workforce by
500 despite the 54.7% increase in Latin American profits in the
first quarter, according to a statement by ABN Amro -- the Dutch
parent company.

The layoffs will take place gradually within three years,
Business News Americas relates.  ABN Amro Real currently has
29,000 workers.

BNamericas states that union members in the bank complained that
the planned layoffs were unjustified, saying that the Brazilian
financial system expects substantial growth this year.

The Latin America subsidiaries account for 11.6% of ABN Amro's
international earnings -- 11.6% of which comes from ABN Amro
Real, BNamericas reports.

                        *    *    *

On Oct. 19, 2005, Moody's Investors Service upgraded Banco ABN
Amro Real S.A.'s long-term foreign currency deposit rating to B1
from B2.  Moody's maintained a positive outlook on the rating.

This action followed Moody's upgrade of Brazil's foreign
currency ceiling for deposits to B1, from B2, and the foreign
currency country ceiling for bonds and notes to Ba3, from B1.
The country ceilings have a positive outlook.


BANCO ITAU: Considers Purchase of BankBoston's LatAm Assets
-----------------------------------------------------------
As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 27, 2006,
Banco Itau Holdings Financeira SA has confirmed in a written
statement sent to the Brazilian Securities Commission aka CVM
that it is interested in a possible acquisition of banking
properties in Latin America, particularly in Brazil.

In a recent statement, the Sao Paulo Bank Workers Union said
that Banco Itau confirmed rumors that it is considering a
possible purchase of the Bank of America's BankBoston South
American assets.  BankBoston has assets in Brazil, Chile and
Uruguay.

Banco Itau said that no contract has yet been signed but its
legal department is studying the matter, the union's statement
claimed.

According to the statement, the Workers Union has asked Banco
Itau to inform it of any and all changes so that it can open a
broad discussion of employee rights with all of the banks
involved.

Dow Jones Newswires relates that Banco Itau has been denying any
deal regarding the purchase of BankBoston's assets in Brazil,
Uruguay and Chile.  However, rumors on an agreement between
companies went on in the Brazilian markets and have been
magnified by press reports.

Catarina Pedrosa, an analyst at Banif Investment Bank in Sao
Paulo, told Dow Jones that investors are already assuming that
the operation will be concluded.

Dow Jones quoted market participants saying that Bank of America
is in an advanced stage of talks to sell its BankBoston
properties to Itau for about US$3 billion.

Brazilian business magazine Exame, on the other hand, says that
Banco Itau and Bank of America has arrived at a US$7 billion
deal on the purchase of BankBoston's Brazilian asset.  The deal
also includes an option to assume BankBoston's operations in
Chile and Uruguay.

According to Exame, Banco Itau gave 7% of its capital in
preferred shares to Bank of America as payment.  Bank of America
would also be allowed to appoint a member to Banco Itau's board.

However, the report was not confirmed, Business News Americas
relates.  A spokesman of Banco Itau had said that Exame was
stating a rumor.

Agencia Estado, a local news agency, also reveals that an
official announcement on the sale could come on Thursday as
Banco Itau wraps up an extraordinary shareholders' meeting.

Local press reveals that BankBoston has released a statement
saying, "As a rule, BankBoston never makes comments on rumors."

Ms. Pedrosa told Dow Jones that the market has anticipated the
sale and that is reflected in Itau's share price.  As stated by
analysts, Itau's preferred shares dropped 1.2% at BRL65.70 while
the main stock index -- the Ibovespa -- fell 1.45%.  This
indicates short-term effects on Itau's bottom line if it
purchases BankBoston.

"If the purchase is concluded at a different value, certainly
there will be a correction by the market," Ms. Pedrosa informed
Dow Jones.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 9, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned a 'BB' currency
credit rating on Banco Itau S.A.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Jul 4, 2005,
Moody's Investors Service upgraded the long-term foreign
currency deposit rating to Caa1 from Caa2 for BankBoston, N.A.
(Argentina) following Moody's upgrade of Argentina's foreign
currency ceiling for bank deposits to Caa1. All the ratings have
a stable outlook.


BANCO NACIONAL: Grants Koblitz BRL10M in Convertible Debentures
---------------------------------------------------------------
The board of Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e
Social aka BNDES approved a BRL10 million in convertible
debentures for Koblitz, a company, located in Recife in the
State of Pernambuco, which operates in the sector of energy
generation and cogeneration.

The Bank's support, through its Capital Market area, will enable
the growth strategy of Koblitz, which aims at the minority
equity interest in a set of Small Hydroelectric Stations, to be
installed in the Northeast region of the country with total
investments forecast to approximately BRL750 million and
generation capacity of 180 megawatts.

Koblitz has been significantly contributing for the diffusion of
investments in energy generation plants in the country,
specially in renewable sources, performing mapping works of new
areas and projects developments with potential for generation,
based mainly in biomass and PCHs.

The interest of the company in the energy sector involves the
elaboration of studies and projects, electric systems supply,
projects implantation management, operation, besides the
minority interest in some endeavors.

The company is a traditional client of BNDES.  In November 2003,
an operation was approved to it of BRL10 million for the
subscription of convertible debentures in redeemable, registered
preferred stock.  In July 2005, the debentures were converted
into stock and BNDES started to have interest in the company's
capital.

Operating also in the markets of sugar and alcohol, wood, paper
and pulp, steel mill and metallurgy, Koblitz participated of the
installation of over 1840 MW in 269 endeavors in the country.

The interest in projects in the ambit of the Financial Support
Program for Investments in Alternative Sources of Electric
Energy or Proinfa, as of October 2005, contributed for the
growth process of Koblitz and for the own consolidation of the
federal program.  Proinfa entitled 62 projects in PCHs, with
energy potential of 1,192 MW, Koblitz having participated in
over two thirds of those projects.  In the projects of Proinfa
that utilize biomass as fuel, the company is present with
approximately 80%, with 760 MW of power to be installed.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the 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.


BANCO RURAL: Fitch Removes Short-Term Ratings from Neg. Watch
-------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has removed from Rating Watch Negative and
affirmed the long and short-term national ratings of Banco Rural
S.A. of 'BB-(bra)' and 'B(bra)', respectively.  At the same
time, Fitch placed the long-term rating on Negative Outlook.
The Support rating of '5' was affirmed.

These rating actions reflect Fitch's opinion that, despite its
difficulties, Rural has taken some measures necessary to
continue to honor its short-term commitments, demonstrating a
capacity to generate liquidity in an acceptable manner.
Although the bank's liquidity continues to be under pressure,
the composition and tenor of its liabilities indicate that the
maturity period of its assets, together with the contingencies
it is exploring, are expected to enable the bank to continue to
honor its commitments.  Fitch understands that the alternative
sources of funding that are being structured by the bank are
fundamental for it to rebuild its operations, principally with
respect to a return to sustainable operating earnings that can
support its long-term viability, and it continues to track their
implementation closely.

Rural's balance sheet for the second half of 2005 reflects a
marked deterioration in asset quality, a reduction in equity to
reserve for this deterioration, an increase in intangible assets
relative to its capital base, tight liquidity, and the strong
erosion of the bank's image.  These can be attributed to the
fact that its name was linked to the political crisis beginning
in June 2005, compromising its earnings generation and funding
capacity.  Fitch, however, focuses its credit risk assessment on
a long-term horizon, reflecting the agency's expectations
regarding the bank's development in the future.  Despite the
large volume of loans considered impaired (for Fitch, loans
classified 'D-H' in accordance with Brazilian Central Bank
prudential regulations), Rural presents reserves equivalent to
85% of these, a higher percentage than the majority of banks its
size.  The Negative Outlook reflects Fitch's opinion that Rural
continues to be vulnerable to abrupt changes in its operational
performance and that the bank faces an arduous task to resume
operating in a suitable manner, with recurring operational
profitability.

Despite the deterioration in the bank's ratios, Fitch
understands that Rural's executives, aware of the severity of
the present crisis and its effects on the bank, are continuing
to implement various measures to adjust the bank's operations to
the loss of funding.  The bank's new strategy is clear and
objective regarding the need to adjust its operations and
structure to its smaller size.  Nevertheless, Fitch also
considers that Rural still faces a series of challenges -
reflected in its current ratings - mainly relative to its cash
flow, and the success of its planning depends, above all, on its
success in convincing investors to return to placing funds in
the bank.

Founded in 1948, Banco Rural is a multiple bank controlled by
five members of the Rabello family, who holds 84.7% of the
common shares, with a tradition in lending to small and medium-
sized companies. Headquartered in Minas Gerais, it has 39
service points (29 branches) in Brazil (115 in June 2004) and
two facilities overseas (7 in June 2004).

Fitch's National Ratings provide a relative measure of
creditworthiness for rated entities in countries where the
sovereign's foreign and local currency ratings are below 'AAA'.
National ratings are not internationally comparable since the
best relative risk within a country is rated 'AAA' and other
credits are rated only relative to this risk.  They are
signified by the addition of an identifier, for the country
concerned, such as 'AAA (bra)' for national ratings in Brazil.


BANKBOSTON: Banco Itau Studies Possible Purchase of Firm
--------------------------------------------------------
Bank of America's BankBoston assets in Brazil, Chile and Uruguay
assets may be purchased by Banco Itau Holdings Financeira SA as
the latter is studying whether an accord is possible, according
to a statement by the Sao Paulo Bank Workers Union.

Banco Itau said that no contract has yet been signed but its
legal department is studying the matter, the group claimed.

According to the statement, the Workers Union has asked Banco
Itau to inform it of any and all changes so that it can open a
broad discussion of employee rights with all of the banks
involved.

Dow Jones Newswires relates that Banco Itau has been denying any
deal regarding the purchase of BankBoston's assets in Brazil,
Uruguay and Chile.  However, rumors on an agreement between
companies went on in the Brazilian markets and have been
magnified by press reports.

Catarina Pedrosa, an analyst at Banif Investment Bank in Sao
Paulo, told Dow Jones that investors are already assuming that
the operation will be concluded.

Dow Jones quoted market participants saying that Bank of America
is in an advanced stage of talks to sell its BankBoston
properties to Itau for about US$3 billion.

Brazilian business magazine Exame, on the other hand, says that
Banco Itau and Bank of America has arrived at a US$7 billion
deal on the purchase of BankBoston's Brazilian asset.  The deal
also includes an option to assume BankBoston's operations in
Chile and Uruguay.

According to Exame, Banco Itau gave 7% of its capital in
preferred shares to Bank of America as payment.  Bank of America
would also be allowed to appoint a member to Banco Itau's board.

However, the report was not confirmed, Business News Americas
relates.  A spokesman of Banco Itau had said that Exame was
stating a rumor.

Agencia Estado, a local news agency, also reveals that an
official announcement on the sale could come on Thursday as
Banco Itau wraps up an extraordinary shareholders' meeting.

Local press reveals that BankBoston has released a statement
saying, "As a rule, BankBoston never makes comments on rumors."

Ms. Pedrosa told Dow Jones that the market has anticipated the
sale and that is reflected in Itau's share price.  As stated by
analysts, Itau's preferred shares dropped 1.2% at BRL65.70 while
the main stock index -- the Ibovespa -- fell 1.45%.  This
indicates short-term effects on Itau's bottom line if it
purchases BankBoston.

"If the purchase is concluded at a different value, certainly
there will be a correction by the market," Ms. Pedrosa informed
Dow Jones.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 9, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned a 'BB' currency
credit rating on Banco Itau S.A.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Jul 4, 2005,
Moody's Investors Service upgraded the long-term foreign
currency deposit rating to Caa1 from Caa2 for BankBoston, N.A.
(Argentina) following Moody's upgrade of Argentina's foreign
currency ceiling for bank deposits to Caa1. All the ratings have
a stable outlook.


COMPANHIA PARANAENSE: Nears Completion of Araucaria Plant Buy
-------------------------------------------------------------
Companhia Paranaense de Energia Sam aka Copel, a Brazilian power
firm, will conclude its acquisition of a 60% stake in a 470MW
natural gas-fired power plant in Auraucaria in the coming weeks,
according to a Parana government statement.

The 60% stake in the plant is currently owned by US energy
company El Paso.

Business News Americas reports that the acquisition of the 60%
stake in the plant will increase the stake that Copel already
holds to 80% from 20%.  The other holder, Petroleo Brasileiro,
owns 20% of the plant.

The executives of Copel had expected that the contract for the
acquisition would be signed by the end of April, AP relates.
However, the agreement still needs to be approved by state
legislations as Copel is controlled by the Parana state
government.

A Copel spokesperson told BNamericas, "It's a political process,
the state government has asked for urgency but the political
discussions have their own pace."

According to BNamericas, the spokesperson said that this would
not impede the agreement from being concluded since El Paso
executives have shown they are willing to wait for approval from
state legislators.

BNamericas relates that Rubens Ghilardi, the chief executive
officer of Copel, met with the Parana state legislators on
Tuesday and confirmed the price of the 60% stake at US$190
million.

Copel decided to purchase the stake to guarantee return on
BRL480 million in investment made in the power plant, Mr.
Ghilardi told BNamericas.  The investment will allow Copel to
guard itself against gas supply problems.

BNamericas informs that Copel will use its own resources fro the
purchase and for the plant's adaptation, although they have not
been allocated in the company's 2006 BRL553 million investment
budget.

The power company plans to sell power from Araucaria in a
government-organized power auction on June 12, BNamericas
reports.

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

                        *    *    *

Copel's BRL100,000,000 debentures due March 1, 2007, is rated
Ba3 by Moody's.


CST OVERSEAS: Fitch Upgrades Foreign Currency Rating to BB+
-----------------------------------------------------------
In conjunction with the roll out of Issuer Default Ratings and
Recovery Ratings for Latin America Corporates, Fitch Ratings has
taken rating actions on various companies throughout the region.
Approximately US$16.1 billion of debt was affected.

Based on the application of Fitch's IDR and RR criteria as well
as the review of its Latin America international corporate
rating portfolio, below is the rating changes made to CST
Overseas:

   Foreign Currency

     -- Previous Rating: 'BB'
     -- New RR: 'BB+', Rating Outlook Positive


GERDAU AMERISTEEL: Moody's Ups Corporate & Note Ratings to Ba2
--------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service upgraded Gerdau Ameristeel, raising
its corporate family and unsecured note ratings to Ba2 from Ba3.
The upgrade recognizes Gerdau's progress over the last two years
in growing its North American footprint of steel minimills and
downstream fabricated products plants without pressuring its
balance sheet.  In addition, steel market conditions are
expected to remain favorable in the near term, keeping Gerdau's
credit metrics at safe levels.  The considerable amount of
consolidation that has occurred within the North American long
products market, and the fact that the larger producers have
similar costs, should support higher and more stable margins
than were experienced over the last five years.  However, the
industry remains highly cyclical.  Finally, Moody's has become
more familiar with Gerdau's parent, Gerdau S.A. (Ba2 Global
Local Currency rating), and believes that its operational and
technical knowledge, as well as its commitment to its North
American operations, are positive factors for Gerdau's ratings.
Gerdau has a stable rating outlook.

These ratings were raised:

   -- US$405 million of 10.375% guaranteed senior unsecured
      notes due 2011: to Ba2 from Ba3, and

   -- Corporate family rating: to Ba2 from Ba3.

Gerdau currently has a solid financial profile but still faces
several challenges in addition to those common to the industry,
predominantly cyclicality and cost inflation.  First, although
its rebar and merchant bar products businesses have enjoyed
significant success lately, the wire rod business is lagging.
In part, this has been due to high imports, which remains an
area of concern.  Also, Gerdau has higher than average risks
related to labor issues and retiree benefit costs. The company
is rather unusual among minimill producers in that many of its
operations are unionized and its employees are covered by
defined benefit pension and retiree healthcare plans.  Workers
at its Beaumont, Texas wire rod mill were on strike for over six
months in 2005 and are now working without a labor contract.
The collective bargaining agreements at the St. Paul, Minnesota
and Wilton, Iowa facilities also expired in 2005 and have not
been renegotiated, and labor contracts at several other Gerdau
plants expire in 2006 and 2007.  Finally, Moody's notes the
growth aspirations of Gerdau and Gerdau S.A. Through
acquisitions, the company has grown three-fold since 1999,
greatly increasing its market position, but the dwindling
universe of takeover targets in the long products sphere raises
the concern that Gerdau will pursue targets outside of its long
products focus.  A move into new products and markets could
magnify the leverage and integration risks that accompany any
acquisition.

Moody's previous rating action on Gerdau was the upgrade of its
corporate family and unsecured note ratings on November 5, 2004.

Gerdau Ameristeel, headquartered in Tampa, Florida, produces
rebar, merchant bar, structural shapes, wire rod, and flat-
rolled sheet at 15 North American minimills, and conducts
downstream steel fabricating operations at 43 facilities.  The
company had sales of US$3.9 billion in 2005.


GOL LINHAS: Reports Net Revenues of BRL863M in First Quarter
------------------------------------------------------------
GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes S.A., Brazil's low-cost, low-fare
airline, released financial results for the first quarter of
2006.  The following financial and operating information, unless
otherwise indicated, is presented pursuant to US GAAP and in
Brazilian reais, and comparisons refer to the first quarter of
2005.

   -- Net income for the quarter was a record BRL179.8 million
      or about US$82.9 million, representing a 20.8% net margin.
      Earnings per share was BRL0.92 and earnings per ADS
      increased 62%, to US$0.42, above average Street estimates
      of US$0.40.

   -- Operating income increased by 26.3% to BRL223.8 million,
      representing an EBIT margin of 25.9%.  Fuel-neutral
      operating income increased by 38.5% to BRL245.5 million,
      representing a fuel-neutral EBIT margin of 28.4%.  Cash,
      cash equivalents and short-term investments amounted to
      BRL912.8 million.

   -- Operating cost per ASK decreased 3.7% from BRL15.30 cents
      in 1Q05 to BRL14.73 cents in 1Q06.  Non-fuel CASK
      decreased 10.1% to 8.87 cents (R$).  Excluding profit
      sharing provisions, 1Q06 CASK decreased 4.6% vs. 1Q05.

   -- Revenue passenger kilometers increased 55.1% from 1,977
      million in 1Q05 to 3,066 million in 1Q06.  Available seat
      kilometers increased 61.1% from 2,694 million in 1Q05 to
      4,340 million in 1Q06.  Average load factor decreased 2.8
      percentage points to 70.6% while average passenger yields
      decreased 5.3% to BRL27.07 cents, resulting in a decrease
      in RASK of 9.1% to BRL19.88 cents.  Net revenues totaled
      BRL863.0 million, representing growth of 46.5%. GOL's
      domestic regular air transportation market-share at the
      end of 1Q06 was 30%.

                        *    *    *

On March 21, 2006, Moody's Rating Services assigned a Ba2 rating
on Gol's Long-Term Corporate Family Rating.


PETROBRAS ENERGIA: Fitch Raises Rating on Sr. Notes to B+/RR3
-------------------------------------------------------------
In conjunction with the roll out of Issuer Default Ratings
(IDRs) and Recovery Ratings (RRs) for Latin America Corporates,
Fitch Ratings has taken rating actions on various companies
throughout the region.  Approximately US$16.1 billion of debt
was affected.

Based on the application of Fitch's IDR and RR criteria as well
as the review of its Latin America international corporate
rating portfolio, below is the rating changes made to Petrobras
Energia S.A., formerly Pecom Energia S.A.:

   US$1.4 billion, Senior Unsecured Notes due 2007, 2009, 2010
   and 2013:

    -- Previous Rating: 'B'
    -- New IDR: 'B+/RR3'


RIPASA SA: Reaches Restructuring Agreement With VCP and Suzano
--------------------------------------------------------------
Ripasa S.A. Celulose e Papel said that the company together with
Votorantim Celulose e Papel S.A. and Suzano Papel e Celulose,
pursuant to Paragraph 4 of Article 157 of Law 6.404/76 and CVM
Instruction 358/2002, had the following communication for their
shareholders and the market:

    1. On July 20, 2005, VCP and Suzano published a material
       fact detailing the terms of the corporate restructuring
       to be implemented in Ripasa, which would allow that
       company's minority shareholders (around 1,300
       shareholders) to migrate to VCP and Suzano in equal
       proportions.  This Restructuring was examined by the CVM,
       who imposed no obstacles or restrictions on its
       realization.

    2. However, the Restructuring was suspended due to a
       judicial decision, as communicated by the Companies at
       the time through publication of the pertinent material
       facts.

    3. The Companies have been engaged in legal procedures in
       order to obtain a favorable outcome in the above-
       mentioned judicial proceedings.  However, given the
       potentially lengthy period of time needed to reach such
       an outcome and the fact that the synergies generated by
       the acquisition of Ripasa are not being fully taken
       advantage of, the Companies, aiming to remove the
       judicial barriers and implement the Restructuring,
       entered into an agreement, on this date, with a group of
       Ripasa's preferred shareholders, representing all the
       shareholders who questioned the operation.

    4. The effectiveness of the Agreement and the implementation
       of the Restructuring are subject to verification of the
       terms of the Agreement, particularly:

          (a) the suspension and future discontinuance of the
              ongoing legal procedures relative to the
              Restructuring, and

          (b) the absence of any decision, judicial or
              administrative, that prevents or hinders the
              Restructuring, or renders it inadvisable.

    5. Once the terms of the Agreement are implemented and the
       Restructuring is concluded, VCP and Suzano shall pay said
       group of shareholders the sum of BRL1.0538 for each
       Ripasa preferred share in their possession on the date of
       registration, in the institution responsible for the
       booking of the shares, in the name of said shareholders,
       of the VCP and Suzano shares, in exchange for the
       irrevocable renunciation on the part of said shareholders
       of any and all rights relative to the Restructuring and
       the acquisition of Ripasa.  The amount mentioned above
       shall be adjusted in line with the CDI between the date
       of the General Shareholders' Meeting and the date of
       the payment, which shall take place when the shares are
       transferred.

    6. In order to ensure equal treatment for all Ripasa's
       minority shareholders, the payment per share referred to
       in the previous item shall be extended to Ripasa's other
       minority shareholders who, under conditions and
       timeframes to be revealed in due course, shall sign an
       Instrument of Consent to the Agreement.  These
       shareholders shall also receive VCP and Suzano shares.

    7. New measures regarding the Restructuring will be
       disclosed in due course and shall observe the same terms
       and conditions of the material fact and protocol of July
       20, 2005.

    8. The conclusion of the Agreement is the result of
       constructive dialog with Ripasa's minority shareholders
       based on the mutual aim of creating value for all those
       concerned.  VCP and Suzano share the view that the
       Agreement represents an important contribution to the
       development of Brazil's capital market.

Ripasa S.A. Celulose e Papel produces, distributes, sells and
exports paper and paper-based products.  Products range from
short-fiber pulp and cardboard to printing and writing paper and
other related products.

                        *    *    *

On April 24, 2006, Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings to
Ripasa S.A. Celulose e Papel:


   Credit Ratings

     -- Long Term Issuer Default Rating: BB-, with Positive
        Outlook;

     -- Local Currency Long Term Issuer Default Rating: BB+,
        with Stable Outlook; and

     -- National Long Term Rating: A+ (BRA), with Stable
        Outlook



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


BOURNS INTERNATIONAL: Final Shareholders Meeting Set for May 5
--------------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of Bourns International, Ltd., will gather on
May 5, 2006, for a final general meeting at the offices of:

           Kroll (Cayman) Limited
           4th Floor, Bermuda House
           Dr. Roy's Drive
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

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

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.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 12, 2006,
Bourns International started liquidating assets on March 20,
2006.  Creditors of the company are given until May 3, 2006, to
submit proofs of claims to Richard E. L. Fogerty and G. James
Cleaver -- the company's liquidators.

The company's liquidator can be reached at:

           Richard E. L. Fogerty
           Attention: Korie Drummond
           Kroll (Cayman) Limited
           4th Floor Bermuda House
           Dr. Roy's Drive
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
           Tel: (345) 946-0081
           Fax: (345) 946-0082


CAPITAL CHOFUGAOKA: Holds Final General Meeting on May 4
--------------------------------------------------------
Capital Chofugaoka Co., Ltd., will hold the final general
meeting on May 4, 2006, at the registered offices of:

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

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

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 6, 2006,
Capital Chofugaoka Co., Ltd., started liquidating assets on
Jan. 16, 2006.  Creditors are given until March 9, 2006, to
submit claims to Ms. Wendy Ebanks and Mr. Jon Roney, the company
liquidators.

The liquidators can be reached at:

           Wendy Ebanks
           Jon Roney
           Maples Finance Limited
           P.O. Box 1093 George Town
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands


DIVERSIFIED CREDIT: Sets Final Shareholders Meeting for May 10
--------------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of Diversified Credit Strategies Fund will have a
final general meeting on May 10, 2006, at 9:00 a.m. at:

           The Charles Building
           189 North Church Street,
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

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
five 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.

The company's liquidators can be reached at:

           Stuart Brankin
           Desmond Campbell
           Aston Corporate Managers, Ltd.
           P.O. Box 1981 George Town
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands


HYDROCARBONS TRADERS: Final Shareholders Meeting Set for May 4
--------------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of Hydrocarbons Traders Corp. will convene for a
final general meeting on May 4, 2006, at the registered offices
of:

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

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
five years, starting from the dissolution of the company.
Destruction of the records may then be allowed after such
period.

The company's liquidators can be reached at:

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


ORICO KNIGHTS: Invites Shareholders for Final Meeting on May 3
--------------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of Orico Knights Holdings are called for an
extraordinary final general meeting on May 10, 2006, at 10:00
a.m. at:

           BNP Paribas Private Bank & Trust
           Cayman Limited
           3rd floor Royal Bank House
           George Town
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

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
five 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.

The company's liquidator can be reached at:

           Piccadilly Cayman Limited
           Attention: Regina Foreman
           3rd Floor Royal Bank House
           George Town
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
           Tel: (345) 945-9208
           Fax: (345) 945-9210


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


BANCO DE CHILE: Moody's Changes C+ Rating's Outlook to Positive
---------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service affirmed the C+ bank financial
strength rating of Banco de Chile and changed the outlook to
positive from stable.  Moody's also affirmed Banco de Chile's
long and short-term foreign currency deposit ratings of Baa1 and
Prime-2, respectively.  The Baa1 rating is constrained by the
Chile country ceiling for deposits, and it remains on review for
possible upgrade in line with the ceiling.

Moody's indicated that the change in the BFSR outlook was based
on Banco de Chile's track record of improving financial
fundamentals, particularly its strong pre-provision and net
profit growth, its large and expanding market shares of loans
and deposits, and its strengthening asset quality.  Moody's also
stated that Banco de Chile's recurring earning power and fee
generation remains well above the system's averages, with strong
growth potential given the bank's solid client base,
distribution capability, and diversified product lines.

Moody's added that any upward movement of the BFSR will hinge on
sustained improvements in profitability, continued strong pre-
provision profits as a percentage of risk-weighted assets, and
the maintenance of good credit quality metrics in light of the
bank's increasing penetration of higher risk consumer and middle
market lending segments. Other key rating drivers will include
Banco de Chile's capacity to generate net interest income and
fees to cover operating expense growth, as well as to build
capital, said Moody's.

The agency expressed concerns, however, regarding the
potentially negative impact of a sharp rise in interest rates on
Chilean bank margins in the near term.  Moody's pointed out that
in the medium term, Banco de Chile's solid and growing base of
low-cost core deposits, as well as the repositioning of its
asset mix towards higher yielding credit segments, should help
cushion the repricing effect of rising funding costs.

Moody's also commented that the bank has relatively high
concentrations among its largest borrowers in the corporate
sector, as is the case for all the large Chilean banks, and that
this could make earnings vulnerable in an economic downturn.
The agency noted, however, that this risk is offset in part by
the predominantly high quality of Banco de Chile's corporate
portfolio and by its proactive approach to credit risk
management.

Banco de Chile was the second largest bank in Chile as of
December 31, 2005 in terms of total loans and equity, with
US$14.3 billion and US$1.5 billion, respectively.  Banco de
Chile earned US$351.5 million for the full year 2005 and US$85.5
million for the first quarter of 2006.

This rating was affected:

   -- C+ Bank Financial Strength Rating: outlook changed to
      positive from stable.



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


BBVA COLOMBIA: Net Profits Up 19% in First Quarter of 2006
----------------------------------------------------------
BBVA Colombia SA, the Colombian subsidiary of Spain's Banco
Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria aka BBVA, saw its net profits rise 19%
to COP40.11 billion in the first quarter of 2006, the bank said
in a statement.

The bank attributed the boost in its profits to its consumer and
corporate loan segments, which have increased.

Dow Jones Newswires relates that BBVA Colombia's loan portfolio
escalated 30% to COP5.47 trillion, while assets rose 33% to
COP9.533 trillion.

BBVA was quoted by Dow Jones saying that BBVA Colombia's recent
US$423.5 million acquisition of state mortgage lender Banco
Granahorrar resulted to the higher-than-expected assets.

                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on March 13, 2006,
Moody's Investors Service assigned a 'Ba3' long-term foreign
currency deposit rating on BBVA Colombia.  The outlook was
changed to stable from negative.


TERMOEMCALI FUNDING: S&P Ups Rating on US$153.7M Notes to CCC+
--------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised to 'CCC+' from 'D' its
foreign currency  rating on TermoEmcali Funding Corp.'s US$153.7
million restructured senior secured notes due 2019.  The outlook
is stable.

The rating action follows TermoEmcali's debt restructuring
process, which was closely related to Empresas Municipales de
Cali S.A.'s or Emcali debt restructuring.

Emcali is a municipal industrial and commercial state-owned
company
providing electricity, water, sewage, and local landline
telephone service in and around the city of Cali.  The company
went into payment suspension three years ago and resumed
payments six months ago.

The TermoEmcali facility is a 234 MW combined-cycle
thermoelectric power plant located 10 kilometers outside of
Cali.

As part of the restructuring of the notes, Emcali and
TermoEmcali have terminated their original purchase-power
agreement in exchange for tranche E notes issued and payable by
Emcali.  Therefore, TermoEmcali's debt service payments depend
mainly on Emcali's payment obligations under the tranche E
notes.  The restructured senior secured notes will be amortized
in monthly installments, with a final maturity on Dec. 31, 2019.

"The rating on the notes reflects the high degree of uncertainty
about Emcali's ability and willingness to honor its payment
obligations to TermoEmcali under tranche E," said Standard &
Poor's credit analyst Luis Manuel Martinez.  "Given Emcali's
historically weak financial position and on the absence of
recent data that signals a significant financial improvement, we
continue to consider Emcali's financial risk profile
vulnerable," said Mr. Martinez.

The stable outlook reflects Standard & Poor's expectations that
Emcali will generate sufficient cash to meet its obligations to
TermoEmcali under tranche E over the next 12 months.



=======
C U B A
=======


* CUBA: Will Buy US$20 Million Agricultural Goods from Alabama
--------------------------------------------------------------
Cuba will buy US$20 million in agricultural goods from Alabama,
USA, the Associated Press reports.

Pedro Alvarez, the leader of the Cuban food import company
Alimport, told AP that the US$20 million mentioned in Cuba's
letter of intent was expected to include paper, wood and
poultry.

Alabama's relationship with Cuba in recent years had been very
important to the farmers of the state, Ron Sparks -- Alabama's
agriculture commissioner -- was quoted by AP saying.

Mr. Sparks told AP, "Agriculture is very important to Alabama,
representing 467,000 jobs.  The relationship with Cuba ensures
we keep those jobs."

AP relates that Alabama is one of several US farm states still
pushing for more trade with Cuba, which has been under an
American trade ban for more than 40 years.

AP recalls that the US Congress passed in 2000 a law that has
allowed American food to be sold directly to the island on a
cash basis.  However, recent restrictions were imposed that
require Cuba to pay for the goods in full before they leave the
US.

                        *    *    *

Moody's assigned these ratings on Cuba:

      -- CC LT Foreign Bank Depst, Caa2
      -- CC LT Foreign Curr Debt, Caa1
      -- CC ST Foreign Bank Depst, NP
      -- CC ST Foreign Curr Debt, NP
      -- Issuer Rating, Caa1



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


FALCONBRIFGE LTD: To Renew Agreement With United Steelworkers
-------------------------------------------------------------
Falconbridge Limited and the United Steelworkers of America,
Local 9449 have reached a tentative agreement to renew the
collective agreement of the Raglan Mine located in Nunavik in
Northern Quebec, scheduled to expire on April 30, at midnight.

It is expected that employees will vote on the agreement by May
26, 2006.  Both the company and union bargaining teams
unanimously recommend the tentative agreement.

Details of the agreement will be released once it has been
ratified.

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

                        *    *    *

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



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


MILLICOM INTERNATIONAL: China Mobile Refutes Bid Rumors
-------------------------------------------------------
China Mobile (Hong Kong) Ltd. and parent company, China Mobile
Communications Corp. refuted reports of bidding for Millicom
International S.A., Dow Jones Newswires reports.

The Financial Times reported that Millicom International, which
put itself up for sale in January, has received an offer of US$4
billion from China Mobile, which is among the final bidders for
the mobile phone company.

"The Hong Kong-listed company is not involved in the bidding
process...we haven't heard that our mainland parent is involved
in the process," Rainie Lei, a corporate communications manager
for China Mobile (Hong Kong) told Dow Jones.

China Mobile's Chairman Wang Jianzhou previously disclosed in
March that the parent company was looking to obtain carriers in
emerging markets.  He added that if the acquired companies run
well then there is the possibility that they will be added to
the listed company, Dow Jones relates.

In 2005, China Mobile was among the final three bidders for
Pakistan Telecommunications for a 26% stake, but it was Emirates
Telecommunications of United Arab Emirates that won the bid.

                    About China Mobile

China Mobile Communications was spun off in 2000 from China
Telecommunications Corporation. With more than 100 million
subscribers, the company is China's leading mobile phone service
provider, ahead of China Unicom; worldwide, only UK-based
wireless giant Vodafone Group counts as many subscribers. China
Mobile Communications' publicly traded subsidiary, China Mobile
(Hong Kong), serves 76 million customers in 13 provinces and
plans to buy more provincial subsidiaries from its parent
company. China's Ministry of Information Industry controls China
Mobile Communications.

                  About Millicom Int'l

Millicom International Cellular S.A. -- http://www.millicom.com/
-- 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.

The Central America Cluster comprises Millicom's operations in
El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.  The population under
license in Central America as at December 2005 is 26.4 million.

The South America Cluster comprises Millicom's operations in
Bolivia and Paraguay. The population under license in South
America as at December 2005 is 15.2 million.

                        *    *    *

Millicom International's 10% senior notes due 2013 carry Moody's
B3 rating and Standard & Poor's B- rating.



===========
G U Y A N A
===========


* GUYANA: Will Join Free Trade with Common Market & Costa Rica
--------------------------------------------------------------
Guyana will join the three-way free trade agreement with the
Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) and Costa Rica,
Prensa Latina reports.

According to Prensa Latina, the accord allows the free
circulation of 90% of Costa Rican exports to the Caribbean
Basin.  About 4% of the products exported will be tax-free
within five years.  These include:

    -- milk
    -- cheese
    -- baby food
    -- decorative plants
    -- poultry
    -- textiles
    -- plastic manufactured goods, and
    -- electronics.

The ministry also told Prensa Latina that about 3.9% of the
exports like sugar and rice will not enjoy the benefits of the
agreement.

The agreement was signed in 2003 by 12 CARICOM members, the
Foreign Ministry told Prensa Latina.  The agreement was approved
by the Costa Rican Parliament in September 2005, two months
before Trinidad and Tobago decided to join.

Prensa Latina states that other members of the agreement are:

   -- Barbados
   -- Antigua and Barbuda
   -- Belize
   -- Dominica
   -- Grenada
   -- Jamaica
   -- St. Kitts and Nevis
   -- St. Lucia
   -- St. Vincent and the Grenadines
   -- Suriname, and
   -- Trinidad and Tobago.



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


* HONDURAS: President Blames Economic Model as Cause of Poverty
---------------------------------------------------------------
Honduras' President Manuel Zelaya blamed the economic model
responsible for the poverty the country is experiencing, Prensa
Latina reports.

President Zelaya said the economic model is exclusive and an
obstacle to solving the problems of the nation, Prensa Latina
relates.

President Zelaya was quoted by Prensa Latina saying that the
model only benefited small groups of power, who are getting rich
to the detriment of great majorities and ignore that millions of
Hondurans are dying of hunger.

According to Prensa Latina, the president claimed that he had
become the target of those sectors after he began to interfere
in their interests.  Thousands of businessmen and politicians
are against his measures to stop deforestation.

                        *    *    *

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



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


AIR JAMAICA: CEO Keeps Mum on Financial Losses
----------------------------------------------
Air Jamaica's Chief Executive Michael Conway has been tight-
lipped on the airline's financial position despite his
assurances of releasing the figures by the end of March, Al
Edwards at Jamaica Gleaner reports.

Air Jamaica is under investigation by a congressional panel
which seeks to know the reasons for the alleged US$136 million
financial and operational losses of the airline after the
government took control in December 2004.  Air Jamaica lost
US$99 million (J$6.25 billion) in the same year, of which a
US$40 million lost was due to damage cost by Hurricane Ivan and
the continued fall out of 9/11.

In 2005, the airline faced a lot of predicaments such as:

   -- maintenance problems,
   -- staff and route cutbacks,
   -- a reduction of its fleet of aircraft, and
   -- delays, and
   -- public dissatisfaction on performance.

Dr. Vincent Lawrence, Air Jamaica's former executive chairman
projected that losses in 2005 would not exceed US$90 million,
however sources within Air Jamaica refuted his claim, saying
that actual losses reached US$136 million.  For this year, local
industry players predict losses to reach US$160 million.

"At a time when Jamaica is experiencing record tourist arrivals
and the airline industry is enjoying an upturn, Air Jamaica's
load factor was 56 per cent in January, 54 per cent in February
and 52 per cent in March. Now anything less than 70 per cent is
a cause for concern.  I would place Air Jamaica's losses for the
rest of 2006 to come in at US$160 million," a former senior Air
Jamaica executive told Jamaica Gleaner.

The global airline industry is projected to lose US$2.2 billion
in 2006 versus the US$6 billion in 2005, according to Giovanni
Bisignani, head of the International Air Transport Association
based in Geneva.  The decrease in the projected loss is
attributable to the profitability among European and Asian
carriers that is expected to balance the narrower losses for the
U.S. airlines.

Mr. Bisignani added to predict that U.S. airlines would lose
US$5.4 billion for this year, under the assumption of average
oil price of US$57 a barrel.  The U.S. carriers lost some US$11
billion in 2005, the Jamaican Gleaner relates.

Ray Neidi, an airline analyst in Calyon Securities, said that
the rise in revenue per available seat mile is due to a higher
percentage of seats filled.  The IATA also projected a higher
profitability in 2007 that is attributable to a growing demand
and more efficient operations.  The global airlines body
supplemented this claim when it raised its forecast for 2007 to
US$7.2 billion global industry profit from a previous US$6.2
billion.

Mr. Stewart forecasted a US$120 million loss for Air Jamaica in
2005 as it faced problems on what model to employ.  On a seat
for seat basis, it lost twice the amount in 2005 under
government control than in its worse financially performing
year.  A prediction of even greater loss is projected for this
year based on its performance.

Under Mr. Stewart, the airline has under gone a re-imaging
program, under which the airline offered an on-time, no line
airline with champagne, red carpet flights and a flying chef.
The move was aimed at developing flying experience and
increasing travelers' patronage.

However, under government control, no effort was made in the
promotional and marketing programs of the airline in the last
fifteen months, erasing the creative image established by Mr.
Stewart.

Questions had been thrown on the reluctance on the part of the
senior management to talk publicly about Air Jamaica's financial
condition, adding that Dr. Lawrence's promised transparency has
not materialized.

Air Jamaica's flying time has been cut off to only about eight
hours or even less, after the hub was dismantled and flights
were reduced.  Before AJAG relinquished control on the airline,
flying time was nine and a half hours per day, it also has more
aircraft, stronger schedules, and better load factors.

"Air Jamaica is quickly losing its position and the validity of
having it is becoming more questionable. Right now it doesn't
have a Chief Financial Officer to guide its financial operations
which is suicide for a business as complex as running an
airline. Air Jamaica needs someone of the calibre of David
Davies (who has now returned to Sandals) to financially steer it
from oblivion," another former senior airline executive who
chose to speak under the condition of anonymity told the
Gleaner.

Mr. Conway told the Gleaner that he has a new business plan that
includes the aim to increase the airline's flying time to twelve
hours a day and to amortize its investments.  According to him,
these should see to the airline's return to profitability.

In 2005, the government sunk about US$300 million to the airline
and granted it a subsidy of US$30 Million a year.

Mr. Conway was not able to give his comment on why no
information about Air Jamaica's financial position has been
disclosed to the public.  However, some executives said that it
is a little too early to tell the effect of the government's
intervention after just fifteen months.

"We have restructured the airline and have a new Board. Progress
has been made and will continue to be made.  For the first two
months of this year, Air Jamaica had a schedule completion
reliability rate of over 99 per cent with our on-time
performance improving.  Mike Conway will be announcing more good
news very shortly," an Air Jamaica executive told the Gleaner.

However, a former Air Jamaica executive refuted this statement,
saying that Air Jamaica cancelled 60 flights in March after it
has reduced its fleet, which is a contrast to the claimed 99%
reliability.  Its route to London, which was a very good route,
is down by 20% because of the reduced flights from 9 to 7 a
week.

"This suggests that even Mike Conway has caught the propaganda
bug for distorted information," the former Air Jamaica executive
told the Gleaner.

                        *    *    *

Air Jamaica's US$200 million 9-3/8% notes due July 18, 2015,
carries Moody's B1 rating and Standard & Poor's B rating.


AIR JAMAICA: Finance Ministry Sees US$74.18-Mil Net Loss in 2006
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Ministry of Finance forecasted that Air Jamaica will lose
US$74.18 million in 2006, the Jamaica Gleaner reports.

However, the ministry told the Gleaner that compared to last
year's US$135.94 million loss, it is an improvement of 45.43% --
US$61.76 million.

According to the Gleaner, the ministry explained in the 2006
budget estimates for public firms that this year's improvement
will be due to a 13.36% -- US$45.39 million -- boost in
passenger revenue.

The Gleaner recalls that Dr. Omar Davies -- the finance and
planning minister -- said in 2005 that the airline's yearly
losses would be at US$30 million.

The Gleaner reveals that Air Jamaica has come up with strategies
that would increase revenues to US$433 million this year from
the US$385 million last year and decrease operating expenses by
4.09% -- US$20.03 million -- from 2005.

The government, since it resumed control of Air Jamaica in
December 2004, has embarked on a major restructuring program to
trim down route network and costs as well as inject new capital
and refinance short-term bank debts, the Gleaner relates.

However, the restructuring program experienced setback during
2005 due to rising oil costs, the Gleaner states.  The fleet was
also grounded for accelerated maintenance.

According to the Gleaner, Air Jamaica will launch a marketing
program to assist the recovery of passengers.  The finance
ministry said that Air Jamaica is challenged with recovering
lost clients in the middle of tough route competition from
sprouting low cost carriers out of profitable US gateways into
the island, high fuel prices and high fixed costs.

The Gleaner states that Air Jamaica will extend the operation of
its aircrafts to 12 hours per day from eight hours daily,
continuing service reliability and route rationalization.

The airline will reduce aircraft lease, costs associated with
the grounding of the fleet for accelerated maintenance during
2005, rental of aircraft spares and professional fees, the
Gleaner reports.

                        *    *    *

Air Jamaica's $200 million 9-3/8% notes due July 18, 2015,
carries Moody's B1 rating and Standard & Poor's B rating.



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


GRUPO ELEKTRA: Reports EBITDA of Ps1,189M for 2006 First Quarter
----------------------------------------------------------------
Grupo Elektra S.A. de C.V., one of Latin America's specialty
retailer, consumer finance and banking and financial services
company, reported its financial results for the first quarter of
2006.

"Consolidated revenue growth continues with its solid and
positive trend, reaching record levels for a first quarter, and
profitability increased considerably, generating a double digit
expansion in gross profit and EBITDA," commented Javier Sarro
Cortina, Chief Executive Officer of Grupo Elektra.  "We focus in
the profitability of our sales, promoting products and services-
like transportation related goods, mobile phones, money
transfers and extended warranties-that have an optimal
contribution to consolidated EBITDA, and at the same time add
enormous value to our customers and their families."

"Banco Azteca reported remarkable growth in fundamental
indicators like deposits, credit portfolio and revenues, and we
gradually consolidate a solid position in the group of leading
institutions in the most relevant banking variables," commented
Carlos Septien Michel, Chief Executive Officer of Banco Azteca.
"This allows us to improve our positioning in the mass market,
broadens the savings and consumption capacity in sectors that
were previously unattended, brings high-service standards to an
increased number of families, and further enhances our
perspectives for growth."

                     Financial Highlights

Millions of pesos of constant purchasing power as of
Mar. 31, 2006.

                                                     Change
                                1Q05     1Q06       $      %

    Consolidated Revenue       7,431    8,043     612     8%
    Gross Profit               3,386    3,855     469    14%
    EBITDA                     1,062    1,189     127    12%
    Net Income                   537      987     450    84%
    EPS (Pesos per Share) (1)   2.21     4.19    1.98    90%

                     Financial Division

Banco Azteca

Banco Azteca reported net income of Ps.125 million in 1Q06,
compared with Ps.208 million registered in 1Q05.  The reduction
primarily results from a 26% increase in operating expenses.

As of March 31, 2006, the estimated capitalization index of
Banco Azteca was 12%, higher than the 11% index reported at the
end of the same period in the prior year.  Banco Azteca's
capitalization index favorably compares with the 8% minimum
required by Mexican authorities.

Gross Credit Portfolio

The gross credit portfolio of Banco Azteca Mexico and Banco
Azteca Panama was Ps.16,213 million, 34% higher than the
Ps.12,069 million reported at the end of 1Q05. The average term
of the credit portfolio at the end of 1Q06 was 56 weeks, up from
the 53 weeks of the prior year.  At the end of 1Q06, we had a
total of 6.3 million active accounts, a 50% increase compared
with 4.2 million at the end of the same period a year ago.

Saving Accounts and Term Deposits

Net deposits were Ps.28,187 million at the end of 1Q06, 33% up
from the Ps.21,199 million of the previous year. The total
number of active accounts was 5.8 million, compared with 3.5
million a year ago.

Afore Azteca

Afore Azteca reported net income of Ps.22 million in the
quarter, 38% higher than the Ps.16 million of 1Q05.

As of March 31, 2006, Siefore Azteca reported Ps.10,919 million
in net assets under management.

Seguros Azteca

Seguros Azteca's net income for the quarter was Ps.49 million,
53% higher than the Ps.32 million reported in 1Q05.

                   Commercial Division

Revenue of the commercial division in the quarter was 4.6
billion pesos, 3% down from the 4.7 billion in the same period
last year.  Despite lower revenue, gross margin grew 360 basis
points to 33.8% in 1Q06, and gross profit increased 9% to 1.6
billion pesos.

                  Total Debt and Net Debt

As of March 31, 2006, the commercial division's total debt with
cost was 4.7 billion pesos, compared with 3.7 billion pesos
reported a year ago.  The net debt of the commercial division
registered a negative balance of 2.6 billion pesos, compared
with a negative balance of 1.2 billion pesos as of March 31,
2005.

               Consolidated Financial Results

Consolidated Revenue

Total consolidated revenue was 8.04 billion pesos in 1Q06, 8%
higher than the 7.4 billion pesos reported in the same period a
year ago.

EBITDA

Consolidated EBITDA reached 1.2 billion pesos, a 12% rise from
1.06 billion pesos in 1Q05, despite a 4% growth in the
consolidated cost.  This resulted in a 50 basis points increase
in the EBITDA margin to 14.8%, from 14.3% a year ago.

EBITDA & Operating Profit

Millions of Pesos of constant purchasing power as of March 31,
2006.

                                                     Change
                                1Q05     1Q06       $      %

    EBITDA                     1,062    1,189     127    12%
    Operating Profit             744      853     109    15%


Operating Expense

During the quarter, operating expense was 2.7 billion, an
increase of 14% compared with 2.3 billion in the same period a
year ago.  The increase was primarily due to the hiring of new
employees at the financial division, which represents a 57%
increase year-on-year.  In the 1Q05, Grupo Elektra had 28,510
employees in its two main business divisions; while at the end
of 1Q06 it had 38,350 employees, an increase of 35%.

Operating Profit

During the first quarter, operating income increased 15%, as a
result of the combination of an 8% rise in total revenues, as
well as the increase of 4% in costs and 14% in total expenses.

Comprehensive Cost of Financing

The commercial division reported a financial gain of 492 million
pesos in the quarter, compared with a 110 million pesos
financial loss a year ago.

The Comprehensive Cost of Financing was primarily influenced by
a gain in Cap. Instruments of 466 million pesos, compared with
1Q05, when the balance was zero, as a result of the rise in
Grupo Elektra's stock price during the quarter.  In addition,
there was a foreign exchange gain of 97 million pesos in the
quarter, from a 9 million pesos gain a year ago, as a result of
stronger exchange rate depreciation in the quarter, coupled with
a larger asset position in US dollars.

Net Income

The increase in EBITDA, together with a positive result in the
Comprehensive Cost of Financing were fundamental in generating
net income of 987 million pesos in the quarter, 84% higher than
net income of 537 million pesos in the same quarter a year ago.

Capex

As of March 31, 2006, capital expenditures were 186 million
pesos, mainly resulting from Banco Azteca's branch expansion and
the acquisition of fixed assets.

Cash and Cash Equivalents

As of March 31, 2006, total cash and cash equivalents were 23.1
billion pesos, 30% higher than the 17.8 billion pesos at the end
of 1Q05.  The increase resulted from a 47% growth in the cash
balance of the commercial division, to 7.3 billion pesos, and a
24% increase in the cash balance of the financial division to
15.8 billion pesos, in line with the rise in customer deposits.

Consolidated Gross Loan Portfolio

Total consolidated gross loan portfolio of Banco Azteca Mexico,
Banco Azteca Panama, and Elektrafin Latin America as of
March 31, 2006, was 17.05 billion pesos, 35% higher than 12.7
billion pesos as of March 31, 2005.

Consolidated Equity

Consolidated equity as of March 31, 2006, was 10.8 billion
pesos, 28% higher than 8.4 billion pesos of the previous year.

Grupo Elektra -- http://www.grupoelektra.com.mx-- sells retail
goods and services through its Elektra, Salinas y Rocha, Bodega
de Remates and Elektricity stores and over the Internet.  The
Group operates more than 1,000 stores in Mexico, Guatemala,
Honduras, Peru and Panama.  Grupo Elektra also sells and markets
its consumer finance, banking and financial products and
services through approximately 1,400 Banco Azteca branches
located within its stores, as a stand-alone, and in other
channels in Mexico and Panama.  Banking and financial services
include loans, electronic money transfer services, extended
warranties, demand deposits, pension-fund management, insurance,
and credit information services.

                        *    *    *

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

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


GRUPO MEXICO: May Reduce Stake in Southern Copper Corp.
-------------------------------------------------------
Grupo Mexico SA is considering a reduction of its majority stake
in Southern Copper Corp., Dow Jones Newswires reports.

Chief Financial Officer Eduardo Gonzalez was quoted by Dow Jones
saying that Grupo Mexico has been thinking seriously of an
outright sale of Southern Copper.

"We are not talking about just selling and leaving.  This is an
exchange of shares where we are seeking to remain as part of a
partnership with a new entity where we might be minority
shareholders," Mr. Gonzalez explained to Dow Jones.

However, the Grupo Mexico official informed Dow Jones that
discussions are ongoing and that there nothing is yet to happen.

Southern Copper acquired Minera Mexico SA in April 2005, lifting
the stake owned by its parent Grupo Mexico to 75.1%, Dow Jones
recalls.

Grupo Mexico SA de C.V. -- 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 C.V.:

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


GRUPO TMM: Reports First Quarter Earnings of US$1.39 Per Share
--------------------------------------------------------------
Grupo TMM, S.A., a Mexican multi-modal transportation and
logistics Company, reported earnings of US$1.39 per share for
the first quarter of 2006 compared to earnings of US$2.73 per
share a year ago.

TMM reported these results for the first quarter:

   -- Revenue of US$62.4 million, down 3.3 percent from US$64.5
      million the previous year.  Revenues in the first quarter
      of 2005 included US$4.9 million in revenue from the
      Company's port assets in Colombia, which were sold in the
      fourth quarter of 2005 and were impacted by changes in
      accounting policies for recording shipping agencies
      results.

   -- Operating income of US$1.7 million, up 41.7 percent from
      operating income of US$1.2 million a year ago.

   -- Operating margin of 2.8 percent, up 1.0 percentage point
      from the previous year.

   -- Net income of US$79.1 million compared to net income in
      the first quarter of 2005 of US$156.6 million. Of first
      quarter 2006 total net income, US$0.2 million was
      attributable to minority interest and US$78.9 million was
      attributable to Grupo TMM shareholders.  Of first quarter
      2005 total net income, US$0.8 million was attributable to
      minority interest and US$155.8 million was attributable to
      Grupo TMM shareholders.

Net interest expense of US$7.0 million was recorded in the first
quarter of 2006, compared to net interest expense of US$19.9
million in the first quarter of 2005.  Comprehensive financial
expenses of US$24.5 million, including US$17.2 million
attributable to the amortization of expenses associated with the
Company's 2007 Notes, were recorded in the first quarter of 2006
compared to comprehensive financial expenses of US$23.5 million
incurred in the first quarter of 2005, which included US$3.4
million attributable to the amortization of expenses related to
the Company's securitization program and expenses associated
with the Company's 2007 Notes.

SG&A increased US$1.0 million in the first quarter of 2006 to
US$8.4 million compared to the 2005 period.  This increase was
due mainly to peso appreciation of US$0.6 million, legal
expenses of US$0.3 million and US$0.1 million in additional
Sarbanes Oxley expenses.

TMM will reduce its current annual corporate SG&A by a further
1.5 percent of revenue during 2006, which will provide
approximately $5.0 million in additional free cash flow on an
annualized basis per year. Cost reductions will include the
simplification of procedures at all levels impacted by corporate
activities.  Additionally, each operating unit is exploring
additional cost-cutting measures, which should be formally
announced in the Company's second quarter release.  These steps
will insure that TMM will meet its EBITDA forecasts and will
also provide improved financial performance and growth in the
years to come.

In the first quarter of 2006, the Company reported a US$100.1
million gain mainly attributable to the US$110.0 million
contingent payment received from Kansas City Southern, which was
due upon the final resolution of Kansas City Southern de Mexico,
S.A. de C.V.'s VAT/Put lawsuits. In the first quarter of 2005,
the Company reported a US$176.4 million gain, net of income
taxes, which resulted from the sale of the Company's railroad
assets to KCS.

Additionally, shareholder equity improved US$76.1 million in the
first quarter of 2006.

Javier Segovia, president of Grupo TMM, said, "During the first
quarter we took steps to grow our revenue base, greatly reduce
our outstanding debt and set the stage for improved operating
profit performance during the remaining quarters of this year.
The significant reduction of debt and the acquisition of
minority interest joined with our intent to reduce SG&A will
ensure that we improve performance and reach our goal of an
annual EBITDA run rate for TMM of US$63 million by the beginning
of 2007.

"In the quarter, we reduced our 2007 Notes by US$331 million,
leaving US$157 million outstanding.  As we have previously
announced, we continue to explore ways to modify our outstanding
debt, lower our interest costs and free up working capital,
which would then allow the Company to increase its earnings and
create options for longer-term growth. When a solution has been
finalized in this regard, we will make an announcement.

Mr. Segovia continued, "Additionally, we purchased the minority
interest in our offshore vessels business segment and agreed to
purchase the minority interest in our harbor towing business
segment.  These two transactions, joined with last July's
purchase of two double-hull tankers, the operation of parcel
tankers, and other spot market tanker vessels currently in
operation, will provide a projected annual EDITDA run rate of
US$56 million for this division by the end of 2006. As oil
exploration in the Gulf of Mexico continues to flourish, the
prospects for rapid growth in this division will continue into
the next decade.

"In the first quarter, our Logistics division exceeded its gross
profit goal of US$2.0 million.  Operating profit was positive
compared to the last three quarters, which amounted to a total
operating loss of US$2.3 million.  The division's operating
profit was affected by the termination of a contract between
Kansas City Southern de Mexico and Ford Motor Company in late
March, in which TMM Logistics participated as a subcontractor.
In the first quarter total one-time charges against operating
profit were US$1.2 million.  Logistics is now well positioned
for sustainable growth with the addition of new trucks that came
online in March, yard improvements for maintenance and repair
facilities completed during the first quarter, and other new
services and product lines to be added.  The previously
announced estimated annual EBITDA run rate of US$22 million for
this division is on target.

"Our Ports division remains consistent, and an estimated annual
EBITDA run rate of US$2.6 million will be attained.  Starting in
the first quarter, we will only report net revenues at our
shipping agencies segment due to changes in accounting
standards."

Mr. Segovia concluded, "As we move into the remainder of 2006,
we see a Company focused on two major growth segments:
Specialized Maritime, based primarily upon oil exploration and
transportation of oil products; and the growth of imports,
exports, and distribution of products within Mexico.  We believe
both of these markets will provide TMM with opportunities to
position its assets and expand current customer bases, which
will accelerate our revenue and earnings.  During this first
quarter we have defined clear courses of action.  We must now
focus on execution."

                      Segment Results

Specialized Maritime

In the first quarter, Specialized Maritime reported:

   -- Revenue of US$31.2 million, up 4.3 percent from last
      year's US$29.9 million;

   -- Operating income of US$5.5 million, up 77.4 percent from
      US$3.1 million a year ago; and

   -- Operating margin of 17.6 percent, up 7.3 percentage points
      from the previous year.

In the first quarter of 2006, Specialized Maritime's gross
profit and gross margin increased 69.0 percent and 8.4
percentage points respectively, compared to the first quarter of
2005.

In the first quarter of 2006, offshore revenues decreased 15.5
percent to US$12.4 million compared to the same period last year
due mainly to a reduction of vessel activity under time charter
contracts compared to the same period last year.  Additionally,
first quarter 2006 revenues were negatively impacted by US$0.5
million due to a significant increase of cyclical dry dock
maintenance compared to the same period last year. However, in
the first quarter of 2006, costs decreased 21.1 percent and
gross margin increased 2.6 percentage points compared to the
same period last year, mainly due to the effect of cost
reductions resulting from the conversion of vessels from a
leased to an owned status in early March.

In the first quarter of 2006, product tanker revenues increased
56.4 percent to US$9.3 million compared to the same period last
year, gross profit increased from US$0.4 million to US$2.8
million, and gross margin increased 23.1 percentage points.
These increases were mainly due to contracted revenue from two
new cabotage contracts, which commenced last July.  These two
new contracts generated EBITDA of $4.0 million in the three
months ended March 31, 2006.

In the first quarter of 2006, parcel tanker revenues decreased
7.5 percent to US$6.7 million compared to the same period last
year, as the division operated one less vessel in the first
quarter of 2006 compared to the same period last year due to a
decrease in demand for these services.  Increased fuel costs
during the first quarter of 2006 did not have a significant
impact on this business segment, as the Company successfully
negotiated a fuel surcharge with several of its clients, which
offset fuel price increases.

During the first quarter of 2006, harbor towing revenues
increased 44.3 percent to US$2.8 million and gross profit
increased 42.8 percent compared to the first quarter of 2005.
These increases were mainly due to an increase of 34.0 percent
in vessel calls at the Port of Manzanillo compared to the first
quarter of 2005.  In the first quarter of 2006, costs increased
US$0.3 million due to the addition of one tugboat in October
2005, under a two-year bareboat contract.

In addition, on April 27, 2006 the Company purchased a modern,
12,000-horsepower anchor handling vessel built in 2004 at a
price of US$27.2 million from a Seacor subsidiary.  The Company
financed this purchase through a seven-year loan facility of
US$21.8 million.  This new vessel will be on a two-year time
charter contract with Pemex.

Ports and Terminals

For the first quarter, Ports and Terminals reported:

   -- Revenue of US$2.1 million, down 76.4 percent from last
      year's US$8.9 million;

   -- Operating income of US$0.5 million, down 44.4 percent from
      US$0.9 million a year ago; and

   -- Operating margin of 25.5 percent, up 15.8 percentage
      points from the previous year.

In the first quarter of 2006, the revenue decrease in Ports and
Terminals was impacted by the elimination of US$4.9 million of
revenue generated by the Company's port assets in Colombia,
which were sold in the fourth quarter of 2005 and also impacted
by changes in accounting policies at the shipping agencies
business segment.  In spite of the revenue loss, this division's
gross margin increased 22.5 percentage points compared to the
first quarter last year.

In the first quarter of 2006, revenues at Acapulco decreased
US$0.6 million to US$1.4 million compared to the same period
last year.  This decrease was mainly due to a 39.6 percent
decrease in cruise ship revenues, partially offset by an
increase of 4.2 percent in car handling revenues at this port.

Cruise ship revenues at this port decreased in the first quarter
of 2006 compared to the same period last year mainly
attributable to a cruise line that cancelled several calls
during the first quarter due to technical problems, which have
since been resolved, and to another cruise line that canceled
three calls as it switched routes from the Pacific to other
destinations.  Car handling volumes increased 26.0 percent in
the first quarter of 2006 compared to the same period last year,
as the division handled 6,813 automobile units to Japan and
Asia, compared to 5,406 in the first quarter of last year.

Logistics

In the first quarter, Logistics reported:

   -- Revenue of US$29.2 million, up 13.2 percent from last
      year's US$25.8 million;

   -- Operating income of US$0.7 million, down 46.2 percent
      compared to operating income of US1.3 million a year ago;
      and

   -- Operating margin of 2.3 percent, down 2.8 percentage
      points from the previous year.

The division's implementation of a restructuring plan continued
during the first quarter of 2006, and the division posted
positive operating profits for the first time in four quarters.
Gross profit of US$2.3 million demonstrated a US$1.3 million
improvement over the fourth quarter results of 2005.  Had it not
been for one-time charges of US$1.2 million, operating profit
would have been US$1.9 million, an improvement of $2.8 million
compared to fourth quarter of 2005.

Comparing the first quarter of 2006 to the same period last
year, revenues increased at several segments including:

   -- trucking 49.2 percent,
   -- automotive 10.3 percent, and
   -- dedicated inbound logistics services for major auto
      manufacturers 64.1 percent.

Revenue increases in the trucking division were mainly
attributable to the acquisition of 80 additional trucks and 60
additional trailers which were received in late March, as well
as to increased efficiencies in the utilization of existing
equipment.  Revenue increases in the automotive division were
mainly due to a 25.2 percent increase in tariffs compared to the
first quarter last year and to improved services in outbound
logistics for Volkswagen resulting in higher volumes.  Revenue
increases in dedicated logistics for major auto manufacturers
resulted from the continued increase in exports of the new
Volkswagen Bora model and to the increasing volume of
automobiles now being manufactured in Mexico instead of the
United States, including certain models for GM, Chrysler and
Ford.

For the full year of 2006, this division expects to generate
operating profit of US$10.0 million and gross profit of US$14.0
million from its current asset base.  With additional services
and assets to be added in warehousing and freight forwarding in
2006, the division' s estimated annual EBITDA run rate will be
US$22.0 million by the beginning of 2007.

                 Balance Sheet Improvements

As of March 31, 2006, TMM's total debt was US$296.4 million
compared to US$560.7 million at December 31, 2005.  It should be
noted that the Company's total debt is supported by US$196.0
million in a combination of cash on hand, marketable securities
and receivables from KCS, and with long-term contracted
revenues.

The significant reduction in debt during the first quarter is
the result of the Company's cash tender offer of its outstanding
Senior Secured Notes due 2007 on January 2006.  The Company paid
down approximately US$331.0 million aggregate principal amount
of the Notes plus approximately US$16.0 million in interest,
which reduced the outstanding principal amount of the Notes to
approximately US$157.0 million.  As a result of the tender offer
and pursuant to the terms of the 2007 Notes Indenture, the
interest rate of the Notes outstanding was reduced 1.0 percent
commencing February 1, 2006, such that if the Company elects to
pay interest in cash, the Notes will bear interest at 9 1/2
percent per annum.  On February 1, 2006, the Company paid the
2007 Notes coupon in cash.

             Acquisition of Minority Interests

On March 6, the Company announced that it had purchased Seacor's
40 percent interest in Maritima Mexicana, S.A. de C.V. or
Marmex, a joint venture Company dedicated to providing maritime
offshore services in Mexico's Gulf Coast.  As part of this
transaction, TMM also purchased five offshore vessels owned by
Seacor and flagged the vessels Mexican, and at the same time
converted three additional offshore vessels from leased to owned
status.  All eight vessels are working under time charter
contracts supporting offshore oil exploration and production
activities in the Gulf of Mexico.  The aggregate value of these
transactions was US$77 million, of which US$70 million was
financed. Interest expense will be $6.0 million during the first
year going forward, to be reduced in subsequent periods as
principal is repaid.

In addition, on March 8, the Company announced that it had
agreed to purchase the remaining 40 percent minority stake held
by the Dutch Company Smit in Servicios Mexicanos en
Remolcadores, S.A. de C.V., a joint venture Company dedicated to
providing harbor towing services at the Port of Manzanillo,
Mexico.  The agreed purchase price was US$9.5 million.


       Divisional Results (All numbers in thousands)

First Quarter 2006
                             Specialized
                     Ports     Maritime  Logistics   Others
Total
Revenues              2,104      31,189    29,159       (60)
62,392

Costs                 1,181      24,376    26,904      (146)
52,315

Gross Result            923       6,813     2,255        86
10,077

Gross Margin           43.9%       21.8%      7.7%    143.3%
16.2%

SG & A (Estimate)       387       1,321     1,573     5,080
8,361

Operating Results       536       5,492       682    (4,994)
1,716

Operating Margin       25.5%       17.6%      2.3%      n.a.
2.8%


(a) First Quarter 2005
                             Specialized
                     Ports     Maritime  Logistics   Others
Total
Revenues              8,888      29,930    25,760       (33)
64,545

Costs                 6,988      25,904    23,196       (27)
56,061

Gross Result          1,900       4,026     2,564        (6)
8,484

Gross Margin           21.4%       13.5%     10.0%   (18.2%)
13.1%

SG & A (Estimate)     1,036         943     1,246     4,092
7,317

Operating Results       864       3,083     1,318    (4,098)
1,167

Operating Margin        9.7%       10.3%      5.1%      n.a.
1.8%

Headquartered in Mexico City, Grupo TMM S.A. --
http://www.grupotmm.com/-- is a Latin American multimodal
transportation and logistics company.  Through its branch
offices and network of subsidiary companies, TMM provides a
dynamic combination of ocean and land transportation services.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Dec. 20, 2005,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its corporate credit
rating on Grupo TMM S.A. to 'B-' from 'CCC.'  The rating was
removed from Creditwatch, where it was placed on Dec. 15,
2004.  S&P said the outlook is positive.


METROFINANCIERA: Fitch Puts B Rating on US$75M Perpetual Notes
--------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has assigned a 'B' long-term rating to
Metrofinanciera's US$75 million perpetual non-cumulative
subordinated step-up notes. These securities will pay a fixed-
rate coupon of 11.25% with a step-up floating rate after the
tenth year.  Metrofinanciera may, at its option, redeem the
securities in whole at their principal amount plus accrued
interest at any time on or after May 16, 2016, or at any time in
the event of certain changes affecting Mexican tax regulation.

The 'B' rating reflects that these securities will rank junior
to senior debtors, which comprise the vast majority of total
liabilities (funding from government entities, bank facilities
and domestic commercial paper).  Interest on the securities will
not be due and payable and will not accrue or accumulate if
Metrofinanciera's capital ratio has declined below, or if such
interest payment would result in Metrofinanciera's capital ratio
declining below, the minimum percentage required by the Sociedad
Hipotecaria Federal or the Comision Nacional Bancaria y de
Valores; or if certain bankruptcy or default events occur.

Metrofinanciera's ratings reflect its adequate asset quality and
strong profitability, but also consider its tight
capitalization, low liquidity, systemic risks and high loan
concentration.  Similar to its peers, pressures on
profitability, asset quality and capitalization are slightly
increasing.  Metrofinanciera is a 'Sociedad Financiera de Objeto
Limitado' (SOFOL, a mortgage non-bank financial intermediary)
founded in 1996. At year-end 2005, it was the fourth largest
SOFOL in terms of loans, with a market share of 8.3%.

Fitch currently gives Metrofinanciera these ratings:

   -- Long-term: 'BB-';
   -- Short-term 'B';
   -- Individual 'D'; and
   -- Support '5'.

All ratings have a stable outlook.


PRIDE INT'L: Reports First Quarter Net Earnings of US$70.5 Mil.
---------------------------------------------------------------
Pride International, Inc. reported preliminary net earnings for
the first quarter 2006 of US$70.5 million and income from
continuing operations of US$69.7 million (US$.40 per diluted
share) on record revenues of US$566.9 million.  For the first
quarter 2005, Pride reported net earnings and income from
continuing operations of US$18.3 million (US$.12 per diluted
share) on revenues of US$466.2 million. Results included gains
on sale of assets, net of tax, of US$17.5 million (US$.10 per
diluted share) in the first quarter 2006 and US$3.5 million
(US$.02 per diluted share) in the first quarter 2005.

Growing worldwide demand for the Company's drilling rigs
contributed to record results during the first quarter 2006.
Dayrates increased for all of the Company's rig types and
operating regions, particularly for the Company's
semisubmersibles in West Africa and the Mediterranean Sea and
for jackups in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico.  Consolidated earnings
from operations for the first quarter 2006 totaled US$130
million, an increase of US$60 million compared with the first
quarter 2005 and an increase of US$44 million from the fourth
quarter 2005.  Earnings from operations included gains on asset
sales of US$27 million in the first quarter 2006, US$12 million
in the first quarter 2005, and US$5 million in the fourth
quarter 2005.  Excluding these items, operating results for the
first quarter increased US$45 million, or 77%, over the prior
year and US$22 million, or 27%, sequentially.

During the first quarter 2006, the average daily revenue for the
Company's drillships and semi-submersibles increased to
approximately US$135,800 as compared to approximately $119,800
in the first quarter 2005 and US$130,300 in the fourth quarter
2005, contributing to an US$11 million increase to earnings from
operations from the first quarter 2005 and US$9 million from the
fourth quarter 2005.

The average daily revenue of the Company's worldwide jackup
fleet increased to approximately US$64,800 as compared to
approximately US$40,100 in the first quarter 2005 and US$54,500
in the fourth quarter 2005.  Average daily revenue for the
Company's U.S. Gulf of Mexico jackups increased during the first
quarter 2006 to US$91,800, up from US$38,200 during the first
quarter 2005 and $65,300 during the fourth quarter 2005.
Increases in average daily revenue contributed to a $37 million
increase to earnings from operations for the jackup and shallow
water rigs from the first quarter 2005 and US$17 million from
the fourth quarter 2005.  In addition, during the first quarter
2006, the Company reported a gain of US$25 million on the sale
of the Pride Rotterdam, an accommodation unit.

The Company's Latin America Land and E&P Services segments
reported operating income of US$23 million and US$4 million,
respectively, for the first quarter 2006 as compared to US$14
million and US$6 million, respectively, for the first quarter
2005 and US$22 million and $4 million, respectively, for the
fourth quarter 2005.

At March 31, 2006, the Company's consolidated balance sheet
reflected US$1.2 billion in total debt and US$140 million in
cash and cash equivalents.  The Company invested US$46 million
in capital expenditures in the first quarter.

Louis A. Raspino, President and Chief Executive Officer,
commented, "We are pleased with our results for the first
quarter which reflect the strength of the offshore drilling
market, particularly in the shallow water U.S. Gulf of Mexico,
as we recontract our rigs at record dayrates. Continuing robust
demand for both deepwater and shallow water units indicates that
the current favorable market conditions are likely to continue
for an extended period of time."

As previously announced, the Audit Committee of the Board of
Directors is investigating allegations relating to improper
payments to foreign government officials, as well as various
accounting entries and internal control issues.  In light of the
status of the Audit Committee's ongoing investigation, the
Company has concluded that it cannot file its annual report on
Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2005 and its quarterly
report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2006 until
additional information is obtained, including information
necessary for the Company to complete its assessment of its
system of internal controls and the accuracy of its books and
records.

Headquartered in Houston, Texas, Pride International, Inc., is
one of the world's largest drilling contractors.  The Company
provides onshore and offshore drilling and related services in
more than 30 countries, operating a diverse fleet of 283 rigs,
including two ultra-deepwater drillships, 12 semisubmersible
rigs, 29 jackup rigs, and 18 tender-assisted, barge and platform
rigs, as well as 222 land rigs.  The Group has offshore
operations in Gulf of Mexico and South America and land-based
operations in South America.

                        *    *    *

As reported by Troubled Company Reporter on May 10, 2005, Fitch
Ratings upgraded Pride International's senior unsecured rating
to 'BB-' from 'B+'.  Additionally, the senior secured credit
facility rating has been upgraded to 'BB+' from 'BB'.  The
Rating Outlook has been revised to Positive from Stable.



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


ACEPAR: Spends Above US$2.5 Mil. in Equipment Buys & Upgrades
-------------------------------------------------------------
Acepar, a steelmaker in Paraguay, has spent more than US$2.5
million in purchasing and upgrading equipment to improve
operations, Juan Martinez -- the director of the company -- told
Business News Americas.

To improve plant performance and product quality, the steelmaker
bought a ladle furnace worth US$1.2 million, BNamericas relates.

Acepar is advancing with investments of US$840,000 for its
rolling train's upgrade, Mr. Martinez told BNamericas.  For this
project, the company bought four pieces of equipment.

According to BNamericas, Mr. Martinez said the pieces of
equipment bought are called Cajas Morgan.  These can be found
between the cutting train and the intermediary train.

Mr. Martinez also revealed to BNamericas that the company
investors and Cootrapar -- the workers cooperative -- agreed on
assembling a US$500 million drawing plant for products
manufactured by Acepar.  The project is currently in its initial
phase.

The drawing plant will reduce steel to wire or thread and will
be built close to Acepar, Mr. Martinez informed BNamericas.  The
company is situated on the Paraguay river in Villa Hayes.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Nov. 8, 2005,
Acepar restructured some US$26 million in debt owed to the
government during the 1997 privatization.  As part of the
agreement, Acepar made an upfront payment of US$6.2 million to
the Finance Ministry.  The company would pay the balance in four
installments of more than US$5 million annually.

The deal consisted of paying debt in 2009 and the state
receiving 100% of Acepar's stock as guarantee to be exercised
in case of default.

The agreement had put an end to all litigation between the state
and Acepar's controller, the Cerro Lorito consortium.  It also
marked the end of all claims between Cerro Lorito and the
steelmaker's workers cooperative.



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


* PERU: Will Issue Sovereign Bonds to Prepay Debt to Japeco
-----------------------------------------------------------
Peru plans to issue sovereign bonds in the domestic market, a
Finance Ministry spokesman told Dow Jones Newswires.

Dow Jones reports that the bonds will be sol-denominated and
will raise about US$83.9 million, which will be used to prepay
the country's remaining debt to Japan Peru Oil Co. Ltd. aka
Japeco.

However, no issue date has been announced, the spokesman told
Dow Jones.

Dow Jones states that government officials have been working to
restructure some of the country's external debt.  The government
disclosed in 2005 a repayment of some US$830 million to Japeco.

Peru placed in December US$238 million in sovereign bonds in
local market to pay the Japeco debt and placed US$500 million on
international capital markets by reopening its existing 2025
bond issue, Dow Jones recalls.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned 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 HOLDINGS: Walking Away from 26 Contracts & Leases
-----------------------------------------------------------
In the light of the recent sale of their assets to Trans World
Entertainment Corporation, the Debtors determine that they no
longer require several of their prepetition contracts and leases
on a going-forward basis.

The Debtors have preliminarily identified 26 executory
contracts, residential real property leases and personal
property leases that are no longer integral to their ongoing
business operations and that present potentially burdensome
liabilities:

Counter Party           Description
------------            -----------
AEC Direct              Services agreement
AIMCO-Clahoun LLC       Real Property Lease for Apartment No.
502
AIMCO-Clahoun LLC       Real Property Lease for Apartment No.
806
Cingular Wireless II    Agency Agreement for GoPhone Services
Cingular Wireless II    Executive Dealer Agreement
Cingular Wireless II    MLG Digital Entertainment Bar Trial Pact
Delta Dental            Dental insurance contract
Gelco Corp.             Leased Vehicle Servs. Agreement No. 2631
Gelco Corp.             Vehicle Lease Agreement No. 2631
Graphic Communications  Supply Agreement
HMSA                    Medical benefits contract
IBM Credit Corp.        Lease of 100 registers
IBM Credit LLC          Lease of three Sun servers
Mastercard Int'l.       Co-branding and marketing arrangement
MCS Life Insurance      Life insurance benefits contract
Next Galaxy Media       Private Label Agreement
Providian Nat'l. Bank   Credit Card Alliance Contract
RMS Networks Inc.       Marketing/advertising Agreement
Transport Int'l Pool    Lease of three trailers
United Online           Marketing agreement
VeriSign Services       Payment services agreement
Warner Bros. Consumer   Product License Agreement No. 15867
Warner Bros. Consumer   Product License Agreement No. 15919
Zimmerman & Partners    Marketing/advertising agreement
SPC Entertainment       License agreement
Int'l. Periodical       Supply Agreement
  Distributors Inc.

Accordingly, the Debtors ask the Court to:

   (a) authorize them to reject the Contracts and Leases,
       effective as of March 31, 2006;

   (b) prohibit counter parties and landlords to the Contracts
       or Leases from setting off or otherwise using security
       deposits or other monetary deposits without the Court's
       approval;

   (c) permit them to abandon property of de minimus value that
       may be contained within trailers certain counterparties
       provided under the Leases, without any liability to those
       counterparties; and

   (d) require the counterparties to the rejected Contracts and
       Leases to file a proof of claim relating to the
       rejection, on or before May 1, 2006.

James H.M. Sprayregen, Esq., at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, in New
York, notes that the Debtors may have claims against the
counterparties arising under, or independently of, the Contracts
and Leases.  The Debtors do not waive any claims or defenses.

                        *    *    *

Judge Bernstein approves the Debtors' request, except for the
Master Lease Agreement No. 2631 and the Master Services
Agreement No. 2631 between the Debtors and Gelco Corp.

The Court rules that the Master Lease Agreement No. 2631 will be
deemed rejected as of April 12, 2006.  Gelco will have an $8,250
administrative expense claim for rent accruing under Master
Lease Agreement No. 2631 for the period from April 1, 2006,
through April 12, 2006.  The Debtors will promptly pay the Gelco
Administrative Claim.

The Court further rules that Gelco will be entitled to assert an
administrative claim under Master Services Agreement No. 2631
for any services performed through April 12, 2006, on vehicles
the Debtors leased under Master Lease Agreement No. 2631.

                    About Musicland Holding

Headquartered in New York, New York, Musicland Holding Corp., is
a specialty retailer of music, movies and entertainment-related
products in the United States, Puerto Rico and the Virgin
Islands.  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. 10; Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., 215/945-7000)



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


DIGICEL: At Odds with TSTT Over Network Congestion
--------------------------------------------------
The Trinidad and Tobago Express reports that Digicel Ltd. and
the Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago are
throwing blames toward each other for failed calls and network
congestion.

Digicel has recently been granted license to operate in Trinidad
and allowed interconnection access to TSTT's network.

                   TSTT Blames Digicel

TSTT denied being responsible for "the alleged congestion being
experienced on the Digicel network," the Express says.

"On investigation, TSTT has learnt that Digicel is using the
domestic interconnect circuits to bring in international traffic
destined for TSTT's network," TSTT said in a statement.

Lisa Agard, TSTT's Vice President for Legal, Regulatory and
Carrier Services, said that what Digicel did is in violation of
the discussions that the parties have had in relation to
interconnection.

"Our investigation into the problem reported by Digicel has
revealed that Digicel's breach has in fact contributed to the
call failures," Ms. Agard said in a statement.

"The domestic interconnect circuits are not intended or designed
to carry such calls, but TSTT investigations have uncovered that
Digicel is using these circuits to bring in international calls
onto TSTT's network... on April 19, Digicel unlawfully
terminated 47,505 minutes on TSTT's network and on April 20 that
figure was 36,129 minutes," Ms. Agard said in a statement.

Ms. Agard told the Express that this case was also confirmed by
representatives of Digicel.

                  Digicel Doesn't Accept Blame

Digicel slammed TSTT's statement and subtracted itself from the
failed calls loop.

Digicel's responded in a statement: "TSTT is required to provide
Digicel with a certain number of interconnection circuits to
enable traffic to flow between the two networks. "As of today at
noon, over three weeks after TSTT committed to interconnect with
Digicel, the full number of circuits has still not been provided
by TSTT despite numerous requests."

Digicel's CEO, Stephen Brewer retorted:

"We will leave it to the public to speculate as to why TSTT has
not provided those circuits... we deny any allegations that
Digicel is at fault and refute the claim that Digicel ever
admitted to being at fault."

"Digicel has at all times acted responsibly and within the
law... this is just another attempt by TSTT to cast blame on
other parties for its sub-optimal performance in the face of
competition."

Digicel Limited is a wireless services provider in the Caribbean
region founded in 2000, and controlled by Denis O'Brien.  The
company started operations in Jamaica in April 2001 and now
offers GSM mobile services in 13 countries of the Caribbean
including Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Aruba, Grenada,
Barbados, Cayman, and Curacao among others.  Digicel finished
FY2005 with 1.722 million total subscribers -- 97% pre-paid --
estimated market share of 67% and revenues and EBITDA of US$478
million and US$155 million, respectively.

                        *    *    *

On Mar. 10, 2006, Fitch affirmed the 'B' rating of Digicel
Limited, senior unsecured debt, including the US$300 million
senior notes due 2012, following the announcement that it is in
the process of acquiring Bouygues Telecom Caraibe.  Fitch said
the Outlook for the Ratings is Stable.



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


* URUGUAY: Argentina Denies Mercosur Showing Bias
-------------------------------------------------
Uruguay's claim that Mercosur only serves its large members has
been refuted by the Foreign Ministry of Argentina,
Keralanext.com reports.

Keralanext.com relates that the Argentine Foreign Ministry
insisted that Mercosur is a work of all its four member nations.

Eduardo Sigal, the head of economic integration at the ministry,
told the Argentine Radio that Mercosur was not built in the
abstract but by its four member nations -- Argentina, Brazil,
Paraguay and Uruguay.

Mr. Sigal was quoted by Keralanext.com saying that the conflict
between Argentina and Uruguay over paper mills does not affect
Mercosur.

According to Keralanext.com, Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez
alleged that Mercosur was not working properly due to the
disadvantages that smaller member nations -- Uruguay and
Paraguay -- had experienced in relations with the larger Brazil
and Argentina.

Uruguay is angry at Argentina for failing to stop the protesting
Argentine environmentalists from blocking roads crossing into
Uruguay from Argentina over the paper mills issue,
Keralanext.com states.  Argentina has also rejected a request
from Uruguay to hold a meeting with the Mercosur council and of
the Mercosur Parliament commission.

Keralanext.com recalls that Argentina's President Nestor
Kirchner asked President Vasquez to conduct an environmental
impact study on the construction of the two paper mills on the
shores of the Uruguay River that marks the border between the
two nations.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned 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

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned 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


* URUGUAY: Discussing Mill Conflict with Argentina at May Summit
----------------------------------------------------------------
Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez will discuss its conflict
with Argentina regarding the construction of the pulp mills
during the European Union/Latinamerica leaders' summit next
month in Vienna, Merco Press reports.

Merco Press relates that President Vazquez was at first doubting
to participate in the summit due to the conflict with Argentina
as well as the internal disputes in Mercosur.

The president only decided to join when European Union Trade
Commissar Peter Mandelson expressed strong support for the
construction of the pulp mills, according to Merco Press.

Merco Press adds that President Vazquez is also interested in
continuing the EU/Mercosur free trade negotiations, which have
been delayed for months.

The country's diplomatic sources told Merco Press that the
president would like to see a re-launching of the free trade
talks and will personally lobby the matter.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned 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 assigned 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


* URUGUAY: President Eager for Mexico Participation in Mercosur
---------------------------------------------------------------
Uruguay's President Tabare Vazquez wanted Mexico to join the
Mercosur to bring better internal balance to the trade bloc, the
Dominican Today reports.

Mercosur would be a better bloc with the addition of Mexico,
which already has a free-trade pact with Uruguay and sectoral
agreements with Argentina and Brazil, President Vazquez told
Dominican Today.

"We believe that to achieve better internal balance in the
Mercosur process we need the participation of countries like
Mexico, and hence we are supporting its entry in a very open
way," President Vazquez was quoted by Dominican Today saying.

The Uruguayan president reiterated to Dominican Today that it
wants a better Mercosur, which he currently described as useless
to his country due to the paper mill conflict with fellow member
Argentina.  He said he wanted the bloc to respond to the
heterogeneous conditions of the countries and to the objective
of integration that serves everyone.

The point of economic integration in Latin America is to bring
in more wealth and distribute it with social justice, President
Vazquez informed Dominican Today.

Mexico's President Vicente Fox, on the other hand, told
Dominican Today that his country does not hide its great
interest in becoming a member of Mercosur.

President Fox said in the past that he would like his country
accepted into the Southern Cone bloc this year, Dominican Today
recalls.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned 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
=================


CITGO PETROLEUM: Repatriates US$785 Million to Venezuela
--------------------------------------------------------
Citgo Petroleum Corporation, the refining branch of Venezuelan
state oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela SA in the United States,
repatriated US$785 million this year, according to chief
executive officer Felix RodrĄguez, the El Universal reports.

Mr. Rodriguez said in an interview with TV channel VTV that in
the past, Citgo money remained in the United States.  However,
in 2005 the concept of refinancing was changed, restrictions
were left and Venezuela repatriated funds in 2006.

"Under the laws in this nation (the US), money could not be
repatriated because the commitments to shareholders, who saw
Citgo as a big financial business, prevented repatriation."

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

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

                        *    *    *

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.

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

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


CITGO PETROLEUM: Reports US$1.3 Billion in Revenues for 2005
------------------------------------------------------------
Citgo Petroleum Corporation, the refining branch of Venezuelan
state oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela SA in the United States,
recorded revenues for US$1.3 billion in 2005, according to chief
executive officer Felix Rodriguez as quoted by El Universal.

Mr. Rodriguez told state TV channel VTV that Citgo paid US$600
million to PDVSA for the Venezuelan oil delivered to Citgo
refineries, while the rest -- US$785 million -- was repatriated
in the form of dividends to Venezuela, El Universal says.

Mr. Rodriguez also said that Citgo's application of a netback
formula resulted in profits for PDVSA.

When asked about the Lyondell-Citgo refinery in Houston, Texas,
Mr. Rodriguez said that the plant reported losses in 2004 and
2005.  However, the facility is currently yielding profits.  "It
is a good refinery. The problem there is that we are a minority
partner," Mr. Rodriguez said.

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

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

                        *    *    *

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.

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

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


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Pequiven Wants Probe on Nicolas Maduro
--------------------------------------------------------------
Petroquimica de Venezuela SA or Pequiven -- a subsidiary of
state oil holding Petroleos de Venezuela SA -- asked the
National Assembly chairperson Nicolas Maduro, to conduct an
enquiry of the Macaraibo custom's head Carlos Ramones for
allegedly causing the company to lose US$24.6 million.

Pequiven's chief executive officer, Saul Ameliach, in his letter
to the National Assemby, accused Carlos Ramones of:

   -- hindering the company's normal operations which resulted
      to losses;

   -- endangering 2005 national sowing plan;

   -- endangering fuel production at Paraguana Refining Complex
      in northwestern Falcon state; and

   -- endangering people's health.

"This official (Ramones) has repeatedly obstructed normal
operations of the company (Pequiven), and additionally he has
caused patrimonial damages to the nation, which directly has a
negative effect on operational and commercial results of
Pequiven," Mr. Ameliach said in his letter.

Petroleos de Venezuela SA aka 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: Urges South American Nations to Stop US Trade Pacts
----------------------------------------------------------------
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez is urging other South American
countries to reject trade pacts with the US, Dow Jones Newswires
reports.

President Chavez told Dow Jones that South American countries
will have to choose whether they want continental unity or
individual trade agreements with the US.

"You either have one or the other...they're like oil and water,"
President Chavez was quoted by Dow Jones saying.

Dow Jones relates that the Venezuelan leaders' remarks were
aimed at Colombia, who has bilateral agreement with the US.

Colombia's President Alvaro Uribe told Dow Jones that his
country's accord with Washington does not affect its partners in
the Andean Community.  The Colombian leader asked President
Chavez to save the bloc.

However, President Chavez responded that he will form the
Bolivarian Alternative trade pact aka ALBA, Dow Jones recalls.
The trade pact, which Bolivia and Cuba are expected to join,
will be based on socialist principles, as an alternative to US-
backed free-trade deals.

Dow Jones states that President Chavez met with Brazilian
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Argentina's Nestor
Kirchner amid worries about the future of the Andean Community
of Nations trade bloc and Mercosur.

President Chavez informed Dow Jones that the one-on-one trade
deals with the US undermine continental unity.

                        *    *    *

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

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