TCRLA_Public/060510.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

          Wednesday, May 10, 2006, Vol. 7, Issue 92

                            Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

BANCO DEL TUCUMAN: 75% Acquisition Stake by Banco Macro Closes
BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Posts ARS64.1 Mil. Profit in First Quarter
BANCO MACRO: Concludes Acquisition of 75% Stake in Tucuman Bank
ESTANCIA VILLAVERDE: Individual Reports Due in Court on June 15
FRIGORIFICO LOS CORDOBESES: Claims Filing Ends on Aug. 1

METROGAS SA: Moody’s Assigns Caa2 Foreign Currency Rating
ORGANIZACION ODONTOLOGICA: Seeks Court Approval to Reorganize
RUBEN NARDONE: Court Moves Informative Assembly to June 23
SAJENCO SA: Sets May 19 Deadline for Proofs of Claim Filing

B E R M U D A

ANNUITY & LIFE: Reports Fourth Quarter 2005 Net Loss of US$14.7M

B O L I V I A

* BOLIVIA: Pres. Morales Intends to Nationalize Mining Sector
* BOLIVIA: Joins Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela in Mega Project
* BOLIVIA: Venezuela to Explore for Oil & Natural Gas

B R A Z I L

BANCO BMC: Completes Issuance of US$35 Million Bonds
BANCO BRADESCO: Posts Net Income of BRL1.53B in First Quarter
BRASIL FERROVIAS: America Latina to Sign Contract for Purchase
BANCO PACTUAL: UBS AG Buying Company for US$2.6 Billion
COMPANHIA SIDERURGICA: Concludes BRL600 Mil. Debentures Issuance

GERDAU S.A.: Posts Interest Payment for First Quarter 2006

C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S

ANTIRO CONVERTIBLE: Filing of Proofs of Claim Ends on May 18
ANTIRO FIXED: Verification of Creditors' Claims Ends on May 18
ASTER CITY CABLE EUROPE: Sets Final General Meeting for May 23
ASTER CITY CABLE SBS: Holds Final General Meeting on May 23
CAMARGO CORREA: Fitch Assigns BB Rating on US$250MM Notes

FINANCE HIGH: Sets May 19 Deadline for Proofs of Claim Filing

C H I L E

AES CORP.: Unit Posts CLP17,863 Mil. First Quarter Earnings
AES CORP.: Chilean Unit to Distribute CLP20,750 Mil. Dividend
AES CORP: Discloses Strong First Quarter Results in 2006
COEUR D’ALENE: Net Income Reaches US$14.3M in 2006 First Quarter

C O L O M B I A

BANCOLOMBIA SA: Acquires Majority Participation in Comercia

* COLOMBIA: Inks Economic Cooperation Pact with China

C O S T A   R I C A

* COSTA RICA: Probes Alleged Payments Using Banana Funds

C U B A

* CUBA: US Files Bill to Prevent Oil Drilling Near Florida Keys

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

FALCONBRIDGE LTD: Contends Inco Sale Pact Holds Strong Value
FALCONBRIDGE: European Commission to Object to Inco Transaction

* DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Minister Considers US Free Trade Agreement

E L   S A L V A D O R

* EL SALVADOR: Inks Economic Cooperation Agreement with China

G U A T E M A L A

* GUATEMALA: Implements Daylight Saving Time
* GUATEMALA: Inks Economic Cooperation Accord with China

H O N D U R A S

* HONDURAS: Government Plans to Privatize State-Run Hondutel
* HONDURAS: Plans to Implement Daylight Saving Time
* HONDURAS: Zinc Industry Recovering from Price Fall

J A M A I C A

AIR JAMAICA: Management Resumes Wage Negotiations with Union

M E X I C O

BALLY TOTAL: Deutsche Bank May Finance Leveraged Buy-Out Deal
TELEFONOS DE MEXICO: Analyst See Modest First Quarter Results
TV AZTECA: Holds Talks with US Securities & Exchange Commission

N I C A R A G U A

* NICARAGUA: Implements Daylight Saving Time
* NICARAGUA: Signs Economic Cooperation Pact with China

P A N A M A

BANCO LATINAMERICANO: Declares US$2.217 Per Share Cash Dividend
GRUPO FINANCIERO: Fitch Affirms C Individual Rating
PRIMER BANCO: Faces Suit on Unpaid Interest

* PANAMA: Signs Economic Cooperation Accord with China

P A R A G U A Y

P E R U

TELEFONICA DEL PERU: Acme Packet to Provide VoIp Services

P U E R T O   R I C O

GLOBAL HOME: Selling Burnes Units' Assets for US$37.3 Million
GLOBAL HOME: Will Auction Burnes Units' Assets on May 22
MUSICLAND HOLDING: Court Extends Removal Period to July 12
OCA INC: Inks Accord with Senior Lenders & Panel on Plan Terms

V E N E Z U E L A

PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Assures Normal Deliveries from Paraguana
PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: May Seek US$20B Funding from Int'l Banks
PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Parliament OKs Mixed Companies’ Pacts

* VENEZUELA: Will Explore for Oil & Natural Gas in Bolivia
* VENEZUELA: Mixed Companies Invest US$70M in Endogenous Dev’t


                          - - - - -


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


BANCO DEL TUCUMAN: Banco Macro Closes Acquisition of 75% Stake
-------------------------------------------------------------- Banco
Macro's acquisition of a 75% stake in provincial bank Banco del Tucuman
has been completed.

In November 2005, the stake that was owned by Banco Comafi was purchased
for US$17.3 million while the stake owned by Empresario del Tucuman was
bought for US$10 million, Business News Americas recalls.

Due to the purchase, Banco Macro became the financial agent of Tucuman,
BNamericas says.

                        *    *    *

On Dec. 13, 2005, Moody's Investors Service affirmed the credit
ratings of Banco Macro:

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

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Dec. 13, 2005, Moody's
Investors Service placed the B1 global local-currency
deposit rating and the Aa3.ar national scale local-currency
deposit rating of Banco del Tucuman S.A. (Tucuman) under review
for possible upgrade.

The ratings agency also affirmed Tucuman's bank financial
strength rating of E.


BANCO HIPOTECARIO: Posts First Quarter ARS64.1 Million Profit
-------------------------------------------------------------
Banco Hipotecario, an Argentine mortgage bank, saw profit rise 27% to
ARS64.1 million in the first quarter 2006, compared to the same quarter in
2005, Business News Americas reports, citing a press statement from the
bank.

According to the same statement, interest revenues in this year's first
quarter was higher while public sector exposure declined.

Hipotecario said in its press release that net financial income was
ARS82.0 million, dropping 4.5%, as financial revenues fell 20.5% to ARS172
million due to non-recurring repurchases of its restructured debt.

Costs amounted to ARS90.1 million -- a 31% drop from that of last year --
as Hipotecario fully repaid its debt with the central bank under the
matching mechanism as well as the subscription of government bonds --
bodens -- that due on 2012.

Administrative expenses increased 28.8% to ARS35.0 million due to higher
salaries and the launching of new products.

Net financial margin increased 4% from 3.78% in this quarter as the
efficiency ratio rose 36.6% from 27.7%.

Loans, on the other hand, decreased to ARS2.41 billion -- about 11.4% --
at the end of the quarter because of lower lending to the non-financial
public sector and mortgage loan securitizations.

Lending to private firms, however, reached ARS2.30 billion -- a 9.4% boost
from the same quarter in 2005 -- and provisions fell 38.9% to ARS200
million.

Non-performing loans as a percentage of total loans was 6.38% while last
year it was 10.5%.

Liabilities amounted to ARS6.15 billion -- a 13.6% drop compared to the
same quarter last year -- and net equity increased 13.3% to ARS2.28
billion.

                        *    *    *

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

                        *    *    *

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

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

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

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

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


BANCO MACRO: Concludes Acquisition of 75% Stake in Tucuman Bank
---------------------------------------------------------------
Banco Macro, fka Banco Macro Bansud, disclosed in a press release that it
completed the acquisition of a 75% stake in provincial bank Banco del
Tucuman.

Business News Americas recalls that Banco Macro purchased in November last
year the stake from Banco Comafi for US$17.3 million and from Banco
Empresario del Tucuman aka BET for US$10 million.

As a result of the purchase, Banco Macro became the financial agent of the
Tucuman province, BNamericas relates.

                        *    *    *

On Dec. 13, 2005, Moody's Investors Service affirmed the credit
ratings of Banco Macro:

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

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Dec. 13, 2005, Moody's
Investors Service placed the B1 global local-currency
deposit rating and the Aa3.ar national scale local-currency
deposit rating of Banco del Tucuman S.A. (Tucuman) under review
for possible upgrade.

The ratings agency also affirmed Tucuman's bank financial
strength rating of E.


ESTANCIA VILLAVERDE: Individual Reports Due in Court on June 15
---------------------------------------------------------------
Ofelia Mabel Molina, trustee appointed by a court based in La Pampa for
the bankruptcy of Estancia Villaverde S.R.L., will present individual
reports on June 15, 2006, Infobae reports.

According to Infobae the individual reports were based on the claims
submitted by the company's creditors.  The claims verification ended on
May 3, 2006.

A general report is expected in court on Aug. 11, 2006.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Ofelia Mabel Molina
         L.N. Alem 370, Santa Rosa
         La Pampa, Argentina


FRIGORIFICO LOS CORDOBESES: Claims Filing Ends on Aug. 1
--------------------------------------------------------
Beatriz Dominguez, the court-appointed trustee, has started verifying
claims against Frigorifico Los Cordobeses S.R.L.

La Nacion relates that Buenos Aires' Court No. 24 declared the company's
bankruptcy in favor of Arturo Fernandez, whom the company owes
US$3,080.25.

Clerk No. 48 assists the court in this case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Frigorifico Los Cordobeses S.R.L.
         Lisandro de la Torre
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Beatriz Dominguez
         Rivadavia 2151
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


METROGAS SA: Moody’s Assigns Caa2 Foreign Currency Rating
---------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service assigned a Caa2 foreign currency rating to
Metrogas' restructured notes and a B1.ar in the national scale.  The
Corporate Family rating was upgraded to Caa2 from Ca.  The rating outlook
is positive.

Moody´s National Scale Ratings are intended as relative measures of
creditworthiness among debt issues and issuers within a country, enabling
market participants to better differentiate relative risks. NSRs in
Argentina are designated by the ".ar" suffix.  NSRs differ from global
scale ratings in that they are not globally comparable to the full
universe of Moody´s rated entities, but only with other rated entities
within the same country.

This rating action is the consequence of Metrogas' debt restructuring of
its outstanding dollar-denominated debt, which has been in default since
mid 2002.  After a long period of discussions and negotiations with
creditors, last November, 2005 Metrogas presented a proposal, which was
accepted by 95% of creditors that includes a cash tender offer.

The rating up-grade takes into consideration the cash debt reduction which
is result of the restructuring, and the more feasible debt profile the
company consequently has arranged, which includes extended maturities and
reduced interest rates on the new bonds.  However, the company was not
able to reduce its foreign currency exposure, and as such almost all the
new debt will continue being denominated in foreign currency while the
revenues are denominated in the local currency. Moreover, the tariffs the
company is paid for service remain frozen and there is considerable
uncertainty as to the outcome of the tariff renegotiations with the
government on how and when it rate changes would be implemented.

From an operating point of view, the company's operations have been
influenced by growing gas demand within the context of relatively low gas
prices (propagated by government interference in the market) and growing
economic activity.  Cash generation for Metrogas has been positive in
relation to debt, especially in the absence of dividend payments and debt
service since 2002.  Retained cash flow to debt has been higher than 10%
for the last 3 years and free cash flow to debt at 8.6% on average.  This
should be seen within the context of

   a) no interest payments,
   b) no dividends payments, which are restricted due to default
      and negative cumulated earnings, and
   c) minimal capital expenditures.

The company's strategy focuses on cash maximization and capex sufficient
to sustain day-to-day operations, without jeopardizing safety.  As a
result, from 2002 to 2005 Metrogas accumulated some U$S 160 million in
cash, which will be used to implement the cash tender. Despite the cash
debt reduction, at current tariff levels, leverage will continue to be
high overall.  Estimated debt to free cash flow is higher than 14x and
debt to capitalization ratio, although improved, remains at the 50 to 60%
range.

The positive outlook reflects the potential improvement of fixed charge
burden on the company, in light of the new refinancing agreement and the
potential for a tariff increase which could enhance the company's future
profitability and cash generation.

Metrogas, an Argentinean gas distribution company, was created in 1992 as
a result of the privatization of the estate owned gas company, Gas del
Estado.  It is one of the eight gas distribution companies in the country
with operations in the capital city and southern area of Buenos Aires
Province, one of the biggest concession areas in terms of number of
clients.  Metrogas is controlled by GAS Argentino, a holding company.  BG
Inversora and YPF Inversora Energetica are Gasa main shareholders.


ORGANIZACION ODONTOLOGICA: Seeks Court Approval to Reorganize
-------------------------------------------------------------
Buenos Aires' Court No. 20 is reviewing the merits of Organizacion
Odontologica Centauro S.R.L.'s petition to reorganize.  La Nacion recalls
that the company filed the petition following cessation of debt payments.
Reorganization will allow the company to avoid bankruptcy by negotiating a
settlement with its creditors.

Clerk No. 40 is assisting the court on the company's case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Organizacion Odontologica Centauro S.R.L.
         Balcarce 353
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


RUBEN NARDONE: Court Moves Informative Assembly to June 23
----------------------------------------------------------
The informative assembly of Ruben Nardone S.R.L., a company under
reorganization, has been moved to June 23, 2006, from April 12, 2006, by
order of the civil and commercial tribunal in Rosario, Sante Fe.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on July 18, 2005, the
creditors of the company were given until July 7, 2005, to submit claims
against the company to the appointed trustee, Juan Carlos Blanco.

The individual report was submitted Sept. 1, 2005.  The submission of a
general report was scheduled on Oct. 28, 2005.

The debtor can be reached at:

          Ruben Nardone S.R.L.
          San Lorenzo 1131, Rosario
          Santa Fe Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

          Juan Carlos Blanco
          San Lorenzo 1131, Rosario
          Santa Fe, Argentina


SAJENCO SA: Sets May 19 Deadline for Proofs of Claim Filing
-----------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of bankrupt company Sajenco S.A. are required to
present proofs of their claim to Hector Franco, the court-
appointed trustee, for verification on or before May 19, 2006,
La Nacion reports.  Creditors who fail to submit the required
documents by May 19 will not qualify for any post-liquidation distributions.

Buenos Aires' Court No. 25 declared the company bankrupt, in
favor of Cooperativa Interamericana Limitada, whom the company owes
US$50,500.

Clerk No. 50 assists the court on the case.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Sajenco S.A.
         Talcahuano 1146
         Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

         Hector Franco
         Chacabuco 178
         Buenos Aires, Argentina



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


ANNUITY & LIFE: Reports Fourth Quarter 2005 Net Loss of US$14.7M
----------------------------------------------------------------
Annuity and Life Re (Holdings), Ltd., has reported financial results for
the three months and year ended December 31, 2005.  The Company reported a
net loss of US$(14.7) million or US$(0.60) per fully diluted share for the
three months ended December 31, 2005, as compared to a net loss of
US$(59.6) million or US$(2.30) per fully diluted share for the three
months ended December 31, 2004.  The Company reported a net loss of
US$(18.6) million or US$(0.73) per fully diluted share for the year ended
December 31, 2005, as compared to a net loss of US$(68.3) million or
US$(2.64) per fully diluted share for the year ended December 31, 2004.
The fourth quarter 2005 loss included a US$(15.2) million charge related
to the closing of the transaction with the Wilton Re subsidiaries.

Net realized investment losses for the three months ended December 31,
2005 were US$(69,162), as compared with net realized investment losses of
US$(16,636) for the three months ended December 31, 2004.  Net realized
investment gains for the year ended December 31, 2005 were US$431,459, as
compared with net realized investment gains of US$439,536 for the year
ended December 31, 2004.

Gross unrealized losses on the Company's investments were US$(837,723) as
of December 31, 2005, as compared to gross unrealized gains of US$1.02
million at December 31, 2004.  The Company's investment portfolio
currently maintains an average credit quality of AA.  Cash used by
operations for the year ended December 31, 2005 was US$51.3 million as
compared to cash used by operations of US$59.07 million for the year ended
December 31, 2004.  The cash used by operations in the year ended December
31, 2005 includes amounts associated with the novation or coinsurance of
all remaining reinsurance agreements.

Annuity and Life Re (Holdings), Ltd. -- http://www.alre.bm/or
http://www.annuityandlifere.com/-- provides annuity and life
reinsurance to insurers through its wholly owned subsidiaries,
Annuity and Life Reassurance, Ltd., and Annuity and Life
Reassurance America, Inc.

                      Going Concern Doubt

Chartered Accountants of Hamilton, Bermuda, raised substantial
doubt about the company's ability to continue as a going concern
after it audited the company's annual report for 2004.  The
auditor pointed to the company's significant losses from
operations and experience of liquidity demands.



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


* BOLIVIA: Pres. Morales Intends to Nationalize Mining Sector
-------------------------------------------------------------
"Our mineral resources, our forests and our water resources should be
returned to the hands of Bolivians," Bolivian President Evo Morales told a
crowd on Sunday during an agricultural fair in La Paz.

President Morales has made known his intention to nationalize the
country's mining industry despite oppositions from senior cabinet members,
the Financial Times says.

Last week, Pres. Morales announced the nationalization of Bolivia's
hydrocarbons industry.  He then, sent troops to occupy gas fields and
raised taxes to 82% on the country's largest gas fields.

Pres. Morales' announcement to nationalize the mining industry could
dampen potential bidders of the El Mutun iron ore deposit.  The deadline
for the presentation of bid offers will end on May 22.

Among the companies which presented offers are:

   * EMPX Siderurgica from Brazil,
   * Luneng Shandong Group from China,
   * Rotterdam-headquartered Mittal Steel,
   * Siderar from Argentina, and
   * Jindal Steel & Power from India.

El Mutun -- one of the world's largest iron ore deposits -- has about 40Bt
of reserves over 60 sq km in Santa Cruz department with an average content
of 50% iron, according to official figures.

According to FT, companies are uncertain about the rules for operation
considering the government's insistence that the project be fuelled by
natural gas.

Bolivia's president faces tough conversations during this week's summit of
Latin American and European leaders in Vienna, Austria.  The FT says that
Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the Spanish prime minister, is under
pressure at home to take a hard line with Pres. Morales to defend the
interests of Repsol, the Spanish energy giant that is the second biggest
foreign investor in Bolivia.

                       *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Bolivia:

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


* BOLIVIA: Joins Argentina, Brazil & Venezuela in Mega Project
--------------------------------------------------------------
During a press conference held in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, on the
occasion of the Tetralateral Meeting attended by Head of States of:

   -- Bolivia, Evo Morales;
   -- Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula Da Silva;
   -- Argentina, Nestor Kirtchner and
   -- Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez,

it was addressed the recent nationalization of hydrocarbon resources in
Bolivia as well as the key issue of the meeting, the Great Gas Pipeline of
the South.

During his speech, the President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
said that “thanks to the sovereign move Bolivia made when it nationalized
its hydrocarbon resources, we have speeded the incorporation of this
country into the Gas Pipeline of the South project.”

At the meeting, Head of States of Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela
submitted an invitation to the President of Bolivia to join the Great Gas
Pipeline of the South project.  President Chavez emphasized that “the Gas
Pipeline of the South guarantees gas supply which means a century of clean
and cheap energy supply to all people of South America.”

At the end of his speech, President Chavez said that “we have no other
alternative but integration, if we want to be part of this world, the
so-called globalized world: take our peoples out of underdevelopment,
poverty and put forward a real project of Latin American integration.”

                        *    *    *

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 Brazil:

                     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

                        *    *    *

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

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Bolivia:

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


* BOLIVIA: Venezuela to Explore for Oil & Natural Gas
-----------------------------------------------------
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez told Dow Jones Newswires that his
country will conduct oil and natural gas exploration in Bolivia.

"We are going to look for more gas and oil reserves in Bolivia," President
Chavez announced during his television and radio program on Sunday.

Dow Jones recalls that Petroleos de Venezuela SA aka PDVSA, Venezuela's
state oil firm, had promised technical assistance and investment to aid
Bolivia in exploring for as well as extracting natural gas and oil.

PDVSA would take an active role in the exploration, President Chavez
informed Dow Jones.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Bolivia:

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

                        *    *    *

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



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


BANCO BMC: Completes Issuance of US$35 Million Bonds
----------------------------------------------------
Brazilian bank Banco BMC completed last week an overseas bond issuance of
US$35 million, according to local financial daily Valor Economico.

Dow Jones Newswires relates that the issue is part of Banco BMC's US$200
million foreign bonds program.  Business News Americas adds that it was
coordinated by Standard Bank, a South African investment bank.

The 24-month bonds will pay an annual yield of 8.75%, Dow Jones says.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 10, 2006, Fitch
Ratings has affirmed Banco BMC S.A.'s national ratings at
long-term 'BBB- (bra)' and Short-term 'F3(bra)'.  Its other
ratings are:

   -- local and foreign currency Issuer Default 'B-',
   -- Short-term 'B',
   -- Individual 'D/E' and
   -- Support '5'

Fitch said the Outlooks for all the Issuer Default and Long-term National
ratings are Stable.


BANCO BRADESCO: Posts BRL1.53B of Net Income in First Quarter
-------------------------------------------------------------
Banco Bradesco has posted net income of BRL1.530 billion in the first
quarter of 2006 (equivalent to EPS of BRL1.56), compared to the BRL1.2
billion net income recorded in the same period of 2005 (equivalent to EPS
of BRL1.22), a 27% increase.  Net income in the quarter was 4.6% higher
than in the fourth quarter of 2005, which was BRL1.46 billion.  Return on
Average Stockholders' Equity stood at 34.6% (35.3% in 4Q05 and 34.7% in
1Q05).  Total Assets reached BRL216.4 billion, with a BRL25.1 billion or
13.1% increase in the year and a BRL7.7 billion or 3.7% increase in the
quarter.

In the 1st quarter of 2006, 30% of Bradesco's net income was originated by:

   -- Loans,
   -- 30% by Insurance,
   -- Pension Plans and Savings Bonds,
   -- 25% by Fee Income and
   -- 15% by Securities and Treasury.

Adjusted net interest income reached BRL4.975 billion, up by 35.8%
compared to 1Q05, and by 8.1% compared to 4Q05.  Fee income grew by BRL379
million, or 22.8% between March 2005 and 2006, totaling BRL2.040 billion.
Fee income expanded by BRL30 million, or 1.5%, compared to 4Q05.

Bradesco's efficiency ratio for the accumulated 12-month period continues
to present a constant improvement, standing at 52.7% in March 2005, 48.1%
in June 2005, 45.7% in September 2005, 44.8% in December 2005 and,
finally, 42.9% in March 2006.

Bradesco's market capitalization as of March 31, 2006 reached BRL72.6
billion, corresponding to a 104.5% jump in 12 months, a variation
significantly higher than Ibovespa's, which evolved by 42.6%.

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

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Feb. 23, 2006,
Moody's Investors Service shifted Banco Bradesco S.A.'s 'C-'
bank financial strength rating to positive from stable.



BRASIL FERROVIAS: America Latina to Sign Contract of Purchase
-------------------------------------------------------------
A contract for the purchase of Brasil Ferrovias and Novoeste will be
signed by America Latina Logistica aka ALL this week, according a
statement from ALL.

Reports say the deal estimated at BRL1.3 billion will involve a stock
swap.  Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social aka BNDES and
pension funds Funcef and Previ will each hold 15% stake in ALL.

Business News Americas recalls that in March, BNDES, Fundacao dos
Economiarios Federais and Caixa de Previdencia dos Funcionarios do Banco
do Brasil put their shares in two of Brasil Ferrovias' concessions for
sale:

    -- Novoeste Brasil, and
    -- Nova Brasil Ferrovias.

According to BNamericas, ALL has acquired Brasil Ferrovias' 6,300km of
tracks in:

     -- Sao Paulo,
     -- Mato Grosso, and
     -- Mato Grosso do Sul.

BNamericas states that the acquisition will increase ALL's rail network
within Brazil as the company operates 6,400km of tracks in Sao Paulo,
Parana, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul states, as well as 9,400km in
Argentina.

Brasil Ferrovias' concessions operate in Sao Paulo, Mato Grosso,
and Mato Grosso do Sul states.   On March 15, 2006, Sao Paulo
State Judge Caio Marcelo Mendes de Oliveira declared Brasil
Ferrovias bankrupt in the wake of a complaint from Scala
for non-payment of a 5.6 million real (US$2.6 million) debt.
Brasil Ferrovias protested the bankruptcy decree but has failed
to pay its debt to Scala.


BANCO PACTUAL: UBS AG Buying Company for US$2.6 Billion
-------------------------------------------------------
UBS AG will buy Banco Pactual SA for US$2.6 billion in order to enter
Latin America's wealth management and investment banking sector.

UBS will pay US$1 billion upfront and pay the balance in five years
depending on performance conditions.  The bank also establish a retention
pool of as much as US$500 million in UBS shares for Pactual and UBS
employees, payable from the fifth anniversary of closing.

The sale is expected to close in the third quarter, subject to regulatory
approval.

"This deal is a cornerstone in our strategy to increase penetration in
emerging markets within fixed income and equities," Huw Jenkins, chief
executive of UBS Investment bank, said in the statement.  He noted that
the investment-banking-fee pool in Brazil was one of the largest among
emerging economies in 2005.

                       *    *    *

On Oct. 18, 2005, Fitch Ratings revised the Banco Pactual's rating outlook
to positive from stable.

   Banco Pactual:

      -- Long-term foreign currency 'BB-';
      -- Long-term local currency 'BB-'.

   Pactual Overseas Corporation

      -- Long-term foreign currency 'BB-'
      -- Long-term local currency 'BB-'.


COMPANHIA SIDERURGICA: Concludes BRL600 Mil. Debentures Issuance
----------------------------------------------------------------
Companhia Siderurgica Nacional aka CSN told the Bovespa stock exchange
that it has concluded its BRL600 million debentures issue.

About 60,000 debentures were issued, each with a nominal value of
BRL10,000, Business News Americas reports.

BNamericas relates that 49,514 debentures went to 67 investment funds,
some 9,480 went to private pension funds and an insurance firm acquired
1,000 debentures.

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

                        *    *    *

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

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


GERDAU S.A.: Posts Interest Payment for First Quarter 2006
----------------------------------------------------------
Gerdau S.A. and Metalurgica Gerdau S.A. disclosed that the payment of
Interest on Capital Stock for the first quarter of 2006 will be made on
May 25.

The companies' boards deliberated during a meeting held on May 3. 2006,
the proposals presented by the management with regards to the payment of
dividends for the first quarter of the current fiscal year, ended on March
31, 2006.

These dividends will be calculated and paid based on the position held by
shareholders on March 15, and will constitute an anticipation of the
annual minimum dividend as stated in the by-laws, as follows:

Gerdau S.A. -- BRL0.30 per share (common and preferred)

Metalurgica Gerdau S.A. -- BRL0.52 per share (common and preferred)

The amounts will have been deducted 15% for Income Tax as per Paragraph 2,
article 9 of the Brazilian Corporate Law # 9249/95.

Shareholders exempted from Income Tax Withholding must confirm this status
by mailing the required documents by May 15 to:

       GERDAU
       Setor de Acionistas (Shareholders Dept.)
       Avenida Farrapos, 1811 - Porto Alegre RS CEP 90220-005
       Brasil

The company will consider that the shareholder is not tax-exempt if the
documents are not received by May 15.

The shares acquired on May 16, 2006, and thereafter, will be traded
Ex-Dividend.

Additional information can be obtained at:

          Shareholders Department
          Avenida Farrapos 1811
          90220-005 Porto Alegre / RS
          Brazil
          Phone: +55 (51) 3323.2211
          Fax: +55 (51) 3323.2281
          E-mail acionistas@gerdau.com.br

Headquartered in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Gerdau S.A. --
http://www.gerdau.com.br-- produces and distributes crude steel
and related long rolled products, drawn products, and long
specialty products.  In addition to Brazil, Gerdau operates in
Argentina, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay and the United
States.

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



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


ANTIRO CONVERTIBLE: Filing of Proofs of Claim Ends on May 18
------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Antiro Convertible Bond Fund Ltd., which is being voluntarily
wound up, are required to present proofs of claim on or before May 18,
2006, to Geoffrey Varga and Brian Forrester, the company's liquidators.

Creditors may present proofs of claim personally or through their
solicitors at the time and place that the liquidator specified.  Failure
to present claims would mean exclusion from the benefit of any
distribution that the company will make.

The liquidators can be reached at:

           Geoffrey Varga
           Brian Forrester
           Kinetic Partners Cayman LLP, Strathvale House
           P.O. Box 10387 APO
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
           Tel: (345) 623-9901
           Fax: (345) 623-0007


ANTIRO FIXED: Verification of Creditors' Claims Ends on May 18
-------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Antiro Fixed Income Opportunities Master Fund Ltd. are
required to submit particulars of their debts or claims on or before May
18, 2006, to the company's appointed liquidators
-- Geoffrey Varga and Brian Forrester.  Failure to do so will exclude them
from receiving the benefit of any distribution that the company will make.

The company started liquidating assets on March 31, 2006.

The liquidators can be reached at:

           Geoffrey Varga and Brian Forrester
           Kinetic Partners Cayman LLP, Strathvale House
           P.O. Box 10387 APO
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
           Tel: (345) 623-9901
           Fax: (345) 623-0007


ASTER CITY CABLE EUROPE: Schedules May 23 Final General Meeting
---------------------------------------------------------------
City Cable Europe Private (Cayman) Limited will hold a shareholders' final
general meeting on May 23, 2006, at 1:00 p.m. at the registered office of
the company.

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

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on May 5, 2006, Aster City
Cable Europe started liquidating assets on
April 3, 2006.  Creditors are required to submit particulars of their
debts or claims by before May 19, 2006, to William G. Neisel, the
company's appointed liquidator.

The liquidator can be reached at:

           William G. Neisel
           c/o Stuarts Walker Hersant, Attorneys-at-law
           P.O. Box 2510GT, Cayman Financial Centre
           36A Dr. Roy's Drive, George Town
           Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands


ASTER CITY CABLE SBS: Holds Final General Meeting on May 23
-----------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of Aster City Cable SBS Coinvestors (Cayman) Limited will
gather for a final meeting on May 23, 2006, at 10:00 a.m. at the offices
of:

            200 Crescent Court, Suite 1600
            Dallas, Texas 75201

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

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on May 8, 2006, Aster City
Cable SBS started liquidating assets on April 3,2006.  Creditors are given
until May 19, 2006, to submit claims to William G. Neisel, the company's
appointed liquidator.

The liquidator can be reached at:

            William G. Neisel
            c/o Stuarts Walker Hersant, Attorneys-at-law
            P.O. Box 2510GT, Cayman Financial Centre
            36A Dr. Roy's Drive, George Town
            Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands


CAMARGO CORREA: Fitch Assigns BB Rating on US$250-Mil Notes
-----------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has assigned local currency and foreign currency IDR debt
ratings of 'BB' to Camargo Correa S.A. as well as an 'A+(bra)' national
debt rating.  Fitch has also assigned an issue rating of 'BB' to US$250
million of notes due 2016 to be issued by CCSA Finance Limited, a
special-purpose vehicle wholly-owned by Camargo and incorporated in the
Cayman Islands.  Camargo will unconditionally guarantee the notes.
Proceeds will be used to refinance existing short-term debt and general
corporate purposes.  The Outlook for all ratings is Stable.

The ratings of Camargo reflect its diversified portfolio of operations,
adequate market position in the industries it participates and strong
liquidity relative to consolidated leverage.  The company's core
businesses of:

   -- cement,
   -- engineering and construction,
   -- textiles, and
   -- footwear

are highly correlated to general economic conditions in Brazil and other
countries where it operates.  These risks are partially mitigated by the
diversity of revenues and cash flows across industry sectors and growing
proportion of exports and sales abroad within total revenues.

The company is seeking to grow strongly over the next several years and
position itself among the top five industrial private conglomerates in
Brazil, further strengthening its market position.  Some of this growth
will be organic, particularly in the footwear and engineering and
construction segments, which are planning to expand their market base
internationally.  In the cement and textiles segments, much of the growth
is planned through acquisitions.

In recent years, Camargo has pursued a growth strategy targeted primarily
to expand operations outside of Brazil, which should further diversify
country risk.  In 2005, the company completed its US$1 billion acquisition
of Loma Negra, the largest cement producer in Argentina.  In March 2006,
it entered into an agreement to merge Santista Textil S.A., its textile
manufacturer, with Tavex Algodonera S.A., the largest manufacturer of
denim in Europe, to form the largest denim manufacturer in the world.
Export revenues and sales abroad, which accounted for 17% of revenues in
2005, should grow to approximately 30% in 2006 on a pro forma basis,
primarily as a result of these transactions.

While leverage ratios are solid for the rating category, recent
acquisitions and investments, including Loma Negra, have been financed
with debt, which weakened credit protection measures in 2005.  Further
debt-funded investments could potentially deteriorate credit protection
from current levels.  This has been incorporated into the rating under
Fitch's expectations that the company will maintain a ratio of net debt to
EBITDA in the 1.5 x to 2.5x range.  At Dec. 31, 2005, the ratio of total
consolidated debt to pro forma EBITDA (for Loma Negra) was 3.2x, up from
2.2x in 2004.  Pro forma net debt to EBITDA was 1.4x and pro forma
EBITDA/gross interest expense was 2.1x.

Substantial offshore cash and marketable securities and fixed assets
mitigate transfer and convertibility risks and allowed the company's
foreign currency IDR and issue ratings to exceed Brazil's country ceiling
of 'BB-' (Positive Outlook) by one notch.  Camargo maintains a strong
liquidity position, with a balance of cash and marketable securities of
US$1.1 billion at Dec. 31, 2005, of which approximately 60% is
dollar-denominated and held off-shore.  At Dec. 31, 2005, the company had
total consolidated debt of US$1.9 billion, of which approximately 48% was
dollar-denominated.  Short-term debt commitments are moderate, with US$419
million equivalent of short-term debt accounting for 22% of total debt.
Pro forma consolidated debt including the US$250 million senior notes is
US$2.1 billion, as approximately half of proceeds will be used to fund
capital expenditures.

Camargo is one of the largest private industrial conglomerates in Brazil.
The company has controlling interests in cement, engineering and
construction, textiles, and footwear and sportswear manufacturing. The
company's domestic cement subsidiary, Camargo Correa Cimentos S.A., is the
fifth largest cement producer in Brazil in terms of revenues. Loma Negra
is the leading cement producer in Argentina with a 46% market share.  The
company owns the second largest infrastructure developer in Brazil, which
also provides project consulting services. Sao Paolo Alpargatas S.A. is
one of the largest Brazilian manufacturers and exporters of footwear.
Santista Textil S.A. is the leading Brazilian exporter of denim and
twills.  Camargo also has equity interests in the energy, transportation
and steel businesses including a 33% equity stake in VBC Participacoes
S.A. (which indirectly owns 37.7% of CPFL Energia S.A., the largest
privately held power company in Brazil), various minority stakes in
hydroelectric plants, and equity interests in highways concessions through
a minority stake in Compahia de Concessoeas Rodoviarias.  The company is
controlled by the Camargo family through their direct holdings in
Participacoes Morro Vermelho, which in turn owns 100% of Camargo.


FINANCE HIGH: Sets May 19 Deadline for Proofs of Claim Filing
-------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Finance High Yield Limited, which is being voluntarily wound
up, are required on or before May 19, 2006, to present proofs of claim to
Alain Audrey, the company's liquidator.

The company started liquidating assets on March 29, 2006.

The liquidator can be reached at:

         Alain Audrey
         P.O. Box 309 George Town
         Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands



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


AES CORP.: Gener Posts CLP17,863 Mil. First Quarter Earnings
------------------------------------------------------------
AES Gener reported in the first quarter 2006 earnings of CLP17,683
million, which positively compares to earnings of CLP5,728 million
recorded in the same three month period in 2005.  The increase of 212% in
the company’s net income is due to lower operating costs related to the
reduction in the company’s fuel consumption and the decrease in interest
expenses.

In operational terms, during the first quarter of 2006, AES Gener recorded
operating income of CLP36,121 million, which represents an increase of 51%
when compared to operating income of CLP23,912 in the same three month
period of 2005.  The changes made to the regulated tariff methodology
under the Short Law II enacted in May 2005 contributed to the company’s
improved operational earnings by allowing node prices to better reflect
market conditions, while at the same time providing incentives for new
investments in the electricity sector.

Consolidated EBITDA was CLP47,234 million, which is 34% higher than the
EBITDA of CLP35,318 million recorded in the first quarter of 2005.  In US
dollars, the currency to which the company’s principal revenues are
indexed, EBITDA increased by 49%, from US$29 million in 2005 to US$60
million in 2006.

Non-operating income also showed an improvement of 35%, increasing from a
loss of CLP12,961 million for the three month period ended March 31, 2005,
to a loss of CLP8,465 million in the same period in 2006.  This
improvement is primarily explained by lower interest expenses and lower
other non-operating expenses.

During the first quarter of 2006, the companies in the AES Gener group
provided 23% of the energy generated in the Central Interconnected System
or SIC and 25% of the generation in the Greater Northern Interconnected
System or SING.  In Colombia, Chivor contributed 8% of the country’s total
generation.

During the first three months of 2006, AES Gener progressed in the
construction of the 120 MW Los Vientos diesel-turbine, which is scheduled
to commence commercial operations in the second quarter of 2006.  The
company also continued to advance with engineering and environmental
approval for its new coal-fired generation facilities, Nueva Ventanas and
Guacolda III, with total installed capacity of 450 MW, preparing to
participate in the supply bid processes which will be held by distribution
companies in the third quarter of 2006.

AES Corporation -- http://www.aes.com/-- is a global power
company.  The Company operates in South America, Europe, Africa,
Asia and the Caribbean countries.  Generating 44,000 megawatts
of electricity through 124 power facilities, the Company
delivers electricity through 15 distribution companies.

AES's Latin America business group is comprised of generation
plants and electric utilities in Argentina, Brazil, Chile,
Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Panama and Venezuela.
Fuels include biomass, diesel, coal, gas and hydro.  The group
also pursues business development activities in the region.  AES
has been in the region since May 1993, when it acquired the CTSN
power plant in Argentina.

                         *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 31,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its corporate credit
rating on diversified energy company The AES Corp. to 'BB-' from
'B+'.  S&P said the outlook is stable.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Jan. 11, Moody's
affirmed the ratings of The AES Corporation, including its Ba3
Corporate Family Rating and the B1 rating on its senior
unsecured debt.  Moody's said the rating outlook remains stable.


AES CORP.: Chilean Unit Distributes CLP20,750 Mil. in Dividends
---------------------------------------------------------------
AES Gener, the Chilean unit of AES Corp., has distributed
CLP20,750,800,000 dividend or CLP3.248994758 per share, as agreed in the
25th General Ordinary Shareholders Meeting held on April 11, 2006.

AES Corporation -- http://www.aes.com/-- is a global power
company.  The Company operates in South America, Europe, Africa,
Asia and the Caribbean countries.  Generating 44,000 megawatts
of electricity through 124 power facilities, the Company
delivers electricity through 15 distribution companies.

AES's Latin America business group is comprised of generation
plants and electric utilities in Argentina, Brazil, Chile,
Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Panama and Venezuela.
Fuels include biomass, diesel, coal, gas and hydro.  The group
also pursues business development activities in the region.  AES
has been in the region since May 1993, when it acquired the CTSN
power plant in Argentina.

                         *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 31,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its corporate credit
rating on diversified energy company The AES Corp. to 'BB-' from
'B+'.  S&P said the outlook is stable.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Jan. 11, Moody's
affirmed the ratings of The AES Corporation, including its Ba3
Corporate Family Rating and the B1 rating on its senior
unsecured debt.  Moody's said the rating outlook remains stable.


AES CORP: Discloses Strong First Quarter Results in 2006
--------------------------------------------------------
The AES Corporation reported significant growth in revenues and earnings
for the first quarter of 2006.  Revenues increased 13% to US$3.0 billion
from US$2.7 billion and net income more than doubled to US$351 million
compared to US$124 million in the first quarter of 2005. Diluted earnings
per share of US$0.52 increased 174% from US$0.19 in the first quarter of
2005.  Adjusted earnings per share were US$0.42 versus US$0.18 in the
first quarter of 2005.

The Company increased its 2006 guidance for diluted earnings per share
from continuing operations to US$0.96 from US$0.90 and increased its
guidance for adjusted earnings per share to US$0.97 from US$0.95.  The
Company reaffirmed the other elements of its previously issued 2006
financial guidance and longer-term financial guidance through 2008.  The
distinction between diluted earnings per share from continuing operations
and adjusted earnings per share guidance excludes the expected net effects
from derivatives mark-to-market accounting, corporate debt repayment,
portfolio management transactions, and gains or losses from certain
foreign currency transactions. AES believes that adjusted earnings per
share better reflects the underlying business performance of the Company,
and is used in the Company's internal evaluation of financial performance.

"This was a very good quarter and we increased our guidance for the full
year accordingly," said Paul Hanrahan, AES President and Chief Executive
Officer.  "Our results for the quarter benefited from our increased
efforts in portfolio management, debt restructuring, and accelerating the
sale of excess air emission allowances to capitalize on attractive market
prices.  We also saw some favorable business mix effects related to our
tax rate in the quarter."

The table below summarizes key financial measures for the first quarter of
2006 and 2005.

                                          First    First
($ in millions, except per share data)    Quarter  Quarter   %
                                          2006     2005   Change

Revenues                                 $3,013   $2,663     13%

Gross Margin                               $954     $824     16%

Income Before Taxes and
Minority Interest                          $633     $377     68%

Net Income                                 $351     $124    183%

Diluted Earnings Per Share
from Continuing Operations                $0.52    $0.19    174%

Adjusted Earnings Per Share               $0.42    $0.18    133%

Net Cash Provided by
Operating Activities                       $544     $518      5%


Consolidated Financial Highlights

   -- Revenues in the first quarter of 2006 increased 13%
      to US$3.0 billion, with gains in all segments.  Excluding
      estimated foreign currency impacts, revenues increased
      approximately 7%, reflecting higher prices as well as an
      increase of US$46 million in sales of excess environmental
      emission allowances in the U.S. and Europe.

   -- Gross margin increased 16% to US$954 million, reflecting
      favorable foreign exchange rates, pricing and allowance
      sales.  Gross margin as a percent of sales improved to
      31.7% from 30.9% in the prior year due primarily to the
      allowance sales.

   -- Results included an US$87 million pre-tax gain resulting
      from the Company's sale of its 50% equity investment
      in a power generation company in Canada.

   -- Interest income increased by 29% to US$116 million
      primarily due to the realization of US$17 million in
      interest income in the Dominican Republic, related to the
      settlement of certain net receivables with the government,
      and the impact of higher cash and cash equivalents and
      short-term investments in Brazil.

   -- Interest expense decreased 7% to US$434 million primarily
      due to reduced debt balances at certain locations and a
      decrease in interest rates at our subsidiaries in
      Venezuela (EDC) and Chile (Gener), partially offset by the
      negative impacts of foreign currency translation of
      foreign debt balances.

   -- Net other expense of US$48 million in the quarter included
      a US$40 million loss on corporate debt retirement and a
      US$22 million charge relating to debt extinguishment at
      the El Salvador subsidiaries, partially offset by a
      US$14 million gain on extinguishment of debt at a discount
      in Argentina.  Net other expense of US$15 million in the
      first quarter of 2005 included a US$14 million penalty
      payment for early retirement of debt in Venezuela.

   -- Equity in earnings of affiliates of US$36 million included
      a net US$16 million gain at AES Barry, an equity
      investment, related to settlement of a legal claim and
      partially offsetting derivative-related adjustments.

   -- The effective income tax rate decreased from 39% in
      the first quarter of 2005 to 31% in the first quarter
      of 2006.  Excluding the equity investment sale in Canada,
      which was not taxable, the effective income tax rate would
      have been 36% in 2006.  The first quarter 2006 tax rate
      was impacted favorably by a decrease in U.S. taxes on
      distributions from and earnings of certain non-U.S.
      subsidiaries partially offset by an increase in tax
      expense on foreign exchange gains at certain of our
      Brazilian subsidiaries.

   -- Minority interest declined 18% to US$87 million, due
      primarily to lower after-tax net earnings at our Brazilian
      subsidiaries related to additional tax expense on foreign
      currency gains on U.S. dollar denominated debt.

   -- Net income increased 183% to US$351 million compared to
      US$124 million for the first quarter of 2005 last year.
      This primarily reflected the higher gross margin and the
      gain on the sale of our Canadian investment.

   -- Diluted earnings per share increased 174% to US$0.52
      compared to US$0.19 per diluted share in last year's
      quarter.  Adjusted earnings per share increased 133% to
      US$0.42 compared to US$0.18 in the 2005 quarter.

   -- Net cash from operating activities increased 5% to
      US$544 million compared to US$518 million in the first
      quarter of 2005.  The year over year increase was driven
      by significantly improved earnings offset by higher tax
      payments in Brazil, higher working capital and the one
      time settlement of a derivative instrument in 2005, which
      did not occur in 2006.  Free cash flow was US$369 million,
      down 6% from US$394 million for the same period last year.
      The decrease reflected higher maintenance capital
      expenditures of US$175 million versus US$124 million in
      the prior year period.  The higher maintenance
      expenditures were primarily the result of higher
      environmental related spending.  Maintenance capital
      expenditures are defined as property additions less growth
      capital expenditures.

Segment Financial Highlights

   -- Regulated Utilities segment revenues increased 7% to
      US$1,493 million from US$1,399 million in the first
      quarter of 2005.  Excluding the estimated impacts of
      foreign  currency translation, revenues decreased
      approximately 5%, primarily reflecting the recognition of
      a retroactive prior year tariff increase benefit at
      Eletropaulo in Brazil in the first quarter of 2005,
      partially offset by higher prices at IPL in the U.S. Gross
      margin increased 1% to US$370 million due primarily to
      favorable foreign exchange rates, largely offset by the
      prior period tariff increase and higher maintenance costs
      at IPL.  Gross margin as a percent of revenues fell to
      24.8% from 26.2% due primarily to last year's retroactive
      tariff increase at Eletropaulo and higher maintenance
      costs.

   -- Contract Generation segment revenues grew 17% to
      US$1.1 billion from US$985 million in the first quarter
      of 2005 due largely to higher prices and higher demand
      in Brazil and the Dominican Republic, higher prices in
      Chile, Mexico and Puerto Rico, and increased demand in
      Pakistan.  Foreign currency translation effects were not
      significant in the quarter.  Gross margin improved 11% to
      US$434 million from US$392 million over the prior year
      quarter, due largely to higher prices and demand in
      Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Chile.  Gross margin as
      a percent of revenues declined to 37.7% from 39.8% due
      primarily to higher outage-related costs.

   -- Competitive Supply segment revenues grew 32% to
      US$369 million from US$279 million in the first quarter of
      2005 and approximately 34% excluding the estimated impacts
      of foreign currency translation.  Revenue increases
      reflected higher prices and US$36 million in excess
      emission allowances in New York, together with higher
      prices in Argentina, Panama and Kazakhstan.  Gross margin
      increased 131% to US$150 million from US$65 million in
      last year's first quarter, due primarily to the emission
      allowance sales and higher pricing.  Gross margin as a
      percent of revenues increased to 40.7% from 23.3% due
      largely to the allowance sales and higher energy margins
      in New York.

             2006 Financial Outlook Scenario

The operating scenario underlying the Company's updated 2006 financial
guidance anticipates the first quarter to be the strongest in the year,
reflecting in part the acceleration of sales of emission allowances,
compared to sales primarily in the second and fourth quarters of 2005. It
also assumes less of a seasonal peak impact in the third quarter than
traditionally occurs due to tax-related business mix and other operating
environment assumptions.  The scenario assumes a number of factors,
including effective tax rate, foreign exchange rates, commodity prices,
interest rates, tariff increases, new investments, as well as other
significant factors which could make actual results vary from the
guidance.

Headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, AES Corporation --
http://www.aes.com/-- is a global power company.  The Company
operates in South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and the
Caribbean countries.  Generating 44,000 megawatts
of electricity through 124 power facilities, the Company
delivers electricity through 15 distribution companies.

AES's Latin America business group is comprised of generation
plants and electric utilities in Argentina, Brazil, Chile,
Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Panama and Venezuela.
Fuels include biomass, diesel, coal, gas and hydro.  The group
also pursues business development activities in the region.  AES
has been in the region since May 1993, when it acquired the CTSN
power plant in Argentina.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 31, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its corporate credit
rating on diversified energy company The AES Corp. to 'BB-' from
'B+'.  S&P said the outlook is stable.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Jan. 11, 2006,
Moody's affirmed the ratings of The AES Corporation, including
its Ba3 Corporate Family Rating and the B1 rating on its senior
unsecured debt.  Moody's said the rating outlook remains stable.


COEUR D’ALENE: Net Income Reaches US$14.3M in First Quarter 2006
----------------------------------------------------------------
Coeur d'Alene Mines Corporation has reported all-time record quarterly net
income of US$14.3 million, or US$0.05 per diluted share, for the first
quarter of 2006, compared to a net loss of US$1.1 million, or US$0.00 per
diluted share, for the year-ago period.

Metal sales for the first quarter of 2006 were US$44.9 million, a 39%
increase compared to metal sales of US$32.2 million in the year-ago
period.

In commenting on the company's performance relative to the year-ago
quarter, Dennis E. Wheeler, Chairman, President and Chief Executive
Officer, said, "The company reported superlative income due largely to a
31 percent increase in silver production from continuing operations, a
reduction in our cash cost per ounce of silver to below US$4.00 for
continuing operations, an 8 percent decline in our corporate overhead
expenses, and higher realized prices for silver and gold."

Mr. Wheeler added, "The groundwork we have done over the past two years
specifically to improve operating efficiency and add low-cost production
has prepared the company to benefit from the current strong market
conditions.  In particular, operations at the Rochester and Martha mines
improved significantly quarter-over-quarter.  And while Cerro Bayo got off
to a slow start in the first quarter, we expect results to improve
markedly as mining returns to higher-grade areas there for the balance of
the year. We expect to see a continuation of strong performance
improvement trends over the course of 2006."

             Highlights by Individual Property

   Cerro Bayo (Chile)

    -- Silver and gold production were below the levels
       of the year-ago period because the mine concentrated on
       lower-grade veins during the quarter.  The lower volumes
       and the associated reduction in the gold by-product
       credit -- along with inflationary cost increases for
       energy -- were largely responsible for the increase in
       silver cash cost per ounce.  Cerro Bayo's mine plan calls
       for work to be focused on higher-grade areas for the
       balance of 2006 and for production to return to
       historical levels.

   Martha (Argentina)

    -- Silver and gold production both increased approximately
       42% due to higher ore grades and tons milled.  Cash costs
       per ounce of silver declined, due to the higher
       production.

   Rochester (Nevada)

    -- Silver production was up modestly compared to that of
       the year-ago period, while gold production increased 15%.
       Cash cost per ounce declined by 31% as compared to that
       of the year-ago period.

   Endeavor (Australia)

    -- Silver production more than doubled from the level of
       the fourth quarter of 2005 as the mine continued its
       steady recovery from an uncontrolled rock fall in October
       2005 that limited mining activity and affected cash cost
       per ounce during the fourth quarter.  At a silver cash
       cost per ounce of US$2.13, Endeavor was the lowest-cost
       mine in Coeur's system during the first quarter of 2006.
       (Year-ago comparisons for Endeavor are not meaningful
       because the mineral interest was acquired in the second
       quarter of 2005.)

   Broken Hill (Australia)

    -- Silver production was 557,311 ounces in the first quarter
       of 2006, with a cash cost per ounce of US$2.89.
       (Year-ago comparisons for Broken Hill are not meaningful
       because the mineral interest was acquired in the third
       quarter of 2005.)

         Balance Sheet and Capital Investment Highlights

The company had US$374.3 million in cash and short-term investments as of
March 31, 2006.  Capital spending during the first quarter of 2006 totaled
US$27.8 million, most of which was spent on the Kensington (Alaska) gold
project and the San Bartolome (Bolivia) silver project as summarized
below.

   -- At Kensington, capital investment totaled US$23.8 million
      during the quarter as the company continued with an
      aggressive construction schedule.  The company is aiming
      to complete the project and start producing gold toward
      the end of 2007.  To date, the company has completed
      extensive underground work to prepare the mine for
      operation.  Above-ground, Coeur has built a camp for
      construction workers, installed a water treatment plant,
      a temporary dock, and completed much of the grading and
      site preparation for the construction of the mill.  In
      coming months, most of the work will focus on construction
      of a tailings impoundment dam and construction of the
      mill.

  -- At San Bartolome, capital investment totaled US$1.9 million
     during the quarter.  The company is aiming to complete the
     project and begin producing silver toward the end of 2007.
     In advance of anticipated resumption of full-scale
     construction in approximately July 2006, the company has
     focused on construction of access roads to and around the
     site, rough cut grading of the mill site, preparation of
     an ore stockpile area, movement of some ore to stockpile
     and the construction of a fence around the perimeter of
     the plant site area.

                  Exploration Highlights

Exploration activity was concentrated at the company's
Cerro Bayo, Martha and Kensington properties, where Coeur
already has sizable mineral resources and mineral reserves
within large, prospective land packages and where, at Cerro Bayo
and Martha, mineral reserves and resources have increased for
three consecutive years.

At Cerro Bayo, exploration in the area of the new Cascada vein discovered
new mineralization 250 meters to the north in a
potential extension. Initial drilling returned values of
6.26 silver ounces per ton and 0.29 gold ounces per ton over
7.7 feet of core (4 feet true width), and 44.2 silver ounces
per ton and 1.92 gold ounces per ton over 11 feet of core
(7.5 feet true width).  Follow-up drilling is underway on these
encouraging high-grade results.

At Martha, approximately 30,500 feet of drilling was
accomplished during the first quarter to expand reserves and
discover new mineralization.  Results obtained from drilling
R4 Deep, Francisca, and Catalina continues to expand the strike
and depth of the mineralization in those veins, which were
discovered in 2004. Drilling will continue throughout the year
on these and other targets in the Martha mining district.

The company recommenced an underground core drilling program at Kensington
in a continuation of the program conducted in the
second half of 2005.  The program is designed to expand mineral
reserves through conversion of portions of the project's large, additional
mineral resource consisting of indicated mineral
resource of 617,000 tons grading 0.436 ounces per ton of gold and inferred
resources of 2.5 million tons grading 0.234 ounces
per ton of gold.  Approximately 4,600 feet were drilled in
this program during the quarter.

                  Discontinued Operation

Coeur has signed an agreement to sell 100% of its shares in Coeur Silver
Valley to U.S. Silver Corporation for US$15 million.  The company expects
the sale to close by June 1, 2006.  For financial reporting purposes,
results of Coeur Silver Valley are reported as discontinued operations.

Coeur d'Alene Mines Corporation -- http://www.coeur.com/-- is
the world's largest primary silver producer, as well as a
significant, low-cost producer of gold.  The Company has mining
interests in Nevada, Idaho, Alaska, Argentina, Chile, Bolivia
and Australia.

                        *    *    *

Coeur d'Alene's US$180 million convertible notes due
Jan. 15, 2024, carries Standard & Poor's B- rating.



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


BANCOLOMBIA SA: Acquires Majority Participation in Comercia
-----------------------------------------------------------
Bancolombia S.A., by means of a transaction duly authorized by
the Superintendency of Finance of Colombia, acquired from Textiles
Fabricato Tejicondor S.A., 9,803,685 shares of Comercia S.A.  Commercial
Financing Company, equivalent to 55.61 % of the outstanding shares of such
company.

The value paid by the Bank was Ps24.6 billion, equivalent to approximately
Ps2,510.23 per share.

With this acquisition, COMERCIA will become a subsidiary of the Bank,
specialized in the offer of factoring services and the leader in
short-term funding for the Colombian corporate sector, strengthening,
thus, the portfolio of products and financial services of the Bank.

COMERCIA currently occupies the eighth place among fifteen commercial
financing companies that operate in Colombia, taking into account level of
assets and level of loans.  As of March 31, 2006, COMERCIA had a
shareholders' equity of Ps28.5 million and assets amounting to Ps169.021
million, which included a loan portfolio of Ps148.741 million.  The net
accumulated income of COMERCIA as of the same date was Ps384 million.

The Bank currently expects to acquire an additional participation
equivalent to 38.96% of the outstanding shares of COMERCIA which are
currently held by Patrimonio Autonomo Textiles Fabricato Tejicondor,
administered by Santander Investment Trust S.A.  No assurance can be given
as to the timing of the acquisition of this additional participation.

                        *    *    *

The Troubled Company Reporter – Latin America reported on April 28, 2006,
that Moody's Investors Service upgraded Bancolombia's bank financial
strength ratings to D+ from D with a stable outlook.

Moody's added that the action concludes the review for possible upgrade
that was announced on October 13, 2005.  Moreover, Bancolombia's
Ba3/Not Prime long- and short-term foreign currency deposit
ratings were affirmed. The outlook on all these ratings is
stable.

                        *    *    *

On Dec. 22, 2005, Fitch Ratings affirmed the ratings assigned to
Bancolombia, as:


  -- Long-term/short-term foreign currency at 'BB/B';
  -- Long-term/short-term local currency at 'BBB-/F3';
  -- Individual at 'C';
  -- Support at '3'.

The ratings assigned to Bancolombia and subsidiaries reflect its
dominant Colombian franchise, sound asset quality, and solid
performance, which should be further strengthened by the recent
merger with Conavi and Corfinsura and, in turn, boost capital,
which weakened with the merger.  The ratings also factor in the
challenges posed by operational integration, its high exposure
to the Colombian government, and the risks inherent in its
operating environment.


* COLOMBIA: Inks Economic Cooperation Pact with China
-----------------------------------------------------
Colombia is among the Central American nations that signed in April an
agreement with China that promotes business cooperation.

The agreement came as a result of Costa Rica's "China Ya" business
initiative.

The pact is expected to benefit Colombian businesses that have no previous
links with China.

                        *    *    *

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

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

Fitch said the Rating Outlook is Stable.



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


* COSTA RICA: Probes Alleged Payments Using Banana Funds
--------------------------------------------------------
The Comptroller General's Office of Costa Rica will start probing into
extra payments of public employees as the funds used came from private
banana firms, EFE News Service reports.

According to EFE, more than US$787,000 payments were made by President
Abel Pacheco to workers last year.

EFE recalls that President Pacheco paid the workers with contribution from
banana producers.  The private firms deposited in the Catholic Church bank
accounts used by the president part of the donations they received from
the government in flood losses in 2005.

Local daily La Nacion states that President Pacheco used the Catholic
Church's bank accounts to bring funds to the trade union and workers of
the state-run Port Authority and Atlantic Slope Development Board aka
Japdeva.

The Costa Rican leader loaned a bank account of the Limon diocese in the
port where the employees work to pay dock workers labor benefits denied
them by the Comptroller General's Office, Bishop Jose Francisco Ulloa,
head of the Costa Rica Episcopal Conference, told local media.

Rocio Aguilar, the comptroller general, told La Nacion that the
comptroller office would investigate why workers were paid through a
different source than the official one since the funds contributed by the
firms are private funds.

State employees, says EFE, are not allowed to receive any payment for
their work from private firms, under the Costa Rican law.

Edgar Quiros, the head of the National Chamber of Independent Banana
Producers, informed EFE that it was the same firms who asked President
Pacheco for help when faced with striking workers.

EFE relates that benefits had been funded by port fees collected at the
ports of Limon and Moin on the Caribbean.  These benefits include:

    -- payment for extra hours that were never worked,
    -- Christmas gifts for employees' children,
    -- training, and
    -- construction of a vacation center.

EFE reports that the Comptroller General's Office stopped the financing of
the benefits with port fees, which caused Japdeva employees to hold
demonstrations in April 2005.  The demonstrations, however, was suppressed
when the government promised to compensate the workers' loss of benefits.

President Pacheco paid the workers with contribution from banana
producers, EFE recalls.  The banana firms deposited in the Catholic Church
bank accounts part of the donations it received from the government in
flood losses in 2005.

The comptroller office would investigate why workers were paid through a
different source than the official one since the funds contributed by the
firms are private funds, Rocio Aguilar, the comptroller general, told La
Nacion.

State employees, says EFE, are not allowed to receive any payment for
their work from private firms, under the Costa Rican law.

Edgar Quiros, the head of the National Chamber of Independent Banana
Producers, informed EFE that it was the same firms who asked President
Pacheco for held when faced with striking workers.

Mr. Quiros explained to EFE, "A legal mechanism was used in which we
producers, so as not to suffer losses at the docks, paid from our
Compensation Fund, which is money that comes from the industry itself."

The union workers said they have no idea where the money came from and
President Pacheco gave no comments, EFE reports.

                        *    *    *

Costa Rica is rated by Moody's:

   -- CC LT Foreign Bank Depst Ba2
   -- CC LT Foreign Curr Debt  Ba1
   -- CC ST Foreign Bank Depst NP
   -- CC ST Foreign Curr Debt  NP
   -- Foreign Currency LT Debt Ba1
   -- Local Currency LT Debt   Ba1

Fitch assigned these ratings to Costa Rica:

   -- Foreign currency long-term debt, BB
   -- Local currency long-term debt, BB
   -- Foreign currency short-term debt, B

Costa Rica carries these ratings from Standard & Poor's:

   -- Foreign Currency LT Debt BB
   -- Local Currency LT Debt   BB+
   -- Foreign Currency ST Debt B
   -- Local Currency ST Debt   B



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


* CUBA: US Files Bill to Prevent Oil Drilling Near Florida Keys
---------------------------------------------------------------
United States Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Senator Bill Nelson
filed a bill that will prevent Cuba from drilling for oil near the Florida
Keys, according to a report from the Miami Herald reports.

The Miami Herald relates that the Cuban government, lacking the technology
for offshore drilling, entered into accords with several firms in other
countries that included Spain, China and Canada.

According to the Miami Herald, the bill would deny visas to any worker of
an entity that contributes to Cuba's oil-exploration program and would
impose sanctions on any individual or firm that invests at least US$1
million to aid Cuba in developing its oil and natural gas resources.

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen said in a statement, "My colleagues and I have been
working tirelessly to prevent our own companies from ruining Florida's
pristine beaches and delicate ecosystem by exploring and drilling for oil
off our coast.  To now have this murderous and totalitarian regime say it
wants to drill just 45 miles from Key West is beyond the pale and totally
unacceptable."

                        *    *    *

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
===================================


FALCONBRIDGE LTD: Contends Inco Sale Pact Holds Strong Value
------------------------------------------------------------
Falconbridge Limited has said that Inco and Falconbridge continue to
believe there is a strong value proposition in the Inco and Falconbridge
transaction and the companies are determined to complete it in accordance
with the existing agreement.

"Our agreement with Inco is an excellent transaction and offers compelling
value to shareholders of both our companies, with the potential for a
re-rating in the capital markets," said Derek Pannell, Falconbridge's
Chief Executive Officer.  "The transaction would result in the creation of
the world's number one nickel producer and a leading copper producer.
Furthermore, it would have a portfolio of world-class growth projects."

"We are surprised that Teck Cominco has taken this step to interfere in
our transaction and will review the implications of what they have done,"
added Pannell.

Inco and Falconbridge have conservatively estimated synergies stemming
from their transaction of at least US$350 million per year, based on lower
commodity prices prevailing in 2005.  The estimated synergies were the
result of a rigorous review by the companies' respective teams and derived
from in-depth discussions and analysis.  The companies believe they are
better equipped than any other party to achieve significant operating and
other synergies, especially given Falconbridge's recent experience at
merging companies.

                Update on Regulatory Approvals

Falconbridge and Inco understand that the European Commission will be
issuing its Statement of Objections shortly.  This is part of their normal
procedures in their second phase review of pending acquisitions like this
transaction.  The companies have been discussing with the EC the
competitive concerns they have identified and which they expect will be in
the SO.  They will be submitting their responses to the SO in the time
provided for in this process.  Inco and Falconbridge also plan to submit a
remedy intended to address the competitive concerns of the EC.  They look
forward to continuing to work with the EC as they move through their
second phase process.  This element of the process is one of the standard
steps leading to a decision by July 12th, 2006.

The companies continue to have constructive discussions with the U.S.
Department Of Justice in anticipation of approval.

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.


FALCONBRIDGE: European Commission to Object to Inco Transaction
---------------------------------------------------------------
Falconbridge Limited and Inco Limited received reports that the European
Commission will be issuing its Statement of Objections shortly regarding
their pending merger.  In 2005 Inco announced the acquisition of Canadian
nickel and copper mining giant Falconbridge Limited.  The merger will make
Inco the world's largest nickel producer.

The companies have been discussing with the EC the competitive concerns
they have identified and which they expect will be in the SO.  They will
be submitting their responses to the SO in the time provided for in this
process.  Inco and Falconbridge also plan to submit a remedy intended to
address the competitive concerns of the EC.  They look forward to
continuing to work with the EC as they move through their second phase
process.  This element of the process is one of the standard steps leading
to a decision by July 12th, 2006.

The companies continue to have constructive discussions with the U.S.
Department of Justice in anticipation of approval.

The Companies continue to believe there is a strong value proposition in
the Inco and Falconbridge transaction and the companies are determined to
complete it in accordance with the existing agreement.

"Our agreement with Inco is an excellent transaction and offers compelling
value to shareholders of both our companies, with the potential for a
re-rating in the capital markets," said Derek Pannell, Falconbridge's
Chief Executive Officer.  "The transaction would result in the creation of
the world's number one nickel producer and a leading copper producer.
Furthermore, it would have a portfolio of world-class growth projects."

"We are surprised that Teck Cominco has taken this step to interfere in
our transaction and will review the implications of what they have done,"
added Mr. Pannell.

Inco and Falconbridge have conservatively estimated synergies stemming
from their transaction of at least US$350 million per year, based on lower
commodity prices prevailing in 2005.  The estimated synergies were the
result of a rigorous review by the companies' respective teams and derived
from in-depth discussions and analysis.  The companies believe they are
better equipped than any other party to achieve significant operating and
other synergies, especially given Falconbridge's recent experience at
merging companies.

                           About Inco

Inco Limited is the world's #2 producer of nickel, which is used primarily
for manufacturing stainless steel and batteries.  Inco also mines and
processes copper, gold, cobalt, and platinum group metals.  It makes
nickel battery materials and nickel foams, flakes, and powders for use in
catalysts, electronics, and paints. Sulphuric acid and liquid sulphur
dioxide are produced as byproducts.  The company's primary mining and
processing operations are in Canada, Indonesia, and the UK.

                       About Falconbridge

Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, Falconbridge Limited --
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 mine and Lomas Bayas mine.  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.


* DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: Minister Considers US Free Trade Agreement
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Dominican Republic's Finance minister Vicente Bengoa is considering a
free trade accord with the United States, the Dominican Today reports.

Dominican Today relates that Mr. Bengoa found the need to consolidate the
Dominican Republic's business standing with the US.

The finance minister told Dominican Today that the Dominican Republic's
exports to the US reached US$43,000 million while imports amounted to
US$40,000 million between 1996 and 2005.

However, the positive trade balance for the country has been declining
during the past years, according to Dominican Today.

The official also admitted to Dominican Today that the Dominican Republic
could not delay entering the DR-CAFTA trade accord with the US and the
Central American nations on July 1.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on the Dominican Republic:

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



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


* EL SALVADOR: Inks Economic Cooperation Agreement with China
-------------------------------------------------------------
El Salvador is among the Central American nations that signed in April an
agreement with China that promotes business cooperation.

The agreement came as a result of Costa Rica's "China Ya" business
initiative.

The pact is expected to benefit El Salvador's businesses that have no
previous links with China.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on El Salvador:

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



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


* GUATEMALA: Implements Daylight Saving Time
--------------------------------------------
Guatemala has implemented this week a daylight saving time, advancing
official schedule by one hour, Hondudiario reports.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on April 24, 2006, the
government disclosed that a daylight saving time was planned to be
implemented starting April 30 through the end of September due to rising
oil prices.

Daylight saving time aka DST is a system of adjusting the
official local time forward -- usually one hour -- from its
official standard time for the summer months, to provide a
better match between the hours of daylight and the active hours
of work and school.

Kyodo News states that governments often consider it as an
energy conservation measure.  It allows more effective use of
sunlight in summer time.  Because there is less darkness in the
waking day, there is less use of electric lights.

Some opponents, however, had rejected this argument, Kyodo News relates.

According to papers, the measure will cut fuel costs for
generating electricity.  The Ministry of Energy and Mines of
Guatemala estimated that up to US$16.5 million will be saved in
the five-month period.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Guatemala:

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

                        *    *    *

Fitch also rated Guatemala's senior unsecured bonds:

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


* GUATEMALA: Inks Economic Cooperation Accord with China
--------------------------------------------------------
Guatemala is among the Central American nations that signed in April an
agreement with China that promotes business cooperation.

The agreement came as a result of Costa Rica's "China Ya" business
initiative.

The pact is expected to benefit Guatemalan businesses that have no
previous links with China.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Guatemala:

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

                        *    *    *

Fitch also rated Guatemala's senior unsecured bonds:

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



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


* HONDURAS: Government Plans to Privatize State-Run Hondutel
------------------------------------------------------------
Hugo Noe, the finance minister of Honduras, revealed to Reuters that the
government plans to privatize Hondutel, the state-run telco, by finding an
international partner.

Business News Americas reports that the government is looking for an
international partner to make Hondutel sufficiently competitive to survive
competition.

The government had attempted to privatize Hondutel in 2001 and received a
US$106 million bid from Telmex for a 51% share in the company, BNamericas
recalls.  However, the government had found the offer too low.

BNamericas relates that the government has now offered slightly less of
the company to potential investors.

The international strategic partner will hold a minority share so that the
government will maintain control of Hondutel, Minister Noe told
BNamericas.

Jose Otero -- president of Signals Consulting -- informed BNamericas that
even though a smaller stake is being offered to potential partners,
Hondutel has an unused mobile license and has been extending its
fixed-line coverage that are both attractive to potential bidders.

Mr. Otero was quoted by BNamericas saying, "Hondutel's price will also be
lower this time, due to lower rates and the competition in the market that
didn't exist in 2001."

According to BNamericas, Mr. Otero considers these companies as potential
bidders for Hondutel:

    -- America Movil aka AMX, which owns Honduran Megatel, and
    -- Telefonica.

                        *    *    *

Moody's Investor Service assigned these ratings on Honduras:

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


* HONDURAS: Plans to Implement Daylight Saving Time
---------------------------------------------------
Honduras plans to follow Guatemala and Nicaragua's move to implement
daylight saving time and advance official schedule by one hour,
Hondudiario reports.

Jorge Arturo Reina, the Minister of the Interior and Justice, revealed to
Hondudiario that the government will be considering advancing the time by
an hour to take advantage of the solar light.

Daylight saving time aka DST is a system of adjusting the
official local time forward -- usually one hour -- from its
official standard time for the summer months, to provide a
better match between the hours of daylight and the active hours
of work and school.

Kyodo News states that governments often consider it as an
energy conservation measure as it allows more effective use of
sunlight in summer time.  Because there is less darkness in the
waking day, there is less use of electric lights.

Hondudiario relates that there is a necessity for a thorough analysis of
the system as it may bring consequences to the country's economic
activities.

A meeting is scheduled for Tuesday to evaluate the proposed measure,
Hondudiario reports.

                        *    *    *

Moody's Investor Service assigned these ratings on Honduras:

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


* HONDURAS: Zinc Industry Recovering from Price Fall
----------------------------------------------------
The upward trend of China's economy has proved favorable for Honduras'
zinc mining industry, the El Heraldo says.

China's increasing demand for zinc has resulted to higher prices, El
Heraldo quoted the president of The American Pacific Mining Company,
Renaud Adams, as saying.

The recent increase in zinc prices, Mr. Adams said, is a cause for
optimism.  This will allow the industry to get back on its feet after
three years of disappointing results, the El Heraldo states.

                        *    *    *

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: Management Resumes Wage Negotiations with Union
------------------------------------------------------------
Air Jamaica's management has continued talks with the Bustamante
Industrial Trade Union aka BITU on Tuesday to resolve the wage dispute and
prevent a strike by flight attendants, the Jamaica Observer reports.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on May 2, 2006, BITU, a union
of flight attendants, put strike plans against Air Jamaica on hold.  RJR
94 FM recalls that the union of flight attendants voted to take industrial
action against Air Jamaica to press their demands for improved salaries.

The BITU has decided to halt plans of demonstration when its
representatives met with Air Jamaica's management, RJR 94 relates.

According to RJR 94, the union has been waiting since 2005 to
reach a new agreement on the wages with Air Jamaica.

The BITU has however rejected the new proposals presented by Air
Jamaica's management, RJR 94 reports.

The Observer relates that the union was scheduled to give its response to
the management on Tuesday.

                        *    *    *

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
===========


BALLY TOTAL: Deutsche Bank May Finance Leveraged Buy-Out Deal
-------------------------------------------------------------
Deutsche Bank AG Deutsche is offering about $700 million to
finance Bally Total Fitness Holding Corp.'s auction of its assets, made up
of senior bank debt and subordinated debt, The Deal reports.  The
financing is available to bidders of the Company's assets to fund what is
commonly referred to as a leveraged buyout.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Blackstone Group LP, are handling the sale.

Robert Wall, Esq., of Winston & Strawn LLP, the counsel to a
special strategic alternatives committee formed by Bally's board
of Directors, had recommended that a third bank should provide the debt
financing to avoid the perception that there is conflict of interest.

J.P. Morgan contacted strategic and financial buyers in early
March about the transaction.  Confidentiality agreements have been signed,
according to the Deal.  Potential buyers reportedly
include:

   * BC Partners, owner of Fitness First;

   * Life Time Fitness Inc.;

   * Forstmann Little & Co., ownersof 24 Hour Fitness Worldwide
     Inc.

   * Wellspring Capital Management LLC;

   * TRT Holdings Inc.; and

   * Brunswick Corp.

                      About Bally Total

Bally Total Fitness -- http://www.ballyfitness.com/-- is the
largest and only U.S. commercial operator of fitness centers,
with approximately four million members and 390 facilities
located in 29 states, Mexico, Canada, Korea, China and the
Caribbean under the Bally Total Fitness(R), Crunch Fitness(SM),
Gorilla Sports(SM), Pinnacle Fitness(R), Bally Sports Clubs(R)
and Sports Clubs of Canada(R) brands.

                         *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 17, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services held its ratings on Bally Total Fitness
Holding Corp., including the 'CCC' corporate credit rating, on CreditWatch
with developing implications, where they were placed on Dec. 2, 2005.  The
CreditWatch update followed Bally's announcement that it will not meet the
March 16, 2006, deadline for filing its annual report on SEC Form 10-K for
the year ending Dec. 31, 2005.


TELEFONOS DE MEXICO: Analyst See Modest First Quarter Results
-------------------------------------------------------------
Telefonos de Mexico or Telmex will project a modest rise in its 2006 first
quarter earnings, analysts told Dow Jones Newswires.  The small increase
is due to the slow growth in its home market, which is offset by the
exchange gains from its South American operations.

According to analysts that did a survey conducted by Dow Jones, Telmex
will probably disclose earnings of MXN0.34 per share versus the MXN0.28
per share in 2005.

"The company's results should be slightly positive, benefiting from the
conversion of operations in South America due to the revaluation of the
Brazilian real, Chilean peso, and Colombian peso," the Vector brokerage
said in a research note, Dow Jones relates.

The analysts predicted a net profit of MXN7.54 billion compared to the
MXN6.29 billion of 2005 and total revenues of MXN41.3 billion versus last
year’s MXN39.0 billion, Dow Jones says.

An estimated EBITDA of MXN18.4 billion, higher than the MXN18.0 million in
2005, is also projected, Dow Jones relates.

According to Bear Stearns in a report, "Margins should be affected by
lower revenue growth in Mexico."  It assumes that a growth in revenue will
be generated in South American operations in response to a decline in
constant pesos in the Mexican revenues, Dow Jones says.

Telmex has tried in the last years to compensate flat revenues from local
telephony that has not changed rates since 2001 by insistently selling
high-speed Internet services and spreading out into South America, Dow
Jones says.

Dow Jones adds that in 2005, the company serviced 18.4 million lines,
which is 7% more than in 2004, and an estimated 1 million high-speed
Internet accounts, higher by 84.4% than in 2004.

Telemex has several acquisitions in Latin America, which includes:

   -- a controlling stake in Brazil’s Embratel Participacoes,
   -- Chile’s Chilesat, and
   -- AT&T Latin America.

In the earlier part of April, Telmex and America Movil disclosed that they
would participate in a joint venture to buy the 28.5% stake of Verizon
Communications in CA National Telefonos de Venezuela aka CANTV in the
amount of US$676.6 million, Dow Jones reports.

Dow Jones relates that Scotia Casa de Bolsa in its first-quarter earnings
preview said, "We expect that Latin American operations, mainly Brazil,
continue to show moderate improvements in profitability, though still with
margins inferior to those when Telmex bought those operations.”

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

                          *    *    *

As reported in Troubled Company Reporter on March 9, 2005, court
No. 4 of Buenos Aires' civil and commercial tribunal declared
Telmex bankrupt, appointing Ms. Maria Lilia Orazi as the
trustee.


TV AZTECA: Holds Talks with US Securities & Exchange Commission
---------------------------------------------------------------
Mexico's TV Azteca SA told Dow Jones Newswires on Monday that it is
holding talks with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

TV Azteca said the talks are confidential and are being held in good
faith, according to Dow Jones.  The company said in a filing that it has
yet no additional information to disclose.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Jan. 6, 2005, SEC filed
civil fraud charges against TV Azteca, whose American depository receipts
trade on the NYSE, its parent company -- Azteca Holdings -- and three
current and former TV Azteca officers and directors, Ricardo Salinas
Pliego, Pedro Padilla Longoria, and Luis Echarte Fernandez.  The SEC
alleged that the defendants engaged in an elaborate scheme to conceal
Salinas's role in a series of transactions through which he personally
profited by US$109 million.  SEC also alleged that Salinas and Padilla
sold millions of dollars of TV Azteca stock while Salinas's self-dealing
remained undisclosed to the market place.

Dow Jones relates that Salinas Pliego and Unefon partner Moises Saba,
through Codisco Investments LLC, paid US$107 million of the US$325 million
owed by Unefon to Nortel.  Unefon then paid the debt in full when it sold
some of its wireless spectrum to Telcel, a unit of America Movil SA aka
AMX.  Unefon, however, did not disclose at the time that Codisco was owned
by Salinas and Saba.

Following the filing of charges, firms controlled by Ricardo Salinas
Pliego, which included TV Azteca, delisted their shares from the New York
Stock Exchange in 2005, Dow Jones states.  The companies said it was due
to excessive regulation and that the cost of maintaining the listings
surpassed the benefits.

Dow Jones reports that Infosel, the local financial service, quoted
unnamed sources saying that TV Azteca and several executives including
Chairman Pliego had reached an out-of-court settlement with the US
securities regulators.

TV Azteca is one of the two largest producers of Spanish-
language television programming in the world, operating two
national television networks in Mexico -- Azteca 13 and Azteca 7
-- through more than 300 owned and operated stations across the
country.  TV Azteca affiliates include Azteca America Network, a
new broadcast television network focused on the rapidly growing
US Hispanic market, and Todito, an Internet portal for North
American Spanish speakers.

                        *    *    *

Moody's Investor Services rated TV Azteca's senior unsecured
debt at B1.



=================
N I C A R A G U A
=================


* NICARAGUA: Implements Daylight Saving Time
--------------------------------------------
Nicaragua implemented a daylight saving time this week, advancing official
schedule by one hour, Hondudiario reports.

Daylight saving time aka DST is a system of adjusting the
official local time forward -- usually one hour -- from its
official standard time for the summer months, to provide a
better match between the hours of daylight and the active hours
of work and school.

Kyodo News states that governments often consider it as an
energy conservation measure.  It allows more effective use of
sunlight in summer time.  Because there is less darkness in the
waking day, there is less use of electric lights.

                        *    *    *

Moody's Investor Service assigned these ratings to Nicaragua:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Long Term          Caa1     June 30, 2003
   Senior Unsecured
   Debt                B3      June 30, 2003


* NICARAGUA: Signs Economic Cooperation Pact with China
-------------------------------------------------------
Nicaragua is among the Central American nations that signed in April an
agreement with China that promotes business cooperation.

The agreement came as a result of Costa Rica's "China Ya" business
initiative.

The pact is expected to benefit Nicaraguan businesses that have no
previous links with China.

                        *    *    *

Moody's Investor Service assigned these ratings to Nicaragua:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Long Term          Caa1     June 30, 2003
   Senior Unsecured
   Debt                B3      June 30, 2003



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


BANCO LATINAMERICANO: Declares US$2.217 Per Share Cash Dividend
---------------------------------------------------------------
Banco Latinoamericano de Exportaciones, S. A. disclosed that its Board of
Directors, at a meeting held on April 17, 2006, declared a cash dividend
of US$2.217 per share (par value of US$10.00 per share), payable on May
15, 2006 to holders of preferred shares outstanding.

This dividend corresponds to the annual dividend to preferred shares that
includes a minimum annual dividend of 8% and the preferred dividend
equivalent to the percentage of the common dividend in excess of 8%, as a
result of the special dividend declared in favor of the holders of common
shares on January 31, 2006.  Bladex has currently 304,010 preferred shares
outstanding.

For inquiries concerning the payment of dividends, contact:

            Bladex Shareholder Relations Manager
            Attention: Luisa Lin de Polo
            Calle 50 y Aquilino de la Guardia
            P. O. Box 0819-08730
            Panama, Republic of Panama
            Tel: (507) 210-8667
            Fax: (507) 210-8666
            E-mail: lpolo@blx.com

                  -- or --

            Bladex Senior Vice President of Finance
            Attention: Carlos Yap S.
            Calle 50 y Aquilino de la Guardia
            P. O. Box 0819-08730
            Panama, Republic of Panama
            Tel: (507) 210-8563
            Fax: (507) 269-6333
            E-mail: cyap@blx.com

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

                        *    *    *

As reported on April 7, 2006, Moody's affirmed the following
ratings for Bladex:

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

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

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

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

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


GRUPO FINANCIERO: Fitch Affirms C Individual Rating
---------------------------------------------------
Fitch affirms these ratings of Grupo Financiero Continental:

   -- Long-term Issuer Default Rating: BBB-;
   -- Short-term: F3;
   -- Individual: C;
   -- Support: 5.

The Outlook is Stable.

At the same time, Fitch has affirmed these ratings assigned to GFC's
principal subsidiary, Banco Continental de Panama S.A.:

   -- Long-term Issuer Default Rating: BBB-;
   -- Short-term: F3.

The Outlook is Stable.

Fitch has also affirmed the ratings of Banco Continental's USD150 million
senior unsecured medium term note at 'BBB-'.

The ratings assigned reflect its established franchise in Panama, healthy
operating profitability and asset quality, and solid capital base.  They
also factor the risks associated with cross border lending to borrowers in
less stable economies.

GFC, a Panama-based holding company, whose principal subsidiary is Banco
Continental de Panama S.A. and Subsidiaries, Panama's third largest
privately held general license bank (domestic deposit market share: 8.7%
at the end of 2005), which represented 99% of consolidated assets and net
income.  Historically focused on the corporate market, GFC has expanded
into new segments over the years through acqusitions and today boasts a
diversified business mix providing corporate, middle market consumer and
private banking services.


PRIMER BANCO: Faces Suit on Unpaid Interest from Atty. General
--------------------------------------------------------------
An official from Primer Banco del Istmo aka Banistmo told Business News
Americas that the bank is being sued by the office of the attorney general
of Panama for US$99,953 in allegedly unpaid interest on frozen bank
accounts.

The official revealed to BNamericas that the attorney general's office
seeks to recover interest earned on two bank accounts that were opened in
July 1995 with deposits amounting to US$470,000 at Banco Mercantil del
Istmo, which Banistmo acquired in 2003.

However, Banistmo told BNamericas that it owes US$91,321 as it is the
amount of interest accumulated by the bank accounts and not US$99,953.

Banistmo said in a statement that the accounts were frozen by Conapred,
the national drug control committee, in October 1995 on the grounds they
were linked to drug trafficking.  Local press reported that the accounts
were opened by Pablo Escobar Gaviria and Jose Gonzalo Rodriguez Gacha, who
were drug traffickers.

Banistmo, however, denied that the two never had accounts at the bank and
not even on its subsidiaries, BNamericas relates.

BNamericas recalls that Banco Mercantil del Istmo apparently paid out in
1999 US$470,000 on the two accounts but the attorney general claimed that
the bank did not pay out any of the interest accumulated.

The attorney general told BNamericas that Banistmo was not aware of the
two accounts as they were closed in 1999 and Banistmo bought Banco
Mercantil del Istmo four years after.

The official informed BNamericas that Banistmo still has to recognize its
responsibilities and pay the interest accrued.

                        *    *    *

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

These ratings were also affirmed:

   * Long term foreign currency deposit rating: Ba1, with stable
     outlook

   * Short term foreign currency deposit rating: Not Prime


* PANAMA: Signs Economic Cooperation Accord with China
------------------------------------------------------
Panama is among the Central American nations that signed in April an
agreement with China that promotes business cooperation.

The agreement came as a result of Costa Rica's "China Ya" business
initiative.

The pact is expected to benefit Panama's businesses that have no previous
links with China.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigns these ratings on Panama:

                     Rating     Rating Date
                     ------     -----------
   Country Ceiling    BBB      Apr.  8, 2005
   Long Term IDR      BB+      Dec. 14, 2005
   Short Term IDR       B      Dec. 14, 2005
   Local Currency
   Long Term Issuer
   Default Rating     BB+      Dec. 14, 2005



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


TELEFONICA DEL PERU: Acme Packet to Provide VoIp Services
---------------------------------------------------------
Acme Packet, a provider in session border control solutions disclosed that
Telefonica del Peru selected Acme Packet's Net-Net session border
controllers for its new SIP-based communication services.  The Net-Net
SBCs are currently deployed in the network to support Cabiphone, a VoIP
service for prepaid international long distance calls at Internet cafes,
and are currently in field trials for Speedyphone, a residential and SOHO
VoIP service.

Acme Packet's Net-Net SBCs are used for hosted NAT traversal, which
enables Telefonica del Peru to maximize its service reach for the new
communication offerings without impacting the customer premise.
Telefonica's service infrastructure is secured with topology hiding,
access control and denial of service attack prevention features.
Showcasing the rich multiservice feature set of the Net-Net platforms,
Telefonica del Peru is using Acme Packet's SBCs for multiple projects.

"We chose Acme Packet as its SBCs excelled in every lab test and delivered
the necessary features for a successful launch of our VoIP services," said
Carlos Flores, Manager for Customer Engineering and New Services at
Telefonica del Peru.  "The configuration flexibility that enabled Acme
Packet to quickly prove interoperability with our Huawei and Alcatel VoIP
equipment allowed us to quickly bring new services to market."

                      Highlighted Links

"Telefonica del Peru is using Acme Packet's Net-Net SBCs in their network
to solve security, quality and service reach challenges across a variety
of services and applications," stated Andy Ory, president and CEO of Acme
Packet.  "Cabiphone and Speedyphone represent economical and innovative
communication services for TdP's customers."

                    About Acme Packet

Acme Packet, a provider in session border control solutions, enables
service providers to deliver interactive communications -- voice, video
and multimedia sessions -- across IP network borders.

                 About Telefonica del Peru

Telefonica del Peru is one of the world leaders in Telecommunications with
presence in Europe, Africa, and Latin America.

                        *    *    *

As previously reported on Sept. 22, 2005, Fitch Ratings affirmed
Telefonica del Peru S.A.A.'s international scale local currency
unsecured debt rating at BBB+ and foreign currency unsecured
debt rating at BB and has assigned a 'BB' rating to its
proposed US$200 million senior unsecured notes to be issued in
PEN currency and paid in USD currency.  Fitch said the rating
outlook is stable.

On April 24, 2006, in conjunction with the roll out of Issuer Default
Ratings and Recovery Ratings for Latin America Corporates, Fitch Ratings
upgraded the previous BB Rating on its US$754 million Senior Unsecured
Notes due 2016 to BBB-.



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


GLOBAL HOME: Selling Burnes Units' Assets for US$37.3 Million
-----------------------------------------------------------
Global Home Products, LLC, and its debtor-affiliates want to sell
Substantially all of the assets of these debtor-affiliates to C.R. Gibson,
Inc., for approximately US$37.3 million:

   * Burnes Acquisition, Inc.,
   * Intercraft Company,
   * Burnes Puerto Rico, Inc.,
   * Picture LLC,
   * Burnes Operating Company LLC.

The proposed sale will also include the assets of these non-debtor
affiliates:

   * Intercraft Brunes, S.de R.L. de C.V.; and
   * 690629 BC Ltd.

The Burnes Group Debtors design and sell ready-made picture
frames, photo albums, scrapbooks and related home accessories.
The Burnes Group Debtors are not profitable under its current
capital structure.  The Burnes Group Debtors increasingly lack
sufficient cash flow or financing to enable them to obtain the
products that they need to complete sale to their customers.
Supplier and customer uncertainty with the Burnes Group Debtors is
intensifying.  More and more vendors are threatening to attempt to sell
directly to Burnes' customers.  Personal retention difficulties are also
amplifying.  The Debtors say that the Burnes Group Debtors will be unable
to continue their business as a going concern beyond a short period of
time.

With the help of Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin Capita, Inc., the
Debtors inked an asset purchase agreement with C.R. Gibson.  The
Asset Purchase Agreement provides, among other things:

   * Consideration: US$33.55 million, plus an additional of up
     to US$3.75 million for new inventory paid for by the Burnes
     Group Debtors.  The price is subject to certain
     adjustments.  US$2 million of the total consideration will
     be paid in promissory note payable November 30, 2006.

   * Assumption of Liabilities.  Some of the Burnes Group
     Debtors' debts will be assumed.

   * Contracts and Leases.  Some of Burnes Group Debtors'
     executory contracts and leases will be assumed and assigned
     to the buyer.

The sale is subject to higher and better offers.

Headquartered in Westerville, Ohio, Global Home Products, LLC
-- http://www.anchorhocking.com/and http://www.burnesgroup.com/-- sells
houseware and home products and manufactures high quality glass products
for consumers and the food services industry.  The company also designs
and markets photo frames, photo albums and related home decor products.
The company and 16 of its affiliates, including Burnes Puerto Rico, Inc.,
and
Mirro Puerto Rico, Inc., filed for Chapter 11 protection on Apr. 10, 2006
(Bankr. D. Del. Case No. 06-10340).  Laura Davis Jones, Esq., Bruce
Grohsgal, Esq., James E. O'Neill, Esq., and Sandra G.M. Selzer, Esq., at
Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl, Young, Jones &
Weintraub LLP, represent the Debtors.  When the company filed
for protection from their creditors, they estimated assets
between US$50 million and US$100 million and debts of more than
US$100 million.


GLOBAL HOME: Will Auction Burnes Units' Assets on May 22
-------------------------------------------------------
Global Home Products, LLC, and its debtor-affiliates will auction off on
May 22, 2006, 12:00 noon Eastern Time, substantially all of the assets of
these debtor-affiliates:

   * Burnes Acquisition, Inc.,
   * Intercraft Company,
   * Burnes Puerto Rico, Inc.,
   * Picture LLC,
   * Burnes Operating Company LLC.

The auction will also include the assets of these non-debtor
affiliates:

   * Intercraft Brunes, S.de R.L. de C.V.; and
   * 690629 BC Ltd.

The Auction will be held at the offices of:

   Pachulski Stang Ziehl Young Jones & Weintraub LLP
   919 North Market Street, 17th Floor,
   Wilmington, Delaware, 19899

C.R. Gibson, Inc., is the stalking horse bidder with a with a
US$37.3 million bid.

Interested bidders must offer at least US$39.05 million in their
initial bid.  Subsequent bids should be in increments of not less than
US$100,000.  A proposal for a competing bid must be in writing and
submitted as an asset purchase agreement on or before 5:00 p.m., Eastern
Time, on May 18, 2006.  Interested bidders must also provide an earnest
money cash deposit of not less than US$2 million.

Competing bids must be delivered to:

   a. Debtors:

      Raymond Wechsler
      Interim Chief Executive Officer
      Randal Rombeiro
      Chief Financial Officer
      Global Home Products, LLC
      550 Polaris Parkway, Suite 500
      Westerville, Ohio 43082

   b. Debtors' counsel:

      Laura Davis Jones, Esq.
      Pachulski Stang Ziehl Young Jones & Weintraub LLP
      919 North Market Street, 17th Floor,
      Wilmington, Delaware, 19899

   c. Debtors' investment bankers:

      Adam L. Dunayer
      Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin Capital, Inc.
      200 Crescent Court, Suite 1900
      Dallas, Texas 75201

   d. counsel to the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors:

      Sharon L. Levine, Esq.,
      Lowenstein Sandler PC
      65 Livingston Avenue
      Roseland, New Jersey 07068

   e. counsel to Wachovia Bank, National Association:

      Jonathan N. Helfat, Esq.
      Otterbourg, Steindler, Houston & Rosen, P.C.
      230 Park Avenue
      New York, New York 10169

   f. counsel to Madeline L.L.C.:

      Jesse H. Austin, III, Esq.
      Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, LLP
      600 Peachtree Street, N.W. Suite 2400,
      Atlanta, Georgia 30308

   g. counsel to Global Homes Products Investors LLC:

      Michael L. Coyle, Esq.
      Sophie S. Kim, Esq.
      Schultz, Roth & Zabel LLP
      919 Third Avenue
      New York, New York 10022

   h. counsel to C.R. Gibson:

      Timothy K. Corley, P.C.
      2815 Darby Drive, P.O. Box 1168
      Florence Alabama 35631

            -- and --

      Douglas Bacon, Esq.
      Latham & Watkins, LLP
      Sears Tower, Suit 5800
      233 South Wacker Drive
      Chicago, Illinois 60606

If another bidder wins the auction, the Debtors will pay C.R.
Gibson a US$1 million break-up fee and reimburse C.R. Gibson for up to
US$250,000 of expenses related to the due diligence conducted during the
sale negotiations.  The Court rules that the US$1.25 million payment to
C.R. Gibson will have a superpriority administrative expense claim status
and must be paid before anyone else's claims, except for Perot System's.

The Court will conduct a hearing on May 23, 2006, at 11:00 a.m.,
to consider approval of the sale of the assets to the winning
bidder.  Parties-in-interest have until May 18, 2006, at 4:00
p.m., to object to the sale.

Headquartered in Westerville, Ohio, Global Home Products, LLC
-- http://www.anchorhocking.com/and http://www.burnesgroup.com/-- sells
houseware and home products and manufactures high quality glass products
for consumers and the food services industry.  The company also designs
and markets photo frames, photo albums and related home decor products.
The company and 16 of its affiliates, including Burnes Puerto Rico, Inc.,
and Mirro Puerto Rico, Inc., filed for Chapter 11 protection on Apr. 10,
2006 (Bankr. D. Del. Case No. 06-10340).  Laura Davis Jones, Esq., Bruce
Grohsgal, Esq., James E. O'Neill, Esq., and Sandra G.M. Selzer, Esq., at
Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl, Young, Jones & Weintraub LLP, represent the
Debtors.  When the company filed for protection from their creditors, they
estimated assets between US$50 million and US$100 million and debts of
more than US$100 million.


MUSICLAND HOLDING: Court Extends Removal Period to July 12
----------------------------------------------------------
The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York extended
the time within which Musicland Holding Corp. and its debtor-affiliates
may file notices of removal under Bankruptcy Rule 9027(a)(2)(A) to the
later of:

   (a) July 12, 2006;

   (b) 30 days after the entry of an order lifting the automatic
       stay with respect to the particular action sought to be
       removed; or

   (c) with respect to postpetition actions, the time periods
       given in Bankruptcy Rule 9027(a)(3).

David A. Agay, Esq., at Kirkland Ellis LLP, in New York, asserts that
extending the removal period will give the Debtors an opportunity to make
fully informed decisions about the potential removal of all Actions and
will assure that the Debtors do not forfeit valuable rights under Section
1452.

The rights of the Debtors' adversaries will not be prejudiced by an
extension because in the event that a matter is removed, the other parties
to an Action may seek to have that action remanded pursuant to Section
1452(b), Mr. Agay points out.

Headquartered in New York, New York, Musicland Holding Corp., is a
specialty retailer of music, movies and entertainment-related products.
The Debtor and 14 of its affiliates filed for chapter
11 protection on Jan. 12, 2006 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Lead Case No.
06-10064).  James H.M. Sprayregen, Esq., at Kirkland & Ellis, represents
the Debtors in their restructuring efforts.   Mark T.
Power, Esq., at Hahn & Hessen LLP, represents the Official Committee of
Unsecured Creditors.  When the Debtors filed for protection from their
creditors, they estimated more than $100 million in assets and debts.
(Musicland Bankruptcy News, Issue
No. 10; Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., 215/945-7000)


OCA INC: Inks Accord with Senior Lenders & Panel on Plan Terms
--------------------------------------------------------------
OCA, Inc., and its debtor-affiliates ask the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the
Eastern District of Louisiana to approve the Plan Support Agreement they
entered into with Bank of America, on behalf of the Debtors' senior
lenders under a Credit Agreement dated Jan. 2, 2003, as amended, and the
Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors.

Pursuant to the Plan Support Agreement:

   -- the Debtors will file a Plan of Reorganization and
      Disclosure Statement consistent with the terms and
      conditions of the Plan Support Agreement and a Term Sheet
      describing the treatment of unsecured creditors;

   -- the Senior Lenders and Committee will support the Plan
      filed;

   -- The Plan will provide for:

      * a substantial de-leveraging of the Company's Senior Debt
        and the issuance of 100% of the equity in the
        Reorganized OCA to the Senior Lenders (subject to the
        dilution by the management and doctors' incentive
        plans);

      * payments for the unsecured creditors;

      * exit financing of $10 million for the Debtors;

      * a potential recovery to the existing equity holders of
        the Debtors; and

      * the creation of incentive plans for management and the
        doctors to participate in ownership of the reorganized
        Debtors after confirmation of the Debtors' Plan; and

   -- until the termination of the Term Sheet, neither OCA nor
      the Senior Lenders nor the Committee will solicit or
      support any transaction that is inconsistent with the
      Chapter 11 Plan.

William H. Patrick, III, Esq., at Heller, Draper, Hayden, Patrick & Horn,
LLC, in New Orleans, Louisiana, contends that a chapter 11 plan of
reorganization based on the Term Sheet will preserve value and keep the
Debtors operating as a going concern without business disruptions.  By
reaching an agreement on a Term Sheet with the Senior Lenders and the UCC,
the Debtors believe that they are on the verge of a successful
reorganization.

According to Mr. Patrick, the purpose of the Plan Support
Agreement is two fold:

   (a) it memorializes how the parties envision implementing the
       plan of reorganization process; and

   (b) it provides assurances to the Debtors that, subject to
       the limitations contained in the Plan Support Agreement
       and the Term Sheet, the Senior Lenders and the Committee
       will support the chapter 11 plan of reorganization.

Based in Metairie, Louisiana, OCA, Inc. -- http://www.ocai.com/--
provides a full range of operational, purchasing, financial,
marketing, administrative and other business services, as well as capital
and proprietary information systems to approximately 200 orthodontic and
dental practices representing approximately almost 400 offices.  The
Company's client practices provide
treatment to patients throughout the United States and in Japan,
Mexico, Spain, Brazil and Puerto Rico.

The Company and its debtor-affiliates filed for Chapter 11 protection on
March 14, 2006 (Bankr. E.D. La. Case No.
06-10179).  William H. Patrick, III, Esq., at Heller Draper Hayden Patrick
& Horn, LLC, represents the Debtors.  Patrick S. Garrity, Esq., and
William E. Steffes, Esq., at Steffes Vingiello & McKenzie LLC represent
the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors.  When the Debtors filed for
protection from their creditors, they listed US$545,220,000 in total
assets and
US$196,337,000 in total debts.



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


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Assures Normal Deliveries from Paraguana
----------------------------------------------------------------
Petroleos de Venezuela or PDVSA informs the public that supply of unleaded
gasoline, diesel oil, jet fuel and other by-products from Cardon
Distribution Facility, is normally carried out according to requests of
wholesalers and retailers of Falcon State and other cities of influence.

Pedro Rodriguez, PDVSA Venezuela Marketing and Distribution General
Manager, informed that activities at the distribution plant, located
within facilities of the Paraguana Refining Center, are carried out as
planned, meeting the needs of the distribution enterprises and the
marketing affiliate of PDVSA Deltaven, which are responsible for an entire
net of service stations in Falcón State and other parts of the country.

“Considering the celebration of the Worker International Day, on last
April 28, 125 oil tank trucks were sent to destination, and on Saturday,
April 29, a total of 92 oil transport trucks delivered their content.
These figures represent an increase of over 40% in supply operations,”
Rodríguez indicated.

In order to guarantee national supply, staff at Cardon Distribution
Facility worked on May 1st, even though no request was made by wholesale
enterprises responsible for furnishing and maintaining inventories at
service stations, Mr. Rodriguez informed.

                    PDVSA denies rumors

PDVSA denies extra official information concerning alleged failures and
delays when supplying gasoline and by-products from the Paraguana
Distribution Facility.  PDVSA also asks the public to avoid spreading this
kind of rumors.

Although there were some supply problems in some service stations located
in Coro, Falcon State, these were not caused by operations at Cardon
Distribution Facility.  The rest of service stations in Falcon State
rendered services on regular basis; there were no delays in distribution.

“Fuel and by-products production at the Paraguana Refining Center has been
normally carried out, and available inventories are enough to meet
distribution responsibilities as already planned and in accordance with
the needs of traditional customers,” Mr. Rodriguez assured.

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, 2006, 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.


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: May Seek US$20B Funding from Int'l Banks
----------------------------------------------------------------
Petroleos de Venezuela SA or PDVSA may borrow up to US$20 billion from
international banks to fund part of its US$70 billion investment program
that aims to increase oil production to 5.8 million barrels per day by
2012, build refineries and develop natural-gas reserves.

According to PDVSA Finance Director Eudomario Carruyo, the company may
seek financing of up to US$3.5 billion this year, Bloomberg News reports.

"We are evaluating offers made by international banks, banks from Japan
and banks from North America," Mr. Carruyo told Bloomberg.  "Banks are
very interested in financing some of the projects, such as acquiring oil
tankers, or building refineries."

PDVSA seeks financing despite surging revenues because it will be
diverting about US$8 billion of funds to finance the government's social
spending this year.

The finance director estimated 2006 revenues to top US$85 billion.

"The Venezuelan oil basket price has been averaging about $60 a barrel,"
Mr. Carruyo told Bloomberg.  "We expect it to end the year at between
US$58 and US$60 a barrel."

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.


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Parliament OKs Mixed Companies’ Pacts
-------------------------------------------------------------
The National Assembly unanimously passed 22 particular Mixed Companies’
agreements entered into by Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. or PDVSA and 16
international companies operating in Venezuela.  This represents one more
step towards a definite Full Oil Sovereignty.

The Parliament approved the creation of the following companies with PDVSA
holding the majority of ownership of shares:

   -- Boqueron and Petroperija (BP Venezuela);
   -- Petroboscan and Petroindependiente (Chevron);
   -- Petrowarao and Petrowayu (Perenco);
   -- Onado and Petronado (General de Combustibles); and
   -- Petrolera Mata, Petroven-Bras and Petroritupano (Petrobras).

Likewise, these companies were also incorporated:

   -- Petrocaracol (CNPC Venezuela);
   -- Petrorinoco (Havest-Vinccler);
   -- Lagopetrol (Hocol);
   -- Kaki (Inemaka);
   -- Petrocuragua (Open);
   -- Petroquiriquire (Repsol YPF);
   -- Petroregional del Lago (Shell);
   -- Petrocabimas (Suelopetrol);
   -- Baripetrol (Tecpetrol);
   -- Petroguarico (Teikoku) and
   -- Petromiranda (Vinccler).

Through the migration process from operative agreements to Mixed
Companies, PDVSA could also take control over the remaining 8 fields.

The approval of these 22 agreements implied a process in which an
exhaustive revision was made by the Energy and Mines Committee; its
president, Angel Rodriguez, explained that the parliamentary group chaired
by him verified suitability of the agreements in terms of the Framework
Model of Mixed Companies’ agreements, passed by the Parliament on March
2006, whereby operators shall pay a 30% royalty, 50% of income tax and a
contribution of 3.33% to boost and develop social programs in each of the
zones surrounding oil fields.

The parliament member highlighted that each agreement respects PDVSA’s
majority of ownership of shares, which reaches 60%, as a minimum quote,
and even 80% of State participation, in some other cases.  By
incorporating Mixed Companies, Venezuela reassumes full control over
hydrocarbons wealth, a power minimized between 1992 and 1997 when 32
operative agreements were created during the so-called apertura petrolera.

After approving particular agreements, the following step is the
publication on the Official Gazette of Mixed Companies’ creation in order
to render them in force.

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, 2006, 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: Will Explore for Oil & Natural Gas in Bolivia
----------------------------------------------------------
Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez told Dow Jones Newswires that his
country will conduct oil and natural gas exploration in Bolivia.

"We are going to look for more gas and oil reserves in Bolivia," President
Chavez announced during his television and radio program on Sunday.

Dow Jones recalls that Petroleos de Venezuela SA aka PDVSA, Venezuela's
state oil firm, had promised technical assistance and investment to aid
Bolivia in exploring for as well as extracting natural gas and oil.

PDVSA would take an active role in the exploration, President Chavez
informed Dow Jones.

                        *    *    *

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


* VENEZUELA: Mixed Companies Invest US$70M in Endogenous Dev’t
--------------------------------------------------------------
In 2006, Mixed Companies will invest near US$70 million to encourage and
consolidate Endogenous Development Centers.  This contribution will boost
regional development and it will also help the State pay social debt owed
to Venezuelans, the president of Corporacion Venezolana del Petroleo and
PDVSA Internal Director, Eulogio Del Pino, said.

He explained that this initiative responds to a direct guideline proposed
by President Hugo Chavez, and it is also part of the social policy
currently implemented by the New PDVSA.

“As President Hugo Chavez requested and as a payment for the social debt
owed to Venezuelans, each Mixed Company is committed to support and boost
at least one Endogenous Development Center in each region.  To meet such
purposes, in 2006, they will invest near 70 million dollars,” Mr. Del Pino
said.  He also assured that every and each of the 22 Mixed Companies
incorporated by PDVSA and private enterprises, is fully required to
support social development.  “We already count on very relevant EDCs, such
as El Hornito and Palito Blanco in Western Venezuela, and some other
coffee and cacao development centers in Eastern Venezuela.  Now, by means
of Mixed Companies, in which we have share majority and control over
important decisions, we are going to defend investment and expenses
profiles, and we will guarantee commitment on social investment,” Mr. Del
Pino indicated.

The CVP president mentioned that when comparing investment levels required
to boosting sustainable development to profitability level of Mixed
Companies, “it is possible to make a contribution to social development of
each region, which eventually generates employment, welfare and a
betterment in the quality of life.”

“We are already aware that 1% of profits earned before tax return will be
destined to social development, plus 1% of gross annual income of Mixed
Companies which will be invest in an endogenous development fund,” Mr. Del
Pino added.  PDVSA’s Director also informed that in a few weeks, 6 new
Endogenous Development Centers will open their doors in the States of
Anzoategui and Zulia:

   -- Coffe EDC in Bergantin,
   -- El Hornito EDC,
   -- Palito Blanco EDC,
   -- Arutatakaek EDC,
   -- Rafael Maraa Baralt EDC and
   -- Youruna EDC.

These initiatives ratify, once again, the commitment to social development
assumed by the Venezuelan oil industry.

                        *    *    *

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



                         ***********


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

Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America is a daily newsletter
co-published by Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Fairless Hills,
Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick, Maryland USA.
Marjorie C. Sabijon, Sheryl Joy P. Olano, and Stella Mae Hechanova,
Editors.

Copyright 2006.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or publication
in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic re-mailing and
photocopying) is strictly prohibited without prior written permission of
the publishers.

Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed to be
reliable, but is not guaranteed.

The TCR Latin America subscription rate is $575 per half-year, delivered
via e-mail.  Additional e-mail subscriptions for members of the same firm
for the term of the initial subscription or balance thereof are $25 each.
For subscription information, contact Christopher Beard at 240/629-3300.


           * * * End of Transmission * * *