TCRLA_Public/070213.mbx         T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

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

          Tuesday, February 13, 2007, Vol. 8, Issue 31

                          Headlines

A R G E N T I N A

AES CORP: S&P Maintains BB- Rating Amidst EDC Stake Sale
AMITEL SA: Trustee Verifies Proofs of Claim Until March 7
BITAR SA: Trustee Verifies Proofs of Claim Until March 19
CONSTRUCTORA HORMIGOMAR: Claims Verification Is Until March 13
DINOSA SA: Trustee Verifies Proofs of Claim Until March 19

GREIF INC: Completes Tender Offer for 8-7/8% Sr. Notes Due 2012
LEAR CORP: American Real Makes US$5.3 Billion Acquisition Offer
MEDIC MEDICINA: Trustee Verifies Proofs of Claim Until April 23
WACADI SA: Trustee Verifies Proofs of Claim Until March 12

B A R B A D O S

DIGICEL LTD: Launches International Post-Paid Plans in Barbados

B E R M U D A

GLOBAL CROSSING: GC Impsat Prices US$225MM Senior Notes Offering
SEA CONTAINERS: Committee Hires Morris Nichols as Delaware Atty.
SEA CONTAINERS: Trustee Opposes Houlihan's Employment as Advisor
SHIP FINANCE: To Buy Two Capesize Vessels from Golden Ocean

B O L I V I A

* BOLIVIA: Gov't To Implement Per Second Call Billing on March 3
* BOLIVIA: Nationalizing Glencore's Vinto Plant in the Country

B R A Z I L

ALCATEL-LUCENT: Earns EUR4.4 Billion in Quarter Ended Dec. 31
ALCATEL-LUCENT: Fitch Maintains BB Rating 2 Months After Merger
GERDAU SA: Ups 2007 to 2009 Investment Budget to US$4 Billion
NOVELIS INC: Inks US$6 Billion Buy Deal with Hindalco Industries
PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: Appeals to Court on Compensation Issues

PROPEX: Moody's Changes SGL Rating After Credit Pact Revision
REMY: Engine Remanufacturing Sale Won't Affect Ratings, S&P Says
REMY INTERNATIONAL: Completes US$153.2 Mil. Sale to Caterpillar
XERIUM: Moody's Drops Ratings to B2 Due to Increased Competition

C A Y M A N   I S L A N D S

ALPHAPLUS CAPITAL: Holds Final Shareholders Meeting on Feb. 23
ARES TOTAL: Final Shareholders Meeting Is Set for Feb. 23
COMMONFUND INSTITUTIONAL: Final Shareholders Meeting on Feb. 23
DSL EQUITY: Deadline for Proofs of Claim Filing Set for Feb. 19
GREEN HILL: Final Shareholders Meeting Is Set for Feb. 23

INGENIOUS PARTNER: Holds Final Shareholders Meeting on Feb. 23
OECHSLE NIPPON: Proofs of Claim Filing Deadline Is on Feb. 16
HAMMERMAN CAPITAL: Filing of Proofs of Claim Ends on Feb. 23
MBAM FRM: Final Shareholders Meeting Set for Feb. 23

C H I L E

BANCO ITAU: Asks Chile Banking Authority for BankBoston Deal OK

C O L O M B I A

ECOPETROL: To Select Legal Advisor to Facilitate Stake Sale

C O S T A   R I C A

* COSTA RICA: Local Exporters Look Forward to China Trade Fair
* COSTA RICA: State Telcom Promises Better Service

D O M I N I C A N   R E P U B L I C

AES DOMINICANA: Denies Filing Suit Against Dominican Government
FLOWSERVE: Fitch Initiates Coverage; Assigns BB Ratings

E C U A D O R

DOLE FOOD: Fresh Vegetables Unit Inks Leafy Greens Mktg. Pact

* ECUADOR: Venezuela Offers Up to US$1-Billion Loan to Nation

G R E N A D A

* GRENADA: Confiscates World Cup Cricket Counterfeit Goods

H O N D U R A S

* HONDURAS: Inks Hydrocarbons Cooperation Pact with Japex

J A M A I C A

DYOLL INSURANCE: Farmers Group Seeks Out of Court Accord

M E X I C O

ARAMARK: Fitch Lowers IDR Rating to B After LBO Completion
DIRECTV GROUP: Fourth Quarter 2006 Net Income Rises to US$356MM
GRUPO IUSACELL: Inks Roaming Services Accord with Sprint Nextel
GRUPO MEXICO: Threatens to Scuttle Labor Deal with ASARCO
METROFINANCIERA: S&P Holds Ratings on Credito Buyout News

NORTEL NETWORKS: Plans 2,900 Job Cuts Worldwide by 2008
SOLO CUP: Stephen Macadam Joins Board of Directors
X-RITE INC: Appoints Tim Kardish as Sr. VP for Worldwide Sales

P A N A M A

CHIQUITA BRANDS: Jeffrey Benjamin Leaves Board of Directors

P E R U

* PERU: Sells 4.27% Shares for US$15 Million to 12 Companies

P U E R T O   R I C O

BIG BLUE: Case Summary & 19 Largest Unsecured Creditors
HOME PRODUCTS: Confirmation Hearing Scheduled for March 8
HOME PRODUCTS: Richards Layton Okayed as Local & Conflicts Atty.
SEARS HOLDINGS: Annual Shareholders Meeting Scheduled on May 4
VIVA INTERNATIONAL: To Buy Advanced Energy Assets for US$300,000

U R U G U A Y

* URUGUAY: Usinas y Transmisiones To Award Power Contracts

V E N E Z U E L A

ELECTRICIDAD DE CARACAS: AES Selling Stake to Gov't for US$739MM
PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Eyes 47,000 Workers by May 1
PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Thermal Generators Get More Natural Gas

* VENEZUELA: Cantv Compensation Won't Be Disclosed
* VENEZUELA: Sees Lower Foreign Investment in Oil & Gas Sector
* VENEZUELA: Halliburton Wary of Oil Nationalization Program


                          - - - - -


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


AES CORP: S&P Maintains BB- Rating Amidst EDC Stake Sale
--------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said that AES Corp's
(BB-/Stable/--) preliminary agreement to sell its 82% stake in
La Electricidad de Caracas (EDC), a regulated electricity
business in Venezuela, to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela
(BB/Stable/B) for US$740 million (after 2007 dividends) does not
affect the ratings or outlook on AES at this time.  While EDC
has provided about US$665 million of dividends to AES between
2000 and 2006, our assessment of AES parent operating cash flow
incorporates the high-risk nature of EDC's distributions.  We
estimate EDC would have provided about US$80 million in annual
distributions, or about 9% of AES' parent cash flow, in the
future.  Eliminating distributions of this magnitude would
result in parent-level cash flow interest coverage of about
1.75x versus actual of 2.0x and parent-level cash flow to debt
of 15.5% versus 17.5% for 2006, but will also result in lesser
volatility in parent level operating cash flow.  Relative to the
low probability but worst-case scenario of expropriation without
compensation, this result is positive.  However, the ultimate
use of proceeds will drive the company's credit quality, with
debt reduction or reinvestment in less risky assets being viewed
positively.  The sale is contingent upon the company's
completion of satisfactory due diligence.

AES Corp. -- 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 Corp.'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.

EDC is the largest private-sector electric utility in Venezuela
and generates, transmits, distributes, and markets electricity
primarily to metropolitan Caracas and its surrounding areas.
The AES Corp. owns 86% of EDC and acquired its stake in June
2000 through a public-tender offer.


AMITEL SA: Trustee Verifies Proofs of Claim Until March 7
---------------------------------------------------------
Hector Ricardo Martinez, the court-appointed trustee for Amitel
SA's bankruptcy proceeding, verifies creditors' proofs of claim
until March 7, 2007.

Mr. Martinez will present the validated claims in court as
individual reports on April 23, 2007.   A court in Buenos Aires
will determine if the verified claims are admissible, taking
into account the trustee's opinion and the objections and
challenges raised by Amitel and its creditors.

Inadmissible claims may be subject for appeal in a separate
proceeding known as an appeal for reversal.

A general report that contains an audit of Amitel's accounting
and banking records will follow on June 4, 2007.

Mr. Martinez is also in charge of administering Amitel's assets
under court supervision and will take part in their disposal to
the extent established by law.

The debtor can be reached at:

         Amitel SA
         San Martin 683
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


BITAR SA: Trustee Verifies Proofs of Claim Until March 19
---------------------------------------------------------
Mariela Adriana Bellani, the court-appointed trustee for Bitar
S.A.'s bankruptcy proceeding, verifies creditors' proofs of
claim until March 19, 2007.

Ms. Bellani will present the validated claims in court as
individual reports.  A court in Buenos Aires will determine if
the verified claims are admissible, taking into account the
trustee's opinion and the objections and challenges raised by
Bitar and its creditors.

Inadmissible claims may be subject for appeal in a separate
proceeding known as an appeal for reversal.

A general report that contains an audit of Bitar S.A.'s
accounting and banking records will follow.

Infobae did not say when the reports are due.

Ms. Bellani is also in charge of administering Bitar S.A.'s
assets under court supervision and will take part in their
disposal to the extent established by law.

The trustee can be reached at:

          Mariela Adriana Bellani
          Marcelo T. de Alvear 1364
          Buenos Aires, Argentina


CONSTRUCTORA HORMIGOMAR: Claims Verification Is Until March 13
--------------------------------------------------------------
Marcelo Carlos Rodriguez, the court-appointed trustee for
Constructora Hormigomar SA's bankruptcy proceeding, will verify
creditors' proofs of claim until March 13, 2007.

Under the Argentine bankruptcy law, Mr. Rodriguez is required to
present the validated claims in court as individual reports.
Court No. 5 in Buenos Aires will determine if the verified
claims are admissible, taking into account the trustee's opinion
and the objections and challenges raised by Constructora
Hormigomar and its creditors.

Inadmissible claims may be subject for appeal in a separate
proceeding known as an appeal for reversal.

Mr. Rodriguez will also submit a general report that contains an
audit of Constructora Hormigomar's accounting and banking
records.  The report submission dates have not been disclosed.

Constructora Hormigomar SA was forced into bankruptcy at the
behest of Walter Yanil Edwin, whom it owes US$17,500.

Clerk No. 9 assists the court in the proceeding.

The debtor can be reached at:

          Constructora Hormigomar SA
          Avenida Rivadavia 1245
          Buenos Aires, Argentina

The trustee can be reached at:

          Marcelo Carlos RodrĄguez
          Cerrito 146
          Buenos Aires, Argentina


DINOSA SA: Trustee Verifies Proofs of Claim Until March 19
----------------------------------------------------------
Elsa Taborcias, the court-appointed trustee for Dinosa SA's
bankruptcy proceeding, verifies creditors' proofs of claim until
March 19, 2007.

Ms. Taborcias will present the validated claims in court as
individual reports on April 30, 2007.   A court in Buenos Aires
will determine if the verified claims are admissible, taking
into account the trustee's opinion and the objections and
challenges raised by Dinosa and its creditors.

Inadmissible claims may be subject for appeal in a separate
proceeding known as an appeal for reversal.

A general report that contains an audit of Dinosa 's accounting
and banking records will follow on June 13, 2007.

Ms. Taborcias is also in charge of administering Dinosa 's
assets under court supervision and will take part in their
disposal to the extent established by law.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Elsa Taborcias
         Carlos Pellegrini 1063
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


GREIF INC: Completes Tender Offer for 8-7/8% Sr. Notes Due 2012
---------------------------------------------------------------
Greif Inc. had completed its tender offer for any and all of its
outstanding 8-7/8% Senior Subordinated Notes due 2012.  In the
tender offer, which expired on Feb. 8, 2007, subordinated notes
in the aggregate principal amount of US$245,610,000,
representing 99% of the outstanding subordinated notes, were
tendered to and purchased by the company.

The company also has issued US$300,000,000 aggregate principal
amount of its 6-3/4% Senior Notes due 2017.  The new senior
notes, which closed Feb. 9, were issued in a Rule 144A and
Regulation S offering.  The net proceeds from the issuance of
the new senior notes were used to fund the purchase of the
subordinated notes in the tender offer.  The remaining proceeds
will be used for general corporate purposes.

The announcement is neither an offer to sell nor a solicitation
of an offer to buy the notes described herein.  The company
offered the notes in reliance upon an exemption from
registration under the Securities Act of 1933 for an offer and
sale of notes that does not involve a public offering.  The
securities offered have not been registered under the Securities
Act of 1933 or any state securities laws and may not be offered
or sold in the United States absent registration or an
applicable exemption from registration requirements.

Headquartered in Delaware, Ohio, Greif, Incorporated, (NYSE:
GEF, GEF.B) -- http://www.greif.com/--is a world leader in
industrial packaging products and services. The Company provides
extensive expertise in steel, plastic, fibre, corrugated and
multi-wall containers for a wide range of industries. Greif also
produces containerboard and manages timber properties in the
United States.  For fiscal year 2006, the company generated
approximately US$2.6 billion in net sales and US$326 million in
EBITDA.  The company has operations in Australia, Argentina,
Brazil, Belgium, China, Malaysia, among others.


LEAR CORP: American Real Makes US$5.3 Billion Acquisition Offer
---------------------------------------------------------------
American Real Estate Partners, L.P., has signed an asset
purchase agreement with Lear Corp. for the latter's purchase for
US$5.3 billion, including the assumption of debt.  Under the
terms of the agreement, Lear shareholders would receive US$36.00
per share in cash.  Closing is expected to occur by the end of
the second quarter of 2007.

Under the terms of the agreement, Lear may solicit alternative
proposals from third parties for a period of 45 days from the
execution of the agreement and intends to consider any such
proposals with the assistance of its independent advisors.  In
addition, Lear may, at any time, subject to the terms of the
merger agreement, respond to unsolicited proposals.  If Lear
accepts a superior proposal, a break-up fee would be payable to
AREP.

"Following a very thorough review of the proposed transaction,
our Board unanimously concluded that the AREP offer was in the
best interests of Lear's shareholders," commented Bob Rossiter,
Lear's chairman and chief executive officer.  "We believe that
the transaction price, which represents a multiple of about 9x
our forecasted 2007 core operating earnings -- excluding the
Interior business, provides shareholders with significant value.
Furthermore, we intend to solicit other offers to ensure that
value is maximized for all of our shareholders," Mr. Rossiter
added.

"Lear is an excellent company with a strong management team in
place," said Carl Icahn.  "We look forward to working with
Lear's team to improve its long-term competitiveness, capitalize
on growth opportunities globally and to build an even stronger
and more valuable company in the future."

In connection with the transaction, J.P. Morgan Securities Inc.
served as a financial advisor and Winston & Strawn, LLP served
as legal counsel to a Special Committee of Lear's Board of
Directors.  Bank of America provided American Real Estate
Partners, L.P. with debt financing commitments for this
transaction.

The agreement is subject to the affirmative vote of the holders
of a majority of the outstanding shares of Lear common stock,
regulatory filings and approvals and other customary closing
conditions.  No assurances can be given that these conditions
will be satisfied or that the proposed transaction will be
consummated on the terms contemplated or at all.  Upon the
closing of the transaction, shares of Lear common stock will no
longer be listed on the New York Stock Exchange or publicly-
traded.

                         About AREP

American Real Estate Partners, L.P. (NYSE: ACP) --
http://www.arep.com/-- a master limited partnership, is a
diversified holding company engaged in a variety of businesses.
AREP's businesses include gaming, real estate and textiles.  The
company is an affiliate of Carl C. Icahn.

                         About Lear

Southfield, Mich.-based Lear Corp. (NYSE: LEA) --
http://www.lear.com/-- supplies automotive interior systems and
components.  Lear provides complete seat systems, electronic
products, electrical distribution systems, and other interior
products.

Lear also operates in Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil,
Canada, China, Czech Republic, United Kingdom, France, Germany,
Honduras, Hungary, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco,
The Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia,
Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden,
Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey and Venezuela.

                        *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Feb. 7, 2007,
Moody's Investors Service has placed the long-term ratings of
Lear Corp., corporate family rating at B2, under review for
possible downgrade.  The company's speculative grade liquidity
rating of SGL-2 has been affirmed.  The action follows
disclosure that American Real Estate Partners LP, an affiliate
of Carl C. Icahn, has made an offer to acquire all of the common
stock of Lear.  The offer would value Lear's equity at
approximately US$2.6 billion.


MEDIC MEDICINA: Trustee Verifies Proofs of Claim Until April 23
---------------------------------------------------------------
Moises Gorelik, the court-appointed trustee for Medic Medicina
Asistencial SA's bankruptcy proceeding, verifies creditors'
proofs of claim until April 23, 2007.

Mr. Gorelik will present the validated claims in court as
individual reports.  A court in Buenos Aires will determine if
the verified claims are admissible, taking into account the
trustee's opinion and the objections and challenges raised by
Medic Medicina Asistencial and its creditors.

Inadmissible claims may be subject for appeal in a separate
proceeding known as an appeal for reversal.

A general report that contains an audit of Medic Medicina
Asistencial's accounting and banking records will follow.

Infobae did not say when the reports are due.

Mr. Gorelik is also in charge of administering Medic Medicina
Asistencial's assets under court supervision and will take part
in their disposal to the extent established by law.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Moises Gorelik
         Cordoba 850
         Buenos Aires, Argentina


WACADI SA: Trustee Verifies Proofs of Claim Until March 12
----------------------------------------------------------
Juan Roque Treppo, the court-appointed trustee for Wacadi SA's
bankruptcy proceeding, verifies creditors' proofs of claim until
March 12, 2007.

Mr. Treppo will present the validated claims in court as
individual reports.   A court in Buenos Aires will determine if
the verified claims are admissible, taking into account the
trustee's opinion and the objections and challenges raised by
Wacadi and its creditors.

Inadmissible claims may be subject for appeal in a separate
proceeding known as an appeal for reversal.

A general report that contains an audit of Wacadi 's accounting
and banking records will follow.

Infobae did not say when the reports are due.

Mr. Treppo is also in charge of administering Wacadi's assets
under court supervision and will take part in their disposal to
the extent established by law.

The trustee can be reached at:

         Juan Roque Treppo
         Sarmiento 1183
         Buenos Aires, Argentina




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


DIGICEL LTD: Launches International Post-Paid Plans in Barbados
---------------------------------------------------------------
Digicel Ltd. has launched new post-paid service plans that
include international calls in Barbados, The Barbados Advocate
reports.

The Advocate relates that Digicel recently launched three new
post-paid plans that include calls to:

          -- the United States,
          -- the United Kingdom,
          -- Canada, and
          -- calls to other local mobiles.

Faye Gill, Digicel's head of marketing, told The Advocate that
the DigiSELECT Plus 180, 380 and 780 plans are the most
innovative post-paid plans available on the local mobile service
market.  He said, "Like the existing post-paid plans introduced
at launch, these new plans also include Digicel to Digicel calls
and calls to and from fixed lines."

Subscribers can have benefits like free incoming international
calls and free incoming mobile calls from all operators through
the DigiSELECT Plus Plans, the first domestic post-paid plans
offered by Digicel that include calls to Cable & Wireless
mobiles, The Advocate states, citing Ms. Gill.

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

                        *    *    *

On July 12, 2006, Moody's Investors Service assigned a B3 senior
unsecured rating to the US$150 million add-on Notes offering of
Digicel Ltd. and affirmed Digicel's existing B3 senior unsecured
and B1 Corporate Family Ratings.  Moody's changed the outlook to
stable from positive.

                        *    *    *

Fitch Ratings assigned on July 14, 2006, a 'B' rating to Digicel
Ltd's proposed add-on offering of US$150 million 9.25% senior
notes due 2012.  These notes are an extension of the US$300
million notes issued in July 2005.  In addition, Fitch also
affirms Digicel's foreign currency Issuer Default Rating and the
existing US$300 million senior notes due 2012 at 'B'.  Fitch
said the rating outlook is stable.




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


GLOBAL CROSSING: GC Impsat Prices US$225MM Senior Notes Offering
----------------------------------------------------------------
Global Crossing Ltd.'s wholly owned indirect subsidiary, GC
Impsat Holdings I Plc, priced an offering of US$225 million
aggregate principal amount of its 9.875% senior notes due 2017,
an increase of US$25 million from the amount previously
announced.  The sale is expected to close tomorrow.

The proceeds of the offering will be used to finance a portion
of the purchase price (including the repayment of indebtedness)
of Global Crossing's proposed acquisition of Impsat Fiber
Networks Inc.  The company will deposit the proceeds of the
offering into an escrow account pending consummation of the
acquisition.  If the merger agreement is terminated or the
acquisition is not consummated by May 25, 2007, GC Impsat will
be required to redeem the notes with the proceeds contained in
the escrow account.

The notes will be offered to qualified institutional buyers
under Rule 144A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended and
outside the United States in compliance with Regulation S under
the Act.

The notes will not be registered under the Act and may not be
offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an
applicable exemption from registration requirements.

                   About Global Crossing

Headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, Global Crossing Ltd.
(NASDAQ: GLBC) -- http://www.globalcrossing.com/-- provides
telecommunication  services over the world's first integrated
global IP-based network, which reaches 27 countries and more
than 200 major cities around the globe including Bermuda,
Argentina, Brazil, and the United Kingdom.  Global Crossing
serves many of the world's largest corporations, providing a
full range of managed data and voice products and services.  The
company filed for chapter 11 protection on Jan. 28, 2002 (Bankr.
S.D.N.Y. Case No. 02-40188).  When the Debtors filed for
protection from their creditors, they listed $25,511,000,000 in
total assets and US$15,467,000,000 in total debts.  Global
Crossing emerged from chapter 11 on Dec. 9, 2003.

At Sept. 30, 2006, Global Crossing Ltd.'s balance sheet showed a
US$131 million stockholders' deficit, compared to a US$173
million stockholders' deficit at Dec. 31, 2005.


SEA CONTAINERS: Committee Hires Morris Nichols as Delaware Atty.
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in Sea Containers,
Ltd. and its debtor-affiliates bankruptcy case obtained
authority from the Honorable Kevin J. Carey of the U.S.
Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware to retain Morris,
Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP as its Delaware counsel, nunc pro
tunc to Oct. 26, 2006.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Jan. 23, 2007,
the Creditors Committee selected Morris Nichols because of the
firm's extensive experience, knowledge and resources in the
fields of, inter alia, debtors' and creditors' rights and
business reorganizations under Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy
Code, Andrew B. Cohen, managing director of Dune Capital LLC,
relates.

Specifically, Morris Nichols will:

   (a) advise the Creditors Committee with respect to its
       rights, duties and powers in the Debtors' Chapter 11
       cases;

   (b) assist and advise the Creditors Committee in its
       consultations with the Debtors relative to the
       administration of their cases;

   (c) assist the Creditors Committee in analyzing the claims of
       the Debtors' creditors in negotiating with them;

   (d) assist with the Creditors Committee's investigation of
       the acts, conduct, assets liabilities and financial
       condition of the Debtors and of the operation of their
       business;

   (e) assist the Creditors Committee in its analysis of, and
       negotiations with, the Debtors or their creditors
       concerning matters related to, among other things, the
       terms of a plan of reorganization for the Debtors;

   (f) assist and advise the Creditors Committee with respect to
       its communications with the general creditor body
       regarding significant matters in the Debtors' bankruptcy
       cases;

   (g) assist and counsel the Creditors Committee in respect to
       its organization, the conduct of its business and
       meetings, the dissemination of information to its
       constituency, and other matters as are reasonably deemed
       necessary to facilitate the administrative activities of
       the Committee;

   (h) attend the meetings of the Creditors Committee;

   (i) represent the Creditors Committee at all hearings and
       other proceedings;

   (j) review and analyze all applications, orders, statements
       of operations and schedules filed with the Court and
       advise the Creditors Committee as to their propriety;

   (k) assist the Creditors Committee in preparing pleadings and
       applications as may be necessary in furtherance of the
       Creditors Committee's interests and objectives; and

   (1) perform other legal services as may be required and are
       deemed to be in the interests of the Creditors Committee
       in accordance with the Committee's powers and duties as
       set forth in the Bankruptcy Code.

Morris Nichols will be paid on an hourly basis, plus
reimbursement of actual and necessary expenses incurred:

      Designation                      Hourly Rate
      -----------                      -----------
      Partners                        US$425 - $625
      Associates                      US$220 - $400
      Paraprofessionals                   US$175
      Case Clerks                         US$100

William H. Sudell, Jr., Esq., a partner at Morris Nichols,
assures the Court that his firm is a "disinterested person" as
defined in Section 101(14) of the Bankruptcy Code.  Morris
Nichols does not hold or represent any interest adverse to the
Debtors' estates or their creditors, Mr. Sudell adds.

                    About Sea Containers

Headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda, Sea Containers Ltd. (NYSE:
SCRA, SCRB) -- http://www.seacontainers.com/-- provides
passenger and freight transport and marine container leasing.
Registered in Bermuda, the company has regional operating
offices in London, Genoa, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, and
Singapore.  The company is owned almost entirely by United
States shareholders and its primary listing is on the New York
Stock Exchange (SCRA and SCRB) since 1974.  On Oct. 3, 2006, the
company's common shares and senior notes were suspended from
trading on the NYSE and NYSE Arca after the company's failure to
file its 2005 annual report on Form 10-K and its quarterly
reports on Form 10-Q during 2006 with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission.

Through its GNER subsidiary, Sea Containers Passenger Transport
operates Britain's fastest railway, the Great North Eastern
Railway, linking England and Scotland.  It also conducts ferry
operations, serving Finland and Estonia as well as a commuter
service between New York and New Jersey in the U.S.

Sea Containers Ltd. and two subsidiaries filed for chapter 11
protection on Oct. 15, 2006 (Bankr. D. Del. Case No. 06-11156).
Robert S. Brady, Esq., at Young, Conaway, Stargatt & Taylor
represents the Debtors in their restructuring efforts.  When the
Debtors filed for protection from their creditors, they reported
$1.7 billion in total assets and $1.6 billion in total debts.
The Debtors' exclusive period to file a chapter 11 plan of
reorganization expires on June 12, 2007.  (Sea Containers
Bankruptcy News, Issue No. 10; Bankruptcy Creditors' Service,
Inc., http://bankrupt.com/newsstand/or 215/945-7000)


SEA CONTAINERS: Trustee Opposes Houlihan's Employment as Advisor
----------------------------------------------------------------
Kelly Beaudin Stapleton, United States Trustee for Region 3,
asks the U.S. Bankruptcy for District of Delaware to deny the
request of the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in Sea
Containers, Ltd. and its debtor-affiliates' chapter 11 case for
authority to employ Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin Capital, Inc.
as financial advisor, nunc pro tunc to Oct. 26, 2006.

The U.S. Trustee asserts that the proposed compensation for the
retention of Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin Capital, Inc. is not
reasonable.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Jan. 24, 2007,
as compensation for the firm's services, the Debtors will pay
Houlihan Lokey a fee of US$150,000 per month beginning
Oct. 26, 2006, and after that on the 26th day of each subsequent
month until termination or expiration of the agreement.  Upon
consummation of any Transaction, Houlihan Lokey will be paid in
cash an additional fee of US$2,100,000, offset by US$50,000 of
each Monthly Fee, if any, earned and paid on or after
March 26, 2007.  Houlihan Lokey will also seek reimbursement for
reasonable out-of-pocket expenses incurred in connection with
its engagement.

However, the U.S. Trustee proposes that the deferred fee, which
is the sum of US$2,100,000 less a credit of US$50,000 per month
commencing March 26, 2007, be subjected to review for
reasonableness.

In addition, the definition of transaction is ambiguous under
the facts and circumstances of the Debtors' Chapter 11 case.
The Debtors have more than 100 non-debtor affiliates and
subsidiaries and it is possible that substantially all the
assets of one or more of these affiliates and subsidiaries will
be sold through the course of the bankruptcy proceeding.  The
U.S. Trustee seeks clarification whether or not Houlihan Lokey
will claim more than one Deferred Fee since there may be
multiple Transactions during the course of the Debtors' Chapter
11 cases.

The U.S. Trustee also points out that it is inappropriate for a
professional retention application to purport to limit the
potential liability of a professional.

                     About Sea Containers

Headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda, Sea Containers Ltd. (NYSE:
SCRA, SCRB) -- http://www.seacontainers.com/-- provides
passenger and freight transport and marine container leasing.
Registered in Bermuda, the company has regional operating
offices in London, Genoa, New York, Rio de Janeiro, Sydney, and
Singapore.  The company is owned almost entirely by United
States shareholders and its primary listing is on the New York
Stock Exchange (SCRA and SCRB) since 1974.  On Oct. 3, 2006, the
company's common shares and senior notes were suspended from
trading on the NYSE and NYSE Arca after the company's failure to
file its 2005 annual report on Form 10-K and its quarterly
reports on Form 10-Q during 2006 with the U.S. Securities and
Exchange Commission.

Through its GNER subsidiary, Sea Containers Passenger Transport
operates Britain's fastest railway, the Great North Eastern
Railway, linking England and Scotland.  It also conducts ferry
operations, serving Finland and Estonia as well as a commuter
service between New York and New Jersey in the U.S.

Sea Containers Ltd. and two subsidiaries filed for chapter 11
protection on Oct. 15, 2006 (Bankr. D. Del. Case No. 06-11156).
Robert S. Brady, Esq., at Young, Conaway, Stargatt & Taylor
represents the Debtors in their restructuring efforts.  When the
Debtors filed for protection from their creditors, they reported
US$1.7 billion in total assets and US$1.6 billion in total
debts.  (Sea Containers Bankruptcy News, Issue No. 10;
Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc.,
http://bankrupt.com/newsstand/or 215/945-7000)
The Debtors' exclusive period to file a chapter 11 plan expires
on June 12, 2007.


SHIP FINANCE: To Buy Two Capesize Vessels from Golden Ocean
-----------------------------------------------------------
Ship Finance International Ltd. has agreed to acquire two
newbuilding Capesize dry bulk vessels from Golden Ocean Group
Ltd. based on a total delivered price of US$160 million, or
US$80 million per vessel.

The vessels will have a cargo capacity of around 170,000 dwt
each, and will be constructed by Daehan Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. in
South Korea.  Delivery from the shipyard is scheduled in fourth
quarter 2008 and in first quarter 2009.

Upon delivery from the shipyard, the vessels will commence 15-
year bareboat contracts to Golden Ocean, and the charter rate
per vessel is agreed as:

         Year 1-5:                 US$27,450 per day
         Year 6-10:                US$22,600 per day
         Year 11-15:               US$19,750 per day

The charterer has been granted fixed price purchase options for
each of the vessels after 5, 10 and 15 years at US$61 million,
US$44 million and US$24 million, respectively.  The charter
contracts are on bareboat basis and Golden Ocean will therefore
be responsible for all operating and maintenance costs during
the charter period.

Ship Finance expect to finance around 75% of the purchase price
through a bank loan, and in case there are material differences
between the bank financing terms and the financing assumptions
agreed with Golden Ocean, the charter rate will be adjusted
accordingly.  Similar to all our recent acquisitions, the
purchase of the vessels and corresponding financing will be in
subsidiaries with only Ltd. guarantee obligations from Ship
Finance.

Golden Ocean has secured profitable sub-charters for the two
vessels to a third party charterer.  The vessels will have 5
year fixed employment and Golden Ocean will receive a net T/C-
rate of around US$36,800 per day per vessel in this period.

The transaction is in line with the Company's strategy to
diversify the asset base and customer portfolio.  Including the
dry bulk vessel acquired in 2006 and our 8 oil/bulk/ore ("OBO")
vessels, currently configured to carry dry bulk cargos only,
Ship Finance will have 11 vessels on long-term charters in the
dry bulk market.

Including new buildings and adjusted for recently announced
sales, the Company's fleet will consist of 57 vessels,
essentially all on medium to long-term charters.

                     About Ship Finance

Headquartered in Bermuda, Ship Finance International Ltd. --
http://www.shipfinance.org/-- through its subsidiaries engages
in the ownership and operation of oil tankers, including
oil/bulk/ore (OBO) carriers.  The Company operates through
subsidiaries and partnerships located in Bermuda, Cyprus, Isle
of Man, Liberia, Norway and Singapore.

It is also involved in the charter, purchase and sale of
vessels.

                        *     *     *

On Dec. 5, 2006, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its
long-term corporate credit rating on Bermuda-based Ship Finance
International Ltd., a ship-owning company tied to Frontline
Ltd., to 'BB' from 'BB-'.  S&P said the outlook is stable.

At the same time, S&P raised its senior unsecured debt rating on
Ship Finance's US$580-million bonds to 'B+' from 'B'.

On Nov. 10, 2006, Moody's Investors Service affirmed Ship
Finance International Ltd.'s ratings, including the Ba3
Corporate Family Rating, the Ba2 Senior Secured Bank Credit
Facilities and the B1 Senior Unsecured Notes rating.  Moody's
said the ratings outlook remains stable.




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


* BOLIVIA: Gov't To Implement Per Second Call Billing on March 3
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Bolivian government news service Agencia Boliviana de
Informacion reports that fixed line and mobile operators in the
country have to begin per second billing for calls on March 3.

Business News Americas relates that telecoms regulator Sittel
disclosed in January the launching of per second billing but did
not give a timeframe.

According to BNamericas, per second billing will replace per
minute and pulse charges telecoms operators are currently using.

Per second billing is a more accurate way of charging and
therefore an effective way of reducing telephony rates overall,
Sittel said in a statement.

BNamericas underscores that several of Bolivia's telephony
cooperatives charging a monthly fee are exempted from the rule.

Sittel eradicated separate calling zones.  Mobile to mobile
rates will be the same from any point within Bolivia, BNamericas
notes.  The regulator has also set up a minimum usage period for
prepaid mobile minutes of 60 days after the minutes are charged
to a subscribers account.  The mobile operator must keep a
clients line active to receive calls and dial emergency numbers
for at least 30 days after credit runs out.

Sittel decided that operators have to charge one price per
service and not modify rates according to the area where the
customer lives.  This measure is specifically aimed at
television cable operators, BNamericas states.

                        *    *    *

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: Nationalizing Glencore's Vinto Plant in the Country
--------------------------------------------------------------
Bolivian President Evo Morales confirmed last week the
government's move to nationalize a mineral processing plant
owned by Glencore International AG, a Swiss mining company, the
Associated Press reports.

The president disclosed plans of nationalizing the nation's
mining industry late last year.  Last week's announcement is the
first step the government has taken to have full control of the
mining sector.

President Morales did not provide the terms for the Vinto
plant's nationalization.  He only said that there's been a lack
of transparency in its financial dealings.  The plant is located
on the outskirts of Oruro, 180 km southeast of La Paz, AP
relates.

"Companies that respect Bolivian laws, that do not steal money
from the Bolivian people, will be respected," the Bolivian
leader was quoted by AP as saying.  "But if the companies do not
respect the laws, I have no other alternative than to recover
those companies."

According to the same report, Bolivia owns its mineral deposits,
but operates only a handful of the mines through the state firm
Comibol.  Mining majors operating in the country include:
Glencore and U.S.-based companies Coeur d'Alene Mines and Apex
Silver Mines Ltd.

The government's move is not surprising given the current demand
of its metals.  It wants to take advantage of rising global
prices to increase revenues from the mining sector.  The
country's mineral exports doubled in value as a result of rising
demand from China.

AP says Bolivia's mineral exports doubled to more than US$1
billion (EUR770 million) last year from US$547 million (EUR422
million) in 2005.  The metals -- mostly zinc, silver, gold and
tin -- together represent Bolivia's largest export after natural
gas.


The Bolivian government collected only US$45.5 million (EUR35
million) in mining taxes last year.  President Morales wants to
change that and hike up the state's income to as much as US$300
million (EUR232 million), AP says.

                           Strike

The proposed mining tax hike was met by a serious of violent
demonstrations from mining cooperatives.

Thousands of demonstrators went to the capital and hurled
dynamites, blocking traffic in the city.  The government
modified its decision and agreed to freeze the miners' taxes,
directing the tax hike at larger private mining companies
operating in Bolivia, according to published reports.

According to AP, the Vinto plant has a strong symbolic value in
Bolivia.  When it was privatized in 1996, former Bolivian
President Gonzalo Sanchez de Lozada became the largest
stockholder through its private mining firm, Comsur.

The former president fled Bolivia in October 2003 during riots
against his administration, and is still sought by the Bolivian
authorities in connection with a crackdown on the protests that
left more than 60 Bolivians dead, AP says.

Glencore bought the plant from Comsur in 2004, AP says.

                        About Glencore

Headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, Glencore International AG --
http://www.glencore.com/-- engages in the smelting, refining,
mining, processing, purchasing, selling and marketing of metals
and minerals, energy products and agricultural products.
Glencore operates on a global scale, marketing physical
commodities produced in its industrial assets or purchased from
third parties to industrial consumers, such as those in the
automotive, steel, power generation, oil and food processing
industries.  Energy products and commodities are marketed and
coordinated primarily in Glencore's headquarters in Baar,
Switzerland and through the offices of its subsidiaries in
London, Stamford and Singapore.

                        *    *    *

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




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


ALCATEL-LUCENT: Earns EUR4.4 Billion in Quarter Ended Dec. 31
-------------------------------------------------------------
Alcatel-Lucent's Board of Directors reviewed and approved
reported results for the fourth quarter and full year 2006:

   -- For the fourth quarter 2006, posts adjusted pro-forma
      revenues of EUR4.4 billion and operating profit of EUR21
      million;

   -- For the full year 2006, reports adjusted pro-forma
      revenues of EUR18.2 billion and operating profit of EUR1
      billion;

   -- As of Dec. 31, 2006, the company's total cash and
      marketable securities was EUR6.7 billion leaving a net
      cash position of EUR508 million; and

   -- Proposal for a dividend payment of EUR0.16 at next
      Shareholders' Meeting on June 1, 2007.

"This is the first quarter that Alcatel-Lucent is reporting
results as a combined company," stated Patricia Russo, Chief
Executive Officer of Alcatel-Lucent.  "While the results for the
fourth quarter are clearly disappointing, the positive long-term
benefits of the merger and the growth potential of Alcatel-
Lucent remain as envisioned.  Since we began operating as a
combined company on Dec. 1, 2006, we have made progress against
our integration plans, and we expect to increasingly recognize
the benefits of our integration over the course of the year."

"Our newly combined company is focused on supporting the overall
transformation occurring in our industry.  This includes the
transformation of networks to all-IP, video and multimedia
content to enhance communication services, broadband mobility as
well as high value services," continued Mrs. Russo.

"We have now finalized Alcatel-Lucent's product portfolio and
aligned it with these key areas as evidenced by our investments
in IMS, 3G mobile networks, services, next-generation optical,
as well as wireless and wireline broadband access," added Mrs.
Russo.  "This is a strong portfolio that we intend to leverage
across fixed, mobile, converged and enterprise opportunities to
grow our business and gain market share over time.  In fact,
we've recently announced contracts with Softbank Mobile in Japan
to deploy a 3G UMTS/HSDPA solution and with Globacom in Nigeria
to provide fixed and mobile networks as well as next generation,
IP/MPLS and optical network solution."

"Our integration plans are proceeding.  We are leveraging the
integration of our two companies to create a more competitive
enterprise over the long term, and enhance our operating model
to enable greater efficiencies in our operations," said Mrs.
Russo.  "We now believe the combination of our original synergy
plan (EUR1.4 billion) and additional cost reductions will enable
us to realize a total of EUR1.7 billion pre-tax cost savings
within three years, with at least EUR600 million for 2007.
These savings will include among other things, the optimization
of our supply chain and services, the elimination of duplicate
resources and product rationalization.  We believe these actions
will enhance our competitiveness in this dynamic industry.  As a
result, we expect the impact on our global workforce will be
about 12,500 positions over three years.  These are difficult
but necessary decisions, and we will manage these reductions
with care.  We are committed to serving our customers' needs,
with a competitive cost structure and effective operating model.
We will maintain the appropriate workforce level to do that."

"As we previously stated, the results for the fourth quarter
were impacted by a combination of short-term uncertainty for
both our customers and our people, as well as challenging market
conditions, particularly in North America.  While we believe
these factors will be mitigated, we expect they will continue to
have a more limited effect on our business in the early months
of the year, leading to some revenue decline in the first
quarter 2007." stated Mrs. Russo.  "We are confident that we can
resume revenue growth as the year progresses.  Looking forward
to the full year 2007, we expect revenues to increase on a
percentage basis at least at the carrier market growth rate of
mid single digits."

                      Reported Results

In accordance with regulatory reporting requirements, the fourth
quarter 2006 reported results include Alcatel stand-alone
operations for October and November 2006, and the combined
operations of Alcatel-Lucent for December 2006.  Businesses to
be contributed to Thales are presented as discontinued
activities.  There were neither capital gains nor cash proceeds
from the Thales transaction recognized during the quarter.
Results from Nortel's UMTS radio access business are not
included as the transaction was completed on Dec. 31, 2006.  For
the fourth quarter, Alcatel-Lucent's reported revenues amounted
to EUR3.9 billion and reported operating income was EUR102
million, including the impact from purchase price allocation
entries of EUR(226) million.  For the quarter, net income (group
share) was EUR(615) million.

In accordance with regulatory reporting requirements, full year
2006 reported results include Alcatel stand-alone operations
from January to November 2006, and combined operations of
Alcatel-Lucent for December 2006.  Businesses to be contributed
to Thales are presented as discontinued activities.  For the
full year 2006, Alcatel-Lucent's reported revenues amounted to
EUR12.3 billion and reported operating income was EUR694
million, including the impact from purchase price allocation
entries of EUR(226) million.  For the full year 2006, net income
(group share) was EUR(176) million.  As of Dec. 31, 2006,
Alcatel-Lucent's net (debt)/cash was EUR508 million

                Adjusted Pro-Forma Results

In order to provide meaningful comparable information, Alcatel-
Lucent is providing adjusted pro-forma financial results, in
addition to reported results for the fourth quarter and full
year 2006.  Adjusted pro-forma results include combined
operations for Alcatel-Lucent as of Jan. 1, 2006.  Businesses to
be contributed to Thales are presented as discontinued
activities.  There were neither capital gains nor cash proceeds
from the Thales transaction recognized during the quarter.
Results from Nortel's UMTS radio access business are not
included as the transaction was completed on Dec. 31, 2006.  In
addition, these results exclude any impact from purchase price
allocation entries.

For the fourth quarter, Alcatel-Lucent's adjusted pro-forma
revenues were EUR4.4 billion, a decrease of 16% compared with
revenue of EUR5.2 billion in the year-ago quarter (a decrease of
12% at constant at EUR/USD rate) and operating profit was EUR21
million, compared with an operating profit of EUR566 million in
the year-ago quarter.  For the quarter, net income (group share)
was EUR(618) million.

For the full year 2006 Alcatel-Lucent's adjusted pro-forma
revenue was EUR18.2 billion, a decrease of 2%, compared with
revenue of EUR18.6 billion for full year 2005, operating profit
was EUR1 billion, compared with EUR1.4 billion in full year
2005.  For the full year 2006, net income (group share) was
EUR522 million.  The breakdown of revenues per region is as
follows: 36% in North America, 15% in Asia, 26% in Western
Europe and 23% rest of the world.

                      Carrier Business

For the fourth quarter 2006, adjusted pro-forma revenue for the
carrier business groups, which was estimated at EUR3.22 billion.

Wireline

For the fourth quarter 2006, adjusted pro-forma revenue for the
wireline business group was estimated at EUR1.5 billion.

Key Highlights:

   -- The transformation towards all IP networks and the
      sustained increase in the number of broadband subscribers
      continued to significantly influence fixed operators'
      investments.

   -- The access business registered a record quarter with 8.8
      million DSL lines delivered (totaling 30.6 million lines
      for the full year 2006), with significant growth in the IP
      based DSLAM product line.

   -- The IP routing activity continued its excellent growth
      above market rate, solidifying its established #2 position
      in IP/MPLS.  The MS WAN business continued transitioning
      to Ethernet, in particular for DSL aggregation.

   -- The optics business was primarily driven by both metro and
      long haul DWDM.

Wireless

For the fourth quarter 2006, adjusted pro-forma revenue for the
wireless business group was estimated at EUR1.24 billion.

Key Highlights:

   -- The deployment of higher speed data capabilities for 3G
      networks continued to drive mobile operators investment.

   -- The CDMA business continued its expansion into high data
      capabilities but was impacted by a shift in spending by
      some North American customers

   -- The GSM infrastructure activity was impacted by a
      heightened competitive environment but remained solid in
      China.  One new cost-effective, IP-based base station
      controller started to ship.

   -- Several trials were deployed in the WiMAX Rev e technology
      in emerging markets

Convergence

For the fourth quarter 2006, adjusted pro-forma revenue for the
convergence business group was estimated at EUR0.51 billion.

Key Highlights:

   -- The positive momentum continued in the NGN/IMS activity,
      with a rapidly growing installed base in China, North
      America and Western Europe.

   -- In the multicore activity and for both mobile and fixed
      operators, the traditional circuit core networks continued
      to be replaced by packet or IP-based core networks, which
      now accounts for a significant portion of the business.
      Deployment of maintenance services and new software
      releases contributed to optimize the business with the
      existing customer base.

   -- The deployment of video services at fixed operators across
      all regions continued to drive our IPTV applications
      business.  The payment converged solutions for mobile
      operators gained traction, with 220 customers to date.

Enterprise Business Group

For the fourth quarter 2006, adjusted pro-forma revenues for the
enterprise business group were estimated at EUR0.41 billion.

Key Highlights:

   -- The voice and IP networking business reported a strong
      uptake in data and exceptionally strong performance across
      all product lines in Europe, Middle East and Africa.  The
      IPtelephony activities continued to benefit from a
      balanced customer mix in small, medium and large
      businesses and gained traction in Western Europe.

   -- The leadership position of the contact center activity,
      Genesys, has been reinforced as the business continues
      repositioning from a CTI company to Dynamic Contact Center
      Platform company.  In particular, in the voice portal
      business has contributed to the overall success of the
      business, following the two recent acquisitions.  Market
      adoption of Open IP has helped in this effort, while
      continued growth in market presence in emerging economies
      has also been achieved (China, India, Brazil and Russia).

Services Business Group

For the fourth quarter 2006, adjusted pro-forma revenue for the
services business group was estimated at EUR0.74 billion.

Key Highlights:

   -- The services business is positively influenced by the
      current customers needs, either carriers or enterprises,
      who transform their networks to an all IP infrastructure,
      require maintenance services on a multi-vendor environment
      and require hosted management of some of their services.

   -- The network integration activity was fueled by the
      evolution towards converged services, preparation of large
      network transformation plans, network optimization and QoS
      improvement.

   -- The professional services activity benefited from large
      deployments of IPTV services in North America and from
      strong OSS/BSS activity.

The Board of Directors will propose at the Annual Shareholders
Meeting on June 1, 2007, to pay a dividend of EUR0.16 to
shareholders for 2006.

                   About Alcatel-Lucent

Headquartered in Paris, France, Alcatel-Lucent
-- http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/-- provides solutions that
enable service providers, enterprises and governments worldwide,
to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end
users.  Through its operations in fixed, mobile and converged
broadband networking, Internet protocol (IP) technologies,
applications, and services, Alcatel-Lucent offers the end-to-end
solutions that enable communications services for people at
home, at work and on the move.  The company has operations in
Brazil and Indonesia.

On Nov. 30, 2006, Alcatel and Lucent Technologies Inc. completed
their merger transaction, and began operations as a
communication solutions provider under the name Alcatel-Lucent
on Dec. 1, 2006.

                        *     *     *

As reported on Dec. 14, 2006, following the completion of
Alcatel S.A.'s merger with Lucent Technologies Inc., at which
time Alcatel was renamed Alcatel-Lucent, Fitch Ratings
downgraded and removed Alcatel from Rating Watch Negative:

   -- Issuer Default Rating to BB from BBB-; and
   -- Senior unsecured debt to BB from BBB-.

Alcatel's F3 short-term rating has also been withdrawn.

The Rating Outlook for Alcatel-Lucent is Stable.

Fitch has also withdrawn the following Lucent ratings due to the
lack of clarity regarding Alcatel's support and, therefore,
expected recovery of these securities in a distressed scenario:

   -- Issuer Default Rating BB-;
   -- Senior unsecured debt BB-;
   -- Convertible subordinated debt B; and
   -- Convertible trust preferred securities B.

Moody's Investors Service downgraded to Ba2 from Ba1 the
Corporate Family Rating of Alcatel S.A., which has completed its
merger with Lucent Technologies Inc. and was renamed to Alcatel-
Lucent.  The ratings for senior debt of Alcatel were equally
lowered to Ba2 from Ba1 and its Not-Prime rating for short-term
debt was affirmed.

At the same time, Moody's raised the ratings for senior debt of
Lucent to Ba3 from B1 reflecting both the standalone credit
profile of Lucent and, given the strategic importance of Lucent
to round-off the group's product range and regional presence,
expected financial support from Alcatel-Lucent, although this is
not formally committed at this time.  The ratings for the other
legacy debt of Lucent were raised to B2 from B3 for subordinated
debt and trust preferreds, and to P(B3) from P(Caa1) for
preferred stock issuable under its shelf registration.


ALCATEL-LUCENT: Fitch Maintains BB Rating 2 Months After Merger
---------------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings says that Alcatel-Lucent ('BB'/Stable Outlook) has
managed expectations well and apparently received good support
from the capital markets, despite what was a relatively weak but
well-flagged set of full-year financial results.  The results
support Fitch's downgrade of Alcatel to 'BB' from 'BBB-' (BBB
minus) on Dec. 8, 2006, upon completion of the Lucent merger.

"It is interesting that a well-trailed profit warning in January
and a step-up in restructuring initiatives announced last
Friday, Feb. 9, combined with a relatively weak set of results,
have resulted in a positive reaction from the equity markets for
Alcatel-Lucent," says Stuart Reid, a Director in Fitch's
European TMT team.  "While the company provided somewhat
reassuring guidance for 2007, Fitch believes considerable work
remains before the company might justify a move back into the
investment-grade world".

Alcatel-Lucent results included a fall in pro-forma sales by
1.7% to EUR18.2bn, at a time when equipment vendors generally
have been reporting healthy levels of growth.  Stripping out the
impact of restructuring, impairments and share-based
compensation, operating income fell to EUR1,025m (from
EUR1,411m) reflecting a pro-forma margin of 5.6% (7.6%).
Coupled with relatively weak cash flows and a more leveraged
balance sheet, the agency believes the current rating of 'BB' to
be fully justified.

While it is too early to conclude too much from Alcatel-Lucent's
figures on Friday, the weakness in the company's North American
mobile revenues in 2006 (36% of total sales) - the key strategic
benefit contributed by Lucent - is a concern.  Although Ericsson
('BBB+'/Stable Outlook), which reported last week, also suffered
an erosion in sales from the region in 2006, its strong overall
revenue and earnings growth confirm the benefits of the
geographic diversity that that company enjoys.

In terms of cash flow performance, analysis is obscured by the
fact that Alcatel-Lucent's numbers only benefit from one month's
consolidation of the merged entity.  They nonetheless confirm
Fitch's reservations at the time of the downgrade in December
2006 that cash flow would be weakened and that the company's
capitalization would suffer as a result of the merger.  On a
consolidated basis Alcatel-Lucent reported negative free cash
flow of around EUR500m for the year (negative free cash flow of
EUR9m in 2005).

While credit default spreads generally have benefited from
technical conditions in recent months, Fitch views the
tightening in Alcatel-Lucent's credit spreads in recent months
somewhat difficult to rationalize.  Fitch would want to see an
improvement in operating margins and free cash flow before any
change in the Outlook might be considered.  While the company
has articulated a clear road map to improved profitability,
including the escalation in headcount cuts from 9,000 to 12,500,
execution risk remains (at a time when both merger partners are
suffering from restructuring fatigue).  Cash costs related to
the restructuring will weigh on cash flow and liquidity,
although M&A risk is considered relatively low given the
challenges at hand.

Headquartered in Paris, France, Alcatel-Lucent
-- http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/-- provides solutions that
enable service providers, enterprises and governments worldwide,
to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end
users.  Through its operations in fixed, mobile and converged
broadband networking, Internet protocol (IP) technologies,
applications, and services, Alcatel-Lucent offers the end-to-end
solutions that enable communications services for people at
home, at work and on the move.  The company has operations in
Brazil and Indonesia.

On Nov. 30, 2006, Alcatel and Lucent Technologies Inc. completed
their merger transaction, and began operations as a
communication solutions provider under the name Alcatel-Lucent
on Dec. 1, 2006.


GERDAU SA: Ups 2007 to 2009 Investment Budget to US$4 Billion
-------------------------------------------------------------
Gerdau SA has increased its investment budget for the 2007 to
2009 period to US$4 billion, Business News Americas reports,
citing Chief Executive Officer Andre Gerdau Johannpeter.

Last year, Gerdau said its planned investment for the next three
years is at US$3 billion.  The company chief executive clarified
that the budget does include acquisitions and is only allotted
for new operations and expansion programs, BNamericas says.

                      Acquisition Plans

According to Mr. Johannpeter, Gerdau would take a further look
in the market for more companies to buy, BNamericas relates.
Last year, the company managed to grow by acquiring seven
companies.

"We have several opportunities under study," Mr. Johannpeter was
quoted by BNamericas as saying.

Headquartered in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Gerdau SA --
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's four majority-owned Brazilian operating subsidiaries
are:

   -- Acominas,
   -- Gerdau Acos Longos SA,
   -- Gerdau Acos Especiais SA and
   -- Gerdau Comercial de Acos SA;

                        *    *     *

As reported on Dec. 6, 2006, Moody's Investors Service upgraded
the global local currency corporate family rating of Gerdau SA
to Ba1 from Ba2, following the upgrade to Ba1 from Ba2 of Gerdau
Ameristeel Corp., the group's operational subsidiary in North
America that represents some 46% of consolidated revenues and
34% of group's EBITDA.  Moody's said the rating outlook is
stable.


NOVELIS INC: Inks US$6 Billion Buy Deal with Hindalco Industries
----------------------------------------------------------------
Novelis Inc. and Hindalco Industries Limited have entered into a
definitive agreement for Hindalco to acquire Novelis in an all-
cash transaction, which values Novelis at approximately
US$6.0 billion, including approximately US$2.4 billion of debt.
Under the terms of the agreement, Novelis shareholders will
receive $44.93 in cash for each outstanding common share.

Hindalco is a leader in Asia's aluminum and copper industries,
and is the flagship company of the Aditya Birla Group, a US$12
billion multinational conglomerate, with a market capitalization
in excess of US$20 billion.  Following the transaction,
Hindalco, with Novelis, will be the world's largest aluminum
rolling company, one of the biggest producers of primary
aluminum in Asia, and India's leading copper producer.

Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla, Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group,
said, "The acquisition of Novelis is a landmark transaction for
Hindalco and our Group.  It is in line with our long-term
strategies of expanding our global presence across our various
businesses and is consistent with our vision of taking India to
the world.  The combination of Hindalco and Novelis will
establish a global integrated aluminum producer with low-cost
alumina and aluminum production facilities combined with high-
end aluminum rolled product capabilities.  The complementary
expertise of both these companies will create and provide a
strong platform for sustainable growth and ongoing success."

Acting Chief Executive Officer of Novelis, Mr. Ed Blechschmidt,
said, "After careful consideration, the Board has unanimously
agreed that this transaction with Hindalco delivers outstanding
value to Novelis shareholders.  Hindalco is a strong, dynamic
company.  The combination of Novelis' world-class rolling assets
with Hindalco's growing primary aluminum operations and its
downstream fabricating assets in the rapidly growing Asian
market is an exciting prospect.  Hindalco's parent, the Aditya
Birla Group, is one of the largest and most respected business
groups in India, with growing global activities and a long-term
business view."

Mr. Debu Bhattacharya, Managing Director of Hindalco and
Director of Aditya Birla Management Corporation Ltd., said,
"There are significant geographical market and product
synergies.  Novelis is the global leader in aluminum rolled
products and aluminum can recycling, with a global market share
of about 19%.  Hindalco has a 60% share in the currently small
but potentially high-growth Indian market for rolled products.
Hindalco's position as one of the lowest cost producers of
primary aluminum in the world is leverageable into becoming a
globally strong player.  The Novelis acquisition will give us
immediate scale and a global footprint."

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Boards of
Directors of both companies.  The closing of the transaction is
not conditional on Hindalco obtaining financing.  The
transaction will be completed by way of a plan of arrangement
under applicable Canadian Law.  It will require the approval of
66 2/3% of the votes cast by shareholders of Novelis Inc. at a
special meeting to be called to consider the arrangement
followed by Court approval.  The transaction is also subject to
certain other customary conditions, including the receipt of
regulatory approvals.  The transaction will be completed in the
second quarter of 2007.

                 About the Aditya Birla Group

The Aditya Birla Group -- http://www.adityabirla.com/-- is
India's multinational corporation, with a workforce of 85,000
employees belonging to over 20 different nationalities.  Its 74
state-of-the-art manufacturing units and service facilities span
India, Thailand, Laos, Indonesia, Philippines, Egypt, Canada,
Australia, China, USA, UK, Germany, Hungary and Portugal.  A
premium conglomerate, the Aditya Birla Group participates in a
wide range of market sectors including, viscose staple fiber,
non-ferrous metals, cement, viscose filament yarn, branded
apparel, carbon black, chemicals, fertilizers, sponge iron,
insulators, financial services, telecom, BPO and IT services.

                       About Hindalco

Established in 1958 and based in Mumbai, India, Hindalco
Industries Limited (BSE: HINDALCO) -- http://www.hindalco.com/-
- is structured into two strategic businesses, aluminum and
copper, with 2006 revenues of approximately US$2.6 billion.
Hindalco's integrated operations and operating efficiency have
positioned the company as Asia's largest integrated primary
producer of aluminum and among the most cost-efficient producers
globally.  Its copper smelter is the world's largest custom
smelter at a single location.  Hindalco stock is publicly traded
on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange of
India Ltd. Its current market capitalization is US$4.3 billion.

                        About Novelis

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, Novelis, Inc., (NYSE: NVL) (TSX: NVL)
-- http://www.novelis.com/-- provides customers with a regional
supply of technologically sophisticated rolled aluminum products
throughout Asia, Europe, North America, and South America.  The
company operates in 11 countries and has around 13,000
employees.  Through its advanced production capabilities, the
company supplies aluminum sheet and foil to the automotive and
transportation, beverage and food packaging, construction and
industrial, and printing markets.

Novelis South America operates two rolling plants and primary
production facilities in Brazil.  The company's Pindamonhangaba
rolling and recycling facility in Brazil is the largest aluminum
rolling and recycling facility in South America and the only one
capable of producing can body and end stock.  The plant recycles
primarily used beverage cans, and is engaged in tolling recycled
metal for its customers.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Sept. 7, 2006,
Moody's Investors Service downgraded Novelis Inc.'s corporate
family rating to B1 from Ba3, the bank revolver rating to Ba3
from Ba2, the bank term loan rating to Ba3 from Ba2, and senior
unsecured notes to B2 from B1.  Moody's also downgraded Novelis
Corp.'s bank term loan rating to Ba3 from Ba2.


PETROLEO BRASILEIRO: Appeals to Court on Compensation Issues
------------------------------------------------------------
Petroleo Brasileiro SA aka Petrobras will appeal the first
instance decision handed down by the Rio de Janeiro Judiciary
regarding compensating fishermen as a result of the accident
that occurred in the Guanabara Bay in 2000.

The company argues that:

   (1) At the time, Petrobras compensated, extra-judicially, all
       of those who proved to be fishermen at the time of the
       accident.

   (2) According to the national fishermen reference file
       records, of the some 12,000 listed in the above-mentioned
       decision, only 3,339 could demand compensation for to the
       Petrobras accident at the time of the accident in 2000.

   (3) The company also questions the payment of compensations
       for a 10-year period, since 30 days after the accident, a
       technical inspection carried out by universities and
       environmental agencies approved fishing to be retaken at
       the Guanabara Bay.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Petroleo Brasileiro SA
aka Petrobras -- http://www2.petrobras.com.br/ingles/index.asp
-- was founded in 1953.  The company explores, produces,
refines, transports, markets, and distributes oil and natural
gas and power to various wholesale customers and retail
distributors in Brazil.

Petrobras has operations in China, India, Japan, and Singapore.

Petroleo Brasileiro SA's long-term corporate family rating is
rated Ba3 by Moody's.

Fitch Ratings assigned these ratings on Petroleo Brasileiro's
senior unsecured notes:

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

Fitch upgraded the foreign currency rating of Petrobras to BB+
from BB, with positive outlook, in conjunction with Fitch's
upgrade of the long-term foreign and local currency IDRs of the
Federative Republic of Brazil to BB, from BB- on June 29, 2006.


PROPEX: Moody's Changes SGL Rating After Credit Pact Revision
-------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service upgraded the Speculative Grade
Liquidity Rating for Propex Inc. to SGL-2 from SGL-3 following
the Jan. 26, 2007, amendment to the company's credit agreement.
The amendment provided covenant relief for the period to
Mar. 31, 2008, inclusive following operating weakness, including
declining sales and profitability resulting from a cyclical
slowdown in residential construction and overall economic
activity.  The SGL-2 rating reflects Moody's expectations of
good liquidity over the next twelve months.  The upgrade is
supported by cash on the balance sheet, improved flexibility
afforded by covenant relief, and Moody's expectation that cash
flow from operations should be sufficient to cover Propex's
modest capital expenditures and working capital swings in the
period.

Improved top-line growth and cash flow generation could lead to
a further upgrade in the liquidity rating.  Increased working
capital requirements, inventory buildup, increased raw materials
costs, or a decrease in cash flow generation could cause the
liquidity rating to revert to an SGL-3.

Propex Inc., based in Chattanooga, Tennessee is the world's
largest independent producer of primary and secondary carpet
backing and a leading manufacturer and marketer of woven and
nonwoven polypropylene fabrics and fibers used in geosynthetic
applications and a variety of other industrial applications such
as fabric bags/containers, fabric protective coverings and
concrete fiber reinforcement.  The company became a stand-alone
company following the acquisition of the BP Fabrics and Fibers
Business of BP p.l.c by The Sterling Group, L.P., Genstar
Capital, L.P., Laminar Direct Capital, L.P., Paribas North
America Inc. and members of management in December 2004.  The
company has manufacturing operations in North America, Europe
and Brazil.  Sales for the last 12 months ending Sept. 30, 2006,
were US$646 million.


REMY: Engine Remanufacturing Sale Won't Affect Ratings, S&P Says
----------------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said that its ratings and
outlook on Remy International Inc. (CCC/Negative/--) remain
unaffected following the announcement that it has sold its
diesel engine remanufacturing business to Caterpillar Inc. for a
cash purchase price of US$153 million.  The transaction does not
reduce Remy's very high leverage or significantly improve the
company's constrained near-term liquidity position.  Remy
intends to pledge US$50 million of the proceeds as collateral to
the lenders under their senior credit facility and use other
proceeds to pay down outstanding revolver and term loan
borrowings.  The revolver commitment, governed by a borrowing
base, will decline to US$120 million from US$160 million.

We remain concerned about Remy's ability to improve earnings and
cash generation in 2007, given weak OEM light vehicle
production, high materials costs, difficult conditions for
aftermarket retail products, and a significant decline in
commercial truck volumes expected this year.  Cash flow
generation was likely negative in 2006, and without a material
improvement in earnings it is unlikely the company will be able
to cover its 2007 interest expense.  In the third quarter, the
company provided 2006 EBITDA guidance in the range of US$70
million to $80 million, an amount insufficient to cover its
annual interest expense of slightly above US$80 million.

We are also concerned about the company's prospects for meeting
its December 2007 maturity of its US$145 million senior notes.
Following its disappointing financial results and the retention
of a financial advisor, there is increased risk that Remy's
vendors could tighten credit terms, further tapping the
company's liquid resources, or that management could elect to
restructure its capital structure.

Headquartered in Anderson, Indiana, Remy International, Inc.,
manufactures, remanufactures, and distributes Delco Remy
brand heavy-duty systems and Remy brand starters and
alternators, diesel engines, locomotive products and hybrid
power technology.  The company also provides worldwide
components core-exchange service for automobiles, light trucks,
medium and heavy-duty trucks and other heavy-duty, off-road and
industrial applications.  Remy was formed in 1994 as a partial
divestiture by General Motors Corp. of the former Delco Remy
Division, which traces its roots to Remy Electric, founded in
1896.  Its Latin American operations are in Brazil and Mexico.


REMY INTERNATIONAL: Completes US$153.2 Mil. Sale to Caterpillar
---------------------------------------------------------------
Remy International Inc. reported the closing of the sale of its
light and medium truck diesel engine and component
remanufacturing business conducted by Franklin Power Products
Inc. and International Fuel Systems Inc. to Caterpillar Inc.
Total cash proceeds were US$153.2 million, including US$3.2
million of an estimated post-closing purchase price adjustment.
The Company does not anticipate the purchase price will change
materially when final post-closing adjustments are determined.

"We are pleased that we were able to complete the sale of these
non-core businesses," said John Weber, President and Chief
Executive Officer.  "Available proceeds from the sale were used
to reduce our debt burden while the Company continues to focus
on improving margins of its core businesses and to delever its
balance sheet."

The company previously amended its senior secured revolving
credit and term loan facility to effectuate the sale.  Under the
terms of the amendment, the first US$50 million of proceeds from
the transaction have been deposited in a restricted account,
pledged as collateral to the Company's lenders under the Senior
Credit Facility and available for withdrawal only with the
required consent of senior lenders.  US$7.8 million of the
proceeds were retained by the Company to pay certain expenses
related to the transaction and make a required distribution of
available cash to a joint venture partner of the Business.  The
remaining US$95.4 million was used to repay outstanding revolver
borrowings under the Senior Credit Facility.  The revolving
portion of the senior credit facility was permanently reduced by
US$40 million, from US$160 million to US$120 million.  The
company estimates its liquidity to be US$98.2 million,
consisting of unrestricted cash and cash equivalents of US$22.7
million and permitted availability under the Company's revolving
credit facility of approximately US$75.5 million as of the
closing date and after application of sale proceeds.

Rothschild Inc. is assisting the Company in exploring strategic
alternatives to delever its balance sheet and enhance its
liquidity position, which continues to be affected by debt
service and other requirements and automotive industry
pressures.

Headquartered in Anderson, Indiana, Remy International, Inc.,
manufactures, remanufactures, and distributes Delco Remy
brand heavy-duty systems and Remy brand starters and
alternators, diesel engines, locomotive products and hybrid
power technology.  The company also provides worldwide
components core-exchange service for automobiles, light trucks,
medium and heavy-duty trucks and other heavy-duty, off-road and
industrial applications.  Remy was formed in 1994 as a partial
divestiture by General Motors Corp. of the former Delco Remy
Division, which traces its roots to Remy Electric, founded in
1896.  Its Latin American operations are in Brazil and Mexico.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Dec. 15, 2006,
Moody's Investors Service lowered these ratings of Remy
International, Inc.:

   -- Corporate Family Rating to Caa3 from Caa1;
   -- Probability of Default Rating to Caa2 from B3;
   -- second priority secured notes to Caa3 from B3;
   -- guaranteed senior unsecured notes to Caa3 from Caa1; and
   -- the guaranteed senior subordinated notes to Ca from Caa2.


XERIUM: Moody's Drops Ratings to B2 Due to Increased Competition
----------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service downgraded the long term debt and
corporate family ratings of Xerium Technologies, Inc. and
maintained a stable outlook.  In addition, Moody's affirmed
Xerium's speculative grade liquidity rating of SGL-3 due to the
recent amendment of its bank credit facility.  The downgrade
reflected Moody's belief that Xerium's operating performance
will remain weak relative to historic norms as increased
competition in its main markets has reduced growth prospects and
pressured margins.  Xerium's customers in North America and
Europe continue to struggle operationally due to a slowdown in
global paper production and significant overcapacity.  Moody's
believes that this trend will continue with the closure of
additional mills and further downtime at existing facilities in
North America and Europe, Xerium's main markets.  Moody's also
anticipates that volume losses in 2006 will take longer than
expected to recover and that recent investments in developing
economies will take several years before they have a meaningful
positive impact on cash flow.

In response to the changes in the paper and board industry,
Xerium continues to realign its manufacturing footprint.  The
company is still in the process of rebounding from production
inefficiencies in North America, delays in achieving benefits
from cost reduction initiatives, and a difficult pricing
environment for certain of its products.  Challenges remain in
the clothing segment, as the company has recently experienced
losses in market share and volume in Europe.  At the same time,
Xerium's roll covers business has improved due to an improved
market position in North America, offsetting the flat operating
performance within the clothing segment.  Moody's believes the
impact of these factors, coupled with the company's inability to
increase prices, particularly within clothing products, will
continue to negatively affect operating performance over the
next two to three years.  Furthermore, the uncertainty,
variability, and sustainability of the company's free cash flows
better reflect a B2 corporate family rating at this time.

The B2 corporate family rating incorporates the company's
sizable market position and moderate geographic diversity.
However, the ratings also reflect the limited scope and modest
size of the company's operations in developing countries that
hold the greatest potential for future sales growth.  Xerium's
elevated business risk due to its focus on the paper industry,
its potential for bolt-on acquisitions, high debt levels, lack
of meaningful free cash flow, and potential dividend
requirements constrain the ratings.  Due to Xerium's business
risks and limited product diversity, Moody's would expect the
company to generate stronger credit metrics than many other B2
rated industrial companies.

On Jan. 20, 2006, Moody's changed Xerium's outlook to negative
from stable due to the same challenges addressed above.
Specifically, Moody's stated that if the company fails to
improve operating performance and fails to generate any free
cash flow in the near term, the ratings could be lowered.  Other
factors that could negatively impact the ratings would be a
deterioration in paper industry fundamentals resulting in a
further decline in paper production, weaker liquidity, or a
larger-than-anticipated debt financed acquisition.  In Moody's
opinion, many of these factors may materialize in the short-term
and will continue to negatively impact the company's financial
metrics.  As a result, the ratings have been lowered.

Downgrades:

Issuer: Xerium Technologies, Inc.

   -- Corporate Family Rating, Downgraded to B2 from B1

   -- Senior Secured Term Loan, Downgraded to B2 from B1
      (LGD3, 46%)

   -- Senior Secured Revolving Credit Facility, Downgraded to B2
      from B1 (LGD, 46%)

   -- Probability of Default Rating, Downgraded to B2 from B1

Outlook Actions:

Issuer: Xerium Technologies, Inc.

   -- Outlook, Changed To Stable From Negative

Xerium Technologies, Inc., headquartered in Youngsville, NC, is
a manufacturer and supplier of consumable products used
primarily in the production of paper.

Headquartered in Youngsville, NC, Xerium Technologies,
Inc. -- http://xerium.com/-- manufactures and supplies two
types of products used primarily in the production of paper:
clothing and roll covers.  The company operates under a variety
of brand names and owns a broad portfolio of patented and
proprietary technologies to provide customers with tailored
solutions and products, designed to optimize performance and
reduce operational costs.  With 35 manufacturing facilities in
15 countries Xerium Technologies has approximately 3,900
employees.

Headquartered in Westborough, Massachusetts, Stowe Woodward, a
unit of Xerium Technologies, Inc., (NYSE: XRM) supplies roll
covers, bowed rolls and manufacturing services for the pulp and
paper industry.  Stowe Woodward has manufacturing operations
around the world, including Brazil and Argentina in Latin
America.




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


ALPHAPLUS CAPITAL: Holds Final Shareholders Meeting on Feb. 23
--------------------------------------------------------------
Alphaplus Capital Management, Inc.'s shareholders will gather on
Feb. 23, 2007, for a final general meeting at:

          Charles Adams, Ritchie & Duckworth, Zephyr House,
          Mary Street, George Town
          Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Accounts on the company's liquidation process will be presented
during the meeting.  The shareholders will also authorize the
liquidators to retain the records of the company for a period of
five years, starting from the dissolution of the company.
Destruction of the records may then be allowed after that
period.

A member entitled to attend and vote at the meeting may appoint
a proxy, who need not be a member, in his stead.

The liquidator can be reached at:

          Nigel Stead
          Attention: Alan de Saram
          Charles Adams, Ritchie & Duckworth
          P.O. Box 709, George Town
          Zephyr House, Mary Street
          George Town, Grand Cayman
          Cayman Islands
          Phone: 949-4544
          Fax: 949-8460


ARES TOTAL: Final Shareholders Meeting Is Set for Feb. 23
---------------------------------------------------------
Ares Total Value (Cayman) Feeder Fund, Ltd.'s shareholders will
gather on Feb. 23, 2007, for a final general meeting at 10:00
a.m., at:

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

Accounts on the company's liquidation process will be presented
during the meeting.  The shareholders will also authorize the
liquidators to retain the records of the company for a period of
five years, starting from the dissolution of the company.
Destruction of the records may then be allowed after that
period.

A member entitled to attend and vote at the meeting may appoint
a proxy, who need not be a member, in his stead.

The liquidator can be reached at:

          Gordon I. Macrae
          Attention: Korie Drummond
          Kroll (Cayman) Ltd.
          4th Floor Bermuda House
          Dr. Roy's Drive Grand Cayman
          Cayman Islands
          Telephone: (345) 946-0081
          Fax: (345) 946-0082


COMMONFUND INSTITUTIONAL: Final Shareholders Meeting on Feb. 23
---------------------------------------------------------------
Commonfund Institutional Commodities Fund, Ltd.'s shareholders
will gather on Feb. 23, 2007, for a final general meeting at
10:00 a.m., at registered office of the company.

Accounts on the company's liquidation process will be presented
during the meeting.  The shareholders will also authorize the
liquidators to retain the records of the company for a period of
five years, starting from the dissolution of the company.
Destruction of the records may then be allowed after that
period.

A member entitled to attend and vote at the meeting may appoint
a proxy, who need not be a member, in his stead.

The liquidators can be reached at:

          John Cullinane
          Derrie Boggess
          c/o Walkers SPV Ltd.
          Walker House, 87 Mary Street
          George Town, Grand Cayman KY1 9002
          Cayman Islands


DSL EQUITY: Deadline for Proofs of Claim Filing Set for Feb. 19
---------------------------------------------------------------
DSL Equity Ltd.'s creditors are required to submit proofs of
claim by Feb. 19, 2007, to the company's liquidators:

          Westport Services Ltd.
          P.O. Box 1111
          Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
          Telephone: (345)-949-5122
          Fax: (345)-949-7920

Creditors who are not able to comply with the Feb. 19 deadline
won't receive any distribution that the liquidator will make.
Creditors are required to present proofs of claim personally or
through their solicitors.

DSL Equity's shareholders agreed on Jan. 18, 2007, for the
company's voluntary liquidation under Section 135 of the
Companies Law (2004 Revision) of the Cayman Islands.


GREEN HILL: Final Shareholders Meeting Is Set for Feb. 23
---------------------------------------------------------
Green Hill Partners Ltd.'s shareholders will gather on
Feb. 23, 2007, for a final general meeting at:

          Trinity Capital
          1819 Goodwin Street
          Jacksonville, FL 32204, USA

Accounts on the company's liquidation process will be presented
during the meeting.  The shareholders will also authorize the
liquidators to retain the records of the company for a period of
five years, starting from the dissolution of the company.
Destruction of the records may then be allowed after that
period.

A member entitled to attend and vote at the meeting may appoint
a proxy, who need not be a member, in his stead.

The liquidator can be reached at:

          Thad L. McNulty
          Campbell Corporate Services Ltd.
          c/o P.O. Box 268, George Town
          4th Floor Scotia Center
          Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
          Phone: 345 949 2648
          Fax: 345 949 8613


INGENIOUS PARTNER: Holds Final Shareholders Meeting on Feb. 23
--------------------------------------------------------------
Ingenious Partner Global Funds Ltd.'s shareholders will gather
on Feb. 23, 2007, for a final general meeting.

Accounts on the company's liquidation process will be presented
during the meeting.  The shareholders will also authorize the
liquidators to retain the records of the company for a period of
five years, starting from the dissolution of the company.
Destruction of the records may then be allowed after that
period.

A member entitled to attend and vote at the meeting may appoint
a proxy, who need not be a member, in his stead.

The liquidator can be reached at:

          Ling I-Ming
          Ink Go Ltd.
          No. 38, Chung Hsiao W. Rd.
          Sec 1, Taipei, Taiwan 100

            -- or --

          Ling I-Ming
          c/o Campbells
          4th Floor Scotia Center
          P.O. Box 884, George Town
          Grand Cayman, KY1-1103
          Cayman Islands


OECHSLE NIPPON: Proofs of Claim Filing Deadline Is on Feb. 16
-------------------------------------------------------------
Oechsle Nippon Offshore Fund Ltd.'s creditors are required to
submit proofs of claim by Feb. 16, 2007, to the company's
liquidators:

          Robert Dieter
          Oechsle International Advisore LLC
          One International Place
          Boston, Massachusetts 02110
          USA

Creditors who are not able to comply with the Feb. 16 deadline
won't receive any distribution that the liquidator will make.
Creditors are required to present proofs of claim personally or
through their solicitors.

Oechsle Nippon's shareholders agreed on Jan. 8, 2007, for the
company's voluntary liquidation under Section 135 of the
Companies Law (2004 Revision) of the Cayman Islands.

Parties-in-interest may contact:

          Andrew Morehouse
          Ogier
          Queensgate House
          South Church Street
          P.O. Box 1234
          Grand Cayman KY1-1108
          Cayman Islands
          Telephone: (345) 949 9876
          Fax: (345) 949 9877


HAMMERMAN CAPITAL: Filing of Proofs of Claim Ends on Feb. 23
------------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of Hammerman Capital Offshore, Ltd. are required to
prove their claims to Kenneth M. Krys and Joanna Chong, the
company's liquidators, by Feb. 23 or be excluded from
receiving any distribution or payment that the company will
make.

Creditors are required to send by Feb. 23 their full names,
addresses, descriptions, the full particulars of their debts or
claims, and the names and addresses of their lawyers, if any, to
the liquidators.

The liquidator can be reached at:

        Kenneth M. Krys
        Joanna Chong
        RSM Cayman Islands
        P.O. Box 1370, George Town
        Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands
        Telephone: (345) 9497100


MBAM FRM: Final Shareholders Meeting Set for Feb. 23
----------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of The MBAM FRM Fund Ltd. will gather for a final
meeting on Feb. 23, 2007, at 10:00 a.m. at:

            Walkers,
            P.O. Box 265, George Town
            Walker House, Mary Street,
            George Town, Grand Cayman
            Cayman Islands

Accounts on the company's liquidation process will be presented
during the meeting.  The shareholders will also authorize the
liquidators to retain the records of the company for a period of
five years, starting from the dissolution of the company.
Destruction of the records may then be allowed after that
period.

A member entitled to attend and vote at the meeting may appoint
a proxy, who need not be a member, in his stead.

Parties-in-interest may contact the liquidator at:

            John W. Renouf
            FRM Investment Management Ltd.
            Trafalgar Court, St. Peter Port
            Guernsey GY1 4HC




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


BANCO ITAU: Asks Chile Banking Authority for BankBoston Deal OK
--------------------------------------------------------------
Banco Itau has asked Chile's banking regulator, Superintendencia
de Bancos e Instituciones Financieras, for authority to take
over BankBoston Chile, Business News Americas reports, citing a
press statement from the regulator.

Last week, Brazil's central bank authorized Banco Itau to
acquire BankBoston's assets in Chile and Uruguay.

The assets' purchase for US$633 million was first announced in
August 2006.

BankBoston Chile mostly caters to the higher-income segment of
the population.  In 2006, the bank holds a 2.6% market share
with 1.36 trillion pesos (US$2.48 billion) in loans, BNamericas
says.

As reported on Feb. 12, 2006, Fitch changed the outlook of these
ratings of Banco Itau S.A.:

   -- Foreign currency IDR at 'BB+'; Outlook to Positive from
      Stable;

   -- Local currency IDR at 'BBB-'; Outlook to Positive
      from Stable; and

   -- National Long-term rating at 'AA+(bra)'; Outlook to
      Positive from Stable.




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


ECOPETROL: To Select Legal Advisor to Facilitate Stake Sale
-----------------------------------------------------------
Colombian state-run oil company Ecopetrol said in a statement
that it has launched a process to select an international legal
advisor for the planned sale of 20% of the firm.

Ecopetrol told Business News Americas that a list of leading
candidates -- law firms with expertise in corporate finances and
initial public offerings in the US -- has been made.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Jan. 5, 2007, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has signed into
law a bill for the sale of up to 20% of Ecopetrol.  The shares
will be available for sale later this year.  Shares would be
sold in three separate rounds:

          -- in the first and second rounds, the stake would be
             offered to:

             * pension funds,
             * cooperatives,
             * Ecopetrol workers and pensioners,
             * local governments, and
             * individual Colombians; and

          -- in the third round, shares would be available for
             institutional investors.

Individual investors can't purchase over COP2 billion in shares,
while institutional buyers can't buy over 3%.

The capitalization will allow Ecopetrol to conduct an investment
plan that calls for spending almost to US$2.5 billion yearly.

The Colombian government will retain its 80% stake in Ecopetrol.

Ecopetrol is an integrated-oil company that is wholly owned by
the Colombian government.  The company's activities include
exploration for and production of crude oil and natural gas, as
well as refining, transportation, and marketing of crude oil,
natural gas and refined products.  Ecopetrol is Latin America's
fourth-largest integrated-oil concern.  Operations are organized
into Exploration & Production, Refining & Marketing,
Transportation, and International Commerce & Gas.

On June 27, 2006, Fitch Ratings revised the rating outlook of
the long-term foreign currency issuer default rating of
Ecopetrol SA to Positive from Stable.  This rating action
follows the recent revision in the Rating Outlook to Positive
from Stable of the 'BB' foreign currency IDR of the Republic of
Colombia.  Ecopetrol's IDR remain strongly linked with the
credit profile of the Republic of Colombia.




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


* COSTA RICA: Local Exporters Look Forward to China Trade Fair
--------------------------------------------------------------
Costa Rica's Chamber of Exporters (Crecex) has launched the
Pro-China project, which aims to create opportunities in China
for local and other Central American businesspeople, Inside
Costa Rica says.

The chamber has sent invitations to Costa Rican and other
Central American business people to visit the 101st Canton Trade
Fair in April, BNamericas relates, citing Crecex president
Alvaro Aguilar.  The Canton Fair could provide small- and
medium-sized entrepreneurs new markets and opportunities in
Asia, Mr. Aguilar said, according to BNamericas.

"One of the many trade missions we have undertaken is to create
opportunities in China for our partners and for interested
business people," the chamber's president was quoted by
BNamericas as saying.

The exporters' group recognizes China's leading role in world
trade.  As such, it wants to forge ties with the Asian nation to
improve trade relations between the two countries.

"China is the world's factory and the Chinese have made their
country an incredible place. In the past, we saw them making
simple goods, but now we see 'made in China' on the most
sophisticated things, such as the most advanced computers and
cars," Mr. Aguilar was quoted by BNamericas as saying.

Costa Rica lacks diplomatic relations with China, but trade
between the two countries is growing each year.

"Even though we don't have diplomatic relations, China has
become one of our largest trading partners.  In 2006,trade
between the two countries topped a billion dollars: an
incredible sum that no one imagined 10 years ago," Mr. Aguilar
said.

                        *    *    *

As reported on Aug. 21, 2006, Fitch Ratings upgraded Costa
Rica's country ceiling to BB+ from BB.


* COSTA RICA: State Telcom Promises Better Service
--------------------------------------------------
The Instituto Costarricense de Electricidad, Costa Rica's state
telecommunications firm, has promised to improve its service,
mainly by acquiring the operations of Alcatel GSM's network of
400,000 cellular lines, Inside Costa Rica reports.

Instituto Costarricense told Inside Costa Rica that the network
is operating in 60% of Costa Rica, contrary to the coverage maps
on the firm's Web site that said 95% of the nation is covered.
The company promises to boost coverage to 80% by year-end.

Instituto Costarricense will ensure the operations and
maintenance of the Alcatel system, breaking the six-year
contract with the latter, Inside Costa Rica notes, citing
Instituto Costarricense president Pedro Pablo Qurios.

Geovanni Bonilla, Instituto Costarricense's legal advisor,
commented to Inside Costa Rica that the breaking of the contract
is not illegal and it won't affect the service.

Instituto Costarricense explained to Inside Costa Rica that the
contract was revoked due to poor coverage.  There have also been
several confirmed reports saying that some Ericsson phones won't
work on the Alcatel network.

Inside Costa Rica underscores that Alcatel users have been
unable to place and receive calls, without their knowledge.

According to Inside Costa Rica, Ericsson installed and operates
the newer GSM network of 600,000 lines for the state telecom.
Messages like your call can't be completed at this time are
frequent.  Placing a call to a known number sometimes gets a
message saying, "The number called does not correspond to any
one of our subscribers."  The messages are produced when the
cellular phone calling or being called is within a cell that is
not functioning or has poor coverage - which includes inside
buildings of remote areas.

Mr. Bonilla told Inside Costa Rica that officials of Instituto
Costarricense say they had no choice in the matter.  Their
objective is to boost service and the only way to do so is to
take over Alcatel's operations.

Instituto Costarricense notified Alcatel of its decision.
Alcatel will still make a statement on the matter, Inside Costa
Rica states.

                        *    *    *

As reported on Aug. 21, 2006, Fitch Ratings upgraded Costa
Rica's country ceiling to BB+ from BB.




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


AES DOMINICANA: Denies Filing Suit Against Dominican Government
---------------------------------------------------------------
As widely reported, AES Dominicana, the former owner of EdeEste
power distributor in the Dominican Republic and a subsidiary of
AES Corp., has sued the government for alleged breach of an
energy supply contract.

The suit alleges that the government failed to crack down on
rampant electricity theft, distributed too much power and not
collected enough money from customers.

However, Kevin Manning, an AES Dominicana's representative
clarified that the suit was filed by TCW Group Inc., which had
acquired AES' shares, the Dominican Today reports.

"We have no certification of any lawsuit, it's totally wrong,
its TCW which has the shares of Ede-Este, we have nothing to do
with it," Mr. Manning emphasized to the paper.

Dominican Today says the litigation was started by international
shareholders of the United States based Trust Capital West
(TCW), to which AES sold its shares in December, 2004 and
remained only as operator of the Dominican electricity
distributing company Ede-Este.

                    About AES Dominicana

AES Dominicana is a special-purpose financing entity of AES
Corp. in the Dominican Republic.  It manages two of AES Corp.'s
wholly owned generating facilities, Andres and DPP.  Andres is
incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands, and it owns a
304-megawatt gas-fired, combined-cycle plant outside of Santo
Domingo. The facility also includes an LNG regasification
terminal.  AES Dominicana also includes Itabo.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Oct. 20, 2006, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed its
'B-' ratings on AES Dominicana Energia Finance S.A.'s US$160
million senior notes due 2015 and revised its outlook on the
notes to positive from stable.


FLOWSERVE: Fitch Initiates Coverage; Assigns BB Ratings
-------------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings has initiated coverage of Flowserve Corp. and
assigned these ratings:

   -- Issuer Default Rating (IDR) 'BB'; and
   -- Senior secured bank facilities 'BB'.

The Rating Outlook is Stable.

Flowserve had slightly more than US$650 million of debt
outstanding at Sept. 30, 2006.

The ratings incorporate Flowserve's product and geographic
diversification within the flow control industry, its leading
market positions, and strong demand across many of its end
markets.  Other rating strengths include a conservative debt
structure, ample liquidity and declining leverage.  The company
has consistently reduced debt over the past several years, and
segment operating income has also been improving.  Rating
concerns include weak controls over financial reporting, a
number of potential litigation liabilities, further
rationalization required in the company's management information
systems, and cyclicality in many of Flowserve's end-markets.
Concerns about cyclicality are mitigated by the substantial
portion of aftermarket business, long-term growth in
international markets which represent more than half of total
revenue, and a favorable outlook for long term investment in the
oil and gas industries.  Much of the senior management team has
been replaced since early 2004, and the company is gradually
consolidating its and management information systems.

Increases in bookings and revenue from the important oil, gas
and process industries have contributed to improving operating
results despite a number of ongoing challenges involving
financial controls and potential litigation liabilities.  Fitch
anticipates that as Flowserve eventually resolves these issues,
the company's financial profile could improve further.  SEC
filings were brought current as of Sept. 30, 2006 but the
company is still addressing material weaknesses as disclosed in
its financial statements.  The challenges surrounding
Flowserve's financial controls and management information
systems follow a period of acquisitions and mergers several
years ago under a previous management team.  The company is
currently taking steps to boost its accounting and compliance
capabilities and has implemented a program to gradually upgrade
and integrate the large number of disparate information systems
currently in place.  The completion of this effort will be
important to Flowserve's ability to implement operating
strategies, maintain its competitive position and control costs
related to financial reporting.

Potential litigation liabilities represent additional rating
concerns, including asbestos, shareholder lawsuits, export
control laws, and investigations of Flowserve's compliance with
the U.N. Oil-for-Food Program.  These potential liabilities are
reduced by insurance coverage.  While the effectiveness of such
coverage is difficult to ascertain, the ratings incorporate
Fitch's view that, in the absence of unexpectedly large awards
against it, Flowserve's net litigation liabilities are not
likely to result in a substantial use of cash.

Improved results through the first nine months of 2006 benefited
by comparison with 2005 when Flowserve recorded certain non-
recurring costs.  These costs included the extinguishment of
debt as well as losses from the General Services Group that was
divested in 2005.  Stronger operating results have been partly
offset by high professional fees as Flowserve addresses its
financial control weaknesses and upgrades its finance and
compliance capabilities.  Operating margins have improved in
recent periods, rising modestly to 7.8% for the first nine
months of 2006.  They can be expected to improve further when
professional fees eventually decline and as Flowserve increases
sourcing from low-cost locations and takes other steps to
control costs.  Flowserve's long-term target for operating
margins is 15%.

The company has used most of its free cash flow in recent years
to reduce debt and leverage.  At Sept. 30, 2006, Flowserve had
reduced debt/EBITDA to 2.24 times compared to levels above 4x
prior to 2004.  Going forward, however, improving operating
trends and cash flow should support discretionary spending for
potential acquisitions and share repurchases.  Share repurchases
were recently implemented partly to offset the impact of
employee stock option plans that were unexercisable while SEC
filings were delinquent.  Despite the increase in Flowserve's
discretionary spending, Fitch believes the company is likely to
maintain leverage near current levels over the long term and
could potentially report stronger financial measures in the
absence of acquisition opportunities.

Debt at Sept. 30, 2006 totaled US$654 million, consisting
primarily of a US$562 million term loan under its domestic
credit facilities and an US$85 million borrowing from the
European Investment Bank aka EIB.  The EIB borrowing, which was
backed by a letter of credit issued under a US$400 million
domestic bank revolving credit, was repaid in Dec. 2006.
Liquidity was supported by US$52 million of cash and the US$400
million revolver.  Flowserve's domestic bank facilities are
secured by substantially all of its domestic assets and 65% of
the capital stock of certain foreign subsidiaries.  The
facilities contain a comprehensive set of covenants that were
put in place while the company was delinquent on its SEC
filings, and the company was well within its covenant limits at
Sept. 30, 2006.  The bank revolver and term loan mature in 2010
and 2012, respectively, and would become unsecured if Flowserve
maintains investment grade ratings, as defined in the agreement,
for at least 90 days.

Headquartered in Irving, Texas, Flowserve Corp. (NYSE: FLS) --
http://www.flowserve.com/-- provides fluid motion and control
products and services.  Operating in 56 countries, the company
produces engineered and industrial pumps, seals and valves as
well as a range of related flow management services.  In Latin
America, Flowserve operates in 36 countries such as the
Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guyana and Belize.




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


DOLE FOOD: Fresh Vegetables Unit Inks Leafy Greens Mktg. Pact
-------------------------------------------------------------
Dole Fresh Vegetables, Inc., a subsidiary of Dole Food company,
Inc., has signed the California Leafy Greens Marketing
Agreement.  Under the voluntary Agreement, all participants must
adhere to established good agricultural practices or GAP and
food safety guidelines.  Dole has always used GAP in all its
growing operations and the company has been a strong supporter
of the Agreement as a standard for the industry. Dole has taken
food safety one-step further by applying the California
standards in all states where its leafy greens are grown.

The California Leafy Greens Marketing Agreement will set
mandatory and specific standards for leafy greens supply; the
California Department of Health Services will monitor compliance
with the new standards.  Facilitated by the Western Growers
Association, Dole worked collaboratively with a group that
consisted of growers, processors, regulators and members of
academia to formulate the Agreement.

Eric Schwartz, President of Dole Fresh Vegetables, said, "Dole
is in full support of a uniform, national, leafy greens food
safety standard that will set mandatory and explicit guidelines
in the produce industry.  We strongly encourage our retail and
food service customers to support the Leafy Greens Marketing
Agreement by requiring their produce suppliers to sign this
Agreement."  Mr. Schwartz also commented, "Food safety is our
top priority.  This is another example of our commitment to work
with government, industry leaders, trade organizations and food
safety experts to continuously seek ways to improve and enhance
food safety for consumers."

Headquartered in Westlake Village, California, Dole Food
Company's -- http://www.dole.com/-- is a producer and marketer
of fresh fruit, fresh vegetables and fresh-cut flowers, and
markets a line of packaged foods. The company has four primary
operating segments. The fresh fruit segment produces and markets
fresh fruit to wholesale, retail and institutional customers
worldwide. The fresh vegetables segment contains operating
segments that produce and market commodity vegetables and ready-
to-eat packaged vegetables to wholesale, retail and
institutional customers primarily in North America, Europe and
Asia. The packaged foods segment contains several operating
segments that produce and market packaged foods, including
fruit, juices and snack foods. Dole's fresh-cut flowers segment
sources, imports and markets fresh-cut flowers, grown mainly in
Colombia and Ecuador, primarily to wholesale florists and
supermarkets in the United States.

                        *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Jan. 31, 2007,
Moody's Investors Service downgraded the ratings of Dole Food
Company Inc. as follows:

   -- corporate family rating to B2 from B1;
   -- probability of default rating to B2 from B1;
   -- senior secured bank credit facilities to Ba3 from Ba2;
   -- senior unsecured notes to Caa1 from B3; and
   -- various shelf registrations to (P)Caa1 from (P)B3.

Moody's said the outlook is stable.

On Dec. 11, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered its
ratings on Dole Food Co. Inc. and Dole Holding Co. LLC,
including its corporate credit rating, to 'B' from 'B+'.

The ratings were removed from CreditWatch, where they were
placed on Aug. 9, 2006, with negative implications, following
materially weaker-than-expected financial performance in the
first half of fiscal 2006, which typically represents a
substantial portion of cash flow.  The outlook is negative.
Total debt outstanding at the company was about US$2.3 billion
as of Oct. 7, 2006.


* ECUADOR: Venezuela Offers Up to US$1-Billion Loan to Nation
-------------------------------------------------------------
Ecuador's minister of economy Ricardo Patino told El Universal
that Rodrigo Cabezas, his Venezuelan counterpart, offered the
nation a loan of up to US$1 billion with a top interest rate of
7% with no preemptive conditions.

The loan offered by Venezuela is not subject to political
conditions that could risk Ecuador's independence, El Universal
says, citing the latter's government spokesperson.

Minister Patino told television station Teleamazonas that
Venezuela has never given him political or economic advice.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa will still decide on the
offer, El Universal relates, citing Minister Patino.

The offer is presumed to help fill a fiscal gap of US$728
million, El Universal reports.

                        *    *    *

As reported on Jan. 25, 2007, Fitch Ratings downgraded the long-
term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating of Ecuador to 'CCC'
from 'B-', indicating that default is a real possibility in the
near term.

In addition, these ratings were downgraded:

   -- Uncollateralized foreign currency bonds to
      'CCC/RR4' from 'B-/RR4';

   -- Collateralized foreign currency Par and Discount
      Brady bonds to 'CCC+/RR3' from 'B/RR3'; and

   -- Short-term foreign currency IDR to 'C' from 'B'.

Fitch also affirmed the Country ceiling rating at 'B-'.




=============
G R E N A D A
=============


* GRENADA: Confiscates World Cup Cricket Counterfeit Goods
----------------------------------------------------------
Grenada's Customs Department has confiscated counterfeit World
Cup Cricket 2007 goods, Klassica Granada reports.

Klassica Granada relates that the seized goods featured the
words "World Cup Cricket 2007" and an image of the tournament
trophy.

About 44 headrest covers for vehicles destined for a Grenadan
resident were seized on Jan. 17, Klassica Granada notes, citing
Alana Medford, who works in the tournament's anti-counterfeit
program.  This is the first report World Cup received of people
trying to import unauthorized goods into Grenada for the
tournament.

According to Klassica Granada, the shipment was sent from
Brooklyn, New York.

Klassica Granada underscores that similar fake World Cup
merchandise was found in New York in January.

A confiscation notice has been sent to the intended recipient of
the goods.  The person has one month to dispute the seizure, Ms.
Medford told Klassica Granada.

The goods will become the property of the Grenadan government if
no objection is presented on the goods' confiscation, Klassica
Granada states.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on March 21, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services affirmed its 'B-' long-term
and 'C' short-term sovereign credit ratings on Grenada.  S&P
said the outlook on the long-term ratings remains stable.

The ratings on Grenada are constrained by large government debt,
which, at an estimated 118% of GDP in 2006 (98% of GDP on a net
basis), is one of the highest among the 110 sovereigns rated by
Standard & Poor's.  The debt burden has been partly alleviated
by the restructuring completed in Nov. 2005, which extended
the maturity of roughly US$261 million (or 44% of the total) in
debt to 2025 and reduced the interest payment by more than half,
to about 2.5% of GDP in 2006.




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


* HONDURAS: Inks Hydrocarbons Cooperation Pact with Japex
---------------------------------------------------------
An official from Honduras' energy department told Business News
Americas that the government has signed a two-year cooperation
accord with Japan's Japex Geoscience Institute to advance
hydrocarbons exploration efforts.

The initial results of the deal will be presented in April,
BNamericas notes, citing the official.

BNamericas relates that Japex Geoscience will help update and
validate existing information on the nation's hydrocarbons
potential.

According to BNamericas, the Honduran government wants to
develop the nation's hydrocarbons resources to lessen dependence
on imports because of high prices.

The government's plans have attracted several companies,
including China National Petroleum, BNamericas 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
=============


DYOLL INSURANCE: Farmers Group Seeks Out of Court Accord
--------------------------------------------------------
Senator Norman Grant, the Jamaica Agricultural Society's
president, has proposed for an out of court settlement between
the coffee farmers and the liquidators of the Dyoll Insurance
Co., Radio Jamaica reports.

Radio Jamaica relates that the farmers who had insured their
crops with Dyoll Insurance have been fighting with the
liquidators in court over claims for losses the during Hurricane
Ivan in September 2004.

Senator Grant admitted to Radio Jamaica he is worried that if
the court case continues for an extended period the US$3.2
million owed to farmers could only be used in paying for legal
fees.

Dyoll Group Ltd. is a Jamaica-based company that is principally
engaged in the insurance business.  Jamaica's Financial Services
Commission has assumed temporary management of the Jamaica-based
Dyoll Insurance Co. Ltd. in Mar. 7, 2005, in order to establish
the true position of the Company, address the matter of
settlement to its claimants and ensure that its policies will
remain in force after a high level of insurance claims were
leveled on the company as a result of the hurricane Ivan.
Kenneth Tomlinson was appointed temporary manager.  Jamaica's
Supreme Court ordered for the distribution of a US$653 million
fund held by the FSC in accordance with the Insurance Act 2001,
section 59, which says that the prescribed deposit, on the
winding up of an insurance company, should be applied first to
settle the claims of local policyholders.




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


ARAMARK: Fitch Lowers IDR Rating to B After LBO Completion
----------------------------------------------------------
Fitch has downgraded the Issuer Default Rating for both Aramark
Corp. (NYSE: RMK) and its wholly owned subsidiary, Aramark
Services, Inc., to 'B' from 'BB-' and has rated the new
financing of Aramark Corp. as:

   -- US$600 million revolving senior secured credit facility
      due 2013 'BB-/RR2';

   -- US$4.15 billion senior secured term loans due 2014
      'BB-/RR2';

   -- US$250 million senior secured synthetic letter of credit
      facility due 2013 'BB-/RR2'; and

   -- US$1.78 billion senior unsecured notes due 2015 'B-/RR5'.

In addition, the rating for the US$250 million senior unsecured
notes due 2012 was lowered to 'CCC+/RR6' from 'BB-'.  The
ratings are removed from Rating Watch Negative.  The Rating
Outlook is Stable.

This action follows Aramark's recent announcement that its
leveraged buyout or LBO had been completed.  This action
finalizes Fitch's review of the rating following the company's
Aug. 8, 2006 announcement that the company's board of directors
had agreed to accept a management buyout offer from a group of
investors led by chairman and CEO, Joseph Neubauer.  The merger,
valued at approximately US$8.6 billion, was financed through
approximately US$2 billion in equity commitments with the
remainder consisting of various debt instruments noted above.
Fitch expects to withdraw its 'BB-' unsecured bank facility
rating and withdraw its 'BB-' senior unsecured rating for
ARAMARK's existing notes due 2007 and 2008 with the successful
completion of debt tender offers planned for late February.

The ratings reflect Aramark's substantially higher leverage
ratio and debt service requirements following the completion of
its LBO and Fitch's expectations for significantly reduced free
cash flow.  Pro forma Sept. 29, 2006 total adjusted leverage
(adjusted for rents and A/R securitizations) is expected to be
approximately 7.2 times with interest coverage at approximately
1.9x.  Fitch expects credit protection measures to remain near
pro forma levels through the intermediate term.  The ratings
also incorporate potential margin pressure from competitive
pricing and higher operating costs.

The ratings and outlook reflect Aramark's leading positions in
its core services, brand recognition, a well-diversified
customer portfolio, and high customer retention rates.  In
addition, Aramark's operating performance has been relatively
stable through various market conditions, including the
company's exposure to unforeseen events over the last couple of
years.

The Stable Outlook is also supported by the company's adequate
liquidity position pro forma the proposed transaction, which
includes US$103 million of pro forma cash and approximately
US$450 million available under its revolving credit facility
(US$150 million was drawn at closing for seasonal working
capital purposes).  The company also has a US$250 million
accounts receivable securitization program.  Fitch believes that
Aramark will have limited ability to improve its credit
protection measures in the next few years.  However the
company's stable organic revenue growth and solid market
positions should limit any significant deterioration of credit
measures.

According to company filings, the 2012 notes are only guaranteed
by Aramark's holding company and will not be guaranteed by
Aramark's operating subsidiaries, thereby resulting in
structural subordination of these notes in relation to all of
the new debt issuances which will be fully and unconditionally
guaranteed by substantially all of the company's domestic
material operating subsidiaries.  The indenture for the 2012
bonds generally provides no protection from a change in control
event and does not limit the company's ability to incur
additional indebtedness.

The recovery ratings and notching reflect Fitch recovery
expectations under a distressed scenario.  Aramark's recovery
ratings reflect Fitch's expectation that the enterprise value of
the company, and hence, recovery rates for its creditors, will
be maximized in a restructuring scenario (going concern), rather
than a liquidation.  The 'RR2' recovery rating for the company's
credit facilities reflects Fitch belief that 71%-90% recovery is
reasonable given its priority position.  The recovery rating of
'RR5' for the US$1.78 billion of senior unsecured notes due 2015
reflects that 11%-30% recovery is reasonable and 'RR6' for the
$250 million 5% senior unsecured notes due 2012 reflects Fitch's
estimate that negligible recovery would be achievable due to
their position in the capital structure.

Fitch's Recovery Ratings or RR are a relative indicator of
creditor recovery prospects on a given obligation within an
issuers' capital structure in the event of a default.

Aramark Corp., headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is
one of the largest U.S. providers of food and support services
to a variety of end markets across the country, including
businesses, the educational and healthcare sectors, sports and
entertainment venues and correctional institutions.  The company
also operates the second largest uniform and career apparel
rental services and sales business in the U.S., catering to a
diversified client portfolio through an extensive national
service network.  For the twelve-month period ending
Sept. 30, 2006, revenues were approximately US$11.6 billion.  It
has approximately 240,000 employees serving clients in 20
countries, including Belgium, Czech Republic, Germany, Ireland,
UK, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, among others.


DIRECTV GROUP: Fourth Quarter 2006 Net Income Rises to US$356MM
---------------------------------------------------------------
DirecTV Group's net income has increased to US$356 million, or
29 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2006, compared with
the US$121 million, or 9 cents per share, it recorded in the
same period of 2005, Market Scan reports.

Market Scan relates that DirecTV Group's strategy to find
higher-quality clients seems to be paying off, with its shares
increasing 6%, or US$1.44, to US$25.41 on Feb. 7, after it
reported a decrease in the number of customers leaving the
service and a boost in those paying for premium services.

According to Market Scan, the company changed its subscriber
acquisition strategy in 2006 with more strict credit standards,
hoping to get rid of clients who did not pay their bills and
kept dumping the service for new subscribers that would pay for
extras like high-definition programming.

Market Scan underscores that the new standards had stopped
DirecTV Group's client growth.  When the firm published its
second-quarter results for 2006 after the change, customer
additions did not reach estimates and disappointed investors got
rid of DirecTV stock, resulting to over 3% drop of the firm's
shares.

The report says that Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. controls
DirecTV Group.  Mr. Murdoch will trade away his 38.4% stake in
DirecTV Group for some News Corp. shares that Liberty Media
holds.  The move allows Mr. Murdoch to strengthen his hold on
News Corp. after fears surfaced that Liberty Chairperson John
Malone was acquiring shares for a takeover.  Mr. Murdoch is
awaiting regulatory approval of the deal.

However, the latest earnings indicated that the more strict
standards are working.  The new clients that acquired were
important in reducing the number of subscribers leaving the
service, Market Scan notes, citing DirecTV Chief Executive Chase
Carey.

"The emphasis on adding higher-quality subscribers who purchase
significantly more advanced products and services helped drive
our monthly churn rate from 1.70% last year to 1.57% in the
current quarter, the biggest improvement in over three years,"
Mr. Carey said in a statement.

Headquartered in El Segundo, California, The DirecTV Group, Inc.
(NYSE: DTV) -- http://www.directv.com/-- provides direct
broadcast satellite service to more than 15 million customers in
the US and more than 1.5 million customers through its DirecTV
Latin America segment.

                        *    *    *

The DIRECTV Group Inc.'s long-term local and foreign issuer
credits carry Standard & Poor's BB ratings.  The ratings were
placed on Aug. 9, 2004 with a stable outlook.


GRUPO IUSACELL: Inks Roaming Services Accord with Sprint Nextel
---------------------------------------------------------------
Grupo Iusacell Celular, S.A. de C.V. signed an accord with
Sprint Nextel to offer broadband roaming in the United States
for its Mexican client base, Business News Americas reports.

According to BNamericas, the roaming services will use CDMA2000
1xEV-DO technology to provide Internet and email access.  They
will also be available for Grupo Iusacell customers with
wireless broadband cards for computers.

Grupo Mexico and Sprint Nextel will gain from the Calling Party
Pays long distance calling system that was launched on Nov. 4
and in which interconnection fees for long distance calls made
from fixed line phones to mobiles are shared between the sending
and receiving parties, BNamericas states.

Headquartered in Mexico City, Mexico, Grupo Iusacell, SA de CV
(BMV: CEL) -- http://www.iusacell.com-- is a wireless cellular
and PCS service provider in Mexico with a national footprint.
Independent of the negotiations towards the restructuring of its
debt, Grupo Iusacell reinforces its commitment with customers,
employees and suppliers and guarantees the highest quality
standards in its daily operations offering more and better voice
communication and data services through state-of-the-art
technology, including its new 3G network, throughout all of the
regions in which it operate.

As of Dec. 31, 2005, Grupo Iusacell's stockholders' deficit
widened to MXN2,076,000,000 from a deficit of MXN1,187,000,000
at Dec. 31, 2004.

Grupo Iusacell filed for bankruptcy protection on June 18 under
Mexican Law to prevent creditors from disrupting its debt
restructuring talks.  On July 14, 2006, Gramercy Emerging
Markets Fund, Pallmall LLC and Kapali LLC, owed an aggregate
amount of US$55,878,000 filed an Involuntary Chapter 11 Case
against Grupo Iusacell's operating subsidiary, Grupo Iusacell
Celular, SA de CV (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. Case No. 06-11599).  Alan M.
Field, Esq., at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, represents the
petitioners.  Iusacell Celular then filed for bankruptcy
protection under Mexican Law on July 18.

The involuntary petition in the United States was dismissed in
December 2006.


GRUPO MEXICO: Threatens to Scuttle Labor Deal with ASARCO
---------------------------------------------------------
More than 1,600 ASARCO, LLC workers at five plants in two states
voted overwhelmingly this week to ratify a contract with the
copper mining company.  The deal with the United Steelworkers
also has the approval of ASARCO's current managers and now only
awaits the approval of the court in ASARCO's bankruptcy case.

However, the company's foreign owner has threatened to scuttle
the deal.

Asarco, Incorporated, owned by Mexico City-based Grupo Mexico,
has asserted in the bankruptcy case that it will likely ask the
court to reject the settlement.  Objections in the case were due
Monday.

If Asarco, Incorporated objects, the USW, along with attorneys
for ASARCO and other key constituents in the case, will argue in
favor of the pact.

ASARCO filed for bankruptcy protection in August 2005.  Since
then, copper prices have risen to historic highs, as ASARCO has
continued to work toward reorganization. Workers represented by
the USW, meanwhile, agreed to extend the old contract for one
year.  That contract expired Dec. 31, 2006, and is replaced by
the new agreement.

"Our new labor agreement is a fair and just contract that serves
both the company and its workers well," said Terry Bonds,
Director of USW District 12 who chairs the union's Nonferrous
Industry Conference.  "The improvements for workers are
particularly justified at a time when the price of copper
remains at record levels," he added.

With more than 1,300 workers voting, the final count was 99
percent in favor of the contract.

"In addition to the economic improvements, this new contract
provides the opportunity for improved relations and productivity
so that ASARCO will survive if copper prices drop in the
future," Mr. Bonds said.

Mr. Bonds warned, however, that Grupo Mexico's attempt to
destroy the deal is a cynical plan to improve its profits at the
expense of American workers and ASARCO's creditors.  He asserted
that Grupo Mexico owns mines outside the United States, and if
the reversal of the new labor agreement caused another strike,
the price of copper could rise even higher as supply dwindled.
Then Grupo, the third largest copper producer in the world,
would stand to make even bigger profits from its foreign mines.

In the meantime, American workers would be idle, the ASARCO
facilities in Texas and Arizona would be shut, and ASARCO's
creditors would be further away from collecting anything on
their bankruptcy claims against the company.

"No one who has a stake in ASARCO's success is interested in
that result," Mr. Bonds said, "and that is why we expect that
every key participant in the bankruptcy case will join us in
asking the court to approve our new agreement."

"We believe ASARCO's creditors have a keen interest in keeping
the firm running during the current hot market for copper," Mr.
Bonds said.  "Right now, the company is making money and has the
ability to invest in new equipment and in improving its mines,"
he said.

"We saw what Grupo was like when they were in charge," Mr. Bonds
said, "The business failed and they created a hostile
relationship with the workers.  All that has changed since we
got a new, independent board of directors and a new chief
executive officer who has been committed to working
constructively with our members."

The newly ratified agreement covers workers at ASARCO facilities
in Amarillo, Texas; and in four Arizona towns, Hayden,
Sahuarita, Marana and Kearny. These include the Mission, Silver
Bell and Ray copper mines and the Hayden Smelter and Amarillo
refinery.

Under the new agreement, ASARCO workers will, in many cases,
receive their first wage increase since 2003, and will pay no
additional amount for health care or prescription drugs.  In
addition, the new deal would restore to retirees most of the
health care benefits that under Grupo Mexico's control, ASARCO
unilaterally cut off in August 2003.

                     About ASARCO LLC

Based in Tucson, Arizona, ASARCO LLC -- http://www.asarco.com/
-- is an integrated copper mining, smelting and refining
company.  Grupo Mexico S.A. de C.V. is ASARCO's ultimate parent.
The Company filed for chapter 11 protection on Aug. 9, 2005
(Bankr. S.D. Tex. Case No. 05-21207).  James R. Prince, Esq.,
Jack L. Kinzie, Esq., and Eric A. Soderlund, Esq., at Baker
Botts L.L.P., and Nathaniel Peter Holzer, Esq., Shelby A.
Jordan, Esq., and Harlin C. Womble, Esq., at Jordan, Hyden,
Womble & Culbreth, P.C., represent the Debtor in its
restructuring efforts.  Lehman Brothers Inc. provides the ASARCO
with financial advisory services and investment banking
services.  Paul M. Singer, Esq., James C. McCarroll, Esq., and
Derek J. Baker, Esq., at Reed Smith LLP give legal advice to the
Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors and David J. Beckman
at FTI Consulting, Inc., gives financial advisory services to
the Committee.  When the Debtor filed for protection from its
creditors, it listed US$600 million in total assets and US$1
billion in total debts.

The Debtor has five affiliates that filed for chapter 11
protection on April 11, 2005 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. Case Nos.
05-20521 through 05-20525).  They are Lac d'Amiante Du Quebec
Ltee, CAPCO Pipe Company, Inc., Cement Asbestos Products
Company, Lake Asbestos of Quebec, Ltd., and LAQ Canada, Ltd.
Details about their asbestos-driven chapter 11 filings have
appeared in the Troubled Company Reporter since Apr. 18, 2005.

Encycle/Texas, Inc. (Bankr. S.D. Tex. Case No. 05-21304),
Encycle, Inc., and ASARCO Consulting, Inc. (Bankr. S.D. Tex.
Case No. 05-21346) also filed for chapter 11 protection, and
ASARCO has asked that the three subsidiary cases be jointly
administered with its chapter 11 case.  On Oct. 24, 2005,
Encycle/Texas' case was converted to a Chapter 7 liquidation
proceeding.  The Court appointed Michael Boudloche as
Encycle/Texas, Inc.'s Chapter 7 Trustee.  Michael B. Schmidt,
Esq., and John Vardeman, Esq., at Law Offices of Michael B.
Schmidt represent the Chapter 7 Trustee.

ASARCO's affiliates, AR Sacaton LLC, Southern Peru Holdings LLC,
and ASARCO Exploration Company Inc., filed for chapter 11
protection on Dec. 12, 2006 (Bankr. S.D. Tex. Case No. 06-20774
to 06-20776).

                     About Grupo Mexico

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

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Dec. 29, 2006, Fitch upgraded the local and foreign currency
Issuer Default Rating assigned to Grupo Mexico, S.A. de C. V. to
'BB+' from 'BB'.  Fitch said the rating outlook is stable.


METROFINANCIERA: S&P Holds Ratings on Credito Buyout News
---------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said that its ratings on
Metrofinanciera S.A. de C.V. SFOL (FC: BB-/Stable/--;
LC: BB-Stable/--; CaVal: mxBBB+/Stable/mxA-2) will not be
affected by Credito y Casa S.A. de C.V. Sociedad de Objeto
Limitado's confirmation that Metrofinanciera is negotiating to
buy Credito y Casa.  Although an agreement has not been reached,
if the companies were to sign a definitive accord, we will
analyze the mix of debt and equity used to finance the
transaction as well as the new company's business plan and the
implications on its financial performance.  If the transaction
is highly leveraged, this could result in negative pressure on
the current ratings.  Potential concerns include increased
leverage negatively affecting capitalization and profitability
ratios, reduced access to financial markets considering an
important refinancing risk, and the ability to unify the
acquired operations.

The privately held Metrofinanciera is Mexico's fourth largest
specialized housing lending company, with a portfolio of MXN13.3
billion (USUS$1.25billion) under administration at the end of
2005.  Founded in 1996 by local businessmen, the Monterrey-based
lender has developed a network of six regional offices and 50
branches that operates nationwide.


NORTEL NETWORKS: Plans 2,900 Job Cuts Worldwide by 2008
-------------------------------------------------------
Nortel Networks Corp. outlined the next steps of its previously
announced Business Transformation plan, designed to complement
growth initiatives by increasing the company's global
competitiveness and achieving double-digit operating margins.

During the course of 2007 and into 2008, Nortel is expected to
implement a net reduction of its global workforce by around
2,900 positions, with about 70% taking place in 2007.  In
addition, the company plans to shift about 1,000 positions from
higher-cost to lower-cost locations, with about 40% of this
activity, taking place in 2007.  These reductions will not
affect sales positions in targeted growth areas.

"We are transforming Nortel, and are focused on building a
highly competitive organization that drives innovation and
profitable growth," said Mike Zafirovski, president and chief
executive officer of Nortel.  "In early 2006, Nortel laid the
foundations of its Business Transformation plan, and we provided
additional details and specific targets for our new business
model at the time of our third quarter 2006 results and at the
Nov. 15, 2006 Investor Conference."

The business model requirements include a significant reduction
in general and administrative expenses, driven by simplified
operations, reduced systems, and improved processes.  In
addition, R&D investment will continue to be a top priority and
though reduced, will be maintained at an industry-competitive
15% of total revenues.  Funding will shift and increase
significantly Nortel's investment in high-growth opportunities.
Plans to increase the company's investment in sales and other
customer-facing functions remain unchanged by the announcement.

"These are tough but necessary measures, and we recognize the
impact they will have on affected employees," added Mr.
Zafirovski.  "However, as we roll-out the various initiatives
over the next two years, every effort will be made to leverage
normal attrition and re-deploy affected employees to other areas
of the company.  Our goal is nothing short of creating a high-
performance, successful, and profitable enterprise based on a
highly motivated work environment powered by strong business
results."

Nortel will deliver additional cost savings by efficiently
managing its various business locations and consolidating real
estate requirements to reduce its global real-estate portfolio
by over 500,000 square feet of space in 2007.

Upon completion, these actions are expected to deliver around
US$400 million in annual savings, while about half of the
savings will be realized in 2007.  The cost of these actions
could be as high as US$390 million, about US$300 million of
which relates to the workforce reductions and about US$90
million to the real estate actions.  Around 75% of these costs
will be recorded as charges to the income statement in 2007 with
most of the remainder to be recorded as charges in 2008.  The
expected cash cost of the plan could be as high as US$370
million and will be incurred generally in the same timeframe.
However, with the concerted effort to re-deploy affected
employees to other parts of the company, the costs could be
lower.

Where appropriate, planned workforce reductions will be subject
to information and consultation requirements with employee
representatives.

Estimated Preliminary Results for Fourth Quarter Operating
Performance

Fourth quarter 2006 revenues are expected to be about US$3.26
billion, up 8.8% from US$3.00 billion for the same period in
2005.  Gross margin in the quarter is expected to be slightly
above 40% of revenue, with a strong contribution from the LG
joint venture and CDMA, up from 39.4% in the fourth quarter of
2005.  Spending (SG&A and R&D) for the fourth quarter of 2006 is
expected to be flat to slightly higher than for the same period
last year.

Cash as at Dec. 31, 2006, was about US$3.50 billion, up about
US$900 million from Sept. 30, 2006.  This includes about US$300
million of gross proceeds from the sale of certain assets and
liabilities of the UMTS Access business to Alcatel-Lucent.

Nortel expects to report its operating and financial performance
for the fourth quarter and full year 2006 in the second half of
February 2007, in conjunction with the filing of the Annual
Report on Form 10-K.

"I am pleased with the progress made in 2006, and with the
strong performance Nortel delivered towards the end of the
year," said Mr. Zafirovski.  "Nortel is committed to our short-
and long-term plans, and we are beginning to see the desired
results."

                    About Nortel Networks

Headquartered in Ontario, Canada, Nortel Networks Corp.
(NYSE/TSX: NT) -- http://www.nortel.com/-- delivers technology
solutions encompassing end-to-end broadband, Voice over IP,
multimedia services and applications, and wireless broadband
designed to help people solve the world's greatest challenges.
Nortel does business in more than 150 countries, including
Mexico.

                        *     *     *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Oct. 5, 2006,
Moody's Investors Service upgraded its B3 Corporate Family
Rating for Nortel Networks Corp. to B2.


SOLO CUP: Stephen Macadam Joins Board of Directors
--------------------------------------------------
Solo Cup Company elects Stephen E. Macadam to its Board of
Directors.  Mr. Macadam replaces Jack M. Feder on the 11-member
board.

Mr. Macadam, 46, is the chief executive officer of BlueLinx
Holdings Inc. (NYSE:BXC), a building products distributor in
North America.  Mr. Macadam has been a member of the Board of
Directors of BlueLinx since June 2004.  Prior to joining
BlueLinx as CEO in 2005, he served as president and CEO of
Consolidated Container Company, LLC beginning in August 2001.
He also held executive positions at Georgia-Pacific Corporation
from March 1998 until August 2001, including executive vice
president, pulp and paperboard and senior vice president,
containerboard and packaging.  Mr. Macadam held positions of
increasing responsibility with McKinsey and Company, Inc. from
1988 until 1998 and began his career with E.I. DuPont de
Nemours.

The Company also announced the formation of an Audit Committee
and a Compensation Committee of the Board of Directors.  The
Audit Committee will assist the Board in fulfilling its
oversight responsibilities, which include reviewing the
Company's financial reporting process, its system of internal
controls, the audit process and the process of monitoring
compliance with laws and regulations.  Audit Committee members
appointed by the Board are Norman W. Alpert (Chair), Peter W.
Calamari and Mr. Macadam.  The Compensation Committee will have
responsibility for reviewing the Company's employee benefit
plans, the compensation of the company's executives and
preparing reports for issuance in the company's public
securities filings.  Compensation Committee members appointed by
the Board are Jeffrey W. Long (Chair), Kevin A. Mundt and Daniel
S. O'Connell.

Headquartered in Highland Park, Illinois, Solo Cup Company --
http://www.solocup.com/-- manufactures disposable paper and
plastic food and beverage containers used in the foodservice and
retail consumer markets.  Products include cups, lids, straws,
napkins, cutlery, and plates.  The Company was established in
1936 and has a global presence with facilities in Asia, Canada,
Europe, Mexico, Panama and the United States.

                        *    *    *

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services revised its recovery rating
on Solo Cup Co.'s second-lien term loan to '5' from '4'.  This,
together with the 'CCC-' rating on the second-lien loan,
indicates the agency's expectation that lenders under this
facility would experience negligible (0%-25%) recovery of
principal in a payment default.  The revision was prompted by a
recent US$50 million increase in the second-lien loan to US$130
million.

At the same time, S&P affirmed all its other ratings on Solo,
including the 'CCC+' corporate credit rating.  The outlook
remains negative.


X-RITE INC: Appoints Tim Kardish as Sr. VP for Worldwide Sales
--------------------------------------------------------------
X-Rite Inc. appointed Tim Kardish as Senior Vice President for
Worldwide Sales.  He will be responsible for managing and
extending the company's global sales team and customer success
organization.

"We are very excited to have Tim transition into this role on
the X-Rite team," said Tom Vacchiano, X-Rite CEO.  "Tim's
knowledge of the industry, sales management and leadership will
bring us closer to our customers and better deliver the value
they expect from X-Rite."

Prior to rejoining X-Rite's core color business, Mr. Kardish
served as President of X-Rite's Labsphere subsidiary where he
led a successful turnaround of the company, ultimately leading
to a sale to Halma p.l.c.

Prior to Labsphere, Kardish was Director of Sales for X-Rite.
Before X-Rite he served as Vice President, Sales and Marketing
for Moore Medical Corporation, a US$142 million multi-channel
marketer and distributor of medical, surgical consumables and
capital equipment to health care practices and facilities.
Earlier in his career, he held multiple leadership positions of
increasing responsibility in marketing, channel development,
product management, and sales operations for Leica Microsystems'
US$80 million North American operation.

Mr. Kardish holds Bachelor of Science degrees in Information
Systems and Marketing from St. Joseph's University in
Philadelphia, PA.

Headquartered in Grandville, Michigan, X-Rite Incorporated
(Nasdaq: XRIT) -- http://www.xrite.com/-- offers color
measurement technology solutions comprised of hardware, software
and services for the verification and communication of color
data.  The company serves a broad range of industries, including
graphic arts, digital imaging, industrial and retail color
matching, and medical, among other industries.  X-Rite is
global, with 21 offices throughout Europe, Asia, and the
Americas, serving customers in 100 countries.

The X-Rite Latin America sales team provides assistance to
customers in Mexico, Central and South America, and the
Caribbean.  X-Rite's sales team works together with highly
qualified local vendors and distributors to ensure the best
possible personalized customer assistance, offering a wide and
unparalleled array of products, support and repair services.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Nov. 1, 2006, Moody's Investors Service, In connection with its
implementation of its new Probability-of-Default and Loss-Given-
Default rating methodology for the U.S. technology semiconductor
and distributor sector, affirmed its B1 corporate family rating
on X-Rite, Inc.




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


CHIQUITA BRANDS: Jeffrey Benjamin Leaves Board of Directors
-----------------------------------------------------------
Chiquita Brands International Inc. disclosed that Jeffrey D.
Benjamin has resigned as a member of the company's Board of
Directors on Feb. 6, 2007.  Mr. Benjamin served as an Audit
Committee and Compensation & Organization Development Committee
member.  Mr. Benjamin's resignation was for personal reasons and
did not involve any disagreement with the company, its
management or its Board of Directors.

                  About Chiquita Brands

Cincinnati, Ohio-based Chiquita Brands International, Inc.
(NYSE: CQB) -- http://www.chiquita.com/-- markets and
distributes fresh food products including bananas and nutritious
blends of green salads.  The company markets its products under
the Chiquita(R) and Fresh Express(R) premium brands and other
related trademarks.  Chiquita employs approximately 25,000
people operating in more than 70 countries worldwide, including
Panama.

                        *    *    *

On Nov. 6, Moody's Investors Service downgraded the ratings for
Chiquita Brands L.L.C., as well as for its parent Chiquita
Brands International, Inc.  Moody's said the outlook on all
ratings is stable.

This rating action follows the company's announcement that had
incurred a USUS$96 million net loss for its 2006 third quarter.

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services also lowered its ratings on
Cincinnati, Ohio-based Chiquita Brands International Inc.,
including its corporate credit rating, from 'B+' to 'B'.

S&P said the ratings remain on CreditWatch with negative
implications where they were placed on Sept. 26.




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


* PERU: Sells 4.27% Shares for US$15 Million to 12 Companies
------------------------------------------------------------
Siderperu, Peru's state-owned steelmaker, sold about 4.27% stake
to 12 private investors for US$15 million.

ProInversion, the nation's state agency for promoting private
investment, oversaw the bidding on Feb. 6, Business News
Americas reports.

Siderperu's shares traded at 2.10 soles/share shortly after the
auction.

Headquartered in Chimbote, Peru, Siderperu buys iron ore from
Peru's only iron miner, Chinese-owned Shougang Hierro Peru S.A.
(SHP.LM: Quote, Profile, Research).  Siderperu supplies Peru's
construction and mining industries.  The Peruvian government has
retaken control of Siderperu in March 2006.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Nov. 22, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its long-term foreign
currency sovereign credit rating on the Republic of Peru to
'BB+' from 'BB' and its long-term local currency sovereign
credit rating to 'BBB-' from 'BB+'.  Standard & Poor's also
raised its short-term local currency sovereign credit rating to
'A-3' from 'B', and affirmed its 'B' short-term foreign currency
sovereign credit rating on the republic.  The outlook on the
ratings was revised to stable from positive.  Standard & Poor's
also raised its assessment of the risk of transfer and
convertibility to 'BBB' from 'BBB-'.




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


BIG BLUE: Case Summary & 19 Largest Unsecured Creditors
-------------------------------------------------------
Debtor: Big Blue Corporation
        P.O. Box 6616
        Caguas, PR 00826-6616

Bankruptcy Case No.: 07-00653

Chapter 11 Petition Date: Feb. 12, 2007

Court: District of Puerto Rico (Old San Juan)

Debtor's Counsel: Carlos Rodriguez Quesada
                  Law Office of Carlos Rodriguez Quesada
                  P.O. Box 9023115
                  San Juan, PR 00902-3115
                  Tel: (787) 724-2867
                  Fax: (787) 724-2463

Total Assets: US$2,464,411

Total Debts:    US$958,985

Debtor's 19 Largest Unsecured Creditors:

   Entity                        Nature of Claim   Claim Amount
   ------                        ---------------   ------------
Angel L. Perez, President        Capital Loan        US$102,000
Urb. Montehiedra                 to Corporation
Guaraguao 144
San Juan, PR 00926

Environmental Quality                                 US$85,000
Board-ELA PR
P.O. Box 11488
San Juan, PR 00910

Ford Credit                      Vehicle Lease        US$52,537
P.O. Box 364189
San Juan, PR 00936-4189

Doral Bank                       Credit Line          US$41,525
Plaza Bairoa Branch
Carr. #1 Zona Industrial
Villa Blanca
Caguas, PR 00725

Banco de Desarrollo Economico    Business             US$37,344
P.O. Box 2134                    Machinery Loan
San Juan, PR 00922-2134

Ryder                            Vehicle Lease        US$36,800
P.O. Box 2542
Toa Baja, PR 00951-2542

EuroBank                         Business Loan        US$21,282
P.O. Box 191009
San Juan, PR 00919-1099

Alco High Tech Container         Equipment Supply     US$18,728
P.O. Box 90000 PMB 3028
Corozal, PR 00783

Interspace Ind. Corp.            Property Lease       US$18,473
P.O. Box 5864
Caguas, PR 00726

First Leasing                    Vehicle Lease        US$17,546
P.O. Box 11852
San Juan, PR 00910-1852

Aramburo ESSO Services           Fuel                 US$16,355
Carr. 189 Km. 2.6
Salida a Gurabo
Caguas, PR 00726

Light Gas Corp.                  Gas                  US$13,141
P.O. Box 1155
Salinas, PR 00751

Banco Popular de Puerto Rico     Credit Line          US$11,800
San Alfonso Branch
Caguas, PR

Lcda. Rosa Echevarria            Services              US$8,750
212 La Serrania
Caguas, PR 00725

Placido Gonzalez                 Real Property         US$8,596
P.O. Box 1151                    Rental
Caguas, PR 00726

Progressive Finance & Investment Insurance Financing   US$8,483
P.O. Box 42004
San Juan, PR 00940

San Miguel Corp.                 Promotions            US$7,880
Sabanera del Rio #402
Camino Las Trinitarias
Gurabo, PR 00778

AEE                              Utilities             US$7,364
P.O. Box 363508
San Juan, PR 00936-3508

CRIM                             Municipal Taxes       US$7,118
P.O. Box 195387
San Juan, PR 00919-5387


HOME PRODUCTS: Confirmation Hearing Scheduled for March 8
---------------------------------------------------------
The Honorable Christopher S. Sontchi of the U.S. Bankruptcy
Court for the District of Delaware will convene a hearing at
10:00 a.m. on March 8, 2007, to consider confirming the Second
Amended Plan of Reorganization filed by Home Products
International Inc. and Home Products International - North
America Inc.

Objections to the Plan, if any, must be filed by 4:00 p.m. on
March 2, 2007.

                    About Home Products

Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Home Products International,
Inc. -- http://www.hpii.com/-- designs, manufactures, and
markets ironing boards, covers, and other high-quality, non-
electric consumer house ware products.  The Debtor's product
lines include laundry management products, bath and shower
organizers, hooks, hangers, home and closet organizers, and food
storage containers.  Their products are sold under the HOMZ
brand name, and are distributed to hotels, discounters, and
other retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kmart, Sears, Home Depot, and
Lowe's.  It has operations in Mexico.

The company and its affiliate, Home Products International-North
America, Inc., filed for chapter 11 protection on Dec. 20, 2006
(Bankr. D. Del. Case Nos. 06-11457 and 06-11458).  Eric D.
Schwartz, Esq., at Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell, represents
the Debtors.  When the Debtors filed for protection from their
creditors, they listed estimated assets between US$1 million and
US$100 million and debts of more than $100 million.


HOME PRODUCTS: Richards Layton Okayed as Local & Conflicts Atty.
----------------------------------------------------------------
The Hon. Christopher S. Sontchi of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for
the District of Delaware authorized Home Products International
Inc. and Home Products International-North America Inc. to
employ Richards, Layton & Finger P.A. as their local bankruptcy
and conflicts counsel, nunc pro tunc to Jan. 5, 2006.

Judge Sontchi also authorized the Debtors to employ the Law Firm
of Goldberg Kohn, Bell, Black, Rosenbloom & Moritz, Ltd., as
their bankruptcy counsel.

Richards Layton and Goldberg Kohn discussed a division of
responsibilities to minimize duplication of services.

Initially, the Debtors have selected Morris, Nichols, Arsht &
Tunnell as their local bankruptcy and conflicts counsel.  The
Debtors, however, withdrew their application on Jan. 8, 2007,
and substituted Richards Layton.  Papers filed with the Court
did not state the reason of the substitution.

Richards Layton will:

   a. advise the Debtors of their rights, powers, and duties as
      Debtors and debtors-in-possession;

   b. take all necessary action to protect and preserve the
      Debtors' estates, including the prosecution of actions on
      the Debtors' behalf, the defense of any actions commenced
      against them, the negotiation of disputes in which the
      Debtors are involved, and the preparation of objections to
      claims filed against the Debtors' estates;

   c. prepare, on behalf of the Debtors, all necessary motions,
      applications, answers, orders, reports, and papers in
      connection with the administration of the Debtors'
      estates; and

   d. perform all other necessary legal services in connection
      with the Debtors' chapter 11 cases.

Michael J. Merchant, Esq., a director at Richards, Layton &
Finger, disclosed the professionals and paraprofessional who
will work on the engagement and their normal hourly rates:

      Professional                     Hourly Rate
      ------------                     -----------
      Mark D. Collins, Esq.                $520
      Michael J. Merchant, Esq.            $390
      Mark A. Kurtz, Esq.                  $225
      Lee E. Kaufman, Esq.                 $210
      Ann J. Jerominski                    $165
      Heidi L. Parker                      $165

Mr. Merchant assured the Court that the Firm does not hold or
represent any interest adverse to the Debtors or their estates
and is disinterested pursuant to Section 101(14) of the
Bankruptcy Code.

                    About Home Products

Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, Home Products International,
Inc. -- http://www.hpii.com/-- designs, manufactures, and
markets ironing boards, covers, and other high-quality, non-
electric consumer house ware products.  The Debtor's product
lines include laundry management products, bath and shower
organizers, hooks, hangers, home and closet organizers, and food
storage containers.  Their products are sold under the HOMZ
brand name, and are distributed to hotels, discounters, and
other retailers such as Wal-Mart, Kmart, Sears, Home Depot, and
Lowe's.  It has operations in Mexico.

The company and its affiliate, Home Products International-North
America, Inc., filed for chapter 11 protection on Dec. 20, 2006
(Bankr. D. Del. Case Nos. 06-11457 and 06-11458).  Ronald
Barliant, Esq., and Kathryn A. Pamenter, Esq., at Goldberg Kohn,
Bell, Black, Rosenbloom & Moritz, Ltd., and Mark D. Collins,
Esq., and Michael J. Merchant, Esq., at Richards, Layton &
Finger P.A. represent the Debtors.  When the Debtors filed for
protection from their creditors, they listed estimated assets
between US$1 million and US$100 million and debts of more than
US$100 million.  The Debtors' exclusive period to file a chapter
11 plan of reorganization expires on April 18, 2007.


SEARS HOLDINGS: Annual Shareholders Meeting Scheduled on May 4
--------------------------------------------------------------
Sears Holdings Corp.'s 2007 annual meeting of stockholders will
be held at the company's headquarters in Hoffman Estates,
Illinois, on May 4, 2007.  In addition, the company said that
March 7, 2007, has been fixed as the record date for
determination of the company's stockholders entitled to notice
of and to vote at the Annual Meeting of Stockholders.

                  About Sears Holdings

Based in Hoffman Estates, Illinois, Sears Holdings Corp.
(NASDAQ: SHLD) -- http://www.searsholdings.com/-- is a
broadline retailer, with approximately US$55 billion in annual
revenues, and with approximately 3,800 full-line and specialty
retail stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.
Sears Holdings is a home appliance retailer as well as a
retailer of tools, lawn and garden, home electronics, and
automotive repair and maintenance.  Key proprietary brands
include Kenmore, Craftsman and DieHard, and a broad apparel
offering, including well-known labels as Lands' End, Jaclyn
Smith, and Joe Boxer, as well as the Apostrophe and Covington
brands.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on June 23, 2006,
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services revised its outlook on Sears
Holdings Corp. to stable from negative.  All ratings, including
the 'BB+' corporate credit rating, and the 'B-1' short-term
rating for Sears Roebuck Acceptance Corp., are affirmed.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on June 22, 2006,
Fitch affirms its ratings of Sears Holdings Corp. including its
Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BB'; Senior notes at 'BB'; and
Secured bank facility at 'BBB-'.


VIVA INTERNATIONAL: To Buy Advanced Energy Assets for US$300,000
----------------------------------------------------------------
Viva International Inc. is in negotiations for the acquisition
of Advanced Energy Products of Furlong, Pennsylvania and has
issued a letter of intent to purchase the assets and ongoing
business of Advanced in a transaction estimated to approximate
US$300,000 and which is subject to customary adjustments
resulting from an audit and inspection of the assets, books and
records of Advanced Energy.

In November of 2006, Viva announced that it planned to develop
and market a line of Lithium Ion aviation batteries.

LI batteries are currently being used on advanced airframes such
as the Lockheed Martin F-22 and General Atomics Predator Drone.
Current projections are being made for utilization of LI
batteries on the next generation of airliners including the
Boeing 777.  The benefits of LI batteries are currently being
validated in military application and include weight, space and
power.  Previous internal estimates of first year market
potential revenues have been pegged at approximately US$12
million.

Calvin Humphrey, Viva's CEO and Chairman, issued the following
statement, "I am anxious to bring Advanced Energy into our
organization of companies.  I visualize Advanced providing us
with manufacturing capability and 'in place' distribution
structures.  This will help us immensely is jump-starting our
lithium battery development program while obtaining a small, but
profitable, Company having excess manufacturing capacity.
Together with the Flight Test Associates management team of
James Paquette and Alex Wolfe we see the acquisition of Advanced
as a major part of the lithium battery development program."

                         About Viva

Viva International (OTCBB: VIVI) has a number of airline and
aviation-related interests including two developmental-stage
carriers being readied to operate in regional markets from hubs
in Puerto Rico and Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

The Company plans to create a network of regionally based
airlines across the Caribbean, eventually to be linked to key
points in the United States, Latin America, South America, and
Europe.

At present, the Company maintains executive offices in Michigan.

At Sept. 30, 2006, Viva International's balance sheet showed a
stockholders' deficit of US$4,591,764, compared to a deficit of
US$4,167,988 at June 30, 2006.

                    Going Concern Doubt

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on May 26, 2005,
Kempisty & Company CPAs, P.C., raised substantial doubt about
Viva International Inc.'s ability to continue as a going concern
after it audited the Company's financial statements for the
fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2004.  The auditors cite Viva's
US$14.9 million net loss for the period from April 18, 1995, to
Dec. 31, 2004, and zero operating revenue for the two-year
period ended Dec. 31, 2004.




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


* URUGUAY: Usinas y Transmisiones To Award Power Contracts
----------------------------------------------------------
Uruguay's state power company, Administracion Nacional du Usinas
y Transmisiones Electricas, will award contracts for the supply
of 33.8 MW of renewable power, Business News Americas reports,
citing distributed generation group coordinator Daniel Tasende.

BNamericas recalls that the power supply corresponds to the
tender the state firm launched in September 2006, which called
for 20MW installed capacity each of hydroelectric, biomass and
wind power.  The 33.8MW corresponds to 27.8MW biomass and 6MW of
wind power.

BNamericas says the power company expects to award local firms
Galofer and Velcemar contracts to generate a maximum of 10MW and
9MW respectively from biomass.  Both companies offered just less
than US$80/MWh, according to Mr. Tasende.

The same report adds that the state power's board is determining
how local firm Fenirol could get an award for the 8.8MW energy
purchase without exceeding the 20MW limit of installed biomass
generation capacity called for in the tender.  Fenirol's offer
is almost US$90/MWh, BNamericas relates.

As for wind power generation, the state firm will award the
supply of 4MW to local firm Nuevo Manantial and 2MW to Amplin,
both of which bid almost US$80/MWh, BNamericas relates.

                        *    *    *

On Sept 11, 2006, Fitch rated Uruguay's US$400 million issue of
5% inflation-indexed bonds payable in U.S. dollars and maturing
Sept. 14, 2018, at 'B+'.




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


ELECTRICIDAD DE CARACAS: AES Selling Stake to Gov't for US$739MM
----------------------------------------------------------------
The AES Corp. and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela signed a
memorandum of understanding for the purchase of AES's 82.14%
stake in La Electricidad de Caracas for US$739,260,000, post the
usual yearly annual dividend to be paid in 2007.  The terms of
the MOU contemplate that the minority shareholders holding
American Depositary Receipts or local shares will be offered
equal or better economic terms than AES.  Among other necessary
conditions to closing, the sale is contingent upon the
negotiation and execution of a mutually satisfactory definitive
agreement and the completion of satisfactory due diligence.  The
MOU is in effect through March 31, 2007.

According to El Universal, the purchase price represents less
than half the sum AES Corp. paid to purchase a majority stake un
EDC back in June 2000, when it submitted a takeover bid for
US$1.6 billion.

AES purchased a controlling interest in EDC in 2000.  EDC is the
largest private electric utility in Venezuela.  It is a provider
of power and light to approximately one million customers in the
Caracas metropolitan area.  EDC also owns and operates five
generation plants with a total of 2,616 MW of generation
capacity.  These facilities collectively represent approximately
14% of the electricity consumed in Venezuela.

AES Corp. (NYSE: AES) -- 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 Corp.'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.

Electricidad de Caracas is the largest privately owned electric
utility company in Venezuela.  Electricidad de Caracas
transmits, distributes and markets electricity to the
metropolitan Caracas area.  In June 2000, Arlington, Virginia-
based AES Corporation acquired an 87% interest in Electricidad
de Caracas for US$1.6 billion in a public-tender offer.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin American on
Jan. 12, 2007, Fitch Ratings downgraded the senior unsecured
foreign and local currency debt ratings and Issuer Default
Ratings of C.A. La Electricidad de Caracas to 'B+'.  Fitch said
the rating outlook is negative.  The rating action followed
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's announcement of nationalizing
the country's power sector.


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Eyes 47,000 Workers by May 1
----------------------------------------------------
Venezuelan state-run oil firm Petroleos de Venezuela SA expects
that its workers will total 47,000 by May 1 if President Hugo
Chavez will fulfill his promise to nationalize four large-scale
oil projects under government control, the Multipuerta Web site
reports.

Business News Americas relates that the four Orinoco heavy crude
upgrade projects, which employ 4,000 workers, include:

         -- Ameriven,
         -- Cerro Negro,
         -- Sincor, and
         -- Petrozuata.

BNamericas emphasizes that foreign partners of Petroleos de
Venezuela in the Orinoco projects are:

         -- BP,
         -- ConocoPhillips,
         -- Chevron,
         -- ExxonMobil,
         -- Total, and
         -- Statoil.

Petroleos de Venezuela holds a 40% stake in the projects, the
report says.

Multipuerta underscores that Petroleos de Venezuela normally has
35,000 workers.  They may increase to 40,000 depending on
seasonal work or new projects.

However, the number of employees has been increasing steadily as
Petroleos de Venezuela has absorbed oil fields from private
firms like it did in 2006 with the operations of Total,
Multipuerta notes.

According to Multipuerta, Petroleos de Venezuela had 43,000
workers as of October 2006, compared with 20,000 mainly
unskilled workers in 2003 when President Chavez fired many
managers and senior staff after a strike.

The Venezuelan government has set May 1 as the deadline for the
take over of the projects, BNamericas states.

Petroleos de Venezuela SA -- http://www.pdv.com/-- 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.  The company has a commercial office in China.

                        *    *    *

Standard & Poor's said on July 17 that it may lower the
company's B+ foreign-currency debt rating in part because of the
absence of timely financial and operating information.


PETROLEOS DE VENEZUELA: Thermal Generators Get More Natural Gas
---------------------------------------------------------------
PDVSA Gas, a subsidiary of Petroleos de Venezuela SA, is
receiving more natural gas this year compared with figures in
2006, Business News Americas reports.

Felix Rodriguez, PDVSA's president, said that compared with last
year, generators receive 490 Mf3/d of gas, up 11% than in 2005,
El Universal says.

According to Mr. Rodriguez, the country's largest distributor --
Electricidad de Caracas, gets 300 Mf3/d, while state-owned
generators Planta Centro and Pedro Camejo are each using
80Mf3/d, BNamericas relates.

Figures released by the government disclosed that Electricidad
de Caracas is using almost 90% of its installed capacity, while
state-owned Cadafe is operating at about 60% of capacity, El
Universal says.

Petroleos de Venezuela SA -- http://www.pdv.com/-- 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.  The company has a commercial office in China.

                        *    *    *

Standard & Poor's said on July 17 that it may lower the
company's B+ foreign-currency debt rating in part because of the
absence of timely financial and operating information.


* VENEZUELA: Cantv Compensation Won't Be Disclosed
--------------------------------------------------
Venezuelan telecoms regulator Conatel said in a statement that
compensation for the owners of CA Nacional Telefonos de
Venezuela aka Cantv would not be disclosed to avoid producing
fluctuations on the stock market.

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter-Latin America on
Feb. 2, 2007, Venezuela may pay less than the US$677 million
price Verizon Communications Inc. set for its 28.5% stake in
Cantv.  Venezuela President Hugo Chavez announced the
nationalization of Cantv early in January.  The country's leader
later added that he won't pay the market price for the network's
shares.  Telecommunications Minister Jesse Chacon said in a news
conference that payment for the shares will depend on the
owners' attitude.  He said, "If we don't reach an agreement with
the owners, we'll apply the expropriations law and declare it a
public utility.  If the owners are willing to sell at reasonable
terms, we're open to that possibility."

Conatel said in a statement that authorities are now calculating
the amount to be paid in compensation for Cantv as the
government plans to nationalize the firm.

Conatel told Business News Americas that the finance ministry is
studying the value of Cantv based on financial results.
Meanwhile, the telecommunications ministry is calculating the
operational value of the firm in terms of coverage and quality
of service.  The final amount to be paid to shareholders will be
the lowest of the two options.

However, the government is open for negotiation on the price
with Cantv owners, Conatel said in a statement.

The government told BNamericas that it has not yet decided on
who will be Cantv's the board of directors after the
nationalization of the firm.

The government denied to BNamericas reports from the local press
that telecommunications minister Jesse Chacon might become the
president of the new Cantv.

                         About Cantv

Compania Anonima Nacional Telefonos de Venezuela, Cantv, offers
telecommunications services.  The company provides domestic and
international long distance telephone services throughout
Venezuela, wireless telephone services, and Internet access, and
publishes telephone directories.

                About Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications Inc. provides communications services
through four segments: Domestic Telecom, Domestic Wireless,
Information Services and International.  The domestic wireline
telecommunications business provides local telephone services,
including broadband in 28 states and Washington, D.C.  The
domestic wireless business, operating as Verizon Wireless,
provides wireless voice and data products and services across
the United States.  Information Services operates directory
publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services.
Verizon's International segment includes wireline and wireless
communications operations and investments in the Americas and
Europe.  In connection with the closing of the merger with MCI,
Inc., which occurred on January 6, 2006, Verizon owns and
operates end-to-end global Internet protocol networks, which
includes over 270,000 domestic and 360,000 international route
miles of fiber optic cable and provides access to over 140
countries worldwide.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Nov. 20, 2006,
Fitch Ratings affirmed Venezuela's long-term foreign and local
currency Issuer Default Ratings at 'BB-'.  At the same time, the
agency also affirmed the short-term foreign currency IDR at 'B'
and the Country Ceiling at 'BB-'.  Fitch said the outlook on the
ratings remains stable.


* VENEZUELA: Sees Lower Foreign Investment in Oil & Gas Sector
--------------------------------------------------------------
Foreign investments in Venezuela's hydrocarbons sector dropped
more than 50% in 2006, compared with a record of US$35.5 million
in 2005, El Universal reports.

The Ministry of Energy and Petroleum disclosed these foreign
investment figures:

      -- US$12.98 million in 2002,
      -- US$6.9 million in 2003,
      -- US$10.74 million in 2004, and 2005
      -- US$35.5 million in 2005.

In April 2006, the government migrated 32 operating contracts
into joint ventures, making oil majors wary of putting money in
the Venezuelan oil sector where the state owns a majority stake.
Add to that higher royalty taxes and proposed nationalization of
the Orinoco oil belt projects.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Nov. 20, 2006,
Fitch Ratings affirmed Venezuela's long-term foreign and local
currency Issuer Default Ratings at 'BB-'.  At the same time, the
agency also affirmed the short-term foreign currency IDR at 'B'
and the Country Ceiling at 'BB-'.  Fitch said the outlook on the
ratings remains stable.


* VENEZUELA: Halliburton Wary of Oil Nationalization Program
------------------------------------------------------------
Halliburton Co., a major services provider, wants to minimize
its exposure in the Venezuelan market, following recent
nationalization programs launched by the government.

"The Venezuelan market is one that I think everyone in the
energy business is keeping a very close eye on," Christopher
Gaut, Halliburton's chief financial officer, was quoted by
Reuters as saying during an investor conference in Colorado.

Although oil majors in the country chose to migrate their
operating contracts to joint ventures, new investments were
adversely affected on fears of government takeover.  Like these
companies, Halliburton's CFO said "there is limited appetite
there," meaning, it is highly unlikely that the company will
pour money in the region, El Universal says.

According to Reuters, Halliburton provides drilling services to
companies like Petrozuata, which is operating in the Orinoco oil
belt.

The nationalization of the Orinoco projects lowered the nation's
reliance on oil companies, but may increase dependence on
oilfield services firms like Halliburton, Reuters says.

"We're not keen to build up a lot of cash that is not readily
convertible to dollars," Mr. Gaut said with regards to potential
problems like the repatriation of profit with limited interest,
Reuters says.

                     About Halliburton

Halliburton -- http://www.halliburton.com/-- offers a broad
array of products and services to upstream oil and gas customers
worldwide, ranging from the manufacturing of drill bits and
other downhole and completion tools to pressure pumping
services.

                        *    *    *

As reported in the Troubled Company Reporter on Nov. 20, 2006,
Fitch Ratings affirmed Venezuela's long-term foreign and local
currency Issuer Default Ratings at 'BB-'.  At the same time, the
agency also affirmed the short-term foreign currency IDR at 'B'
and the Country Ceiling at 'BB-'.  Fitch said the outlook on the
ratings remains stable.


                         ***********


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

Troubled Company Reporter - Latin America is a daily newsletter
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, Rizande
de los Santos, and Christian Toledo, Editors.

Copyright 2076.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2746.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed
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