TCRAP_Public/000112.MBX      T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

                            A S I A   P A C I F I C

            Wednesday, January 12, 2000, Vol. 3, No. 8

                                     Headlines


* C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G *

RIGHTEOUS HOLDINGS: Silver Grant to become white knight
THEME INT'L HOLDINGS: Shuffles board of directors
YUE XIU ENTERPRISES: Issues refinancing plan to creditors


* I N D O N E S I A *

BANK BALI: Rudy Ramli wants his bank back,has investors
BANK INDONESIA: Bank chief rejects charge of funds misuse
BANK INDONESIA: Sjahril says he has no plans to resign
BANK INDONESIA: Losses and liabilities may be much greater


* K O R E A *

DAEWOO CORP.: Gov't readying for receivership
DAEWOO CORP.: Gov't to minimize receivership impact
DAEWOO MOTORS: Gov't will allow local automakers to bid
DAEWOO MOTORS: Office established to oversee sale
DAEWOO MOTORS: Ford, GM step up acquisition efforts
DAEWOO MOTORS: Hyundai labor opposes foreign acquisition
SEOUL BANK: Gov't having trouble finding foreign management


* P H I L I P P I N E S *

ARMSTRONG HOLDINGS INC.: Stock plummets 40%,trading frozen
BENPRES HOLDINGS CORP.: Telecom, tollway units not earning
BW RESOURCES CORP.: Stock plummets 40%,trading frozen


* S I N G A P O R E *

CLOB INT'L: Effective Capital has till Feb 22 for offer
CLOB INT'L: Case to go before WTO if no bilateral deal


* T H A I L A N D *

PAE (THAILAND) PLC: Reports status of rehab plan to SET
SAHAVIRIYA STEEL INDUS.: To write off debt, boost output
SIAM COMMERCIAL BANK: Starts asset mgmt firm for bad loans
THAI WIRE PRODUCT: Sued for repayment of B24.9m


==============================
C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G
==============================

RIGHTEOUS HOLDINGS: Silver Grant to become white knight    
-------------------------------------------------------      
Shares in Silver Grant International Industries closed
30.76 per cent higher yesterday after it proposed to take
over loss-making Righteous (Holdings) in a $110 million
deal.  

The stock finished at $1.02 - its highest level in about
four months. The gain outstripped the 2.87 per cent
increase in the Hang Seng Index and the 3.49 per cent rise
in the red-chip index. The rise appeared to have been
fuelled by rumours that Righteous is to be turned into an
Internet firm to take advantage of Silver Grant's close
relationship with the China Construction Bank, its
substantial shareholder.

China Construction - one of the mainland's big four state
banks - is setting up on-line banking services in the
mainland. Righteous shares closed 4.44 per cent lower at 43
cents as late afternoon selling wiped out early gains.

Silver Grant was also boosted by the subscription of a
16.67 per cent stake by China Cinda Asset Management, one
of the four debt-clearing firms set up to tackle non-
performing loans at mainland banks.  Cinda's subscription
underlines its close relationship with the bank, with China
Construction's holding in Silver Grant to be trimmed to
10.08 per cent following the transactions.  (South China
Morning Post  11-Jan-2000)

THEME INT'L HOLDINGS: Shuffles board of directors
-------------------------------------------------
Women's wear retailer Theme International Holdings has
reshuffled its board as part of a rescue by silk apparel
maker High Fashion International.

Sources said three High Fashion executives - managing
director Lam Foo-wah and directors Raymond Wong Shing-loong
and Hui Yip-wing - had taken up directorships at Theme.
They said Theme chairman Kenneth Lai Ngan-long had offered
to step down in favour of Mr Lam, but no decision had been
made.

Theme also requested that trading in its shares be
suspended yesterday pending an announcement on the changes
to its board.  On Friday, the counter closed at 17.8 cents.

The reshuffle followed a formal agreement signed last week
between Theme, its bank creditors and High Fashion, which
becomes Theme's largest creditor, taking up debts of
$207.15 million excluding mortgage loans.  High Fashion
offered to pay Theme's bank creditors 18 per cent of their
exposure.

The company has also arranged a revolving facility of $20
million to keep Theme afloat.  Sources said the next step
was the issue of new Theme shares to High Fashion.

"All the details of the share sale such as the number of
shares and pricing are being discussed, which may take two
or three months," one source said.

High Fashion outbid rival suitors Giordano International
and YGM Trading in a battle for Theme in September last
year.  In October, Mr Wong said that High Fashion was
eyeing Theme's distribution network as a channel for its
upmarket silk apparel.  He said High Fashion had limited
exposure to retailing in Asia.  As of September, Theme had
75 outlets in the mainland, 42 in Taiwan and five in Hong
Kong and Macau.  (South China Morning Post  11-Jan-2000)

YUE XIU ENTERPRISES: Issues refinancing plan to creditors
---------------------------------------------------------
Yue Xiu Enterprises (Holdings), the Guangzhou municipal
government's commercial arm in the SAR, has become the
latest mainland entity to issue a refinancing plan to its
creditors.

All unsecured loans of Yue Xiu would be refinanced with a
five-year secured facility under the plan, company
spokesman Sofia Yan Yuk-fung said yesterday, adding the
plan presented a "win-win situation" for both creditors and
Yue Xiu.

Arrangers - BOCI Capital, Bank of East Asia, HSBC
Investment Bank Asia and Societe Generale Asia - issued a
summary of the terms and conditions of the plan to Yue
Xiu's 80-plus creditors on December 23.  The document said
the refinancing would be divided into two tranches.

The first is a five-year amortising term loan secured over
all unpledged real estate and other properties owned by Yue
Xiu and its non-listed subsidiaries.  The interest margin
and management fees have yet to be fixed.

"Banks are generally quite positive about the proposal.
They like the fact that the maturity is only five years,"
said one banker.

The arrangers estimated this tranche would total $4.55
billion and proposed the bulk of the repayment be made
towards the fourth and fifth year of the term.  Yue Xiu's
secured creditors could either surrender their collateral
and join the first tranche, or join a second tranche, where
their original terms and conditions are unchanged but the
banks agree not to wind up Yue Xiu or alter the main terms
without the consent of the majority of Yue Xiu's lenders.
Banks in the second tranche can join the first tranche
later.  Arrangers estimated the second tranche would total
$5.93 billion.

As part of the deal, the Guangzhou government has said it
would inject three assets worth $6.75 billion into the
firm, namely Guangzhou City Construction & Development
Holdings, Dong Fang Hotel Group and Mingquanju holiday
resort.  This would raise Yue Xiu's net asset value to $9
billion from $2.25 billion on May 31 last year, according
to data released in September by PricewaterhouseCoopers
(PWC).

According to PWC, Yue Xiu's liabilities on May 31 stood at
$11.14 billion.  The group's listed subsidiaries, Guangzhou
Investment and GZI Transport, are not included in the
refinancing exercise.  (South China Morning Post  11-Jan-
2000)


=================
I N D O N E S I A
=================

BANK BALI: Rudy Ramli wants his bank back,has investors
-------------------------------------------------------
After a nightmare year in 1999, Rudy Ramli, whose family
once controlled the beleaguered Bank Bali, is on a quest to
wrest back the bank he claims was wrongfully taken away
from his family.

In an interview with BT, Mr Rudy said he had lined up a
number of foreign investors who are keen to put up the 800
billion rupiah (S$185 million) needed to recapitalise Bank
Bali under the Indonesian government's bank
recapitalisation programme.  If the deal goes through, it
could be completed within the first quarter of this year.

"I hope the new investors will be in before the end of
March so the bank can be recapitalised and carry on with
its business," he said.  "My intention is to put Bank Bali
in safe hands as I do not stand to gain anything from the
transaction."

Mr Rudy's family now holds an 18 per cent stake in Bank
Bali with the German securities exchange Deutsche Bourse
holding about 45 per cent as custodian for a number of
investors who have been buying Bank Bali shares on the
market over the past six months.  He also intends to file a
legal suit against the central bank, Bank Indonesia, for
taking over Bank Bali last year.

Bank Indonesia then signed a deal to rope in UK-based
Standard Chartered Bank, but the deal fell through.
Stanchart, which had agreed to pump in US$50 million (S$83
million) for an initial 20 per cent stake in Bank Bali,
announced in December that it was pulling out of the
investment agreement it signed with the Indonesian Bank
Restructuring Agency (Ibra) because of an employee revolt
against it.

Stanchart, however, can regain its stake by taking up a
proposed share issue which is scheduled for the first
quarter of this year. But not if Mr Rudy can help it. He
intends to create a Web site on which he will post evidence
which he says points to a high-level conspiracy to take
over Bank Bali last year.

"I will not stop in trying to use the law and whatever
other means in my possession to continue to get the bank
back and to prevent Stanchart from acquiring it," he noted.
"What Ibra did was unlawful and an abuse of its powers."

The path ahead for him is, however, not certain. Although
charges against him of breaking the Banking Law were
dropped during a trial in December, he still faces possible
legal action if the attorney-general decides to proceed
with charges of corruption and of violating capital market
regulations.

Bank Bali and Mr Rudy were at the centre of a political
scandal which broke in August last year.  It involved close
associates of former president BJ Habibie who received 550
billion rupiah in fees for acting as intermediaries in
helping the bank recoup interbank loans from Ibra.

The scandal sent shock waves through Indonesia's financial
markets and ultimately contributed to a scuppering of Dr
Habibie's re-election campaign.  It also raised questions
about Indonesia's ability to raise some 500 trillion rupiah
from the sale of corporate assets.  This is money that the
country badly needs to plug its budget deficit.

Recently, other investors who had earlier expressed
interest in acquiring Indonesian assets -- including US-
based investment firms Newbridge Capital and Gilbert Global
Equity Partners, which won the first right to acquire 40
per cent of Astra International -- have started to
backtrack on their commitments, citing a lack of
cooperation from the Indonesian parties.  (Singapore
Business Times  11-Jan-2000)

BANK INDONESIA: Bank chief rejects charge of funds misuse
---------------------------------------------------------
The head of Indonesia's central bank, under pressure to
defend his handling of the country's banking crisis, denied
Monday that he had misused funds under the bank's control
and said he would not resign despite government pressure.

Sjahril Sabirin, in Singapore to attend a meeting of the
Bank for International Settlements, also denied that the
Bank of Indonesia was technically bankrupt, defended its
policy on helping troubled banks and said it was ready to
be investigated. A government audit released last week
showed that the central bank's liabilities might exceed its
assets by as much as 30 trillion rupiah ($4.23 billion), a
shortfall that the International Monetary Fund said could
threaten the flow of aid to the Southeast Asian nation.

The audit also showed what it said were sloppy accounting
practices and mismanagement in the bailout of failing
Indonesian banks in late 1997 and early 1998, when the
country's economic crisis was at its worst. But Mr. Sabirin
said the bank had acted according to Indonesian law in
helping the banks.

He said the government's Supreme Audit Board had not
considered ''the higher-ranking policy that no bank should
be closed,'' a policy that he said was extended after the
closing of several banks in November 1997 triggered runs on
other banks. Mr. Sabirin said 164 trillion rupiah had been
channeled to troubled banks under this policy.

He also said that if this aid had been considered in the
audit report - together with government bonds already
issued - the central bank's finances would be shown to be
solid.  Mr. Sabirin said the bank had sufficient capital to
meet its obligations and that any recapitalization would be
small.

Akbar Tanjung, the speaker of Indonesia's Parliament, said
last week that President Abdurrahman Wahid wanted  Mr.
Sabirin replaced. Parliament, not the president, controls
the post of central bank governor. (The International
Herald Tribune  11-Jan-2000)

BANK INDONESIA: Sjahril says he has no plans to resign
------------------------------------------------------
Sjahril Sabirin, governor of Bank Indonesia, said Monday
he's not considering resigning and any moves to force him
out would violate the independence of the central bank.

"I have not been thinking of resigning. It has not come to
my mind," he told reporters on the sidelines of a
conference in Singapore.  Because the current law on the
central bank assures my tenure for four years and during
that time, I cannot be asked to resign - unless I volunteer
to resign."

Sjahril said he's not volunteering to resign.  "If I'm
asked to resign by any body now I wouldn't because that
would violate the law...and if I resign on the basis of
pressure from outside that would mean that I'm making the
independence of the central bank non- existing," he said.
On speculation about his resignation, Sjahril added: "It
has not come to my mind at any time."

He was speaking at a meeting of central bank governors in
Singapore co- hosted by the Monetary Authority of
Singapore and the Bank for International Settlement.
Sjahril also denied that the central bank was technically
bankrupt, defending its policy on helping troubled banks
and said it was ready to be investigated.

"We are not technically bankrupt," Sjahril said.

A recent government audit shows Bank Indonesia's finances
are now so precarious that it needs an urgent capital
injection, and the finance minister has said the
International Monetary Fund has agreed to a government
proposal to recapitalize the bank.  But Sjahril said the
bank had sufficient capital to meet its obligations and
that any recapitalization would be small.

The Supreme Audit Agency's (BPK) report said it did not
have enough information to reach any final conclusions. But
Indonesian President Abdurrahman Wahid has called for
Sjahril's sacking.  And economists demand to know more
about the bank's finances, warning that the BPK audit could
just be the tip of the iceberg.  But Sjahril said the bank
had acted according to Indonesia's law for liquidity credit
assistance for troubled banks.

"The Supreme Audit has not considered the higher-ranking
policy that no bank should be closed," he said, adding that
the no-closure policy was extended after the closing of
several banks in November 1997, which triggered runs on
banks.

Sjahril said Rp 164 trillion (US$23 billion) had been
channeled to troubled banks under this policy.  He said
that if this had been considered in the audit report -- and
added together with government bonds already issued -- the
central bank's finances would be shown to be solid.

"Should there be a need (for recapitalisation), the amount
would be small," Sjahril said, adding the bank was ready
for further investigation.

By law, the government has to inject funds into the central
bank should its capital fall below Rp 2 trillion. (The
Jakarta Post  11-Jan-2000)

BANK INDONESIA: Losses and liabilities may be much greater
----------------------------------------------------------
Indonesia's central bank may be suffering from losses and
liabilities that are billions of dollars greater than
thought previously, according to leaked documents from an
independent audit of Bank Indonesia.

The allegations include those that the central bank lent
80.25 trillion rupiah (S$18.86 billion) to the banking
system in violation of proper procedures, and that it has
not accounted suitably for 22.56 trillion rupiah in problem
foreign exchange transactions.  The findings are likely to
burden further a government struggling with a multi-
billion-dollar programme to revitalise the banking system,
which was devastated by Indonesia's financial crisis two
years ago.

Conducted by a government financial watchdog, the Supreme
Audit Board, and KPMG, the international consultancy, the
audit covers the central's bank balance sheet as of last
May, before its inauguration as an independent monetary
institution. Although figures from the audit have yet to be
released officially, preliminary details were made public
late last month.

Those announcements have sparked calls already for Bank
Indonesia to be recapitalised and for a criminal
investigation of central bank officials.  According to the
leaked documents, among the largest of the problems
identified was the status of trillions of rupiah lent to
banks during Indonesia's financial crisis in 1997-1998.

The funds, known as liquidity support, were intended to
help stem runs on deposits but much of them were believed
to have disappeared offshore as capital flight.  The
government later reimbursed Bank Indonesia for the money
subject to further verification and a review of the
criteria for its allotment.  But based on existing
regulations, at least half of the money was injected in
violation of the proper procedures, the audit said.

"The Supreme Audit Board believes that of the total amount
of Bank Indonesia liquidity support injected by Bank
Indonesia into the banks of 164.54 trillion rupiah, 80.25
trillion should not have become the liability of the
government."

Previously, Bank Indonesia had said the amount in question
was only 51.7 trillion rupiah.  These include 8.9 trillion
rupiah in loans to state and commercial banks, and a US$750
million (S$1.25 billion) time deposit in a troubled
offshore subsidiary of Bank Indonesia, Indover Bank. Bank
Indonesia should also have written off a further 7.36
trillion rupiah in trade credits made to two local
conglomerates, the Texmaco Group and the Bakrie Group, the
audit said.

Bank Indonesia was not available for comment immediately
but last week it rejected many of the audit's findings,
including those on the allotment of the liquidity support.  
(Financial Times, Straitstimes  11-Jan-2000)


=========
K O R E A
=========

DAEWOO CORP.: Gov't readying for receivership
---------------------------------------------
Korea's top financial regulator yesterday said that the
government has formed a separate task force to deal with
court receivership of Daewoo Corporation.

During a meeting with other regulators, Lee Yong-keun,
vice-chairman of Financial Supervisory Commission, said
that the new team was launched to prepare necessary
procedures for Daewoo Corp.'s court-supervision.

"We have set up a team working on court receivership of
Daewoo Corp. The government needs to be prepared as the
negotiation between Daewoo and foreign creditors regarding
debt rescheduling is falling apart," Lee said during a
meeting with officials from the Finance-Economy Ministry
and Bank of Korea at the headquarters of the Korea
Federation of Banks.

Still he added that this does not necessarily mean that the
government will place Daewoo Corp. into court receivership
immediately.  Lee said that situation will become more
clear after the meeting between Daewoo's financial advisors
and foreign creditor banks in Hong Kong and London
tomorrow.

In a new approach toward rescheduling $5 billion foreign
debt, the Korean government and Daewoo's financial advisors
called for a meeting with foreign banks excluding those
with exposures in Daewoo Corp. last week.  This strongly
indicated that the government had considered more radical
options like court supervision for Daewoo Corp. instead of
negotiating with foreign creditors.

After six month negotiation, the Korean government offered
a cash buyout proposal of 36 percent of Daewoo's $5 billion
overseas debt, 2 percentage points higher than the previous
offer, on Dec. 29, 1999.  Earlier on Dec. 10, Daewoo's
financial advisors sent a proposal, saying Seoul will pay
cash for 34 percent of the total debt should overseas
lenders agree to assume a 66 percent loss.

Foreign creditors until now have not conceded any further
from securing 59 percent of their money in Daewoo, assuming
a 41 percent loss.  (Korea Times  10-Jan-2000)

DAEWOO CORP.: Gov't to minimize receivership impact
---------------------------------------------------
Lee Hun-jai, chairman of the Financial Supervisory
Commission (FSC), said yesterday that the government would
use all possible measures to minimize the impact of the
court receivership of Daewoo Corporation.

Lee said that the financial authorities will try to protect
the interests of Daewoo's subcontract rs under the
prepackaged bankruptcy act once Daewoo Corporation receives
court control. Lee was visiting the main office of Hanvit
Bank, one of the major creditor banks of Daewoo Group.

"When Daewoo Corp. is managed by court in the end, the
government will try to use all available options to
minimize the impacts on involved parties," Lee was quoted
as saying by the FSC spokesman Kim Young-jae.  "The
government will make fair judgment on the performance of
each company subject to court receivership. If a conclusion
is reached that some companies stand no chance for
survival, the government will not hesitate to shut them
down."

Earlier the government formed a separate task force to deal
with court receivership of Daewoo Corp.  The new team was
launched to prepare necessary procedures for Daewoo Corp.'s
court-supervision.  The prospect of Daewoo's $5 billion
foreign debt will become clear after the meeting between
Daewoo's financial advisors and foreign creditor banks in
Hong Kong and London today.

In a new approach toward rescheduling $5 billion foreign
debt, the Korean government and Daewoo's financial advisors
called for a meeting with foreign banks excluding those
with exposures in Daewoo Corp. last week.  This strongly
indicated that the government had considered more radical
options like court supervision for Daewoo Corp. instead of
negotiating with foreign creditors.

After six month negotiation, the government offered a cash
buyout proposal of 36 percent of Daewoo's $5 billion
overseas debt, 2 percentage points higher than the previous
offer, on Dec. 29, 1999.  Earlier on Dec. 10, Daewoo's
financial advisors sent a proposal, saying Seoul will pay
cash for 34 percent of the total debt should overseas
lenders agree to assume a 66 percent loss.

Foreign creditors until now have not conceded any further
from securing 59 percent of their money in Daewoo, assuming
a 41 percent loss.  (Korea Times  11-Jan-2000)

DAEWOO MOTORS: Gov't will allow local automakers to bid
-------------------------------------------------------
The government has decided to permit local automakers to
participate in takeover bids for Daewoo Motor along with
foreign firms.

Lee Hun-jai, chairman of the Financial Supervisory
Commission, made a visit to the Korea Development Bank, the
chief creditor of Daewoo Motor, and remarked that a single
local automaker alone would not be sufficient in their
funding capability and marketing networks to exclusively
take over the ailing Daewoo Motor. It would be more
advisable, he said, for a local company to join with a
foreign firm to make a successful bid.

"I doubt that any domestic firm has the capability to take
over Daewoo Motor on its own," Lee was quoted as saying.
"If a Korean firm forms a consortium with a foreign
automaker and participates in the bidding, the government
will give it an equal opportunity."

Lee also said the government decided to sell Ssangyong
Motor and Daewoo Motor as a package because Ssangyong is
considered to be neither capable of standing on its own
feet nor sellable in itself.  Meanwhile, Lee told bank
officials to resolve differences among creditor banks of
Daewoo affiliates on workout plans to facilitate the sale
of Daewoo Motor.  (Korea Herald  11-Jan-2000, Digital
ChosunIlbo  10-Jan-2000)

DAEWOO MOTORS: Office established to oversee sale
-------------------------------------------------
Daewoo Motor and its domestic creditors yesterday
established an office to oversee the sale of the company.

Headed by Kim Suk-hwan, Daewoo Motor vice president, the
office is staffed by 30 people from lead manager Morgan
Stanley Dean Witter, Samil Accounting Corp., which is in
charge of due diligence, Pacific Law Firm, creditor
financial institutions and Daewoo Motor.  

The office will send letters at the beginning of next week,
together with report containing information on Daewoo
Motor, to domestic and foreign bidders and ask for letters
of intent to buy the carmaker by the end of this month.
Once participants have submitted letters of intent, the
office will finalize the proposal regarding the manner of
acquisition and price.

"The proposal asking for participation in the auction will
be sent to almost every automaker at home and abroad who
have shown interest in a direct or indirect purchase," a
Korea Development Bank official said. About six or seven
firms are expected to receive the letters from the office.
(Korea Herald  11-Jan-2000)

DAEWOO MOTORS: Ford, GM step up acquisition efforts
---------------------------------------------------
The world's two largest automakers, General Motors and Ford
Motor, are stepping up their bids for control of Daewoo
Motor, which they view as a stepping stone to extending
their reach into the Asian market.

A high-ranking official of General Motors said at a motor
show here Monday that GM will establish a global base for
small and medium-sized cars in Korea with research and
development functions if it succeeds in buying Daewoo
Motor.  Rudy Schlais, in charge of GM's Asia-Pacific
operations, told a press conference that the U.S. automaker
has submitted a proposal to the Korean government to buy
all domestic passenger car businesses of Daewoo, including
those of Ssangyong Motor.

"Daewoo's core capabilities will help GM's global
strategies," he said, adding that GM indicated its
willingness to take over parts of Daewoo's liabilities in
the proposal.

Daewoo should be sold to GM in order to maintain related
parts suppliers and employment levels as the Korean
automaker was founded on the U.S. firm's technologies and
would go through big changes if bought by another firm, he
asserted.  He refuted speculation that GM will team up with
Samsung Motor to buy the Daewoo unit and said his firm may
enter into strategic cooperation agreements with various
firms worldwide if necessary to advance Daewoo Motor's
overseas business after the purchase.

Schlais also expressed concern over the possible fall in
the Korean carmaker's value if the sale is delayed and
voiced his opposition to the calls for Daewoo Motor to be
nationalized.

Meanwhile, Henry Wallace, a Ford vice president, said his
firm wants to bid for Daewoo Motor but will conduct its own
due diligence on the debt-laden automaker over an
unspecified period of time.  A former director of Ford's
Asia-Pacific operations, Wallace said Ford is interested in
taking over the Daewoo unit because it is strong in compact
car production, has a large share of the Korean car market
and has a lot of room for expansion in Eastern Europe and
Asia.

Wallace, however, made it clear that Ford will make its own
asset evaluation of Daewoo Motor, saying the recent
evaluation by the Daewoo's creditors is unacceptable.
Earlier, the company said it would accept the outcome of
the due diligence carried out by domestic creditors.
Ford is also open to forging a strategic tie-up with a
Korean company for the take over of Daewoo Motor, he said,
but declined to name any potential partners.

Wallace also denied that Ford's bid is merely a ploy to
make things difficult for rival General Motors. However, he
admitted, "Ford cannot just sit tight while its rival is
busy taking over an auto firm."

In Seoul, meanwhile, Hyundai Motor said it is to form a
consortium with a foreign automaker to present a bid for
Daewoo Motor. It was the first time Hyundai has officially
expressed its intention to participate in the race for the
Daewoo unit.  A Hyundai official said it has received an
offer from a potential foreign partner but refused to offer
the identity of the firm.

However, with a Ford official recently visiting Seoul to
ask the government's permission to form a consortium with a
Korean company, it seems likely that Ford is the company in
question.  (Korea Herald  12-Jan-2000)

DAEWOO MOTORS: Hyundai labor opposes foreign acquisition
--------------------------------------------------------
Hyundai Motor's unionized workers are opposing the sale of
ailing Daewoo Motor to a foreign auto maker.

"We strongly object to the sale of Daewoo Motor to a world-
class car maker such as General Motors, DaimlerChrysler or
Fiat," they said in their newsletter issued yesterday.

A foreign takeover of Daewoo Motor will lead to reduced
competitiveness for the domestic car industry and will
cause the sector sink to the level of a subcontractor, they
claimed.  Such a sale will also lead to more unemployment,
they said.

"The sale will deprive 1.7 million domestic auto workers of
their right to live."  (Korea Times  11-Jan-2000)

SEOUL BANK: Gov't having trouble finding foreign management
-----------------------------------------------------------
The government is facing difficulties selecting a foreign
financial institution to take the helm of troubled Seoul
Bank, a government official said yesterday.

An high-ranking official at the Financial Supervisory
Commission (FSC), which is spearheading Korea's financial
and corporate restructuring, said the watchdog had made
contact with three or four foreign financial institutions
that wish to manage the ailing bank. However, it will take
more time to make an appointment due to differences over
terms, he added.

The commission plans to allow an institution to hold a 10
to 20-percent stake in the bank under a strategic tie-up,
if the trustee firm wishes, and grant a call option, under
which it can acquire additional stakes from the government.
However, aspiring institutions are demanding the same
conditions as was applied to the sale of Korea First Bank
(KFB) to U.S.-based Newbridge Capital, the official said.

Under the KFB deal, the acquirer made a capital investment
for a 51-percent stake in the nationalized bank and will
inject an additional 200 billion won over the next two
years, if the bank needs additional recapitalization to
meet a capital adequacy ratio of 10 percent.  In return,
the government agreed to purchase KFB's loans that go sour
over the next two years (three years for workout loans).

Well aware of the criticism for selling the bank at a
bargain price, however, the government is unwilling to
handover Seoul Bank on the same conditions, as the economy
has now recovered from the recent crisis.  The handover of
control to foreign professional management is unlikely to
happen this month, unless differences are narrowed between
the government and applicants.

The government will map out ways to sell its stakes in the
nationalized bank to foreign investors within six months
after a chief executive officer is appointed.  It has been
negotiating with several foreign financial institutions for
the management of Seoul Bank under the sponsorship of
Morgan Stanley.

Previous talks with HSBC Holdings PLC, a Sino-British bank,
collapsed last year due to irreconcilable differences over
takeover conditions.  So far, the government has injected
more than seven trillion won in public funds into Seoul
Bank for recapitalization after it was crippled by a huge
amount of problem loans in the wake of the financial crisis
that began in 1997.  (Korea Herald  12-Jan-2000


=====================
P H I L I P P I N E S
=====================

ARMSTRONG HOLDINGS INC.: Stock plummets 40%,trading frozen
BW RESOURCES CORP.: Stock plummets 40%,trading frozen
----------------------------------------------------------
BW Resources Corp. and Armstrong Holdings Inc., two
companies of businessman Dante Tan, suffered a heavy sell-
out yesterday, fueled by rumors affecting their respective
businesses.

The prices of both stocks touched a 40-percent low during
the course of trading, forcing the Philippine Stock
Exchange to suspend their transactions.  The PSE suspends
the trading of stocks if their prices go up by 50 percent
or more or plunge 40 percent from the closing prices in the
previous trading session.

BW was the most active stock in yesterday's trading at the
PSE. Before the freeze in its trading, a total of about
31.84 million BW shares valued at P481.2 million changed
hands, accounting for 22.5 percent of the market's total
turnover of P2.139 billion.  BW closed at P12.75 per share
yesterday, down the previous close of 21.25 last Friday. It
hit an intra-day high of P22, before plunging to P12.75
when the PSE automatically suspended trading at 10:35 a.m.

Armstrong Holdings Inc., the holding firm for major BW
stockholder Dante Tan's investments, also suffered a
similar fate. Its price similarly plummeted 40 percent to
close at 4.7 per share, down from P6.58 last Friday.

A BWRC official, however, assured stockholders that the
stocks would bounce back and said these could have been
affected by the negative rumors regarding a failed trading
of BW shares last week, but which was denied by Securities
Clearing Corp. of the Philippines vice president Charlie
Velayo and PSE assistant corporate secretary Joseph Roxas.

Rumors circulated at the trading floor that an unidentified
broker failed to cover for P481.2 million worth of BW
shares and was on the brink of collapse.

"The company is still confident that its shares will bounce
back after the market realizes the veracity of the rumor,"
the official said.

He added that one of BW's projects, the Jumbo Palace
floating restaurant docked behind the Folk Arts Theater at
the Cultural Center complex, will continue its planned soft
opening today (Jan. 11) and will give the public a free
guided tour until its formal launch on Jan. 23.

Stock market analysts also pointed to market jitters over
the impending release of the Securities and Exchange
Commission led investigation on the alleged stock
manipulation, insider trading and other irregularities in
BW transactions last year, which could backfire on Tan's
own admission before the Senate that he himself accumulated
BW shares.

Another analyst said the huge selldown could be tied up to
the lapse of the lock-up period in the asset-for-share swap
between BWRC and Megaworld Corp., which resulted in
Megaworld acquiring 1.2 billion BWRC shares and a
controlling 72 percent interest in BWRC, in return for
Megaworld's turnover of the Sheraton Marina Complex project
to BWRC. (The Philippine Star  11-Jan-2000)

BENPRES HOLDINGS CORP.: Telecom, tollway units not earning
----------------------------------------------------------
It may take a longer period of time before Lopez-led
Benpres Holdings Corp. realize profits from investments in
subsidiaries Bayan Telecommunications, Inc. and tollway arm
First Philippine Infrastructure Development Corp.

Benpres chief operating officer Xavier Gonzalez said
earlier projections that Bayantel will start contributing
this year will have to be pushed back to 2001 because of
"large losses" experienced by the telecoms arm due to its
investment in cellular firm Express Telecommunications,
Inc.

A company spokesman earlier said Benpres expects losses
totalling 2.5 billion Philippine pesos (US$62 million at
PhP40.226:US$1) may be reflected in the parent company's
financial statement for the past year, largely from the
40%-owned Bayantel which is seen to post losses reaching
PhP4.7 billion ($116.8 million).

Mr. Gonzalez said the infrastructure subsidiary will only
start contributing to the parent firm's finances in 2002 as
compared to earlier projections of 2001 considering that
the shareholders' agreement with state-controlled
Philippine National Construction Corp. (PNCC) and French
firm Egis Transroute was only signed in December last year.

FPIDC was tasked to rehabilitate the North Luzon Expressway
through its 60% stake in developer Manila North Tollways
Corp. The project -- worth some PhP50 billion ($1.2
million) -- has been delayed since it was conceptualized in
1995. A congressional investigation during the 10th
Congress first delayed the project as questions were raised
on the awarding of the project without public bidding.

Despite the poor performance of the two units, Benpres'
increasing profitability is still seen to continue
following consistent revenue rise by main subsidiaries ABS-
CBN Broadcasting Corp. and Manila Electric Co. Benpres
still sees a 42% gain in income for 1999 as compared to
PhP1.4 billion ($34.8 million) in 1998.

"We recognize the value impairment of our investment (in
Extelcom). But this is not to say that the investment
cannot be recovered," Mr. Gonzalez said, expressing
optimism the "payback" period in the telecommunications
sector usually takes five to seven years.

For the tollway subsidiary, Mr. Gonzalez said actual signs
of construction are expected to be seen in the coming
months following the signing of the shareholders'
agreement.

"From Balintawak to Tabang, you'll see an eight-lane
highway (widening from six) in two-years time. In the
Manila side, a dedicated Novaliches flyover (can be
expected). The target is January 2002," Mr. Gonzalez said.

The project involves the following: upgrading of the North
Luzon Tollway from Balintawak in Quezon City to Sta. Ines
in Mabalacat, Pampanga; constructing the 67-kilometer San
Simon-Guagua-Dinalupihan and Subic Bay Metropolitan
Authority (SBMA) link; and lengthening C-5 from CP Garcia
in UP Diliman to Letre Road.

The project proponents are now finalizing a $240-million
funding facility from the International Finance Corp.,
Asian Development Bank, the World Bank's Multilateral
Investment Guarantee Agency, France's Coface and
Australia's Export Finance and Insurance Corp. (Business
World  11-Jan-2000)


=================
S I N G A P O R E
=================

CLOB INT'L: Effective Capital has till Feb 22 for offer
-------------------------------------------------------
The closing date for the Clob proposal by Malaysian
businessman Akbar Khan's Effective Capital has been
extended from Jan 31 to Feb 22.

In a statement released last night, the Singapore Exchange
(SGX) said the Central Depository (CDP) had received an
amended document from Effective last Friday. The document,
dated Dec 24, had been amended on Jan 6 to reflect the new
closing date.

"CDP is reviewing the amendments for incorporation into the
document to be disseminated," the SGX said.

Effective's proposal calls for the transfer of frozen
Malaysian Clob shares to their owners over 18 months.
Clob investors who agree to its proposal are expected to
have all their shares within 22 months of their acceptance
of the offer. This compares with the five-year migration
period of the original Effective Capital proposal and the
27 months of a more recent plan. (Singapore Business Times  
11-Jan-2000)

CLOB INT'L: Case to go before WTO if no bilateral deal
------------------------------------------------------
Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong said yesterday that Singapore
would take to the World Trade Organization (WTO) a dispute
with Malaysia over suspended shares if no solution can be
reached bilaterally.

Mr Goh told Reuters Television in an interview that he
hoped to meet Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad
after the Chinese New Year holidays in early February to
resolve outstanding bilateral issues. But if no progress
was made, action through the WTO or courts was possible, Mr
Goh said.

"In the ultimate, if there is no solution, Singapore has no
choice but to take the matter to the World Trade
Organization. Perhaps the shareholders may also take
Malaysians to the courts in Malaysia."

Malaysia imposed curbs on capital flows in September 1998,
effectively freezing shares worth some US$4.3 billion
(S$7.1 billion) traded on Singapore's Central Limit Order
Book (Clob) over-the-counter market.

Several proposals have been put forward to allow investors
to reclaim the shares, but none has pleased both the
Malaysian authorities and the Securities Investors
Association (Singapore), which represents some 50,000 of
the 172,000 Clob investors, mostly Singaporeans.

Mr Goh said Malaysian authorities favoured a private-sector
solution but Clob investors would prefer that any offers
made by Malaysian companies be officially sanctioned by the
Malaysian bourse.

"The private-sector offers must be officially sanctioned by
the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, otherwise there is no
confidence to the public shareholders that something might
change again," he said.

Dr Mahathir has warned that the government might take
custody of the shares if the impasse is not resolved,
though he acknowledged that Clob shareholders would still
be the legal owners of the shares and would be somehow
compensated.

Malaysia has extended the nominee status of Clob stocks
held by Singapore's Central Depository Pte Ltd (CDP) by six
months to June 30 but said the move was the final extension
of its nominee status. (Singapore Business Times  11-Jan-
2000)


===============
T H A I L A N D
===============

PAE (THAILAND) PLC: Reports status of rehab plan to SET
-------------------------------------------------------
PAE (Thailand)Public Co.Ltd., through its managing director
Narong Yamprasert, has reported to the Stock Exchange of
Thailand on the progress of the company's rehabilitation.

Reference is made to the company plan for formal
rehabilitation to eliminate the cause which makess PAE fall
into category of the company being considered for delisting
from registered shares allowed to trade in accordance with
SET's regulation No. 30(6)(c).

The company reports that it is now in the process of filing
its application to the court within January 2000 and
expects the hearing by the court within February 2000.
Grant Thornton with cooperation from company is appointed
as Planner for formal rehabilitation.  (Stock Exchange of
Thailand  10-Jan-2000)

SAHAVIRIYA STEEL INDUS.: To write off debt, boost output
--------------------------------------------------------
Sahaviriya Steel Industries Plc will ask shareholders next
month to approve the planned write-off of 10 billion baht
in losses accumulated in the past four years. Additionally,
the company will increase its production levels this year.

Sahaviriya will increase production of hot-rolled steel by
26% this year and 18.7% next year to meet rising demand at
home and abroad.  President Adisak Lowjun said steel
production would total 1.6 million tons this year, up from
1.27 million tons last year, and 1.9 million tons in 2001.
The increases would follow a four-year decline during the
recession, he said.

Overseas demand was increasing in the United States, in
particular.  Steel prices were expected to increase by
US$20-25 to $310-315 a ton in the next six months, from
about $290 currently, he said. Last year, the price was
$270.

Mr Adisak said the company was ready to go full steam ahead
with production after restructuring debts totalling 21.21
billion baht and raising capital by 4.39 billion baht.

With monetary problems eased, the company made 1.3 million
tons of steel last year, up from 600,000 in 1998.
Quarterly debt repayment had been reduced to 315 million
baht from 470 million, and the repayment of 1.2 billion
baht had reduced costs.

It is proposed to establish a new company to manage the
accumulated debt of Sahaviriya Steel Industries.
Thai Cold Rolled Steel Sheet Plc, a subsidiary, also plans
to raise production by 18.7% to 720,000 tons this year from
640,000 tons the previous year. (Bangkok Post  11-Jan-2000)

SIAM COMMERCIAL BANK: Starts asset mgmt firm for bad loans
----------------------------------------------------------
Siam Commercial Bank has established a new asset management
company to help oversee bad loans.

The new firm, Chatuchak AMC, will have registered capital
of one billion baht and take over about 30 billion baht
worth of bad loans from Siam Commercial Bank.  The bank
would hold a 100% stake initially, although negotiations
with potential foreign partners were continuing, sources
said. (Bangkok Post  11-Jan-2000)

THAI WIRE PRODUCT: Sued for repayment of B24.9m
-----------------------------------------------
Phatra Thanakij Finance Plc is suing Thai Wire Product Plc
for repayment of 24.94 million baht.

Sukij Ngarnthavee and Siva Ngarnthavee, two top executives
of the wire company and guarantors of the loans, are also
named in the suit. The hearing is scheduled to start on Jan
20.

According to the Stock Exchange of Thailand, as of the end
of September last year, Thai Wire Product's total assets
were 2.89 billion baht, compared with liabilities of 2.82
billion baht. The firm's registered capital was 220 million
baht.  Its net losses were 415 million baht in 1997, 233
million baht in 1998 and 8.4 million baht in the first nine
months of last year.

According to Phatra Thanakij, Thai Wire Product had
borrowed 19.82 million baht from the company in June 1998
and agreed to pay 18% annual interest. However, one month
later, the company defaulted, causing the debt to
accumulate to 24.94 million baht.

Phatra Thanakij told the court it had checked Thai Wire's
financial position and found that the company could not
repay the money. The firm was insolvent and should be
declared bankrupt, the finance house said. (Bangkok Post  
11-Jan-2000)


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

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Copyright 2000.  All rights reserved.  ISSN: 1520-9482.

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