TCRAP_Public/000201.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

            Tuesday, February 1, 2000, Vol. 3, No. 22

                            Headlines


* C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G *

CA PACIFIC FINANCE: Wong cleared of stealing
ETERNAL JOINT (HONG KONG)LTD: Facing winding up petition
H.P.ENTERPRISE LTD: Facing winding up petition
INTERBUILD CONSTRUCTION CO.LTD.: Facing winding up petition
KING OCEAN INDUSTRIAL LTD: Facing winding up petition
NEW WORLD TELEPHONE: Selling asset stake to cut debts
NORTHEAST ELECTRICAL TRANS.: Reports finances to HKSE
POSTHING DEVELOPMENT LTD: Facing winding up petition
RICH GARMENT LTD: Facing winding up petition
WAH NAM GROUP: Debt woes plague company
WAH NAM GROUP: Reports asset seizure to HKSE
WIN SUCCESSFUL SECURITIES: Court names PWC liquidator
WORLD WIDE ONE LTD: Facing winding up petition


* I N D O N E S I A *

BANK PUTERA MULTIKARSA: BI closes it down  
PT BUNAS FINANCE INDONESIA: IBRA refusing 50% write-off


* J A P A N *

ARABIAN OIL CO.: Projects annual loss instead of gain
NISSAN DIESEL MOTOR CO.: Parent, banks near aid pact  
SAISON GROUP: No debt agreement reached yet
YUASA TRADING CO.: Expects 16.3B Yen net loss in FY99


* K O R E A *

DAEWOO MOTOR: Union - nationalization,not foreign sale
DAEWOO MOTOR: Volkswagen interested in company
SAMSUNG MOTORS: Renault takeover hits snag
SSANGYONG MOTOR: Union - nationalization,not foreign sale
SSANGYONG MOTOR: Gov't rules out separate sale


* M A L A Y S I A *

TIME ENGINEERING: Restructuring plan unveiled


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

BW RESOURCES INC.: BW head tagged in insider trading
PHILIPPINE NAT.BANK: NPLs rise, loan-loss reserves upped
PRIMETOWN PROPERTY GROUP: Creditor banks start asset-taking  


* S I N G A P O R E *

LEWIS & PEAT: Receivers put it up for sale


* T H A I L A N D *

BANGKOK EXPRESSWAY PLC: Enters debt restructuring
BANGKOK MASS TRANSIT AUTHORITY: Takeover coule lay ahead
BANGKOK METROPOLITAN BANK: Move to question ex-exec blocked
SUBMICRON TECHNOLOGY: Investment funds could be available
WONGPAITOON GROUP: Reports debt-rehab with creditors to SET


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

CA PACIFIC FINANCE: Wong cleared of stealing
--------------------------------------------
Former CA Pacific boss Jason Wong But-sit has been cleared
of stealing $248 million but guilty of false accounting.
After two days of deliberations, a jury unanimously
acquitted Wong of stealing the money from CA Pacific
Finance to fund the $1.24 billion purchase of Central's
Century Square in late 1997.

Wong's defence was that the building was being bought for
the group as a whole, and that he was fully authorised to
do so. The $248 million in loans from CA Pacific Finance
were part of the initial deposit.  He was cleared of all
eight theft charges relating to the money.

Although the jury believed Wong was authorised to take the
$248 million in loans from CA Pacific, it convicted him of
falsifying the loan agreement.  He and his wife, Elizabeth
Kong Suk-yee, were convicted of false accounting between
November and December 1997, and face a maximum jail term of
10 years.

The loan agreement was between CA Pacific Finance and China
Star Consultants, an offshore company set up to purchase
the building on behalf of CA Pacific. It granted a total of
$373 million in loans to China Star.  Wong and his wife
were both granted bail over the weekend. Mr Justice Gareth
Lugar-Mawson will sentence them on Monday.

The couple must report to Wan Chai police station today and
tomorrow in the early evening.  The verdict brings to a
climax a tense three months for the defendants, and a
gruelling two-day wait for the jury's decision.  Both
remained composed as the verdict was read out to the Court
of First Instance, but some family members were clearly
distraught - Wong's mother in particular.

The case was packed with family drama. Wong's elder brother
and then chairman of Capital Asia, Alex Wong Ching-ping,
had been the one to inform police of the alleged loan
irregularities.  He went to the Commercial Crime Bureau at
the end of January 1998. Wong and Kong were arrested a week
later.

Alex Wong was among several clan members to take the
witness stand in the trial. Jason Wong's mother Edna,
father Martin and younger brother James all testified.
All had been involved with running CA Pacific at some
point, although Jason was known as "the boss" by staff,
despite being employed at the time on a consultancy basis.

The verdicts come two years after CA Pacific collapsed
under the strain of $423 million in loans. Along with the
$248 million, a further $171 million in margin loans became
doubtful in early 1998, and CA Pacific sank into a
liquidity crisis.  The collapse led to emotive protests by
investors, and prompted a court battle which effectively
pitted clients against each other in a bid to recoup their
shares.  Provisional liquidators have been forced to trace
8,000 clients' claims of missing shares as a result of a
judge's ruling. (South China Morning Post  29-Jan-2000)

ETERNAL JOINT (HONG KONG)LTD: Facing winding up petition
--------------------------------------------------------
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for March 15 on the petition of Wu
Yiu Sun for the winding up of Eternal Joint (Hong Kong)
Limited. A notice of legal appearance must be filed on or
before March 14.

H.P.ENTERPRISE LTD: Facing winding up petition
----------------------------------------------
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for February 23 on the petition of
Tai Hing Linings Company Limited for the winding up of H.P.
Enterprise Limited. A notice of legal appearance must be
filed on or before February 22.

INTERBUILD CONSTRUCTION CO.LTD.: Facing winding up petition
-----------------------------------------------------------
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for February 16 on the petition of
Right Tack Engineering Limited for the winding up of
Interbuild Construction Company Limited. A notice of legal
appearance must be filed on or before February 15.

KING OCEAN INDUSTRIAL LTD: Facing winding up petition
-----------------------------------------------------
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for February 9 on the petition of
Pacific Finance (Hong Kong) Limited for the winding up of
King Ocean Industrial Limited. A notice of legal appearance
must be filed on or before February 8.

NEW WORLD TELEPHONE: Selling asset stake to cut debts
-----------------------------------------------------
New World Telephone intends to sell 74 per cent of its
fixed-line network and international direct dialling (IDD)
business to Davnet Digitel Hong Kong for about HK$1.85
billion.

New World Development (NWD), which has an 88 per cent stake
in New World Telephone, yesterday said it was in
negotiations to sell the assets and relevant licences to
Davnet Digitel, a subsidiary of Australia-based
telecommunications firm Davnet.  A price for the
acquisition had yet to be finalised.

NWD chairman Cheng Yu-tung said NWD would use all proceeds
from the sale of the stake to reduce part of its debt and
for working capital. Analysts estimated the company's debt
at HK$25 billion.

Cheng added that the fixed-line and IDD business was worth
HK$2.5 billion, valuing a 74 per cent stake at HK$1.85
billion.  At this valuation, NWD would reap about HK$1.62
billion from the transaction.  Mr Cheng said the Davnet
Digitel partnership would help New World Telephone bolster
its business in Hong Kong and Australia.

The transaction, to be completed by the end of March, marks
the fast-growing Australian company's biggest foray into
Hong Kong's telecoms market.  It comes as a growing number
of overseas companies are targeting SAR's telecoms market
through mergers or equity investment.

Singapore Telecommunications and Cable & Wireless HKT just
this week proposed a merger to form a $435 billion Asian
telecoms giant.  Hutchison Whampoa in November sold 50 per
cent of its fixed-line business to United States-based
Global Crossing for US$400 million.

NWD's arrangement with Davnet Digitel would effectively cut
its indirect holding in fixed-line and IDD business to 19
per cent.  NWD and Davnet Digitel also plan to form a new
telecommunications company that could be listed later this
year, Davnet Digitel executive chairman Stephen Moignard
said.  The new company would include the injection of
Davnet Digitel's telecoms investments in Hong Kong, Mr
Moignard said.  New World might also inject some related
assets into the new entity.

As part of the transaction, NWD would receive about 2 per
cent of Davnet Digitel's Australia-listed parent, as the
company would take up 7.1 million shares at A$2.33 (about
HK$11.85) each, Mr Moignard said.  Dresdner Kleinwort
Benson property analyst Terry Ip said a sale price of
HK$1.85 billion for the New World Telephone assets "was not
bad".

Mr Ip said NWD would this year book an exceptional gain of
about HK$800 million from the sale.  NWD shares yesterday
rose 5.31 per cent to HK$14.85, a two-week high.  Analysts
said NWD's losses from its investments in New World
Telephone should narrow following the arrangement with
Davnet Digitel.

They said NWD's annual losses in New World Telephone was
$700 million in the past few years.  Following the sale,
New World Telephone's leading telecom asset would be its
personal communications services, which have an estimated
value of HK$3 billion. (South China Morning Post  29-Jan-
2000)

NORTHEAST ELECTRICAL TRANS.: Reports finances to HKSE
-----------------------------------------------------
After an initial examination of the operations of the
Northeast Electrical Transmission & Transformation
Machinery Manufacturing Company Limited for 1999, it is
expected that the results of the year will record loss for
the first time, owing to decrease in sales income from
principal activities and prices of products and decline in
other income. Investors should note that details of the
audited loss data will be disclosed in the annual report
and summary. Dealings in A shares in the People's Republic
of China need to be suspended for half a day in the morning
of 28th January, 2000. (Stock Exchange of Hong Kong  28-
Jan-2000)

POSTHING DEVELOPMENT LTD: Facing winding up petition
----------------------------------------------------
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for March 15 on the petition of Hua
Chiao Commerical Bank Limited for the winding up of
Posthing Development Limited. A notice of legal appearance
must be filed on or before March 14.

RICH GARMENT LTD: Facing winding up petition
--------------------------------------------
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for March 8 on the petition of The
Daiwa Bank, Limited for the winding up of Rich Garment
Limited. A notice of legal appearance must be filed on or
before March 7.

WAH NAM GROUP: Debt woes plague company
---------------------------------------
Wah Nam Group faces the threat of winding up if it fails to
repay A$7.79 million (about HK$39.39 million) owed to two
companies by February 12.

The troubled consumer-electronics firm has received legal
threats from HKC China Investment and Sydney-based
Investment Austasia, according to a Wah Nam announcement.
The demands are related to eight promissory notes issued by
Wah Nam Group to the two companies which were due on
December 15.

The disputes were a result of an acquisition deal between
the three companies in which Wah Nam agreed to buy the
entire issued share capital of Wah Nam Infrastructure
Investment and IAL HK from Investment Austasia to acquire
mainland toll-road assets.  At the same time, the company
disposed its 50 per cent interest in Investment Austasia to
HKC.

The promissory notes were issued by Wah Nam Group to the
two companies on September 15, 1998, as part of the payment
for the acquisition.  However, Wah Nam said there were also
defaults by one, or a combination of, Investment Austasia,
HKC and its director Khoo Ee Lam in relation to a cheque
for A$1.08 million issued by Mr Khoo as part of the deal.
As a result, Wah Nam said it was disputing its obligations
regarding the promissory notes.

In April, HKC took court action against Wah Nam for an
alleged shortfall in making the initial payment for the
acquisitions.  Wah Nam admitted in yesterday's announcement
that it was in substantial cash-flow difficulties.
It has been ordered by a court to pay a total of HK$30
million to two other claimants but has so far paid only
HK$1.25 million.

One of the court orders was made in December, when Wah Nam
was told to pay HK$6 million with accrued interest to Excel
Nobel Development, a company in which former Wah Nam
executive director Samson Chen has an interest.  The
company is seeking funds to meet all these outstanding
payments, Wah Nam said.  If it failed to do so, it would
not be able to maintain normal operations, the company
said.

Two weeks ago, the company said it wanted to dispose of its
60 per cent interest in Hangzhou Huanan Engineering
Development to raise HK$85 million. Wah Nam shares resumed
trading yesterday after a three-day suspension pending the
company's announcement, rising two-tenths of an HK cent to
close the day at 5.9 cents. (South China Morning Post  28-
Jan-2000)

WAH NAM GROUP: Reports asset seizure to HKSE
--------------------------------------------
Further to the announcement dated 26th January, 2000, the
Directors, through Chan Kwok Choi Matthew, Executive
Director, wish to announce that on 27th January, 2000, on
application by Excel Noble, the bailiffs from the court
seized the office furniture and equipments of the Company
at its principal office, in enforcement of the court order
granted on 17th December, 1999 against the Company for
payment of HK$6 million and interest thereon.

The total unaudited net book value of the Seized Chattels
as at 31st December, 1999 is approximately HK$1 million. If
the HK$6 Million Order is not satisfied within 8 days, the
Seized Chattels will be sold by auction, the proceeds will
be applied for satisfaction of the HK$6 Million Order and
the Company will have to make arrangement for substituting
facilities. Save for insignificant interference with the
administration, the Enforcement Action has not affected,
and the sale of the Seized Chattels will not affect, the
normal operation of the Company.

As disclosed in the announcements dated 14th January, 2000
and 26th January, 2000, the Company is having substantial
cash flow difficulties. The Company is negotiating
diligently for additional financial arrangements to satisfy
the HK$6 Million Order as well as other needs. Further, the
Company intended to dispose of its 60% interests in
Hangzhou Huanan Engineering Development Co. Ltd. for a
projected net cash proceed of HK$85,000,000, to the extent
allowed by the injunction granted by the court against the
Company on 17th December, 1999.

The Directors believe that the Intended HHED Disposal will
provide adequate finance to meet the present needs of the
Company and thereafter, the total value of the unencumbered
assets of the Company will not be less HK$61 million.  
(Stock Exchange of Hongkong  28-Jan-2000)

WIN SUCCESSFUL SECURITIES: Court names PWC liquidator
-----------------------------------------------------
The High Court has appointed PricewaterhouseCoopers' Joanne
Oswin and Stephen Caswell as provisional liquidators of
collapsed brokerage Win Successful Securities.

Meanwhile police yesterday arrested a 42-year-old Win
Successful employee who was attempting to leave Hong Kong
at Lowu.  Police earlier this week arrested brokerage owner
Albert Au Wai-man and another staff member in connection
with allegations that clients' assets were stolen. The two
have been released on bail.

Police have received 111 investor complaints against the
brokerage, involving about $62 million.  Provisional
liquidators were appointed after the Securities and Futures
Commission applied to the High Court for the winding up of
Win Successful Securities.  The provisional liquidators
would take over the assets and management of the suspended
brokerage and be responsible for protecting Win Successful
clients.

"The priority task of the provisional liquidators is to
establish the financial position of the company," the
commission said. (South China Morning Post  29-Jan-2000)

WORLD WIDE ONE LTD: Facing winding up petition             
----------------------------------------------           
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for March 15 on the petition of The
Standard Chartered Bank, Limited for the winding up of
World Wide One Limited. A notice of legal appearance must
be filed on or before March 14.


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

BANK PUTERA MULTIKARSA: BI closes it down  
-----------------------------------------
Bank Indonesia (BI) announced on Friday night that it had
closed ailing Bank Putera Multikarsa after its owner could
not come up with fresh funds to recapitalize the bank.

Bank Indonesia deputy governor Subarjo Djojosumarto said in
a media conference that Bank Putera had a capital adequacy
ratio (CAR) of minus 48.15 percent -- far below the minimum
4 percent requirement.

"Based on the result of an independent audit, the bank has
a negative CAR of minus 48.15 percent and nonperforming
loans of more than 80 percent," Subarjo said.

He also said all obligations of the bank would be
guaranteed by the government.  He said the depositors'
money would be paid via Bank Central Asia (BCA).
The central bank put Bank Putera under the supervision of
the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) on Dec. 10
after the bank's owner failed to raise funds to settle the
bank's negative account at Bank Indonesia.

Bank Putera's clearing activities were suspended by the
central bank on Dec. 7 after it suffered a negative balance
with Bank Indonesia amounting to Rp 278.5 billion (US$38
million) following a run on the bank.  The run amounted to
Rp 592.3 billion, which dried up its reserves at the
central bank and put its account at Bank Indonesia in
negative territory.

The run on the bank was prompted by reports that it would
be taken over by IBRA in the wake of the revelation of a
multimillion dollar loan scandal involving the bank's
owner, Texmaco Group.  But the central bank allowed the
bank to resume clearing activities last week, after IBRA
provided a temporary loan to settle its negative account at
Bank Indonesia.

Bank Putera has total assets of Rp 3 trillion. Its third
party funds amounted to Rp 413 billion, while credit to its
affiliated group reached 69.33 percent of its total lending
of Rp 1.3 trillion.  Subarjo said that the central bank was
still checking on three other banks which had just recently
injected funds to improve their capital level.  He said
that the central bank was making sure that the money did
not come from loans or "money laundering".

Under the agreement with the International Monetary Fund,
Bank Indonesia asked owners of banks whose CAR falls below
4 percent to raise the capital to that level by Jan. 20,
otherwise corrective actions would be taken against those
failing to comply with the requirement. (The Jakarta Post  
29-Jan-2000)

PT BUNAS FINANCE INDONESIA: IBRA refusing 50% write-off
-------------------------------------------------------
The Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency is refusing calls
by a group of foreign creditors to write off half the debt
of finance company PT Bunas Finance Indonesia.

IBRA loan workout head Ronald Sinaga said Thursday that the
restructuring of Bunas's 1.867 trillion rupiah ($253.2
million) of debt is being delayed by the disagreement. The
banks, which include Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC, Fuji
Bank Ltd. and Bank of Boston, favor writing off Bunas's
debt to its parent, Ongko Group, which amounts to half of
its total debt. Bunas is 60.8% owned by Ongko.

"We have stated to the commercial banks that IBRA won't
agree to writing off the company's debt to Ongko Group,"
Mr. Sinaga said. "It's our principle that there will not be
any discount in debt repayment."

Mr. Sinaga said Bunas's financial problem was partly caused
by its intragroup lending and that IBRA doesn't want to see
"Bunas get away so easily." (The Asian Wall Street Journal  
28-Jan-2000)


=========
J A P A N
=========

ARABIAN OIL CO.: Projects annual loss instead of gain
-----------------------------------------------------
Arabian Oil Co., based in Japan, said it now expects a net
loss of 2.4 billion yen ($227 million) for the year through
December 1999, compared with its previous forecast of one
billion yen in net profit.

The Tokyo-based oil producer ascribed the gloomy outlook to
its unsuccessful attempt to persuade Saudi Arabia and
Kuwait to revise their taxation systems on profits from the
so-called Neutral Zone where Arabian Oil drills. The two
sides failed to reach an agreement by the end of 1999.

"Our profit before deducting a special loss is expected to
be around 150 million yen," the company said.

For 1999, the company has forecast a special loss of 2.58
billion yen. An affiliate is likely to withdraw from a
uranium development project in Niger, west Africa, due to
the sluggish in uranium market. (The Asian Wall Street
Journal  28-Jan-2000)

NISSAN DIESEL MOTOR CO.: Parent, banks near aid pact  
----------------------------------------------------
Nissan Motor Co. (7201), Renault SA and the four biggest
lenders to Nissan Diesel Motor Co. (7210) are close to a
final agreement on a plan to support an overhaul of the
ailing truckmaker, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun learned Friday.

The help from Nissan Motor and Renault -- Nissan Diesel's
top shareholders -- and the banks is expected to keep
Nissan Diesel from falling into negative net worth on a
consolidated basis when its books are closed for the fiscal
year ending March 31.  A formal announcement of a
restructuring deal is expected as early as next week.

Under the blueprint, Industrial Bank of Japan (8302), Fuji
Bank (8317), Asahi Bank (8322) and Yasuda Trust & Banking
Co. (8404) will help Nissan Diesel put together
securitization deals to sell the land on which several of
its domestic assembly plants sit.

Nissan Diesel is considering plans to issue some 10 billion
yen in convertible securities before April. If it goes
through with the financing, Nissan Motor will purchase the
bulk of the offering, with the banks taking on some
securities as well.

On the operations side, Nissan Motor and Renault are
drawing up plans for joint parts purchasing and development
programs with Nissan Diesel, and will give it backing in
production and sales.  Nissan Diesel is expected to unveil
a medium-term restructuring plan as early as this fiscal
year, aiming for a return to profitability in fiscal 2001.

The firm has been hit with parent-only pretax losses for
two years running, and it also has sales units with large
accumulated losses from past unprofitable operations.
Nissan Motor and Nissan Diesel injected capital totaling 85
billion yen into the sales companies last year. (Nikkei  
29-Jan-2000)

SAISON GROUP: No debt agreement reached yet                
-------------------------------------------                  
Seibu Department Stores Ltd, a core member of the Saison
Group, said the group has "not reached any agreement" with
Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank Ltd on a debt disposal scheme for
Saison property unit Seiyo Corp.

"We can tell you two things -- one is that no agreement has
been reached and second is that we cannot comment on
details of the negotiations which are just now underway," a
Seibu Department Stores spokesman said.

The Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported earlier that under the
scheme, Saison will repay a total 140 bln yen to DKB,
Seiyo's main creditor, over a 3-5 year period beginning
from the year to March 2000, making the financial burden
related to the bail-out of Seiyo some 300 bln yen.  (AFX
News Limited  28-Jan-2000)

YUASA TRADING CO.: Expects 16.3B Yen net loss in FY99
-----------------------------------------------------
Yuasa Trading Co. (8074) expects to suffer a net loss of
16.3 billion yen in the year through March, compared with a
582 million yen profit in fiscal 1998, company officials
announced Friday. Behind the loss is the lump-sum booking
of 22.2 billion yen in loss due to the misappropriation of
funds by a former section chief.

The trading house will forgo its planned 4 yen dividend for
the current year, reduce its work force by more than 20%
and halve its overseas units to eight.

The company plans to introduce an in-house company system
in October and to concentrate its management resources on
five areas: electric machinery, distribution, housing
building materials, construction machinery and food. It
will also slim down its sales staff and consolidate its
worldwide units from 52 to 38.

The number of directors will be reduced by more than half
to 10. The company will also ask executives to return their
bonuses in full, and will cut executive remuneration by 15-
40%. The number of rank-and-file employees is to be reduced
through natural attrition by 150 during fiscal 2000.

In order to restore the company's finances to health, it
will record an extraordinary loss of 29.6 billion yen in
the current year, including a 7.4 billion yen loss from
revaluation of real estate.  Pretax loss is forecast at
27.3 billion yen. Interperiod tax allocation (tax-deferred
accounting) made the net loss smaller than the pretax loss.

Shareholder equity will slip to 16.1 billion yen by the end
of the current year, compared with 30.1 billion yen a year
earlier.  (The Nihon Keizai Shimbun Saturday morning
edition; Nikkei  28-Jan-2000)


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

DAEWOO MOTOR: Union - nationalization,not foreign sale
SSANGYONG MOTOR: Union - nationalization,not foreign sale
---------------------------------------------------------
South Korea's metal workers' union said it wants the
government to nationalize troubled Daewoo Motor Co. and
threatened to strike if the government proceeds with plans
to sell Daewoo and sister firm Ssangyong Motor to foreign
buyers.

"Selling the two motor companies to foreign investors means
giving up the nation's automobile industry," the 175,000-
member Korean Metal Workers' Federation said.

General Motors Corp. and Ford Motor Co. had expressed
interest in Daewoo Motor, with which GM has an alliance
that ended in 1992.  The metal workers said selling the two
auto makers to a foreign concern would have a catastrophic
impact on auto-part suppliers and spell the loss of
thousands of jobs. The federation said it had requested
meetings with government officials to discuss the sale of
the auto makers, which is in the hands of creditors
dominated by state-run banks.

The federation's statement said 110,000 members working at
the two companies as well as Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors
would go on strike in late March or early April if the
government doesn't drop its sale plans. (The Asian Wall
Street Journal  27-Jan-2000)

DAEWOO MOTOR: Volkswagen interested in company
----------------------------------------------
Germany's third largest car manufacturer Volkswagen has
expressed interest in purchasing Daewoo Motor, further
intensifying competition to take over the ailing Korean
automaker.

An official at the creditors group said Friday that
Volkswagen had communicated its interest in Daewoo Motor
through Morgan Stanley, who is the international agent for
the sell-off. The German firm had not been expected to take
interest in Daewoo Motor, as it already has a plant in
China producing 450,000 units a year.

Local auto industry observers have pointed out that
Volkswagen's move could be an effort to check GM and Ford's
penetration of Asian markets or even a revival of its 1998
attempt to take over Ssangyong Motor.  The creditors group
of Daewoo Motor has already begun working out ways for
local firms such as Samsung Motor to participate in the
contest.

"Samsung is expected to retain a stake in Samsung Motors
even when the auto unit is sold to Renault, which means
Samsung remains a domestic automaker," the official said.

Daewoo Motor's bidding office is planning to send out
invitations for bids on the firm to six international auto
giants. The world' largest carmakers will be competing
against each other, an unprecedented event in the history
of the auto industry. The other four that have already
announced participation are General Motors, Ford,
DaimlerChrysler and Fiat. The only one missing of the top
six is Toyota of Japan.

Besides these foreign automakers, Hyundai Motor and a
consortium of small domestic firms have declared their bids
for Daewoo.

"We plan to send invitation letters only to firms which
have better production facilities than Daewoo and have
officially expressed interest in acquiring Daewoo," said
the official. "But we have difficulty confirming the exact
intention of firms."

Industry watchers attributed the delay to the planned
establishment of the Daewoo Group Restructuring Committee,
which will take charge of the restructuring and overseas
sales of Daewoo units, including Daewoo Motor.  Observers
say creditors' interest in turning Daewoo Motor over to
local firms has been spurred by fears that the entry of a
foreign car firm into the Korean market could result in a
huge setback for the local automobile industry,
particularly Korean auto parts makers.

The Korea Federation of Small Business, which represents
several auto parts firms, made it official yesterday that
they were throwing their hat into the ring by forming a
consortium to make a bid on Daewoo Motor. (Digital Chosun  
28-Jan-2000, Korea Herald  29-Jan-2000)

SAMSUNG MOTORS: Renault takeover hits snag
------------------------------------------
Renault's planned takeover of South Korea's Samsung Motors
has run into trouble over a price dispute, reports said
yesterday.  But despite the reported difficulties, the two
sides are optimistic they will be able strike a bargain by
April, industrial sources said.

All major media here reported creditors had evaluated the
worth of Samsung Motors, the troubled unit of South Korea's
leading Samsung Group, at more than twice Renault's
reported offering price.  The report, based on an audit by
sales manager Banque Paribas and US consulting firm KPMG,
said Samsung Motor's value was estimated at one trillion
won (US$888 million).

The French auto giant has yet to officially present its
terms, but reports here said it had indicated it would
offer only 400 billion won for a stake of around 70
percent, with Samsung retaining up to 30 percent.

A Renault delegation led by Vice President Jean-Marc Lefeu
visited South Korea last week to discuss Renault's possible
acquisition of Samsung Motor, which was put into
liquidation under the weight of 4.3 trillion won in debt.
The Samsung Group has promised to clear a considerable
portion of the firm's liabilities.

But sources familiar with the low-profile negotiations here
said talks were progressing well and that Renault's
acquisition of the firm stood a chance of succeeding by
April. Renault hopes the deal will give the French car
giant a foothold in the inaccessible but booming Korean car
market which could see it take a 5 to 10 percent market
share, reports have said.

In addition, Renault may later consider exporting some of
the locally produced cars to Japan - where the French firm
maintains a 36.8 percent stake in Nissan Motors - to save
on labor costs, another source suggested.

Samsung, which produced only one saloon model, started up
with Nissan's technology in early 1998 at the height of
Seouh Korea's economic crisis and has seen sales of only
50,000 units. It has a production capacity of 240,000 units
a year, but which now only turns out just 2,000 a month.

In a separate deal, Renault VI president Patrick Faure said
earlier that the heavy vehicle unit was holding talks with
Samsung with a view to taking a stake in Samsung's truck
division. Faure told the French newspaper Le Monde: "At the
end of 1999 we began talks with Samsung but these
discussions are being held independently of those under way
between Renault and the car subsidiary of the South Korean
group. The situation is different from that of cars: the
truck subsidiary is not bankrupt. The interest for us is to
penetrate an extremely closed market which has very
promising potential," Faure said. (Business Day  27-Jan-
2000)

SSANGYONG MOTOR: Gov't rules out separate sale
----------------------------------------------
The Financial Supervisory Commission yesterday ruled out
the possibility of separating the sale of Ssangyong Motor
from the Daewoo Motor deal.

Kim Young-jae, a spokesman of the FSC, said during a
meeting with reporters that it is practically not possible
to do two separate deals for sales of Daewoo Motor and its
affiliated Ssangyong Motor.

"It is practically not feasible for creditor banks to
pursue two deals. There will be too much complications if
the two companies are separated for negotiations," he said,
strongly indicating that the government will not allow any
independent sale of Ssangyong Motor.

The senior FSC official was briefing reporters at the Korea
Federation of Banks following a government-creditor bank
meeting for the Daewoo Group restructuring.  Last week, Lee
Hun-jai, the new Minister of Finance and Economy, also
offered the same view, saying that dividing the two
affiliated companies for sales negotiation is not a
preferred option.

It has been reported that Ssangyong Motor's technological
partner DaimlerChrysler has proposed to the government and
creditor banks a plan to take over the local auto
manufacturer.  But now with the government's firm position,
major creditor banks of Daewoo Motor also dismissed the
possibility of DaimlerChrysler's participation in the
Daewoo Motor deal.

"If that is the case, DaimlerChrysler will be the least
possible candidate as it only proposed to take over
Ssangyong Motor," a senior official of the Korea
Development Bank, Daewoo Motor's major creditor, told The
Korea Times.

"This is a complex issue and nothing so far has been
finalized. But if the government is determined in obtaining
a package sale of Daewoo Motor and Ssangyong Motor, there
is not a whole lot the banks can do about it," he said.

However, further complicating the issue was the statement
from Wee Sung-bok, president and CEO of Cho Hung Bank, a
major creditor of Ssangyong Motor, that the bank is willing
to do a separate deal as long as it can secure a higher
price.

"We have stressed to potential bidders that that price is
important. Both DaimlerChrysler and General Motors have
expressed keen interests in the deal," he said during an
interview with Reuters yesterday, leaving the deal wide
open to all involved parties. (Korea Times  28-Jan-2000)


===============
M A L A Y S I A
===============

TIME ENGINEERING: Restructuring plan unveiled
---------------------------------------------
Time Engineering, a Malaysian conglomerate, outlined on
Friday a restructuring plan involving the repayment of
M$4.8bn (US$1.26bn) in debt by selling shares in its
telecommunications operations.

The shares could be sold to the public and to a foreign
investor, as yet unnamed.  The company expects the listing
of Time Telecommunications Holdings, which it is renaming
Time dotCom as it changes the operation's focus to the
internet, to raise about M$3.5bn.  It will make up the
shortfall by issuing new bonds.

The restructuring follows Time Engineer's rejection of
three other debt solutions and enables the parent to
maintain 53.5 per cent control over its telecommunications
business.

"Because they [potential creditors] are offering fire-sale
prices, that's why we are offering a new scheme," said
Halim Saad, Time dotCom managing director and chairman of
infrastructure conglomerate Renong, which is its parent and
Malaysia's biggest corporate debtor.

Some of those owed money by Time Engineering - mainly local
bankers - were disappointed at having to wait so long to
recover their money.  But they noted that attempting to
force a liquidation would not only be risky - given the
authorities' reluctance to allow politically linked
businesses to fail - but time consuming and costly, as the
company would be valued at far less.

Foreign analysts were disappointed with what they saw as an
attempt by Time Engineering, which owns Malaysia's largest
fibre-optic network, to cash in on the global craze over
internet stocks by changing the company's focus and listing
it on the stock exchange.

"That is the most flagrant abuse of the dot com phenomenon
that I've come across," said the head of Malaysian research
at a foreign brokerage.

Analysts said the timing of the announcement was
unfortunate as foreign investors were rekindling their
enthusiasm for the country after fleeing its markets at the
onset of the regional crisis.  Phang Shyue Ming, Time
Engineering managing director, believes that the company's
M$5bn in assets and its business potential will prove
attractive to investors.

"There is really no downside risk," said Chris Lee, a
manager at the Corporate Debt Restructuring Committee
(CDRC), which helped develop the plan.

He fully expects there to be enough interest for creditors
to be paid in full when Time dotCom is floated on the stock
exchange within 24 months of a deal being struck.  Some
18.4 per cent of the shares will be sold to the public and
24.6 per cent to a strategic investor.  The Sapura Group
will own 2.5 per cent and creditors will own 1 per cent as
a result of gains from the share sale.  The CDRC is to
finalise the plan and present it to creditors within the
next five months. (Financial Times  31-Jan-2000)


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

BW RESOURCES INC.: BW head tagged in insider trading
----------------------------------------------------
Something is very wrong when the seller and buyer of shares
is one and the same person.  BW Resources Corp. president
Eduardo C. Lim Jr. may have engaged in insider trading and
stock manipulation when a brokerage house where he sits as
a member of the board bought a huge block of BW shares.

This was the initial finding of the Senate committee on
banks and financial institutions which is looking into the
stock manipulation of BW shares.  Sen. Raul Roco, chair of
the committee, said at the hearing that based on public
documents Lim was a director of Belson Securities and
president and director of BW Resources.

Roco said Belson Securities bought 300,000 BW shares on May
31, 1999, jacking up the price from P4 to P12. After a
month, Belson sold the shares at P27 per share.

"Just based on this, there could be a direct and classical
violation of insider trading laws," Roco said.

Roco said Lim, who was represented in the hearing by BW
Resources lawyer Jose Salvador Ramos, could be held liable
for violating the Securities Act. It prohibits the
president of a corporation which issued the shares from
sitting as a director of a brokerage firm dealing in the
shares of the corporation.

At the continuation of the Senate probe yesterday,
Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Perfecto Yasay
reiterated that he was pressured by President Estrada to
stop a probe of the alleged stock manipulation involving
Dante Tan, a campaign donor to Mr. Estrada's presidential
campaign.

"I stand by what I said," Yasay said. "I had sworn to tell
the truth when I made those statements . . . and I'm
reiterating them again."

Also present during the hearing was Philippine Stock
Exchange president Jose Luis Yulo, who like Yasay,
submitted documents subpoenaed by the committee.  Both
Yasay and Yulo asked Roco to suspend the Senate probe until
after their investigating teams finalized their own probe
of BW's alleged stock manipulation.

"(It's like) investigating the investigators. We would want
to be relieved of (further) political pressure," Yasay told
the committee.

Roco said an SEC investigation report to Yasay, dated Nov.
15, 1999, noted that Lim, president and director of BWRC is
also a director of Belson Securities Inc.

"When the buyer and the seller is one and the same, then
that's what you call a 'wash sale' and that is illegal
because you tend to influence the market to go up," the
senator said.

Roco also said there also could be "churning" in which a
series of sales eventually end up with the issuer of the
share.  "We make the shares go around. We artificially push
the market up. Many transactions (are recorded) but it's
the same piece of cake," he said.

The SEC and Philippine Stock Exchange late last year
launched separate probes of wild swings in BW's share price
after complaints from investors, some of whom lost large
amounts of money. Results of the probes are expected to be
announced in early February.

After opening at P2.04 in January 1999, BW shares hit a
record high of P107 on Oct. 11 after Macau gambling tycoon
Stanley Ho accepted an offer from Tan to become the chair
of BW Resources.  A day later, the stock plunged to P68,
leaving many investors saddled with heavy losses. BW shares
yesterday fell 90 centavos, or 9.3 percent, to P8.8.

Yasay also stood by his claim that the President pressured
him to clear Tan, a leading shareholder of BW Resources and
the focus of the SEC probe.  On Jan. 19, Yasay testified to
the Senate committee that the President ordered the SEC to
stop its investigation of the alleged trading
irregularities in BW shares.

A day later, he clarified that there had been no direct
order from the President, but only a series of phone calls
from Mr. Estrada regarding the probe which Yasay
interpreted as a political pressure.  Mr. Estrada has
denied Yasay's allegations but acknowledged that he made
several calls to Yasay to speak about the investigation.

Yasay submitted to the Senate committee a copy of a Nov. 17
memo from Mr. Estrada which reminded the SEC chair that,
"pursuant to Executive Order No. 60, which was issued on
Jan. 13, 1999, the SEC is under the supervision of the
Office of the President."

"It has come to the attention of my office that the SEC
chairman has been issuing policy statements on issues
concerning the equities markets which may have been
adversely affecting the integrity and reputation of the PSE
and its securities trading and other operations," the memo
read in part.

The memo directed Yasay "to refrain from issuing public
statements and policy declarations affecting the securities
market, particularly the trading transactions of the PSE
without the prior clearance or approval of the Office of
the President."

Roco said the document "speaks for itself. What judgment
call I would arrive at, I would make when I finalize the
report."

Roco said the Senate probe was expected to be finished by
March.  The conclusion of the investigations could help
restore confidence in the local equities market following
allegations of price manipulation in BW.  Roco told
reporters that the PSE, SEC and the Senate had each set a
deadline for their independent probes.

"I'm glad the PSE will finish by Feb. 10, the SEC will
finish by March 10 and I hope I finish before March."
(Philippinne Daily Inquirer  29-Jan-2000)

PHILIPPINE NAT.BANK: NPLs rise, loan-loss reserves upped
--------------------------------------------------------
Philippine National Bank said its nonperforming loan ratio
as of Dec. 21, 1999 stood at 29%, compared with 26% in the
previous quarter. According to the bank's published
statement of condition, its total nonperforming loans for
the period of reached 34.9 billion pesos and discounts
reached 98.33 billion pesos.

The bank set aside 9.4 billion pesos as a provision for bad
loans.  Its total assets reached 216.66 billion pesos.

"Among the banks, PNB would undoubtedly have the highest
(number of) NPLs and NPL ratio as of December 1999," said
Angping & Associates Securities analyst Gladys Villanueva
in a report.

Ms. Villanueva said further deterioration in PNB's asset
quality apparently shows failure of its management to
improve the bank's performance.  "Given the condition PNB
is in, there is very little sense to talk about its income
prospects," she said, noting that PNB's priority should be
to clean up its balance sheet and look for fresh capital
infusion. (The Asian Wall Street Journal  27-Jan-2000)

PRIMETOWN PROPERTY GROUP: Creditor banks start asset-taking  
-----------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of the beleaguered Primetown Property Group have
started foreclosing on the company's property to cover part
of its P1.16 billion worth of debts, well-placed banking
sources said.

The sources said the bank syndicate, led by Urban Bank, was
initially willing to agree on a loan restructuring but
later decided to foreclose on the company's assets. The
property foreclosed by the creditors amounted to at least
P500 million.

"We didn't restructure the debts anymore. We started
foreclosing one year ago but we haven't made it public," a
source said.

The Primetown group, which aimed to compete in the leisure,
recreation and tourism segments of the property sector, was
among the companies badly hit by the currency crisis.

"The others in the syndicate also wanted to foreclose," the
source said.

Banks usually agree to restructure a company's debts if it
believed that it could resume a viable footing. They resort
to foreclosure proceedings as a last resort if they
believed otherwise.  Primetown also earlier considered
asset-swap deals with some creditors. The property firm had
in fact signed a memorandum of agreement with another
creditor, United Coconut Planters Bank, for an asset swap.

UCPB, in turn, acquired a significant and valuable stake in
Makati Prime City in San Antonio Village, Makati, and
Kiener Hills in Mactan, Cebu City--two of the Primetown
group's fastest-selling and first-rate urban developments.
The agreement also gave UCPB ownership of several parcels
of land in prime locations on Boracay Island, Aklan, and in
the fast-growing area of Metro Tagaytay.

With the foreclosure of more of its property, Primetown was
not able to push through with the construction of its
resort condominium project in Cebu this year. The Gold
Coast project in Mactan, Cebu, was supposed to be the
company's flagship project for 1999.

The Gold Coast project, a resort condotel near Shangri-La
Mactan, initially attracted several investors after its
launching but Primetown had to suspend operations due to
the real estate slump. (Philippine Daily Inquirer  29-Jan-
2000)


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

LEWIS & PEAT: Receivers put it up for sale
------------------------------------------
Rubber dealer Lewis & Peat (Singapore) Pte, Ltd, has been
put up for sale by its receivers, according to a document
obtained by Dow Jones Newswires.

One of the leading rubber trading operations in Singapore,
Lewis & Peat (Singapore) had been expected to shut down
after it ran into financial difficulties.  The firm is part
of the Lewis & Peat group, a subsidiary of Indonesia's PT
Bakri Sumatera Plantations. The group also has operations
in the U.S. and the U.K. and specializes in the popular
grades of natural rubber used for tire-making, particularly
the standard Indonesian rubber 20 grade.

The Lewis & Peat group has been profitable for the past
three to four years, according to an individual close to
the group, but ran aground late last year after an audit
revealed the use of short-term credit to finance long-term
projects.  Hariwidono, president director of Bakri Sumatera
Plantations, said on Jan. 14 that Rabobank, a key creditor
of the Lewis & Peat group, refused to roll over its $60
million short-term trading facility after an audit showed
that the funds had been misused.

The group's directors petitioned for the Singapore division
to be put under the interim judicial managementt in
December. ON Jan. 11, after the petition was rescinded, the
Singapore branch of Rabobank appointed Ho Ai Lian, Nagaraj
Sivaram and Ong Yew Huat, partners at Ernst & Young, as
receivers.  

The document from Ernst & Young shows the rubber dealer had
unrealized losses of $468,135 on its outstanding contracts
as of Jan. 18.  Of this amount, $439,068 was from unmatched
sales of 20,502 metric tons of natural rubber, and $29,0657
from 29,770 tons of rubber that was unshipped on matched
sales and purchases. It has an unrealized profit of $13.751
from its purchses of 23,073 tons of rubber that haven't
been sold.

Market valuation of the unmatched contracts are derived
from the Singapore Commodity Exchange's prices on Jan. 13.
Lewis & Peat (Singapore)'s unaudited balance sheet as of
Nov. 25 last year shows it owed its short-term creditors
$4.58 million. Short-term creditors $4.58 million. Short-
term creditors $4.58 million. Short-term credit usually
involves that have to be repaid within a year.

In this case, the period was 180 days, according to an
individual close to the company. Its total assets,
excluding current liabilities, total $6.33 million. Money
owed to the firm as of Dec. 26 to totaled $3.6 million,
from buyers in South America and Singapore. The document
also shows that Lewis & Peat (Singapore) holds a total of
35.6 tons of rubber in South Africa, 16.4 tons of which are
latex, and 241.92 tons of rubber in Singapore.

The Ernst & Young receivers are in preliminary discussions
with the exchange to match the contracts in order to pave
the way for a third party to take over the transactions.
The receivers aren't seeking buyers for the other two
Singapore-registered companies -Lewis & Peat (Rubber)
Holdings Pte. Ltd. and Lewis & Peat Distribution Pte. Ltd.
- because the former is a holding company and the latter a
funding vehicle.

The three receivers were unavailable for comment, and an
Ernst & Young Director involved in the case declined to
comment when contacted. (The Asian Wall Street Journal  28-
Jan-2000)


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

BANGKOK EXPRESSWAY PLC: Enters debt restructuring
-------------------------------------------------
Bangkok Expressway Public Company Limited, through Mr.
Supong Chayutsahakij, Managing Director, reported to the
Stock Exchange of Thailand that due to a decline in traffic
volume and higher interest cost since the recession in
1997, the company's cash status had significantly less than
its expectation.

The Company and subsidiary, therefore, had negotiated with
our Lenders for a Debt Restructuring altogether totaling
40,403.17 Million Baht by rescheduling repayment amount and
extending repayment period from 9 years to be 12 years. The
new repayment schedule had been set up by matching with our
expected cash flow in stead of the equally semiannual
repayment as required in the old agreement.

The Company, hereby, informs the Stock Exchange of Thailand
that on the date 27th January 2000, the Company and
subsidiary sign the above mentioned Debt Restructuring Term
Sheet with the Lenders. As a result of this restructuring,
the Company and subsidiary will have higher liquidity and
could continuously operate the expressway concession.  
(Stock Exchange Of Thailand  28-Jan-2000)

BANGKOK MASS TRANSIT AUTHORITY: Takeover coule lay ahead
--------------------------------------------------------
The city's administration could take over Bangkok's bus
service in the next three-to-five months following a
decision by the government to nationalise the state
enterprises' huge debt.

The move is regarded as fair to taxpayers outside Bangkok
in the long term, but raises questions about the service's
employees and whether the millions of city residents who
use the system will see any actual benefits.  The long
delayed plan was finally given the green light after the
national government agreed to assume the Bt20 billion debt
of the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA).

"The Ministry of Finance has agreed in principal to take
the BMTA's debt onto the state account," said Transport and
Communication Minister Suthep Thaugsuban. His ministry is
responsible for the transit authority.  "The plan can be
completed within the next 3-5 months."  

The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) had balked at
taking over the transit authority and its Bt20 billion debt
at the same time.  The Finance Ministry's agreement to
nationalise the debt would mark the last time taxes paid by
non-city residents would be used to support a service that
benefits only Bangkok residents.

However, the plan will likely face tough resistance from
the bus system's 3,700 workers, because the city's
modernisation plan is expected to affect them adversely.
Once the city controls the bus service manpower
restructuring is imminent, confirmed deputy Bangkok
governor, Thirachon Manomaipibul, yesterday.

"According to a study by Thammasat University, 45 per cent
of the operational costs involve salaries, some of which
are redundant," he explained.

The city's restructuring plan will include, for example, a
smart card system, which could affect the job of conductor,
he added.  The city, which plans to set up a company to
operate the bus service, wants the restructuring completed
within 2-3 years, Thirachon said. However, the Thammasat
University study pointed out that it would take five years
to implement a smooth restructuring that minimised labour
problems.

But the question remains for bus users -- what difference
will the transfer make?  Bangkok residents have long had to
endure indifferent service, poorly maintained buses as well
as rude drivers and conductors, who are paid up to
Bt19,000 and Bt16,000, respectively, in salaries and perks.
Since the BMA will operate the bus service, there will be
no problem concerning fare increases, Thirachon said.

The transit authority and the city's administration have
begun discussing the implementation plan for transferring
the assets and employees of the public bus agency to a new
entity that will be under the supervision of city
administrators, Suthep said.

A restructuring and privatisation plan for the loss-making
State Railway of Thailand (SRT) could also succeed if the
state would assume the railway's debt of Bt30 billion,
Suthep said at a seminar held by Nation Multimedia Group
and the National Energy Policy Office yesterday.

"If the government agrees, I would hold talks with SRT
employees asking them to accept the change. The SRT incurs
more debts every day since it cannot increase the ticket
price," he said.

However, Deputy Finance Minister Pisit Lee-artham who was
on the same panel as Suthep, made no comment concerning
nationalising the debt of either the railway or the bus
system.  Rather, he said the government was in no hurry to
privatise its state enterprises considering the present
state of its finances and liquidity.

"We would sell the shares (of state enterprises) when it is
deemed appropriate and provides the most benefit," he
added.

However, Prime Minister's Office Minister Abhisit
Vejjachiva reiterated that the government would adhere to
its plan to sell shares of three state enterprises this
year -- Thai Airways International Plc, Bangchak Petroleum
Plc and Ratchaburi Power Plant.  The SRT's privatisation
plan looks very similar to the British model, which
led to the successful privatisation of everything but the
British railway agency, said Ammar Siamwala, president of
Thailand Development Research Institute, at the seminar.

Ammar said he did not trust the Thai private sector and was
afraid that the privatisation would merely be the transfer
of a monopoly from the state to the private sector. (The
Nation  29-Jan-2000)

BANGKOK METROPOLITAN BANK: Move to question ex-exec blocked
-----------------------------------------------------------
The Senate yesterday spurned police requests to have
Senator Vichien Tejapaibul interrogated for alleged banking
violations.

The former president of the Bangkok Metropolitan Bank and
another top executive, Panya Tantiyavarong, were charged by
the Bank of Thailand last year with defying the central
bank's orders when they approved guarantees worth 67
million baht for two promissory notes issued by Bangkok
Metropolitan Trust Plc, a subsidiary of BMB.

The police request to question Mr Vichien was debated in
the Senate yesterday. Several senators voiced disapproval
of the police handling of the case. Both the police and the
central bank have insisted that they are proceeding
correctly with the criminal investigations.  The police
claim they need to question the ex-banker because the
statute of limitations on the case will expire on Feb 24.

Senator Vichai Thosuwannachinda said the case would have
been submitted to the court by now had the police not been
too slow in proceeding. He suspected that the ex-banker
might be a victim of persecution because the central bank
had frozen about one-billion-baht worth of property
belonging to the senator and his family against a case
involving only 67 million baht.

Mr Vichai said that the Senate might agree to remove the
immunity and allow Mr Vichien to be questioned if the
police had invited the ex-banker for interrogation instead
of issuing a summons. Some senators even suggested that the
police summons might be part of a political ploy to
discredit Mr Vichien as the senator is contesting a Senate
seat in Bangkok constituency.

After the debate, the Senate voted 129-4 to reject the
police request for interrogation.  Speaking to reporters
after the debate, Senate Speaker Meechai Ruchuphan slammed
the central bank for abuse of power by having Vichien
family property frozen and banning him from travel abroad.
He said Mr Vichien would have no trouble settling the 67
million baht extended as guarantee.

Not only Mr Vichien, but also another senator, Narongchai
Akkaraseranee, has been prohibited from travelling abroad
on the instructions of the central bank, said Mr Meechai.
The case, he noted, should serve as a reminder to
candidates for the Senate election about the laws they are
to write in the future, should they get elected in order
that they cannot be abused by law enforcement officers.

Rathakorn Nimwatana, assistant governor of the Bank of
Thailand, denied the central bank had exceeded its
authority in the case. He said if the senators under
investigation exercised their right to immunity, resulting
in the statute of limitations expiring, it would be "unfair
to the judicial process."

"If the senators believe they are innocent, then they
should defend themselves with the police investigators," Mr
Rathakorn said. Pol Maj-Gen Wanchai Srinuannat, deputy
commissioner of the Central Investigation Bureau in charge
of economic crime cases, said police would have to press
ahead with the case with the public prosecutors before the
expiry of the state of limitations.

As for Mr Vichien, he said police would wait until the
Senate was in recess and issue a warrant for his arrest
later on. He defended the police, saying that they did not
drag their feet on the case. He claimed that police had
only recently obtained some substantial evidence to prove
the former banker's alleged wrongdoings. (Bangkok Post  29-
Jan-2000)

SUBMICRON TECHNOLOGY: Investment funds could be available
---------------------------------------------------------
Charn Uswachoke wants his creditors to give him one more
chance as his talks with potential strategic partners have
reached the final stage.

If talks succeeded, he said yesterday, new partners would
inject US$800 million into Submicron Technology Plc, Mr
Charn's ambitious silicon wafer fabrication venture. The
new equity would be shared among partners from Asia, Europe
and the United States, and Bank of America, the company's
adviser, was also willing to take a stake, he said.

The US bank yesterday presented a preliminary
recapitalisation plan to a meeting of Submicron creditors
at Bangkok Bank.  Mr Charn said afterwards that he was
confident the creditors were satisfied with the plan. A
complete plan would be presented in the next two weeks.

He said that if he and Submicron were declared bankrupt and
their assets auctioned, nobody would gain. Submicron's
factory in Chachoengsao, which cost several billion baht to
build, was suited for no other purpose but wafer
fabrication, he said. The factory's "clean room", the most
important element for production, must be maintained
constantly, he said. "If it is left idle, then the factory
would be worth nothing."The maintenance cost was about two
million baht a month, he noted.

On Thursday, the Central Bankruptcy Court ordered the
assets of Mr Charn and Submicron to be turned over to a
receiver as they lost a bankruptcy suit filed by Siam City
Bank. Mr Charn and Submicron were given two months to
negotiate with creditors to settle 19 billion baht in debts
owed to 23 financial institutions. The loans were borrowed,
most of them without collateral, by Submicron with Mr Charn
as the guarantor.

If the creditors agreed to the settlement plan, they could
ask the court to reverse its ruling. Otherwise, they would
ask the court to declare Mr Charn and Submicron bankrupt.
Mr Charn said a loan restructuring plan was taking shape
and would be completed soon if the company was not put into
receivership.

Chatri Sophonpanich, chairman of Bangkok Bank, one of
Submicron's major creditors, said earlier that the company
would survive only if Mr Charn agreed to enter a formal
business rehabilitation programme.  But Mr Charn said he
had refused to enter the programme under the supervision of
the Bank of Thailand, as there were many errors in a draft
of the debt restructuring agreement.

"For example, the draft stated that Submicron had been
operating, when in fact it was not yet operational."

He said Submicron's lawyer had tried unsuccessfully to have
the central bank's Corporate Debt Restructuring Advisory
Committee correct the errors.  He also claimed that the
committee had urged Siam City Bank to file the bankruptcy
suit.  Lieut Yodchai Chusri, director of the central bank's
Corporate Debt Restructuring Advisory Group, said
receivership was one step to encourage restructuring.

"This is because the only way for Submicron to disclose its
actual financial position to creditors is when it is put
into receivership," he said, since in the past it had not
disclosed its true position to creditors.

Shortly after the court ruling on Thursday, Mr Charn said
he would appeal. However, he said yesterday that he had
changed his mind.  "I think it would be better if I spent
my time holding talks with the creditors, instead of
fighting the court case, and I am confident that my
creditors would accept my plan." (Bangkok Post  29-Jan-
2000)

WONGPAITOON GROUP: Reports debt-rehab with creditors to SET
-----------------------------------------------------------
Wongpaitoon Group Public Company limited has reported to
the Stock Exchange of Thailand that Daiwa Financial
Corporation has exercised put option on securitization deal
which worth USD 15 million to the Company. As a result, the
Company will face tight financial liquidity especially on
its working capital.

The Company needs to re-negotiate with all creditors in
order to re-scheduling debt payment plans. Furthermore, the
Company has already signed in for CDRAC under the
guidelines of Bank of Thailand.

Additionally, the Company reported, Mr. Vijak Sirising,
Managing Director, informed the Board on January 27, 2000
that pursuant to its appointment of the sub-committee
constituting of Mr. Vijak Sirising, Mr. Amporn
Pornvarakorn, Mr.Pompetch Kaewkanchanaroj and Mr. Subhash
Bhargava for the purpose of negotiating with the creditors
once again to restructure their debts; the sub-committee
has held two meetings with the creditors on January 14,
2000 and on January 21, 2000.

The outcome so far has been quite encouraging. Some
creditors have expressed their willingness to provide the
support to the company; others are still considering.
Meanwhile the company has already signed in for CDRAC under
the guidelines of Bank of Thailand.  (Stock Exchange Of
Thailand  28-Jan-2000)


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