TCRAP_Public/000203.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

            Thursday, February 3, 2000, Vol. 3, No. 24

                                   Headlines


* C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G *

KEL HOLDINGS LTD: Creditors meeting postponed
UDL HOLDINGS LTD: Creditors meeting postponed


* I N D O N E S I A *

PT ASTRA INT'L: IBRA plans open tender for Astra stake
PT ASTRA INT'L: Bhakti May Bid for Astra Stake


* J A P A N *

DAIEI HOLDING CORP.: To post 19.3B Yen loss on share sale
MITSUBISHI MOTORS: Stock in transition
NICHIEI CO.: Punished for loan harassment
NIPPON CREDIT BANK: Softbank-led group heads race to buy
NISSAN DIESEL MOTORS: Eyes cost-cutting in procurement


* K O R E A *

DAEWOO GROUP: Investors to redeem 95% of bonds
DAEWOO MOTOR CO.: Invitations to bid to be mailed out
DAEWOO MOTOR: Restructuring chief sets out bidding terms
KORAM BANK: Pushing to issue DRs worth W500 bil.
KOREA HEAVY INDUS.: Faces major loss in Daewoo debacle
SAMSUNG MOTORS: Renault official to visit Korea for talks


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

BW RESOURCES CORP.: Ho given clean bill
BW RESOURCES CORP.: Ho's pullout won't stir the PSE
EXPRESS TELECOM.CO.: Millicom denies BayanTel claims
UNIWIDE HOLDINGS INC.: Signs asset-swap pact to pay debts
VICTORIAS MILLING CO.: Only 2 firms prequalify for auction
WATERFRONT HOTELS: MCIAA to sue W'front hotels


* S I N G A P O R E *

CLOB INT'L: CLOB plan could be close
LEWIS & PEAT: Rubber dealer goes under


* T H A I L A N D *

iTV PUBLIC CO LTD: Thaksin plans takeover
SIAM INFOTAINMENT CO.: Cabinet allows increasing ITV Stake
THAI PETROCHEMICAL INDUS.: To raise $1.2B for restructuring
THAI PETROCHEMICAL INDUS.: Expects debts gone after deal


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

KEL HOLDINGS LTD: Creditors meeting postponed
UDL HOLDINGS LTD: Creditors meeting postponed
---------------------------------------------
Further to the joint announcement dated 14 December 1999,
the respective boards of directors of UDL Holdings Limited
(incorporated in Bermuda with limited liability, "UDL") and
KEL Holdings Limited (incorporated in Bermuda with limited
liability, "KEL"), a 75% subsidiary of UDL, wish to
announce that at the court hearing held on 1 February 2000
in respect of the originating summons to convene a
creditors' meeting regarding a proposed creditors' scheme
of arrangement with the High Court of the Hong Kong Special
Administrative Region (the "Scheme") by UDL Kenworth
Engineering Limited ("Kenworth"), a wholly-owned subsidiary
of KEL, the Judge has adjourned the proceedings to a
further hearing to be held on 22 February 2000.

It should be noted that terms of the Scheme have not yet
been finalised and the Scheme may or may not proceed. The
boards of UDL and KEL further confirm that no material
change have occurred since the last announcement dated 14
December 1999.

Save as disclosed herein, the boards of UDL and KEL are not
aware of any other matter discloseable under the general
obligation imposed by paragraph 2 of the Listing Agreement,
which is or may be of a price-sensitive nature.

Meanwhile shareholders of UDL and KEL should exercise
caution when dealing in the shares of UDL and KEL. Further
announcement will be made when there is any material
development regarding the above matter.  (Stock Exchange Of
Hong Kong  02-Feb-2000)


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

PT ASTRA INT'L: IBRA plans open tender for Astra stake
------------------------------------------------------
The Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) confirmed
on Tuesday it did not extend its controversial agreement
with Newbridge/Gilbert investor consortium but will invite
bids for its 40 percent stake in PT Astra International
instead.

IBRA spokesman Franklin Richard told reporters that the
U.S. investor group led by Newbridge Capital and Gilbert
Global Equity Partners is no longer the preferred bidder
and other investors soon would have a chance to acquire the
stake through open bidding.

"No, we did not extend our exclusivity agreement with
Newbridge/Gilbert that ended on Monday; but they are free
to take part in the open tender," Franklin said.

He declined to discuss reasons behind the move, but
informed sources said the main factor seemed to be
Newbridge/Gilbert's failure to deposit a 30 percent up
front payment to an escrow account to support its
commitment.  Franklin said technical details for the open
tender would be announced shortly after the return of IBRA
chief Cacuk Sudarijanto, now in Europe as a member of
President Abdurrahman Wahid's entourage.

Meanwhile, French and Philippine groups have reportedly
notified IBRA of their interest in participating in an open
tender for the Astra shares.  France-based Lazard Freres &
Co., along with its financial adviser, Credit Lyonnais,
leads one of the two new groups. The other interested party
is Philippine businessman John Gokongwei of JG Summit
Holdings Inc. and his financial adviser, Goldman Sachs of
the U.S.

Separately Astra president Rini Soewandi was quoted on
Tuesday as saying that financier George Soros and PT Bhakti
Investama had also approached IBRA with a bid to buy the
stake.  Soros' Quantum Fund has a minority stake in Bhakti.
However, Newbridge/Gilbert has not been officially notified
of the termination of the agreement, according to a local
adviser to the investor group.

"But if true, the move would be detrimental to foreign
investor interests in IBRA assets," the adviser said,
adding that Newbridge/Gilbert had thus far spent over
US$800,000 for negotiations and preparations for due
diligence, which was put on hold. The investor group
claimed the due diligence was obstructed by Astra
management and the securities watchdog (Bapepam).

IBRA, under pressure to sell its Astra shares before the
end of March, in order to meet its target of Rp 17 trillion
(US$2.2 billion) for the state budget, chose
Newbridge/Gilbert last month as the preferred bidder with a
floor price of Rp 3,750 per share.

However, most analysts and the Astra management have
attacked the selection of Newbridge/Gilbert for its lack of
transparency, saying that an open competitive bid would be
the best way to get the highest value for the Astra shares.
Negotiations with Astra's management have turned
increasingly acrimonious as it refused to answer hundreds
of detailed questions from Newbridge/Gilbert, saying the
information requested was proprietary and sensitive and
could be used by competitors.

Astra management has denied it obstructed the process of
due diligence, saying that it asked only for a
confidentiality agreement to protect the interests of the
company, other shareholders and Astra directors themselves
for any legal consequences arising from divulging
proprietary information.

Frustrated with the process, IBRA proposed that Astra's
extraordinary shareholders meeting next week
replace the current Astra management to facilitate the due
diligence.  IBRA said on Tuesday that the expiration of the
agreement with Newbridge/Gilbert would not affect Astra's
extraordinary shareholders meeting next Tuesday where the
agency would ask for the replacement of the Astra
management to facilitate the sale of its stake in Astra,
Indonesia's largest automobile company. (The Jakarta Post
02-Feb-2000)

PT ASTRA INT'L: Bhakti May Bid for Astra Stake
----------------------------------------------
PT Bhakti Investama, an Indonesian venture-capital fund
partnered with George Soros's Quantum Fund of the U.S.,
said it's seeking to make a bid for the Indonesian
government's 40% stake in PT Astra International, the
country's largest auto maker.

Bhati's president director, Hary Tanoesoedibjo, wouldn't
say, however, if Bhakti was planning to come in alone or as
part of a larger group. "We might be an independent with
our friends and partners from offshore," said Mr.
Tanoesoedibjo.

The Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency chose a U.S.
investor group led by Gilbert Global Equity Partners and
Newbridge Capital Ltd. as its preferred bidder to purchase
the government's stake in Astra. A conflict between the
U.S. consortium and Astra's management, however, has
impaired the American investors from completing a due
diligence study.

Officials at IBRA said the agency hadn't yet decided on
whether to extend an exclusivity contract with Gilbert
Global and Newbridge, which was sdue to expire Monday.
Already two other groups have approached IBRA to express
interest in entering into an open tender for the Astra
shares, say officials close to the negotiations. A unit of
France-based Lazard Freres & Co., along with its financial
adviser, Credit Lyonnais, leads of one of the two new
groups. The other interested party is Philippine
businessman John Gokongwei of JG Summit Holdings Inc. and
his financial adviser, Goldman Sachs of the U.S.

Bhakti Investama is a publicly traded company that is 15%
owned by the Quantum Fund. The partners have taken stakes
in two Indonesian companies - PT Bank Century Intervest
Corp. and cigarette maker PT Bentoel - over the past two
years. Mr. Tanoesoedibjo said the couldn't comment on
speculation that Bhakti Investama would team up with the
Gokongwei-Goldman Sachs group to bid for Astra. "This is
confidential," Mr. Tanoesoedibjo said. (The Asian Wall
Street Journal  01-Feb-2000)


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

DAIEI HOLDING CORP.: To post 19.3B Yen loss on share sale
---------------------------------------------------------
Daiei Holding Corp., a holding company of the Daiei Inc.
(8263) group, will post about 19.3 billion yen in losses on
sales of 17.6 million Daiei shares in the year ending
February, company sources said Tuesday.

The 17.6 million shares, or 2.43% of Daiei's total
outstanding shares, were sold for about 8 billion yen on
the stock market in late January.

A real estate company under the umbrella of Daiei Holding
bought all of the shares, pushing its stake in Daiei up to
3.95%. This includes the 2.89 million shares it bought when
Daiei liquidated its Hawaii-based subsidiary that had
operated the Ala Moana shopping mall.

Although Daiei Holding was the largest shareholder of Daiei
with a 6.54% stake, the sale brought the company's interest
down to 4.07%. As a result, the Fukuoka Dome, home of the
Fukuoka Daiei Hawks professional baseball team, is now the
biggest Daiei shareholder with a 6% stake.

Daiei Holding hopes to improve its finances by realizing
latent losses on its Daiei shares, ahead of the
introduction in fiscal 2000 of a market-price accounting
method, the sources said. (Nikkei  01-Feb-2000)

MITSUBISHI MOTORS: Stock in transition
--------------------------------------
The share price of Mitsubishi Motors Corp. (7211) bottomed
out at 305 yen on Jan. 12, and then rallied to 450 yen on
Jan. 24, before once again sinking below 400 yen.

Domestic institutional and overseas investors bought the
issue on reports of progress in tie-up negotiations with a
foreign automaker, and selling was triggered when a top
Mitsubishi executive denied the news.

The deterioration in Mitsubishi's earnings is also
promoting sales of the issue. Sales for the month of
January are estimated to have slid 10.6% on the year, for a
17th straight month of year-on-year declines.  Mitsubishi
racked up a consolidated pretax loss of 27.2 billion yen
for the fiscal half ended September.

The automaker anticipates a recovery, mainly in trucks, for
the second half, and is eyeing a fiscal 1999 loss of 5
billion yen. But there are concerns that the red ink may
balloon.  Mitsubishi on Dec. 24 unveiled a midterm
management plan, but "the contents are lacking in
persuasiveness," contends Nomura Securities Co. analyst
Seiji Sugiura.  The plan calls for a consolidated pretax
profit of 20 billion yen for fiscal 2000 and a profit of
150 billion yen for fiscal 2003.

Analysts say that for its share price to stage a
wholehearted recovery, Mitsubishi needs to complete a
restructuring plan by wielding an ax.  To give the company
the flexibility needed to make progress in restructuring,
Mitsubishi "must clean up and trim the board, which has
nearly 40 directors," asserts Morgan Stanley Dean Witter
Japan Ltd. analyst Noriaki Hirakata.  (Nikkei  02-Feb-2000)

NICHIEI CO.: Punished for loan harassment
-----------------------------------------
Nichiei Co. (8577), a nonbank lender specializing in high-
interest loans to small businesses, has been punished for
harassing its borrowers with nasty manners, but the woes of
the cash-strapped clients of Nichiei and other so-called
"shoko" lenders remain unalleviated.

The banking regulators has ordered Nichiei to suspend part
of its operations at its head and branch offices on
Thursday. Nichiei President Kazuo Matsuda denied in a Diet
testimony any organized illegal practices. But the Tokyo
District Court took the company to task for its strong-arm
approach to debt collection in a ruling that convicted a
former Nichiei employee.

The administrative punishment was a clear warning to the
entire money lending industry. It showed money lenders
behaving like loan sharks, even with deadbeat borrowers,
could be forced to pay dearly for their wrongdoings.
Moneylenders engaged in shady debt collection practices
should take a cue from the authorities' action to mend
their ways.

Regulations on shoko commercial loan suppliers have been
tightened in response to the public outcry against their
intimidating ways of extracting payment from their
borrowers. The legal maximum interest rate has been lowered
to 29.2 percent from 40.004 percent. Punishment for illegal
debt collection practices have been enhanced.

Concerning the risky revolving loan guarantee, or continued
guarantee for a series of loans a borrower receives from a
specific lender, the lenders are now required to notify the
guarantor every time a new loan is extended to the
borrower.

Following media reports on horror stories about insolvent
borrowers and public criticism they provoked, these lenders
have also started redressing their own wrong practices. The
industry organization of nonbank lenders has established
self-imposed restrictions on debt collection practices and
a guideline for revolving guarantee.

While the shoko loan lenders are getting disciplined, the
fortune of their small business borrowers are not improving
significantly. These firms' hardship in raising funds is at
the root of the problem. Big banks have never been willing
to lend to small businesses. And credit associations and
cooperatives, the traditional main lenders for these firms,
can't supply sufficient credit because of massive bad debts
on their books. The shoko loans have simply filled the gap.

Securing stable flow of funds to small businesses demands a
mixture of steps, including the creation of a junk bond
market and pressure on banks to extend more loans to them.
Without such effort, cracking down on the shoko lenders
would make things no better for tiny outfits. (Nikkei  31-
Jan-2000)

NIPPON CREDIT BANK: Softbank-led group heads race to buy
--------------------------------------------------------
A consortium of domestic companies led by Softbank Corp.
(9984), Tokio Marine & Fire insurance Co. (8751) and Orix
Corp. (8591), has apparently taken the lead in the race to
acquire the nationalized Nippon Credit Bank, sources close
to the Financial Reconstruction Commission said Tuesday.

Of four candidates to take over NCB, two -- the French bank
Paribas and the U.S. investment bank Lehman Brothers Inc. -
- have effectively withdrawn, leaving only the Softbank-
Tokio Marine-Orix alliance and U.S. investment fund
Cerberus Group still in the running.

At this point, the Softbank-led consortium and the Cerberus
Group are not far apart in the purchase prices they have
bid, but the FRC is said to favor the proposal by the
Softbank group.

The FRC plans to unofficially designate the winning bidder
in mid-February, clearing the way for the acquisition to
take place as early as April.  The FRC is focusing on two
key issues in selecting a buyer to take over NCB: how to
keep the public cost of the cleanup to the lowest level
possible and the viability of post-takeover business plans.

The Cerberus Group's bid was initially tens of billions of
yen larger than the Softbank group's, but Softbank and its
partners later revised their offer upperward, putting the
two almost on an even footing.

The business plans are likely to determine the outcome,
analysts say.  Under the blueprint outlined by the Softbank
group, Softbank would hold just over a 40% equity stake in
NCB, with the Orix group taking a combined 20% share and
Tokio Marine a 15% stake. Regional Japanese banks and
foreign-affiliated financial institutions would be invited
to contribute smaller equity investments.

The new bank would move aggressively into the venture
capital arena, extending loans to and making investments in
start-up companies that traditional banks avoid. The bank
would also harness information technology to strengthen its
retail operations.

The Cerberus Group, in contrast, aims to earn a profit by
retaking NCB public after putting the bank back on a solid
footing.  Cerberus emphasizes that it is not a vulture fund
out to turn a quick profit after investing in the bank for
less than a year, but as demonstrated by the sale of Long-
Term Credit Bank of Japan to the U.S. investment fund
Ripplewood Holdings LLC, some political opposition is
likely.

Aiming to soften any opposition by teaming up with Japanese
partners, Cerberus has sounded out Ito-Yokado Co. (8264)
and others about joining the bid, but so far nothing has
been arranged. (Nikkei  02-Feb-2000)

NISSAN DIESEL MOTORS: Eyes cost-cutting in procurement
------------------------------------------------------
Faced with the ongoing slump in the truck market, Nissan
Diesel Motor Co. (7210) aims to trim its purchasing costs
by 20% by fiscal 2002.

The firm, which has booked operating losses for two years
in a row, explained its plans at a meeting attended by 600
of its suppliers. It has also formed a 50-member task force
to deal exclusively with cost reductions.

Nissan Diesel is trying to improve the health of its
balance sheet with support from main shareholders Nissan
Motor Co. (7201) and Renault SA, as well as from Industrial
Bank of Japan (8302) and other banks. It is also pursuing
the cost-cutting efforts of its own accord.

Purchasing costs totaled 165 billion yen in fiscal 1998, or
76% of total sales, but the company aims to lower the ratio
to 65% in the long term. The task force will discuss ways
to achieve this goal but admits it will be difficult to
adopt a procurement system similar to that of Nissan Motor.
(Nikkei  01-Feb-2000)


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

DAEWOO GROUP: Investors to redeem 95% of bonds
----------------------------------------------
Having implemented a liquidity support package totaling
55.8 trillion won for investment trust companies (ITCs),
the financial authority said yesterday retail investors
will be allowed to redeem Daewoo Group bonds at 95 percent
of their values starting today.

ITCs were supposed to start applying the 95 percent
redemption rate, up from the present 80 percent, on Feb. 8.
The Financial Supervisory Commission said the date will be
advanced to tomorrow for retail investors to avoid the
expected crowding at ITC counters on Feb. 8 and after. For
corporate investors, however, 95 percent redemption will
start Feb. 8 as announced.

Economic ministers are to announce the completion of
preparations for Daewoo bond redemption and the change in
the redemption schedule at a policy coordination meeting
today.  The commission said ITCs have stacked up a total of
25 trillion won in cash. They will be provided with outside
support amounting to 10.9 trillion won. On top of that, the
Bank of Korea and commercial banks have set aside 19.9
trillion won as a second line of defense.

The government has already injected two trillion won in
Korea Investment Trust Corp. and Daehan Investment Trust
Corp. It will also have the Bond Market Stabilization Fund
purchase 2.7 trillion won worth of collateralized bond
obligations (CBOs) from the two ITCs and Hyundai Investment
Trust Corp. between Feb. 2 and 7.

Korea Asset Management Corp. will purchase today unsecured
Daewoo bonds amounting to 18.6 trillion won in face value
for 6.2 trillion won.  ITCs have concluded repurchase
agreements (RPs) totaling 5.7 trillion won with commercial
banks. The Bank of Korea is also ready to purchase 14.2
trillion won worth of bonds issued by the state and other
public corporations in case the ITCs run short of cash.

"We have implemented water-proof preparations for Daewoo
bond redemptions to make sure that no crisis occurs on Feb.
8," a commission official said.

What remains worrisome is the flow of the redeemed money.
People are shunning long-term deposits and operating their
money on a short-term basis because of the uncertainties in
the financial market. Lack of available long-term funds
spells trouble for companies.  (Korea Herald  01-Feb-2000)

DAEWOO MOTOR CO.: Invitations to bid to be mailed out
-----------------------------------------------------
Korea Development Bank plans to send letters of invitation
- possibly as soon as this week - to bidders wishing to
take over ailing Daewoo Motor Co., a bank official said.

The official said General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co.,
Daimler Chrysler AG and Fiat ApA have expressed interest in
taking over Daewoo Motor. Among domestic entities, Hyundai
Motor CO. and the Korea Federation of Small Business have
showed interest.  The bank, which plans to sign a final
contract to sell Daewoo Motor by the end of June, hasn't
disclosed the targeted sale price. (The Asian Wall Street
Journal  31-Jan-2000)

DAEWOO MOTOR: Restructuring chief sets out bidding terms
--------------------------------------------------------
The effect on the nation's auto industry and employment
situation will be key factors in singling out the
successful bidder for Daewoo Motor, a top restructuring
officer said yesterday.

Oh Ho-keun, chairman of the Corporate Restructuring
Coordination Committee (CRCC), said the government and
creditors will put the long-term impact on the domestic
auto industry, commitment to job security and debt
assumption before the takeover price.

"The buyer of Daewoo Motor will be selected in
consideration of the benefits to Daewoo Motor, as well as
to the entire national economy," said Oh in a meeting with
reporters.

In line with other top regulators, including Minister of
Finance and Economy Lee Hun-jai, Oh seems to be leaning
toward foreign acquisition of the Daewoo carmaker, saying
that now is the time to open Korea's auto industry to
foreign competition.

"Of course domestic and foreign bidders will be granted
equal opportunities in the bidding procedures. But some
economists' claims that foreign control of Daewoo Motor
will destroy local car and car-parts manufacturing
industries are illogical," he said.

Aiming to complete Daewoo's sale by the end of the first
half, Oh also said that jeep-SUV specialist Ssangyong
Motor, a Daewoo Group company, will be sold in a package
deal with Daewoo Motor. (Korea Herald  01-Feb-2000)

KORAM BANK: Pushing to issue DRs worth W500 bil.
------------------------------------------------
KorAm Bank will push ahead with its plan to issue
depositary receipts (DRs) worth 500 billion won ($444
million) overseas, even if Germany's Deutsche Bank refuses
to buy them, unlike in an earlier agreement, a KorAm
executive said yesterday.

"We have not received any official notice from the German
Bank that it will pull out of the deal to buy KorAm's DRs,"
said the executive on condition of anonymity. "Even if
Deutsche Bank drops its bid, KorAm will push for the
overseas issuance of DRs as planned."

His remark came a day after the German Bank reportedly
announced its withdrawal from the investment syndicate for
acquiring a stake in KorAm.  The executive said that KorAm
is contacting other foreign financial institutions
concerning the overseas issuance of its DRs. However, he
refused to say which foreign financial firms are interested
in acquiring a stake in the bank.

On Jan. 8 of this year, KorAm announced that the German
bank agreed to take over a controlling 36 percent stake by
buying its DRs worth 500 billion won at 9,000 won per
share. A DR is a certificate of ownership.  One day later,
however, Deutsche Bank denied KorAm's announcement, saying
that it has not struck any written agreement with the
Korean bank regarding the investment deal.

Currently, the Bank of America (BOA), the Samsung Group and
the Daewoo Group each hold a 16.8 percent interest in the
joint-venture bank. The issuance of 500 billion won worth
of DRs will lower their stake to 10.7 percent each. (Korea
Herald  02-Feb-2000)

KOREA HEAVY INDUS.: Faces major loss in Daewoo debacle
------------------------------------------------------
Hanjung (Korea Heavy Industries & Construction) currently
cannot withdraw W80 billion worth of the W200 billion worth
of CP (commercial papers) it had bought from Daewoo last
year it was reported Monday. The Ministry of Commerce,
Industry & Energy (MOCIE) announced that Hanjung had bought
W200 billion worth of CPs from Daewoo under instructions
from Hanjung's president Yun Yung-shik, who had worked for
30 years at Daewoo, but has not been able to withdraw W80
billion.

A spokesperson from MOCIE stated that Daewoo was already in
a financial difficulty when Hanjung bought the CPs and
although it had immediately instructed Daewoo to withdraw
all of Daewoo's bonds, total withdrawal was not
accomplished. Regarding this matter Hanjung's spokesperson
said that Daewoo Heavy Industries (DHI) was one of its
clients and that it had bought Daewoo's CPs in an effort to
assist DHI. (Digital Chosun  31-Jan-2000)

SAMSUNG MOTORS: Renault official to visit Korea for talks
---------------------------------------------------------
A top-level Renault executive is scheduled to visit Seoul
in the middle of this month for talks on the purchase of
Samsung Motors. The trip is expected to speed up
negotiations as Renault's on-site inspection will be
completed around Feb. 20, sources said yesterday.

"Renault's high-level manager, second only to Chairman
Louis Schweitzer, will visit Korea in the middle or later
this month," said a Samsung Group official. Industry
sources are expecting the Renault official to suggest
more concrete terms of purchase including price.

The price is the most difficult matter to resolve as
Renault has reportedly offered 400 billion won ($355
million), whereas Samsung and creditors are asking for more
than 1 trillion won, said the sources.  They predicted the
sale of Samsung will be concluded by the end of March. (The
Korea Herald  02-Feb-2000)


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

BW RESOURCES CORP.: Ho given clean bill
---------------------------------------
Macau gambling tycoon Stanley Ho is "clean."  The clearance
yesterday came from no less than President Estrada, who
dismissed as baseless allegations that Ho was involved in
criminal activities.

The President issued the clearance a day after Ho canceled
a trip to Manila for the inauguration of his floating Jumbo
Palace restaurant amid criticisms of his activities.

"These are based on rumors. Show me the documents that this
Mr. Stanley Ho is really a criminal or has a criminal
record . . . We have no evidence," the President said in a
press conference.

After the press conference, Deputy Director General Panfilo
Lacson, chief of the Philippine National Police, told
reporters that the PNP could not find anything against Ho.

"There's nothing" based on the feedback that the PNP had
received from its foreign counterparts, the Interpol and
the different embassies, Lacson said.  Ho said Sunday he
canceled his trip to attend the blessing of his Jumbo
Palace because of "bitter and cynical" allegations against
him, which he said were "groundless."

The House of Representatives has initiated a move to
investigate his alleged links to crime gangs in Hong Kong,
prompting him last week to announce that he may pull out of
the country altogether.  A congressman has also linked him
to an illegal campaign contribution to Democratic Party
candidates, including President Bill Clinton.

As if these were not enough, gaming firm BW Resources is
being investigated for stock manipulation and insider
trading by its executives, including Dante Tan, a donor to
Mr. Estrada's 1998 presidential campaign.

Ho, credited for transforming Macau into Asia's gambling
center, took over as chair of BW Resources in October last
year after reportedly buying a 10-percent stake.  The Macau
gambling tycoon is reportedly forming a holding company to
implement the expansion plans of BW Resources.  Ho on
Sunday said that he was looking forward to having his "good
name cleared" and that he was taking legal advice regarding
the press coverage of him.

In the press conference, the President said Ho's experience
may scare off foreign investors.  "We have invited all
foreign investors to come here. And before accusing any
investor, you must have documents instead of scaring away
foreign investors," Mr. Estrada said.

The President reiterated that Ho's floating restaurant
would not be turned into a casino.  "As I've said, I
allowed that only for the purpose of a floating restaurant,
to attract tourists," he said. The Catholic Church has
warned that the Jumbo Palace could become a front for
casino operations.

In Davao City, Robinson Montalba, chair of the Promotion of
Church People's Response-Southern Mindanao, said Ho's
decision to cancel his trip to Manila was a "blessing for
the country."

Montalba said Ho's investments in gambling enterprises like
BW Resources were "counter-productive businesses" as these
would produce only vices.  While the rich Chinese wined and
dined inside the floating restaurant Sunday night, ordinary
folk, mostly Filipinos, stood out in the cold to catch a
glimpse of the newest attraction in Manila Bay.
(Philippine Daily Inquirer  01-Feb-2000)

BW RESOURCES CORP.: Ho's pullout won't stir the PSE
---------------------------------------------------
Hongkong-based business tycoon Stanley Ho's plans to pull
out his floating restaurant in Manila de Bay would not
create any movement in the Philippine Stock Exchange.

Economist Amparo Pamela Fabe said Ho's planned pullout
would not disturb the stock exchange in the country in any
way unless he had poured in millions of dollars into the
manufacturing business.  The stock exchange is only
expected to rally when Ho would put in a significant amount
of money in several industries, Fabe said.

The ongoing give-and-take between President Estrada and SEC
chief Perfecto Yasay has somehow made Ho entertain second
thoughts about pouring in money into the country coupled
with moves by Congress to invite him for questioning to
clear up allegations linking him to a HongKong drug
syndicate.

"If I am unwelcome and if President Estrada says `Stanley
Ho, I will not encourage you to invest here anymore,' then
I will go," Ho said earlier.  He added that " I have never
been attacked like this. It is rediculous. How could you
think of me having made so much money and then go into
drugs. Ridiculous," Ho said.

Ho's initial investments in the country are his 10-percent
stake (equivalent to $30 million) in the gambling firm BW
Resources Corp. and his $600 million Jumbo Palace floating
restaurant docked behind the Folk Arts Theater in Manila.
BOth investments have become controversial.

BW Resources is being investigated after its share soared
to P107 in October from only P2 in January 1999 on news
that Ho had accepted BW owner Dante Tan's offer to be its
chair.  Tan was a donor to Estrada's campaign kitty in
1998. (The Freeman  01-Feb-2000)

EXPRESS TELECOM.CO.: Millicom denies BayanTel claims
----------------------------------------------------
Millicom International Corp. denied yesterday allegations
of Bayan Telecommunications Inc. (BayanTel) that it is
preventing the latter from taking part in the management of
Express Telecommunications Co.

At the same time, David Harris, Express Telecom chairman,
reaffirmed Millicom's commitment to the company despite its
lackluster performance in the last several years.  Harris
stressed that contrary to allegations of BayanTel, all key
decisions related to the development of Express Telecom's
business continue to be taken jointly with the full
involvement of the shareholders.

In fact, he said that there are working teams from BayanTel
and Express Telecom, with the support of Millicom in
Singapore, which are looking at specific opportunities to
enhance and strengthen the business.  Likewise, he said
that the shareholders have discussed and endorsed the
Express Telecom system plans for 2000 and beyond.

"In the past 12-18 months, there is a very strong working
relationship (between BayanTel and Millicom). There was not
a decision made by the board without the knowledge of the
shareholders. That is to show that there is participation
of all parties in the decision-making and operations of the
company," Harris said.

Earlier, BayanTel president Rodolfo Salazar complained of
Millicom's refusal to allow the Lopez-owned firm to help in
managing Express Telecom despite having poured in about P6
billion in the cellular phone company.  BayanTel even
publicly announced its desire to give up its 46.6-percent
stake in Express Telecom or buy out the shares of Millicom
totalling 40 percent. The remaining shares are being held
by Mayon Holdings of GMA network and several individuals.

However, BayanTel is placed at a no-win situation since
nobody is interested in Express Telecom which is currently
working for the restructuring of its P2-billion debt while
Millicom is unlikely to leave the firm.

"We are committed to the Philippines and to providing low
cost, value-added telecommunications services to all our
customers. Our intention is to continue investing in and
developing our business, particularly in the area of
prepaid services," Harris stressed.

Although Harris admitted that Millicom is not happy with
the overall financial performance of Express Telecom, he
said that they continue to see the potential in the market
based on what the present management has achieved so far as
well as on the trends happening in the industry.

"Millicom is very resilient. If we leave every market where
we encounter difficulties then we will not be successful.
We believe in the fundamentals of this market and we see a
positive development in where we are," he said. (The
Philippine Star  02-Feb-2000)

UNIWIDE HOLDINGS INC.: Signs asset-swap pact to pay debts
---------------------------------------------------------
While in the thick of discussions with a strategic foreign
investor, Uniwide Holdings Inc. has been continuing efforts
to trim down its debts through asset swap agreements with
creditors.  UW yesterday informed the Philippine Stock
Exchange that it has entered into a memorandum of agreement
on Jan. 28 with the East Asia Corp. to settle loan
obligations amounting to P60.4 million.

"The said move was made to facilitate the implementation of
UW's proposed rehabilitation plan which includes a dacion
en pago proposal submitted earlier to the Securities and
Exchange Commission," UW said in the disclosure. "The MOA
will take effect upon the approval by the SEC of the said
arrangement with East Asia," UW said.

This developed as sources said the Uniwide group would
finish the negotiations with a French group as a strategic
foreign investor for its warehouse operations before the
end of February.  At the same time, sources said UW was
likewise negotiating with DBS Land, which is affiliated
with the Development Bank of Singapore, for the sale of its
Metromall in Alabang for around P1.5 billion.

The Uniwide group earlier sought relief with the SEC for
its P10 billion worth of debts to various creditor-banks.
Now placed under SEC receivership, a rehabilitation plan
was mapped out seeking P1.5 billion in fresh equity
infusion to make the company viable again.  Under the
rehabilitation plan, the Uniwide group was supposed to
dispose the maximum amount of non-core assets to reduce
debts.

Earlier, the group's affiliate company, First Paragon
Corp., likewise sold its 24-hour convenience store chain to
I-Mart International Corp., thereby reducing the franchise
fee revenue of the Uniwide group.  The group likewise
recently gave up its 112.865-square meter property for its
Dreamworld theme park in Naic, Cavite, as part of a dacion
en pago or asset swap deal with United Coconut Planters
Bank, one of its biggest creditors. The deal also covered
two other Uniwide properties, one located in Kalookan City
and the other in Baclaran. (Philippine Daily Inquirer  02-
Feb-2000)

VICTORIAS MILLING CO.: Only 2 firms prequalify for auction
----------------------------------------------------------
Only two of the interested companies may eventually slug it
out for majority ownership of ailing sugar firm Victorias
Milling Co. (VMC), BusinessWorld learned yesterday.

An industry source yesterday said only Cargill Philippines,
Inc. and RCBC Capital Corp. have qualified for the
scheduled auction for 53.35% of VMC.  Cargill Philippines,
a local subsidiary of multinational agribusiness firm
Cargill USA, is involved in coconut oil production, seed
production and research as well as commodity trading in the
country.

RCBC Capital, meanwhile, is the investment arm of RCBC
(Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.). The Yuchengco family,
which owns RCBC, is also involved in agribusiness,
construction, manufacturing and trading.

The source, who requested anonymity, said the VMC
management committee (mancom) has already informed the two
firms that they have met all required prequalification
requirements.

"Only the two out of five (interested bidders) submitted
documentary requirements for the pre-bidding process," the
source said.  "The mancom has already officially notified
the two that they have prequalified for the bidding," the
source added.

The mancom, which is made of up VMC's creditor banks and
selected company officials, is tasked to oversee the
rehabilitation of VMC which is saddled with a five-billion-
peso (US$123.2 million at PhP40.568:US$1) debt.  The
deadline for the prequalification of interested bidders
lapsed last Monday.

Apart from Cargill and RCBC Capital, three other companies
formally signified their intent to participate in the
planned share auction. However, these companies --
Binalbagan-Isabela Sugar Company (Biscom) owned by sugar
magnate and singer Jose Mari Chan, JG Summit Holdings, Inc.
of business tycoon John Gokongwei, Jr., and Alliance Global
Group, Inc. (AGGI) which is 35% owned by George Yang --
reportedly did not submit pre-qualification documents to
the mancom.

The source said Cargill and RCBC may start their respective
due diligence audits on VMC today or tomorrow as scheduled
under VMC's rehabilitation plan approved by the Securities
and Exchange Commission (SEC).

"It (due diligence audit) is supposed to start either on
the third or the fourth (this month)... A secretariat at
VMC's office in Bacolod is now ready to help (interested
bidders) with data on production capacity as well as
financial records," the source said.

VMC, which is now ISO-certified, is considered the
country's largest sugar mill capable of processing as much
as 12,000 metric tons of sugarcane daily.  If both Cargill
and RCBC finally decide not to submit bids for VMC, the
source noted, the mancom will devise an alternative
rehabilitation plan which will now apply new SEC rules on
"corporate recovery."

In preparation for the sale of majority control of VMC, the
mancom recently created a three-member bidding committee to
oversee the actual implementation of the firm's bidding
guidelines. In a letter to the SEC yesterday, the VMC
mancom said it formally created last January 25, a bidding
committee composed of VMC chairman Manuel B. Ma¤alac,
Gerardo B. Anonas and Gavino C. Jacinto.

The newly created bidding committee will act as a sub-
committee of the VMC mancom and will have the authority to
oversee the actual implementation of the bidding
guidelines.  VMC's creditor banks are scheduled to auction
off 567 million new shares to interested bidders on March
20 at a minimum price tag of PhP567 million ($14 million).
(Business World  02-Feb-2000)

WATERFRONT HOTELS: MCIAA to sue W'front hotels
----------------------------------------------
The Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority is
preparing to sue the Waterfront Hotel, in Mactan and Lahug,
for unsettled debts that run to an estimated P11 million.

The amount represents unpaid land rentals as well as other
obligations of the two Waterfront hotels which are
presently occupying MCIAA-owned lots.  As a consequence of
uncollected payments from its big locators, at least three
infrastructure projects of MCIAA have suffered delays.
MCIAA board officials claimed the hotel management appears
to be deliberately evading payment.

The Waterfront is renting 48,481 square meters of
government property in Lahug and 32,862 square meters of
lot in Mactan at P1.5 million and P1.8 million respectively
every quarter.  MCIAA finance committee chairperson
Cristeta Truya said at least three demand letters have
already been served to Waterfront. The last notice of
collection was sent last January 27 which gave Waterfront
five days to settle its debts.

The Freeman tried to reach Waterfront officials for comment
but was told that the hotel's vice president for finance as
well as the general manager were not available for
interview.  The two Waterfront officials were reportedly in
a meeting as of presstime late afternoon yesterday.

The two hotels were previously owned by Malaysian hotelier
Chua Ma Yu before he sold it to businessman Sherwin
Gatchalian, son of "plastic king" William Gatchalian, in
February last year.  Truya, however, said the new
management failed to settle the hotels' debts last December
as promised.

Truya said Waterfront had asked for an extension last year
reportedly because the new owner "inherited messy financial
records."  Aside from lot rentals and quarterly remittance
of two percent of its gross income to MCIAA, Waterfront
also failed to pay over P2 million in Expanded Value Added
Tax.  The two percent covers MCIAA's share in the hotels'
revenues in occupancy, food and beverages, shows, concerts,
conventions and rentals of concessionaires.

According to Truya, the board had exerted maximum tolerance
in collecting the amount but to no avail.  Records from the
finance department of the MCIAA show that Waterfront Mactan
owes MCIAA P1.848 million in lot rental, covering the last
quarter, and an estimated P4 million in other obligations
for the whole of 1999.

It has also a standing P2.2 million unpaid EVAT dating back
to December 1996 until December 1999.  The hotel in Lahug,
which began operating in January 1998, failed to pay up its
fourth quarter P1.599 million rental.  Neither was it able
to pay MCIAA's estimated P1.34 million share from the
hotel's gross income also for the last quarter.

Truya said the board had to make estimates of its two
percent share since Waterfront did not submit its income
statement for 1999. (The Freeman  01-Feb-2000)


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

CLOB INT'L: CLOB plan could be close
------------------------------------
The protracted battle between Malaysia and Singapore over a
disputed block of Malaysian shares appeared to move closer
to a resolution late Monday.

According to the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange, the Singapore
Exchange Ltd. "recognized" a proposal by a private
Malaysian group "as part of a comprehensive and
expenditious solution" to the impasse after the two sides
met Monday. The shares, which once traded over the counter
on Singapore's Central Limit Order Book system, were frozen
by Malaysia when it imposed capital controls in September
1988.

However, a senior KLSE official said the Singapore
Exchange's position is by no means a sign that a quick
solution is at hand. "We are proceeding cautiously," the
official said in a brief telephone interview, adding that
the SGX, as the Singapore Exchange is known, was still free
to recognize other private-sector proposals.

As of late Monday, the SGX hadn't issued its own statement
recognizing the plan, which was put forward by Effective
Capital Sdn. Bhd. The group calls for the phased
repatriation of the shares, valued at an estimated US$4
billion at current prices, to investors over a period of
18months. About 172,000investors - mainly Singaporeans -
own the frozen securities.

Several private Malaysian companies and individuals have
made proposals for acquiring or managing the repatriation
of the shares. But none has been formally endorsed by CLOB
shareholders or the SGX. The SGX has long maintained that
the KLSE should abide by an understanding both exchanges
reached in September 1998. Under that pact, the KLSE agreed
to facilitate the transfer of shares to the individual
investors, without any private-sector involvement.

But Monday's statement seemed to indicate a softening of
that stance. Not only did the SGX agree to recognize the
Effective Capital plan, but the KLSE also said its
Singapore counterpart has consented to distributing
documents about Effective next week.

The KLSE has said Effective Capital's plan is the only
proposal that complied with the rules of the Malaysian
exchange, and in its statement Monday reiterated that
"Effective Capital's proposal can therefore be implemented
if accepted by the CLOB investors."

Effective Capital was the first private concern to propose
solutions for the CLOB impasse, including a steeply
discounted cash offer for the shares, a close-end fund
share offer; and a plan for the phaesd repatriation of the
CLOB stock to the Malaysian market. (Effective Capital
originally suggested a three-to-five year period for
repatriating the shares, but has since slashed the period
to 18 months.

CLOB investors have overwhelmingly objected to selling
their stock at discounts to current prices, preferring
instead a plan that will allow the shares to be migrated to
the KLSE in stages before being allowed to resume trading.

The Malaysian exchange said in its statement Monday that
shares of CLOB investors who don't wish to accept Effective
Capital's proposal will be transferred to the "Minister of
Finance" after June 30. Singapore, which has said it will
consider bringing the CLOB dispute to the World Trade
Organization, is strongly against any move to confiscate
the shares. Malaysia maintains that Singapore has no
grounds to take the dispute to the WTO. (The Asian Wall
Street Journal  01-Feb-2000)

LEWIS & PEAT: Rubber dealer goes under
--------------------------------------
Natural rubber dealers Lewis & Peat Singapore and Lewis &
Peat London, parts of the Bakrie Group, have decided to
declare themselves bankrupt after failing to reach an
agreement with their creditors, led by Rabobank, to
rollover their due debt of US$60 million.

PT Bakrie Sumatera Plantations (BSP), which owns the two
companies, said on Tuesday that the management of Lewis &
Peat had also failed to find a strategic partner to save
them from bankruptcy.  As a consequence of the bankruptcy
decision, BSP said, all assets of Lewis & Peat (London and
Singapore) would be up for sale, including their open
positions in the commodity bourses which would result in
losses from the unrealized gains of $6 million.

Earlier, Lewis & Peat Connecticut, also a unit of BSP,
filed "Chapter 11" bankruptcy in the United States.
The three Lewis & Peat companies form the Lewis & Peat
Group.  BSP said the bankruptcy of the Lewis & Peat Group
would automatically write off all of its capital in the
rubber dealer group.

In addition, BSP would have to book a provision of Rp 60
billion ($8.2 million) for the carrying value of its
investment in Lewis & Peat Singapore and London.
BSP would also have to book another provision of Rp 50
billion to cover the current obligations of Lewis & Peat
Connecticut.  Those provisions will be reported in the
company's 1999 profit and loss statement.

"However, those losses will not affect the company's cash
flow because the company has a lot of capital to cover the
losses," BSP said.

BSP added that the bankruptcy of the Lewis & Peat Group
would even benefit the company because it would be able to
sell its rubber directly to its customers.  The Lewis &
Peat Group sold around 25 percent of BSP's rubber last
year.  However, BSP's consolidated sales would be affected
by Lewis & Peat's bankruptcy decision.

Nevertheless, in the longer term, the disappearance of the
Lewis & Peat Group from BSP's revenue consolidation would
improve the company's profitability.  It noted that Lewis &
Peat's profit margin was only between 2 to 3 percent,
compared with BSP's profit margin of between 50 percent and
60 percent.

The Lewis & Peat group has been profitable for the last
three to four years, but ran aground late last year after
an audit revealed the use of short-term credit funds to
finance long-term projects.  The Lewis & Peat group is
independently financed by a syndicate group of banks.
As such, it will not be affected by the debt-for-equity
swap that the Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA)
helped to negotiate for the ailing Bakrie group. (The
Jakarta Post  02-Feb-2000)


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

iTV PUBLIC CO LTD: Thaksin plans takeover
-----------------------------------------
Telecom tycoon Thaksin Shinawatra is pressing ahead with
his plan to take over iTV Public Co Ltd, even though its
two major shareholders, Crown Property Bureau and Siam
Commercial Bank, prefer to keep ownership of the TV channel
in the hands of the general public, said financial sources.

A source close to the Siam Commercial Bank confirmed
rumours, which have been circulating over the past few
days, that Thaksin, who also aspires to be Thailand's prime
minister, wants to acquire a controlling stake in iTV.

"It's true that he is very interested in iTV, but the
likelihood is that the Crown Property Bureau and Siam
Commercial Bank will not sell it off to any particular
party," she said.

She said the two shareholders would like to keep iTV as a
truly independent television channel owned by the general
public.

"What they want is for the company to do an initial public
offering and distribute its stocks to the public as widely
as possible so that iTV really belongs to the public," she
added.

Thaksin, who amassed his wealth in the telecom industry, is
running to become Thailand's next prime minister as the
leader of the Thai Rak Thai Party. He is also integrating
his telecom and Internet businesses and plans to list his
flagship Shin Corp Plc on the US Nasdaq market.

His interest in iTV is not surprising given the trend
towards convergence between the telecom business and the
media and entertainment industry.

Financial sources say that iTV will need to raise capital
by another Bt800 million because its cashflow is about
Bt600 million short. But to raise new capital and to
attract new investors, it will need to change its rigid
articles of association, which bar any group or party from
holding more than 10 per cent of the company.

The articles bring iTV, which has changed its legal status
from a limited to a public company, into conflict with the
public company act. Yesterday, the Cabinet approved iTV's
proposal to amend its articles of association, paving the
way for new investors to buy into the company.

The Cabinet had to vet iTV's proposal because iTV is the TV
concessionaire of the government. The company also won
approval from the Cabinet to delay, by a further 673 days,
payment of its Bt300 million in concession fees to the
government. The payment should have been made July 3, 1998,
but a revenue shortfall and debt obligations prevented iTV
from making the payment.

The Cabinet also decided yesterday to allow iTV to amend
its concession contract with the government, particularly
the fee structure which was based on pre-crisis forecasts
of revenue potential. (The Nation  02-Feb-2000)

SIAM INFOTAINMENT CO.: Cabinet allows increasing ITV Stake
----------------------------------------------------------
The Cabinet yesterday passed a resolution to allow Siam
Infotainment Company, the operator of ITV, Thailand's only
UHF TV station, to increase its stake in ITV in order to
pay outstanding and current concession fees totalling 800
million baht.

Akkrapol Sorasuchart, spokesperson of the Prime Minister's
Office, disclosed that the permission for Siam Infotainment
to sell shares to additional interested buyers is aimed at
giving a chance for the television station to continue its
business, while paying concession fees to the government.

Siam Infotainment earlier gave told the government not
being allowed to transfer or sell its shares to individual
and institutional investors had hampered its chance to be
listed in the stock market and to seek additional funds for
development and expansion.

Siam Infotainment failed to pay the first concession fee,
but managed to pay for the second fee amounting to 400
million baht.  The first concession fee of 400 million baht
and the third fee of another 400 million baht are subject
for payment by July this year. Siam Infotainment claimed
that it could not pay the first amount of concession fee
because it had been affected by the economic crisis and the
weak baht.

Former bidders for the ITV station which included media
organization such as Thai Rath Newspaper and Grammy
Entertainment, claimed that it was unfair that ITV under
Siam Infotainment had proposed a relatively high return to
the government to make sure it would win the concession and
managed to renegotiate a fee reduction after it had won the
concession.  By the middle of last year, Siam Infotainment
was saddled with debts of around three billion baht, mainly
to is major shareholder, Siam Commercial Bank (SCB).

Under the Cabinet resolution yesterday, Siam Infotainment
is required to strictly follow the regulations of the Stock
Exchange of Thailand (SET) on the point that it must have
at least 10 legal entities as shareholders, and each with
no more than 10 percent of the paid up registered capital.
Not more than 25 percent equity is allowed for foreign
holding.

The company has offered two alternatives for equity
expansion , one through the initial public offering)
(IPO)and another by private placement (PP).  The Nation
Group was reported to have shown interest in expanding its
stake in ITV network by buying shares from Siam Commercial
Bank (SCB).  It was also reported that a giant media
organization in Singapore is interested in buying a large
portion of the Siam Infotainment stake. (Business Day  02-
Feb-2000)

THAI PETROCHEMICAL INDUS.: To raise $1.2B for restructuring
-----------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of Thai Petrochemical Industries and TPI
Polene have approved plans to raise new capital and
restructure outstanding debt.

Prachai Leoparaitana, TPI's chief executive, said the
company could now raise up to US$1.2 billion in new capital
to help repay creditors.  TPI, with debt of $3.4 billion,
is the country's largest non-performing debtor.
Restructuring talks have dragged on for more than two
years.  The plan calls for creditors to accept 840 million
shares in TPI as payment for $360 million in debt.

This would give local and foreign banks a 30% holding in
TPI, which has capital of 20 billion baht.  Creditors will
be asked to accept a haircut on their outstanding loans of
$400-600 million.  Mr Prachai said the extent to which
creditors were willing to accept a loss would affect the
amount of new capital required.  A haircut of $400 million
would see the company raise $1.2 billion in new capital,
while a cut of $600 million would reduce new capital needs
to $1 billion.

Creditors have indicated they want to take only a $400
million cut, although a formal decision is expected this
week.  TPI's financial advisers Jardine Fleming Thanakom
and Merrill Lynch Phatra have said creditors could benefit
from the larger write-down as fewer new shares would have
to be issued, reducing the dilution in value on their own
holdings after the debt-to-equity swap.

Issuing two billion new shares would reduce creditors'
holdings to 15%.  Mr Prachai said the final target was for
TPI to reduce its debt to $1.5 billion. The company's debt-
to-equity ratio after restructuring would fall from 2.6
times at the end of 1999 to 0.36 at the end of this year,
putting the industrial conglomerate into "investment
grade", he said.

TPI Polene shareholders approved the issue of new shares to
raise $180 to $270 million in new capital.  Funds would be
used to buy back existing debt from creditors at a discount
of up to 40%.  Under the plan, TPI Polene's long-term debt
would fall to 32.5 billion baht by the end of the year from
44.3 billion now, and to 14.2 billion by 2004.

Some $90 million in new capital would be reserved for
funding of the company's fourth cement production line.
Shares of TPI Polene closed at 17 baht on the SET
yesterday, unchanged, while shares of TPI also closed at
17, down 0.50 baht. (Bangkok Post  01-Feb-2000)

THAI PETROCHEMICAL INDUS.: Expects debts gone after deal
--------------------------------------------------------
Heavily leveraged Thai Petrochemical Industries (TPI) has
forecast it will clear its billions of US dollar debt
within three years following a rescheduling agreement with
creditors.

The firm said in a statement to the Stock Exchange of
Thailand yesterday that it expected to clear all debts
within the period, assuming it could raise US$1 billion in
new equity.  TPI agreed a long-awaited deal with creditors
last month on restructuring its $3.2 billion debt under
court supervision.

Shareholders on Monday voted to approve the plan at an
extraordinary general meeting.  The TPI story has been
closely watched by foreign investors as it has big
implications for efforts to cut the high level of bad debts
at Thai banks. (South China Morning Post  02-Feb-2000)


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

Troubled Company Reporter -- Asia Pacific is a daily
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Inc., Trenton, NJ USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Washington,
DC USA. Darryl Henning, Managing Editor, Feliz Ordona and
Cristina Pernites, Editors.

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

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale
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