TCRAP_Public/000417.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

             Monday, April 17, 2000, Vol. 3, No. 75

                                     Headlines


* A U S T R A L I A *

BONLAC FOODS LTD: Outlook revised to negative
SPORTSGIRL-SPORTSCRAFT GROUP: Deal would raise payout
SPORTSGIRL-SPORTSCRAFT GROUP: Urges terms to creditors
TELSTRA: Shares marked down, downgrade being considered


* C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G *

CHI CHEUNG INVESTMENT: Creditor rejects debt proposal
WHARF: Sets sights on debt market for $4.5b


* I N D O N E S I A *

PT BANK BALI: High court reinstates charges
PT BANK SEJAHTERA UMUM: IBRA seeks to seize owner's assets
PT NEWMONT MINAHASA: To lose $9M/mo. due to injunction
PT OMETRACO : In process of liquidation, lawyer says
PT PRASIDHA ANEKA NIAGA: Tells JSX of MOU
PT SUMI ASIH: Denies IBRA debt amount in court


* J A P A N *

FUJITSU LTD.: Stock falls in wake of Nasdaq
GLOBAL WAVE CO.: Files for bankruptcy
HIKARI TSUSHIN INC.: Bond downgraded
KAJIMA CORP.: Facing big pension shortfall
KUMAGAI GUMI CO.: To post 18B Yen property-appraisal loss
MITSUBISHI ELEC.CORP.: Closing pension gap
NEC CORP.: Closing pension gap
NIPPON MITSUBISHI OIL CO.: To post net loss on pension gap
NIPPON SEISEN CO.: Puts penison shortfall at 3.2B Yen
NTT DATA CORP.: Stock falls in wake of Nasdaq
OBAYASHI CORP.: Facing big pension shortfall
SEKISUI HOUSE LTD.: Posts 94B Yen net loss from landholding
SHIMIZU CORP.: Facing big pension shortfall
SOFTBANK CORP.: Stock sinks to low on news of share split
SOGO CO.: Banks considers forgiving bad debt
SONY CORP.: Stock falls in wake of Nasdaq
TAISEI CORP.: Facing big pension shortfall
TOKYO ELECTRIC POWER CO.: Pledges further debt cuts
TOSHIBA CORP.: Closing pension gap


* K O R E A *

CJ INVESTMENT TRUST MGMT.CO.: FSS reprimands
DAEWOO MOTOR: Hyundai,Kia Motors union workers end strike
DAEWOO MOTOR: Bidding delayed a month
KUKJE PRECISION: Creditors to swap debt for equity
SAMSUNG MOTOR: Court Decision on debt rejected
SEOUL BANK: Deutsche Bank agrees to bail it out
TONG YANG ORION INVEST.TRUST CO.: FSS reprimands


* M A L A Y S I A *

MULTI PURPOSE HOLDINGS: Magnum deal off


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

BEST WORLD RESOURCES CORP.: SEC to recommend fraud charges
NATIONAL STEEL CORP.: Pentium Funds offers to buy
PHILIPPINE INT'L AIRWAYS: Decides to close down operations
PHILIPPINE NAT.BANK: Sale risk grows as losses widen
PHILIPPINE NAT.BANK: L.Tan to keep stake if May sale fails
UNIOIL RESOURCES: Denies having liquidity problems
VICTORIAS MILLING CORP.: Asks for more time to file plan


* T H A I L A N D *

BANGKOK METRO.BANK: Cuts bad loans, readying to privatize
CHRISTIANI & NIELSEN: Reports debenture offer to SET
NATURAL PARK PLC: 3 directors resign
NATURAL PARK PLC: Applies for rehab, appoints planner
SOMBOON GROUP: Restructure hoped to trigger revival
THAI GYPSUM PRODUCT PLC: Court discharges rehab plan


=================
A U S T R A L I A
=================

BONLAC FOODS LTD: Outlook revised to negative
---------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's today affirmed its "BBB" long-term
corporate credit rating on Bonlac Foods Ltd. (Bonlac) and
revised the rating outlook to negative from stable.

The outlook revision reflects concerns on Bonlac's
continued high debt levels and the likely constraints on
debt reduction, combined with concerns on the
sustainability of Bonlac's supplier base given lower prices
paid to Bonlac's milk suppliers relative to its
competitors.

Bonlac's borrowings increased in fiscal 1999 to A$513
million at June 30, 1999 (treating Bonlac's perpetual notes
as debt) from A$420 million at June 30, 1998, reflecting in
part the inclusion of A$54 million borrowings arising from
the United Milk Tasmania Ltd. (UMT) merger, and capital
expenditure of another A$56 million.

This increase in borrowings saw total debt-to-
capitalisation increase to 74.4% at June 30, 1999, from
69.9% in 1998. At Dec. 31, 1999, total debt was A$567
million, up from A$522 million at Dec. 31, 1998. Given the
current historically low global dairy products prices, and
consequent pressure on earnings, prospects for a
significant reduction in gearing over the near term are
limited.

Bonlac has elected not to make a further step-up payment to
its milk supplier shareholders this season. Standard &
Poor's generally regards such decisions as evidence of the
financial flexibility afforded by the company's
cooperative-like structure. The two key aspects of the
cooperative structure are a flexible milk payment policy,
which provides some protection against adverse price
movements, and that step-up payments are made after
external commitments are met.

However, the lower price being paid by Bonlac to its
suppliers, compared with competing dairy manufacturing
companies, has resulted in a progressive reduction in
Bonlac's supplier base, and further dilution beyond the
trend rate could occur. Bonlac's supplier base may become
less stable, with a negative medium-term impact an
shareholders' equity arising from share redemptions by
former suppliers.

Bonlac's rating was affirmed in January 2000, following the
announcement that the company was exploring the potential
for a merger with Australian Co-operative Foods Ltd. (Dairy
Farmers). A merger likely would result in a stronger
business position, reflecting potential synergies from
largely complementary product ranges and increased
geographic diversification.

However, uncertainties exist on the resulting capital
structure and ownership, and financial policies. The
ratings on Bonlac reflect flexibility in price setting for
its key raw material; low-cost large-scale manufacturing of
dairy products; a strong domestic market position; and
competitive export market position. However, offsetting
these strengths are continued high debt levels and
increasing focus on highly competitive markets for both
branded export products and domestic beverages.

Bonlac is one of the largest dairy groups in Australia,
benefiting from economics of scale and strong brand names.
Bonlac traditionally has benefited from a secure, low-cost,
milk supply. Demand characteristics in Core business units-
consumer dairy products and ingredients-are mature and
stable.

Bonlac his a significant presence in both the domestic and
export markets. The company is focused an reducing its
exposure to commodity export markets, which currently
account for about 70% of exports, and progressively
developing niche markets in higher value-added food
ingredients. Although this export strategy is being
implemented progressively, it exposes the company to
higher-risk offshore markets and strong competition from
multinational Players.

Earnings for fiscal 1999 were adversely affected by lower
global commodity prices. In recent years, Bonlac has
undertaken significant capital expenditure on a
predominantly debt-funded basis. The associated increased
level of gearing has weakened credit protection measures.

Standard & Poor's treats Bonlac's A$100 million perpetual
unsecured notes as debt in its financial analysis; however,
these note, which are redeemable solely at Bonlac's option,
are viewed as providing a higher degree of financial
flexibility than medium-term notes or commercial paper.

The outlook is negative. Credit protection measures remain
weak for the current rating, while gearing remains very
high. If operating cash flow generation deteriorates as a
result of further erosion of the supplier base end low
global dairy prices, Bonlac's ability to reduce gearing
from the current high levels will be diminished, and the
rating could be lowered.  (Sydney Morning Herald  14-April-
2000)

SPORTSGIRL-SPORTCRAFT GROUP: Deal would raise payout
----------------------------------------------------
About 700 unsecured creditors of the failed Sportsgirl-
Sportscraft Group are in line for a higher payout if they
agree to a deal put forward by South African parent
Truworths and the administrators of Sportsgirl.

But the improved payout deal requires creditors to forfeit
the right to make any future legal claims on the company's
directors and related parties.  Under a deed of company
arrangement proposed by Truworths, unsecured creditors
would receive a payout of between 27 and 39 in the dollar
- compared with a range of 10 to 14 if SSG was placed
into liquidation.

Creditors will vote on the proposal at a meeting in
Melbourne on April 26.  Administrator Mr John Spark, from
Ferrier Hodgson, said the deed proposal was an "all-in
commercial settlement."

But a number of creditors belonging to the SSG creditors'
committee have opposed accepting the deed and had indicated
they might vote for liquidation and litigation, he said.

Under the deed, Truworths intends to give up about half of
what it is entitled to out of the proceeds of the $23
million reaped from SSG asset sales over the past few
months, in return for a release from any future claims
against directors.

The sum which Truworths would forgo amounts to about $4.5
million.  The administrators estimated that if creditors
pursued the matter through the courts it could cost between
$5 million and $7 million and take up to four to six years.
"It's a very clear choice," Mr Spark said.

The administrators are compiling a separate report on the
failure of SSG which will be forwarded to the Australian
Securities and Investments Commission.

"There has been no evidence of any substantive issues which
at this stage I would consider the ASIC would be seriously
interested in," Mr Spark said.

A second creditors' report released on Friday showed the
administrators stood to collect $2.26 million in fees for
overseeing the SSG break-up and sale, should an extra
payment of $300,000 be approved at the April 26 meeting.
(Australian Financial Review  15-April-2000)

SPORTSGIRL-SPORTSCRAFT GROUP: Urges terms to creditors
------------------------------------------------------
Creditors to the failed Sportsgirl-Sportscraft Group
fashion chain are being urged to accept terms that shield
the directors from legal action.

Some creditors want to sue the directors for breach of duty
and insolvent trading.  Nearly all the retailer's
businesses have been sold since November, when
administrators were appointed to manage a company around
$80 million in debt.

The administrators, Ferrier Hodgson have spoken of poor
accounting and financial management.  Two months ago, they
thought the 800 unsecured creditors, mainly suppliers,
would receive between 12 and 23 cents in the dollar if the
company were to be liquidated.

The return is now estimated at between 27 and 39 cents, if
creditors accept a so-called Deed of Company Arrangement,
that protects Directors from further claims.  A number of
creditors say they will push for liquidation and legal
action, at a vote later this month.  But the administrators
warn the costs of such action, if unsuccessful, could
reduce the returns to nought. (ABC News Online  15-April-
2000)

TELSTRA: Shares marked down, downgrade being considered
-------------------------------------------------------
Telstra's share price slumped yesterday because of concerns
that it paid too high a price to partner Hong Kong Internet
and telephone company Pacific Century CyberWorks in their
venture to create Asian mobile and cable network companies.

Telstra will spend $5 billion in cash and contribute about
$1.5 billion in assets in its partnership with CyberWorks,
which is headed by 33-year-old entrepreneur Mr Richard Li
and is close to finalising its $US38 billion ($63 billion)
takeover of Hong Kong telephone company Cable & Wireless
HKT.

Telstra's ordinary shares fell as low as $7.37 before
closing 23c down at $7.41, while the instalment receipts
were 19c down at $4.48, or 2c below the issue price paid
last October. CyberWorks' Hong Kong-listed shares ended
$HK1.10 (23c) up at $HK16.50.

Both major ratings agencies Moody's and Standard & Poor's
put Telstra's debt securities on review for a possible
downgrade.

"While Standard & Poor's recognises the potential growth
opportunities, stable cash flow generation is not expected
as significant investment in infrastructure is likely to be
required," the ratings agency said. "Accomplishment of
satisfactory cash returns on the investment may take some
time, and is not assured."

Telstra will invest $US1.5 billion in CyberWorks
convertible notes, equivalent to 2 per cent of its issued
capital if the company's takeover of C&W HKT is successful.
It will also pay $US1.5 billion for 40 per cent of a newly
created company known as Regional Mobile Company, with the
major asset been C&W HKT mobile operations.

Also Telstra and C&W HKT will pool their respective
undersea cable and International assets into a new joint
venture.  JB Were & Son telecommunications analyst Mr Craig
Connelly said in a note to clients that he was sceptical of
the $US4,000 ($6,666) to $US5,000 per subscriber Telstra
effectively paid to gain an interest in the mobile phone
business of Cable & Wireless HKT, in which CyberWorks is in
the process of buying. The new regional mobile company will
be 60:40 owned by CyberWorks and Telstra.

Despite the concerns of the deal, telecommunications
analysts endorsed Telstra's international strategy. They
wanted more detail and expected Telstra's shares to
rebound.

Mr Connelly at JB Were said that the weakness in Telstra's
share price was similar to the market reaction towards
Telecom Corp of New Zealand when it bought 80 per cent of
AAPT. Telecom NZ shares fell then, but have since risen by
over 20 per cent. They hit a 12-month high on Monday.
(Sydney Morning Herald  14-April-2000)


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

CHI CHEUNG INVESTMENT: Creditor rejects debt proposal
-----------------------------------------------------
The directors of Far East Consortium International Limited
("Far East"), through David Chiu, Deputy Chairman and Chief
Executive Officer, refer to the joint announcements with
Chi Cheung Investment Company, Limited ("Chi Cheung") dated
13th December, 1999, and 5th January, 2000 respectively in
relation to the entering of heads of agreement between Chi
Cheung and Far East Consortium Limited (a wholly owned
subsidiary of Far East) regarding a debt restructuring
proposal of Chi Cheung.

The Proposal involves, among other things, the injection by
Far East Consortium Limited of certain assets and debt
restructuring of Chi Cheung. The directors of Far East wish
to announce that as Far East and the major creditors of Chi
Cheung are not able to agree the terms of the Proposal, Far
East has on 7th April, 2000 served notice to Chi Cheung and
its financial advisers to terminate the Proposal.

Shareholders of Far East are advised to exercise caution in
dealing in the securities of Far East. (Hong Kong Stock
Exchange  14-April-2000)

WHARF: Sets sights on debt market for $4.5b
-------------------------------------------
Wharf plans to tap the debt market this month to raise
HK$4.5 billion, according to bankers, for use as working
capital and possibly to pay down other loans.

The company was arranging a five-year unsecured loan, the
bankers said.  Earlier this month, it signed a HK$2 billion
loan. The cost of the latest loan will be Hibor, plus
nearly one basis point. Wharf will start repaying the loan
at the end of the third year.

Wharf had net debt of between HK$21 billion and HK$22
billion at the end of last year.  Seven banks will be lead
arrangers of the loan. They are BA Asia, BOC Asia,
Citibank, Societe Generale, ABN Amro, DBS Bank and
Rabobank. BA Asia is the sole arranger of the HK$2 billion
loan.  Analysts said they could not explain why Wharf
wanted to raise such a large amount through loans.

"Wharf can liquidate their HK$5 billion worth of stocks if
they want money," one analyst said.  The company could also
cash in more than HK$7 billion by selling properties, they
said. (South China Morning Post  15-April-2000)


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

PT BANK BALI: High court reinstates charges
-------------------------------------------
An Indonesian high court reinstated an indictment against a
key figure in the country's Bank Bali scandal.

The Jakarta High Court reversed a lower court decision last
month that ordered Indonesia's attorney general to drop
corruption charges against Djoko Tjandra, an executive of a
company politically linked to the former ruling party that
received 546 billion rupiah ($71.8 million) from Bank Bali
last year.

The high court ordered the South Jakarta District Court to
try Mr. Djoko in a written judgement following a closed-
door hearing last Friday, according to Soedarto, a district
court official. The high court ruling followed an appeal by
the attorney general's office.

The high court decisions is a rare judicial victory for
President Abdurrahman Wahid's government, which has been
struggling to prosecute individuals implicated in alleged
corruption during the administrations of former Presidents
Suharto and B.J Habibie. Late last month, for example, a
different Jakarta court ruled the 1999 nationalization of
Bank Bali by the government's Indonesian Bank Restructuring
Agency was illegal.

Mr. Djoko's company, PT Era Giat Prima, was controlled by
individuals affiliated with the Golongan Karya party, or
Golkar, which ruled Indonesia under Messrs. Suharto and
Habibie. Era Giat Prima was paid 546 bilion rupiah by Bank
Bali's former owners, ostensibly as a fee for helping the
bank recover government guaranteed debts.

Disclosure of the payment ignited a scandal, with Mr.
Habibie's political rivals alleging that the Bank Bali
money was used to fund Golkar's 1999 parliamentary election
campaign. Era Giat Prima officials eventually returned the
money and have denied any wrongdoing. But an audit
completed by accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers in
August found "numerous indicators of fraud" related to the
transaction.

The Bank Bali affair infuriated Indonesia's international
financial backers - including the International Monetary
Fund and the World Bank - and helped undermine Mr.
Habibie's re-election campaign.

Mr. Djoko was investigated by the attorney general's office
and later indicted in connection with the Era Giat Prima
transaction. But on March 6, the South Jakarta District
Court dropped proceedings against Mr. Djoko on the grounds
that it didn't have the authority to try the case.  (The
Asian Wall Street Journal  13-April-2000)

PT BANK SEJAHTERA UMUM: IBRA seeks to seize owner's assets
----------------------------------------------------------
The Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) has filed
an application with the Jakarta Commercial Court to seize
the assets of Johny Basuki, the owner of closed PT Bank
Sejahtera Umum (SBU), after his failure to repay debts
accumulated by the bank of 53 mln usd.

"In order to avoid further losses, we are appealing to the
commercial court to issue an order to seize the assets in
the form of 57 certificates of land ownership," according
to copies of documents obtained by AFX-Asia.  (AFX News
Limited  14-April-2000)

PT NEWMONT MINAHASA: To lose $9M/mo. due to injunction
------------------------------------------------------
US-based gold mining company PT Newmont Minahasa Raya says
it will suffer a production loss equal to US$9 million a
month due to a local court injunction to stop operating.

Because of the temporary closure order, the company was no
longer able to turn out the 30,000 ounces of gold it had
been producing every month so far (one ounce is worth
US$300), said Newmont president Richard Ness.

Speaking to the press here, Ness said his company had no
choice but to accept the Tondano District Court's
intermediary verdict which called for temporary cessation
of its mining activity. He said the closure was also
threatening the jobs of about 350 permanent and 750
contract workers. (Asia Pulse  13-April-2000)

PT OMETRACO : In process of liquidation, lawyer says
----------------------------------------------------
PT Ometraco Corporation told the Jakarta Commercial Court
on Thursday to turn down a bankruptcy petition filed by the
Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) as the company
was already in the process of liquidation.

"Ometraco cannot be declared bankrupt again here," said
company lawyer Leonard Simorangkir during a court hearing.

He said the company had declared itself bankrupt and
registered the self- liquidation notice at the South
Jakarta District Court on April 5.  The lawyer representing
IBRA, Benny K. Harman, said the self-liquidation notice at
the other court did not automatically abolish the rights of
the creditors to file at the Commercial Court.

"Ometraco's legal status as a company has not been written
off, so it can still be taken to the bankruptcy court," he
said.

The 1998 Bankruptcy Law stipulates that parties that can
file for bankruptcy are individuals and companies which
have legal names.  Benny said the move by Ometraco to
liquidate itself was done to anticipate IBRA's efforts in
suing the company at the Jakarta Commercial Court.

"The company's move to liquidate itself under the South
Jakarta Court was based on bad faith," said Benny.

He said the liquidation process under the South Jakarta
Court was supervised by the concerned company's
shareholders, while under the Commercial Court it would be
under the creditors of the suing company.

"For the creditors' sake, the liquidation process under the
Commercial Court would indeed be more preferable than at
the South Jakarta Court," he said.

Ometraco owes IBRA $53.18 million. It operated its business
on banks, property and telecommunications. The next hearing
for Ometraco will continue on Monday. (The Jakarta Post
15-April-2000)

PT PRASIDHA ANEKA NIAGA: Tells JSX of MOU
-----------------------------------------
PT Prasidha Aneka Niaga Tbk through letter dated 12 April
2000, No.070/PAN/MT/IV/2000, reported to the Jakarta Stock
Exchange that The company had signed a Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU)of Credit Restructuring on 28 March 2000
with Bank Mandiri and Bank Mandiri.

The Agreement regarding the Company's debt restructuring
with Bank Mandiri will be further conducted because there
are many things that should be discussed and approved
together.   If the agreement had been signed, the company
will report to Bapepam, JSX, SSX and PRPM immediately,
referring to the existing regulation.  (Jakarta Stock
Exchange  14-April-2000)

PT SUMI ASIH: Denies IBRA debt amount in court
----------------------------------------------
At a separate hearing at the Jakarta Commercial Court on
Thursday, crude palm oil producer PT Sumi Asih denied its
debts to IBRA stood at $6.73 million, saying that the true
amount should be $1.4 million. Sumi Asih and Ometraco are
two of three companies that IBRA took to Jakarta Commercial
Court in late March after they failed to settle their
matured debts. A Latief is the other.  (The Jakarta Post
15-April-2000)


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

FUJITSU LTD.: Stock falls in wake of Nasdaq
NTT DATA CORP.: Stock falls in wake of Nasdaq
SONY CORP.: Stock falls in wake of Nasdaq
---------------------------------------------
Japanese stocks fell, led by Internet stocks such as Sony
Corp., after U.S. March retail sales soared, fueling
concern the Federal Reserve may have to raise interest
rates to cool inflation.

Sony fell 330 yen to 13,120, while NTT Data dropped 10,000
yen to 1.57 million and Fujitsu, Japan's No. 1 computer
maker, slipped 85 yen to 2,915.

NTT Data Corp. and Fujitsu Ltd. were also weighed down by a
four-day, 17-percent decline by the Nasdaq Composite Index,
as the outlook for higher U.S. rates prompted investors
switch into stocks which have lower prices relative to
their earnings.  The broad Topix index fell 16.92, or 1
percent, to 1647.1. The Nikkei 225 stock average dropped
146.64, or 0.7 percent, to 20,379.78.

"It's a tough environment for people who invest in growth"
stocks, said Alex Muromcew, a portfolio manager at Loomis
Sayles & Co., which manages $70 billion. "The strong
economic numbers have enforced people's perception that the
Fed will have to continue raising interest rates."
(Bloomberg  13-April-2000)

GLOBAL WAVE CO.: Files for bankruptcy
-------------------------------------
A cell phone marketer affiliated with Hikari Tsushin Inc.
(9435) filed for bankruptcy at the Tokyo District Court on
Wednesday.

Global Wave Co. based in Tokyo has been operating about 100
"HIT SHOP" cell phone outlets.  Interest rate payments on
loans apparently weighed on the company. The total debt
owed by Global Wave amounts to 2.357 billion yen, according
to private credit research agency Teikoku Databank Ltd.
(Nikkei  13-April-2000)

HIKARI TSUSHIN INC.: Bond downgraded
------------------------------------
Japan Rating and Investment Information Inc. (R&I)
announced Wednesday that it has downgraded the long-term
bond of Hikari Tsushin Inc. (9435) from BBB plus to BBB
minus, the lowest in investment-qualified rates.

The rating service firm also said it will continue what it
calls rating monitor for a possible reassessment of the
firm's credit standing.  In justifying the downgrading,
Japan Rating said Hikari Tsushin's cellular phone business
is becoming unstable as a revenue source because of
sluggish sales in the market.

It also cited the growing financial risks involved in
Hikari Tsushin's expanding investment in start-up firms
with funds raised from outside, such as through bond
issuances.  The rating firm said a focal point in Hikari
Tsushin's future management will be what measures it will
hammer out to regain investor confidence. (Nikkei  13-
April-2000)

KAJIMA CORP.: Facing big pension shortfall
OBAYASHI CORP.: Facing big pension shortfall
SHIMIZU CORP.: Facing big pension shortfall
TAISEI CORP.: Facing big pension shortfall
--------------------------------------------
Taisei Corp. (1801), Obayashi Corp. (1802) and Shimizu
Corp. (1803) are each estimated to be facing a 40-50
billion yen shortfall in pension and severance pay reserves
for the year ended March, sources at the general
contractors said Thursday. Taisei and Obayashi plan to
cover the gap by the end of fiscal 2001.

Another leading general contractor, Kajima Corp. (1812), is
expected to have the lowest level of underfunding at 20-25
billion yen, mainly because it added about 40 billion yen
to retirement reserves in fiscal 1998.

Net profits at the four general contractors are likely to
show significant declines in fiscal 1999 because of
extraordinary losses incurred by devaluating holdings of
real estate and stocks.

Obayashi has a shortfall of some 40 billion yen in unfunded
pension and retirement obligations, which stood at about
135 billion yen at the end of March, against 95 billion yen
in reserves.  "We plan to cover all of the shortfall in the
current fiscal year," a company official said.

Taisei still has a shortfall of 50 billion yen, even after
boosting retirement pay reserves in fiscal 1999 and booking
an extraordinary loss of 37 billion yen, company sources
said.  Shimizu has yet to decide how to cover the estimated
50 billion yen gap in its obligations, company officials
said.  (Nikkei  13-April-2000)

KUMAGAI GUMI CO.: To post 18B Yen property-appraisal loss
---------------------------------------------------------
Kumagai Gumi Co. (1861) appears set to post an appraisal
loss of about 18 billion yen on its property holdings for
the year ended March, company sources said Thursday.

The market price of the property concerned has fallen 50%
or more below its book value.  The large general contractor
is expected to report an extraordinary loss totaling 20
billion yen thanks to additional losses stemming from
stockholdings and extra spending on restructuring efforts.

Kumagai Gumi, however, is likely to post a net profit of
about 2 billion yen, up 1.4 billion yen from a year ago,
after selling part of its stock portfolio and adopting the
deferred-tax accounting system.  No dividend will be paid
for the third straight year.

The company held property for sale with a book value of
94.2 billion yen at the end of last September. Of this
holding, the company posted an appraisal loss on real
estate unlikely to recover from a 50% or more drop in
market price.  The contractor is expected to report pretax
profit of some 5 billion yen, down 34%, compared with an
earlier forecast of 7 billion yen. The revision is due to a
2 billion yen appraisal loss on its stockholdings. (Nikkei
13-April-2000)

MITSUBISHI ELEC.CORP.: Closing pension gap
NEC CORP.: Closing pension gap
TOSHIBA CORP.: Closing pension gap
------------------------------------------
Three top electronics manufacturers aim to make progress in
lowering their unfunded severance and pension liabilities
this fiscal year by changing their retirement policies.

Mitsubishi Electric Corp.'s (6503) payments increased by
2.5% a year under its old pension plan, so its group
unfunded pension obligations swelled to 539.1 billion yen
as of March 1999. The company changed its plan this month
by switching to a fixed-payout system and lowering the
assumed rate of return from 5.5% to 4%, reducing the
shortfall by 180 billion yen.

NEC Corp. (6701) also changed its pension plan this month
to reduce payouts, and its group unfunded obligations
should drop by about 50 billion yen from the March 1999
figure of 238.9 billion yen.

Toshiba Corp. (6502) reduced its pension payments and
assumed rate of return, so its group unfunded pension
liabilities should shrink by 40-50 billion yen from 573.8
billion yen as of March 1999. (Nikkei  14-April-2000)

NIPPON MITSUBISHI OIL CO.: To post net loss on pension gap
----------------------------------------------------------
Nippon Mitsubishi Oil Co. (5001) covered its entire group
shortfall worth 23 billion yen in reserves for retirement
pay and pension liabilities in the year ended March,
company sources said Thursday.

As a result, Japan's leading oil company estimates a
consolidated net loss of 5 billion yen, compared with an
initial forecast of 12 billion yen in profit.  The company
wanted to emphasize a more secure financial footing in the
current year by wiping out the shortfall at one time.

The oil company appears to have recorded an extraordinary
loss of more than 30 billion yen, due to the shortfall
coverage and special payments to early retirees last year.
Group pretax profit is estimated to have totaled 33 billion
yen, due mainly to strong earnings at oil-field development
subsidiaries, as a result of higher crude oil prices.

The company estimates parent-only net profit totaled 5
billion yen, down from an original forecast of 12 billion
yen, because of the coverage of a 9 billion yen shortfall
in the reserves for retirement pay and pension liabilities.
The firm still expects to maintain an annual dividend of 7
yen. (Nikkei  14-April-2000)

NIPPON SEISEN CO.: Puts penison shortfall at 3.2B Yen
-----------------------------------------------------
Nippon Seisen Co. (5659), using a discount rate of 3.5%,
estimates that its parent-company unfunded retirement
liabilities total almost 3.22 billion yen.

Nippon Seisen plans to take an extraordinary charge of 1.64
billion yen for the fiscal year ended March 31 to narrow
the shortfall. This will leave the manufacturer of
stainless steel wires with a net loss of 850 million yen.
The nearly 1.58 billion yen in remaining unfunded pension
and severance liabilities will be eliminated over a 15-year
period starting in fiscal 2000.

Nippon Seisen wants to spread out the charges in order to
keep the impact on annual earnings to the smallest possible
level. (Nikkei  14-April-2000)

SEKISUI HOUSE LTD.: Posts 94B Yen net loss from landholding
-----------------------------------------------------------
Sekisui House Ltd. (1928), a Japanese home builder, said
Thursday it suffered a consolidated net loss of Y94.81
billion for the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, in contrast with
the year-earlier profit of Y22.85 billion, due to valuation
losses on landholdings.

The company said the pace of growth in the nation's housing
starts has slowed due to a rise in mortgage loan rates and
fears about the economy's future course.  Against that
backdrop, consolidated sales grew 1.2% to Y1.330 trillion,
while operating profit climbed 29% to Y76.14 billion,
citing groupwide cost-cutting measures. Pretax profit
surged 25% to Y70.10 billion.

But the company reported a huge special loss totaling
Y216.53 billion on a group basis, as it decided to write
off valuation losses on land it intended to develop and
resell. Falling land prices widened the gap between the
land's prevailing value and the price at which it was
originally bought.

For this fiscal year through Jan. 31, 2001, the company
expects a group net profit of Y33.50 billion and pretax
profit of Y99.00 billion on sales of Y1.400 trillion.
(Nikkei  13-April-2000)

SOFTBANK CORP.: Stock sinks to low on news of share split
---------------------------------------------------------
Softbank Corp. (9984) stock on Thursday went limit-down to
a year-to-date low of 66,300 yen due to concerns that the
issue's temporary decrease in value from an upcoming 3-for-
1 stock split will trigger margin calls for investors using
the equity as collateral for margin trading.

The Internet conglomerate on Wednesday announced that there
will be a split for shareholders of record on April 25,
resulting in the share price theoretically dropping to one-
third its previous level and remaining at that level until
June 23, when the new shares will be handed over to
shareholders.

Investors who have been using Softbank stock as collateral
for margin trades will "have the same number of shares, but
see the price level slump by two-thirds," says a Tokyo
Stock Exchange official. As a result, those investors may
face a temporary shortfall in collateral.

The split is being executed to boost tradings in Softbank
stock through lower share prices. But with the issue
undergoing a correction, "investors were worried about
selling to convert Softbank shares being used as collateral
into cash, in order to avoid margin calls," says a Daiwa
Securities Co. official. (Nikkei  14-April-2000)

SOGO CO.: Banks considers forgiving bad debt
--------------------------------------------
Japan's major banks are scrambling to dispose of bad loans,
and the country's top 17 banks are believed to have
forgiven roughly 1.4 trillion yen in bad debt in the fiscal
year ended March 31, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun learned
Thursday.

If the Sogo Co. (8243) group's creditor banks write off the
639 billion yen in debt waivers requested by the struggling
department store operator for fiscal 1999, that figure will
rise to close to 2 trillion yen, exceeding a record 1.6
trillion yen in debt forgiveness seen in fiscal 1998.

The high level of debt waivers reflects a growing number of
corporate failures amid the prolonged economic slowdown, as
well as the banks' active bailing out of ailing clients and
affiliates.

Banks sometimes forgive part of their loans voluntarily to
help clients or affiliated companies restructure
operations. At other times, they are forced to accept debt
waivers under the rehabilitation plan of a failed
corporation to which they have extended loans.

The 17 banks have announced combined debt waivers of 926.3
billion yen so far in 2000. Some 267.3 billion yen in
loans, or just below 30% of the total, has been forgiven to
dispose of bad loans at these banks' subsidiaries or
affiliates.

This year, Sakura Bank (8314) forgave a total of 143.9
billion yen in loans to four of its subsidiaries. Tokai
Bank (8321) abandoned 169.5 billion yen in credit to
trading company Tomen Corp. (8003). Mitsubishi Trust &
Banking Corp. (8402) and Sumitomo Trust & Banking Co.
(8403) gave up 80.6 billion yen and 73.6 billion yen,
respectively, in loans to Nippon Asset Management Inc.
under the failed firm's rehabilitation plan. (Nikkei  14-
April-2000)

TOKYO ELECTRIC POWER CO.: Pledges further debt cuts
---------------------------------------------------
Tokyo Electric Power Co. (9501) will reduce its interest-
bearing debt by more than 200 billion yen in the year
ending March 2001 after cutting liabilities by just over
290 billion yen in fiscal 1999, company sources said
Thursday.

The debt cut in fiscal 1999 was far larger than projected.
As a result, its outstanding debt balance is expected to
fall below 10 trillion yen at the end of March 2001 to the
lowest level in six years. This compares with 10.19
trillion yen at the end of March 2000.

Efforts to reduce debt will include cuts in capital
spending plans and sale of idle land, including company
housing. It has revised down its projected capital spending
of 1.07 trillion yen for fiscal 2000 by more than 100
billion yen. The company also plans to securitize some of
its real estate holdings by the end of fiscal 2000.

In fiscal 1999, the company cut its projected capital
spending by 180 billion yen from the original plan in a bid
to lower debt. As a result, its free cash flow stood at 380
billion yen at the end of March, up 170 billion yen from a
year earlier. Free cash flow is the net cash left after
cash spending on investment activities is subtracted from
cash generated from operations.

The move indicates the company's desire to strengthen its
fragile financial base amid the deregulation of the
electricity market, the sources said. (Nikkei  13-April-
2000)


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

CJ INVESTMENT TRUST MGMT.CO.: FSS reprimands
TONG YANG ORION INVEST.TRUST CO.: FSS reprimands
------------------------------------------------
The Financial Supervisory Service said yesterday it has
reprimanded Tong Yang Orion Investment Trust Co. and CJ
Investment Trust Management Co. and their top management
for their illegal activities committed in 1998.

According to the FSS, Tong Yang was found to have
arbitrarily adjusted the yield rates of the trust funds it
managed by reshuffling bond portfolios. Using a so-called
bad fund set up without the approval of the supervisory
body, the company took out nonperforming bonds from trust
funds with below-average yield rates to those with above-
average rates.

Tong Yang also adjusted yield rates of trust funds by
selling bondholdings to a third party above market rates in
return for purchasing from him commercial paper (CP) issued
by Daewoo Corp. above their fair values.  The trust company
was also charged with lending customers' funds to its
sister firm Tong Yang Securities in excess of the legal
limits.

An FSS official said the illegal rebalancing of bond
portfolios among trust funds was found not just in Tong
Yang but all of the six investment trust companies which
set up and operate a bad fund at the time.

"They were found to have committed this and other types of
blatantly illegal practices," said Moon Hong-soon, an
official in charge of overseeing trust companies' asset
management.  "Investors who suffered losses because of
arbitrary yield adjustments by trust firms can file damage
suits."

CJ Investment Trust Management also set up and operated a
bad fund without the approval of the FSS to facilitate
artificial adjustment of yield rates among trust funds
under its management.  The company was also found to have
lent customers' funds to its sister brokerage firm in
excess of legal limits. It also included in the portfolios
of its money market funds (MMFs) bonds with speculative-
grade bonds.

Meanwhile, market watchers said the authority's sanctions
imposed on the two trust management firms were too soft to
give any impact.

"The FSS has been criticized for pulling its punches
against financial institutions which were found to have
hurt customers' interests through illegal activities. This
time again, this criticism proved warranted," a critic
said.

"The illegal practices committed by the trust firms deserve
revocation of their licenses. It may be necessary to mete
out harsh penalties to some law breakers to make the
supervisory authority's commitment to law enforcement
credible." (The Korea Herald  15-April-2000)

DAEWOO MOTOR: Hyundai,Kia Motors union workers end strike
---------------------------------------------------------
Unionized workers of Hyundai and Kia Motors went back to
work, ending a strike which the government had declared to
be illegal.

The Hyundai union said it decided to return to a normal
work schedule through April 19, and will try to negotiate
with management.  Kia unionists decided to resume an eight-
hour work schedule yesterday and will decide on a future
course of action after reviewing the outcome of a special
labor-management council on Monday.

However, the unions of Daewoo and Ssangyong will continue
their partial strike against the sale of Daewoo Motor to a
foreign buyer. (The Korea Herald  15-April-2000)

DAEWOO MOTOR: Bidding delayed a month
-------------------------------------
The proposed plan to sell off the ailing Daewoo Motor has
been delayed about a month behind its original schedule.

The Daewoo Restructuring Coordination Committee (DRCC), the
joint government and creditor banks body in charge of the
international auction, said Friday that the firm's
consolidated financial statements would be forwarded to
bidders after the middle of April. The committee had
originally planned to send the statements before the end of
March, but said the preparation of the documents has been
delayed for about a month.

GM, Ford, DaimlerChrysler, Hyundai and Fiat are the five
local and international bidders participating in the
bidding process. The CRCC said it would select the
preferred negotiation partner by the end of June, according
to the revised schedule. (Digital Chosun  14-April-2000)

KUKJE PRECISION: Creditors to swap debt for equity
--------------------------------------------------
Creditors agreed to swap debts into equity investment in
Kukje Precision, which is under court protection.

The company's 11 creditor banks informed the Kosdaq stock
market that it will convert all rescheduled debts and
mortgage to a rights offering of around 6 billion won.
The conversion takes place Saturday and new shares will be
issued April 24. (The Korea Herald  15-April-2000)

SAMSUNG MOTOR: Court Decision on debt rejected
----------------------------------------------
The creditors of Samsung Motor have rejected the results of
court mediation on the issue of the firm's debts, leading
to expectations that negotiations for the sale of the firm
to Renault will be further delayed.

The Pusan district court had made a final proposal that
Samsung Motor creditors and Samsung Corp. share the
proceeds from the sell off of Samsung Motor in proportion
to their respective W500 billion and W218.3 billion in
loans to the firm. Samsung creditors notified the court
Thursday of its rejection of the proposal. Meanwhile,
Samsung Corp. has indicated that it is satisfied with the
court's recommendation. (Digital Chosun  13-April-2000)

SEOUL BANK: Deutsche Bank agrees to bail it out
-----------------------------------------------
The sinking Seoul Bank finally received assistance and hope
for a turnaround more than two years after it sent out an
SOS, with Deutsche Bank agreeing to provide restructuring
and financial consulting.

The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) and Deutsche
Bank separately issued statements Friday that they signed a
memorandum calling for the German bank to provide technical
assistance to Seoul Bank.  Under the contract, the German
bank will send restructuring experts to Seoul Bank to
conduct studies on the latter's corporate banking, retail
banking and treasury operations, risk management and back
office that covers corporate governance, information
technology, logistics, operation and audit and
compliance.

Its service is limited to technical assistance, or advisory
capacity, to help the bank and the government map out a
restructuring plan in line with international practices and
does not involve equity investment, and thus no management
control, an FSC spokesman said.  The two sides did not set
a date on how long Deutsche will serve as an advisor and
that its recommendations and advice are not legally
binding.

"We assume Deutsche will help up turn around the bank as
early as possible," he added.

Deutsche Bank's chief country officer in Seoul said in a
press release that the bank would advise the government in
its selection of a new chief executive and senior
management team.  The government initially hoped the German
bank, one of the world's largest, thanks to its merger with
Bankers Trust of the United States last July, will invest
in Seoul Bank and assume management to cap the Seoul Bank
problem delayed since HongKong Shanghai Banking Corp.
pulled out of the bidding last August.

Deutsche, which lately broke off merger talks with the
Dresdner Bank, is credited with turning around Indonesia's
banking sector by merging four ailing banks into Bank
Mandiri, which is doing well after two years in business.
The sale of the Seoul Bank was a part of reform promises to
the International Monetary Fund, which arranged a $ US58.35
billion bailout in late 1997 at the height of the currency
crisis.

The bank was nationalized in December 1997 and the
government has been working on its sale since early 1998
after injecting initial public funds of 1.5 trillion won ($
US1.3 billion).  The government has been searching for a
foreign buyer since sales talks with HSBC broke off in
August last year after six months of negotiations.
Additional public funds of 3.3 trillion won were injected
last September to rescue Seoul Bank from another
bankruptcy.

The bank has been drowning ever since, losing clients and
creditability from home and abroad. Consulting from
Deutsche Bank could prove to be its life preserver. But
Bank experts say the fact that contract between the FSC and
Deutsche Bank is not legally binding, limits the extent of
what the German bank can do for the Korean bank.

"Consulting from Deutsche Bank will help improve Seoul
Bank's credibility," an FSC official said.

But many believe it is not enough to save the bank, which
has already cost taxpayers nearly 5 trillion won to clean
up.  If Deutsche suddenly wants to pull out from
restructuring, and it can do so under the unbinding
contract, the situation with Seoul Bank will go back to
square one and cost more tax money.

Whether the Deutsche Bank-led restructuring proves
successful, the Seoul Bank is likely to streamline its
staff and organization under the German bank's
restructuring plans and the government may have to inject
additional public funds to assist the process.  (Asia Pulse
14-April-2000)


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

MULTI PURPOSE HOLDINGS: Magnum deal off
---------------------------------------
Multi-Purpose Holdings Bhd has terminated the deal to
dispose of its 30.3 per cent stake in Magnum Corporation
Bhd to Yanyu Sdn Bhd and Tan Sri Lim Yan Hai.

It said the termination was due to the failure to fulfil
some of the conditions stated in the share purchase
agreement before the cut-off date. The agreement was dated
July 15, 1999.

"... the board had at a meeting held on April 14, decided
not to extend the cut-off date referred to in the share
purchase agreement.  Accordingly, the share purchase
agreement dated April 15, 1999 between the company, Yanyu
and Lim, in relation to the proposed disposal is deemed to
be terminated on April 15," MPHB told the Kuala Lumpur
Stock Exchange.

The statement did not elaborate on the conditions that led
to termination.

On July 15 last year, Amanah Merchant Bank Bhd announced on
behalf of MPHB that the company was to sell to Yanyu 455.98
million shares of RM0.50 each, representing 30.3 per cent
interest in Magnum Corporation for RM1.37 billion cash.
Simultaneously, Yanyu would be disposed of to Bolton Bhd
for the same price.  This would be paid by the issuance of
130,000 million new shares by Bolton at an issue price of
RM3 each and RM977.9 million nominal value of irredeemable
convertible unsecured loan stocks in Bolton.

Lim, Bolton's managing director, is the sole beneficiary
shareholder of Yanyu for the proposed disposal.  MPHB had
intended to utilise the proceeds from the disposal of
Magnum to repay its bank borrowings.

In a separate development, MPHB and Malaysian Plantations
Bhd jointly announced the appointment of Dr Chan Chin
Cheung as the new chairman of both companies with effect
from yesterday.  Chan was the former director of Kamunting
Corporation Bhd and Renong Bhd.

Both Magnum and MPHB were suspended for yesterday's
afternoon session, and would resume trading on Monday.
Magnum ended the day at RM2.81, down one sen with 590,000
shares changing hands. MPHB was also down one sen to RM1.75
with 99,000 shares traded. Bolton was down eight sen to
RM2.74, with 1.65 million shares traded. (E-media  15-
April-2000)


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

BEST WORLD RESOURCES CORP.: SEC to recommend fraud charges
----------------------------------------------------------
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will recommend
for prosecution to the Department of Justice (DOJ) two more
brokers and two individuals for stock fraud and price
manipulation of gaming firm Best World Resources Corp.
(BW).

SEC Chairman Lilia Bautista, said the new names will be
submitted to the DOJ next week which will then conduct a
preliminary investigation to determine if criminal charges
will be filed.

At the same time, the SEC's prosecution and enforcement
department has sent notices to 20 more individuals,
informing them that they are being investigated for their
alleged participation in illegal stock trading activities
involving BW.

Bautista said the SEC is continuing its investigation of
possible participants in BW, and this time, is not relaying
on the report submitted by the compliance and surveillance
group of the Philippine Stock Exchange which has been
prohibited by the Court of Appeals.

Last week, the SEC turned over a new partial report to the
DOJ naming presidential friend Dante T. Lim, Jimmy Juan,
Eduardo "Moonie" Lim Jr., former president of BW and five
broker firms for alleged illegal stock trading of the
gaming firm.

The report stated it had sufficient basis to refer the
following persons and entities to the DOJ for prosecution:
Dante T. Tan, president of Best World Gaming and
Entertainment Corp. whose company folded in with BW through
a share-swap agreement; Jimmy Juan, BW stockholder and
alleged dummy of Tan. The two were found to have violated
the Revised Securities Act with respect to price
manipulation. Eduardo Lim, Jr., on the other hand, was
found violating the broker-director rule.

The five broker firms cited for complicity in price
manipulation are Aurora Securities Inc.: SEC 2000, Inc.,
PNB Securities Inc.; Mark Securities Corp. and Belson
Securities Inc.  The partial report shows that in several
instances, Tan through several broker firms, committed
violations such as wash sale wherein the buyer and seller
are the same and there is no change in beneficial
ownership.

Tan was also cited for several done through transactions
wherein the buying/selling broker places its order through
another broker for the account of its client. While this is
not prohibited under the law and rules, if the same is
resorted to as a design to create an active market activity
of a particular stock, that will tend to show in the mind
of investors that there is a public demand for such stock,
then it becomes a manipulate device under the provision of
Section 27 of the RSA.

Lim Jr. was cited for violation of the broker-director
rule. He resigned at the height of the BW scandal, after
the Senate committee on banks and financial institutions
which was conducting its own probe, said Lim could be
liable for perjury and violation of the broker-director,
rule of the RSA.

Lim is the son of chairman emeritus Eduardo Lim Jr. of the
PSE. His uncle Federico Lim is president of Belson
Securities Inc. Earlier, Sen. Raul Roco said Lim lied
before the Senate when he claimed that he has stopped being
an official of Belson when he took over as president of BW.
Roco noted that Lim, president and director of BW, was also
a director of Belson Securities Inc.

A person who violates the broker-director rule could be
penalized from between P5,000 to P500,000 depending on the
gravity of the offense and could face seven to 21 years
imprisonment. Bautista said the SEC, in the course of its
investigation, is stumbling on more names and thus, the
probe is being expanded. She added that those persons whose
names in the old PED report did not appear in the new
partial report are not yet off the hook. (The Philippine
Star  14-April-2000)

NATIONAL STEEL CORP.: Pentium Funds offers to buy
-------------------------------------------------
Pentium Fund has offered to buy National Steel Corp, said a
finance department official, who asked not to be named.

The official gave no other details.  Separately, Philippine
National Bank senior executive vice president Santiago
Cua said it could be possible that Pentium Fund is only
acting as a broker for a real buyer.  PNB is National
Steel's major creditor.  Cua said he believes National
Steel "will be taken over by another company in the same
industry. I don't think a fund manager would just come in
and take over."  (AFX News Limited  13-April-2000)

PHILIPPINE INT'L AIRWAYS: Decides to close down operations
----------------------------------------------------------
It looks like Gatchalian-owned Philippine International
Airways, Inc. (PhilAir) decided not to wait any longer for
that much-delayed license from the government.
BusinessWorld learned from an industry source that after
the airline firm closed down operations in February, it has
no more immediate plans to revive its application to the
Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB).

"The (company's) objective (in setting up an airline
business) is really OK to be known in the tourism business.
However, there are external pressures on PhilAir's
application that its approval took longer than expected.
The Gatchalians do not have the luxury of time to wait
long," the source said.

The CAB earlier reasoned oppositions from Philippine
Airlines (PAL) and Air Philippines as the cause for the
delay in the hearings for PhilAir's license. The company
filed its application in May last year.  Although PhilAir
earlier denied they are on the brink of closure, the
company's move to stop in-flight training activities in
February was already an indication that it was financially
burdened by the delays.

PhilAir was complaining of 2 million to 5 million
Philippine pesos (PhP) (US$48,643 to US$121,607 at
PhP41.116:US$1)losses a month on salaries of regular
employees and cabin personnel. The amount was said to
exclude the maintenance and repair of 15 Boeing 737-200s,
which were then just lying idle in a hangar in Subic,
Olongapo and in Louisiana in the US.

The source said the company has already started selling the
planes.  PhilAir senior vice-president for finance and
administration Morris B. Pineda was earlier quoted as
saying they cannot continue with the training of staff and
employees unless they have the license. BusinessWorld tried
to reach Mr. Pineda but was not immediately available for
comment.

"Technically, PhiIAir did not really stop its operations
because it has not started operations in the first place,"
the source added.

The source added the Gatchalians cannot afford to wait for
PhilAir's license for long as it is reorganizing its
businesses. He added that Waterfront Philippines, also a
part of the Wellex group, is also selling its luxury
shipping liner to save on administrative costs.

"If you recall, they bought Davao Insular and Fort
Ilocandia last year. They were even trying to spin off
Wellex from an industry firm into an e-commerce (electronic
commerce) company so there is now some reorganization on
the part of the company on whether it is the right time to
go into (the transport) business," the source said.

For CAB's part, deputy executive director Francis Anthony
Navarette said in a telephone interview that it will not be
fair to point an accusing finger on them for the airline's
closure.

"Costs (while awaiting license approvals) are but normal
complaints. There were several oppositors to their entry
and on our part, we cannot just cut short the process,"
said Mr. Navarette.

The CAB official added he has not received any report on
the status of PhilAir's operations, saying the last they
heard from the firm was when it was asked to change its
logo and refrain from using the shortened name PhilAir.
CAB issued the order so as not to confuse with PAL and an
airport taxi operator also named PhilAir. (Business World
14-April-2000)

PHILIPPINE NAT.BANK: Sale risk grows as losses widen
----------------------------------------------------
The net loss at Philippine National Bank (PNB) widened last
year, highlighting the risks for potential buyers of the
bank, scheduled for full privatisation in the first half of
this year.

It also makes it more difficult for the government and the
bank's majority shareholder, tobacco and airline magnate
Lucio Tan, to stick to their original asking price of 160
pesos a share in selling their combined stake.

PNB yesterday said last year's net loss was 9.87 billion
pesos (about HK$1.86 billion) against a loss of 7.25
billion pesos a year earlier.  The loan portfolio shrunk
23.5 per cent and provisions for probable bad debts and
other losses remained high at 8.52 billion pesos.

The Estimate Directory placed net loss consensus for PNB in
1999 at 237 million pesos.  PNB said that at the end of
last year, its non-performing loans were 29 per cent of the
loan portfolio. The industry ratio is about 12.34 per cent.
Ismael Pili, regional banking analyst at W I Carr
Securities in Singapore, thought PNB might have set aside
high provisions for bad loans to clean up its books and
provide potential buyers a fresh start.

"They can say we did this so that it will be a clean book
when someone wants to buy it."

The bank plans to reduce the level of its non-performing
loans this year through various schemes and to dispose of
non-performing assets with a book value worth 4.6 billion
pesos.  It also planned to undertake more aggressive
campaigns to raise at least 25 billion pesos in new
deposits.

The Philippine Government has set a May 15 deadline for the
sale of its PNB stake, together with the holding of Mr Tan.
Analysts said it could be too narrow a time frame for
potential buyers to finish a due diligence of the bank.
The government, which owns 30 per cent, and Mr Tan, holding
a controlling stake of 46 per cent, plan to sell their
interests in PNB in one transaction to command a higher
valuation.

Mr Tan wants to sell their combined stake in the bank at
160 pesos a share to cover his carrying cost of about 158
pesos. He got his bank shares through a stock rights
offering last September. (South China Morning Post  14-
April-2000)

PHILIPPINE NAT.BANK: L.Tan to keep stake if May sale fails
----------------------------------------------------------
Despite putting out a seller's face, Lucio C. Tan may still
end up owning -- and running -- semiprivate Philippine
National Bank (PNB) if nobody shows up at the scheduled May
15 bidding for 76% of the bank.

"If the bidding fails, Mr. Tan will still be holding his
stake in the bank," PNB president Feliciano L. Miranda
yesterday told a news conference at the Tan-owned Century
Park Sheraton, when asked about the tycoon's options.

Mr. Miranda reiterated that the Chinese-Filipino tycoon,
now PNB's biggest shareholder, will only unload his 46%
stake at a one-time selling effort.  In the event of a
failed bid, Mr. Tan and the government will "go separate
ways", he said. He refused to say, however, whether Mr. Tan
will make an effort to sell his PNB stake on his own in the
event of a failed auction.

"That is our principal stockholder's prerogative," he said.

Earlier, Finance Secretary Jose T. Pardo acknowledged that
Mr. Tan's ownership position in PNB is "stronger than that
of the government's" since the tycoon controls the single-
biggest block of shares in the bank.

"He doesn't even need (additional shares) to control the
bank," he said.

Mr. Pardo, however, denied that Mr. Tan intended to hold on
to PNB in order to merge it with Allied Banking Corp.,
which the tycoon owns.  "He cannot merge it with Allied
Bank because it has a sequestration case," Mr. Pardo had
said.

At the press conference, the bank announced a net loss of
9.87 billion Philippine pesos (PhP) (US$240 million at
PhP41.116:US$1), due primarily to PhP8.5 billion ($206
million) in loan loss reserves and a PhP2.9-billion ($70.5
million) income tax expense.

Mr. Miranda admitted PNB's capital adequacy ratio (CAR) --
the ratio of the bank's risk assets versus its capital base
-- stood at only 6% as of end-1999, below the minimum CAR
level of 10% mandated by the Bangko Sentral (Central Bank
of the Philippines) and the 8% internationally prescribed.

Mr. Miranda said PNB's shareholders -- either Mr. Tan or a
new owner -- will have to put up "at least PhP6 billion
($146 million) in fresh capital" to make the bank compliant
with Bangko Sentral rules.  Of this amount, he said, up to
PhP4 billion ($97.30 million) may come from an appraisal
surplus that the bank will record if it adjusts the value
of its present head office building.

PNB director Enrique G. Filamor said the fresh capital is
needed on top of the PhP9.47 billion ($230 million) the
bank raised via a stock right offer last year, which has
already been wiped out by bad-debt provisioning.  PNB
originally earmarked the new funds for more aggressive
lending operations, but the plan was scrapped due to the
steady deterioration of its loan portfolio.

Mr. Filamor said that as of end-1999, PNB has PhP21.7
billion ($528 million) worth of acquired assets, for which
it had to provide PhP7 billion ($170 million) in reserves.
The PNB director also said the bank is now in talks with
its debtors. "We are even willing to provide cash flow
support as long as they put up additional collateral," he
said.

"Otherwise, we refer them to our aggressive legal
department which immediately initiates foreclosure
proceedings," Mr. Filamor warned.

Mr. Miranda said Mr. Tan has mapped out an eight-point
action plan for the bank, which include:
collecting its non-performing loans, estimated at 29% of
total loans;
selling off some 40,000 items of acquired assets worth
PhP21.7 billion ($528 million);
refocusing on loans of PhP50 million ($1.20 million) and
below; and,
disallowing "political loans".

"Because of this, we hope to turn around this year, and
post a profit by 2001," Mr. Miranda said. (Business World
14-April-2000)

UNIOIL RESOURCES: Denies having liquidity problems
--------------------------------------------------
Publicly-listed Unioil Resources & Holdings Company, Inc
has denied reports that it is experiencing liquidity
problems after its wholly-owned subsidiary, Westmont
Investment Corporation's (Wincorp), extended some 5.5
billion pesos (US$ 134.15 million) in loans to at least
four companies which were believed to be associated with
former Finance Secretary Edgardo B Espiritu.

Wincorp's reaction came after the Philippine Stock Exchange
(PSE) asked Wincorp whether its financial condition was
affected by published reports which alleged that Wincorp
suffered liquidity problems due to the Wincorp loan mess.

According to its Corporate Secretary Nemesio R Briones, the
company could not shed light on the extent of the mess
considering that it has not yet received the relevant
financial statements from Wincorp itself.

"We shall be able to determine the effect of Wincorp's
financial situation only after we shall have received its
final audited financial statements and consolidated the
same with the financial performance of the other
subsidiaries," Briones said.

It was learned that it was Westmont Bank, headed by Mr.
John Espiritu, which extended huge credit to Wincorp.
Wincorp allegedly used Pearlbank Securities, Inc. as one of
its creditors, which appeared to have borrowed a total of
P274 million from Wincorp.  Consequently, Wincorp's 2000
financiers pulled out their investments after they learned
that Wincorp is faced with liquidity problems due to these
loans.

But in its complaint to the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC), Pearlbank said it was only made to appear
that it borrowed that much from Wincorp in exchange for
securities placements for its investors.  As this
developed, SEC created a special task force which would
look into the allegations of officers of both companies.
(Asia Pulse  13-April-2000)

VICTORIAS MILLING CORP.: Asks for more time to file plan
--------------------------------------------------------
Victorias Milling Corp said it has asked the Securities and
Exchange Commission for more time or up to May 15 to file
an alternative rehabilitation plan.  Victorias earlier
petitioned the SEC for a period of until April 28 within
which to submit the alternative plan.  But the company said
it will be unable to submit the plan within the prescribed
period pending completion of a review by its creditors.
(AFX News Limited  14-April-2000)


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

BANGKOK METRO.BANK: Cuts bad loans, readying to privatize
---------------------------------------------------------
Bangkok Metropolitan Bank (BMB) has succeeded in cutting
its non-performing loans to 116 billion baht or 63% of
total credit outstanding as of the end of February.

Bad loans had dropped from 118 billion baht or 66% recorded
as of Dec 31, according to president Somchai Sakuksurarai.
Although the non-performing loans were declining steadily
each month, the level was still relatively high, he said.
As a result, the bank was making an average loss of 250
million baht monthly.

As the bank's equity was already about six billion baht in
the red, Mr Somchai said he wanted the privatisation of BMB
to be completed as soon as possible in order to stop its
equity from dipping further. He said the delays so far
could be attributed mainly to the change in calculating
figures used in the negotiations. They were now based on
the performance ending in December 1999 instead of June
1999.

"Recapitalisation is the best alternative to help the bank
survive on its own. I assume that the privatisation of the
bank is now in its final stage, which will be completed
soon," said Mr Somchai.

The privatisation of state-owned banks is part of the
banking reform package initiated by the government to
achieve full liberalisation of the banking sector.
Mr Somchai said he hoped that after the privatisation of
weaker banks was completed, the government would consider
extending additional assistance to help them survive.
(Bangkok Post  14-April-2000)

CHRISTIANI & NIELSEN: Reports debenture offer to SET
----------------------------------------------------
Christiani & Nielsen, a Thai Public Company Limited,
through Mr. Danuch Yontararak, Director and Secretary,
informs the Stock Exchange of Thailand that the company has
already redeemed 1,864,463 units of debentures (Baht
1,864,463,000) and the remaining 335,537 units (Baht
335,537,000) have not been redeemed. (Stock Exchange of
Thailand  12-April-2000)

NATURAL PARK PLC: 3 directors resign
------------------------------------
The company, through Mr.Tharagant Protpagorn, Director,
reported to the Stock Exchange of Thailand the resignation
of three company directors by reason of their regular work
load, which possibly resulted in their imperfect
performance as directors with details as follows:

1. Mr.Suebtrakul Soonthornthum resigning from Chairman of
the Audit Committee and Independent Director; 2. Mr.Sakthip
Krairiksh resigning from the Audit Committee and
Independent Director; and 3. Mr.Chinnawat Bulsuk resigning
from the Director. The resignations were effective April
9,2000.  (Stock Exchange of Thailand  11-April-2000)

NATURAL PARK PLC: Applies for rehab, appoints planner
-----------------------------------------------------
Tharagant Protpagorn, Director, reported to the Stock
Exchange of Thailand that the company Natural Park Plc, as
a debtor, has filed the petition to the central bankruptcy
court on the 10th April, 2000 in order  to have the court
approve the rehabilitation process.  The date the petition
will be on trial was appointed on the 1st May, 2000 by the
court.

The company appointed D.S. Prudential Management Co., Ltd.
as its financial advisor (F/A). F/A commented that the
debts of the company could be restructured which result in
the appropriate debt to revenue ratio, as well as new cash
injection by capital increasing or other means in order to
develop the unfinished project. Then the company could be
rehabilitated and viable. The details of the plan will be
made after the court orders to appoint the planner.

The company's planner is NPK Management Service Co., Ltd.,
88 Sukhumvit Road (Soi Sukhumvit 49), Klongtan Nua,
Wattana, Bangkok.  The company's managing director is Mr.
Thosapong Jaruthavee, a Thai born 19 December 1955. He was
educated at Suan-kularb School and has a Bachelors degree
in Engineering. He is on the faculty of Engineering,
Chulalongkorn University.

A second director is Mr. Taragant Protpakorn, a Thai born
19 March 1954. He also attended Suan-kularb School, and has
his Bachelors degree in Pharmacy. He currently is on the
faculty of Pharmacy, Chulalongkorn University.

A third company director is Mr. Suwan Thanombooncharoen, a
Thai born 1 June 1957. He also attended Suan-kularb School
and has his Bachelors degree in Pharmacy. He likewise is on
the faculty of Pharmacy, Chulalongkorn University.  (Stock
Exchange Of Thailand  12-April-2000)

SOMBOON GROUP: Restructure hoped to trigger revival
---------------------------------------------------
The Somboon Group, the country's third-largest auto-parts
company, hopes its restructuring will trigger a revival of
the company's fortunes.

The company has become a model for the industry, emerging
from its economic crisis with a sharper business focus and
debt restructuring nearly completed.  More than 600 auto-
parts companies have been closed or taken over by foreign
interests since the crisis struck in 1997. The Somboon
Group had problems of its own, chiefly 3.5 billion baht in
debt.

However, an agreement with Bangkok Bank to restructure the
debt was tentatively scheduled to be signed by the end of
this month, said president Yongkiat Kiatphanich.  Under the
agreement, 70% of the foreign-currency debt will be
converted to baht and the repayments, originally due this
year, will be rescheduled over five years. The interest
rate will also be cut by one to two percentage points from
the current minimum lending rate plus one point.

A business-rehabilitation plan that forms part of the
agreement will require the group to increase exports to 30%
of sales this year from 10%. Total sales are expected to
rise to 1.5 billion baht from 1.2 billion last year.
Mr Yongkiat said the group's 16 subsidiaries had been
reorganised into just three, focusing on core businesses
for flexible and quick operation.

The three companies are Bangkok Spring Industrial Co,
Somboon Malleable Iron Industry Co and Somboon Advance
Technology Co.  He said, however, that the local auto-parts
industry was still far from recovery. The main reason was
that local vehicle production, while improving rapidly, was
still far behind the levels seen in the boom years.

The current annual output of all vehicles including
motorcycles is two million units, compared with pre-crisis
levels of five million.  Just as vehicle producers have had
to seek more export markets to offset slow local sales,
auto parts producers must also look abroad, Mr Yongkiat
said. The only alternatives they face are to cut production
or liquidate.

"The industry will need at least another three years before
a recovery will take place" he said.

The family-owned Somboon Group was founded 40 years ago by
Somboon Kiatphanich. In addition to the leaf springs that
were its mainstay for the first 30 years of operations, the
group now produces more than 100 types of auto parts.
Substantial investment has gone into developing the
company's plant in Samut Prakan over the past 10 years.
After it acquired technology from Mitsubishi Steel
Manufacturing, Asahitech, Gohsyu and Ibara Sieki, the
company's auto parts began to gain increasing recognition
from both American and Japanese automakers.

"The quality and standards of our parts are still accepted
despite the fact that the car companies are now able to
turn to overseas suppliers after the long-standing local-
content regulations were abolished at the start of this
year," Mr Yongkiat said. (Bangkok Post  15-April-2000)

THAI GYPSUM PRODUCT PLC: Court discharges rehab plan
----------------------------------------------------
Krisada Kampanatsanyakorn, Plan Administrator, reported to
the Stock Exchange of Thailand that as the Civil Court
approved the rehabilitation plan of Thai Gypsum Product
Public Company Limited on 19th November 1999 and the
Company performed in compliance with the plan through all
significant performance. Consequently, the company
submitted a petition in order to discharge the plan to the
Central Bankruptcy Court on 3rd March 2000. Finally, the
Court has made an order in connection with the discharge of
Rehabilitation Plan of Thai Gypsum Products Public Company
Limited on 10th April 2000. (Stock Exchange of Thailand
11-April-2000)


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