TCRAP_Public/000418.MBX      T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

                              A S I A   P A C I F I C

            Tuesday, April 18, 2000, Vol. 3, No. 76


* A U S T R A L I A *

VIDEO EZY: ACCC widens pricing probe

* C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G *

BRIGHT TRADE (HK)LTD: Facing winding up petition
CITIFORTUNE LTD: Facing winding up petition
DATATECH (FAR EAST) CO.LTD: Facing winding up petition
GUANGDONG INT'L TRUST AND INV.: Restructuring at standstill
HABIKA INDUSTRIES LTD: Facing winding up petition
INT'L TRUST AND INVEST.CORP.: Restructuring at standstill
JOINWELL CONSTRUCTION SVCS.LTD.: Facing winding up petition
NORTH DISTRICT MOTORS LTD: Facing winding up petition
SUNNY SAIL INDUSTRIES LTD: Facing winding up petition
TECHWARE LIMITED: Facing winding up petition
THE UNION TRADING CO.LTD: Facing winding up petition
TOP-FASHION TRADING LTD: Facing winding up petition
TSINGTAO BREWERY'S: Net to hurt from acquired firms' losses
WISEN HOLDINGS LTD: Facing winding up petition

* I N D O N E S I A *

PT HANIL BAKRIE FINANCE: Requests other administrator
PT NEWMONT MINAHAS RAY: Supreme Court delays closure
PT OMETRACO CORP.: Trying to `self-liquidate',vies vs.IBRA
PT SORINI CORP.: Reports to JSX on restructuring progress

* J A P A N *

HIKARI TSUSHIN INC.: Denies rumor of bankruptcy filing
HITACHI LTD.: Erases 250B Yen pension fund shortfall
KUMAGAI GUMI: Reports 4.5B Yen net loss for FY99
MARUETSU INC.: Suffers 17.1B Yen FY99 group net loss
NICHIBOSHIN LTD.: Expected to file for rehab this month
NIPPON SEISEN CO.: Puts pension gap at about 3.2B Yen
SANKO METAL INDUSTRIAL CO.: Posts 2B Yen net loss for FY99
TOYO STEEL CORP.: Files for court settlement with creditors

* K O R E A *

HYUNDAI MOTOR: DaimlerChrysler eyes stake
NARA BANKING CORP.: KDIC unable to cover deposits
SAMSUNG MOTORS: Debt feud feared to derail Renault talks

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

CITYLAND DEVELOPMENT CORP.: Gov't probes brokering ops
NATIONAL POWER CORP.: Sale proceeds to pay for firm's debts
NATIONAL POWER CORP.: Gov't won't absorb all its debts
PHILIPPINE NAT.BANK: Winning bidder to get 'sweetener'
UNIWIDE GROUP : SEC approves amended rehab plan

* T H A I L A N D *

BANK OF AYUDHYA: Poised to raise capital with Govt help
MAGIC LAND: Preparing for its final party


VIDEO EZY: ACCC widens pricing probe
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has
widened its inquiry into Video Ezy.

The company has been under investigation for seeking to
anticipate the goods and services tax in its prices.
Companies found guilty of taking advantage of the
introduction of the new tax system in July face fines of up
to $10 million. The commission's chairman, Alan Fels, told
Channel Ten the inquiry initially concentrated on 22
corporate Video Ezy stores.

"We have, in fact, been investigating a far wider range
than the 22 corporate stores nominated, but we haven't
concluded our investigations on them," he said.  "The
evidence on the corporate stores is pretty straightforward
in our view.  Regarding the non-corporate stores, we're
investigating a large number of them and we're continuing
with those investigations during the week." (ABC News
Online  17-April-2000)

C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G

BRIGHT TRADE (HK)LTD: Facing winding up petition
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for April 19 on the petition of
Xiamen Temao Corporation for the winding up of Bright Trade
(HK) Limited. A notice of legal appearance must be filed on
or before April 18.

CITIFORTUNE LTD: Facing winding up petition
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for May 17 on the petition of Yau
Fook Hong Company Limited for the winding up of Citifortune
Limited. A notice of legal appearance must be filed on or
before May 16.

DATATECH (FAR EAST) CO.LTD: Facing winding up petition
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for May 17 on the petition of
Wayoung Enterprises Limited for the winding up of Datatech
(Far East) Company Limited. A notice of legal appearance
must be filed on or before May 16.

GUANGDONG INT'L TRUST AND INV.: Restructuring at standstill
INT'L TRUST AND INVEST.CORP.: Restructuring at standstill
Foreign creditors have been left on the sidelines as
domestic wrangles over the financial overhaul of China's
troubled International Trust and Investment Corporations
(Itics) have slowed the sector's cleansweep to a snail's

China's trust firms, the fund-raising arms of local
governments and ministries, hit the international headlines
in October 1998 when flagship Guangdong International Trust
and Investment Corp (Gitic) collapsed under a US$4.7
billion (HK$36.66 billion) mountain of debt.

The country's 240 Itics were expected to be whittled down
to just 70 or 80 within a year of Gitic's closure, but over
a year and a half later only one other Itic, the Hainan
Hong Kong and Macau Itic, has been shuttered.

"Nobody is talking about closures anymore. Gitic was an
exception because it's problems were so big," said an
analyst with Shanghai International Trust and Investment
Corp, one of the country's healthier trust firms. "The
government has the funds to pay the foreign debt but it's a
question of priority."

The state media reported this week that the country's trust
law, which observers hoped would clearly define the role of
China's trust firms and pave the way for a culling of the
worst-run Itics and restructuring of the remainder, is
still under discussion.  The article in the official China
Securities News on Wednesday made no mention of when the
law will be unveiled.

The problems with the sector's clean-up highlight the
complexity of restructuring China's creaking financial
sector where the nexus of relationships between state-owned
enterprises, local governments and financial institutions
has built a web of bad loans.

"There are a lot of practical problems, the debt
negotiations are still in a deadlock situation and the
central government has not issued any clear policy towards
the restructuring of the Itics," said Makoto Ikeya, chief
analyst with Japanese ratings agency RetI.

Mr Ikeya said that regulators have to untangle such a
complex web of domestic relationships in addition to
foreign creditors' demands, that the original target of
publishing a list of surviving Itics by June this year may
be delayed for as much as six months.

"Itics' reported financial performances at present bear
little relation to reality and their true financial
condition - especially the value of their assets but even
including the extent of their liabilities," said a report
by Moody's Investors Services.

Foreign banks, which have lent several billions of US
dollars to the Itics, may have to take a so-called
"haircut" on debt repayments as some of the Itics are
closed, merged or restructured.  But the final plan of
which Itics will survive and in what form they will
continue their business is still in flux, said Charles Tan,
senior analyst on Chinese financial institutions at

Originally, China's government had felt that clearly
separating the country's trust, insurance, banking and
securities businesses would minimise financial risk, but a
global financial sector consolidation has called that
assumption into question.

"If the thinking is going forward is to build a universal
banking model, that is something Chinese authorities will
have to consider," said Mr Tan. (Hong Kong Standard  17-

HABIKA INDUSTRIES LTD: Facing winding up petition
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for May 31 on the petition of Asia
Gravure Limited for the winding up of Habika Industries
Limited. A notice of legal appearance must be filed on or
before May 30.

JOINWELL CONSTRUCTION SVCS.LTD.: Facing winding up petition
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for April 26 on the petition of
Golden Harvest Industrial Engineering Limited for the
winding up of Joinwell Construction Services Limited. A
notice of legal appearance must be filed on or before April

NORTH DISTRICT MOTORS LTD: Facing winding up petition
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for May 17 on the petition of
Unirich Industries Limited for the winding up of North
District Motors Limited. A notice of legal appearance must
be filed on or before May 16.

SUNNY SAIL INDUSTRIES LTD: Facing winding up petition
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for May 3 on the petition of
Kincheng Banking Corporation for the winding up of Sunny
Sail Industries Limited. A notice of legal appearance must
be filed on or before May 2.

TECHWARE LIMITED: Facing winding up petition
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for May 10 on the petition of Hayes
(Asia Pacific) Limited (In Liquidation) for the winding up
of Techware Limited. A notice of legal appearance must be
filed on or before May 9.

THE UNION TRADING CO.LTD: Facing winding up petition
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for May 31 on the petition of
Standard Chartered Bank for the winding up of The Union
Trading Company Limited. A notice of legal appearance must
be filed on or before May 30.

TOP-FASHION TRADING LTD: Facing winding up petition
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for May 3 on the petition of Wong
Lai Fan for the winding up of Top-Fashion Trading Limited.
A notice of legal appearance must be filed on or before May

TSINGTAO BREWERY'S: Net to hurt from acquired firms' losses
Tsingtao Brewery's net earnings growth last year will be
hit by "heavy operating losses" of tens of million of yuan
incurred by newly bought breweries, according to sources.

These operating losses are understood to have brought about
a net loss for the second half, wiping out some of the H
share's first-half net profit of 50.17 million yuan (about
HK$46.93 million) and culminating in a full-year net profit
slightly below the 38.29 million yuan in 1998. It is
expected to announce full-year results today.

Its 51 per cent-held Shenzhen Tsingtao Beer Asahi, which
began production last July, had about 20 million yuan in
operating losses. A dozen other breweries have been losing
during their start-up stages.  The operating losses
underscore the growing pains the H share is facing as it
moves to beef up capacity and boost market share.

Last year's production was a record 1.07 million tonnes, up
substantially from 1998's 557,000 tonnes, making it the
mainland's largest brewery in terms of production and
market share. As of December the Shandong-based firm had
bought 22 cash-strapped breweries over two years to stay
competitive and to prepare for the onslaught of foreign

The issue has taken on renewed urgency with Beijing's
expected entry into the World Trade Organisation later this
year. About 50 foreign brewers with facilities in the
mainland account for 30 per cent of the market. Tsingtao's
mainland market share increased from 2.8 per cent to 4.4
per cent in the first half of last year.

As part of the move, the H share is stepping up the push to
improve its domestic sales network and adding focus on the
freshness of its products. (South China Morning Post  17-

WISEN HOLDINGS LTD: Facing winding up petition
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for May 3 on the petition of Ming
Kee Asphalt Engineering Limited for the winding up of Wisen
Holdings Limited. A notice of legal appearance must be
filed on or before May 2.


PT HANIL BAKRIE FINANCE: Requests other administrator
PT Hanil Bakrie Finance has requested that the supervisory
judge in the bankruptcy case of PT Dharmala Sakti Sejahtera
replace the administrator in charge of organising the
company's liquidation.

"We respectfully request you to consider replacing Mr
Tafrizal Hasan Gewang ... as the administrator," Hanil
Bakrie president director S.C. Chung said in a letter
submitted at a hearing with the judge, Syamsudin Manon
Sinaga, today. "We, and we believe most of the unsecured
creditors, are not satisfied with his performance."

Hanil Bakrie vice-president Franky Ongky alleged the
administrator allowed the company to misrepresent the
number of noteholders present at a previous meeting.

"The administrator has also not been transparent with
creditors and would not provide data requested by
creditors," Ongky said.  (AFX News Limited  17-April-2000)

PT NEWMONT MINAHAS RAY: Supreme Court delays closure
Indonesia's Supreme Court has reportedly ordered the
Tondano District Court in North Sulawesi to delay the
execution of its order to shut down PT Newmont
Minahasa Raya's gold mine.

The Jakarta Post quoted Newmonth president Richard Ness as
saying the Supreme Court's decision was a victory for the
people and economy of Minahasa regency.  The decision was
made after the district court had ruled that Newmont must
shut down its mine by Sunday.

The Supreme Court's intervention follows protests from
almost all levels of the government, economic observers and
legislators over the district court's closure order. The
Minahasa regency sued Newmont for a total of Rp19 billion
(US$ 2.4 million) in taxes on the overburden it extracted
from 1995 to 1998.

Newmont refused to pay, saying the taxes were not included
in its contract of work and that it had extracted the
overburden to access the gold deposit underneath.  (Asia
Pulse  14-April-2000)

PT OMETRACO CORP.: Trying to `self-liquidate,' vies vs.IBRA
IBRA lawyer Denny Harman told the hearing Ometraco is
attempting to self liquidate and argued that the move that
should be overruled by the commercial court.

Ometraco filed for self liquidation on April 3 at the South
Jakarta state court, only days after IBRA filed its
bankrupty suit against the company on March 29. On April 7,
the South Jakarta court granted Ometraco's request despite
the fact that such decisions can legally only be made by
the commercial court.

"Debtors are inclined to do whatever suits them -- in this
case, to avoid bankruptcy they (Ometraco) have filed for
self-liquidation," Harman said.

He said the company wants to self liquidate because it can
then control the sale of its assets whereas, in a
bankruptcy procedure, this would be done under the
supervision of a receiver, whose responsibility is to the
court.  Judge Mahdi Soroindo Nasution ordered the court to
reconvene on Wednesday to hear responses from both sides to
the evidence presented today.

Meanwhile, PT Ometraco Corp has challenged the right of the
Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) to claim debts
owed by the company to banks taken over or controlled by
the government.

A lawyer for Ometraco, Leonard Simorangkir, told the
Jakarta commercial court that government regulation No. 40,
which outlines IBRA's authority, does not specifically
empower the state-run agency to act under its own name as a
debtor in cases to recover claims owed to banks under its

"Clause 40 of government regulation No. 17, 1999 does not
give absolute authority for IBRA to act for and under its
own name," Simorangkir said.

He was speaking against a bankruptcy suit filed by IBRA
which alleges that Ometraco has failed to repay debts and
interest totalling 5.031 mln usd and 4.521 bln rupiah owed
to banks under the agency's supervision including PT
Bank Exim and PT Bank Dagang Nasional Indonesia. Exim was
one of four state banks whose bad loans were transferred to
IBRA ahead of their merger to form a larger state bank, PT
Bank Mandiri, last year.

Ometraco is also allegedly indebted to American Express
Bank Ltd (Singapore), Oversea Chinese Banking Corp Ltd,
Royal Bank of Canada, PT Fuji Bank International Indonesia
and The Commercial Bank of Korea (Singapore). Ometraco is
the holding company of a property and finance conglomerate.
(AFX News Limited  17-April-2000)

PT SORINI CORP.: Reports to JSX on restructuring progress
Previously, PT Sorini Corporation Tbk ("Company") had
reported the complete proposal of restructuring to the
Steering Committee from the Company's Banking Syndication
on 15 April 1999. Since that time, the Steering Committee
from the company's banking syndication has been discussing
among member of the company's syndication bank. The company
had received the restructuring proposal from the Steering

On 16 November 1999, the company had appointed Dresdner
Kleimworth Benson as a financial consultant within the
framework of restructuring. On 20 December 1999, the
company together with Dresdner Kleimworth Benson had
submitted the restructuring proposal to the company's
banking. The company's banking itself had submitted the
restructuring proposal to the company on 10 January 2000
and recently the company has been in negotiating process
with the company's banking.

Besides that, the company had informed the truth of
Derivatives to Prakarsa Jakarta and recently, the company
has been waiting the extended progress of derivatives
through Prakarsa Jakarta.  (Jakarta Stock Exchange  13-


HIKARI TSUSHIN INC.: Denies rumor of bankruptcy filing
Hikari Tsushin Inc. (9435) said in a statement Friday that
market rumors about the company seeking court protection
under Japan's corporate rehabilitation law are groundless.

Hikari contacted the Securities and Exchange Surveillance
Commission Friday regarding the possibility of a violation
of the Securities Exchange Law that prohibits spreading
rumors to move share prices, Hikari said.

Hikari shares ended ask-only at Y33,800 Friday amid
deteriorating investor confidence in prospects for the
company's mobile phone business and venture capital
portfolios.  Hikari shares have not traded during market
hours in the last 11 straight sessions. Friday's ask price
is down 57% from the issue' last session-hour trading price
of Y78,000 on March 30, and sharply down from its record
high of Y241,000 on Feb. 15. (Nikkei  15-April-2000)

HITACHI LTD.: Erases 250B Yen pension fund shortfall
Hitachi Ltd. (6501) erased its shortage in reserves for
parent-only retirement pay obligations in the year to March
31, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun learned Sunday.

Hitachi had a pension fund shortfall of 250 billion yen at
the end of fiscal 1998, but that was turned around to a 30
billion yen surplus in fiscal 1999.  The sharp improvement
is partly due to a 21% return on investment -- on a
preliminary basis -- as well as amelioration in the
financial health of its pension accounts and strengthening
of fund management.

Assuming a discount rate of 4.5%, Hitachi had 1.38 trillion
yen in aggregate liabilities at March-end. Meanwhile, the
company holds pension assets worth 1.16 trillion yen and
retirement reserves of 250 billion yen.  The surplus will
be booked into operating profit over five years.

Hitachi cut payroll by some 7,000 in 12 months through
September 1999, and has trimmed total pension payouts since
1998. It also added an extra 130 billion yen into its
pension assets pool to improve investment efficiency.
On a consolidated basis, the Hitachi group had a 200
billion yen pension/retirement liabilities shortfall at the
end of last December. (Nikkei  17-April-2000)

KUMAGAI GUMI: Reports 4.5B Yen net loss for FY99
Kumagai Gumi Co. (1861) reported a consolidated net loss of
4.5 billion yen for fiscal 1999, worse than its projection
of a 2 billion yen net loss and its year-earlier net loss
of 2.5 billion yen.

The loss grew mainly because the parent company took a 17.5
billion yen extraordinary loss on real estate it held for
sale, and because a newly consolidated subsidiary that
manages golf courses remains in a slump. Parent-only
extraordinary losses totaled 26 billion yen. On a
consolidated pretax basis, the company lost 1.1 billion

The company used tax assessment values as a basis for
reevaluating properties that had fallen to less than 50% of
their book value.  Kumagai Gumi also booked an additional
extraordinary loss of 2.5 billion yen as it paid special
retirement bonuses to 730 employees who took advantaged of
the company's early retirement program.

The company revised its group structure, based on the
actual level of management involvement by the parent
company, and increased the number of its consolidated
subsidiaries by 32 to a total of 61. It also added seven
equity-method affiliates, for a total of 13. (Nikkei  15-

MARUETSU INC.: Suffers 17.1B Yen FY99 group net loss
Maruetsu Inc. (8178) posted consolidated net loss of 17.1
billion yen for the year ended February, the supermarket
chain operator said Friday.

The poor figure is attributable to a 31.8 billion yen
extraordinary loss which the firm booked to cover latent
losses on its holdings of Daiei Inc. (8263) shares.
In a bid to cut unrealized loss, Maruetsu in January sold
and repurchased 18 million Daiei shares, about 85% of its
total stake in the firm.

The move helped to slash total securities paper loss for
the year to 8.6 billion yen, down 34.7 billion yen.
Although the parent company recorded a 14.4 billion yen net
loss, it will dip into reserves to maintain its annual
dividend payment at 12 yen per share, company officials

Parent-only pretax profit increased 22% to 4.66 billion yen
on sales of 325.5 billion yen, up 0.5%. The company's shift
to straight-line depreciation boosted pretax profit by 1.07
billion yen, meaning that such profit effectively fell by
6%.  For fiscal 2000, Maruetsu projects a 4% rise in pretax
profit to 4.85 billion yen, and a 3% increase in sales. The
firm expects to return to the black with a net profit of
2.5 billion yen. (Nikkei  15-April-2000)

NICHIBOSHIN LTD.: Expected to file for rehab this month
Troubled nonbank financial institution Nichiboshin Ltd. has
solidified plans to file this month for a court-led
rehabilitation, an effective bankruptcy that leaves around
300 billion yen in liabilities, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun
learned Friday.

Nichiboshin, which had an estimated negative net worth of
240 billion yen as of the end of March, is turning to legal
proceedings because it has failed to win agreement from
creditors on a restructuring plan based on debt
cancellations, informed sources said.

Once an agreement with creditors is worked out, the firm
will seek new equity capital or a sponsor to take over its
business.  One leading candidate whose name is already
being mentioned as a potential sponsor is the U.S.
investment fund Lonestar, which could exploit Nichiboshin's
expertise in loan collection to build a presence in Japan's
real estate securitization market.

Nichiboshin is expected to use a new rehabilitation law
that took effect April 1 as an alternative to composition.
The legislation sets up streamlined procedures designed to
prevent asset quality from deteriorating and employees from
leaving before a reorganization can be worked out. (Nikkei

NIPPON SEISEN CO.: Puts pension gap at about 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

SANKO METAL INDUSTRIAL CO.: Posts 2B Yen net loss for FY99
Sanko Metal Industrial Co. (1972) said Friday that it
posted a net loss of 2.07 billion yen for fiscal 1999,
which ended March 31, compared with the 230 million yen
loss forecast earlier.

The manufacturer of metal roofing registered a net loss of
1.82 billion yen in fiscal 1998.  The downward revision
stemmed mainly from a special charge, which itself was a
result of the company writing off unfunded pension
liabilities worth about 1.3 billion yen.

Sales dropped 14% to 30.7 billion yen on the heels of
tapering construction works by the public and private
sectors. Pretax loss came to 490 million yen, compared with
the year-earlier loss of 527 million yen. (Nikkei  17-

TOYO STEEL CORP.: Files for court settlement with creditors
Toyo Steel Corp. (5443) said Friday that it has filed at
the Tokyo district court for a court-mediated settlement
with its creditors. Liabilities left behind as of February
29, 2000, totaled 5.91 billion yen.

This move comes amid a prolonged sluggish period in the
construction industry and a pervasive oversupply of steel,
the company said in a statement. While it has reduced costs
and cut back production, the company said that it is no
longer able to raise funds.

The company said that it has been in the red for six
consecutive years because of sharp falls in sales and
revenues and a dramatic drop in demand for steel products.
The company also said that it has halted production at its
Ishioka plant and that it intends to pay off its

Separately, the Tokyo Stock Exchange said Friday that
shares of Toyo Steel will be delisted July 15. The shares
of Toyo Steel are traded on the second section of the Tokyo
bourse.  A private credit research agency Teikoku Databank
Ltd. said Toyo Steel became the third listed company which
failed this year after supermarket chain operator
Nagasakiya Co. and developer L Kakuei Corp. (Nikkei  14-


HYUNDAI MOTOR: DaimlerChrysler eyes stake
German-U.S. automaker DaimlerChrysler is seeking to acquire
a stake in Hyundai Motor, reported the German weekly Der
Spiegel in its edition due to be published Monday, with no
mention of sources.

According to Der Spiegel, DaimlerChrysler is considering
two approaches: either its new partner Mitsubishi, which
already holds 5 percent of Hyundai's capital, could
increase its stake, or the German-US group could directly
buy shares in the Korean company.

DaimlerChrysler recently became the world's third-largest
automaker after General Motors and Ford Motor, after
acquiring a 34-percent stake in Mitsubishi. Spokesmen from
both DaimlerChrysler Korea and Hyundai Motor refused to
comment on the Spiegel report, dismissing it as
"speculation." The possible alliance between
DaimlerChrysler and Hyundai Motor, two of the five bidders
for ailing Daewoo Motor, if materialized, will likely bring
about drastic changes in the automaker's sales.

Earlier this month, Daimler-Chrysler Chairman Juergen
Schrempp said in a press interview that the German-U.S.
auto is interested in pushing for alliance with Hyundai
Motor, raising speculation that they may jointly attempt to
take over the troubled Daewoo. "I'm interested in working
together with Hyundai on certain projects," Schrempp was
quoted as saying.

The labor and lawmakers at the Grand National Party are
stubbornly opposed to the possible foreign sale of Daewoo
Motor to a foreign company.  Amid overall uncertainties
further confounded by stiff labor resistance, a possible
alliance between foreign and domestic automakers may gain a
more advantageous stance in the Daewoo bidding. Daewoo
creditors are scheduled to select one or two companies from
among the five bidders by June 30 for exclusive
negotiations. (The Korea Herald  17-April-2000)

NARA BANKING CORP.: KDIC unable to cover deposits
With the deadline to pay out W3.4 trillion in deposit
guarantees to clients of Nara Banking Corp. coming up at
the end of this month, it appears that Korea Deposit
Insurance Corp. (KDIC) will be unable to meet its repayment

It is expected that the KDIC will not be able to cover the
W1.6 trillion in deposits made by banking institutions.
Nara had its operations suspended since January 21 and the
government has since moved to liquidate the troubled
merchant bank.

Deposits at Nara break down into W300 billion from
individual customers; W1.5 trillion from corporate clients;
and W1.6 trillion from banking institutions. The KDIC plans
to buy time in order to sell off Nara assets, with the aim
of building up its fund reserves so it can repay Nara
depositors. (Digital Chosun  16-April-2000)

SAMSUNG MOTORS: Debt feud feared to derail Renault talks
Sale of Samsung Motors to Renault is expected to face long
delays, amid intensifying loss-sharing disputes between
creditors and the Samsung Group, analysts said yesterday.

Creditors for Samsung Motors, now put under court
receivership, and the Samsung Group have held a series of
talks since early this month to discuss how to settle the
automaker's recently revealed "contingent debt" worth about
291.2 billion won ($260 million), which is owed to Samsung
Corp., a Samsung company.

But the talks fell through, as both sides turned down the
court's mediation ruling calling for payment of about 200
billion won to Samsung Corp., on condition that Renault
would buy 70 percent of Samsung Motor for 600 billion won.
Creditors said that they will not pay more than 97 billion
won in light of the contingent debt's portion in the
automaker's total liabilities, while Samsung Corp. is
demanding full redemption.

In the meantime, the embarrassed court threatened to launch
liquidation procedures for Samsung Motors, unless the
creditors and Samsung Group accept its final mediation by
the end of May.

The complicated contingent-debt problem was regarded as the
biggest cause behind the collapse of the third round of
negotiations between creditors and Renault in Seoul April 3
and 4. In their two previous talks in Paris, the two
parties had succeeded in ironing out the pricing gap and
other key differences, except the contingent debt issue.
The sale price was reportedly settled at around 600 billion

Creditors and Renault are scheduled to meet again in Paris
this week, but the contingent debt issue is clouding the
outlook of the sale. Earlier, creditors extended the
deadline for the exclusive negotiations with Renault,
originally set at March 31, to April 29. "Talks on the sale
of Samsung Motors to Renault are in dangers of collapse,
due to the escalating creditor-Samsung Corp. dispute," an
analyst said.

The hidden debt load came to light as Samsung Corp., a
flagship of the Samsung Group, recently asked the creditor
banks for an immediate repayment of the 291.2 billion won.
In its filing with the court, Samsung Corp. insisted that
Samsung Motors bought Samsung Corp.'s real estate assets
for use in the building of its after-sales and marketing
facilities in June 1998, but has since failed to settle the
account, except for the initial contract deposit of 6
billion won.

Notably, the liabilities to Samsung Corp. are classified as
top priority "public debt," as the ownership of the
concerned real-estate assets has not been legally
transferred to Samsung Motors.

Creditors have no legal right to sell off Samsung Motors'
after-sales and sales facilities without the consent of
Samsung Group, said officials at Hanvit Bank, the main
creditor for Samsung Motors. In this regard, civic groups
in Pusan, the host city to Samsung Motors's sole passenger
car plant, issued a joint statement last week, urging the
Samsung Group to write off the contingent debt as losses.

Analysts say that the sharp in the valuation of creditors'
liabilities to Samsung Motors stems from the differences in
the valuation of the 350 million Samsung Life Insurance
shares donated by Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee to
help cover up the failed automaker's liabilities.
Creditors, estimating the insurer' per-share price at
280,000 won, insist that their total debts to Samsung
Motors amount to 1.83 trillion won.

In contrast, however, the Samsung Group said that the
creditors' aggregate liabilities are just 500 billion won,
with the unlisted Samsung Life Insurance's per-share price
reaching 700,000 won. (The Korea Herald  17-April-2000)


CITYLAND DEVELOPMENT CORP.: Gov't probes brokering ops
Cityland Development Corp., a real estate firm with several
residential and commercial condominium projects, is being
investigated by the government for engaging in the same
controversial brokering operation as Westmont Investment
Corp. (Wincorp) and ASB Realty.

Government sources said that the Securities and Exchange
Commission (SEC) has intiated an investigation into the
borrowing and lending activities of Cityland due to rising
apprehensions by holders of Cityland's non-recourse debts.

Non-recourse debts are high-yielding commercial papers
which borrowing companies sell to investors for them to
raise money for their projects. The without recourse papers
yield investors high interest rates but do not entitle them
to the recovery of their investments from the borrowing

Sources revealed to The STAR that the SEC investigation,
being conducted together with the Bangko Sentral ng
Pilipinas (BSP) on Cityland is the offshoot of the probe on
ASB Realty which suffered from a liquidity crunch due to
Wincorp's failure to service over P7 billion in debts.

Wincorp's check payments to investors bounched when a
financing agreement it had with UOB Philippines was
stopped. This led to a suspension of payments for other
investors.  Sources said the government is worried that the
borkering operation, which supposedly matches the borrower
and the lender, is being abused to the point that the
borrowing operations of companies skirt the 19-lender rule.

Under SEC rules, a borrowing company cannot sell debt
investments tomore than 19 lenders. However, that borrowing
firms do is to engage in brokering opertion to allow them
to borrow from more than 19 lenders.  Sources said that the
SEC is looking into the operation of ASB and Cityland since
their owners are siblings. Likewise, the SEC is also
looking into the related State Investment House which in
the past had also been involved in some sour deals.

The SEC and BSP are now silently looking into the borrowing
and lending activities of companies as the practice is
considered more prevalent than actually known by the
public.  Market sources said such a practice is actually
very common, especially with investors who are not
satisfied with the returns that are offered by duly
authorized and licensed banks and financial institutions.

What happens, sources explained is that a firm usually
matches a lender and a borrower, in effect brokering the
transaction.  The "broker firm" usually finds investors and
offer a guaranteed yield that tops the rates offered by
banks and other licensed financial institutions in exchange
for without recourse debts from borrowing firms.

Such a practice, sources said is allowed but is limited to
the 19-lender rule. The broker is normally able to
successfully provide the yields to its investor. But the
whole scheme could collapse if the borrower default on his

The Capital Market Association of the Philippines has
already expressed its concern to the BSP and SEC and has
urged that an educational campaign be launched to inform
the public about the risk of such investments without
recourse.  The BSP and the Association, sources said, are
hoping to convince the public to stick to making their
investments only with the banks and authorized and licensed
financial houses. (The Philippine Star  17-April-2000)

NATIONAL POWER CORP.: Sale proceeds to pay for firm's debts
Revenues earned from the planned sale of National Power
Corporation (Napocor) will be used to pay for the firm's
240 billion Philippine pesos ($5.83 billion at
PhP41.157=$1) worth of liabilities assumed by the
government, Finance Secretary Jose T. Pardo said over the

He said in a statement that proceeds from the privatization
of the power firm will be the main source of funds to
service transferred obligations.

"The privatization proceeds that will be remitted to the
National Government will be the primary source of financing
for the debt servicing of the transferred obligations," he
said in the statement.

Napocor has transferred to the National Government foreign
obligations incurred prior to the effectivity of the
Electric Power Industry Reform Bill.  The debts are part of
Napocor's PhP240-billion ($5.83-billion) stranded
liabilities, the bulk of which represents "take or pay"
contracts entered into by the firm with several independent
power producers.

The DoF presented to Congress earlier a proposal for the
National Government to assume up to PhP240 billion ($5.83
billion) of Napocor's liabilities to make it more
attractive to potential buyers. This amends a provision in
House Bill 8457, or the proposed Electric Power Industry
Reform Act, wherein Congress suggested that the government
will absorb only PhP100 billion ($2.43 billion) of the
power firm's debts while the private investors buying into
it will shoulder the balance.

Under DoF's new financial plan, the National Government
will only absorb liabilities corresponding to the assets to
be sold by Napocor. It will not include the transfer of the
firm's contractual obligations with independent power
producers (IPPs).  The liabilities to be assumed,
therefore, will be less than the PhP240 billion ($5.83
billion) outstanding loan obligations, Mr. Pardo said. He
did not cite details.

The DoF wants to speed up the sale of Napocor to the
private sector to earn revenues for the government. The
power firm is included in the DoF's PhP22-billion ($0.535-
billion) privatization program that also includes the full
privatization of Philippine National Bank and Manila
Electric Company.  It also includes the sale of media
corporations IBC-13 and RPN-9 and the sale of the
Philippine National Oil Co.-Energy Development Corp.

Meanwhile, congressmen believe the National Government will
not be able to maximize the privatization of Napocor since
only four of the seven generating companies (gencos) may be
up for sale in the interim.  Despite this, however, the
congressmen believe that the government may recover more
than the estimated PhP220 billion ($5.35 billion) in
proceeds from the privatization process.

Of the PhP220 billion ($5.35 billion), PhP120 billion
($2.92 billion) will be generated from the privatization of
the gencos while PhP100 billion ($2.43 billion) will come
from the partial sale (or 60%) of the National Transmission

"To begin with, this is a very conservative estimate, the
(House of Representatives) committee on energy opted for
the low-side. But because of the low side, any enhancement
of the sale should improve the (over-all-proceeds) even if
you take away those that cannot be privatized yet," Negros
Occidental (Western Visayas) Rep. Julio A. Ledesma IV told
BusinessWorld in a telephone interview yesterday.

Mr. Ledesma, one of the co-sponsors of House Bill 8547 or
the proposed Electric Industry Reform Act, also added that
the PhP100 billion ($2.43 billion) estimated proceeds from
the privatization of the transmission commission could go
higher.  HB 8547, which the House passed on third and final
reading last week, provides for the restructuring of the
power sector and the privatization of Napocor.

Under the privatization program, however, the bill exempts
the 700-megawatt Agus hydropower plant in Mindanao in
response to fears from Mindanao legislators that power
rates in the region will increase once the facility is

In another interview, Batanes (northern Luzon) Rep.
Florencio B. Abad, co-sponsor of HB 8547, noted that
besides the Agus hydro complex, the government cannot yet
put in the market two other gencos: the 765-MW Tiwi-Makban
geothermal plant in Southern Luzon and the 350-MW Caliraya-
Botocan-Kalayaan (CBK) hydro plant in Laguna (southern

Mr. Abad noted that the Tiwi-Makban plant is still under
litigation while the CBK plant is under a rehabilitate-
operate-transfer scheme.  However, Mr. Ledesma explained
that despite the exemption given to the Agus complex, "this
does not stop the government from making plans" for its
privatization in the long run.

"The government can already properly evaluate the assets.
Eventually, there will really be a plan for the
privatization of the Agus complex," Mr. Ledesma said.

Napocor, for its part, reiterated that the sale of its
generation and transmision assests upon its privatization
under the restructuring of the power industry will not
favor foreigners nor "cronies" of the Estrada

Napocor president Federico E. Puno said in a statement that
the public bidding for the privatization of these assets
will be conducted with transparency under the supervision
of the Committee on Privatization and will follow standard
rules for international bidding.  The statement was
referring to allegations raised by some legislators last
week that the sale of Napocor's assets may be dominated by
only a few individuals.

"The sheer number alone of the local and foreign investors
(more than 100) interested in Napocor's privatization will
make it impossible for a handful of firms to dominate the
bidding," he said.

Mr. Puno also clarified that the National Government's
absorption of about PhP240 billion ($5.83 billion) of
Napocor's debts under HB 8547 will not impose additional
burden on consumers.

In Baguio City, a top officer of a local electric
cooperative said the privatization of Napocor will force
rural electric cooperatives to retrench employees or even
forego expansion plans to stave off the possible entry of
private corporations into rural electrification.

Gerry Verzosa, general manager of the Benguet Electric
Cooperative (Beneco), said the Napocor privatization and
the National Electrification Administration's (NEA)
inclination towards private sector participation in the
electrification program are forcing rural electric
cooperatives to offer competitive rates.

This could mean retrenching employees for computerization
and foregoing expansion plans to match the capital of
private corporations, he said.  NEA is reportedly
finalizing guidelines on private equity investment and
joint ventures in electric cooperatives after the Aboitiz
Equity Ventures submitted an 80-20 joint venture proposal
to the board of directors of Davao del Norte Electric
Cooperative, Inc.

Electric cooperatives fear Aboitiz or other private
companies might do the same with other electric
cooperatives in the country, including Beneco.  A group of
private citizens in Baguio formed a coalition to spearhead
the campaign for the registration of Beneco with the
Cooperative Development Authority (CDA) and stave off the
possibility of the privatization of the electric

The CDA has set a May 4 deadline for electric cooperatives
to register and continue availing of the tax exemptions
offered to cooperatives.  Beneco has set a May 1 referendum
for its consumers to ratify a board resolution seeking its
registration with the CDA. The CDA registration is needed
as most electric cooperatives in the country, including
Beneco, are operating as "quasi-cooperatives." NEA
continues to wield administrative control over them.

At least 25% of the total number of consumers should cast
their votes in the referendum, according to CDA guidelines.
Three-fourths of votes cast is needed for ratification.
Atty. Renato Fernandez, head of the coalition and president
of the Baguio-Benguet Cooperative, admitted to the
difficulty of garnering the needed 25% votes, much less the
three-fourth majority. He said turnout during Beneco
elections or referenda have always been poor.

Mr. Fernandez, however, said Beneco as a cooperative will
help keep electric bills affordable. He said a privately
run Beneco would become profit-oriented and eventually
increase electric rates.  Mr. Verzosa, in a separate
interview, said a failure in the May 1 referendum would not
mean the automatic privatization of Beneco. It would remain
a "quasi-cooperative" as it is governed by Presidential
Decree 269 -- the law that created NEA.

Mr. Verzosa, however, said a non-registration with CDA may
mean forcing Beneco to pay taxes it was otherwise exempted
from in the past.  It may also make Beneco vulnerable to
private corporation takeovers as it may not be able to stay
financially stable without the tax exemptions.

"The only way we could match the capital of private
corporations and offer more affordable rates is to cut back
on our expenses," Mr. Verzosa said. "This cut back on
expenses may mean going towards computerization and
retrenching employees. It may also mean being less
aggressive on expansion programs as this would entail a lot
of expenses," he added. (The Business World  17-April-2000)

NATIONAL POWER CORP.: Gov't won't absorb all its debts
The government will absorb the outstanding foreign debt
obligations of the National Power Corporation (Napocor)
which it incurred prior to the passage of the power reform
act mandating its privatization.

Finance Secretary Jose Pardo said the government will use
the proceeds from Napocor's privatization to pay off the
transferred debts, Pardo said in a statement.  The power
reform bill was passed earlier this week by the House of
Representatives but the Senate has still to approve its own
version of the bill, one of the key legislative measures
committed by the government under the programme with the
International Monetary Fund.

Napocor, the country's largest electricity supplier, has
total outstanding loans of P240 billion which were obtained
to meet the country's growing electricity needs. Pardo said
the liabilities to be absorbed by the government should be
equivalent to the value of the assets Napocor will sell. He
did not provide a figure.

Napocor officials earlier said government could raise
between $200 million to $300 million from the company's
privatization.  Under the power reform bill, Napocor will
retain 60 percent of its  transmission business. Its Agus
complex in southern Philippines will also be excluded from
the generating assets to be sold. (Manila Bulletin  17-

PHILIPPINE NAT.BANK: Winning bidder to get 'sweetener'
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) will give extra
incentives to the successful bidder of ailing Philippine
National Bank (PNB), BSP Gov. Rafael B. Buenaventura said
over the weekend.

Buenaventura said the "sweetener" could include the
continued authority of the bank to accept government
deposits, a rehabilitation plan for the bank, incentives
that could include revaluation of properties, and continued
branch access to government facilities.

Buenaventura, however, clarified that the BSP or the
government will definitely not agree to absorb any non-
performing loans (NPLs) of the bank as part of its
rehabilitation even if some of the loans are so-called
"sweetheart political loans" granted in the past.

The sale of PNB, Buenaventura insisted, is on "as is, where
is," basis which means that the buyer must buy the bank,
including all of its bad debts.  Buenaventura said that
another auditing firm, Arthur Andersen, has been hired by
PNB to conduct a final "due diligence" audit that will
again go through the separate audit conducted by
Pricewaterhouse Coopers, Punongbayan and Araullo and SGV.

Arthur Andersen will also do an audit of PNB's finances
from January to March this year completing the financial
audit of the bank.  The Arthur Andersen audit will also
help in valuating the shares of the bank.

Buenaventura said the government is still eyeing a May 15
bidding of PNB with the sale price to be agreed upon by
both the government and business tycoon Lucio Tan.

"Tan has indicated some flexibility with regard to the P160
per share price that he had initially insisted,"
Buenaventura said, adding that "Tan has apparently softened
his price stand following the discovery of PNB's true
financial situation."

Bank analysts have repeatedly said that a P160 per share
price may not be attainable and that at best it could be
between P120 to P140 each on the assumption of a premium of
two times the book value of the bank.  PNB's current book
value is only P70 per share. (The Philippine Star  17-

UNIWIDE GROUP : SEC approves amended rehab plan
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has approved
the amended rehabilitation plan of the debt-saddled Uniwide
Group of Companies.

SEC Chairman Lilia Bautista, who signed the approval along
with two other hearing officers, also ordered the continued
suspension of debt payments by the ailing retail company.
She also directed the interim receivership committee to
monitor the implementation of the amended rehabilitation
plan, recommended revisions and to submit a bi-monthly
report of all activities undertaken in relation to the
recovery plan.

The SEC said it saw the potential of a turnaround after
reviewing the pros and cons of the proposed amended
rehabilitation plan of Uniwide. It said saving the holding
firm, Uniwide Holdings Inc. (UHI), will prevent further
deterioration in the sagging confidence in the securities

"Beside seeing Uniwide rehabilitated, our primary concern
is the protection of the rights and interests of
creditors... and the rehabilitation plan will enable them
to satisfy their outstanding obligations. It is undisputed
that Uniwide's business are viable and given a breathing
spell, may be able to meet and settle its just
obligations," the SEC order read.

The corporate watchdog cited the advantages of giving
Uniwide's recovery program a chance to work. For one, the
entry of foreign investment in the amount of P3.57 billion
will build up the confidence of other foreigners now
considering investing in the country.

The plan will also improve Uniwide Warehouse Stores which
in turn will benefit employees, the consumers and the
suppliers.  The SEC also noted that the Uniwide owners, the
Gow family, "did not take out funds from the Uniwide Group
of Companies for their personal use and thereby completely
losing ownership of any and all their companies by virtue
of the amended rehabilitation plan."

The SEC said Uniwide has more to lose if its proposed
recovery scheme is not approved. For one, it will lose
French retail investor Casino Guichard-Perrachon which is
willing to infuse new money totaling P3.57 billion in
exchange for 89.2 percent share of Uniwide wholesale club
subsidiary, Uniwide Sales and Warehouse Club Inc. (USWCI).

Moreover, the liquidation of Uniwide will leave about 1,200
unsecured creditors virtually no chance to recover their
claims, while some of the creditors will be getting more
than the amounts they loaned out to the company because
they are over-collateralized.  Worse, UHI, a listed firm,
will become bankrupt, resulting in the loss of the
investment of hundreds of small investors.

The SEC also noted that the number of creditors who
approved of the recovery package of Uniwide, outnumbered
those who continue to oppose the plan.

Uniwide has 39 secured and unsecured creditors out of 1,200
creditors among secured creditors, three banks whose total
exposure to Uniwide amounts to P1.531 billion, filed their
opposition to the plan. These oppositors comprise 22
percent of the total value of the obligation to secured
creditors. The company, however, is continuing its
negotiations with these banks and it is expected that they
will eventually come to terms.

One of those still opposing the plan is one of Uniwide's
principal creditors, the Allied Banking Corporation (ABC)
which is objecting to the planned conversion of some of the
debts into condominium shares in Uniwide Metromall in Las
Pi¤as and the Coastal Mall along Roxas Boulevard. (The
Philippine Star  17-April-2000)


BANK OF AYUDHYA: Poised to raise capital with Govt help
Bank of Ayudhya (BAY) is planning to raise 26 billion baht
under a government program to help strengthen its financial
stability, according to a source at the Finance Ministry.

Despite maintaining that its situation is not serious
enough to required capital raising assistance, the bank may
take advantage of the government plan, dubbed the August 14
Rescue Package, aimed at supporting institutions crushed by
bad debt.

The source said BAY wants to reinforce its financial
capacity since it still posted non-performing loans (NPL)
at 31.5 percent of total loans as of the end of last year.
Under the government program, which began in mid-1998 at
the height of the country's financial crisis, banks can
qualify for funds from the government equal to the amount
of capital they can raise from the market.

BAY plans to use its 26 billion baht equity-backed SLIP
(Stapled Limited Interest Structure) it issued last year as
a fund which the government will match, freeing the bank
from having to raise funds from the market.

In March, the BAY board of directors approved the issue of
two billion capital raising shares by offering one billion
right issues and one billion through private placement. In
addition, the board also endorsed a plan to attach 1.7
billion units of free warrants. The warrants give investors
the right to buy shares held by the Finance Ministry in the
future, allowing the government to recoup its investment.
(Business Day  17-April-2000)

MAGIC LAND: Preparing for its final party
Before Magic Land, Thailand's first amusement park, closes
on May 28, it will target customers with a campaign dubbed
"Magic Land, I miss you".

The campaign aims to attract more than 250,000 people
through the gates before the park closes for the last time.
Ampol Sutiphein, assistant managing director of Amusement
Centre Co Ltd, which operates Magic Land, said the company
launched "Magic Land, I miss you" for nostalgic older
customers who wanted to visit the park one last time.

The leasing contract, which was signed in 1976, expires in
June and the land owner, Rattanakul Seriruangrit, did not
agree to its renewal.  Magic Land is Thailand's oldest
amusement park, located on Phaholyothin Road opposite
Central Department Store, Lat Phrao.

Covering 33 rai, the land would fetch a high price if the
owner decided to sell it to a property developer. The area
is now priced at about Bt100,000 per square wah. On a 12m
wide road, the land is also zoned to allow high-rise
building development.

A land development expert said the location is good, but
the land probably would not sell at the moment, because
there were already many office buildings and condominiums
in the neighbourhood.  If the owner invested in a new
project, it would face stiff competition from other
developers, the source said.

Ampol said that to reach the company's target of 250,000
visitors by May 28, the park would have to attract more
than 2,000 people each working day and 4,000 people on
holidays.  He did not think this was unreasonable, as
visitor numbers had increased by 30 per cent from the same
period last year.

"The 100 staff at Magic Land will not be laid off. They
will be transferred to other amusement parks that the
Kittiparaporn family is operating," he said.

The company was also planning to invest Bt80 million to
operate new amusement centres in three major department
stores. These were the Lotus Supercentre on Rama 4, The
Mall Nakhon Ratchisima, and Future Park Rangsit, he said.
Currently, the Kittiparaporn family operates Dream World,
an amusement park at Rangsit, and amusement centres in
major department stores including Imperial Department Store
Lat Phrao, The Mall stores and Fashion Islands.

"[Even when] Magic Land is closed, the company's profit
will not be effected, because 60 per cent of current
revenue comes from Dream World," he said. (The Nation  17-
April 17-2000)

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

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