TCRAP_Public/000518.MBX      T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

                           A S I A   P A C I F I C

             Thursday, May 18, 2000, Vol. 3, No. 97

                                  Headlines


* A U S T R A L I A *

BELL GROUP: Banks get green light to chase litigation fund
FIVE ARROWS AUSTRALIA FUND: Sh'holders agree to winding up
PASMINCO: Class action case to Supreme Court
REINSURANCE AUSTRALIA CORP.: Facing shareholder scrutiny
SAUSAGE SOFTWARE: Solution 6 merger dead
TELSTRA: To delay bond sale due to no interest
TELSTRA CORP.: Firms plans for $7.4bn debt call


* C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G *

HONG KONG.COM: Posts wider 1st quarter loss
TAIWAN DEVEL.& TRUST CORP.: Gets loan payment extension
TOM.COM: Posts huge 1st quarter loss
TYSAN HOLDINGS: Judge rejects appeal
VIVID TRIUMPH LTD: Facing winding up petition
WING LEE RESTAURANT LTD: Facing winding up petition


* I N D O N E S I A *

BANK DAGANG NASIONAL: Closed banks' property up for auction
BANK LAUTAN BERLIAN: Closed banks' property up for auction
BANK SUBENTRA: Closed banks' property up for auction
PT DOK & PERKAPALAN: Creditor banks file bankruptcy on it
PT INTIFIKASA SECURINDO: JSX temporarily suspends
PT SEKURITAS NAMALATU RONESINA: JSX temporarily suspends


* J A P A N *

DAIHATSU DIESEL MFG.CO.: Suffers second straight group loss
DDI CORP.: Iridium failure blamed for 10.5B Yen net loss
ITOCHU CORP.: To cut 150 affiliates
KOFUKU BANK: WL Ross favored to take over
WACOAL CORP.: Reports 8.5B Yen in unfunded pensions


* K O R E A *

DAEWOO MOTORS: Price to be key in final bidder selection
SEOUL BANK: Deutsch Bank insider finalist to head


* M A L A Y S I A *

EDARAN OTOMOBIL NASIONAL: Proton-Hicom sale talks still on
MCSB SYSTEMS (M)BHD: To reduce debts, expand operations
TIME dotCOM: Khazanah eyes 30 percent stake


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

BELLE CORP.: Mulls sale of Manila Bay lot
URBAN BANK: PDIC gets 5 formal offers for it
VICTORIAS MILLING CORP.: Banks withdraw credit lines


* T H A I L A N D *

AMARIN PLAZA PLC: Gives reasons for Q1 net loss to SET
BANGKOK METROPOLITAN BANK: HSBC pays $7B for bank
iTV: SCB will sell iTV stake to Shin Corp
PRECIOUS SHIPPING: Reports on debt rehab to SET
PREMIER ENTERPRISE PLC: Reports debt rehab agreement
SAHAVIRIYA LIGHT GAUGE STEEL CO.: To sign debt pact
SIAM CITY BANK: BOT to sweeten terms for sale
TANAYONG PLC: Signs debt restructuring plan


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

BELL GROUP: Banks get green light to chase litigation fund
----------------------------------------------------------
A judge in the Western Australia Supreme Court has cleared
the way for former banks to the Bell Group to proceed with
a challenge to a litigation funding deal.

The challenge could give a major slice of any successful
litigation against the banks to creditors such as the
Insurance Commission of WA, which is funding the
litigation.  Justice Tony Templeman has lifted a stay he
imposed in January 1998 that would have seen the banks'
challenge to the funding deal held off until the main
litigation by the Bell Group liquidators against the banks
was heard in the Federal Court.

The core action was in the WA Supreme Court yesterday for
the first time since a Federal Court judge ordered on April
7 that the case was a matter best argued before a State
court because of legal uncertainty about Federal
jurisdiction.  At stake in the core battle is up to $1
billion arising from allegations by the liquidators that
the banks gained security over Bell Group assets in January
1990 when most Bell companies were insolvent or of doubtful
solvency.

The banks appointed receivers to the Bell companies 15
months later and realised $286 million by selling WA
Newspapers and shares in Bell Resources, leaving no assets
for creditors owed more than $2 billion.  The liquidators
claim the banks participated in breaches of fiduciary duty
by Bell directors and then received the benefits that
flowed from those breaches.

Banks lawyer Mr Tom Jucovic QC said it could take six
months for the cases to get to trial.  Management of both
cases has been give to Justice Owen, who adjourned them to
June 20. (Sydney Morning Herald  17-May-2000)

FIVE ARROWS AUSTRALIA FUND: Sh'holders agree to winding up
----------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders have agreed to the voluntarily winding up of
the ASX-listed investment company The Five Arrows Australia
Fund Limited (FAAFL).

The special resolution to voluntarily wind-up FAAFL was
passed by an overwhelming majority of shareholders on a
show of hands. Had the special resolution been taken to a
poll, it would also have been passed by an overwhelming
majority of shareholders.

In relation to this special resolution, FAAFL had received
proxies representing 62,055,723 voting shares. If a poll
had been necessary, over 91% of these proxy votes would
have been exercised in favour of the special resolution.
This is made up of 76.99% voting in favour of the special
resolution and another 14.22% of undirected proxies which
the meeting was advised would have been cast in favour of
the resolution.  (Sydney Morning Herald  16-May-2000)

PASMINCO: Class action case to Supreme Court
--------------------------------------------
More than 1000 people whose attempted class action against
Pasminco was rejected by the Federal Court last week will
take their case to the Supreme Court of Victoria.

A statement of claim was lodged with the court and served
on the mining giant's corporate headquarters in Melbourne
on Monday.  The claimants, including about 400 Port Pirie
residents, are seeking unspecified damages, as well as an
injunction to control emissions from Pasminco smelters at
Port Pirie and Cockle Creek, in New South Wales.

The group claims toxic emissions from the smelters cause
lead poisoning, bowel problems, brain damage, behavioral
problems and respiratory difficulties.  On Friday, the
Federal Court ruled it did not have jurisdiction to hear
the case.

Coleman and Grieg, the Sydney law firm representing the
group, has abandoned the Trade Practices Act argument
central to its Federal Court case. The Supreme Court case
will hinge on claims of negligence and nuisance. Coleman
and Grieg spokesman Paul Gambin called the Federal Court's
ruling a "hiccup."  A starting date for the case will be
set at a directions hearing in Melbourne to be held on
August 18. (The Advertiser  17-May-2000)

REINSURANCE AUSTRALIA CORP.: Facing shareholder scrutiny
--------------------------------------------------------
Embattled reinsurer Reinsurance Australia Corp Ltd (ReAC)
faced its shareholders yesterday, unveiling an expected
A$3mil 1st quarter loss and voicing hopes for an offshore
investor to ride to its rescue.

"We will look at any proposal that we believe adds
shareholder value," ReAC chairman Peter Cadwallader told
the press after the AGM in Sydney, noting that former chief
executive Nick Steffey had been canvassing potential
American investors prior to his departure.

Steffey resigned on May 9, although Cadwallader declined to
comment on his exit.  Cadwallader also declined to comment
on the exit of former underwriting managing director
Michael Kelly in October last year.  ReAC had earlier
announced that it expected a A$3mil loss in the three
months to March 31, 2000, taking its net tangible assets to
about A$50mil.

The company has also closed its business and placed
remaining policies in run-off after sustaining massive
losses from the global catastrophes.  The reinsurer posted
a A$467mil loss in calendar 1999, but investors are hoping
to find value in the cash reserves once all policy
liabilities are settled in a process which could take some
years.  Costs were under the spotlight as the company
entered its runoff phase, with group staff now down to 30
from 130 worldwide.

"We will be reviewing the director's fees, as we will be
reviewing all areas of costs, and trimming them to the
minimum level possible that allows us to operate
effectively," Cadwallader said.

According to Cadwallader, commutation--where clients and
the reinsurer settle all present and future claims in one
go--is being pursued to finalise liabilities on its books.
But, he said, it was impossible to give a timeframe for
completing the process.

"We have not settled any claims for anything in excess of
what we had in reserves for those claims, and we are
pushing ahead, but the negotiation environment sets the
pace," Cadwallader said.  (Reuters, Star Online  16-May-
2000)

SAUSAGE SOFTWARE: Solution 6 merger dead
----------------------------------------
The hoped for merger between two troubled software firms,
Solution 6 and Sausage Software, is officially dead.

Solution 6 has withdrawn its offer of six shares for every
10 Sausage shares, a deal that would have seen Telstra
invest cash and assets, while taking 40 per cent of the
merged entity.  The agreement has looked shaky since last
month's correction in high-tech stock values, later
Sausage's board rejected the offer as inadequate.

The deal's collapse caps a tumultuous period for Solution
6, which has lost both its chairman-elect Ted Pretty and
its chief executive Chris Tyler in the past week.
(Sydney Morning Herald 17-May-2000)

TELSTRA: To delay bond sale due to no interest
----------------------------------------------
Telstra, Australia's biggest phone company, said yesterday
it will delay the sale of up to US$1.5 billion (S$2.55
billion) of bonds to fund its investment in Hongkong's
Pacific Century CyberWorks, due to a lack of investor
demand.

Telstra, 51 per cent owned by the government, said it will
delay the sale until about September because recent debt
sales by telecommunications companies in Europe have sapped
appetite for its debt.  Still, the company said it will
proceed with a separate one billion euro (S$1.56 billion)
bond sale to repay short-term debt.

"Borrowing conditions are tough," Telstra treasurer Cliff
Davis said. He added the decision was unrelated to a drop
in Internet-related companies' stock prices.

CyberWorks lost about 40 per cent of its market value in
the past three months, sparking speculation its bid for
Cable & Wireless HKT (C&W HKT) will be topped by Singapore
Telecom and Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. Telstra's
investment in CyberWorks is dependent on CyberWorks
completing the C&W HKT purchase.

At the same time Telstra's long-term debt ratings were
downgraded by Standard & Poor's and Moody's Investors
Service.  Adding to bond investors' concerns are Telstra's
plans to bid for third-generation mobile phone licences to
be auctioned by the Australian government as early as this
year. Telstra said it will bid for the licences -- expected
to sell for as much as A$2.3 billion (S$2.32 billion).

In addition to the US$1.5 billion bond sale delayed
yesterday, Telstra has existing plans to sell another
US$1.5 billion to complete the financing of the CyberWorks
investment.  Telstra has A$9.9 billion worth of bonds
issued globally, set to double in the next two years if it
undertakes all its planned sales.  Chief executive Ziggy
Switkowski has signalled the firm would scale back its
expansion through acquisitions and alliances when he
announced restructuring plans.  (Bloomberg News, Straits
Times 16-May-2000)

TELSTRA CORP.: Firms plans for $7.4bn debt call
-----------------------------------------------
Telstra Corp has cemented plans to raise up to $7.4 billion
in fresh debt on international markets by the end of this
year to fund its strategic alliance with Pacific Century
CyberWorks and underpin its operational activities.

Telstra Treasurer Mr Cliff Davis said the four-pronged
program by what is one of Australia's biggest corporate
borrowers would commence immediately in the turbulent
European debt markets, followed by a domestic issue and two
raisings in the United States by the year's end.

Expectations of Telstra's heightened appetite for debt to
fund its Asian footprint has been fuelled by its inability
to raise fresh equity to dilute the Federal Government's
majority 50.1 per cent stake in Australia's biggest and
most profitable company.

Mr Davis and Telstra's group general manager of finance Mr
Paul Rizzo have just completed a roadshow of European
lending institutions to gauge their support for a planned 1
billion euro ($A1.5 billion) raising. The issue will be
managed by BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank.

The size of Telstra's borrowing program this year has
already prompted ratings agencies Standard & Poor's and
Moody's Investor Services to downgrade Telstra's standing
in the global marketplace. The European issue will go
towards funding Telstra's $3 billion requirement for
working capital, with the $1.5 billion balance to be raised
domestically later this year. Mr Davis said $3 billion
would be earmarked to repay a $1.5 billion bank loan, as
well as replace $700 million of maturing debt and an $800
million reduction in commercial paper.

He said Telstra would then look to the US market in
September to fund its $US1.5 billion ($2.5 billion)
convertible note in PCCW, the pricing of which would be
renegotiated in light of the change in market conditions.
Finally, by the end of the year Telstra will return to the
US for $US1.5 billion in funds to support its contribution
into the pan-Asian mobile joint venture between Telstra and
PCCW.

The collapse this week of Telstra's pitch to buy a stake in
Thai mobile company, Total Access Communications, leaves it
without a foundation asset to contribute to the venture to
match PCCW's sale of the mobile business of Hong Kong
Telecom into the stand-alone business. Mr Davis said this
increased Telstra's likely cash contribution into the joint
venture to about $US1.5 billion.

He said he was confident meetings ahead of launch of the
imminent European issue with leading institutions there
would see the 1 billion euro issue fully subscribed.
He said expected increased demand for funds following the
sale of third generation mobile spectrum in the United
Kingdom had spooked investors, as had investors'
downgrading of the wider sector.  Telstra shares ended
steady at $6.79, while T2 instalment receipts were off 4
to $3.76. (Australian Financial Review  17-May-2000)


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

HONG KONG.COM: Posts wider 1st quarter loss
------------------------------------------
Despite a 93-fold increase in revenue, hongkong.com Corp.
said its first-quarter loss widened to HK$11.3 million
(US$1.5 million), from HK$2.1 million in the first three
months of 1999.

On a per share basis, the loss increased to 32 Hong Kong
cents, from six cents.  But the portal provider, which
wasn't listed on the local Growth Enterprise Market until
March 9, remains upbeat about the future.  Chief Execurtive
Officer Rudy Chan said the company has a strong position,
with HK$1.20 billion cash on hand at the end of the first
quarter as a result of the initial public offering, which
generated net proceeds of HK$1.34 billion. This will enable
it to aggressively expand the depth and number of content
channels it is offering through the portal, and also to
offer more so-called community services, such as email and
chat sites, he said.

Apart from attracting more page viewers and subscribers,
this should also bring more advertisers to its portal, he
said, noting that advertisers are getting more confident
about online advertising and many are increasing their
spending on this medium.

"Advertising will be a key drive in moving hongkong.com
forward and in increasing our revenue," Mr. Chan said.

Total revenue from the operations amounted to HK$16.3
million in the first quarter, up from HK$173,000 a year
earlier, of which 50% came from advertising, 42% from
content and 8% from e-commerce businesses. (The Asian Wall
Street Journal  15-May-2000)

TAIWAN DEVEL.& TRUST CORP.: Gets loan payment extension
-------------------------------------------------------
Panicked depositors rushed to pull money out of Taiwan
Development & Trust Corp, prompting the finance ministry
yesterday to broker an agreement giving the firm an extra
year to repay NT$24.5 billion (HK$6.23 billion) in loans.

Hundreds of Taiwan Development depositors, fearing the firm
would collapse, crowded branches to take out their money.
The Economic Daily News reported depositors already
withdrew about NT$1.2 billion on Friday.

"Taiwan Development's bank creditors have all agreed to
give Taiwan Development another year to repay their loans,"
said Finance Minister Paul Chiu, after having summoned
Taiwan Development's 35 creditor banks to discuss the
extension yesterday morning.

It's not known why sentiment towards Taiwan Development has
deteriorated, though Mr Chiu said the finance ministry may
ask investigators to probe the trust, lending and real
estate firm. The firm's struggle to meet withdrawals led it
to borrow NT$2 billion yesterday morning in cash from the
central bank, local Eastern television reported, with the
bank's Taipei headquarters handing out service tags to
depositors wanting to get their money.

The run on Taiwan Development, which was listed 17 months
ago under a government privatisation plan, started after
the Commercial Times reported on Friday the bank faced a
NT$500 million shortage in operating funds that day.  A day
later the finance ministry ordered its Central Deposit
Insurance Corp to seize control of the firm for six months
to offer assurance to depositors and supervise the bank.
The firm's board of directors is suspended during this
period.  (Bloomberg, Hong Kong Standard  16-May-2000)

TOM.COM: Posts huge 1st quarter loss
------------------------------------
Tom.com, Hong Kong's hottest listing this year, lost
HK$45.37 million in the first quarter, after being hit by
start-up costs and heavy capital spending related to fast-
paced expansion.

A year earlier, the Internet unit of Hutchison Whampoa and
Cheung Kong (Holdings) had a loss of HK$3.67 million.
Turnover in the first quarter increased 51.9 per cent from
a year earlier to HK$738,000.  The loss would have been
larger if interest income of HK$39.81 million had been
excluded.

Interest income was generated mainly from HK$50.96 billion
of subscription funds locked up in its initial public
offering (IPO) in February.  Chairman Frank Sixt yesterday
said the loss was consistent with Tom.com's business plan,
which took into account substantial start-up and expansion
costs.

Analysts said the result did not reflect the business
performance of Tom.com or other Internet-related stocks.
They said prospects for these counters depended on content
development.  Hongkong.com, another popular local Internet
play, on Sunday announced a net loss of HK$11.3 million in
the first quarter on revenue of HK$16.31 million.

"We can't read too much into the first quarter," said SG
Securities analyst Jonathan Iu.

Mr Iu said Tom.com could expect more revenue - especially
advertising income - as more Web sites were launched.
Tom.com chief executive Carl Chang said Tom.com would
retain an original forecast to break even in 2003. The
company's IPO lured more than 300,000 investors to apply
for shares. The issue was oversubscribed 669 times.

Tom.com's share price closed at HK$7.75 on its first day of
trading on March 1, up from its HK$1.78 issue price. Last
month, it slid to HK$5.80 amid a global correction in the
technology sector. The counter fell 2.9 per cent yesterday
to finish at HK$6.60.  The company has more than 180,000
registered subscribers, up from 164,000 on March 31, and
claims to have average daily page views of more than one
million.

"We are now moving ahead to develop 10 content-rich portals
to be launched as early as June," Mr Sixt said.

The portals will provide news, travel, sports, music,
movies and personal-finance information.  The company
expects investment in these portals to reach HK$260
million. The portals will provide multimedia content with
possible access through broadband and wireless application
protocol (WAP) applications.  Tom.com today is expected to
announce a joint initiative with Orange to offer WAP
content to users and a secure on-line payment plan.

"We plan vibrant Web sites to tap the interests and
lifestyle of Chinese communities in major cities around the
world," Mr Sixt said, adding that the roll-out will start
in Taiwan, Toronto and San Francisco.

Mr Iu said the outlook for development would depend on what
they would buy.  In the first quarter, Tom.com's loss per
share was 1.79 HK cents, against 0.16 cent a year earlier.
Directors did not declare any interim dividend.  The
company has HK$900 million in cash.

Meanwhile, the company announced the appointment of James
Sha as a non-executive director.  Mr Sha is to advise on
strategies relating to international portals and overseas
investments. Mr Sha had been a managing partner at Spring
Creek Ventures since November last year.  He had also been
a senior vice-president at Netscape Communications and
worked for Unix product division at Oracle.  (South China
Morning Post  16-May-2000)

TYSAN HOLDINGS: Judge rejects appeal
------------------------------------
Tysan Holdings chief Francis Cheung Nim-chee has failed to
win the right to challenge insider-dealing findings at Hong
Kong's top court, and now faces being banned as a director
and a penalty of more than HK$4 million.

A bid to take the case to the Court of Final Appeal was
foiled yesterday in the latest episode of a legal saga
which has put the core decision-making process of the
tribunal to task.  It also means the Chee Shing inquiry is
set to proceed to the penalty stage - nearly seven years
after the illicit trades - unless a plea is made directly
to the Court of Final Appeal for the case to be heard.

Mr Cheung and Cammie Pang Kam-chi claim a blatant breach of
confidentiality by a tribunal member should render the
insider-dealing findings null and void.  Following an
inquiry in 1998 the tribunal found the pair to have traded
illegally in shares of Chee Shing - now known as Tysan.

However, it later emerged that tribunal member John Wu Chi-
tso, an accountant, spilled the details of the probe to a
friend in a bar the day before the tribunal had announced
the results.  Moreover, he admitted that he would not have
made adverse findings against the pair and only "went
along" with the other tribunal members.

A few weeks later, he met the friend again. This time he
elaborated on the case, saying there was no point
expressing a dissenting view as the two other tribunal
members had already made up their minds.

Mr Wu was also an acquaintance of Mr Cheung - they were
both members of the King's College Old Boy's Association -
and apologised to him for the findings, assuring him the
penalty would be "peanuts". He faxed a fellow tribunal
member's notes to Mr Cheung to mollify him.

It was asserted by barrister Denis Chang SC, on behalf of
Mr Cheung yesterday: "This is an extraordinary case. These
things don't happen. But if it does happen, what is the
court going to do about it?  It is the first case of its
kind to reach the court anywhere, where you have to
consider the serious misconduct of one member of a tribunal
set up by statute," he said.

As to Mr Wu, "his very conduct shows unfitness", Mr Chang
said.

However, the Court of Appeal ruled against the insider
dealers.  Mr Justice Arthur Leong Shiu-chung dismissed an
assertion that the case was of great or general public
importance to warrant a hearing at the Court of Final
Appeal.  It was not a dereliction of duty, the judge said,
ordering the appellants to pay the insider dealing
tribunal's legal costs. (South China Morning Post  17-May-
2000)

VIVID TRIUMPH LTD: Facing winding up petition
---------------------------------------------
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for June 7 on the petition of Sae
Mok, Jaemsai for the winding up of Vivid Triumph Limited. A
notice of legal appearance must be filed on or before June
6.

WING LEE RESTAURANT LTD: Facing winding up petition
---------------------------------------------------
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing for June 21 on the petition of Lau
Siu Hang for the winding up of Wing Lee Restaurant Limited.
A notice of legal appearance must be filed on or before
June 20.


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

BANK DAGANG NASIONAL: Closed banks' property up for auction
BANK LAUTAN BERLIAN: Closed banks' property up for auction
BANK SUBENTRA: Closed banks' property up for auction
-----------------------------------------------------------
The Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) will
auction this month about 25 properties formerly owned by
liquidated banks.

The properties, worth about Rp 15 billion (about US$1.8
million), include shop-houses, warehouses and residences
located in Jakarta and Bekasi, West Java. They will be
auctioned by PT Balai Lelang Indonesia (Balindo).
Balindo managing director G. Gunawan said the auction,
which will be open to the public, would be held at the
Mulia Senayan hotel on May 31.

He said prospective buyers would be given from May 25 to
May 30 to check the properties on offer with the assistance
of auction officials.  "We will announce the price limits
for these properties during the open house on May 25,"
Gunawan said, adding that Century 21 Indonesia property
brokerage company would cooperate in the auction.

The properties include an office building formerly owned by
Bank Dagang Nasional Indonesia (BDNI) in Palmerah, West
Jakarta, a shop-house which formerly belonged to Bank
Lautan Berlian at Pondok Gede, East Jakarta, and a
residence once owned by Bank Subentra in Tebet, South
Jakarta.

The banks were part of more than 40 banks closed by the
government in 1998 after a massive run on the institutions.
IBRA then took over the banks' assets as their shareholders
could not pay their huge debts to the government.
President of the Association of Real Estate Brokers in
Indonesia Cynthia G. Sonneville said the properties would
be good assets for investment because most of properties
owned by banks were located in strategic locations.

IBRA also has held several auctions of cars, paintings and
furniture confiscated from the closed banks.  Gunawan said
that the buildings were only about 2.5 percent of about
1,000 property assets now under the control of IBRA.  He
added that Balindo guaranteed all the properties were
backed by valid certificates of ownership. (Jakarta Post
16-May-2000)

PT DOK & PERKAPALAN: Creditor banks file bankruptcy on it
---------------------------------------------------------
ING Bank (London), Hong Kong Chinese Bank, and Cho Hung
Leasing and Finance (Hong Kong) have filed a bankruptcy
lawsuit against state-owned PT Dok & Perkapalan Kodja
Bahari at the Jakarta Commercial Court, the companies said.

Rahmat Bastian, the lawyer of the three creditors, said Dok
& Perkapalan has failed to repay 11.2 mln usd and 9 bln
rupiah in loans, which were due in 1997 and 1998. Bastian
said his clients' application was the fourth attempt made
against Dok & Perkapalan, after previous attempts by other
creditors were rejected by the Jakarta Commercial Court.

Dok & Perkapalan is 99.5 pct controlled by the Finance
Ministry with the remaining 0.5 pct stake held by the
Communication Ministry.  Bastian said the application was
filed on May 15 and the court has yet to schedule the
hearing of the case. (AFP-Extel News Limited  16-May-2000)

PT INTIFIKASA SECURINDO: JSX temporarily suspends
PT SEKURITAS NAMALATU RONESINA: JSX temporarily suspends
--------------------------------------------------------
The Jakarta Stock Exchange (JSX) temporarily suspended on
Tuesday the operations of two securities companies, PT
Sekuritas Namalatu Ronesina and PT Intifikasa Securindo,
due to alleged market manipulation.

The two securities companies allegedly engaged in
artificial transactions in the trading of PT Mas Murni
Indonesia's preferred shares, the JSX said in a statement.

"The two securities companies are banned from trading until
a further investigation is completed," it added.
The trading of the above company's preferred shares has
also been temporarily suspended. (The Jakarta Post  17-May-
2000)


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J A P A N
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DAIHATSU DIESEL MFG.CO.: Suffers second straight group loss
-----------------------------------------------------------
Daihatsu Diesel Manufacturing Co. (6023) on Monday
announced a group net loss of 29 million yen in the fiscal
year ended March 31, marking the engine manufacturer's
second consecutive loss.

Sales grew 9% on the year to 41.4 billion yen. But the
number of subsidiaries subject to consolidated reporting
rose from five to 14, including some money-losing units.
Lower ship prices drove down prices of marine diesel
engines. Sales of gas turbine engines to government
agencies increased, but this failed to offset the erosion
in marine diesels and exports of engine parts to Southeast
Asia.

For the year ending March 2001, Daihatsu Diesel hopes to
see a group net profit of 130 million yen on an improvement
at the money-losing subsidiaries. (Nikkei  16-May-2000)

DDI CORP.: Iridium failure blamed for 10.5B Yen net loss
--------------------------------------------------------
DDI Corp. (9434), a major Japanese telecommunications
carrier, Monday reported a group net loss of Y10.47 billion
for the fiscal year ended March 31.

DDI said that extraordinary losses of about Y37 billion
from the write-off of its investments in the failed Iridium
satellite phone venture pushed its bottom line into the
red. The company made a group net profit of Y17.06 billion
in the previous fiscal year.

Citing heavy sales costs associated with the rollout of its
cdmaOne cellphone service and expenses related to the
phase-out of its analog cellphone services, DDI also
reported a group pretax loss of Y5.27 billion. The company
posted a pretax profit of Y50.87 billion a year earlier.

The red ink for the last fiscal year will not come as any
surprise to investors. On March 3, the company issued sharp
downward revisions to its earnings outlook for the last
fiscal year in which it forecast a group net loss of Y15
billion.

On Monday, DDI reported group revenues totaled Y1.526
trillion, up 22.4% from the previous year. The addition of
about Y180 billion in revenues from three new group
companies accounted for most of the increase in the group's
overall revenues, a spokesman said.

Last year, DDI raised its equity stake in three cellphone
companies in which it had previously only held a minority
interest.  For the current fiscal year ending March 2001,
DDI forecasts net profit of Y21 billion and pretax profit
of Y60 billion on group sales of Y1.915 trillion.

Higher profits from DDI's Cellular group cellphone
companies and an anticipated turnaround in the company's
ailing personal handyphone (PHS) cellphone operations are
expected bring the firm back into the black on a group
basis, the company spokesman said. The spokesman noted that
these forecasts are for reference purposes only.

In October, DDI plans to merge with fellow Japanese
telecommunications companies KDD Corp. (9431) and Ido Corp.
The three companies will post combined year-end results
next year, he added. (Nikkei  15-May-2000)

ITOCHU CORP.: To cut 150 affiliates
-----------------------------------
Itochu Corp. (8001) will calculate the value of its risk
assets groupwide and, using the results, reduce the number
of its affiliates from some 850 as of March 31 down to
about 700 in one year, The Nihon Keizai Shimbun has
learned.

Japan's major trading house, which sees lax risk management
as having exacerbated its fiscal 1999 losses, will employ a
new method to calculate the level of risk associated with
its assets, including investments in and loans for real
estate and start-ups.

Itochu had a total of about 5.2 trillion yen in
consolidated assets as of May. Of that figure, it found an
estimated 1.5 trillion yen of risk assets using the new
method. It hopes to reduce risk assets by 20% to 1.2
trillion yen over the next five years.

Under the new method, Itochu determines the assets held by
its different departments and businesses, and multiplies
them by a risk factor that reflects the content of a
business as well as country risk.  For example, assets held
as cash will have a risk factor of zero, while real estate
that will be held for about five years will have a value of
30-40%, with the figure climbing to 90-100% for investments
and loans made to financially ailing firms.

Itochu estimates that the risk assets of its group will
generate a 3% return in fiscal 2000, and it aims to boost
the figure to about 8% by fiscal 2004. The company will
consider pulling out of or scaling back divisions and
businesses that will have difficulty reaching that goal.

For fiscal 1999, Itochu is believed to have disposed of
about 450 billion yen in charges stemming from areas
relating to real estate and affiliates. (Nikkei  16-May-
2000)

KOFUKU BANK: WL Ross favored to take over
-----------------------------------------
U.S. investment firm WL Ross & Co. is the leading candidate
to take over Kofuku Bank, a second-tier regional bank in
Osaka that failed in May 1999, sources close to the
negotiations say.

Possible candidates for the takeover have been narrowed
down to WL Ross and the Daiwa Bank (8319) group. However,
the bid by the U.S. firm would require that the Japanese
public contribute less funds. As a result, the government-
appointed administrator of Kofuku Bank is poised to
recommend that WL Ross take over the failed institution.

With the May 22 one-year anniversary of Kofuku Bank's
collapse drawing near, the Financial Reconstruction
Commission is planning to make a decision later this month,
sources say. (Nikkei  17-May-2000)

WACOAL CORP.: Reports 8.5B Yen in unfunded pensions
---------------------------------------------------
Wacoal Corp. (3591) estimates its unfunded pension
liabilities at 8.5 billion yen as of the end of March, a
figure that was calculated on a 3.5% discount rate.

The major women's underwear maker apparently carried some
38.6 billion yen in pension obligations at the end of
fiscal 1999. Meanwhile, it had some 26.5 billion yen in
employee pension funds while it set aside around 3.6
billion yen to meet the pension obligations. The difference
between the reserves and the obligations is the shortfall.

Wacoal will write off all the 8.5 billion yen in unfunded
liabilities this fiscal year by using a method of
consigning its shareholdings to a trust bank. (Nikkei  17-
May-2000)


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

DAEWOO MOTORS: Price to be key in final bidder selection
--------------------------------------------------------
With potential buyers of Daewoo Motor (03810:KSE)
conducting their own due diligence on the troubled car
maker, the issue of how much it is worth is attracting
attention.

"Due to public pressure, Samsung Motor (830:KSE) was sold
below the price demanded by its creditors of one trillion
won (US$890 million) and sold for $562 million. Only $11
million was paid in cash," a source at a Daewoo creditor
said.

He expressed concern that a similar situation would occur
in the case of Daewoo.  Daewoo creditors are hoping to get
between six trillion an seven trillion won, but considering
the current state of the stock market, Hyundai Motor
(5380:KSE) is worth only three trillion won.

The industry forecasts the bidding price will not reach
that level.  Thus the Daewoo restructuring committee will
probably look at the highest bid in deciding the two
finalists to be announced in late June.  Consequently Ford
is emerging as the main contender over General Motors,
which vowed to make Daewoo the world's leading producer of
compact cars.

Ford Vice President Wayne Booker reportedly said while
visiting Daewoo and its creditors that he would not repeat
Ford's mistake in losing Kia Motors (270:KSE) to Hyundai by
trying to save between 200 billion and 300 billion won.
Hyundai succeeded in taking over Kia two years ago by
offering the highest bid at the last minute.

"It is very certain that foreign companies will not offer
the price creditors would want so they should not neglect
the Hyundai variable altogether," a Hyundai source said.

Hyundai is reportedly seeking to form a consortium with
Ford or DaimlerChrysler, which is also bidding for Daewoo
Motors.  (Asia Pulse  16-May-2000)

SEOUL BANK: Deutsch Bank insider finalist to head
-------------------------------------------------
Deutsche Bank is known to have recommended one Korean and
one foreigner as potential candidates to run the ailing
Seoul Bank. The Korean bank is reported to actually be the
German bank's Chief Country Officer for Korea, Kang Chung-
won, while the identity of the foreign candidate has not
yet surfaced.

According to one executive working in the local banking
industry, Deutsche Bank has formally recommended the two
candidates to the government to be posted as the next
president of Seoul Bank.

Kang is known to be a financial market professional whose
career includes stints at Citibank and Banker's Trust. He
is also reported to have been deeply involved in Deutsche
Bank's government contract to act as an advisor for the
normalization of Seoul Bank. (Digital Chosun  15-May-2000)


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

EDARAN OTOMOBIL NASIONAL: Proton-Hicom sale talks still on
----------------------------------------------------------
Talks between Malaysia's national car maker Proton and
Hicom Holdings Bhd over the sale of car distributor Edaran
Otomobil Nasional Bhd (EON) were still on, a newspaper said
on Saturday.

Malaysian state oil firm Petronas, which plans to buy a
controlling stake in Proton, said early this month talks
had stalled on the sale of Hicom's key stake in EON to
Proton.  But the New Straits Times newspaper quoted DRB-
Hicom group chairman Mohamed Saleh Sulong on Saturday as
saying that negotiations had not stopped.

"It is just protracted. But the negotiations are ongoing,"
Mr Saleh was quoted as saying.

He said the stalemate between the two parties was over the
pricing of EON, which he said should be more than the RM11
per share currently offered by Proton.  EON shares closed
at RM14 on Friday.

The sale of EON to Proton was one of the conditions imposed
by Petronas as part of its purchase of a controlling stake
in Proton from Hicom, which is divesting all its interests
in the car project.  The restructuring plan was announced
in 1998, but discord over the pricing of Hicom's stake in
EON, the largest distributor of Proton cars, has
continually bogged down the talks. Petronas signed an
agreement in March to buy Hicom's controlling 27.2 per cent
stake in Proton, but no pact was reached on the EON stake.

Speculation has mounted that EON, which also owns a bank,
may be left out of the Petronas deal and end up losing its
lucrative car distribution rights.  (Reuters, Business
Times  17-May-2000)

MCSB SYSTEMS (M)BHD: To reduce debts, expand operations
-------------------------------------------------------
MCSB Systems (M) Bhd will utilise RM38.8 million in cash
from its recent and upcoming warrant conversion exercises
to retire its debts, invest in its growing information
technology services and consultancy business and expand its
overseas operations.

The proceeds will allow MCSB, which has been losing money
for four years, to migrate from the hardware sector to the
software, service and consultancy business, says its chief
financial officer Lim Kah Poon.

At a press briefing, Lim says the company is still in the
process of moving its hardware distribution and supply
business, which has been bringing decreasing returns to the
services sector that has much higher profit margins.

The full impact of MCSB's changing business model would
only be known in financial year (FY) 2001, when the company
expects a double-digit growth in revenue.  Revenue growth
for FY2000 is expected to be negligible. For the year ended
June 30, 1999, the company recorded a loss of RM9.77
million on the back of a turnover of RM87.2 million.

Lim did not say if the company would be back in the black
by 2001. Based on the company's interim results ended Dec
31, 1999, MCSB is likely to continue being in the red this
year. For the six months ending Dec 31, 1999, MCSB recorded
a RM5.13 million loss on the back of a RM31.6 million
turnover.

The recent warrant conversion exercise, however, allows the
company to settle some outstanding debts and obtain working
capital. MCSB recently raised RM25.8 million from a warrant
conversion exercise last month.  Additionally, Lim expects
a 90 per cent conversion rate for its 1999/2004 conversion
exercise, bringing a cash inflow of about RM13 million. He
says MCSB is confident of the high conversion rate as
warrantholders stand to benefit financially as the warrants
are in the money.

Under the upcoming exercise, the conversion price is at RM1
and is set to expire on July 31. MCSB's shares are trading
between RM3.24 and RM3.38.  MCSB will use RM10.1 million of
the proceeds from the recent exercise to settle outstanding
redeemable bank-guaranteed bonds maturing at the end of
July. As at end February 1999, the group's bank borrowings
totalled RM11.39 million.  The remaining proceeds, as well
as the anticipated RM13 million, will go towards training
and working capital as well as overseas expansion. MCSB
remains keen on overseas ventures despite its previous
failed foreign forays.

"We have not gone to the Philippines and Thailand yet," Lim
says. The company already has operations in Singapore,
Indonesia and Hong Kong.

MCSB's four years of losses were mainly due to its
disastrous forays into the US and China. In 1994 and 1995,
there was a high-risk, high-reward foray into research and
development in the US and an expansion into the region
generally and the huge Chinese market in particular.
Unfortunately, both plans failed. (The Edge  16-May-2000)

TIME dotCOM: Khazanah eyes 30 percent stake
-------------------------------------------
Government investment arm Khazanah Nasional Bhd has agreed
to commence negotiations with Time Engineering Bhd (Time)
for a possible purchase of a 30 per cent stake in its unit
Time dotCom Bhd, operator of one of Malaysia's largest
fibre optic networks.

The agency's entry into Time dotCom will enable its parent
company to focus on repaying its borrowings which amount to
more than RM5 billion through a scheme worked out with the
Corporate Debt Restructuring Committee (CDRC), industry
observers say.

In a statement to the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE)
yesterday, Time said Khazanah and itself have agreed to the
proposed acquisition but it will be subject to three main
conditions.  They are: the approval for Time dotCom's
listing by the authorities, Khazanah completing due
diligence and valuation on Time dotCom, and execution of a
definite agreement by both parties covering the
management of Time dotCom and its strategic partner that
has technological expertise.

Time however, did not mention Khazanah's purchase price.
But assuming a RM3 price per share and Time dotCom's
expected RM2.5 billion paid-up share capital, Khazanah will
have to pay RM2.3 billion for the 30 percent shareholding.

"The restructuring plan is on track, the creditors' meeting
will be on June 8. We don't expect any deferment," Renong
Bhd executive chairman Tan Sri Halim Saad told Business
Times. Renong owns 46.8 per cent of Time.

Ever since Time's debt revamp was unveiled on January 28,
the company has been working on a fast-track basis and
Halim was reported as saying that Time dotCom is expected
to be listed in either July or August this year. Time
dotCom's flotation is crucial to the exercise and
Khazanah's participation is equally important as it takes
the place of Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (SingTel) as
a substantial investor in the company.

Time had earlier identified SingTel as its strategic
partner which will not only inject about RM2 billion into
Time dotCom for debt repayment but also provide its
technological know how, transforming the company into a
formidable telco player.

However, Time aborted talks with Singapore's largest
telecoms company last week. Khazanah's move is seen by
analysts and observers as signalling the importance of Time
dotCom as a strategic national asset, but it is not
expected to be a permanent substantial shareholder.

"Ultimately the debt restructuring has to go through. If
Time tries to bring in a partner now it will be a lot of
hassle. Later, Khazanah can sell 25 per cent to a strategic
partner and keep 5 per cent for national interest. This is
better for Time because the restructuring will be back on
track and it can focus on operations. After the
restructuring, they can get a much cleaner deal from a
partner," said a local analyst.

Khazanah is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Minister of
Finance Inc and was established in September 1994 to hold
and manage the Government's equity investments.  Its
shareholdings range from Malaysia's utility giants Telekom
Malaysia Bhd and Tenaga Nasional Bhd to satellite
television provider Measat Broadcast Network Systems Sdn
Bhd.

This latest development also puts into question the
counter-proposal made by Sapura Holdings Sdn Bhd late last
month which was rejected by the directors of Time as the
offer will give Sapura a 40 per cent controlling interest
of Time dotCom.  One of Sapura's major arguments for its
deal is that it takes into consideration the national
interest factor of Time dotCom.

However, with a Government agency like Khazanah as a
shareholder in Time dotCom, analysts and observers are
wondering what Sapura's next step will be.  Sapura had
recently told the KLSE that it wants the CDRC to take a re-
look at the current proposal with an emphasis on a more
equitable repayment proposal.

Khazanah's stake in listed companies: Telekom Malaysia Bhd
39% Tenaga Nasional Bhd 36% Commerce Asset-Holdings Bhd 15%
Perusahaan Otomobil Nasional Bhd 17% Edaran Otomobil
Nasional Bhd 7% HICOM Holdings Bhd 7% Malayan Banking Bhd
5% YTL Power International Bhd 3% Malaysia International
Shipping Corp Bhd 2%.  (Business Times  16-May-2000)


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

BELLE CORP.: Mulls sale of Manila Bay lot
-----------------------------------------
Publicly listed leisure estate and gaming firm Belle Corp.
is considering to sell its P2-billion Belle Bay Plaza
project along Manila Bay as part of ongoing measures to
clean up its balance sheets, company vice chair Willy Ocier
said.

In an interview with the INQUIRER, Ocier said the 19-
hectare property near retail tycoon Henry Sy's Mall of Asia
along Roxas Boulevard was among the assets Belle would want
to unload to improve its bottomline.  The Belle Bay Plaza
was among the so-called "bad investments" identified by the
company when it reported a record net loss of P3.29 billion
last year.

"Our measures for this year will be: to reduce debt, focus
on core business, improve profitability and margins by
reducing our cost expenses," Ocier said.

He said Belle would trim down its expenditures and debt
levels through fresh capital infusion and sale of assets.
Based on the valuations used for the transfer of the Mall
of Asia property to SM Prime Holdings, Ocier said the 19-
hectare property currently has a market value of about P2
billion.

It was earlier reported that Henry Sy was interested to
take over majority control of Belle, which was in need of
fresh capital. Sy was particularly keen on the plush
Tagaytay Highlands Corp.

"There's no definite timetable yet for our capital increase
but we want to do it soon. Our debt is $150 million in
floating rate notes and another billion in peso debt so we
have more than P7 billion in debt," Ocier said.

The Belle Bay Plaza was among the three bad projects blamed
by the current management team to the term of Jaime
Gonzales and Roberto Ongpin, who were ousted from their
posts as company chair and chief executive, respectively.
The two other projects were those in APC Group Inc. and
Sinophil Corp. Ongpin has disputed such claims.

Belle made a P1.1-billion loss provision for land
development costs in the Belle Bay Plaza last year.
Ongpin, who served as trade minister under the Marcos
administration, masterminded the rise of Belle into a stock
favorite with its entry into jai alai. But the other
shareholders of the company did not like his management
style. He was likewise ousted from the boards of APC and
Sinophil, which operates the Subic Bay Resorts and Casinos.

Ongpin made a comeback bid in the market by leading a group
that took over Philweb.com, the favorite tech stock in the
local scene. (The Philippine Daily Inquirer  16-May-2000)

URBAN BANK: PDIC gets 5 formal offers for it
--------------------------------------------
Five out of the seven "white knights" which have initially
expressed their interest in troubled Urban Bank have
already formalized their plans, the Philippine Deposit
Insurance Corp. (PDIC) said.

In a telephone interview, PDIC president Norberto C.
Nazareno yesterday said as of last Friday, the deadline set
for interested investors to submit their formal proposals,
only five submitted their formal intention to the state
deposit insurer.

Mr. Nazareno said the PDIC has given the interested buyers
until the first week of June to come up with their
respective plans on how to go about saving the troubled
bank. The PDIC chief, however, refused to identify the
names of the potential buyers but sources said one of them
is Cojuangco-controlled Bank of Commerce.

"We have agreed on an internal timetable and we gave them
until the first week of June to come back to us and give us
a firmer indication of their intentions," Mr. Nazareno
said.

Although the law allows the PDIC up to 90 days from the day
of takeover to come up with the final rehabilitation plan,
the government insurer is moving faster, he said.  Mr.
Nazareno also said PDIC has already given the five
investors the necessary documents needed in conducting a
due diligence audit on Urban Bank.

"We have given them most of the documents, in case they
need more we will see what we can provide them," he said,
adding that with the current situation, investors will not
have the luxury of going through every department of the
bank and instead have to depend on the documents provided
by the PDIC. "But if they want to talk to the bank's people
we will give them the opportunity," he said.

He added some investors are already talking with Urban Bank
chairman Arsenio Bartolome III. (Philippine Daily Inquirer
16-May-2000)

VICTORIAS MILLING CORP.: Banks withdraw credit lines
----------------------------------------------------
The collapse of Victorias Milling Corp., which left P3.4
billion loans in local banks three years ago, has caused
banks to withdraw the credit lines to the sugar industry
putting the industry in dire need of new capital.

In a meeting with the Economic Mobilization Group (EMG), it
was noted that banks withdrew their credit lines from the
industry because the industry was on the "watchlist" due to
the Victorias Milling collapse.

"This negative perception leads to the assumption that the
collapse of an individual firm means the collapse of the
industry as a whole," the EMG paper said.

The meeting noted that when Victorias Milling collapsed in
1997 because of over exposure in real estate properties
around P1 billion in bank lines was lost to other millers.
Banks, however, said they have not stopped all credit to
the industry but are using a case-by-case approach in
evaluating credit applications by individual firms and are
also applying very stringent requirements.

The credit issue to the sugar industry came up following
the concern raised by the Philippine Sugar Millers
Association (PSMA) on the credit access difficulty because
of the industry's negative perception following the
Victorias Milling incident.

Executive director Jose Ma. Zabaleta said the industry
needs all the financing support it can get because of the
potential of the industry.  The PSMA, however, admitted
that the industry is a sunset industry in terms of exports
opportunities but with regard to the domestic market the
industry is a sunrise industry given the 3.9 percent growth
in domestic demand.

Zabaleta suggested that in order to determine the
opportunities in the industry a segmented approach should
be used. This means borrowers are classified as millers or
planters.  (Manila Bulletin  17-May-2000)


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

AMARIN PLAZA PLC: Gives reasons for Q1 net loss to SET
------------------------------------------------------
Amarin Plaza Public Company Limited, through Vitoon
Wongkusolkit, Managing Director, has explained to the Stock
Exchange of Thailand why his company suffered a loss for
the first quarter of 2000.

The consolidated net loss for the three months ended March
31, 2000 of our company was lower than the same period of
1999 for above 20 percent. The main reasons were the
subsidiary companies incurred loss on revaluation of fixed
assets Bht. 922 millions and loss on exchange rate Bht.
98.57 millions in 1999 while incurred loss on exchange rate
only Bht. 0.67 millions in 2000. (Stock Exchange of
Thailand  16-May-2000)

BANGKOK METROPOLITAN BANK: HSBC pays $7B for bank
-------------------------------------------------
HSBC Holdings has confirmed the 36.6 billion baht (about
HK$7.24 billion) purchase of a controlling stake in Bangkok
Metropolitan Bank.

The bank said it had agreed in principle to buy a 75 per
cent stake in the Bangkok Metropolitan from the government-
run Financial Institutions Development Fund (FIDF). The
price represents a premium of about 96 per cent per share
and is subject to approval from the Minister of Finance.

The 180-branch Bangkok Metropolitan, which was seized in
January 1998 after a run on deposits, is to be renamed HSBC
Srinakorn.  After assuming control of the bank, HSBC will
reorganise its capital structure to ensure an appropriate
level of capital.  Expected capital after the
reorganisation will be about 10 billion baht.

The FIDF will enter into a loss-sharing and yield-
maintenance arrangement with HSBC in relation to a
substantial proportion of the asset base. The two sides
settled on the terms after more than a year of talks.
For HSBC, which has had an office in Thailand since 1888,
the purchase will allow it to extend its presence in a
market where restrictions on foreign banks capped it to
three offices for its Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp.

The sale of the nationalised lender will fulfil a promise
Thailand made to the International Monetary Fund when it
received an international bailout in 1997 after the baht
collapsed.  It will also go some way to paying for the
government's US$80 billion effort to rebuild the country's
banking system after it was forced to take over many of
Thailand's lenders.

Earlier this month, a director of the central bank said the
gross price would be 35 billion baht, which would
immediately be reduced by 20 billion baht by the
government's purchase of the majority of Bangkok Metro's
non-performing loans.

Instead, the Thai Government will subsidise losses on a
portfolio of non-performing loans determined as part of the
sale. That is similar to terms of Standard Chartered's
purchase last year of 75 per cent of Nakornthon Bank from
Thailand. In that agreement, the government said it would
bear 85 per cent of any losses within the first five years.

About three-quarters of the bank's loans are in default,
according to Moody's Investors Service.  The deal is the
latest in a six-month acquisition spree by HSBC as it
focuses on becoming a truly global bank. In December, HSBC
wrapped up a US$9.85 billion buyout of Republic New York
and its Luxembourg-based private banking group, Safra
Republic Holdings, owned by the late financier Edmond
Safra.

In April HSBC moved to strengthen its presence in Europe
with an 11 billion euro (about HK$78.8 billion) friendly
bid for Credit Commercial de France, the seventh-largest
French bank. Less than a week ago, it lost a bid to win
control of Mexico's Serfin bank, its bid trumped by Banco
Santander Central Hispano. (South China Morning Post  17-
May-2000)

iTV: SCB will sell iTV stake to Shin Corp
-----------------------------------------
Siam Commercial Bank plans to divest all of its holdings in
television station iTV within five years to telecom giant
Shin Corporations.

Under iTV's debt-restructuring plan, capital will be
written down from one billion baht to 200 million baht.
Siam Commercial Bank, a major shareholder and creditor of
iTV, will convert its 3.7 billion baht in loans to equity,
which will then be sold to Shin. The restructuring plan has
been approved by the SCB board, said Aswin Kongsiri, a bank
director.

The total cash amount paid to iTV by Shin will be about 2.5
billion baht for a 40% stake.  Another 40% in the station
will be controlled by SCB and the Crown Property Bureau,
with the remainder held by other shareholders.  The
station's total debt burden after the equity swap will fall
to around 600 million baht. Within five years, the bank
plans to completely sell its holdings in iTV, potentially
giving Shin as much as an 80% stake in the station.

"After the debt restructuring is completed, iTV
shareholders will still have to approve it. The bank will
propose the plan to the company directors, but we don't
anticipate any problems, since it's the best solution
available," Mr Aswin said.  "iTV's problem rests with its
cashflow and high debt. Operating performance is good, and
the firm should show a profit once restructuring is
completed."

Another bank executive said Nation Multimedia Group,
another iTV shareholder, had proposed raising its own stake
to 12% after the restructuring was completed.  Nation now
holds a 10% stake in iTV, which will be reduced after the
capital write-down and debt-for-equity swap. Suthichai
Yoon, Nation Group editor-in-chief, has formally asked SCB
for the right to purchase shares.  Other iTV founding
shareholders, such as JSL Co and the Matichon Group, have
not yet signalled whether they want to maintain their 10%
holdings by buying new shares.

Nation Multimedia, which supplies several news programmes
for iTV, had been in a sharp dispute with the bank for the
past few months over the restructuring plan and overall
station programming policy.  Under the station's licence,
news content must represent 70% of airtime. To bolster ad
revenues, the station had favoured rearranging some of its
programming to place more popular entertainment programmes
in prime-time spots, a move strongly attacked by the Nation
group.

Nation Multimedia, meanwhile, has invested heavily in its
own project to launch a cable news channel on UBC pay-
television starting next month. Executives of the company
say they want to maintain their stake in iTV to keep its
options open, and further develop the group's strategy as a
general content provider, selling to both cable and free
TV.

"If Nation leaves iTV, it doesn't seem like a smart move.
And even with Shin coming in to takeover the station, Mr
Suthichai will continue to hold a lot of influence in news
policy," said one executive.

Mr Suthichai could take a formal management position at iTV
once the recapitalisation is completed, which would be
followed with a general management shake-up at iTV, sources
said. (Bangkok Post  17-May-2000)

PRECIOUS SHIPPING: Reports on debt rehab to SET
-----------------------------------------------
Precious Shipping Public Company Limited and subsidiaries
had outstanding debts as set forth below as of March 31,
2000:
Exchange (In Thousand)/Rate in Foreign currency/in Baht:

Long-term Loans (Baht)  490,128
Long-term Loans (US$) 37.9628 63,064 2,394,087
Long-term Loans(Indian Rupees) 0.9359 18,125 16,963
Euro-convertible Bonds (US$) 37.9628 30,776 1,168,343
Unsecured Bonds (Baht)-Net - - 1,480,280
Loan from Bank (US$) 37.9628 31,250 1,186,338

Grand Total (Baht) - - 1,970,408
Grand Total (US$) 37.9628 125,090 4,748,768
Grand Total (Indian Rupees) 0.9359 18,125 16,963

Debts due in (In Thousand) Due upon
demand (**) Apr.-Dec.2000 2001, 2002 onward:

Long-term Loans (Baht) 334,301 96,727 59,100 -
Long-term Loans (US$) 46,023 11,230 4,113 1,698
Long-term Loans(Indian Rupees) - 10,625 7,500 -
Euro-convertible Bonds (US$) - 30,776 - -
Unsecured Bonds (Baht)-Net - 1,480,280 - -
Loan from Bank (US$) - 31,250 - -

Grand Total (Baht) 334,301 1,577,007 59,100 -
Grand Total (US$) 46,023 73,256 4,113 1,698
Grand Total (Indian Rupees) - 10,625 7,500 -


Exchange (In Thousand)/Rate in foreign currency/in Baht

Long-term Loans (US$) 37.9628 4,967 188,549
Euro-convertible Bonds (US$) 37.9628 30,776 1,168,343
Unsecured Bonds (Baht) - - 2,500,000
Loan from Bank (US$) 37.9628 31,250 1,186,337

Grand Total (Baht) - - 2,500,000
Grand Total (US$) 37.9628 66,993 2,543,229


Debts due in (In Thousand) Due upon
demand (**) Apr.-Dec.2000 2001 2002 onward:

Long-term Loans (US$) 4,037 644 286 -
Euro-convertible Bonds (US$) - 30,776 - -
Unsecured Bonds (Baht) - 2,500,000 - -
Loan from Bank (US$) - 31,250 - -

Grand Total (Baht) - 2,500,000 - -
Grand Total (US$) 4,037 62,670 286 -

** The Company and certain subsidiaries are negotiating
with its financial institutions for financial
restructuring. Loans are rescheduling and reworking of the
payment schedule with each Secured Lender.

According to the above new repayment schedule, of the loans
outstanding as at March 31, 2000, loan from a branch of
foreign bank of approximately Baht 89.5 million, will be
repaid by the end of 2001 and the rest will be repaid in
quarterly installments commencing March 31, 2000 till the
end of 2004.

As at March 31, 2000, the Company and certain subsidiaries
paid the first installment to all secured lenders totalling
approximately Baht 202.63 million in accordance with the
new repayment schedule. The Company and certain
subsidiaries presented the amount of Baht 685.02 million as
a part of current portion of long-term loans due within one
year in the balance sheet in accordance with the new
repayment schedule.

Since the new agreement terms have not been signed till the
report date and the Company and its subsidiaries are in the
process of reviewing the legal documents to amend the
existing loan documents. Therefore, the Company and certain
subsidiaries presented long-term loans (net of current
portion) totalling approximately Baht 2,081.44 million, as
a current liability Loans due upon demand for the March 31,
2000 interim financial statements.
(Stock Exchange of Thailand  16-May-2000)

PREMIER ENTERPRISE PLC: Reports debt rehab agreement
----------------------------------------------------
With reference to the debt restructuring process of Premier
Enterprise Public Company Limited under the supervision of
the Corporate Debt Restructuring Advisory Committee
(CDRAC), the company, through Mr. Vichien Phongsathorn,
Managing Director, is happy to inform you that Debt
Restructuring Agreement has been achieved.

Up to this date, 86 percent of the creditors have signed
the agreement. It is agreed as part of the agreement that
the company would submit rehabilitation petition to the
Bankruptcy Court under Article 3/1 of the Bankruptcy Act.
The company submitted the petition on 12 May 2000 which
incorporated the same plan as the signed Debt Restructuring
Agreement under CDRAC.

The plan includes debt to equity conversion, interest rates
reduction and reschedulings of the remaining debts to a
sustainable level to ensure future growth.  As a result of
this debt restructuring and the continual improvement of
the economy, Premier Enterprise Plc. will be rehabilitated
in beneficial manners to all constituents i.e.
shareholders, creditors, employees and Thai economy as a
whole.

In terms of implementations, financial creditors have
agreed to nominate Premier Planner Company Limited as the
Planner and subsequently Plan Administrator. Premier
Planner, represented by current management, will manage
businesses of Premier Enterprise Plc. and ensure
continuity. All transactions including payments of trade
payables, receipts of trade and other receivables will be
conducted as normal.

There will be no effect to trading partners and joint
venture partners in anyway.  The company's restructuring
will not effect subsidiaries and affiliates. Most
subsidiaries have completed restructuring and do not
require to go through Court's rehabilitation procedure.
Only one exception, Premier Products Company Limited
submitted a petition to the Court in March 2000.

We, therefore, request for your acknowledgement and for the
SET to disclose information to the general public as you
deem appropriate. The company is fully confident that
successful restructuring will strengthen its financial
position and ensure business stability in the future.
(Stock Exchange of Thailand  16-May-2000)

SAHAVIRIYA LIGHT GAUGE STEEL CO.: To sign debt pact
---------------------------------------------------
Sahaviriya Light Gauge Steel Co, a subsidiary of Sahaviriya
Steel Industries Plc, will sign a debt-restructuring
agreement with its creditors tomorrow, covering 630.5
million baht in debts.

The four creditors signing the agreement will be Krung Thai
Bank, Bangkok Metropolitan Bank, BankThai, and Book Club
Finance.  Win Viriyaprapaikit, a director and senior
executive of Sahaviriya, said the restructuring plan was
approved by creditors representing 99.1% of all outstanding
debts.  The plan calls for quarterly debt repayments to be
made over 10 years.  (Bangkok Post  17-May-2000)

SIAM CITY BANK: BOT to sweeten terms for sale
---------------------------------------------
Mr Chatu Mongol Sonakul, the governor of the Bank of
Thailand, said yesterday the central bank is revising the
conditions of sale for its auction of Siam City Bank, after
realising that the old conditions were not attractive
enough to potential investors.

The central bank is hoping for better offers for Siam City
Bank, now that most of its problems have been resolved.
However, if the enhanced conditions still prove
unsatisfactory, other approaches will have to be
considered. But this will have to wait until Bangkok
Metropolitan Bank is sold.

"We're now welcoming final offers from bidders. As Siam
City Bank is the only [intervened] bank left, things are
starting to get easier," said the governor.

As reported earlier, three bidders, namely Newbridge
Capital, the US subsidiary fund of Nova Scotia and GE
Capital, were interested in Siam City Bank.  In April, the
Financial Institutions Development Fund agreed to sell
Bangkok Metropolitan Bank to Hongkong and Shanghai Bank for
more than Bt35 billion.

"The Bank of Thailand expects the strategic partner will
officially announce the sale before the Thai government
does, because all the documents have already been sent to
the strategic partner for the closing [of the
acquisition]," said Chatu Mongol.

He also questioned having central bank officials sit on the
board of Siam City Bank, saying they have backgrounds in
regulatory matters, not business administration. However,
the central bank governor had said earlier that if final
offers were still not satisfactory, some Thai executives
would be asked to join Siam City Bank's management.
(The Nation  16-May-2000)

TANAYONG PLC: Signs debt restructuring plan
-------------------------------------------
Tanayong Plc, a listed property developer yesterday signed
a Bt5.19billion debt-restructuring plan with creditors and
said it is preparing to negotiate with unnamed United
States and Chinese firms to jointly invest in new real
estate projects.

Tanayong is also the major shareholder of Bangkok Transit
System Plc, the operator of the Skytrain system. Company
officials declined to provide more details of the potential
joint ventures with foreign partners, but said talks are
underway with two to three firms.

The Skytrain system, which opened late last year, provides
real estate opportunities. Tanayong's subsidiary won the
right to expand its system's two lines, one to reach
Thonburi on the other side of the Chao Phya river, in order
to increase the daily number of passengers.  Plans for new
property projects will be finalised by the end of the year,
said a company official, who asked not to be named.

Tanayong started negotiations with creditors last year and
signed the first agreement yesterday, with another one to
follow within a month to restructure a Bt600million debt
with Siam Commercial Bank.  The first agreement calls for
22 per cent of the principal and unpaid interest, totaling
Bt1.1 billion, to be written off. Another Bt2.76 billion in
debt was settled by asset transfers. The rest, or Bt1.38
billion, will be paid back over three to seven years at the
minimum lending rate.

Tanayong's financial picture should be healthier in the
second quarter following the debt revamp. Tanayong also
expects to dispose of all unsold units at its huge Thana
City residential project by year-end.

Meanwhile, Karun Chandrangsu, director of the Skytrain
operator, said the company expects to sell new stock by the
end of this year. The company will introduce new marketing
campaigns to boost the number of passengers riding the
Skytrain, as it is bleeding red ink carrying only 150,000 a
day. (The Nation  17-May-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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