TCRAP_Public/001024.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, October 24, 2000, Vol. 3, No. 207

                                    Headlines


* A U S T R A L I A *

ONESTEEL: Shares in spinoff down by a third at opening


* C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G *

BUILDMORE INT'L LTD.: Posts 1H net loss
CHINA LIFE INS.TRUST: PBOC disbands it
PEARL ORIENTAL CYBERFORCE: Asset sales trim debts
RISING SUN FOOD& BEV.DEVEL.CO.: Facing winding up petition
SHINCHEONG INDUSTRIAL LTD: Facing winding up petition
SHUNLEX INDUSTRIAL LTD: Facing winding up petition
SINGAPORE HONGKONG PROPERTIES: Stock falls on 1H loss
TRICOSAL (CHINA) LTD: Facing winding up petition
VAST SAIL CO.LTD.: Facing winding up petition
WIN BLOOM INT'L LTD: Facing winding up petition


* I N D O N E S I A *

PT BUNAS FINANCE: Seeks approval for debt restructure
PT INDOCEMENT TUNGGAL PERKASA: Gov't agres to debt rehab


* J A P A N *

TAISHO LIFE INS.: Yamato Life interested bidder for it
KYOEI LIFE INS.: Yamato Life interested bidder for it


* K O R E A *

CENTRAL BANKING: To be part of holding company
DONG AH CONSTRUCTION: Gov't, creditors to save
HAITAI STORES: Court gives it chance to rehabilitate
HYUNDAI ENGIN.& CONSTR.: Gov't, creditors to save
HYUNDAI ENGIN.& CONSTR.: Sells stake for liquidity problem
H&S INVESTMENT BANK: To be part of holding company
KOREA DIGITAL LINE: Declared insolvent
KOREA MERCHANT BANKING: To be part of holding company
SSANGYONG CEMENT: Gov't, creditors to save
YEUNGNAM MERCHANT BANKING: To be part of holding company


* M A L A Y S I A *

LION GROUP: To sell $526M of assets to pay debt
PANCARAN IKRAB BHD: S'holders approve debt arrangement


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

NATIONAL STEEL CORP.: SEC sees rescue as doubtful
PILIPINO TELE.CORP.: Signs $279M debt rehab pact
PRIME BANK: BSP confirms branch sales proceeds for debt


* S I N G A P O R E *

NATSTEEL LTD: Rating dropped to `underperform'


* T H A I L A N D *

GENERAL ENVIRON.CONSERVATION: Share price sinks
SUBMICRON TECHNOLOGY: Creditors agree to rehab
THAI GYPSUM PRODUCTS: To liquidate affiliate


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

ONESTEEL: Shares in spinoff down by a third at opening
------------------------------------------------------
Shares in BHP's OneSteel spin-off debuted yesterday at less
than one-third of the $2.64 valuation placed on them by
BHP.

Heavy selling by institutional investors saw OneSteel
shares open at just 79 cents, 28 per cent below even the
most bearish market forecasts, as concerns about the
company's short-term earnings prospects weighed on
sentiment.  However, retail investors showed more
confidence, accounting for the majority of the buying in
OneSteel, punting on the likelihood of the stock paying a
high dividend yield, according to securities analysts.

Expectations of an annual dividend yield of 8 to 11 per
cent helped push OneSteel as high as $1.09 before it closed
up 20cents from the first trade at 99 cents on hefty
turnover of 49.9 million shares, or 10.7 per cent of
the issued capital.  OneSteel managing director Bob Every
blamed offshore investors, which hold around 37 per cent of
BHP's capital, for the early weakness but said he expected
the stock would eventually settle down and recover some
ground when it started trading on fundamentals.

"It's early days. It was always going to bounce around," Mr
Every said of OneSteel's debut. "I really think it's people
demonstrating their interest in BHP as a natural resources
stock."

Mr Every, who has just returned from a month overseas
promoting the OneSteel listing to institutional
shareholders, said he was not surprised by their
mass exodus from the company.  "There are a lot of concerns
right now on world steel prices," he said.

Securities analysts had forecast that OneSteel would
struggle to list at anywhere near its $2.64-a-share nominal
value, but few expected yesterday's shocking opening.
Several stockbrokers, including Deutsche Bank, UBS Warburg
and Merrill Lynch, have long-term valuations of the company
at between $1.30 and $1.50 based on cashflow analysis.
"Below 80 cents, it's a long-term bargain," one analyst
said.

Deutsche Bank analysts said the $2.64 value placed on the
shares by BHP put the shares on a price/earnings multiple
of 20.9 times earnings - more than double world steel
industry multiples of around eight times. Local rival
Smorgon Steel is trading at a discount of 30 per cent to
net present value, and this discount would indicate a
OneSteel price around $1.03, Deutsche analysts said.

"While its separation from BHP brings a reinvigorated
business on to the market, the timing of its listing is
less favorable," Deutsche analysts said in a note to
clients. "Steel markets are currently undergoing a severe
downturn, with little clear evidence of bottoming just
yet."  (The Age  23-Oct-2000)


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

BUILDMORE INT'L LTD.: Posts 1H net loss
---------------------------------------
Buildmore International Ltd., a property developer and
investor, recorded a HK$1.47 million net loss for the six
months ended July 31. That was up from a HK$1.35 million
net loss for the same period the year before. Loss per
share was 1.84 HK cent compared with 1.69 HK cents. Revenue
was HK$215,000 compared to nothing for the previous
corresponding period. No interim dividend will be
distributed.

CHINA LIFE INS.TRUST: PBOC disbands it
--------------------------------------
The People's Bank of China (PBOC), China's central bank,
plans to disband the China Life Insurance Trust and
Investment Co., which is a subsidiary of the China Life
Insurance Co. (CLIC), and its office in southern Jiangsu
Province. PBOC's announcement was made Oct. 18, according
to the web edition of People's Daily reported today.

The disbanding is part of a nationwide effort by the PBOC
to consolidate China's trust and investment industry. All
of the China Life Insurance Trust and Investment Co.'s
financial business was ordered to terminate on October 18,
and CLIC will organize a team to liquidate the trust
company. During liquidation, its independent legal-person
subsidiaries may conduct business as usual.

An official from the trust company said that the PBOC had
actually issued an internal administrative command to
disband the branch in January 1998, when the central bank
had launched the rectification campaign.  The trust company
immediately began to liquidate creditor's debts even
though at that time it still had operational capabilities.

The official also said that the trust company's foreign and
domestic creditors' debts had both been cleared. Some of
its employees were transferred to CLIC, and the trust
company's securities department was transferred to the
Galaxy Securities Co.  It was earlier reported that the
PBOC plans to retain no more than three national-level
trust and investment companies-the China International
Trust and Investment Co., the China Coal Trust and
Investment Co. and the China Economic Development Trust and
Investment Co. All other such companies will be either
restructured or disbanded. (ChinaWeb  23-Oct-2000)

PEARL ORIENTAL CYBERFORCE: Asset sales trim debts
-------------------------------------------------
Troubled property and technology company Pearl Oriental
Cyberforce has bolstered its financial position by selling
two hotels for HK$338 million.

Pearl Oriental, which has been clouded by concerns over its
short-term repayment obligations, said it had sold a total
of 357 rooms comprising the Kowloon-based Pearl Seaview
Hotel and Pearl Garden Hotel to an unnamed local
conglomerate for an average room price of HK$950,000.
Wong Kwan, Pearl Oriental chairman and chief executive,
said the disposal of the two hotels would improve the
leverage ratio of the group by reducing secured bank debts
by HK$230 million.

"Net cash of HK$100 million generated by the disposals,
that will be used as working capital, will help to beef up
the group's financial position," he said.

Last week it emerged that Nina Wang Kung Yu-sum, chairman
of privately run property giant Chinachem Group, was a
potential buyer of Mr Wong's controlling stake in Pearl
Oriental.  On December 31 last year, the company had total
current liabilities of HK$1.5 billion and current assets of
only HK$716 million.

On June 30, it said, total assets were HK$3.65 billion
against total liabilities of HK$1.89 billion.  Mr Wong said
the disposal of the two hotels was in line with the group's
strategy and its long-term objective of repositioning its
businesses into telecommunications and technology.

Pearl Oriental, which invested aggressively in property
before the Asian financial crisis, has shifted its focus to
technology and telecommunications projects including a
telecoms network in North Korea.  The two hotels are in the
Yau Ma Tei district of Kowloon and have been enjoying a
strong occupancy rate. The Pearl Seaview Hotel has 257
rooms and covers a gross floor area of 77,205 square feet.

The smaller Pearl Garden Hotel has 100 rooms and covers
33,593 sq ft. The sale price averages out at HK$3,050 per
square foot.  Mr Wong said the deals indicated the buyer's
positive outlook towards the hotel market.

"It is expected that the hotel industry will see a blooming
prospect, with a growth in the number and value of hotel
transactions," he said.

Pearl Oriental has two luxury properties on The Peak -
among the most valuable in Hong Kong. They are Genesis, a
28,000 sq ft house at Severn Road, and The Skyhigh at
Pollock's Path, bought for HK$540 million and HK$374
million respectively in 1996.

Both Genesis and Skyhigh are on the market for sale by
tender, the Genesis tender closing on December 8. Mr Wong
said the sales had drawn a good response from investors and
end-users since the launch.  Pearl Oriental has fallen 60
percent in value this month and ended Friday at 4 HK cents.
(South China Morning Post  23-Oct-2000)

RISING SUN FOOD& BEV.DEVEL.CO.: Facing winding up petition
----------------------------------------------------------
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing on December 13 on the petition of
Kwong Man Ying for the winding up of Rising Sun Food &
Beverage Development Co. Limited. A notice of legal
appearance must be filed on or before December 12.

SHINCHEONG INDUSTRIAL LTD: Facing winding up petition
-----------------------------------------------------
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing on December 20 on the petition of
Sin Hua Bank Limited for the winding up of Shincheong
Industrial Limited. A notice of legal appearance must be
filed on or before December 19.

SHUNLEX INDUSTRIAL LTD: Facing winding up petition
--------------------------------------------------
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing on December 6 on the petition of
Kam Ho Ming for the winding up of Shunlex Industrial
Limited. A notice of legal appearance must be filed on or
before December 5.

SINGAPORE HONGKONG PROPERTIES: Stock falls on 1H loss
-----------------------------------------------------
Singapore Hong Kong Properties Investment Ltd.'s share
price fell 9.1 percent after reporting losses for both
full-year 1999 and first-half 2000.

SHPI recorded a net loss of HK$346.49 million for the year
ended December 1999. That compared with a net profit of
HK$4.4 million the year before.  For the six-month period
ended June 30, the company posted a net loss of HK$79.7
million, three times its loss of HK$25.4 million for the
same period a year earlier.

The auditors' report on the company for calendar 1999
contained a disclaimer of opinion. The auditor said its
ability to obtain needed information was limited. For
example, it was unable to obtain any financial due
diligence reports or professional valuations about the
purchase prices of certain investments, carrying values of
HK$39 million and HK$35 million respectively, recorded as
"Deposit paid" and "Investments in unconsolidated
subsidiaries" in the consolidated balance sheet at Dec. 31,
1999.

The company reported that it had experienced a high
turnover among its accounting and finance staff in 1999 but
said it would strengthen management to improve its
reporting and internal controls systems. Meanwhile, the
company said it will continue to raise funds by share
placements.

"Although such placements result in dilution of the group's
stock, these have the merit of attracting no interest or
other constraints," said Chief Executive Officer Paul Liu
in a statement. (Quamnet News 23-October-2000)

TRICOSAL (CHINA) LTD: Facing winding up petition
------------------------------------------------
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing on November 15 on the petition of
Lo Wing Fu for the winding up of Tricosal (China) Limited.
A notice of legal appearance must be filed on or before
November 14.

VAST SAIL CO.LTD.: Facing winding up petition
---------------------------------------------
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing on November 1 on the petition of
Sin Hua Bank Limited for the winding up of Vast Sail
Company Limited. A notice of legal appearance must be filed
on or before October 31.

WIN BLOOM INT'L LTD: Facing winding up petition
-----------------------------------------------
The High Court of Hong Kong SAR, Court of First Instance,
has scheduled a hearing on November 1 on the petition of
The Daiwa Bank Limited for the winding up of Win Bloom
International Limited. A notice of legal appearance must be
filed on or before October 31.


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

PT BUNAS FINANCE: Seeks approval for debt restructure
-----------------------------------------------------
Indonesian finance company PT Bunas Finance Indonesia has
requested court approval to restructure US$250 million in
debt owed to mainly foreign banks. Part of debt-stricken
property group Ong-Ko, Bunas Finance hopes to win backing
to enforce the debt restructuring in December. Its debt
plan includes a 60 percent debt-for-equity swap and
rescheduled cash repayment at 34 cents per US dollar.

Officials confirm that minority creditor Indonesian Bank
Restructuring Agency (IBRA) has agreed to the terms. The
debt arrangement would eliminate the equity stake held by
parent Ong-Kom, however.  Other creditors of the company
include the International Finance Corporation, Royal Bank
of Scotland Group, Fuji Bank and several South Korean
banks.

PT INDOCEMENT TUNGGAL PERKASA: Gov't agres to debt rehab
--------------------------------------------------------
At an extraordinary meeting of shareholders of publicly
listed cement manufacturer PT Indocement Tunggal Perkasa,
the government agreed to the restructuring of the company's
debts, which total US$1.1 billion.  The restructuring is to
be accomplished through a merger of PT Indocement Investama
and PT Indo Kodeco Cement into Indocement Tunggal Prakarsa.
Additionally, Marubeni's debts totaling US$26.21 million
will be converted into the company's capital in the form of
new shares.


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

TAISHO LIFE INS.: Yamato Life interested bidder for it
KYOEI LIFE INS.: Yamato Life intersted bidder for it
------------------------------------------------------
A group of companies that includes Yamato Mutual Life
Insurance Co. is planning to participate in the bidding for
Kyoei Life Insurance Co., which filed for court protection
from creditors on Oct. 20.

Softbank Corp. may also join the group, and GE Capital
Corp., a major U.S. nonbank financial institution, may join
in the bidding as well, according to a number of insurance
industry officials. Additionally, Prudential Insurance Co.
of America, which had earlier agreed to a capital alliance
with Kyoei, confirmed it will continue seeking ways to bail
out the Japanese insurer.

In addition to bidding for Kyoei Life, Yamato Life also
said it plans to negotiate the transfer of business from
another failed insurer -- Taisho Life Insurance Co. Yamato
Life's expansion plans are aimed at helping the company
survive in the increasingly competitive insurance industry.

Takeover talks are in progress between Yamato Mutual and
Taisho Life administrators, including the Life Insurance
Association of Japan, a process Yamato hopes to conclude by
year-end.  Taisho Life collapsed in August after the
government's Financial Services Agency ordered it to cease
most of its operations.


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

CENTRAL BANKING: To be part of holding company
H&S INVESTMENT BANK: To be part of holding company
KOREA MERCHANT BANKING: To be part of holding company
YEUNGNAM MERCHANT BANKING: To be part of holding company
--------------------------------------------------------
Four insolvent merchant banks -- Yeungnam Merchant Banking,
Korea Merchant Banking, Central Banking and H & S
Investment Bank - are to be grouped into a holding company
after being injected with 1 trillion won (US$884 million)
in public funds. The action was confirmed by the government
Friday.  Korea Merchant Banking, Central Banking and H & S
Investment Bank will be subject to full capital reduction,
and Korea Deposit Insurance Corp. will make equity
investments.

DONG AH CONSTRUCTION: Gov't, creditors to save
HYUNDAI ENGIN.& CONSTR.: Gov't, creditors to save
SSANGYONG CEMENT: Gov't, creditors to save
-------------------------------------------------
The government and creditors of Hyundai Engineering and
Construction, Ssangyong Cement and Dong Ah Construction --
the so-called 'Big Three' in the construction industry --
have decided to save the companies. Korea Express Co., a
Dong Ah affiliate which extended 700 billion won (US$675
million) in payment guarantees to Dong Ah Construction,
will be audited to determine its ability to cover Dong Ah's
losses.

HAITAI STORES: Court gives it chance to rehabilitate
----------------------------------------------------
Haitai Stores confirmed that a bankruptcy panel of the
Seoul District Court has approved its request for court
receivership. The company hopes the approval will lay the
foundation for it to normalize operations. Haitai Stores
went bankrupt in November 1997 oon the heels of the
insolvency of its parent Haitai Group. The company operates
a nationwide supermarket chain.

The court approval followed a vote among creditors on the
company's rehabilitation plan. The creditors agreed to
convert 85 percent of their loans to Haitai Stores into
equity and allow it to repay the remaining 15 percent over
four years after a grace period of six years.  The
creditors also agreed to convert 20 of the company's debt
to other companies into equity and write off the remaining
80 percent.

"The court decision will enhance Haitai Stores' credibility
and open the way for rapid rehabilitation," a company
official said. The company has severed equity ties and
mutual debt guarantees with Haitai Group, and is to be
reborn as an independent entity. (Korea Herald 23-Oct-2000)

HYUNDAI ENGIN.& CONSTR.: Sells stake for liquidity problem
----------------------------------------------------------
Cash-strapped Hyundai Engineering and Construction has
disposed of its remaining shares in sister affiliate
Hyundai Pipe Co. as part of measures to relieve its
liquidity problems.  Officials confirmed that Hyundai
Engineering sold off 104,840 shares in Hyundai Pipe for
215.52 million won on Friday. The company also confirmed it
had sold about 25 billion won worth of commercial paper at
a 11.03 percent discount to affiliate Hyundai Securities to
further improve its immediate cash requirements.

KOREA DIGITAL LINE: Declared insolvent
--------------------------------------
Korea Digital Line was declared insolvent by creditor banks
after it failed to repay promissory notes totaling 1.5 bln
won last Saturday, creditor Shinhan Bank reported.

A Shinhan Bank spokesman said the company's borrowings from
banks are small so any impact on the whole banking sector
will be minimal.  "Shinhan's total loans to the company are
140 mln won, which are mostly collateralised. We know other
banks' loans are also very small," the official said.

Dongbang Mutual Savings & Finance Co and Daeshin Mutual
Savings & Finance Co were suspended from operating for six
months by the Financial Supervisory Service after they were
found to have made illegal loans to Korea Digital Line's
president Chung Hyun-joon.  (AFX News Limited  23-Oct-2000)


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

LION GROUP: To sell $526M of assets to pay debt
-----------------------------------------------
Lion Group, owner of Malaysia's biggest publicly traded
steelmaker, is prepared to sell 2 billion ringgit ($526
million) of assets to help it repay debt, according to
company chairman William Cheng.  The sale of assets is a
key element of its debt restructuring plan aimed at helping
the company repay 10.2 billion ringgit of debt.

Lion Group has interests in steel, autos, brewery,
property, chocolate making, and stock brokering. In July,
the group, which is made up of eight publicly traded
companies, proposed the sale of 4.2 billion ringgit of
assets and swapping debt for new bonds and stock to help
pay its bills.  That sale was to include its insurance and
brokerage units.

PANCARAN IKRAB BHD: S'holders approve debt arrangement
------------------------------------------------------
Pancaran Ikrab Bhd (PIB) shareholders have voted in favour
of the proposed scheme of arrangement which will see the
group turn around under the new holding company, Promenade
Consolidated Bhd (PCB).

PIB said in a statement yesterday that Promenade Hotel Kota
Kinabalu will be injected into PCB to provide the necessary
earnings boost needed for its continued growth.  Under the
restructuring exercise, PCB has purchased the hotel for
RM130.78mil payable with 100 million new PCB shares at an
issue price of RM1 each and RM30.78mil nominal amount of
three-year zero coupon Redeemable Convertible Unsecured
Loan Stocks (Rculs) of PCB.

The owner of Promenade Hotel, Tokojaya Sdn Bhd, will
surface as PCB's major shareholder as a result. Tokojaya is
giving guaranteed total profits of approximately RM33.7mil
for three consecutive financial years commencing from year
ending Dec 31, 2000.  PIB's proposed restructuring scheme
involves a capital reduction of 75 sen per share.
Upon its completion, four ordinary shares of 25 sen each in
PIB will be consolidated into one ordinary share of RM1
each in PCB.

The vendor, Tokojaya, will then offer shares in PCB to both
the old shareholders and the public via the proposed
restricted offer for sale and proposed offer for sale
respectively. Under the proposed restricted offer for sale,
PIB shareholders will be offered three PCB shares at a
price of RM1 each for every PCB share held after the
capital reduction.  (Star Online  24-Oct-2000)


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

NATIONAL STEEL CORP.: SEC sees rescue as doubtful
-------------------------------------------------
The National Steel Corp. (NSC), mired in an economy
suffering from an image problem abroad, is not likely to be
able to operate again in the next two or three years, a
source at the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) said
yesterday.

The source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the
so-called "saviors" of the cash-strapped steel firm
reportedly led by an Arab-Chinese group "are just all sound
and fury signifying nothing. If you are a foreign investor
in your right mind, will you invest in a steel firm like
NSC plagued by all kinds of problems imaginable?," the
source asked.

He pointed out that the economy, shaken by high interest
rates and a weakening peso, cannot be a good host to a
fully-operational steel firm.

"The resources used in the manufacture of steel are
imported and since they are, their production will
unreasonably cost foreign investors a lot," the source
said. "And if ever it gets to produce some steel against
all odds, the firms which create the end products of steel
like appliances, cars, etc. cannot buy from
NSC because the demand for these (end products) is
shrinking."

He said the economy is obviously contracting and that
investments, both local and foreign, are hard to come by.
Because of this, he added, unemployment rises, decreasing
the demand for products and services, "including the end-
products of steel."

SEC Chairman Lilia Bautista said last week that the debt-
ridden steel firm will be acquired by six foreign investors
led by an Arab-Chinese group reportedly oozing with cash.
Most of them seem undaunted by NSC's liabilities now
estimated at around P16 billion, she said.  The foreign
investors expressed their interest in buying the steel firm
in the wake of the liquidation order made by Bautista
almost three weeks ago.

Bautista said the order to liquidate the steel firm met
stiff opposition from Hottick Investments Ltd., the
majority shareholder of the beleaguered steel firm. The
latter even threatened to drive overseas Filipino workers
out of Malaysia in a bid to block the liquidation plan.

Bautista, however, maintains that the liquidation of NSC is
in accordance with what the law dictates if the tottering
steel firm cannot find a so-called white knight to save it
from insolvency.  "I've given them almost a year to present
to the agency a credible investor, but they did not," she
told reporters last week. (Philippine Star  24-Oct-2000)

PILIPINO TELE.CORP.: Signs $279M debt rehab pact
------------------------------------------------
Pilipino Telephone Corp. has finally signed a memorandum of
understanding with trading firm Marubeni Corp. of Japan for
the restructuring of some $279 million in debts.

Piltel president Napoleon Nazareno, PLDT president Manuel
V. Pangilinan and Marubeni corporate vice president and
director and chief operating officer of Marubeni's IT
business division Kazuhiro Owaki signed the agreement
yesterday morning. The signing removed the major stumbling
block to Piltel's debt restructuring, since Marubeni had
earlier been insisting that Piltel immediately pay its
debts in cash.

A statement released yesterday by Piltel's parent firm,
Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co., said Marubeni had
agreed to restructure the debts "broadly with the same
framework and parameters" as the master restructuring
agreement with the creditor banks. The details for the
definitive agreement are expected to be finished before
the end of the year.

Piltel's obligations to Marubeni arose from a build-
transfer agreement for its fixed line network in Mindanao.
"I am delighted that we have been able to take another
important step in the restructuring process as we continue
to serve Piltel's valued customers," Pangilinan said in the
statement.

Piltel has signed a master restructuring agreement with the
banks involving $332 million in debts early this year. It
is also preparing an exchange offer to the holders of
convertible bonds in the company. Piltel owes approximately
a third of its P34.9 billion in total debts to the
bondholders.

Under the restructuring deal with the banks, about half of
the debt to banks will be converted into peso-denominated
Piltel convertible preferred stock, which can later be
converted into preferred stock in PLDT.  About 25 percent
of the debts will have a 10-year maturity under a "bullet"
repayment scheme.

Peso-denominated debt will have an interest rate equivalent
to the 91-day Treasury bill rate plus one percentage point
a year, while US dollar-denominated debts will have an
interest rate equivalent to the Libor rate plus one
percentage point a year.  The "bullet" repayment scheme
requires Piltel to pay the amount in full after the 10-year
period.

The other 25 percent of the liabilities will have a 15-year
maturity inclusive of a grace period of four years and with
the same interest rates for the 10-year loan. (Philippine
Daily Inquirer  24-Oct-2000)

PRIME BANK: BSP confirms branch sales proceeds for debt
------------------------------------------------------
The Monetary Board (MB), the policy making body of the
Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), has confirmed the
winning bidders for the 25 branches of Prime Savings Bank.

Philippine Deposit Insurance Corp. vice president and head
of special operations Rescina Bhagwani said the confirma-
tion was approved on Oct. 13 during the regular MB meeting.
Bhagwani said the winning bidders are Ibank, Robinsons
Savings Bank, Luzon Development Bank and Legaspi Savings
and Loan Association. They will sign shortly a memorandum
of agreement (MOA) with the BSP.

"After the agreement is signed, these banks will start
paying for the branches," she said.

Bhagwani said she is optimistic that the agreement will be
signed anytime within this year so they could be paying the
uninsured depositors of Prime Bank as soon as possible.
The sale of the 25 branches of Prime Bank raised about P180
million to be used to pay off a portion of the P2.5-billion
uninsured deposits of the defunct savings bank.

As for the remaining 37 branches, Bhagwani said the terms
for their negotiated sale have yet to be approved by the
Monetary Board. If the remaining 37 branches will be sold
on the same pricing as that of the 25 branches, the PDIC
will be able to raise about P212 million. The Metro-based
branches were sold at P8 million while the branches located
in the provinces were sold at P5 million each.

Bhagwani earlier said the negotiated sale for the 37
branches would be made on a "cash basis."  During the
bidding last Sept. 26 this year, 11 out of the 25 branches
were won by iBank of businessman Ramon Sy while eight were
bought by Robinsons Bank of the Gokongwei group. Two
development banks, Luzon Development Bank and Legaspi
Savings and Loan Association won three branches each.

Bhagwani said iBank won eight Metro Manila branches, one in
Metro Cebu and one in Metro Davao and one branch in the
province.  Robinsons Bank, on the other hand, won five
Metro Manila branches, one in Cebu and two provincial
branches.

The winning bidders of the 25 branches of Prime Bank will
be given at least three years to pay with interest of four
percent per annum.  The P180 million that was raised from
the bidding represented only 8.5 percent of the total
uninsured deposits of Prime Bank.

The PDIC is now working out an agreement with a government
bank to service the deposit claims of Prime Bank. Those
deposits that would not be covered by the proceeds of the
sale of the branches would have to wait for the liquidation
process of Prime Bank. (Philippine Star  24-Oct-2000)


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

NATSTEEL LTD: Rating dropped to `underperform'
----------------------------------------------
Deutsche Bank Asia Equity Research has cut its
recommendation on NatSteel Ltd to "underperform" from
"marketperform" after recent strong gains in the company's
share price amid speculation that it is selling its stake
in subsidiary NatSteel Electronics.

Solectron, the world's largest electronics contract
manufacturer, was initially rumoured on Friday to be in
talks with NatSteel Ltd to buy its stake in NatSteel
Electronics. Yesterday, another US contract manufacturer,
Celestica, was said to be making a counter bid for the
stake.  NatSteel Ltd had said last Friday that realising
the value of its NatSteel Electronics unit was among the
options it was looking at to enhance shareholder value.

"We view this development as an excellent opportunity for
investors still owning NatSteel Ltd to sell out. This is
because once NatSteel Electronics is disposed of, what's
left in NatSteel (Ltd) is a collection of unattractive
building materials businesses," Deutsche Bank Asia said.

It added that it remained unclear whether NatSteel Ltd
intended to redistribute to shareholders the proceeds from
the sale of its stake in NatSteel Electronics if a deal was
completed. (AFX News, Star Online  24-Oct-2000)


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

GENERAL ENVIRON.CONSERVATION: Share price sinks
-----------------------------------------------
Following a 32.5-per-cent fall from its initial public
offering (IPO) price of Bt30 a share, analysts remain
bearish about the prospects of General Environmental
Conservation Plc (Genco) and point to the fact that its
current price has already factored in this year's growth.

"Genco is likely to trade in a range of Bt19 to Bt24 per
share, so investors should avoid investing in the stock,
since it will take a long time to see any return," Phillip
Securities (Thailand) Plc's analyst Kitti
Hamnilratcommented.

Genco has successfully stirred up interest on the part of
the stock market since it became the first company in the
past three months to register its shares on the local
bourse.  Yet its share price only edged slightly above the
IPO following its debut on September 28 and has fallen back
since. At the close of last Friday's trade Genco's stock
dropped Bt0.50 to end the session at Bt20.25.

A lack of liquidity on the bourse was a factor behind the
declining share price.  The company's registered capital
stood at Bt700 million.  However, on the plus side Genco
has positive growth forecasts of 20 per cent per annum and
a 25-year contract with the government and is the sole
industrial-waste handler, and its current share price is
higher than that of Eastern Water Resources Development and
Management Plc (EASTW), its closest competitor, Kitti said.
Genco compares the performance of its shares with EASTW
because both trade on the "others" sector of the bourse.

"As for EASTW, the current share price trades at only a 2-
per-cent premium to its book value and at a 5-per-cent
discount for the year 2001," Kitti said. Genco operates
treatment plants and disposes of industrial waste, both
hazardous and non-hazardous.

It has two units, one on Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in
Rayong province and the other in Bangkok's Samaedum
district.  An unnamed analyst agreed with Kitti and
commented that cheap stocks were abundant on the stock
market. He cautioned that investors should not pile up
Genco stock at the current price since its growth had
already been calculated in the price.  (The Nation  24-Oct-
2000)

SUBMICRON TECHNOLOGY: Creditors agree to rehab
----------------------------------------------
Creditors of Submicron Technology have agreed to petition
the Central Bankruptcy Court next month to place the
company under business rehabilitation.

The decision, reached last week at a meeting of creditors,
follows a decision earlier this month by the Appeals Court
overturning an earlier ruling by the bankruptcy court
placing Submicron in receivership. The Appeals Court ruled
that Submicron was not insolvent, accepting arguments made
by the company that assets outstripped liabilities.

The court upheld a judgment placing the assets of
Submicron's founder, Charn Usawachoke, in receivership.
Siam City Bank, a major creditor, had filed suit against
Submicron and Mr Charn in June 1999 to recover 1.19 billion
baht in debt. The Central Bankruptcy Court had placed
assets of both Submicron and Mr Charn in receivership in
January.

Siam City Bank executives say they plan to appeal the
judgment by the Appeals Court. Executives say that as a
state-owned bank, it wished to explore all possible legal
avenues to recover losses from loans to Submicron.
Regardless, the bank would still be in a position to
withdraw its appeal if the bankruptcy court places
Submicron under business rehabilitation.

Chalee Rattananont, a lawyer representing Submicron, said
the law did not prohibit a petition for business
rehabilitation while appeals were being lodged against a
foreclosure action, given that the Appeals Court ruling was
considered final at this point. However, he agreed that
matters would be significantly complicated if the Supreme
Court upheld the original bankruptcy court ruling placing
Submicron in receivership, particularly once the business
rehabilitation process had already begun.

The best compromise, Mr Chalee said, would be for both
creditors and borrowers to reach an agreement first.
Having Submicron enter rehabilitation also raises
complications, as the company's defence throughout the
court hearings had rested on the fact that the company was
not insolvent.

Insolvency is a key prerequisite for cases entering
rehabilitation under the bankruptcy code, said one legal
expert. Whoever submits the petition, whether creditors or
Submicron itself, will face an uphill challenge proving
that the firm qualified under the code. The Appeals Court
judgment noted that as of the end of 1996, Submicron had
total assets of 10.98 billion baht against liabilities of
9.05 billion baht.

Submicron had taken out loan contracts with 23 financial
institutions for credit of 19.25 billion baht to help
finance construction of a wafer fabrication plant in
Chachoengsao. Legal experts say that if a rehabilitation
petition was accepted by all financial as well as trade
creditors, the chances of the court accepting the case
without having to call for hearings would be significantly
higher.

Submicron and Mr Charn are scheduled to meet with creditors
to discuss restructuring options on Nov 9. But creditors
say that the meeting is expected to be delayed until early
next year, to allow current legal matters concerning the
foreclosure judgment to be cleared first. Mr Charn has
proposed to repay 60% of his debt over 14 years, with the
first four years as a grace period.  (Bangkok Post  24-Oct-
2000)

THAI GYPSUM PRODUCTS: To liquidate affiliate
--------------------------------------------
Thai Gypsum Products will liquidate TG Plastering Co Ltd,
an associated company, to comply with the company's
restructuring plans. To facilitate the process, which is
aimed at cutting costs and improving its competitiveness,
TG Plastering's shareholders have appointed Supachai Suriya
as liquidator.


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