TCRAP_Public/001107.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, November 7, 2000, Vol. 3, No. 217


* A U S T R A L I A *

ANSETT AUSTRALIA: In the red and getting worse
NDC LTD: 400 jobs to be axed
PIRELLI CABLES: Grim 2nd half forecast

* C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G *

CHINA MOTION TELECOM INT'L: Warns of 6-mo. loss
ZHENGZHOU BAIWEN: Delisting looms for bankrupt company

* I N D O N E S I A *

BANK CENTRAL ASIA: IBRA to sell shares to pay down debt
BANK NIAGA: IBRA to sell shares to pay down debt
PT ASTRA INT'L: Posts 9-mo. loss on forex woes
PT MIWON INDONESIA: Records 9-mo. net loss
SIERAD GROUP: Creditors agree to debt-for-equity swap

* K O R E A *

DAEWOO MOTOR: Defaults on pair of debts
DAEWOO MOTOR: Warned of bankruptcy
HYUNDAI ENG.& CONSTR.: S'holder to sell shares to assist
HYUNDAI GROUP: Execs meet on avoiding bankruptcy
SAMSUNG GROUP: Pressed to assume failed truck plant's debts

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

UNIWIDE GROUP: Tan cos. holding casino bidder up
WESTMONT INVEST.CORP.: SEC rejects TRO request on case

* S I N G A P O R E *

EWORLDOFSPORTS.COM: Share offer scandal drops stock
HUA KOK INT'L: Share offer scandal drops stock
UNITED OVERSEAS BANK: Share offer scandal drops stock

* T H A I L A N D *

MEDIA OF MEDIAS's: S'holders approve rehab plan
THAI-ASAHI GLASS PLC: founders resign, to sell stakes


ANSETT AUSTRALIA: In the red and getting worse
Ansett Australia continues to trade at a loss, as the
airline's domestic market share has plummeted to 41.5 per
cent - its lowest level.

Ansett, owned by Air New Zealand, has been hit by the
collapse of the Australian dollar, rising fuel prices and
lease payments for aircraft at a time when its market share
is being savaged by Qantas and also new entrants Impulse
Airlines and Virgin Blue. Just five years ago, Ansett
commanded more than 50 per cent of the Australian market
but aggressive marketing by Qantas has steadily eroded that

Critically, Qantas has snared most of the higher yield
business traffic, leaving Ansett exposed to less profitable
market sectors. Ansett executives conceded that the
airline's market share would drop below 40 per cent early
next year.

"Only savage staff cuts will restore profitability and our
ability to compete with Qantas," said one executive in

In the past month 250 middle management at Ansett and Air
New Zealand have been made redundant. "There is going be to
many more cuts," said the executive.

Ansett is owned indirectly by the world's best-earning
airline, Singapore Airlines, which has a major stake in Air
NZ. Singapore Airlines posted a record profit for the six
months to September 30 of $700 million. At the Air New
Zealand annual general meeting last week, chairman Sir
Selywn Cushing issued dire warnings to shareholders that
rising fuel costs, the weak dollar and new competition in
Australia would drive down profits this financial year.

"If current price levels are sustained, the group's fuel
costs are forecast to be more than $200 million in excess
of the group's budgeted fuel expense, despite hedging
programs," he said.

The first half would be disappointing, while the second
half should benefit from some Air NZ initiatives, he said.
"However, the full-year result would be substantially lower
than last year," he warned.

Ansett suffered a $38.8 million drop in operating profit to
$101.6 million in the year to June 30. Qantas, in contrast,
earned a record $517.3 million. Last financial year
Ansett's fuel prices rose 49.5 per cent to $362.4 million
despite savings of $37.4 million in hedging.

In a recent interview, Sir Selwyn shied away from staff
cuts as a quick fix to the cost base but the decline of the
Australian dollar is expected to force his hand. He had
claimed that staff attrition and company growth would take
care of most of the excess staff but that growth has turned
into a slump in business.

Sir Selywn had said that within the bounds of commonsense
the airline would aggressively claw back market share and
that the integration of the two airlines would produce
savings. But he has conceded that integrating Ansett and
Air NZ is behind schedule. Staff morale at Ansett has sunk
along with market share, say insiders, citing years of
uncertainty of ownership and constantly delayed plans for
new aircraft.

"They are just fed up with the indecision, uncertainty and
being beaten by Qantas," said one Sydney analyst.

Air NZ is looking to transfer three 229-seat Boeing 767-
300s to Ansett to bolster the airline's capacity and lower
its seat mile costs on major routes to compete with Qantas.
Qantas has been using aircraft from its international fleet
such as 380-seat 747-300s on routes such as Perth-Sydney
and Melbourne to snare traffic.

Singapore Airlines has also been in discussions with Ansett
about leasing more 747-400s to the airline for its
successful international division. (Sydney Morning Herald

NDC LTD: 400 jobs to be axed
Telstra is preparing to cut more jobs, this time in its
line maintenance sector at its wholly-owned subsidiary NDC
Limited. According to ABC Radio's The World Today, some 400
jobs will go in preparation for the sale of NDC Limited.

PIRELLI CABLES: Grim 2nd half forecast
Pirelli Cables Australia Ltd  is forecasting that its
second-half loss will be "substantially greater" than its
first. Overall, the company's performance through October
alredy has fallen short of expectations.  Pirelli asserts
that a slowdown in trade, anticipated at about the time of
the Sydney Olympics, continued through October, however,
with operating losses incurred in each of the last four

C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G

CHINA MOTION TELECOM INT'L: Warns of 6-mo. loss
Paging and trunking radio service provider China Motion
Telecom International Ltd. has given warning that its
operations for the half-year ended Sept. 30 will result in
a loss.

The company attributes the loss to provisions made to write
off certain existing communications equipment due to
current and future technological changes, as well as for
upgrades and additional expenses incurred in relation to
corporate and business restructuring. Formerly known as CM
Telecom International Ltd., China Motion Telecom also has a
secondary listing in Singapore.

Pacific Century CyberWorks has secured a US$4.7 billion
refinancing loan at a favourable all-in rate of less than
100 basis points above Libor (London interbank offered
rate), according to a company spokesman.

The syndicated loan, together with the proceeds it will
receive from a fully underwritten US$2 billion loan for its
Internet protocol backbone joint venture with Australia's
Telstra, will allow CyberWorks to re-finance a US$9 billion
bridging loan due on February 27 next year, the spokesman

"We have secured favourable terms with the banks," said
Rebecca Leung, senior vice-president of CyberWorks. "That
showed the bankers' confidence in our fundamentals and

According to a banker, the 1 per cent margins that were
offered to CyberWorks were compatible with what some blue-
chip property companies were offered, but below what the
utilities and top-rated companies were offered.  For
instance, Hutchison Whampoa was offered Libor plus 50 basis
points in its recent borrowings and CLP was in the process
of finalising a loan which was offered at Libor plus 45
basis points.

Worries about whether CyberWorks could secure bankers'
support in refinancing its US$9 billion loans heightened
when some banks were reported to have declined to roll over
a US$500 million loan, borrowed by the former Cable &
Wireless HKT five years ago.  Weakness in CyberWorks' share
price, which has fallen 62 per cent since the formal
takeover of HKT, made equity financing difficult. And
CyberWorks' cash injection from its alliance with Telstra
fell from US$3 billion to US$2.43 billion after
renegotiation last month.

As a result, CyberWorks announced a 3-for-100 rights issue
and convertible bonds to raise US$1.63 billion in an effort
to improve its financial situation.  Refinancing the
outstanding balance of the US$9 billion inherited from
taking over HKT was seen as a top priority for CyberWorks
this year. The company spent months choosing four banks
from 10 syndicates to arrange the refinancing loans.

The spokesman said CyberWorks opted for a US$4.7 billion
loan, instead of a minimum US$4.1 billion, to cushion its
working capital needs.  Four arrangers will be appointed
this Friday, the spokesman said. HSBC and Bank of China are
understood to be the two lead banks.

The spokesman said the US$2 billion loan guaranteed by the
joint venture with Telstra was already fully underwritten
by more than one bank. In other words, CyberWorks was
likely to receive US$1.125 billion cash before the February
deadline, the spokesman said. (South China Morning Post 06-

ZHENGZHOU BAIWEN: Delisting looms for bankrupt company
Mainland authorities want to delist an insolvent publicly
listed firm for the first time, but are facing stiff
resistance from local officials in what is proving an
important test case in China's bid to force industrial
restructuring through bankruptcy proceedings.

The moment of truth is approaching for Zhengzhou Baiwen
(Department Store) (ZDS), which on April 18 in 1996 became
the first company from that city, capital of Henan
province, to list but now has debts of 2.5 billion yuan
(about HK$2.34 billion) and assets of less than 600 million
yuan.  Last December, its biggest creditor, China Cinda
Asset Management, which is owed 1.9 billion yuan, applied
to a Zhengzhou court to declare the firm bankrupt.

ZDS has 120,000 shareholders and 2,000 workers who will be
laid off if it is declared bankrupt.  Last week, many
newspapers carried a lengthy analysis of the fraud and
malpractices of the firm by a senior reporter of the Xinhua
news agency which came down strongly on the side of

"In recent years, not only have the financial results and
the management of our listed companies not improved but the
level of debts have increased. Despite this, not a single
firm has delisted because of bad results," it said. "We
must make the market act as an agent to change companies
and managers work in the interests of shareholders. We must
change the mentality that the market is 'lifetime
employment' and firms can enter but not leave. Listed firms
must go bankrupt."

It should never have listed, not with the requirement of
three consecutive years of profits. It lied about its
performance, saying that, between 1986 and 1996, its sales
rose 45-fold and profits 36-fold, making it No 1 in China's
retail sector.

In 1996, the first year of listing, it reported profits of
49.89 million yuan and in 1997, 78.43 million yuan. During
an audit, the city tax bureau found that these figures were
false but was forced to approve them to protect the good
name of the city which by then had given many awards to the
store, making it a symbol of Zhengzhou.

The managers made loans to 10 firms from company funds
totalling 200 million yuan, which has not been recovered,
and bought for themselves BMWs, other imported cars and
expensive private homes.  Despite this overwhelming
evidence, the Intermediate Court of Zhengzhou, which
received Cinda's application for bankruptcy, has not
started to consider it nearly a year later, out of concern
for ZDS's 120,000 shareholders, 2,000 employees and social
stability in the city.

"Zhengzhou absolutely does not want the shame of being the
first place in China to have a firm delisted from the stock
market," reported the Financial Daily on Saturday.

The best option for Zhengzhou is to find a firm to take
over ZDS. Two other listed firms that were about to go
under were merged with other companies, which saved them
from delisting. (South China Morning Post  06-Nov-2000)


BANK CENTRAL ASIA: IBRA to sell shares to pay down debt
BANK NIAGA: IBRA to sell shares to pay down debt
The Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) confirms
that part of its shares in Bank Central Asia and Bank Niaga
will be sold to interested investors next year. The two
banks are private banks now controlled by the agency for
their large debts to the government.

PT ASTRA INT'L: Posts 9-mo. loss on forex woes
PT Astra International pasted a January-September net loss
of 272.76 billion rupiah ($34.7 million), mainly because of
foreign-exchange losses that analysts said were expected.

Total revenue at the Indonesian automotive giant more than
doubled to 20.2 trillion rupiah in the same period last
year, powered by a sharp increase in the automotive
division, with car sales picking up as Indonesia'
s economy returned to moderate growth after the Asian
economic crisis.  Astra said gross profit rose 64 percent
to 3.65 trillion rupiah from 2.22 trillion rupiah a year
earlier. (The Asian Wall Street Journal  06-Nov-2000)

PT MIWON INDONESIA: Records 9-mo. net loss
PT Miwon Indonesia recorded a Rp33.0 billion net loss for
the first nine months of this year. The loss was a
turnaround from an impressive rebound in 1999, when it
reported a Rp57.01 billion net profit. The company said the
loss mainly was due to Rp85.19 billion foreign exchange
losses and Rp31.11 billion in net interest expenses.

Miwon Indonesia suffered Rp146.10 billion in net losses in
1997, followed by a 68.41 billion net loss in 1998. The
losses experienced in the first nine months this year has
eroded the firm's equity further, making the negative
equity has drastically increased to Rp52.72 billion as of
September 30 this year. Such a condition is described in
Miwon Indonesia's report to the Jakarta Stock Exchange
(JSX) sent by its corporate secretary I Wayan Hariadi on
November 1.

In reality, Miwon Indonesia still managed to book Rp63.62bn
operating profits in the first nine months of this year.
Such a performance, however, indicated that the operating
profit in the first nine months of this year only reached
70.42 percent of the full-year's Rp 90.35 billion operating
profit booked in 1999.

Whereas, Wayan said in the report that sales revenue in the
first nine months reached Rp329.42 billion. Such means that
the 9-month net sales only reached 68.0 percent of the
full-year sales of Rp484.45 billion in 1999. Judging from
such performance, it is likely that this year's sales would
be lower than last year. In 1999, Miwon Indonesia's sales
dropped 10.77% from Rp542.91 billion in 1998.

The weaker sales performance can be seen further if we
measured Miwon Indonesia's sales in dollars. Measured in
dollar terms, the January-September 2000 sales revenue was
equivalent with $37.52 million. Compared to 1999 full
year's sales revenue of $68.23 million, then the sales in
the first nine months only reached 54.99 percent of last
year's sales. Thereby, it likely that the firm would not be
able to catch last year's sales earnings.

Sales revenue of Miwon Indonesia, if measured in rupiah
terms, has been increasing at a moving average of 55.56
percent during 1996-1999. But, if measured in dollar terms,
its sales revenue rose by 0.86 percent to $68.23 million in
1999 from $67.65 million the year earlier. We learn that
sales revenue of this firm has been growing at an average
rate of 3.48 percent per annum during the same period.

Meanwhile, the cost of goods sold in the first nine months
of this year reached Rp243.37 billion. That already reached
around 68.45 percent of the full-year's level in 1999. In
this regard, we learn that the gross profit margin stood
at 26.12 percent, slightly lower than the 1999 full-year
margin of 26.61 percent.

We also learn that the cost of goods sold in this firm has
been increasing at a moving average of 44.39 percent during
1996-1999. Meanwhile, if gauged in dollar terms, the cost
of goods sold has been rising at an average of 0.86 percent
per year during that period. Judging from the trend it is
likely that the company should be able to stage
strengthening financial performance.

Its liabilities totaled Rp469.35 billion at the end of
September, reflecting a 19.08 percent rise in the nine
months from Rp394.16 billion at the beginning of the year.
The increase, however, was entirely due to drastic
depreciation of the rupiah value. If measured in dollar
terms, total liabilities decreased 3.71 percent to $53.46
milion, down from $55.52 million at the beginning of the
year. (Indoexchange News  06-Nov-2000)

SIERAD GROUP: Creditors agree to debt-for-equity swap
The Sierad Group confirms its creditors have agreed to a
debt to equity swap proposal to restructure the debt of the
company group.

A company official said the creditors agreed to convert
their credits into equity after the seven member companies,
reeling under a total debt of US$ 316 million, are merged
into one Sierad Produce. According to company director Awi
Tantra, merger is the best solution for the troubled
company, whose core business is integrated poultry farming.

Merger will allow the company to continue operating while
protecting the interests of the creditors and shareholders,
added Awi. The only alternative is liquidation, he noted.
Shareholders are expected to approve the planned merger
when they hold an extraordinary meeting later this month.

Around $210 million in debts are to be converted into
equity and the rest into 7-year convertible bonds,
extendable for another 12 years.


DAEWOO MOTOR: Defaults on pair of debts
Daewoo Motor defaulted on 44 billion won (S$70.4 million)
of debt, bringing South Korea's second-largest car maker
one step closer to bankruptcy even as creditors search for
a buyer.

Daewoo owed 23.7 billion won to Korea First Bank and 20.4
billion won to SeoulBank. Both amounts were due yesterday.
Creditors had extended the repayment deadline until after
business hours.  Daewoo is struggling to pay banks and
staff even as lenders search for a buyer, with General
Motors and Fiat the most likely joint contender. Daewoo
Motor will be declared bankrupt if it fails to meet debt
payments by today.

"Under court receivership, Daewoo Motor's sale could be
delayed as General Motors is likely to stop its due
diligence to watch how creditors will arrange the debts,"
said Mr Lim Chae Gu, a car analyst at Kyobo Securities in

Yesterday's missed debt payment is only part of the 170
billion won debts that mature this week, including 43
billion won today, the Korea Development Bank said. Daewoo
incurred a net loss of 929.5 billion won in the six months
through June, double the loss of the year-earlier period.
(Bloomberg News, Straits Times  07-Nov-2000)

DAEWOO MOTOR: Warned of bankruptcy
Ailing Daewoo Motor Co. will face an inevitable default
early this week unless its labor union agrees to a self-
rescue program, Korea Development Bank (KDB) Gov. Uhm Rak-
yong has warned.

"Without the trade union's written consent to the reform
plan, creditors will not extend fresh loans to Daewoo
Motor," the head of Daewoo's main creditor bank said
Saturday. "In that case, Daewoo Motor will inevitably go

Gov. Uhm said that the troubled automaker will have to pay
back maturing trade notes worth 170 billion won ($150
million) this week alone. "Of the maturing debts, Daewoo
Motor will be able to honor only a small portion with its
own money."

If Daewoo Motor defaults on its debts, the creditors will
move to place the automaker under court receivership, Uhm
said.  The KDB head said that the creditors are demanding
written consent from the labor union because Daewoo Motor's
plan is not enough to put the debt-ridden company back on

"In particular, the self-rescue program will hit a snag if
the trade union refuses to accept it," Uhm said. "Under
these circumstances, the creditors cannot extend new loans
to the company."

The creditors met with union leaders to explain the current
situation and called on them to cooperate in normalizing
Daewoo Motor's operation, he said.  Daewoo Motor announced
a self-rescue plan Oct. 31, which, among other things,
calls for trimming over 15 percent of its workforce.

Once the nation's second largest automaker, Daewoo Motor
has no cash to pay its workers, and the operating rate of
its plants dropping sharply.  Uhm said that General Motors
is considering its next move after completing a preliminary
due diligence on Daewoo Motor.

"GM will not take over Daewoo Motor if it is declared

Even if the trade union submits written consent to the
self-rescue plan and Daewoo Motor rides out its liquidity
crisis, it is not sure that GM will ever want to acquire
it, Uhm said.  Meanwhile, Minister of Finance and Economy
Jin Nyum also warned yesterday that Daewoo Motor will not
be able to survive if its labor and management put forward
a radical self-rescue plan.

"The talks with GM will be difficult to conclude unless
both sides see eye to eye on the self-rescue program," the
nation's economic czar said. "If the negotiations fall
apart, Daewoo Motor will have no chance of survival."

Noting that Daewoo Motor's self-rescue efforts have fallen
short of expectations for the past year, Minister Jin
stressed that Daewoo can fetch a reasonable sale price only
if drastic measures are taken.  KDB is in charge of selling
the troubled automaker. After Ford Motor pulled out of its
takeover bid for Daewoo Motor in mid September, the state-
run bank has agreed with GM to restart negotiationson its
sale. (Korea Herald  06-Nov-2000)

HYUNDAI ENG.& CONSTR.: S'holder to sell shares to assist
The largest shareholder of South Korea's top construction
company said yesterday he would sell about US$73 million in
shares in other firms to help Hyundai Engineering &
Construction avoid receivership.

Late news of pending help from former Hyundai Group
chairman Chung Mong-hun pulled Hyundai Engineering shares
back from a plunge of almost 15 percent in the opening
minute of trade. The stock ended 10 won higher at 1,560.
Chung's stake sale appeared aimed at averting a debt-for-
equity swap between Hyundai Engineering and its banks,
which could hand the lenders control of the company.

"I can say we oppose the debt-to-equity swap idea," Hyundai
Engineering spokesman Lee Tae-suk said. "I cannot say
whether this plan will be enough to avert such a swap."

The firm is the parent of Hyundai Group, the country's
second largest conglomerate. South Korea's bloated
conglomerates have been forced into corporate reforms
following the 1997 Asian economic crisis.  Hyundai
Engineering narrowly averted bankruptcy after defaulting on
maturing debt last week, prompting main creditor Korea
Exchange Bank to refuse more fresh funds.

The bank said debt rollovers would depend on the company
keeping its promises, which include raising 1.6 trillion
won by year-end to help pay down its more than five
trillion won (US$4.41 billion) in debt.  Chung will retain
his 7.82-percent stake in South Korea's biggest
construction company but sell his holdings in several other
Hyundai Group firms, including a 1.7-percent stake in
Hyundai Electronics worth 67.7 billion won as of Friday,
the company announced.

A 4.9-percent stake in shipping company Hyundai Merchant
Marine and 1.22 percent stake in Hyundai would raise
another 14.5 billion won, it said.  Sale of 570 million won
worth of shares in unlisted Hyundai Petrochemical would
raise the tally to 82.77 billion won. Finance Minister Jin
Nyum had told reporters earlier yesterday that the Hyundai
Group's founding family should help the company avert

"It's up to the founding family to find legal ways to help
the company," Yonhap news agency said Jin told reporters.
"The government and creditors have nothing else to give."
"If they don't, it will be hard for the company to regain
market confidence and that will mean it faces secondary
financial institutions' calls for loan repayments and being
forced into court receivership."

The finance minister said help from the founding family
should avoid violating fair trade laws, indicating the
family should not tap other Hyundai Group firms such as
chipmaker Hyundai Electronics for funds.  Hyundai
Electronics shares ended up 30 won at 8,130 after falling
as much as 5.4 percent in early trade.

Hyundai Engineering has 43.4 billion won worth of debt
maturing yesterday, which Lee said the company would be
able to pay.  Its woes date back to the 1997 currency
crisis that toppled several large companies and put the
construction sector into a deep freeze and out of the
rebound enjoyed by other sectors, such as semiconductors
and vehicle manufacturing.

"The hourglass for HDEC's [Hyundai Engineering] countdown
to bankruptcy appears to have little sand remaining at the
top," SG Securities Research said in a report yesterday.

Despite its troubles, the company was not named by banks
last Friday in a list of non-viable firms which included 18
to be liquidated and 11 to be forced into court
receivership.  (Reuters, Business Day  07-Nov-2000)

HYUNDAI GROUP: Execs meet on avoiding bankruptcy
Top executives of the Hyundai Group's ailing construction
unit held an urgent meeting Sunday to avoid bankruptcy
after creditor banks refused to extend fresh loans.

The meeting was headed by Chung Mong-Hun, who controls
Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co. (HEC) but who has
resisted pressure from creditors and the government to
carry out corporate reforms. Chung rushed into the group's
headquarters Sunday, resisting a barrage of questions from
reporters in the lobby.

HEC, the country's biggest construction firm, narrowly
avoided bankruptcy once last week. On Friday it narrowly
missed being put on a list of 52 debt-stricken firms that
creditors say are non-viable.

HEC was given another chance to turn itself around. But the
reprieve was temporary as creditor banks refused to provide
any fresh loans to HEC, which has new debt repayments
looming. Finance and Economy Minister Jin Nyum warned
Sunday that the government would not stop second-tier
financial institutions collecting loans from HEC.

"The second-tier institutions will not take action only if
HEC's management comes up with a detailed and acceptable
restructuring plan," Jin told a South Korean television

He added that HEC could be placed under court receivership
if it failed to pay debts. HEC has debts of about 4.5
billion dollars, with almost one billion dollars due before
the end of the year, according to creditors. It narrowly
avoided being declared bankrupt early last week after
failing to pay promissory notes. These were eventually paid
a day late.

The reprieve reflected government concerns over short-term
shocks to the economy. The closure of the firms is expected
to leave several thousand people unemployed. However,
analysts said financial markets would be rattled by long-
term uncertainties.

"The government has finished its long-overdue homework, but
the work is not good enough to get top marks," SK
Securities analyst Oh Sang-Hoon said.

Suh Hong-Seok of Daishin Securities said: "In reality, the
government has postponed its decision until the end of the
year. The non-viable companies list lacks substance, and
this is a result of cautious moves by creditor banks ahead
of a bank sector restructuring scheme."

Chung Mong-Hun, the largest shareholder in Hyundai
Engineering and son of the Hyundai Group founder Chung Ju-
Yung, returned from a long trip overseas on Thursday to
negotiate the conditions of a new rescue package. The two
Chungs are under pressure to make substantial contributions
out of their own personal wealth to help Hyundai

Creditors have urged the group founder and his sons to
share the cost of resolving HEC's credit crisis which has
aggravated debt problems of other companies in the Hyundai
empire. (China Daily  05-Nov-2000)

SAMSUNG GROUP: Pressed to assume failed truck plant's debts
Samsung Group and its chairman Lee Kun-hee are under
pressure to assume huge debts left over by Samsung
Commercial Vehicle Co., the group's failed truck-making
business now facing liquidation, industry observers said

The Taegu-based Samsung Commercial Vehicle, saddled with
731.7 billion won ($653 million) in debts, was last week
named by creditors among the 18 terminally ill enterprises
facing outright liquidation.  As creditors are projected to
retrieve about 200 to 300 billion won from the ailing
truck-making firm's remaining assets, an estimated 400
billion won may go unpaid, said the observers.

Most of the 400 billion won is owed to the state-run Korea
Development Bank and the Seoul Guarantee Insurance Co.
Against this backdrop, anti-chaebol activists are now
stepping up calls for the Samsung Group, the largest
shareholder in Samsung Commercial, to completely cover the
failed car maker's debts, citing the previous loss-sharing
of the group's bankrupt passenger-car maker Samsung Motors.

"If Samsung is negligent towards Samsung Commercial's
debts, the KDB and Seoul Guarantee, which is kept afloat
through infusions of public money, will have to shoulder
the 400 billion won loss, meaning that taxpayers will once
again pay the bill for the chaebol's managerial mistakes,"
said edaily analyst Hur Kwi-shik.  "That is particularly
true, considering that Samsung is the nation's largest and
most profitable conglomerate projected to generate 8
trillion won in annual profit this year."

He stressed that Samsung's financial responsibility will
also be in line with the Seoul government's restructuring
policy of letting the top-four chaebol pay for their own
restructuring costs. (Korea Herald  06-Nov-2000)


UNIWIDE GROUP: Tan cos. holding casino bidder up
Saddled by various political issues, the group of tobacco
tycoon Lucio Tan has caused another delay in the much-
awaited entry of French retailer Casino Guichard-Perrachon
SA into cash-strapped Uniwide Group of Companies.

Uniwide Holdings, Inc. (UHI) chief operating officer
Cherrie V. Gow told BusinessWorld yesterday that Tan-owned
Philippine National Bank (PNB) and Allied Banking Corp.
remain to be the only creditor banks which have yet to
approve the terms of Uniwide's rehabilitation plan.
She said the two banks are currently dealing with other
issues which have hindered them from taking a second look
to the warehouse operator's restructuring program.

"We're still talking to them but unless they approve,
everything is on hold. I think the two banks are saddled by
political problems and the majority shareholder cannot
decide on the restructuring," she said.

Uniwide owes PNB and Allied Bank roughly 832.96 million
Philippine pesos ($17.02 million at PhP48.895=$1) and
PhP358.26 million ($7.33 million), respectively.
PNB and Allied Banking Corp. are reportedly asking for a
more "reasonable compensation."

In an interview, PNB president Feliciano L. Miranda, Jr.
said the bank's loan to Uniwide is "fully secured."
PNB and Allied Bank share the same collateral, Uniwide's
mall in Para¤aque, Metro Manila, he said.

"We are asking for a reasonable compensation. If we agree
to the rehabilitation plan, we will be giving up the
collateral," he added.

Mr. Miranda said under the rehabilitation plan, PNB will
receive PhP250 million ($5.11 million) in cash as partial
payment and 50% of the new shares of stock that will be
issued.  Allied Bank president Peter B. Favila said in an
earlier interview the bank remains in favor of the
rehabilitation of the Uniwide Group, but details have yet
to be ironed out.

The banks' approval is a requirement before the Casino
Group infuses its PhP4-billion ($81.81 million) investment
in the Gow-owned company. Uniwide originally targeted to
finalize the deal last September and then moved it to
October after failing to secure the approval of its
creditors.  In case the parties fail to arrive at a
settlement before the end of the year, Ms. Gow said Casino
will be left with no choice but to terminate the deal.

"But so far they're still interested and we've just met
with them last week. The agreement is until December 31. If
the banks have not approved it by that time then we might
either talk again or terminate the agreement with Casino,"
she said.

Since it agreed to invest in Uniwide last February, the
Casino Group has experienced a number of delays apart from
the non-approval of the creditor banks.  Certain provisions
of the agreement with Casino have been revised after the
Securities and Exchange Commission thumbed down the interim
receivership committee's (IRC) bid to use PhP80 million of
the funds generated from the sale of the assets of First
Paragon Corp. to help settle the firm's back taxes.

The corporate regulator said approving the IRC's proposal
would put the commission in technical violation of the bulk
sales law and would prejudice the creditors to whom the
First Paragon properties have been mortgaged.

Under the bulk sales law, creditors and mortgagees should
have the first crack at funds generated from the sale of
mortgaged properties or goods, and the debtor can only dip
into the said funds after its obligations or debts have
been settled.

Uniwide and the Casino Group signed a memorandum of
understanding (MoU) early this year where the French
retailer has offered an enterprise value of PhP3.57 billion
for Uniwide businesses, including the listed holding
company, the retail business and selected real estate
assets used or to be used for operations.

The Uniwide Group filed for rehabilitation last June after
failing to meet payment of over PhP11 billion in debts,
incurred from its unsuccessful expansion into the property
sector. It is composed of Uniwide Sales, Inc.; UHI; Naic
Resources & Development Corp.; Uniwide Sales Reality &
Resources Corp.; First Paragon Corp.; and Uniwide Sales
Warehouse Club, Inc.

The Bangko Sentral (central bank) has announced it will
relax its rules and allow commercial banks to convert their
borrowers' debts into equity to facilitate the entry of
French retailer Casino Guichard Perrachon into debt-ridden
Uniwide Group.

Other banks with exposure to Uniwide are Equitable PCI
Bank, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp., United Coconut
Planters Bank, Bank of the Philippine Islands, Land Bank of
the Philippines, ING Bank, East West Banking Corp.,
International Exchange Bank, Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co.,
Philippine Bank of Communications, and East Asia Capital.
(Business World  07-Nov-2000)

WESTMONT INVEST.CORP.: SEC rejects TRO request on case
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has thumbed
down the petition of Westmont Investment Corp. (Wincorp)
seeking for a restraining order on the hearing of the case
filed against its alleged violations of the Securities Law.

In a three-page decision, the corporate regulator's
Prosecution and Enforcement Department (PED) denied
Wincorp's petition to lift the cease-and-desist order (CDO)
issued for lack of merit.

"The investigation conducted by the PED is not adversarial
in nature. The primordial consideration in this
investigation is the protection of the investing public...
Wincorp is fully aware of the reasons why a cease-and-
desist order was issued. Therefore, it could not argue that
they are unable to defend themselves from the charges
levied against it," the prosecution arm of the SEC said.

To recall, Wincorp asked the SEC not to proceed with the
hearing of the case unless it was furnished with copies of
the documents used as basis for the issuance of the CDO.
Wincorp alleged that the order is an administrative
sanction that carries punitive and damaging effects not
only to the company but to the public as well.

The PED, however, said it has already filed the case with
the Department of Justice where Wincorp can seek for due
process and request for disclosures of material documents.
The corporate regulator has recommended the filing of
criminal charges against the directors and officers of
Wincorp last month for alleged violations of the antifraud
provisions of the Securities Law.

Data from the SEC departments showed that Wincorp extended
credit to corporate and individual borrowers by requiring
the execution of a promissory note and loan agreement
payable to the firm, and issued confirmation advice to its
funders, using the loan agreement as reference collateral.
This is not allowed under the Revised Securities Act (RSA).
The cease order was issued last May following an audit
conducted by the SEC's brokers and exchanges division (BED)
and an investigation by the PED.

Earlier findings by the BED on the Wincorp fiasco pointed
to violations of the registration requirements under the
short-term commercial paper rules.  Earlier, PED asked
Wincorp's 22 major borrowers to confirm their borrowings
from the beleaguered investment house. The letters issued
by the PED to concerned companies would be used as
documentary evidence in filing the case against Wincorp.

A number of Wincorp investors have already sought the
creation of a committee of creditors to implement and
oversee the conservation and liquidation of the investment
firm's properties and assets.  Wincorp started facing
liquidity problems after its funders, consisting of over
2,200 Chinese-Filipino businessmen, preterminated their
investments. (Business World  07-Nov-2000)


EWORLDOFSPORTS.COM: Share offer scandal drops stock
HUA KOK INT'L: Share offer scandal drops stock
UNITED OVERSEAS BANK: Share offer scandal drops stock
Shares of United Overseas Bank (UOB),
(eWOS) and Hua Kok International all fell yesterday,
weighed down partly by the bearish market and the scandal
surrounding the bank's mishandling of the eWOS and Hua Kok
share offers.

UOB fell 80 cents, or 6.2 per cent, to close at $12.20 on a
heavy volume of 3.2 million shares that was double the six-
month daily average of 1.6 million shares.  eWOS and Hua
Kok shares slumped 10.5 per cent and 7.5 per cent
respectively to 17 cents and 18.5 cents.

Trading in the two counters was cautiously thin as most
investors stayed on the sidelines, awaiting more
Dealers attributed the selling in UOB shares to news that
its investment banking arm UOB Asia had been slapped with
four criminal charges last Friday by the Commercial Affairs
Department after a two-month investigation.

The white-collar crime- busters have accused UOB Asia of
creating a false impression of demand for eWOS shares,
which were sold in August, and Hua Kok shares, which were
sold earlier in June.  But banking analysts said that UOB
will recover from what they saw as a "knee-jerk reaction"
to the charges.

"There is a bigger overall concern that UOB's attempts to
increase sources of non-interest income from activities
like investment banking will suffer a setback," said
Prudential-Bache Securities banking analyst Tony Raza. "But
contributions from UOB Asia to the bottom line are not that

"A lot of the news has also been out there and it was not
that surprising to hear of the charges last week," he

Other commentators such as's Mr Toh Ee-Han,
warned that the UOB Asia scandal will be one factor among
many that will continue to weigh negatively on the
Singapore market in the days to come.  eWOS shares, which
had recovered slightly from a recent low of 15 cents,
slipped two cents to 17 cents yesterday. Their issue price
was 42 cents apiece.

Shares of Hua Kok, which was drawn into the controversy
only last Friday, are about 20 per cent below their initial
public offer price of 23 cents each.  (Straits Times  07-


MEDIA OF MEDIAS's: S'holders approve rehab plan
Media of Media's shareholders have approved the company's
debt-restructuring plan, which was signed with its
creditors March 29 of this year. Company shareholders met
November 3 and acknowledged the company's operating
performance last year and lack of a dividend payment, and
approved last year's financial statements and appointment
of new directors.

THAI-ASAHI GLASS PLC: founders resign, to sell stakes
Sombath Phanichewa and Chaikiri Srifuengfung have resigned
from Thai-Asahi Glass Plc (TAG), ending their families' 36-
year involvement with the leading glass company that they
founded in 1964 and ran ever since, and as its major
shareholders, have agreed to sell their 40 to 50 percent
stake to Asahi Glass of Japan for about Bt1 billion.

"Given the current economic situation, I decided to sell
the shares to Asahi.  I still have a lot of problems [to be
solved]," said Sombath in a telephone interview with The
Nation yesterday.

The Phanichewa and Srifuengfung families, he said, will now
focus on solving problems at other companies they own,
especially Don Muang Tollway Ltd and Thai Public Port Ltd,
which together owe more than Bt10 billion to creditors.
The construction and building material sector was one of
the hardest-hit by the mid-1997 financial turmoil and has
not yet recovered.

Following the crisis, TAG closed down one of its two main
factories in response to severe over-capacity.  Siam Cement
Group last year sold its stake in Siam Guardian Industry
Ltd, TAG's sole local competitor, to Guardian Industries
Inc of the US.

Incurring net loss for the fourth year in a row, TAG had
booked accumulated losses of Bt2.32 billion as of June this
year.  TAG's board of directors approved the resignation of
Sombath as director and president and Chaikiri as managing
director on Friday. Kalayanee Srifuengfung also resigned
from the board.

Masayoshi Fujioka, Hiroshi Nitta and Taisei Komuro will be
taking on duties formerly handled by the three Thai
executives.  TAG's new executive team is now led by Akio
Takabe, who has assumed the position of chairman and
president of the company. Takabe and Osamu Yoshida,
executive vice president, have been authorised as the only
two people eligible to sign a contract on behalf of the

Vitoon Tejatussanasoontorn, with years of experience at
TAG, has retained his executive vice president position.
TAG is awaiting formal approval from the Board of
Investment to allow 100-per-cent foreign ownership of the
company.  Since the economic crisis, BOI has relaxed
regulations on foreign stake-holding for more than 200
companies as a measure to rehabilitate the economy.
(The Nation  07-Nov-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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Copyright 2000.  All rights reserved.  ISSN: 1520-9482.

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