TCRAP_Public/001117.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

           Friday, November 17, 2000, Vol. 3, No. 225


* A U S T R A L I A *

EISA: Move to place it in liquidation
HUNTER VALLEY: 60 workers affected by closure
PACIFIC DUNLOP: Survival strategy revealed

* C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G *

PAUL Y-ITC CONSTRUC.HLDGS.: May have to book HK$212M loss

* I N D O N E S I A *

HASAN, BOB: Agrees with IBRA to put up more asse
MUHAMMAD, FADEL: PT Bank IFI sues for Rp33.5B
SALIM, ANTHONY: Agrees with IBRA to put up more asse
SJAMSUL NURSALIM: Agrees with IBRA to put up more assets
TEXMACO GROUP: Indonesia lawmakers threaten legal action

* J A P A N *

RBM CO.: 8 firms set to buy biz

* K O R E A *

DAEWOO MOTOR: Declared bankrupt
DONG-AH CONSTRUCTION: Court decides to preserve assets
HYUNDAI ENGIN. & CONST.: Law bans Hyundai Merchant help
HYUNDAI ENGIN. & CONSTR.: Debts rollover till year end
HYUNDAI GROUP: Going on selling spree to save HEC

* M A L A Y S I A *

HO WAH GENTING INT'L: Loses deal, shareholder, more
UNITED ENGINEERING:Listing delay magnifies debt-revamp woes

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

PRIME BANK: Sale of remaining branches delayed

* S I N G A P O R E *

CHEW EU HOCK: Stock dives 41% after end of suspension
IPC: Completes debt-for-equity swap

* T H A I L A N D *

SIAM CEMENT GROUP: White knight apparently found
SUPLAI PLC: Debt restructuring progress reported to SET
THAI PETROCHEM.INDUS.: Staff strike threat heightens


EISA: Move to place it in liquidation
It appears failed Australian Internet service provider eisa
will go into liquidation.  The company's administrator,
Andrew Love of Ferrier Hodgson, says he will urge this
course of action to a meeting of eisa's main creditors on
15 November 2000.

An alternative might have been to try to win some money by
selling the company's shell, but this option carries a risk
that the new owner could inherit any Australian Stock
Exchange breaches that eisa might have committed. Ferrier
Hodgson says it will soon announce whether it recommends
any legal action against anyone involved with eisa. (The
Australian Financial Review  15-Nov-2000)

HUNTER VALLEY: 60 workers affected by closure
About 60 workers at a Hunter Valley manufacturing company
that went into receivership were employed by shelf
companies that could not pay them their $3.3million in
entitlements, the receiver said yesterday.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) was appointed administrator of
the Carrington-based petrol tank and pressure vessel
manufacturer STP on November 3. Financial Advisory Services
Partner with PWC Gary Hall said most of the 150 workers
affected by the receivership were employed by shelf
companies that did not hold any physical assets and did not
have the ability to pay workers' entitlements.

"I am investigating the circumstances behind how they came
to be employees of a company without physical assets," Mr
Hall said. "This is not common practice, in fact it's

Mr Hall said he had established employees were owed around
$3.3 million in annual leave and workers' entitlements.
He said he was getting legal advice about the structure of
the company. The company was formed by Les Weeks and Stan
London in 1947 and was taken over by Mr Weeks' two sons,
Brad and Stephen, after his death in 1989.

Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC)
records show STP owners Brad and Stephen Weeks are
directors of 32 separate companies. The Australian
Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) said many employees
had been moved between companies without consultation or
notification, only learning of the changes through
(Newcastle Herald  14-Nov-2000)

PACIFIC DUNLOP: Survival strategy revealed
Pacific Dunlop's restructure of its ailing tires business
will end its truck tire manufacturing in Australia, a move
that will cost a quarter of its tire workers their jobs and
shareholders $10 million.

PacDun's long-awaited proposal to fix its loss-making South
Pacific Tyres joint venture was announced yesterday.
Melbourne's Somerton heavy truck-tire plant will be closed.
SPT - which makes the Olympic, Dunlop and Goodyear tires -
will now import heavy-truck tires to sell through its
Beaurepaires, Goodyear and McLeods distribution networks.

Light-truck tire and passenger tires would be reorganized
at Somerton. The company's Footscray, Thomastown and New
Zealand passenger-tire factories will remain open, despite
worker expectations that, at least, the aging Footscray
plant would go. PacDun said its other plants were not
losing but one analyst said "they're not making much money,
and they're not covering their cost of capital."

PacDun said the closure and redundancies would save it $20
million a year, (a $40 million saving to the overall SPT
business) and cost $10 million, which would be offset by
currency gains on the settlement of the recent GNB
Technologies sale to Exide for $US333 million ($640
million). However, surprised market analysts said they
expected more severe restructuring to deal with the real
problem - passenger tires. And South Pacific Tyres head
Robert McEniry flagged that the changes agreed on by
Goodyear may not be the last.

"While committed to manufacturing in Australia, we will
continue to aggressively measure our global competitiveness
and take the appropriate steps to improve the company's
performance," he said.

PacDun managing director Rod Chadwick would not be drawn on
changes or intentions for its long-term relationship with
Goodyear. Under the joint venture contract, should PacDun
wish to sell its half, Goodyear has the right of veto for
the new owner. SPT made PacDun just $16.6 million last
year, down 77 per cent on the previous year and far from
the $50 million it earned PacDun in 1995. Mr McEniry said
it should do better this year.

"We are confident that this will reverse recent trading
losses during the next six months and lead to a resumption
of revenue and profit growth from a lower cost base," he

However, analysts were sceptical, saying that the company
had been helped by the lower Australian dollar but had
still struggled. PacDun also said it would spend more than
$30 million in new technology to improve quality,
productivity and efficiency to tackle global competition.
Fixing the tires business was seen as PacDun's last big
hurdle, bar ongoing court action over faulty heart
pacemaker leads it distributed.

PacDun has racked up $928 million in abnormal charges
during the past six years. PacDun shares rose 3.5c on the
news to close at $1.51, not far from its record low of
$1.37. The shares have fallen 30 per cent during the past
year. (The Australian  16-Nov-2000)

C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G

PAUL Y-ITC CONSTRUC.HLDGS.: May have to book HK$212M loss
Paul Y.-ITC Construction Holdings Ltd. said it may have to
record a loss of HK$183 million to HK$212 million if its
Australian subsidiary Downer Group Ltd. succeeds in its bid
to acquire 90.5 percent of Evans Deakin Industries Ltd.
(EDI), an Australian heavy engineering and equipment-making

It said the figure would include a loss of HK$43 million to
HK$108 million on foreign exchange translation from
Australian to Hong Kong dollars, due to deemed disposal of
Downer shares. The takeover offer will consist of either
A$1.50 (HK$6.08) in cash and five new shares of Downer for
every two shares of EDI, or 15 new Downer shares for every
four EDI shares.

Paul Y. said the offer values Evans Deakin as a whole at
A$223.7 million to A$229.5 million. Downer is EDI's largest
shareholder with a 9.5 percent stake. If the offer is fully
accepted, Paul Y.-ITC's current 60.9 percent stake in
Downer would fall to 44.5 percent under the cash-and-shares
option and to 39.2 percent under the share option.

Evans Deakin is involved in heavy engineering, manufacture
of railway rolling stock, sugar milling and rock crushing
equipment, electrical contracting, and manufacture of
garage and commercial doors. It had a loss after tax of
A$27.15 million for the year ended June 2000. Downer's main
businesses are construction, contract mining and drilling,
infrastructure and telecommunications.

Paul Y.-ITC said the acquisition would give Downer the
financial resources, diversity and geographic spread to be
a comprehensive provider of outsourcing services for
infrastructure. And the enlarged group's liquidity and
market capitalization should qualify it for inclusion in
the S&P Australian 200 Index, it added.  (Quamnet News 16-


HASAN, BOB: Agrees with IBRA to put up more asse
SALIM, ANTHONY: Agrees with IBRA to put up more asse
SJAMSUL NURSALIM: Agrees with IBRA to put up more assets
Three former bank owners agreed on Wednesday to surrender
additional assets and provide personal guarantees to the
Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency (IBRA) to repay their
debts to the government.

Attorney General Marzuki Darusman said the ex-bank owners,
Anthony Salim,Bob Hasan and Sjamsul Nursalim, submitted
lists of the additional assets they would surrender. "They
have principally agreed to pledge more assets and provide
personal guarantees," Marzuki said following a meeting of
the Financial Sector Policy Committee (FSPC).

He said IBRA would study the assets and decide whether they
were sufficient to cover the obligations of the former bank
owners.  "For the time being, the ex-bank owners are being
cooperative," he said.

Anthony is the owner of the Salim Group, which formerly
controlled Bank Central Asia (BCA). Sjamsul owns the Gadjah
Tunggal Group, which owned the now defunct Bank BDNI, and
Hasan was the co-owner of the now defunct Bank BUN.
FSPC, which groups senior economic ministers and the
attorney general, earlier gave the former bank owners until
Wednesday evening to agree to surrender additional assets
and provide personal guarantees or risk legal sanction.
The committee decides key transaction made by IBRA.

A government source, however, said FSPC initially expected
the ex-bank owners to attend the meeting personally, but
instead they only sent a letter to the committee. The
source said that since the letter did not have a strong
legal basis, the ex-bank owners had been told to come to
the office of the coordinating minister for the economy on
Friday to sign a legally binding document.

The former bank owners, who are among the country's top
business tycoons,owe hundreds of trillions of rupiah to the
government after their banks received massive liquidity
support between 1998 and 1999, during the heightof the
country's financial crisis. The banks also violated the
legal lending limit by channeling most of their money to
affiliated business groups.

The tycoons signed the Master of Settlement and Acquisition
Agreement (MSAA) in 1999 with IBRA, under which they
pledged assets to repay their debts to the government.
But the pledged assets were not sufficient to cover the
debts. Former chief economic minister Kwik Kian Gie was the
first to demand the MSAA be revised.

The Salim Group, for example, owes the government
approximately Rp 53 trillion, but the assets it surrendered
were valued at about Rp 20 trillion.  Following a Cabinet
reshuffle, the new economic team demanded the former bank
owners surrender additional assets and provide personal
guarantees that they would make good on their debts.

But the business groups initially attempted to resist these
new demands by lobbying government officials and
legislators.  "They think there are government officials
that can be bought," Coordinating Minister for the Economy
Rizal Ramli said recently.

Rizal said the Attorney General's Office had conducted an
investigation and found that the conglomerates still owned
numerous assets both in Indonesia and overseas. In addition
to the three ex-bank owners, businessman Sudwikatmono also
signed the MSAA agreement. But Marzuki said Sudwikatmono,
the brother-in-law of former president Soeharto, was not
among the ex-bank owners who had been given the
Wednesdaydeadline to pledge additional assets.

"The government is currently focusing on the three
conglomerates," Marzuki said.  A government source said
Sudwikatmono was not included with the three other ex-bank
owners because his bank had not violated the legal lending
limit. Jakarta Post  16-Nov-2000)

MUHAMMAD, FADEL: PT Bank IFI sues for Rp33.5B
PT Bank IFI has filed a bankruptcy application against
businessman Fadel Muhammad after his failure to repay a
debt of 33.5 billion rupiah. Bank IFI lawyer Hotman Paris
Hutapea said Fadel received the loan in December
1996 and used it to increase the working capital of PT
Bukaka Teknik Utama, of which Fadel was the former
president. The loan was transferred by Bank IFI to Fadel's
personal account in the defunct PT Bank Intan.

TEXMACO GROUP: Indonesia lawmakers threaten legal action
Indonesia's legislature may take legal action against the
Texmaco Group, the country's largest debtor, following
reports it secretly sold business units and pledged to the
government's bank rescue agency assets already seized as
debt collateral.

Parliament will have to take a more active role in efforts
to deal with Texmaco's $2.7 billion in debt because the
Indonesian Bank Restructuring Agency "is not monitoring the
assets well," said Sukowaluyo Mintorahardjo, a member of
the legislature's state budget commission.

"What was done by Texmaco already falls under the criminal
act category," said Paskah Suzetta, another member of the
commission. "Under the (memorandum of understanding)
between IBRA and Texmaco, all personal assets of
shareholders must be placed under IBRA's authority. If this
is violated, then there has to be firm action and legal

Texmaco used holdings in U.K.-based garment maker S.R. Gent
Plc and South Africa-based textile maker Coastal Group Ltd.
as collateral for a $38 million loan from investment bank
Credit Suisse First Boston in October 1999, reported the
Asian Wall Street Journal. IBRA confirmed the stakes were
pledged to it by Texmaco.

"Those two companies were pledged to us, yet they were also
pledged somewhere else," said Danang Kemayan Jati, an IBRA

Credit Suisse First Boston seized the assets in August
after Texmaco defaulted on the loan. Texmaco then pledged
the same holdings to IBRA, the paper reported.

"We will see what the government will do in this situation
and then ask them to report to us," Mintorahardjo said. "If
there are assets that are sold without (IBRA) knowing, then
this means they are not monitoring those assets well."

Texmaco, Indonesia's largest textile maker, said it would
cede control to the country's bank rescue agency in a
proposed plan to settle its $2.7 billion debt to the
government. It would then issue bonds to the agency that
may eventually be converted by the government body into a
70 percent equity stake in the group.

Under the plan, the government would recoup its $2.7
billion by collecting interest on the bonds. When the debt
is repaid, Texmaco could regain control by purchasing the
bonds back from the bank agency. (Bloomberg  16-Nov-2000)


RBM CO.: 8 firms set to buy biz
The operations of failed beauty salon chair RBM Co are
about to be taken over by eight companies involved in the
beauty business for about 6 billion yen.

The eight companies include Tokyo-based Fuji Beauty, a
high-profile firm that operates Takano Yuri Beauty Clinic
beauty salons, informed sources said. Fuji Beauty is
fronted by famous beautician Yuri Takano.

The eight companies are likely to purchase the 108 outlets
of RBM's Esthe de Milord beauty shops and assume joint
responsibility for 2,000 RBM employees, the sources said.
They are negotiating with the bankruptcy administrator of
RBM on the details of the deal in the hope of clinching an
accord by the end of this year, the sources noted.

The eight companies believe it is necessary to act together
in purchasing RBM's operations to prevent its bankruptcy
from tarnishing the public image of the beauty industry,
they said. If the rescuer firms reach agreement with the
bankruptcy administrator, RBM customers can expect to
receive the same standard of service as that provided by
the failed company, they said.

RBM, which has been under court-administered bankruptcy
procedures since mid-October, left debts totaling 20.5
billion yen. (Jiji Press English News Service 14-Nov-2000)


DAEWOO MOTOR: Declared bankrupt
Daewoo Motor Co. was finally declared bankrupt yesterday as
labor and management failed to reach a compromise on the
company's reform plan in their last-ditch efforts to avert
the worst.

The company is expected to apply for court receivership
soon, while the final bankruptcy is expected to have an
enormous negative fallout on the domestic economy, not to
mention on its sale to the General Motors-Fiat consortium.

"Creditors decided to declare Daewoo Motor bankrupt as its
trade union refused to give written consent to the self-
rescue plan, including layoffs of some 3,500 workers," said
Uhm Rak-yong, governor of Daewoo's main creditor Korea
Development Bank. "I feel really sorry for the decision but
it was inevitable."

Daewoo Motor will be removed from its debt-workout program,
but it remains to be seen whether the company will seek
court protection from creditors or not, Uhm said. "It's up
to the company to file for court receivership or not. I
think the company will go with the proceedings in a couple
of days."

With the last-minute labor-management negotiations on the
self-help plan stalled, creditor bank presidents called a
hurried luncheon meeting yesterday to determine Daewoo
Motor's fate. The nation's second largest carmaker, Daewoo
Motor had been kept afloat with emergency loans from
creditor banks since it was placed under the debt-
rescheduling program in August last year.

With its car sales slumping, however, Daewoo Motor
initially failed to pay maturing commercial bills worth
44.5 billion won Monday and couldn't meet the payment
Tuesday either. A company is declared bankrupt here when it
fails to honor maturing debts for two consecutive days, but
Daewoo's creditors put back the deadline for payment till
early yesterday morning.

The postponement of the deadline for debt payments was
considered extremely unusual but KDB explained that it was
necessary given the size of Daewoo Motor and the
repercussions of its bankruptcy. It is feared that Daewoo
Motor's bankruptcy will undermine creditor efforts to sell
the company to a foreign buyer. "Daewoo's bankruptcy could
affect the sale of the company to GM negatively," Uhm said.

Creditors banks are currently in talks with the GM-Fiat
consortium, which has finished a preliminary due diligence,
after Ford Motor Co. dropped out of its takeover bid in mid
September. Experts said that Daewoo Motor's bankruptcy
would undermine its corporate value and put creditors at a
disadvantageous position in the negotiations with the U.S.-
Italian consortium.

"With Daewoo Motor going belly-up, the GM-Fiat consortium
is sure to have an upper hand in the takeover talks because
its liabilities will become clearer as the company goes
through the proceedings," an analyst said.

Concern is also rising that Daewoo Motor's bankruptcy will
deal a crushing blow to its subcontractors and part
suppliers estimated to reach 9,000 across the nation.
Once a company is placed under court receivership, the
court imposes a freeze on all of its assets and
liabilities, making it impossible for suppliers to collect
money for their goods and services provided. (Korea Herald

DONG-AH CONSTRUCTION: Court decides to preserve assets
The Seoul district court has decided to put Dong Ah
Construction under court protection from debtors.
Under such court receivership, disposal of any of the
company's properties worth more than 10 million won
($8,833) would be subject to court approval.

The district court asked Dong Ah to pay 200 million won for
an accounting firm's appraisal of the construction
company's assets. The company will draw up its liquidation
plan for creditors as soon as the court officially decides
to break-up the company.

Dong Ah applied for court protection last Saturday and its
president Choi Dong-sup appeared before the court for
questioning Monday. (Korea Herald  16-Nov-2000)

HYUNDAI ENGIN. & CONST.: Law bans Hyundai Merchant help
Hyundai Engineering and Construction's (HEC) self-rescue
efforts are likely to suffer further setbacks, as key
financial assistance expected from one of its sister firms
is outlawed, industry observers said yesterday.

The observers said that the Hyundai Group's attempt to have
Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) sell off its shareholdings in
Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI) as a way to rescue HEC from
its bankruptcy crisis runs directly counter to the
current stock transaction law. After wrestling with Hyundai
Group's actual owner, Chung Mong-hun, over the issue HMM
said Tuesday that it would not consider selling its 12.46
percent stake in HHI to facilitate cash infusions into
Chung-controlled HEC.

Despite this initial resistance however, HMM, of which
Chung owns 4.9 percent, was expected to back down in the
face of rising pressure from the Chung camp. But the
looming stock transactions between HMM and HHI were later
found to be illegal, according to observers and stock

"Under the current law, Hyundai Merchant, as the single
largest shareholder in Hyundai Heavy, is banned from
selling its stakes in the heavy industries unit until April
23, 2001, because of Hyundai Heavy's recent purchases of
its own stock from HEC," said MoneyToday analyst Lee Ki-

Without further cash support form Hyundai Merchant, HEC
will have serious difficulties staving off an insolvency
crisis by year's end, he forecast.  The current stock
transaction law contains a clause stipulating that if a
listed firm forms an internal fund to buy back its own
shares, its largest shareholder is prohibited from selling
its shareholdings for a period of six months. The clause is
meant to prevent the largest shareholder's irregular
profit-taking through short-term stock deals.

On Oct. 20, Hyundai Heavy bought 4.64 percent of its own
shares from HEC for 75 billion won ($67 million) through
the internal fund, in a bid to strengthen the firm's
managerial independence from the rest of the group. As
a result of the deal, Hyundai Merchant is barred from
disposing of its Hyundai Heavy shares until April 23, next

The Chung camp is demanding that Hyundai Merchant also sell
its 9.25 percent stake in Hyundai Electronics, along with
Hyundai Heavy shares, to buy HEC-issued bonds. Excluding
financial support from Hyundai Merchant, HEC will be left
with about 4 trillion won in debts by the end of this year,
meaning that the ailing contractor may face a shortfall of
300 billion to 400 billion won in covering its maturing
commercial paper this year, said the observers.

Earlier on Tuesday, a local brokerage warned that the
Hyundai Group's maximum possible asset and equity sales,
including support from Hyundai Merchant, will fall short of
defusing HEC's debt crisis. Even if self-rescue efforts are
completed, HEC will still face debt repayment obligations,
worth 654 billion won, in the first half of 2001, said the
brokerage. (Korea Herald  16-Nov-2000)

HYUNDAI ENGIN. & CONSTR.: Debts rollover till year end
Creditors of ailing Hyundai Engineering & Construction Co.
(HEC) were widely expected to rollover the existing debts
of the company till the end of this year, providing relief
to the company now faltering on the verge of bankruptcy.

With the flagship Hyundai Group scrambling to save the
troubled company, its creditors meet yesterday afternoon to
vote on whether to extend the existing debts of the
nation's largest builder. A creditor bank official said
that creditors would likely vote for the extension of HEC's
existing debts.

"Fifteen commercial banks, which account for 70 percent of
the debts, have already agreed to roll them over. In
addition, Seoul Guarantee Insurance Co, which takes up 13
percent, is sure to agree on the extension," said the bank

To extend the maturities of the company's debt, creditors
representing 75 percent of the entire debt must agree, said
the official of HEC's main creditor Korea Exchange Bank.
The debt rollover is crucial to the survival of HEC, which
failed to honor maturing commercial bills last week due to
a serious liquidity shortage.

Despite the rollover, creditors will stick to their earlier
stance of cutting off fresh loans and placing the company
under court receivership if it fails to cover maturing
commercial bills, he said. Creditors will also declare HEC
bankrupt unless Hyundai Group sticks to a self-rescue plan
for its construction arm, under which 1.54 trillion won in
cash should be raised through asset sales to help ride out
HEC's cash crunch, he added.

In that case, the family of founder Chung Ju-yung will be
stripped of control of HEC, he said. Creditors have
proposed a capital reduction and a debt-to-equity swap for
HEC, but Chung Mong-Hun, who controls the construction
company, has rejected the offer, as he wants to retain
control. (Korea Herald  16-Nov-2000)

HYUNDAI GROUP: Going on selling spree to save HEC
Hyundai Group on Wednesday proposed selling stakes in
affiliates and a major headquarters building to raise money
to save Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co. from
bankruptcy, officials said.

Hyundai Engineering will sell shares in Hyundai Electron-
ics, the semiconductor maker, to take its stake below three
percent, said Kim Jae-Soo, head of the Hyundai  restructur-
ing committee after a directors' board meeting. Hyundai
Electronics will be separated from the parent group in
2002, a year earlier than previously planned, he added.

Hyundai Engineering will also sell its stakes in Hyundai
Corporation and Hyundai Autonet Co. to the profitable
Hyundai Motor Co., Kim said. South Korea's top civil
engineering concern will also sell its Seoul headquarters
to other parts of the Hyundai empire.

At the end of October, Hyundai Engineering's debt stood at
5.2 trillion won (4.6 billion dollars), according to the
Korea Exchange Bank, Hyundai Engineering's main creditor.
Some 1.2 trillion won (1.06 billion dollars) is due in
November and December. Creditor banks last week voted to
extend 690 billion won of this maturing debt after Hyundai
Engineering twice narrowly avoided being declared bankrupt.
(West Clip, Agence France-Presse  15-Nov-2000)


HO WAH GENTING INT'L: Loses deal, shareholder, more
Long-time major shareholder Dato' Lim Hui Boon has bowed
out of Sesdaq-listed Ho Wah Genting International (HWGI).
His Malaysian-listed Ho Wah Genting Bhd has transferred its
entire 22.03 percent stake in HWGI -- worth $1.11 million
-- to AMMB International, HWGI said in a Singapore Exchange
filing yesterday.

The transfer of 7.4 million shares valued at 15 cents each
was made "pursuant to the scheme of arrangement and
compromise repayment with its scheme creditors under
Section 176 of the Malaysian Companies Act 1965." It was
made "in compliance with the scheme of arrangement
sanctioned by the High Court at Kuala Lumpur."

The transfer to AMMB - one of Malaysia's top 10 bank groups
- took place on Nov 10. No other details were available.
Although Dato' Lim is no longer a major shareholder, he
still holds a 2.02 per cent direct interest in HWGI. The
latest disclosure comes hot on the heels of news of HWGI's
failure to secure a billion-dollar deal to operate two toll
roads in China's Heilongjiang province last month.

HWGI was to have paid for the concession rights by issuing
4.82 billion new shares priced at a par value of 25 cents
each but the deal collapsed after several deadline
extensions. The Sesdaq company has been in the red and even
its auditors are unsure if the group could continue its

Last year, it incurred a net loss of $8.16 million and its
turnover plunged 43.14 per cent to $4.21 million. Its
current liabilities exceeded current assets by $14.7
million. (Straits Times 14-Nov-2000)

UNITED ENGINEERING:Listing delay magnifies debt-revamp woes
A move by Malaysia's United Engineers (M) Bhd (UEM) to
delay the listing of its cash cow may presage problems
faced by UEM-Renong group in overcoming their huge debts,
analysts said yesterday.

"It is worrisome. You could say that UEM, Renong and Time's
debt restructure is a test case," said Yee Yang Chien, head
of research at HLG Research. UEM, its associate Renong and
Renong's unit Time Engineering have combined debts of over
RM20 billion (S$9.2 billion). "How successful these three
are in freeing themselves from debt will signal to
investors how much progress the country has made in
climbing out of the financial crisis."

UEM, Malaysia's largest construction group, surprised
investors when it said late Tuesday that the listing of
toll road operator and cash-cow Plus will be delayed.
Renong, which has 11 listed companies and dozens of
unlisted ones, is Malaysia's largest industrial group,
controlled by prominent businessman Halim Saad.

Analysts said that this was the first hint given by UEM
that it faced difficulties in its debt restructuring
exercise. Last year, Plus, or Projek Lebuhraya Utara-
Selatan Bhd, was roped in to rescue Renong and UEM via a
seven-year RM8.41 billion zero-coupon bond.

Renong alone owes about RM4.3 billion to Plus, which runs
the country's longest highway, the North-South Highway.
Without elaborating, a UEM statement said the delay was due
to issues "in relation to refinancing and valuation of

It said it was looking at other options besides the IPO to
de-gear itself. UEM and Time had proposed to list their
units to raise needed cash to help clear up to RM7 billion.
Time was to float 571 million shares of key telecom unit
TimedotCom at RM3.30 each to raise RM1.9 billion while UEM
intended to sell up to 30 percent of Plus in a bid to raise
up to RM5 billion.

Analysts said Mr Halim, facing valuation problems for the
Plus initial public offer and weak stock market conditions,
may be left with few alternatives. They said that a
plausible scenario would be that Mr Halim proceed with the
TimedotCom listing but scrap the Plus one.

"I think they don't have much choice. Market conditions may
not be conducive enough to take both the listings back-to-
back," said Daniel Chua, chief fund manager at KLCS Asset
Management Sdn Bhd.

Analysts speculate that it may be better for Mr Halim to
push through Time's IPO but seek other means for UEM if it
could not get the desired valuation for the Plus IPO.

"So much progress has been done on TimedotCom, it is
inconceivable that they shelve it whereas the valuation for
Plus' IPO has not even been announced yet," said an
investment banker close to the deal. "The market is not
exactly sparkling at the moment. If Halim wants a high
valuation for Plus, then I think he has to opt for a
private sale rather than a public one," said an analyst.

Analysts are betting that Mr Halim will try to sell a
strategic stake in UEM to a friendly party instead of
floating Plus. TimedotCom's IPO, already postponed three
times, is now expected to be in January next year, said

"The market had discounted a delay for Plus because the
listing of TimedotCom has also been delayed," Mr Chua said.

Analysts reckon that UEM, if it still intends to float
Plus, would only be able to do so at the earliest in April

"If UEM is still serious about floating Plus, then it will
likely wait three months after TimedotCom," said HLG's Mr
Yee. (Business Times  16-Nov-2000)


PRIME BANK: Sale of remaining branches delayed
The sale of the remaining branches of Prime Savings Bank
may be delayed due to some legal issues, Philippine Deposit
Insurance Corp. (PDIC) sources told The STAR.

"There is a minor problem on the issue of relocation of
branches. The Monetary Board (MB), the policy making body
of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is still tackling
the legality issue," the sources said.

According to sources, the MB wants to resolve this issue
first before giving the go signal for the sale of the 37
remaining branches of Prime Bank. Sources said the Board is
concerned that the buyers will encounter some problems
relocating the branches because of prevailing restrictions
on bank branching.

"The BSP wants everything in order before selling the
branches," the source said, adding that the legal
department of the central bank is now threshing out the

Despite these "minor glitches," the sources said they
expect to be able to sell the Prime Bank branches within
the year.  "If there will be no more minor surprises like
these, then we are hopeful we can sell the branches within
the year," the sources said.

The uninsured depositors of Prime Bank are waiting for the
sale since the proceeds will be used to partially pay them
off. Last October, BSP confirmed the sale of 25 branches of
Prime Bank to International Exchange Bank (Ibank),
Robinsons Savings Bank, Luzon Development Bank and Legaspi
Savings and Loans Association.

About P180 million was raised from the sale of the 25
branches which will be used to settle a portion of the
P2.5-billion uninsured depositors of the defunct savings
bank. If the remaining 37 branches will be sold at the same
price 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 P5 million for branches located
in the provinces. (Philippine Star  16-Nov-2000)


CHEW EU HOCK: Stock dives 41% after end of suspension
Shares of Chew Eu Hock (CEH) plunged nearly 41 percent
yesterday on resumption of trading after a two-day
suspension when it emerged that talks on an acquisition had
been called off.

They plummeted 23 cents to close at 33.5 cents. The counter
was the top loser of the day in percentage terms, on 19.07
million shares traded.  CEH had announced yesterday morning
that it failed to agree on terms with an unnamed industrial
property developer it was eyeing.

Its main worry, though, was not that its share price had
fallen or that it had failed in its acquisition bid.
Instead, it was concerned that market-watchers may have
misunderstood its reason for requesting the suspension,
which lasted through Monday and Tuesday.

Investors had been puzzled on Tuesday when, instead of
making an announcement concerning the proposed acquisition
which it had earlier primed investors to expect, it
released a financial report on its activities.  This move
made even less sense to the market since the report covered
CEH's financial state for its last financial year ended
July 31.

In an effort to clear the air yesterday, CEH managing
director Chew Heng Ching said it was "unfortunate" that the
release of the report had coincided with the share
suspension "though it was beyond CEH's control."

He said CEH directors had noticed the sharp share price
rise on Friday -- by 13.5 cents to 58 cents -- as punters
speculated about the outcome of the acquisition. The
directors then thought it "prudent" to request for a
suspension.  As it happened, the Singapore Exchange also
queried CEH last week on discrepancies in its audited and
unaudited results.

The answers to the queries were ready on Tuesday "so the
secretary sent them out," he said. Asked if the financial
statement could have been released after the suspension was
lifted to avoid confusion, he replied: "It's beyond our holding back, the exchange may think you have
something to hide."

He declined to name the company which CEH was in talks with
but confirmed that it was not CSC Holdings as some had
speculated.  "If the deal is off, there will always be
other opportunities," he said, adding that as he wanted CEH
to expand beyond Singapore, he was "open" to any proposals
for a merger or strategic alliance.  (Straits Times  16-

IPC: Completes debt-for-equity swap
Mainboard-listed IPC has a new major shareholder after
Societe Generale converted debt owed to it by IPC into
shares. The bank now holds 135.1 million shares -- a 6.6
percent stake -- in the issued capital of IPC.


SIAM CEMENT GROUP: White knight apparently found
After terminating its negotiations with two prospective
Taiwanese partners, Siam Cement Group (SCC) said it has
reached an agreement with an unidentified cash-rich local
concern to invest in the group's flagging industrial estate

SCC, Thailand's largest industrial conglomerate, has also
changed the concept underlying its industrial estates, from
providing land and facilities for big investment projects
to serving small and medium enterprises (SMEs) due to the
rising number of such businesses coming to invest in the
country, said Wirash Krittaphol, a Siam Cement vice

Siam Cement had offered to sell 50 per cent of its
industrial estate unit, Siam Cement Industrial Land (SCIL)
to giant Taiwanese construction conglomerate RSEA. The sale
of the stake was intended to be part of the group's
corporate restructuring plan, under which strategic
investors would be sought to buy into non-core businesses.

Taiwanese investors are considered priority strategic
partners in the industrial estate business because they are
seen as being able to help attract small and medium
industries from the island to establish factories
in Thailand.  The negotiations with the Taiwanese firms
were terminated due to unspecified differences, Wirash

Siam Cement has already spent Bt2.2 billion in developing
three industrial estate projects, two of which are in
Rayong and the other in Sara Buri. The company has sold 60
per cent of one of the Rayong projects, a 3,500-rai
development, while the other Rayong project, in Map Ta
Phut, has been suspended.

Wirash said the SME estate concept was being introduced to
the Rayong estate, around 500-rai of which is being
developed to cater to such smaller clients. The company
will spend several million baht to construct facilities and
utilities on the 500-rai site, said an executive of SIL
Industrial Land, the new name for SCIL, and at Rayong
Industrial Land (RIL), the other 100-percent owned
subsidiary of Siam Cement in the eastern province.

The local  partner will acquire stakes in both SIL
Industrial Land, and RIL, although SCC will maintain its
position as the majority investor, said an executive
who requested anonymity. (The Nation 16-Nov-2000)

SUPLAI PLC: Debt restructuring progress reported to SET
Supalai Public Company Limited has reported to the Stock
Exchange of Thailand that it entered into a debt
restructuring agreement with the Capital Numura Securities
Public Company Limited ("CNS") on November 15, the same
date on which the company repaid debts owed to certain
creditors. Supalai also has issued and sold unsecured
debentures and convertible debentures.

1.The Company repaid debts owed to CNS in the amount of
131.573 million baht by converting into unsecured
debentures and convertible debentures some 188 million
baht. As a result, it incurred a gain from debt restructur-
ing of 125.4 million baht.

2. The Company issued and sold "Unsecured Debentures of
Supalai Public Company Limited No. 4 Due 2007" to CNS in
the amount of 141,094 units at the price of 841.2652 baht
each, with a yield of 2.5 percent p.a, totaling
118,697,472.13 baht.

3. The Company issued and sold the "Convertible Debentures
of Supalai Public Company Limited No. 4 Due 2000" to CNS in
the amount of 69,502 units at the price of 1,000 baht each,
totaling 69.502 million baht.

4.CNS has exercised its conversion rights pursuant to all
of its convertible debentures specified in Item 3 and such
conversion causes CNS to acquire ordinary shares in the
amount of 3,317,500 shares with the conversion price at
20.95 baht per share

THAI PETROCHEM.INDUS.: Staff strike threat heightens
Staff at Thai Petrochemical Industry have threatened to
strike if creditors refuse to accept changes to the firm's
rehabilitation plan.

Employee representatives said up to 5,000 staff were
planning to rally today at the Queen Sirikit National
Convention Centre, where creditors plan to vote on whether
to accept a restructuring plan for the firm's $3.2 billion
debt, the country's largest non-performing loan.

Yesterday, 3,000 staff at TPI's Rayong plant and another
1,000 at the Bangkok head office rallied to protest against
Effective Planners, a company chosen to draft and
administer the rehabilitation plan on behalf of major
creditors. Later, 300 employees moved to the Central
Bankruptcy Court to submit a petition for fairness to court

Wachirapunthu Promprasert, TPI's chief financial officer,
said a strike would lead to losses of around 250-300
million baht per day.  Efforts by Anthony Norman, managing
director of Effective Planners, to address the Rayong crowd
were drowned out by protests from staff. Ravi Kaewmano, a
Rayong employee, said explanations offered by Mr Norman
regarding the plan were "unsatisfactory and disappointing."

"Mr Norman refused to commit to any of our grievances,
saying that he was only a planner and that the final
decisions were with creditors," he said.

Among the employee demands are the cancellation of sales or
transfers of TPI's core assets, guarantees against layoffs
or salary cuts, and pledges that the current management
would remain during the implementation of the plan.
Employees are also seeking to participate in the drafting
of the plan, a delay in today's vote and guarantees that
staff participating at rallies would not suffer
recriminations.  Other staff threatened to press for a
company-wide strike if their grievances were not addressed
by creditors and Effective Planners today.

"Workers may launch an operational strike if we do not
receive clear and satisfactory answers from the planner,"
said one TPI staff leader.

TPI chief executive Prachai Leophairatana denied yesterday
that he was behind the protests, which he said represented
frustration with the planners. "The employees may be
frustrated at what they see as collusion between Effective
Planners and [major creditors] to force TPI into
bankruptcy," he said.

Effective Planners' executives insist they have made
efforts to communicate the goals of the plan to staff but
that misinformation had clouded the issues. Mr Norman said
the Rayong meeting was disrupted by a "very vocal minority"
who had blocked his efforts to address employee concerns.

"The majority of the employees were very attentive," he
said, with many expressing frustration at the protesters'
attempts to break up the meeting.

Mr Norman said he had assured employees that "there was no
need to fear for their jobs and there wouldn't be massive
lay-offs" under the plan. A notice from Effective Planners
seeking support from staff said the plan would have "no
direct effect on employees... The plan requires TPI's
business to continue to operate as it always has, with the
changes.. mainly on the financing side."Peter Gothard, a
director of Effective Planners, said allegations of
misconduct by the firm were baseless.

He denied charges that Effective Planners had paid the
steering committee or promised assets or benefits to
creditors to gain support for the plan. He also denied
allegations that Effective Planners would receive a 3%
commission from sales of non-core assets.

"No sales have occurred, and Effective Planners has not
proposed itself as a broker for any non-core asset sales."
Even so, staff representatives remain convinced that the
plan sought to favour major creditors, which include
Bangkok Bank, Citibank, the International Finance
Corporation, US Export-Import Bank and Bank of America.

Barring any sudden changes, most analysts expect the
restructuring plan to pass today, given that major
creditors hold well over the 50% minimum required under the
bankruptcy law. Deja Tulananda, senior executive vice-
president of Bangkok Bank, said the protests were unlikely
to have any impact.

The court process would continue regardless, he said,
adding that it was the responsibility of the planner to
explain that the plan was in progress and that there was no
impact on staff.

"I sympathise with Mr Prachai that events have come to
this. But I want to stress that creditor banks have no
intention of taking over the business from him," Mr Deja
said. "We believe that the planner should be able to clear
issues with the staff."  (Bangkok Post  16-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

Troubled Company Reporter -- Asia Pacific is a daily
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Copyright 2000.  All rights reserved.  ISSN: 1520-9482.

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