TCRAP_Public/010129.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

               Monday, January 29, 2001, Vol. 4, No. 20

                            Headlines


A U S T R A L I A

HARTS AUSTRALIA:  Forecasts $10M Loss
NOMAD:  Goes Into Receivership


C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G

36.COM:  Posts HK$55.07M Loss
FUJIAN:  Fails to Pay Samurai Bonds


I N D O N E S I A

PT BAKRIE:  Gives Creditors 95 Percent Stake
PT SCHERING: Declares Rp13.9 B Loss


J A P A N

DAIEI: Marubeni Buys Shares
SOGO:  Sells Property Leases
SOGO:  Three Banks Forgive 100B Loans
TOKYO SOWA:  Two U.S. Firms Interested to Bid


K O R E A

DAEWOO MOTOR: 6,500 Workers Stage Walkout
HANVIT BANK:  Sells Insolvent Bonds
KOREA ECHANGE:  Sells Insolvent Bonds
SEOUL BANK:  Sells Insolvent Bonds


M A L A Y S I A

TIMEDOTCOM:  Flotation Boasts Cash Reserves


P H I L I P P I N E S

BAYAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS:  Benpress Supports Restructuring
NATIONAL STEEL:  Creditors Oppose New Directors
VICTORIAS MILLING:  Approves Alternative Proposal


T H A I L A N D

ITALIAN-THAI:  Sells Resort Hotel
NAKORNTHAI MILL:  Creditors Disagree on Rehab Plan


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

HARTS AUSTRALIA:  Forecasts $10M Loss
-------------------------------------
Harts Australia forecasted a $9.7 million first half loss mainly
because of non-performance by its property division and plunging
share prices.

Share prices fell from 38 cents to 17 cents, way below the $1
issued price last year, according to the Friday issue of the
Sydney Morning Herald.

Steve Hart, executive deputy chairman, the losses were because of
the lowering of the property market brackets and increased costs
in its sales drive.

"Harts will not be able to meet its forecasted $12 million profit
but profit levels for the second half of the financial year will
still be significant," he said.

Harts, which also provides services in accounting, funds
management and insurance, and rival firm Stockford are buying
small accounting firms on low multiples while achieving a much
higher multiple on listing the combined group.

The acquisitions will mean higher earnings per share, if only the
new owners can maintain revenues and profits and stem any loss of
clients and key personnel.


NOMAD:  Goes Into Receivership
------------------------------
Nomad Telecommunications, a large reseller for Vodafone's mobile
service, filed for receivership after failing to raise capital
despite a $130 million bond flotation eight months ago.

Carlton Taya, Nomad managing director, said the receivership was
filed on January 18. Nomad operates 28 mobile phone stores under
its brand and hosts 120 stores through its dealer network,
according to the Friday issue of the Sydney Morning Herald.

ANZ Banking, which is owed $9.1 million under a secured, long-
term facility, appointed Andrew Beck and Peter Yates of Deloitte
Touche Tohmatsu as receivers and managers.


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

36.COM:  Posts HK$55.07M Loss
-----------------------------
36.com, which provides finance and news information and online
retailing services, posted a HK$55.07 million loss in the nine
months to December 31, a substantial jump from HK$2.91 million
for the same period of the previous year, according to the Friday
issue of the South China Morning Post.

The losses were blamed for the vertical Web sites in China and
Canada, costing the company HK$10.02 million.

Despite the poor performance, 36.com still holds HK$102 million
in cash at the end of December.

The company plans to focus in the synergies between online and
offline media by publishing its online content in the traditional
print format. The stock closed Tuesday 2 percent lower, at 5.4 HK
cents.


FUJIAN:  Fails to Pay Samurai Bonds
-----------------------------------
Fujian International Trust and Investment Corp. (FITIC) missed a
deadline for a Samurai coupon payment but might be able to do so
by February 1 after the Chinese Lunar New Year.

FITIC has a 10-year Samurai bond launched in 1996 and must pay 14
billion yen in 4.1 percent due to mature in 2006, according to
the Thursday issue of Business Times Thailand.

A series of defaults on prestigious Samurais by the trusts, set
up in the late 1980s by provincial governments as a vehicle to
raise foreign funds, have shaken confidence in Chinese financial
institutions and are almost certain to raise the cost of any such
issues in the future.

Aozora Bank, the lead commission bank, confirmed that it had not
received from FITIC the coupon payment of 287 million yen.

According to the terms of the issue, an Aozora Bank announcement
will be made in a public notice in a newspaper.

Dai Xianglong, Central bank governor, said there were 239 trust
firms that ceased operation in Beijing and a cleanup was started
following the collapse of Guangdong ITIC (GITIC).

In mid-December, leading US credit rating firm Moody's Investors
Service and Japan's Rating and Investment Information Inc (R&I)
both downgraded their ratings on FITIC. Both rating agencies said
they were concerned about the trust firm's ability to meet its
debt obligations.

Katsuyuki Ushiro, chief analyst at R&I said, "We have not changed
our assessment regarding FITIC since December. We understand that
the fiscal condition of FITIC is still very poor".


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

PT BAKRIE:  Gives Creditors 95 Percent Stake
--------------------------------------------
Shareholders of PT Bakrie and Brothers have approved a plan to
give creditors 95 percent of the company in exchange for the $1.1
billion debt. PT Bakrie is one of the largest non-ethnic Chinese
business groups in Indonesia, with a diverse interest in palm oil
to telecommunications, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

The conglomerate will issue 36.8 billion new shares, representing
95 percent of its enlarged capital, through a rights offer. A
special purpose vehicle owned by the creditors will take all of
the new shares.

The Bakrie family's interest will be diluted from 51.5 percent to
3.34 percent after the debt-to-equity swap.

Irwan Sjarkawi, president director of Bakrie and Brothers, said,
"This debt-to-equity swap will help us turn to profit this year,
because our interest costs will drop significantly".

Creditors will also be given control over PT Bakrie Sumatera
Plantation, with interest in palm oil, rubber and fruit
plantations and 20 percent holding in PT Arutmin Indonesia, a
mining firm. Shareholders agreed to turn over to creditors $49
million of Bakrie and Brothers through the sale of subsidiary PT
Bakrie Kasei in October.


PT SCHERING: Declares Rp13.9 B Loss
-----------------------------------
PT Schering-Plough Indonesia Tbk (SCPI), a pharmaceutical
company, expects to post a cumulative loss that has already
reached Rp13.91bn during the period between January 1998 and
September 2000.

James Collyer, SCPI's Director and Corporate Secretary, explained
that despite the steep rise in its stock recently the firm will
have losses, according to the Wednesday issue of Indoexchange
News.

Based on information gathered by Indoexchange, SCPI shares gained
Rp9,000, or 56.25 percent, despite its record cumulative losses
since 1998.

Collyer disclosed that Schering-Plough International (SPI) was
planning to increase ownership in SCPI by buying 358,850 shares
from Capital Market Supervisory Agency for a total of 2,325,350
shares, or 64.6 percent of SCPI.

According to JSX Watch 1999, as of December 1999, Schering-Plough
International Inc. of the US controlled a 53.9 percent stake in
Schering-Plough Indonesia, while its affiliate Schering-Plough
Health care Products Inc. of the US owned 23.8 percent shares.
The remaining 22.3 percent is owned by the investing public.


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

DAIEI: Marubeni Buys Shares
---------------------------
Daiei Inc., supermarket chain, is hopeful that credit confidence
may be boosted by Marubeni Corp.'s purchase of a 5 percent stake
and a 10 percent stake in its affiliate supermarket chain
Maruetsu Inc., estimated to be worth 12 billion yen.

The ailing supermarket chain is strengthening its business with
the Maruetsu focusing on its core business, according to Japan
Times On Line Friday.

Marubeni said it would make an announcement as soon as
negotiations are completed. It now holds a 10 percent stake in
Maruetsu and an additional 10 percent will make it the biggest
shareholder in Maruetsu, which is also owned 14.5 percent by
Daiei.

Marubeni raised its stake in Maruetsu to 9.96 percent from 1.52
percent in November.

Marubeni and Daiei have been under a business collaboration since
February 1994. Marubeni also has a 5 percent stake in the Daiei
group's convenience store chain Lawson Inc.


SOGO:  Sells Property Leases
----------------------------
Sogo department store will offer its property lease contracts on
two major holdings to Amarin Plaza Group. The Amarin Plaza
contract, which has a 20-year lease, is about to expire and will
depreciate in value while the Grand Hyatt contract remains
unchanged, according to the Tuesday issue of the Nation.

Vithoon Wongkusonkij, Amarin chief executive, said that Sogo
might be revamped after finalizing the deal with its parent
company in Japan in 12 months.

Under the acquisition agreement, the group will get unlimited use
of the Sogo name, the chief executive said.


SOGO:  Three Banks Forgive 100B Loans
-------------------------------------
Three banks affiliated with the Mizuho Financial Group are set to
forgive 100 billion yen in loans to department store Sogo Co.

Industrial Bank of Japan, Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank and Fuji Bank also
gave their approval for the rehabilitation plan of Sogo, which
filed for court protection last June leaving 1.87 trillion in bad
debts, Reuters reported on Friday.

Industrial Bank of Japan will forgive 90 billion yen in loans to
Sogo, Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank about five billion yen and Fuji Bank
will shoulder the remainder.


TOKYO SOWA:  Two U.S. Firms Interested to Bid
---------------------------------------------
The Lone Star Fund, a U.S. private equity fund and Shinsei Bank
and Cerberus group (U.S. investment group) are rushing to bid for
Tokyo Sowa, according to the Thursday issue of the Japan Times On
Line.

Tokyo Sowa was declared insolvent by the government in June 1999
and was to be acquired by Asia Recovery Fund, led by U.S.
financier Wilbur R. Ross, by Nov. 30. However, the administrators
and the government canceled the sale due to a row over loan-loss
charges.


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

DAEWOO MOTOR: 6,500 Workers Stage Walkout
-----------------------------------------
Some 6,500 workers at Daewoo Motor Company's main assembly plant
in Bupyung, South Korea, walked out from their jobs Wednesday to
protest a planned lay off of another 2,800 employees. Management
is ordering the job cuts to appear more attractive to foreign
investors such as General Motors. Daewoo it is now under court
receivership, according to the Wednesday issue of the Press.

Creditors are demanding that the company undertake massive job
cutting measures. The company is hoping to eliminate some 5,494
jobs based on a layoff plan that management submitted to the
Ministry of Labor.


HANVIT BANK:  Sells Insolvent Bonds
-----------------------------------
Hanvit will sell 4.5 trillion won of insolvent bonds through a
corporate restructuring vehicle (CRV) that will be set up in
February. Hanvit will sell insolvent bonds worth 2.3 trillion won
this year.

A CRV is a company specializing in buying and reselling non-
performing loans of workout companies from banks and non-monetary
financial institutions, according to the Tuesday issue of World
News Connection.


KOREA ECHANGE:  Sells Insolvent Bonds
-------------------------------------
Korea Exchange Bank was among the local banks that will sell 4.5
trillion won of insolvent bonds through corporate restructuring
vehicle (CRV), which will be set up in February. Korea Exchange
Bank will sell insolvent bonds worth 1 trillion won this year.

A CRV is a company specializing in buying and reselling non-
performing loans of workout companies from banks and non-monetary
financial institutions, according to the Tuesday issue of World
News Connection.


SEOUL BANK:  Sells Insolvent Bonds
----------------------------------
Seoul Bank together with some local banks will sell 4.5 trillion
won of insolvent bonds through corporate restructuring vehicle
(CRV), which will be set up on February. Seoul Bank will sell
insolvent bonds worth 600 billion won this year.

A CRV is a company specializing in buying and reselling non-
performing loans of workout companies from banks and non-monetary
financial institutions, according to the Tuesday issue of World
News Connection.


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

TIMEDOTCOM:  Flotation Boasts Cash Reserves
-------------------------------------------
Despite a RM2.6 million net loss for the financial year ended
Dec. 31, 2000, Time dotCom expects to see a net profit in 2001.

The company, which already had RM251mil in its coffers at end-
December 2000, expects to receive a RM497mil boost from the
proceeds of its listing and gain an additional RM132mil from the
repayment of inter-company loans, according to the Tuesday
edition of the Star (Malaysia). Cash reserves rose to RM900
million because of the successful flotation.

Tan Sri Halim Saad, Time dotCom managing director, said the
company's cash position is stronger now and will have money to
spend for its telecom business.

According to its prospectus, Time dotCom expects to record a net
profit of RM150.6mil for 2001; RM376.4mil in 2002; RM522.9mil for
2003 and RM1.142bil for 2007. Revenue is expected to increase
from RM1.756bil in 2001 to RM2.54bil in 2002, RM3.17bil in 2003
and RM5.46bil in 2007.

Analysts have doubts the company can achieve the forecasts.

Tan Sri Halim Saad, Time dotCom managing director, said, "In our
forecast to the Securities Commission, we anticipated a
subscriber base of 850,000 but we have surpassed that. As at the
end of last year we had 1.6 million subscribers".


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

BAYAN TELECOMMUNICATIONS:  Benpress Supports Restructuring
----------------------------------------------------------
Benpress Holdings Corp. is presently discussing with creditors
the support it will extend to its subsidiary, Bayan
Telecomunications (BayanTel). Support will be extended within the
context of a debt-restructuring program expected to be finalized
in the next six months, according to the Wednesday issue of the
Asia Pulse.

Benpres holds 66 percent of BayanTel through Bayan
Telecommunications Holdings Corp.

BayanTel is presently seeking to restructure its more than US$500
million debt. It recently failed to pay the $13.5 million
interest on its seven-year $200 million bond, which fell due last
January 15.

Standard & Poors (S&P) says BayanTel was not able to beat the
debt service payment deadline because Benpress did not extend
assistance to avoid default on notes. Benpres is not obliged to
pay BayanTel's debts even though it is the guarantor.

BayanTel's debt of $500 million dipped to P27.506 million because
of the appreciation of the peso.


NATIONAL STEEL:  Creditors Oppose New Directors
-----------------------------------------------
Creditors have opposed the election of new members of the board
of directors of National Steel Corporations (NSC) for fear that
they might take over operations of the company, according to the
Tuesday issue of Business World.

In a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
chairperson Lilia R. Bautista, the steering committee of NSC
creditors said "there could not be any controlling body other
than the Commission through the appointed liquidator while the
liquidation process is ongoing."

Creditors also fear that the new board may approve the proposal
to lease out the steel mill to local firm Allengoal Steel
Fabrication and Trading Corp. Allengoal proposed to lease a
portion of the NSC plant.

They are asserting their right to approve any lease proposals
involving NSC facilities.

"We urge the SEC through the liquidator to take steps to protect
the interest of the NSC creditors in the light of the recent
actions of the NSC stockholders," a creditors statement said.

Meanwhile Simplicio H. Villarta, NSC Labor Union president,
supported the move to lease out the steel mill to Allengoal by
asking Danilo Concepcion, NSC liquidator, to expedite re-
operation of the steel mill.

Villarta said, "The bankers' bet is nothing but a ploy to prevent
NSC from re-operating, so their (creditors) dubious agenda could
be successfully pursued. Our patience has reached its peak...we
strongly appeal to your sense of fairness to look into the (said
rotation) proposal. (We assure you) that there are more capable
retrenched employees unpaid of their retrenchment pay than those
now inside the plant."

Employees are claiming P700 million in unpaid wages and benefits
and will accept even not the full payment after the steel will be
sold at a lesser price than its outstanding debts.


VICTORIAS MILLING:  Approves Alternative Proposal
-------------------------------------------------
Victorias Milling Corp. (VMC) shareholders have accepted an
alternative plan proposed by London-based Kest Quartermain
Venture Capital as a condition for the release of $153 million
loan package.

In a special meeting on Thursday, shareholders representing a
53.83-percent interest in VMC in effect rejected the
rehabilitation plan earlier proposed by the company's management
committee (mancom) and approved by the Securities and Exchange
Commission, according to the Friday issue of the Philippine Daily
Inquirer.

The proposal calls for a fresh loan from GE Capital arranged by
Kest Quartermain for $153 million to be used to pay off P6.56
billion worth of debts.

VMC will set up a sinking fund using the company's cash flow or
Kest Quartermain subscribing P4.1 billion worth of rights
offering on the tenth year of the rehabilitation plan.

Kest Quartermain, for its part, will receive a 50-percent
discount on the principal and accrued interest, payable in equal
installments over a seven-year period. The discount will be taken
up as a fee.

Manuel Manalac, VMC president, warned the plan might lead to
creditors taking over the company through the P1.5 billion
receivables being discounted and converted into equity.

Even if the banks sold the receivables at a discount, they still
stood to earn a lot at the expense of the shareholders whose
stakes would be diluted after the conversion, he said.


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

ITALIAN-THAI:  Sells Resort Hotel
--------------------------------------
Orientak Hotel, Bangkok's 125-year old legendary hotel, will be
sold in order to save Italian-Thai Development Plc (ITD),
according to the Friday issue of the Nation.

The sale of its stake in the hotel is one of the options the
Karnasuta, ITD majority stockholder, is considering despite
objections. As of 1999, ITD's obligations stood at Bt20 billion.

One creditor insisted on disposing of the non-core assets to make
the debt restructuring smooth.

The Karnasuta family, which controls 20 percent of the hotel,
does not wants to dispose of its shareholdings because it is very
valuable.

Restructuring efforts in the past were not successful because it
failed to raise its capital from Bt1.6 billion to Bt4.3 billion.

Unless ITD can agree with creditors on a debt-revamp, the case
will go to the business rehabilitation and bankruptcy court,
according to creditor sources.


NAKORNTHAI MILL:  Creditors Disagree on Rehab Plan
--------------------------------------------------
Nakornthai Strip Mill creditors have delayed a vote on the firm's
rehabilitation plan by proposing amendments to the plan,
according to a Friday report in the Bangkok Post.

The Industrial Finance Corporation of Thailand (IFCT), a major
creditor, and Bay Harbour Management Llc., representing the
bondholders, will ask Ramkamhaen Planner to draft a revised plan.

Punjaporn Kosolkitiwong, attorney for Dej-Udom & Associates
representing Bay Harbour, said the firm was designated by holders
of debentures worth Bt15 billion to negotiate with receivership
officials. Punjaporn said debentures account for 50 percent of
debts but a receivership official claims it is only 40 percent.

Debenture holders propose that the agreement be signed within six
months after the court endorses the plan. Within two months after
the court's endorsement, the debtor must be able to demonstrate
that it has complied with the plan.

Sawasdi Horrungruang, chairman of Nakornthai Strip Mill, has
given personal guarantees for loans worth about Bt70 billion.



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 2001.  All rights reserved.  ISSN: 1520-9482.

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