TCRAP_Public/980209.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, February 9, 1998, Vol. 1, No. 2

                        Headlines

C H I N A

MANSION HOLDINGS: Coopers & Lybrand Evaluating Liquidity

H O N G   K O N G  

PERIGRINE INVESTMENTS: Liquidation May Take Years
PERIGRINE INVESTMENTS: BNP Confirms Intent to Acquire
PERIGRINE INVESTMENTS: Jardine Fleming to Buy Unit
WHARF HOLDINGS: Posts $173.5 Million Bond Pending Appeal
WHARF HOLDINGS: Moody's to Review Debt for Downgrade

I N D I A

AIR INDIA: Facing Crisis, Cutting Loss-Making Routes
ANZ GRINDLAYS: Rs 9 billion Judgment Awarded to NHB

I N D O N E S I A

CE INDONESIA: Bank Debt Downgraded to Caa1
DSPL FINANCE: Capital Market Project Financing Downgraded
MNL INDONESIA: Bank Loan Facilty Downgraded to Caa1
P.T. PAITON: Capital Market Project Financing Downgraded
PERTAMINA: State Oil Firm Unable to Pay U.S. Tanker Rates

J A P A N  

HITACHI LTD.: Reorganizing Business Units
JET TOUR: Files for Bankruptcy
KANKAKU SECURITIES: Mortgaged Convertibles Downgraded
MITSUI GROUP: 99 Personal Injury Suits Top 3 Billion Yen
SAISON GROUP: To Sell Intercontinental Hotel to Reduce Debts
SANKO STEAMSHIP: Repays All Debts Under Court Protection
TOHO MUTUAL: GE Capital Undertaking Bailout
YAMAICHI SECURITIES: Regulators Had Knowledge of Losses
YAMAICHI SECURITIES: Suit says Yamaichi faked documents

K O R E A

DAEWOO GROUP: General Motors in Partnership Talks
DON WON PURE CHEMICALS: Sumitomo Chemical Taking 90% Stake
HYUNDAI GROUP: Balking at "The Big Deal" with Samsung
LG-CALTEX OIL: S&P Revises Rating to CreditWatch Dev
RAS LAFFAN: S&P Issues Negative Implication Rating
SAMSUNG GROUP: Restructuring Plans Detailed                  
SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS: Studying "The Big Deal" with Hyundai
SAMYANG FOODS: Noodle Maker Files for Court Protection
SUKWANG: Leading Fashion Maker Files for Court Protection

N E W   Z E A L A N D

BENMORE PRODUCTS: Interim payment to Benmore creditors                      
SMITHS CITY: Receivership Noteholders May Choose Equity

P H I L I P P I N E S

FINANCIERA MANILA: Seeks Relief from Debt Payments
MARCOPPER MINING: Laying Off Majority of Workers
NEGROS NAVIGATION: New Investments May Avert Bankruptcy
PETRON CORP.: Posts Loss and Can't Increase Revenues
VITARICH CORP.: Signs Deal with Creditors

S I N G A P O R E

SEMBAWANG CORPORATION: Shares Drop to Nine-Year Low  

T H A I L A N D

ALPHATEC ELECTRONICS: To Pay 5% to Compromise US$330 Million
SIAM CEMENT: Posts Massive 1997 Foreign Exchange Losses

T U R K E Y

MARTI SHIPPING: 10% Cash Proposal Plus Stock to Creditors


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C H I N A
=========


MANSION HOLDINGS: Coopers & Lybrand Evaluating Liquidity
--------------------------------------------------------
Mansion Holdings says it is experiencing liquidity problems
and will have difficulty servicing hundreds of millions of
dollars in bank borrowings.  Mansion said it had unaudited
utilised bank loans and trade facilities amounting to $513
million as of December 15.  Its unaudited cash balances at
that date were $26 million.  Trust receipt loans and other
bank loan repayments of $249.5 million had become overdue as
of January 20. A further $110.5 million would become overdue
within three months.  This compared with the company's
audited consolidated net tangible assets
as at December 1996 of $291.7 million.

Mansion said it was discussing a restructuring with bankers
and had appointed Coopers & Lybrand as independent reporting
accountants to evaluate its financial position and future
cash flow projections. A report was due by the end of
January or early February.

The company said a mainland enterprise, China Success
International Investment (Group), had agreed to subscribe
for a $13.96 million secured note.  The note was convertible
into 87.28 million new shares, representing about 14.8% of
the company's enlarged issued share capital.  China Success
is 80% owned by a mainland state-owned enterprise and 20% by
an independent third party. (South China Morning Post)                      


=================
H O N G   K O N G  
=================


PERIGRINE INVESTMENTS: Liquidation May Take Years
-------------------------------------------------
Price Waterhouse indicated last week that it may take up to
five years "to sort it all out," in the liquidation of
Perigrine Investments Holdings Ltd.  Price Waterhouse
spokespersons said that Perigrine has an exceptionally
complex structure and lacks adequate financial records.  
(The Wall Street Journal 02-Feb-1998)


PERIGRINE INVESTMENTS: BNP Confirms Intent to Acquire
-----------------------------------------------------
Banque Nationale de Paris announced Monday it will buy the
Greater China equity operations of Peregrine Investments
Holdings Ltd., which went into bankruptcy last month.  BNP's
chief executive Didier Balme said the bank's securities arm,
BNP PrimeEast, will acquire Peregrine's China unit, forming
a new company called BNP Prime Peregrine Ltd.  Balme
wouldn't disclose the purchase price at a press conference
in Hong Kong.  He also said that BNP has shown interest in
other parts of Peregrine, without giving further details.

The deal will require the approval of Hong Kong's High
Court, and regulatory authorities.

Price Waterhouse, Peregrine's provisional liquidator, said
separately that the proposed acquisition involves the
transfer of about 150 Peregrine employees and gross assets
with a value of about HK$290 million.  Price Waterhouse said
that it is in talks with parties interested in buying the
remaining Peregrine businesses in Hong Kong and elsewhere.

Balme said BNP and BNP Prime East will own 90% of BNP Prime
Peregrine, and senior Peregrine executives will hold 10%.  
BNP Prime East is 70% owned by BNP and 30% by Singapore-
based PrimePartners Group.


PERIGRINE INVESTMENTS: Jardine Fleming to Buy Unit
--------------------------------------------------
Hong Kong investment bank Jardine Fleming has emerged as the
likely buyer of Perigrine Asset Management, the fund
management arm of the failed securities company.  PAM's bond
fund is reportedly worth US$80 to US$100 million.  Jardine
declined to provide details of its on-going discussions with
Price Waterhouse.  (Financial Times 05-Feb-1998)

   
WHARF HOLDINGS: Posts $173.5 Million Bond Pending Appeal
--------------------------------------------------------
Wharf Holdings Ltd. of Hong Kong has posted a $173.5 million
bond, pending appeal of a $155 million jury award it owes to
United International Holdings Inc., a Denver-based
international cable company, officials at UIH announced.  
UIH won a federal jury award in Denver last year against
Wharf after a joint business venture in Hong Kong went awry.
Until now, Wharf has declined to post bond in the case,
facing interest fines of up to $50,000 a day and a potential
contempt of court citation.  By posting the bond, collection
of the award is stayed, pending Wharf's appeal to the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit. (The Denver Post)

Standard & Poor's, in turn, lowered the long-term ratings of
Wharf (Holdings) Ltd. and guaranteed entities to single-'A'-
minus from single-'A'.  At the same time, the ratings were
placed on CreditWatch with negative implications.  The
downgrade, S&P said, reflects increasing risks in Wharf's
financial profile, in terms of both a rising debt burden
brought about by higher domestic interest rates as well as
worsened earnings prospects in the company's core
businesses.  

S&P added that the current downturn in the Hong Kong
property market is adversely affecting Wharf's property
businesses.  Prices of new property developments continue to
fall.  Meanwhile, a prolonged recession could have more
serious implications for the company's investment property
business, where Wharf has a large exposure to office and
retail properties.  These factors come on top of existing
difficulties in the company's pay television operation,
Wharf Cable.  The latter company has recorded substantial
losses in the past few years, and has yet to break even on a
cash basis.  Ongoing litigation in the U.S. could also have
a minor impact on Wharf's business and finances, S&P said.  
Rising interest rates in Hong Kong are increasing Wharf's
debt burden, as almost two-thirds of its debt carries
floating interest rates and is denominated in Hong Kong
dollars.  The company's interest coverage is weak compared
to its peers.  Net rental income covered interest expenses
by about 2.5 times in December 1996; this ratio is expected
to worsen in coming years as a result of higher interest
expenses and a gradual slowdown in rental income.  The ratio
of funds from operations to total debt, at about 20%, is
below that of rated peers; this figure is also expected to
decrease over the next several years in connection with
rising debt and lower earnings.


WHARF HOLDINGS: Moody's to Review Debt for Downgrade
----------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service, Inc., announced last week that it
would review its ratings on US$1.2 billion of debt issued by
Wharf (Holdings) Ltd. for a possible downgrade.


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I N D I A
=========


AIR INDIA: Facing Crisis, Cutting Loss-Making Routes
----------------------------------------------------
Faced with an acute financial crisis, India's state-owned
international carrier Air India has decided to restructure
its services, concentrating only on profit-making routes
while discontinuing many of its existing loss-making
international flights. Addressing a press conference, the
carriers managing director, M P Mascarenhas said Air India
would discontinue its services from South Korea, where the
company was incurring huge losses because of the recent
currency crisis affecting South-East Asian countries, and
Japan, from where earnings were declining due to the
decrease in tourist traffic and fluctuating yen.  (Asia
Pulse)


ANZ GRINDLAYS: Rs 9 billion Judgment Awarded to NHB
---------------------------------------------------
A special Indian court has directed international
bank ANZ Grindlays to pay Rs 9.06 billion ($US236.55
million) with 18 per cent interest to the National Housing
Bank (NHB) of India, setting aside an arbitration award
relating to a securities scam conducted in 1992. The
transactions in question pertain to cheques drawn by NHB in
favour of ANZ Grindlays and handed over to Harshad Mehta,
the prime suspect in the operation, who convinced ANZ to
deposit the proceeds into his own account with Grindlays
bank.  (Asia Pulse)


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


CE INDONESIA: Bank Debt Downgraded to Caa1
------------------------------------------
Moody's has rated the bank loan facility extended to
independent power project CE Indonesia Funding Corp at Caa1
concluding that the continued devaluation of the Rupiah
poses a significant threat of default.  


DSPL FINANCE: Capital Market Project Financing Downgraded
---------------------------------------------------------
Moody's has rated the capital market project financing
facility extended to independent power project DSPL Finance
Company B.V at Caa1, concluding that the continued
devaluation of the Rupiah poses a significant threat of
default.  


MNL INDONESIA: Bank Loan Facilty Downgraded to Caa1
---------------------------------------------------
Moody's has rated the bank loan facility extended to
independent power project Indonedia Funding Corporation at
Caa1, concluding that the continued devaluation of the
Rupiah poses a significant threat of default.  


P.T. PAITON: Capital Market Project Financing Downgraded
--------------------------------------------------------
Moody's has rated the capital market project financing
facility extended to independent power project P.T Paiton
Energy Funding at Caa1, concluding that the continued
devaluation of the Rupiah poses a significant threat of
default.  


PERTAMINA: State Oil Firm Unable to Pay U.S. Tanker Rates
---------------------------------------------------------
Amid growing signs that the currency crisis is paralysing
the Indonesian economy, state oil company Pertamina is
defaulting on US dollar charter hire payments to foreign
tanker owners, it emerged last week.  

Pertamina, which often has up to 60 vessels on charter, has
told at least three foreign owners it cannot pay the daily
US dollar rate for tankers on charter in the past couple of
weeks.  The news comes as the oil company announced
yesterday it was ceasing oil product imports in March to
help stop the dramatic drain on its foreign currency
reserves.  "We expect to import half of our monthly average
of 150,000 bpd in February and we expect zero imports in
March, Pertamina processing manager," Samto Utomo,
was quoted as saying.  

The international shipping community is watching the
currency crisis in Indonesia closely as the country depends
heavily on US dollar denominated purchases of shipping
services such as hull and P&l cover, repairwork, survey work
and legal fees.  Concern has been expressed among some P&l
Clubs over Indonesian owners' ability to pay for cover in US
dollars during the current P&l cover renewal season.

The dramatic slide in the Indonesian rupiah has seen the
currency slump to around 10,000 to the US dollar recently
against Rs6,000 just three months ago.  The fall in the
rupiah has left Pertamina perilously short of US dollar
funds as it uses ever increasing amounts of rupiah to
purchase the US currency needed for its international
trading. It has asked several tanker owners if it
can make payments for charters in rupiah instead of US
dollars in the past couple of weeks.

Jakarta shipping sources told Lloyd's List that the request
has dismayed owners.  This has happened to owners with long-
standing relationships with Pertamina, and several are now
considering withdrawing their vessels from Pertamina
charters, one source said.  It is understood that Greek
tanker operators have been particularly affected by
Pertamina's currency problems.  But other owners have
apparently accepted rupiah terms for charter hire recently
in the hope of capitalising on the wild swings the currency
has undergone in the past month.

A lawyer acting for one of the affected owners confirmed to
Lloyds List that Pertamina had defaulted on US dollar
charter hire payments in January.  "We cannot say whether
these are isolated incidents or if it is company policy.   
Whatever the case, the market realises Pertamina is enduring
a tough time due to the currency problems and owners should
be aware of that," the lawyer said.

Oil traders quoted yesterday said Pertamina was cutting down
on imports of crude oils from China, Australia and Malaysia,
but would go ahead with imports from Saudi Arabia and Iran
which were purchased on government to government based term
contracts.  Industry sources said that for this month, all
spot market imports had been cancelled except for one cargo
from Kuwait for 80,000 tonnes of diesel and 50,000 tonnes of
kerosene.

There is mounting speculation that Pertamina is more than
US$300m in debt to its affiliate companies which buy and
sell oil and products on its behalf.  But the suggestion was
denied by the company president-director Mr Soegianto who
maintained the oil giant had no difficulty making all its
repayments.  Soegianto noted that the Indonesian government
had suspended its US dollar outflow wherever possible during
the crisis to keep dollars in the country. As a state-owned
entity, Pertamina had to follow this policy, he added.  
(LLoyd's List International)                     


=========
J A P A N  
=========


HITACHI LTD.: Reorganizing Business Units
-----------------------------------------
Japan's Hitachi Ltd., moving to strengthen its multimedia
business, said Thursday it will reorganize its business into
three new groups. Hitachi, the country's largest electric-
machinery maker, said it will have an information systems
group, information media systems group and consumer products
group, effective February 21, 1998.


JET TOUR: Files for Bankruptcy
------------------------------
Jet Tour, one of Japan's leading travel operators, is to
file for bankruptcy with liabilities of approximately Y27
billion (US$214 million).  The company has insufficient cash
to pay Y1.9 bn due last Tuesday for airline tickets.  Sanwa
Bank is known to be Jet Tour's primary lender.  (Financial
Times 05-Feb-1998)


KANKAKU SECURITIES: Mortgaged Convertibles Downgraded
-----------------------------------------------------
Mortgaged convertible bonds No. 3, 4 and 5 issued by Kankaku
Securities Co. were downgraded to 'BB+' from 'BBB-' last
week by Japan Credit Rating Agency Ltd.


MITSUI GROUP: 99 Personal Injury Suits Top 3 Billion Yen
--------------------------------------------------------
A group of former miners from the closed Miike Mines and
their families filed suit against three Mitsui group
companies in Fukuoka late last week.  The miners seek
compensation, saying the companies failed to protect workers
from a debilitating lung disease.  The 99 people who are
suing Mitsui Mining Co., Mitsui Mining & Smelting Co. and
Mitsui Construction Co. are seeking about 3.05 billion yen
in compensation.

The suit claims that the companies failed to take sufficient
measures to protect workers from contracting pneumoconiosis,
a category of lung ailments that includes Black Lung
disease.  The plaintiffs represent the second group of
former Miike Mine workers to file suit against the mine's
operators for negligent management.  The group is arguing
that massive amounts of dust particles in the Miike Mines in
Fukuoka Prefecture, which were owned by Mitsui Mining and
Mitsui Mining & Smelting, caused them to contract varieties
of pneumoconiosis.  Fourteen of the plaintiffs performed
subcontracting work at the mines for Mitsui Construction.

Each of the plaintiffs would receive up to 33 million yen if
their case succeeds.  The plaintiffs' lawyers said that
ailments from working at the mines had made it difficult for
many of their clients to get new jobs after the Miike Mines
closed in March last year.  The lawyers also threatened to
pursue further action if the companies were not willing to
come to a settlement.

Miike Mines were operated from 1932 until the end of March
1997.  (Mainichi Daily News)


SAISON GROUP: To Sell Intercontinental Hotel to Reduce Debts
------------------------------------------------------------
The Saison Group of Japan, headed by business tycoon
Seiji Tsutsumi, is to sell the Intercontinental Hotel and
Resorts chain, withdrawing from the hotel business, news
reports said Wednesday.  

The sale of the hotel chain, which Saison bought in 1988 for
280 billion yen (2.2 billion dollars), will help the group
pare down its huge debts, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said.  
Supermarket chain Seiyu Ltd., a core company of the Saison
Group, has consolidated debt of 1.23 trillion yen (9.8
billion dollars).

Prospective buyers of the chain include Marriott
International and Holiday Inn, the daily said. Saison Group
originally planned to list the hotel chain on the New York
exchange later this year to raise funds, according to the
Nihon Keizai. But the size of debts of group companies such
as Tokyo City Finance, Seiyu's nonbank unit, means that a
complete sale of the hotel group would be preferable, the
newspaper said.  (AFP)


SANKO STEAMSHIP: Repays All Debts Under Court Protection
--------------------------------------------------------
Sanko Steamship Co., which is under court protection, has
completed loan repayments worth 51.50 billion yen ($405
million) before the planned 2007 repayment date, the Nihon
Keizai newspaper said, citing a company statement.  Sanko
reported the repayment this past week and asked the Tokyo
district court for approval to end its rehabilitation
period.

Sanko Steamship applied for court protection from creditors
in August 1985 with 677.8 billion yen in liabilities, the
paper said. (Nihon Keizai and Bloomberg News)


TOHO MUTUAL: GE Capital Undertaking Bailout
-------------------------------------------
Toho Mutual Life Insurance Co. will establish capital ties
with GE Capital Services, the world's largest nonbank, the
Nihon Keizai Shimbun Wednesday morning edition reports. The
deal will bring the financially troubled midsize life
insurer under the General Electric group. The companies
have agreed to form a Japanese joint venture to sell life
insurance and manage pension funds. GE Capital will be the
majority owner in the venture, with its investment estimated
to be tens of billions of yen.  (Asia Pulse)


YAMAICHI SECURITIES: Regulators Had Knowledge of Losses
-------------------------------------------------------
A former Japanese Finance Ministry bureaucrat says that he
knew in 1991 about the hugh losses mounting at Yamichi
Securities Co.  That testimony was presented last week to
Japanese lawmakers in televised sessions.  The Tokyo
District Prosecutors Office continues its investigations of
scandals within the Japanese Finance Ministry.  (The Wall
Street Journal 05-Feb-1998)


YAMAICHI SECURITIES: Suit says Yamaichi faked documents
-------------------------------------------------------
A woman filed a lawsuit Monday against Yamaichi Securities
Co. seeking 6 million yen in compensation for losses
resulting from the brokerage's handling of her investment
transactions.  In the suit before Osaka District Court, the
50-year-old plaintiff accused Yamaichi officials of
falsifying information so that she thought her dealings were
turning a profit when they were not.  The woman said she was
advised by an official at Yamaichi's branch in Takatsuki,
Osaka, to start the investment trust dealings in May 1996.
By August of last year, she said she had committed 15
million yen for investment purposes.  The plaintiff visited
the branch in April and September last year to find out how
her transactions were progressing.  On both occasions, she
said the official told her there had been no loss.  The
woman said the official showed her documents, which she
learned later were fake. In October, the official informed
her that the documents were not genuine, adding that the
brokerage was certain "prices will rise."

Last month, just prior to the announcement that Yamaichi was
going under, the official and her boss told the plaintiff
not to cancel the investment trust. They told her there was
no problem with Yamaichi.  After it was made official that
Yamaichi had collapsed, the plaintiff learned that her
investment trust had suffered a total of 5.5 million yen in
losses, the petition said.  (Asahi News)


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

DAEWOO GROUP: General Motors in Partnership Talks
-------------------------------------------------
General Motors (GM) said Monday that it has reached
agreement with South Korea's Daewoo Group to hold exclusive
talks on establishing some sort of partnership.  "This
agreement represents a commitment by both companies to
engage in intensive discussions to explore various options
in a wide range of areas, both domestically and abroad,"
said Alan Perriton, president of GM's South Korean
operations.  

"This means that GM and Daewoo will now sit down exclusively
with each other and explore their common interests," GM
spokesman Mike Meyerand said.

GM also announced an arrangement, effective immediately,
with Daewoo Motors Company (DWMC), to provide service for GM
vehicles sold in South Korea.  That accord follows a
decision at the end of January by South Korea's Inchcape to
terminate its service agreement with GM.  

Analysts said GM would consider making an investment in
Daewoo only if it succeeds in securing a controlling
interest of more than 20% in the debt-laden conglomerate.  
South Korean law currently prohibits majority ownership of
domestic companies by a foreign firm.  Some analysts seemed
skeptical of the advisabiliity of GM's investing in Daewoo.  
"I don't know how to evaluate (the value of) a company that
basically is bankrupt," said Kurt Brown, international
automotive analyst with Boston-based Standard and Poor's DRI
research firm, who regularly talks with GM officials.  Brown
said that five billion dollars was the rumored amount that
GM is willing to pay for some sort of partnership with
Daewoo.

In trading last week, Daewoo shares lost ground amid the
news with GM, falling to less than 7,200 won per share.



DON WON PURE CHEMICALS: Sumitomo Chemical Taking 90% Stake
----------------------------------------------------------
Sumitomo Chemical Co. will raise its stake in a South Korean
maker of highly purified chemicals to 90%, from the current
40%, at a cost of $US33 million, company officials have
announced.  Oriental Chemical Industries, a South Korean
partner, will sell its 50% share as part of its
restructuring program. Itochu Corp. holds 10% of the
venture.  Dong Won Pure Chemicals Co., set up in 1991, is
currently managed by Oriental Chemical personnel. It is
South Korea's largest supplier of purified chemicals for the
semiconductor industry, and posted sales of 45.8 billion won
in the year ended December.  (Asia Pulse)


HYUNDAI GROUP: Balking at "The Big Deal" with Samsung
-----------------------------------------------------
South Korea's President-elect has recommended that Hyundai
turn over its chip operations to rival Samsung Electronics
Co. Ltd. in exchange for Samsung's fledgling automotive
operation, according to a report in this week's Electronic
Buyers' News.  The report can also be found on the
publication's Web site at:

    http://techweb.cmp.com/ebn/942/daily/013098news10.html

A Samsung spokeswoman in Seoul confirmed President-elect
Dae-Jung Kim's proposal, which the two companies are calling
"The Big Deal."  The two conglomerates "are studying the
proposal but have many questions on it,"  the spokeswoman
told CMP Media's Electronic Buyers' News.  The spokeswoman
also indicated that a major problem is antitrust
implications for Samsung, already the largest DRAM--dynamic
RAM memory chips--producer with 20 percent of the market.  
Hyundai was the fourth-largest DRAM maker last year.  

A spokesman for Hyundai in San Jose stressed that the
company had no intentions of giving up its core DRAM
business.  And industry executives are skeptical that
Hyundai will agree to part with one of its core businesses,
and would more likely sell only individual electronic
product lines either to Samsung or foreign interests.  

W. Keith McDonald, Senior Vice President of Sales and
Marketing at Samsung's U.S. subsidiary, Samsung
Semiconductor Inc., in San Jose, Calif., said he had heard
talk of an exchange, but couldn't confirm that a deal is in
the works.

A source at Hyundai Electronics America, also in San Jose,
told Electronic Buyers' News the company is "trying to
educate government bureaucrats" on the difficulties of
swapping operations with another company.  For one thing,
Hyundai's chip operations are much larger than Samsung's
new-born car business, the source noted.  


LG-CALTEX OIL: S&P Revises Rating to CreditWatch Dev
----------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's revised its CreditWatch implications on
the foreign-currency ratings of LG-Caltex Oil Corp.  to
developing from negative.  The change primarily reflects the
strong likelihood of financial support from LG-Caltex's 50%
parent, Caltex Petroleum Corp., as evidenced by the latter
company's recent extension of $500 million in credit to the
subsidiary.  

LG-Caltex is Korea's second-largest refining and marketing
company, with a refining capacity of 600,000 barrels per
day.  The company remains highly vulnerable to fluctuations
in exchange rates and crude oil prices.  Profitability is
likely to decline as it becomes more difficult for Korean
refiners in general to pass on higher crude costs to sales
prices.  LG-Caltex also faces the likelihood of slowing
growth in demand for oil products amid economic deceleration
in Korea.  While export markets can currently offer
temporary relief of weak sales at home, increased capacity
and softening demand for oil products throughout the Asian
region suggest dim prospects over the longer term.  
Nonetheless, the company is better positioned than its
domestic competitors as a result of its strong market
position in Korea and operational support from its two
shareholders, Caltex and the LG Group.  

LG-Caltex has high debt usage, with total debt at well over
70% of capital.  Although the company carries a large amount
of foreign currency debt, most of this is in the form of
bankers' acceptances and commercial paper to finance
crude imports.  The $500 million credit extension from
Caltex will greatly improve the company's ability to secure
crude imports.  In addition, the Korean government's
proposal to extend settlement periods for importers would
further alleviate the company's liquidity needs.  

LG-Caltex's ratings remain subject to the ratings of the
Republic of Korea, currently at B+/Watch Dev/C.  Standard &
Poor's indicated that it expects to meet with the company's
management in the near future to assess its liquidity
position and the impact on its operations of economic
conditions in Korea.


RAS LAFFAN: S&P Issues Negative Implication Rating
--------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's has retained on its CreditWatch with
negative implications two bond issues totalling $1.2bn from
Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Co.  The rating firm has
BBB+ (triple B' plus) ratings on the Qatari LNG export
project's $400m of 7.628% bonds due 2006 and $800m of 8.294%
bonds due 2014.  It also retained, with negative
implications, its BBB+ issuer credit rating of the firm.

Ras Laffan's sole offtaker of LNG production is Korea Gas
(Kepco), which is 50.1% owned by the Republic of Korea and
34.5% by Kepco.  Under a long-term sales and purchase
agreement, Kepco's commitment will account for 75% of the
Ras Laffan project's revenue base.  

The $1bn, 8.5 sq km Ras Laffan project, which cost over
$1bn, is expected to become the world's largest LNG export
facility, with export capacity of 28m tonnes a year.

S&P warned, however: While the revision in the CreditWatch
implications indicates potential for improvement in the
ratings of {South Korea} and related entitiessignificant
risk of a ratings downgrade still exists. Substantial and
sustained deterioration in Kogas' credit quality could
result in a ratings downgrade of Ras Laffan's bonds. S&P
will continue to re-evaluate the creditworthiness of Kogas'
shareholders and the implications for Ras Laffan.

Standard & Poor's emphasised: Over the next 19 months,
bondholders are not exposed to Korean repayment risk, but
rather construction and completion risk.  Capitalised
interest on the bonds will cover all interest payments until
completion, {and} construction and completion risk are
largely mitigated by unconditional guarantees from the
project sponsors, which provide for debt repayment should
the project not achieve its commercial acceptance date.


SAMSUNG GROUP: Restructuring Plans Detailed                  
-------------------------------------------
The Samsung Group announced the "group's  management
restructuring plan," which highlights the investment of 146
billion won from the private properties of chairman Lee  
Kun-hee, full implementation of consolidated financial
statements  and the spinoff of its Joongang Ilbo, a
vernacular daily, from its umbrella.

The decision to invest the private properties of Chairman
Lee, among other things, is to comply with the public need
for  stronger reform measures by business leaders. Of
private  investment money, 128 billion won will be raised
by selling off  real estates to channel the money into the
group.  A 10 billion won fund will be created from private
savings and sales of stocks in order to support the
unemployed by the group, and the remaining eight billion won
will be contributed from his incomes to create the fund for
the unemployed of the group.

To improve the management transparency, one of the integral
points needed for chaebol's restructuring, the Samsung Group
will introduce consolidated financial statements from all
the  affiliates in April from the partial implementation by
business line at present.  From March, 30-50 percent of its
directors and auditors will be employed from outside
company, and foreign investors, financiers and lawyers will
take up a considerable number of the external  directors and
auditors.  Collaboration with small and medium-sized
companies will be tightened.  As well as manufacturing
sectors, raw and secondary materials' markets of
information, advertisement and construction sectors will be
fully open to smaller firms.

The current 14 percent inter-company payment guarantee
ratio, involving a total of 1.7 trillion won, will be eased
completely  by the end of next year.  For a healthier
financial structure, Samsung plans to dispose of $300
million worth of overseas assets except for essential
properties for production and sales activities in order to
invest  in the domestic headquarters.  At the same time,
offering rights issues of Samsung Electronics to the New
York Stock Exchange will be pursued, and the ambitious
project to build the group's new 102-story office in Dogok-
dong, Seoul, will be given up.  In five years, the debt-to-
equity ratio will be lowered to 150 percent.   Regarding
business restructuring, the group will be reorganized into
three to four core business divisions, and to this end a
reseach work was entrusted to a foreign consulting company.  
Samsung already drew out its own restructuring plan. By
combining with a report from the foreign company, the
group plans to confirm major business lines by early April.

The Samsung Group will spin off the Joongang Ilbo as early
as possible by transferring equity stakes owned by Chairman
Lee and Samsung group companies to the daily's president
Hong Suk-hyun.  A plan to merge the daily with the Cinema
Division of Samsung Corp. is now under study to create an
integrated entertainment entity.  (The Korea Economic Weekly
03-Feb-1998)


SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS: Studying "The Big Deal" with Hyundai
---------------------------------------------------------
South Korea's President-elect has recommended that Hyundai
turn over its chip operations to rival Samsung Electronics
Co. Ltd. in exchange for Samsung's fledgling automotive
operation, according to a report in this week's Electronic
Buyers' News.  The report can also be found on the
publication's Web site at:

    http://techweb.cmp.com/ebn/942/daily/013098news10.html

A Samsung spokeswoman in Seoul confirmed President-elect
Dae-Jung Kim's proposal, which the two companies are calling
"The Big Deal."  The two conglomerates "are studying the
proposal but have many questions on it,"  the spokeswoman
told CMP Media's Electronic Buyers' News.  The spokeswoman
also indicated that a major problem is antitrust
implications for Samsung, already the largest DRAM--dynamic
RAM memory chips--producer with 20 percent of the market.  
Hyundai was the fourth-largest DRAM maker last year.  

A spokesman for Hyundai in San Jose stressed that the
company had no intentions of giving up its core DRAM
business.  And industry executives are skeptical that
Hyundai will agree to part with one of its core businesses,
and would more likely sell only individual electronic
product lines either to Samsung or foreign interests.  

W. Keith McDonald, Senior Vice President of Sales and
Marketing at Samsung's U.S. subsidiary, Samsung
Semiconductor Inc., in San Jose, Calif., said he had heard
talk of an exchange, but couldn't confirm that a deal is in
the works.

A source at Hyundai Electronics America, also in San Jose,
told Electronic Buyers' News the company is "trying to
educate government bureaucrats" on the difficulties of
swapping operations with another company.  For one thing,
Hyundai's chip operations are much larger than Samsung's
new-born car business, the source noted.  


SAMYANG FOODS: Noodle Maker Files for Court Protection
------------------------------------------------------
Korea's one-leading instant-noodle maker, Samyang Foods Co.,
filed for court protection from creditors.  Samyang's
balance sheet showed a 4 to 1 debt-to-equity ratio.  High
levels of borrowing supported numerous acquisitions,
including the purchase of a golf course.  The golf course,
Samyang hopes, can be sold along with its downtown Seoul
headquarters to raise cash.  The plot of headquarters land
is valued at about 100 billion won.  In the end, "it was
hard to get det extended, let alone get fresh loans, because
we didn't make much money," a Samyang spokesperson said.  
(The Wall Street Journal 02-Feb-1998)


SUKWANG: Leading Fashion Maker Files for Court Protection
---------------------------------------------------------
One of South Korea's leading apparel makers, Sukwang,
applied for court protection from creditors for debt
rescheduling Friday faced with repayment pressure from banks
in the wake of an International Monetary Fund bailout.
Sukwang's cosmetics-making affiliate Julia also applied for
court protection.  The 42-year-old apparel maker has fared
well in mens' and women's wear and has popular foreign
brands Lacoste and Hangten to rank as one of the country's
top 10 leading fashion producers. It posted sales of 260
billion won last year.  (Asia Pulse)


=====================
N E W   Z E A L A N D
=====================


BENMORE PRODUCTS: Interim payment to Benmore creditors                      
------------------------------------------------------
Creditors of failed Auckland meat company Benmore Products
are receiving a 40 cent-on-the-dollar distribution from the
company's liquidator, David Davidson.  But Davidson was
unwilling yesterday to speculate on the size of the final
payment and said it might be some time before matters were
finalised.

Benmore went into voluntary liquidation on October 23, 1997,
owing $12 million.  Davidson said up to 750 creditors would
receive the interim distribution, which was being mailed out
yesterday and today.  By far the largest group of creditors
was farmers, some of whom were caught in the Fortex and
Weddel meat company receiverships.

Davidson said he was still trying to sell the company's Mt
Wellington processing plant, in which several parties had
expressed an interest.  Coromandel Meat Processors is using
the plant.  Davidson said he had reached an agreement with
the Commerce Commission over its claims for $12 million for
alleged North Island meat company price-fixing two seasons
ago.  However, agreement was needed by a third party before
the arrangement was finalised.

Davidson anticipated the result would help the remaining
creditors, and hoped an agreement would be reached next
month.   With preferential creditors and debenture holders
paid in full there was likely to be a significant return to
unsecured creditors. (Waikato Times 01/30/98)                           


SMITHS CITY: Receivership Noteholders May Choose Equity
-------------------------------------------------------
Smiths City Group's capital noteholders will be given a
choice during the next month on whether to take shares in
the company.  The Christchurch-based retailer reaches a
milestone on February 12 with a 5c payment on each note,
reducing the face value to 25c from the original 90c.  This
(25c) is the trigger point set in 1993, when the company
came out of receivership, at which noteholders would be
given the choice of having the final portion in cash or
shares.  With Smiths shares trading above 55c, most
noteholders could be expected to take shares.

Smiths City's chief executive, Craig Boyce, said he was
thrilled that payments had reduced the face value to the 25c
level, allowing the completion of the scheme of arrangement.
He said he was confident from the start that the strength of
the company's South Island business would allow payments to
be made down to 40c, if not down to 25c.

As it happened, repayments have been ahead of schedule.  Mr
Boyce said the total $1.36 million payment on February 12
would be made from trading cash flow.  If all noteholders
decide to take shares, 34 million new shares will be issued,
on top of the 22m existing already.  Mr Boyce said the scale
of increase could provide a lot of uncertainties, but the
market would decide the value of the shares.

The February 12 note payment will be made on holdings as at
February 5.  Noteholders will also be sent the documentation
for the share/cash election. They will have 20 days to
reply; the formal date for the completion of the scheme is
October 31.  (The Press 03-Feb-1998)


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


FINANCIERA MANILA: Seeks Relief from Debt Payments
--------------------------------------------------
A financing company and its subsidiaries have asked the
Securities and Exchange Commission in Manila for a breathing
spell from its debt payments.

Financiera Manila, Inc. and its fully owned subsidiaries,
Growth Dimensions International, Inc. and Costa Mesa
Development, Inc. yesterday filed a petition with the SEC
for the suspension of their debt payments. As of the latest
count, the company claims it had incurred obligations
amounting to 1.335 billion Philippine pesos (PhP).

The firm's largest credtors are:

       Far East Bank and Trust Co.     PhP 141 million
       United Coconut Planters Bank    PhP  45 million
       Metropolitan Bank & Trust Co.   PhP 105 million
       Asia Trust Bank                 PhP   8 million
       International Exchange Bank     PhP   5 million

The firm, however, assured its assets, estimated at PhP1.449
billion, "would be more than sufficient to pay off all its
obligations."  In its petition, the company also asked the
SEC to appoint a management committee to oversee its
rehabilitation. The firm attributed its financial woes on
the continued economic crunch resulting from the Philippine
peso's depreciation and high interest rates.  (Business
World)


MARCOPPER MINING: Laying Off Majority of Workers
------------------------------------------------
Marcopper Mining Corp. is laying off "majority" of its
workers due to serious financial problems. In a disclosure
at the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Marcopper
officials said it has been forced to resort to such measures
because the mine's continued "non-operation" had
"significantly depleted its financial resources."  

The firm was forced to shut down its operations due to a
mining incident in 1995 when tons of mining wastes or
tailings spilled into the Boac River in Marinduque.  The
incident caused damages estimated at billions of Philippine
pesos (PhP).  Since the mining incident, the firm has been
forced to pour much of its resources into rehabilitating the
damaged river and the nearby communities.

The firm said that as of September last year, its total
liabilities amount to PhP2.59 billion as against last year's
PhP2.871 billion.  Its total assets, on the other hand, was
estimated at PhP2.59 billion.  According to its unaudited
financial statements, the firm had not been earning since
last year although it continues to incur operating costs and
other expenses.  As of September of 1997, it has accumulated
some PhP350.004 million in operational losses.


NEGROS NAVIGATION: New Investments May Avert Bankruptcy
-------------------------------------------------------
Shipping liner Negros Navigation (Nenaco) has approved a
large increase in its authorised capital to Peso 4bn ($100m)
from Peso 1.1bn, opening the way for new investors to take
stakes in the inter-island shipping firm.  The company is in
the midst of negotiations with several strategic investors
who have expressed interest in taking a major stake in the
company, Negros Navigation president Manuel Garcia told
Lloyd's List International.  Garcia declined to give details
of the negotiations, however. We would rather not disclose
information at this point as it could affect on-going talks,
he indicated.

Nenaco, the Philippines oldest inter-island passenger and
freight carrier has been reported to be foundering over
debts it incurred to finance an ambitious US$33.5m fleet and
port expansion programme.  Nenaco, however has been quick to
deny that the shipping line would be filing for bankruptcy.
No, it is not true that we are filing for bankruptcy as
we have more than enough assets to cover our debts, Nenaco
chairman and chief executive officer Daniel Lacson said in a
recent statement.   Mr Lacson blamed the Asian currency
crisis which had caused the peso to lose much of its value
and interest rates to soar as the cause of the shipping
line's problems.  These developments he said had jacked up
the cost of money for a business heavily dependent on
imported equipment.  The Nenaco chief executive
nevertheless, conceded the need for financial re-
engineering'.  He said that the company was in the final
stages of negotiations with strategic foreign partners which
would help replenish the shipping company's depleted
resources. He did not name the foreign investors involved.

He also pointed out that the company's creditors have agreed
to defer collecting on outstanding loans until restructuring
talks are completed.  The banks as well as investors have
been very supportive, he said.  

Nenaco started operations in 1932 transporting passengers
and goods between the central Philippine island of Negros
and neighbouring islands.  Since then the company has grown
into a highly diversified conglomerate with investments
in insurance, banking, food processing and trucking.

Analysts traced the company's difficulties to its over-
expansion into areas outside its field of expertise as well
as an ambitious refleeting programme which push up its cost
of operations but failed to improve its earnings.  (LLoyd's
List International 06-Feb-1998)


PETRON CORP.: Posts Loss and Can't Increase Revenues
----------------------------------------------------
Petron Corp., the nation's largest oil refiner, announced
that it would post a Peso 631 million (US$15.6 million)
year-end loss on undisclosed sales.  That loss compares with
a year-earlier profit of Peso 4 billion.  

At the present time, amid increasing costs and a deflating
currency, Petron is subject to a Phillipine court injunction
prohibiting it from passing those increasing costs on to
consumers.  (The Wall Street Journal 05-Feb-1998)


VITARICH CORP.: Signs Deal with Creditors
-----------------------------------------
Food company Vitarich Corp. has entered into a mortgage
trust debenture with 12 creditor banks under which its fixed
assets were pooled together as collateral for credit lines
totaling three billion Philippine pesos (PhP), according to
a report published in Business World last week.  The deal
came four months after Vitarich first felt the burden of
interest payments, prompting its creditors to ask for
collateral for its unsecured loans.

Armando Escobar, Vitarich chief financial officer, told
Business World in a telephone interview that the 12 creditor
banks:

      (a) Philippine National Bank,
      (b) Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co.,
      (c) PCIBank,
      (d) Bank of the Philippine Islands,
      (e) Far East Bank and Trust Co.,
      (f) Land Bank of the Philippines,
      (g) Solidbank Corp.,
      (h) Bank of Commerce,
      (i) Union Bank of the Philippines,
      (j) Rizal Commercial Banking Corp.,
      (k) Philippine Banking Corp., and
      (l) Standard Chartered Bank,

owed an aggregate of PhP2.8 billion, all have a right to the
properties of the firm equal to the amount of their loan
exposure.

In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange, Vitarich
said the firm's decision to enter into the mortgage trust
debenture arrangement was approved by its board of directors
at a meeting held January 28.  The move was intended to
secure renewal of all the firm's credit lines.  Vitarich's
board also approved the increase in the company's authorized
capital stock to PhP1 billion from PhP500 million.

Vitarich used some short-term loans for its working capital,
expansion projects, and for its revolving fund, according to
Business World.  However, its chicken operations -- which
contribute 70% to the firm's total business -- stumbled anew
due to slow sales.  


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


SEMBAWANG CORPORATION: Shares Drop to Nine-Year Low  
---------------------------------------------------
Shares in Singapore shiprepair conglomerate Sembawang
Corporation fell to a nine-year low yesterday amid fears
that the company's debt burden was too high.  Analysts said
SembCorp stock was avoided by investors nervous about
companies with high borrowings.  In trading last week,
Sembawang stock was down 39 to S$2.69 (US$1.61) after
hitting a low of $2.59 earlier.  The last time SembCorp
traded at these levels was around August 1988.  Analysts
were quoted as saying investors were concerned about
SembCorp's borrowings which some estimated at between $1bn
and $1.3bn.  "It is really hard to tell what is the exact
level. But what is known is that the company has been on a
major acquisition binge in the past two years," one analyst
said.  (LLoyd's List International; 01/08/98)                     


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


ALPHATEC ELECTRONICS: To Pay 5% to Compromise US$330 Million
------------------------------------------------------------
In the first major Thai restructuring, a steering committee
of creditors of Alphatec Electronics PLC proposes that
Alphatec distribute new stock to pay creditors approximately
5% on claims totalling US$330 million.  The steering
committee proposes that the company issue a number of shares
sufficient to dilute current equity holders' interests to 5%
of reorganized Alphatec, thus giving current creditors 95%
ownership.  

Observers say that this plan points-out a deficiency in
Thailand's bankruptcy laws because the company's largest
shareholder, founder and ex-CEO will have veto power over
the steering committee's proposal.  

Alphatec sought protection from creditors after Price
Waterhouse disclosed that management had overstated profits
by at least $164 million from between 1994 and 1997.  (The
Wall Street Journal 04-Feb-1998)


SIAM CEMENT: Posts Massive 1997 Foreign Exchange Losses
-------------------------------------------------------
One of Thailand's biggest companies -- Siam Cement
Plc -- incurred estimated foreign exchange losses of 851
million dollars last year, senior executives said Monday.  
The losses were estimated at a baht rate of 47 to the
dollar.

Siam Cement Vice President Aviruth Wongbhuddapitak said the
industrial giant was expected to lose 40.5 billion baht (851
million dollars) as a result of the collapse of the baht
against the U.S. dollar in the second half of last year.  
Aviruth confirmed the previously reported third quarter net
loss of 18.33 billion baht and the nine-month net loss of
21.93 billion baht, but gave no estimate of profit or losses
for the full year.

Analysts said the company was at least two years away from
returning to profitability.  "Siam Cement still has a lot of
problems and I believe it will not be profitable in 1998 and
probably not in 1999 either," an analyst with a Bangkok
brokerage house said.

Aviruth related that Siam Cement's total outstanding foreign
debt stood at 4.2 billion US dollars and the company had
taken steps to convert 1.2 billion dollars of that total to
yen-denominated debt.  Siam Cement had debt repayments worth
550 million dollars due this year while interest expenses
were expected to total 300 million dollars.  Aviruth
indicated that Siam Cement had no hedge on its foreign
debts.

Siam Cement Group's 1997 combined sales were estimated at
174.20 billion baht, with export sales totaling 34.58
billion baht.  (Agence France Presse 02-Feb-1998)                        


===========
T U R K E Y
===========


MARTI SHIPPING: 10% Cash Proposal Plus Stock to Creditors
---------------------------------------------------------
Troubled Turkish capesize operator Marti Shipping is
offering unsecured creditors 10% of money owed and a share
of future trading profits in the hope of surviving financial
difficulties which have seen the arrest of a number of its
ships.

The rescue plan has been drawn up by London-based Fairwind
Shipping, acting at the request of several major trade
creditors, and Marti itself.  Under proposals circulated
before Christmas, banks will be asked to provide a cash
injection to pay 10 in the dollar on all unsecured trade
debt, along with 100% of local debt and wages, light dues
and pilotages.  The funds will be paid into a control
account managed by Fairwind and will be distributed when 90%
of all trade creditors have agreed the package and signed
acceptance letters.  A credit committee led by Fairwind will
be established to control receipts and payments, and
dispense money needed by Marti for operational purposes.  
Creditors who reject the offer will be treated as hostile,
and will not get individual settlements. The document warns:

     The situation is very serious and at this time owners
     and charterers of vessels are unable to settle any
     individual unsecured trade debt, and are unable to make
     any separate deals with any supplier for fear that they
     will be seen to be conspiring to commit a fraudulent
     preference.

If secured creditors arrest vessels, unsecured trade
creditors are likely to receive nothing after crew wages,
mortgage and local suppliers have been sorted out.  A
strategy of arrest in the early stages of cashflow problems
and with ships actually trading does have some chance of
success. However, such a strategy at this point with this
fleet is guaranteed to get no money and to push the owners
out of business, it is stated.   The owners still have a
desire to pay back everything they owe and they do
still have some assets which are capable of trading.

A complex ownership structure has so far hindered attempts
at legal recourse. In September, a French court rejected a
$1m claim from Pan Ocean Shipping of Korea against Marti,
following the arrest of 103,325 dwt combination carrier Obo
Basak in Dunkirk the previous month.  The vessel is owned by
Denizcilik ve Ticaret, a single ship company that shares
Marti's Istanbul address. However, the court ruled that
community of interest did not constitute commonality of
ownership.   There was also controversy in October, when
nine officials of Egyptian company Pace Shipping Services
Network boarded Obo Engin, a 78,000 dwt combination carrier.    
Their intention was to secure money allegedly owed by Marti,
former manager of the vessel, for canal transit fees. But
owners Vakif Deniz Leasing insisted that the Marti
connection had been severed, and that Marti owed it $4.3m.
The master refused to let the Pace employees disembark and
the vessel sailed on to Istanbul.

Some creditors believe the package is overly optimistic,
given Marti's earning potential and the high level of debts,
which run to many millions of dollars.  But Fairwind
director Jean Richards expressed confidence that the rescue
was viable.  A number of major creditors already accepted in
principle. (Lloyd's List International 05-Jan-1998)


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
newsletter co-published by Bankruptcy Creditors' Service,
Inc., Princeton, NJ USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Washington
DC USA.  Debra Brennan and Lexy Mueller, Editors.

Copyright 1998.  All rights reserved.  This material is
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