TCRAP_Public/980410.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, April 10, 1998, Vol. 1, No. 37

                    Headlines


C H I N A   &   H O N G   K O N G

BILLION INTERNATIONAL: Another Rights Issue Planned
JOYCE BOUTIQUE: Clarifies Reports of Closures
MANSION HOUSE: Missing Broker Found and Charged
SINO FOUNDATIONS: 1997 Operating Results
WHARF HOLDINGS: Provision Lowers Results Below Expectations

J A P A N  

KUMAGAI GUMI: Losses Larger than Expected

K O R E A

DAEWOO GROUP: May Sell a Stake to General Motors
KCTS: Cable TV Company Goes Bankrupt
KOREA FIRST BANK: Goldman Sachs to Purchase Stake
SEOUL BANK: Goldman Sachs to Purchase Stake

M A L A Y S I A

SIME BANK: PM Dismisses Rumors About RHB Takeover




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

BILLION INTERNATIONAL: Another Rights Issue Planned
---------------------------------------------------
Troubled electronics product maker Billion International
Holdings hopes to raise $36.6 million through a one-for-two
rights issue to help solve cash-flow problems. An earlier
share placement seeking to raise $40 million collapsed.

Chairman Chong Sing-yuen told shareholders and investors to
exercise care with the company's stock as the failure to
proceed with the rights issue and obtain new banking
facilities would leave it with insufficient working capital
for its requirements.

"The new funding will alleviate our current cash flow
difficulties and allow us to reactivate our development
plans," he said.

Former chairman Simon Chan Ying-ming, who holds 14.1 per
cent of the company, did not intend to subscribe his
portion of the rights shares, the company said. He has been
charged by the Commercial Crime Bureau for operating an
unlawful deposit-taking business.

Greatest Win Investments, 70 per cent owned by Mr Chong,
will accept its allotted rights shares and will hold a 16.9
per cent interest in the company if it fully takes up its
share.

Billion International has outstanding loans plus interest
of $51.5 million owed to banks, another $20.4 million to
three independent creditors, $30.3 million to trade
creditors and receivables of $32 million as at last month.

It plans to issue 731.2 million new shares at five cents
per rights share, representing a 32.43 per cent discount to
the closing price of 7.4 cents a share last Thursday. The
rights issue will increase total equity to 2.19 billion
shares.  (South China Morning Post 09-Apr-1998)


JOYCE BOUTIQUE: Clarifies Reports of Closures
---------------------------------------------
The board of directors (the 'Board') of Joyce Boutique
Holdings Limited (the 'Company') wishes to clarify certain
matters reported in certain newspapers on 4th April, 1998,
which reported that the Company and its subsidiaries (the
'Group') had decided to close down its operations in
Thailand, the Philippines and South Korea, and a provision
for such closures in the region of HK$70-80 million would
be required to be made for the year ended 31st March, 1998.

As disclosed in the prospectus of the Company dated 30th
March, 1998 (the 'Prospectus'), the Group ceased operating
the 'World of Joyce' store at One Place, Bangkok, Thailand
in December 1997 in order to reduce the Group's exposure in
Thailand. It is also mentioned in the Prospectus that the
Board estimates that the losses, write-offs and provisions
to be made in respect of such closure amount to
approximately HK$50 million, which will be reflected in the
Group's financial statements for the year ended 31st March,
1998. The Group also plans to close its operation in
Bangkok trading as 'D&G' in May 1998 and, following that
closure, the Group will then continue to operate only one
store in Bangkok, trading as 'Emporio Armani'. The
financial impact of such closure is not expected to be
material in the context of the Group.

The Group also ceased its operations in South Korea in
December 1997 but the financial impact of such closure was
not material in the context of the Group. The Group has
invested approximately HK$20 million in its operations in
the Philippines. Should the Group decide to close its
operations there, a provision of such amount would have to
be made. However, the Board wishes to stress that no
decision has been made to close the Group's operations in
the Philippines.

The Board has noted that the operating environment for the
fashion retailing sector in Asia has not yet improved.
Therefore, the Board will continue to review the Group's
operations in Asia to formulate the best possible strategy
for the Group in the region. This may or may not involve
the closure of its operations in the Philippines and/or its
remaining operation in Thailand. A further announcement
will be made if and when appropriate.

Save as disclosed herein, the Board currently does not
consider that any further provision is required to be made
for the Group's operations in Thailand, the Philippines and
South Korea.

Save as disclosed herein, the Board confirms that there are
no negotiations or agreements relating to intended
acquisitions and realisations which are discloseable under
paragraph 3 of the Listing Agreement, nor is the Board
aware of any matter discloseable under the general
obligation imposed by paragraph 2 of the Listing Agreement,
which is or may be of a price-sensitive nature.

By Order of the Board
Joyce Boutique Holdings Limited
Mr Walter King Wah Ma
Chairman

7th April, 1998

(SEHK 08-Apr-1998)


MANSION HOUSE: Missing Broker Found and Charged
-----------------------------------------------
A broker at Mansion House Securities (Far East) was charged
last night in connection with an alleged fraud linked to
share trading of about $60 million. The broker, Donald Lai,
will appear in Eastern Court today. He will be charged with
two counts: the possession of a false instrument and the
use of a false instrument in connection with the alleged
fraud. Lai surrendered himself to the Commercial Crime
Bureau after failing to show up last Friday in his office.

Police investigations revealed that Lai faxed the alleged
victim of the fraud - Tsim Sha Tsui clothing trader P.G.
Chainrai - a statement of a $62 million balance in Mr
Chainrai's share account on March 30. However, Mr Chainrai
checked three days later with Mansion House and discovered
the balance was below $1,000.

Mansion House managing director Irene So Wai-yin said Lai
was suspended from his job yesterday.

Ms So last night said Mansion House directors were
estimating the impact of the fraud on the company's
financial health. "We hope we'll get protection from
insurance," she said.

Stock Exchange of Hong Kong spokesman Henry Law Man-wai
yesterday said the exchange was investigating the
circumstances surrounding the events at Mansion House
Securities. The exchange decided not to suspend trading in
its parent's shares and also decided to let it continue
conducting broking business.

Ms So said the brokerage saw no significant withdrawal of
shares by clients, adding that business was normal.

Shares at the brokerage's parent Mansion House Group closed
yesterday unchanged yesterday at $1.16 with no trading.
(South China Morning Post 09-Apr-1998)


SINO FOUNDATIONS: 1997 Operating Results
----------------------------------------
For the period from January 1, 1997 to December 31, 1997,    
Sino Foundations Holdings Limited (stock code: 205) reports
a net loss of HK$43,933,000 on turnover of HK$255,866,000.
This compares to a net profit of HK$2,435,000 on turnover
of HK$262,511,000 for the corresponding 1996 period. The
exceptional item for the current year represents provision
for the advances to paging stations in the People's
Republic of China.  (SEHK 08-Apr-1998)


WHARF HOLDINGS: Provision Lowers Results Below Expectations
-----------------------------------------------------------
A $1.71 billion provision against stock market investments
forced Wharf Holdings to report a 15.8 per cent drop in
attributable profit to $1.88 billion for last year. The
provision surprised analysts and came on top of a generally
lacklustre performance by the company's main businesses.
Wharf's hotels suffered from the tourism slump, property
sales stalled due to the region's financial turmoil, while
Wharf Cable saw losses widen due to higher depreciation
charges.

Mr Hung said the provision against the company's stock
holdings had been considered carefully by the directors and
was taken in the interest of acting conservatively.

In addition to the write-down in its stock holdings, Wharf
also booked a number of smaller provisions. These included
a $81 million exceptional loss related to the company's
ongoing litigation battles, and a $73.1 million one-off
loss due to staff severance payments at its Modern
Terminals business operation. Wharf also took a $100
million provision to reflect the fall in value of a site in
Sha Tin which it purchased at a land auction.

With the exceptional items stripped out, Wharf's operating
profit fell a more moderate 2.2 per cent to $3.28 million,
while turnover rose 18.3 per cent to $9.94 billion.

Wharf Cable, the start-up cable television venture in which
Wharf has invested about $8 billion, lost $610 million last
year. It lost $580 million in 1996.

Wharf shares fell 30 cents or 2 per cent yesterday to
$14.15, as the Hang Seng Index surged 2.39 per cent.
(South China Morning Post 09-Apr-1998)


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J A P A N  
=========

KUMAGAI GUMI: Losses Larger than Expected
-----------------------------------------
Kumagai Gumi, a large Japanese construction company,
yesterday said it would post an extraordinary loss of
Y154bn ($1.2bn) for the financial year ended March 31,
arising from restructuring of overseas projects. The
extraordinary item will push the company even further into
the red than previously expected. Kumagai said it would
also book a loss on its securities portfolio, because of
poor stock market performance over the year. The company's
overseas difficulties centre on projects in Australia, the
UK and the US. It also faces problems at home because of
falling public works spending and weak private sector
demand.  (Financial Times 09-Apr-1998)


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

DAEWOO GROUP: May Sell a Stake to General Motors
------------------------------------------------
The chairman of South Korea's Daewoo Group said Thursday
that he might sell  a 50 percent stake in his car-making
unit to General Motors Corp.

"We could sell up to 50 percent of Daewoo Motor's equity to
General Motors," said Kim Woo-choong. "GM could participate
in the company's management. But Daewoo will still hold the
ultimate managerial control."

Kim said Daewoo is now in talks with GM over various
aspects of a strategic alliance which could include mutual
sourcing of parts and sales of each other's models. Kim was
unable to give further details about the deal with GM, but
Daewoo officials said the deal would be concluded before
September.

As part of a restructuring program, the group would reduce
its debt-to-equity ratio to 120 percent by 2002, from the
current 400 percent, Kim said. By  the end of this year,
the ratio was projected to fall to 230 percent.  (Orange
County Register; 03/27/98)


KCTS: Cable TV Company Goes Bankrupt
------------------------------------
The Christian cable TV company KCTS went belly up
yesterday, sending fears of chain bankruptcies throughout
the industry. It became the second cable TV company to fail
this year following the collapse of educational channel
Dasom TV in March. Launched in March of 1996 with a paid-in
capital of 16.5 billion won, KCTS (Korean Christian
Television System) has suffered from heavy losses and
disputes over managerial rights.

The cable channel recorded a some 10 billion won deficit
last year, and has recently been slapped with 7.5 billion
won in debts which doubled because of the won's devaluation
and rising interest rates. It dishonored trade bills worth
990 million won which came due yesterday. Churches feuding
among themselves for managerial control has worsened the
situation.

In an effort to ride out the financial problems, KCTS has
laid off 60 percent of its workers and cut salary since
late last year.

KCTS' failure to honor debts has started a widespread
concern of chain bankruptcies among cable TV companies.  
Since its launch in 1995, the Korean cable TV industry has
accumulated huge losses because of low advertising
revenues, low number of subscribers and excessive
investments in its early stages. As of the end of last
year, the combined loss of 29 cable channels amounted to
804.9 billion won.

GTV, a channel for women, applied for loan rescheduling
last year, but the government has yet to resolve it. Many
other channels have cut salaries and manpower as well as
stopped production of programs. It is speculated that seven
or eight more cable channels may collapse this year unless
the nation's economic situation improves considerably.

To resolve the cash shortage, experts argue that the
government should allow an increase in foreign investment
to companies which provide programs. The current limit is
15 percent of the total capital. They also claim that cable
channels need to consolidate.  (Korea Herald 10-Apr-1998)


KOREA FIRST BANK: Goldman Sachs to Purchase Stake
-------------------------------------------------
Goldman Sachs and Co. has expressed its desire to purchase
stakes in two troubled domestic banks scheduled to be sold
through international bidding, a senior government official
said yesterday. The Seoul government, following the World
Bank's recommendation, recently asked eight foreign
financial institutions to submit applications to underwrite
the takeover process for Korea First Bank and Seoul Bank,
said an official involved in the bank's privatization task.

But Goldman Sachs and Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS),
which were on the list, turned down offers to serve as
underwriter. Their rejection indicates their interest in
taking over of purchasing stakes in the two commercial
banks, because they cannot participate in bidding while
overseeing the process as an underwriter, he said.

Vulture fund, DLJ, was excluded from the candidate list
because it was late in submitting its application.  
Accordingly, the privatization committee of the Ministry of
Finance and Economy will screen offers from the remaining
five underwriter candidates -- JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch,
Morgan Stanley, Salomon Smith Barney and CS First Boston --
and announce a winner within the month.

Besides Goldman Sachs and UBS, Citibank is also showing a
deep interest in participating in international bidding for
the takeover of the banks, market analysts here said.

The Seoul government has announced its plans to privatize
Korea First Bank and Seoul Bank as soon as possible through
international bidding and choose an underwriter to oversee
the sales process within the month. After selecting a sales
underwriter, the government will register buying candidates
and conduct bidding in the hope of privatizing the banks by
Nov. 15, as agreed with the International Monetary Fund
(IMF).  (Korea Herald 10-Apr-1998)


SEOUL BANK: Goldman Sachs to Purchase Stake
-------------------------------------------
Goldman Sachs and Co. has expressed its desire to purchase
stakes in two troubled domestic banks scheduled to be sold
through international bidding, a senior government official
said yesterday. The Seoul government, following the World
Bank's recommendation, recently asked eight foreign
financial institutions to submit applications to underwrite
the takeover process for Korea First Bank and Seoul Bank,
said an official involved in the bank's privatization task.

But Goldman Sachs and Union Bank of Switzerland (UBS),
which were on the list, turned down offers to serve as
underwriter. Their rejection indicates their interest in
taking over of purchasing stakes in the two commercial
banks, because they cannot participate in bidding while
overseeing the process as an underwriter, he said.

Vulture fund, DLJ, was excluded from the candidate list
because it was late in submitting its application.  
Accordingly, the privatization committee of the Ministry of
Finance and Economy will screen offers from the remaining
five underwriter candidates -- JP Morgan, Merrill Lynch,
Morgan Stanley, Salomon Smith Barney and CS First Boston --
and announce a winner within the month.

Besides Goldman Sachs and UBS, Citibank is also showing a
deep interest in participating in international bidding for
the takeover of the banks, market analysts here said.

The Seoul government has announced its plans to privatize
Korea First Bank and Seoul Bank as soon as possible through
international bidding and choose an underwriter to oversee
the sales process within the month. After selecting a sales
underwriter, the government will register buying candidates
and conduct bidding in the hope of privatizing the banks by
Nov. 15, as agreed with the International Monetary Fund
(IMF).  (Korea Herald 10-Apr-1998)


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

SIME BANK: PM Dismisses Rumors About RHB Takeover
-------------------------------------------------
Rumours that Rashid Hussain Bhd (RHB)'s acquisition of Sime
Bank Bhd was in trouble and on the verge of falling through
were dismissed by Malaysias deputy Prime Minister, Anwar
Ibrahim, Thursday.

"The deal is not in trouble... the only question is why it  
is taking a longer time (to finalise the deal) and that is  
because we (the authorities) gave them two weeks to come up
with the entire package," said Anwar. The long period taken
to announce details of its funding scheme for the purchase
could have triggered suspicion that RHB has encountered
serious problems with the acquisition, said Anwar.
(Asia Pulse 09-Apr-1998)



S U B S C R I P T I O N   I N F O R M A T I O N

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