TCRAP_Public/980417.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 17, 1998, Vol. 1, No. 42

                    Headlines


C H I N A   &   H O N G   K O N G

HWA KAY THAI: May be Forced into Liquidation
KUMAGAI GUMI: China Everbright to Increase its Stake


I N D O N E S I A

SEMEN CIBINONG: Details on Loan Repayments
STEADY SAFE: Shares Tumble After Climb


J A P A N  

FUJITA CORP: Contractor Will Post No Dividend Payout


K O R E A

HAITAI: To Spin Off Electronics Unit
HALLA: First-Ever Sales Order During Court Mediation
JINRO BEER: Coors Asked to Buy Out Subsidiary
KIA MOTORS: Receivership Process Begins


M A L A Y S I A

CAPITALCORP: Given Notice by Securities Commission
EKRAN BHD: Ting Pek Cashes Out His Entire Stake
KIN KHOON & CO: Given Notice by Securities Commission
LABUAN: Given Notice by Securities Commission
MBF CAPITAL BHD: Reports First-Ever Loss
MBF NORTHERN: Given Notice by Securities Commission
TIMBERMASTER: Defaults on Bond Payment


P H I L I P P I N E S

AYALA LAND: First Quarter Profits Down 43 Percent
PHILIPPINE AIRLINES: Retrenchment Plans Put on Hold


S I N G A P O R E

ABR HOLDINGS: Europa Details Comeback Plan
KEPPEL BANK: S&P Downgrades Credit Rating
OVERSEA-CHINESE BANKING: S&P Downgrades Credit Rating
TAT LEE BANK: S&P Downgrades Credit Rating
TAT LEE BANK: Warrants to be Replaced by Keppel's
UNITED OVERSEAS BANK: S&P Downgrades Credit Rating


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

HWA KAY THAI: May be Forced into Liquidation
--------------------------------------------
Debt-ridden garments-maker and trading company Hwa Kay Thai
Holdings has warned shareholders that despite progress on a
rescue plan it may be forced into liquidation unless it can
work out a plan to restructure debts of more than $373
million. In its first day of trading since a four-month
suspension, Hwa Kay Thai shares rose 2.7 cents to close at
7.7 cents per share. The company also revealed an
exceptional loss of $1.8 billion for the nine months to
December 31, giving it a consolidated after-tax loss of
$2.5 billion for the period.

The company said most of the exceptional loss arose from a
realisation of currency exchange losses from Tanayong - a
Thai-listed associate - as well as a writing down of its 24
per cent stake in Tanayong as of March 31 from $836 million
to $90 million.

Hwa Kay Thai said it had completed three parts of its six-
part rescue plan to reduce debt. The remainder - consisting
of the Wong family and the Wong family-controlled Yee Hing
Group's agreements to sell down and consolidate their
holdings of Hwa Kay Thai into a 35.68 per cent stake -
awaits general shareholder approval. As of last month the
company said it had bank liabilities - including principal
and interest - of about $180 million, all of which have
come due. Another $120 million is owed to creditors. It
also owes about $73 million in outstanding royalties to
German sportswear company Puma and $18 million in minimum
royalty payments. Hwa Kay Thai blames much of its trading
ills on Puma, citing lop-sided licensing agreements. It is
engaged in renegotiating trading terms.

A plan by employees to acquire a 34.64 per cent stake in
Hwa Kay Thai from Yee Hing through United Vision
Investments for a nominal $1 is in doubt, as the necessary
documents to change ownership of the shares have yet to be
delivered by Yee Hing. The firm said a letter from Yee Hing
indicated the transfer of ownership would accompany the
completion of Yee Hing's own share sale.  (South China
Morning Post 16-Apr-1998)


KUMAGAI GUMI: China Everbright to Increase its Stake
----------------------------------------------------
China Everbright International is in talks to increase its
stake to more than 35 per cent of construction company
Kumagai Gumi (HK) through a complicated deal involving
asset swaps and new shares, sources close to the two
companies said yesterday. The red chip, which already owns
20.98 per cent of Kumagai and is its single largest
shareholder, is trying to seek a stock exchange waiver
exempting it from having to make a general offer to
shareholders, they said. Details of the deal were not
available yesterday as officials from the two companies
were still busy working out an agreement. Share trading in
both companies was suspended yesterday.

The move is expected to further dilute the remaining stake
of Kumagai chairman Yu Ching-po after he sold most of his
stake to China Everbright in August and September. Mr Yu
still holds a 3.17 per cent stake in the company and a
consortium which consists of Kumagai Gumi Co of Japan,
Cheung Kong (Holdings), Mr Yu and former Kumagai managing
director Frederick Ma Si-hang holds another 14.27 per cent
stake.

China Everbright's move is apparently aimed at tapping
Kumagai's extensive property construction and management
expertise and experience - something it lacks. With
Kumagai's help, China Everbright would be able to further
its expansion in mainland infrastructure and property
markets. Beijing has said it would boost investment in
these areas to help achieve its 8 per cent economic growth
target for this year.  (South China Morning Post 16-Apr-1998)


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

SEMEN CIBINONG: Details on Loan Repayments
------------------------------------------
Cement maker Semen Cibinong is requesting postponement of
loan repayments to creditors until an ongoing negotiation
restructuring schedule is concluded, an executive said.

"The agreement was in line with the result of unofficial  
meeting between Semen Cibinong (SC) and creditors yesterday
in Jakarta," SC General Manager & Head of Corporate
Relations Secretary Jannus O Hutapea told Ekonomi Neraca
daily yesterday. He also explained that a finance and
legislative team had been formed consisting of SC senior
executives and professionals, to compile company business
and financial strategy in strengthening financial position
during the long period of economic instability.

The management, according to Hutapea, had officially  
announced that the instability of economic condition has  
affected the company. The company was facing a difficult  
financial situation and drastical rupiah depreciation. On
the other side, Trimegah Securitas appraised SB as a  
potential company in producing building materials.
According to Trimegah analysis, this company was projected
to revive and fast grow at the time stock exchange returned
to normal which was expected to start in October this year.
(Asia Pulse 16-Apr-1998)


STEADY SAFE: Shares Tumble After Climb
--------------------------------------
Shares in Steady Safe, the Indonesian taxi and bus company
that led to the collapse of Peregrine Investments Holdings,
backtracked sharply yesterday after the firm said it could
not explain their recent dramatic climb (TCR-AP 16-Apr-
1998). Traders said the volatile trade came amid
speculation that Steady Safe - like many other indebted
companies - could secure write-offs from creditors when the
government, creditors and debtors held talks in New York,
which began yesterday.

Steady Safe sent Peregrine into receivership when it became
clear it could not make good on a US$265 million loan
because of the plunge in the rupiah. The company had not
begun talks with Price Waterhouse, which is handling
Peregrine's liquidation, on how it intended to pay back
that debt yet, Mr Sadik said. He said the company was
optimistic it would remain in business.

The company's shares surged 225 rupiah (about 22.5 HK
cents) to 525 rupiah in early trading yesterday - their
highest point in five months. After it made the statement,
the shares reversed course to finish 100 rupiah weaker at
400 rupiah. The shares plunged to a record low of 75 rupiah
earlier this year on concern the firm might be liquidated.
The shares have risen more than fivefold from that low.
(South China Morning Post 16-Apr-1998)


=========
J A P A N  
=========

FUJITA CORP: Contractor Will Post No Dividend Payout
----------------------------------------------------
Fujita Corp. announced Wednesday it will not pay a dividend
for the fiscal year ended March, forgoing a payout for the
first time since listing on The Tokyo Stock Exchange in
1961. The general contractor posted net profit of 200
million yen for fiscal 1997, less than a tenth of the
figure for fiscal 1996, owing to early implementation of a
corporate rehabilitation program. Real estate sales and
reserves set aside to offset irrecoverable loans to group
companies resulted in the company taking a loss of 41
billion yen. A charge of about 7.5 billion yen was taken on
liquidation and revaluation of stockholdings. Interest-
bearing debt was reduced by 51.6 billion yen to 585.8
billion yen thanks to an aggressive repayment program.

The restructuring plan, introduced in August of last year,
initially called for the elimination of 600 workers by the
end of March 2000, a figure which has since been raised to
1,000. This will reduce the payroll to 4,500.  (Nihon Keizai
Shimbun 16-Apr-1998)


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

HAITAI: To Spin Off Electronics Unit
------------------------------------
Haitai unveiled April 15 that they will be setting Haitai
Electronics as an independent company in which the general
financial companies participate as major stockholders, with
the orders for their audio products increasing from
overseas. Haitai has requested for investor transfer for
Haitai Electronics' loans.

Haitai said that Haitai Electronics currently retains a
loan amount of 794.1 billion won. By becoming independent,
the Group would have less obligations and the financial
structure will improve and will also provide Haitai
Electronics an opportunity to fortify its conditions.
Haitai Electronics has put efforts to carry out
restructuring, by reducing the number of employees to
2,000, which is approximately half of last year. It was
reported that they have made progress in negotiating
with financial institutions on investing the line of credit
worth 2,77 billion won of financial institutions
to convertible bonds(CB) with a three-year maturity and of
0 percent face-value interest(guaranteed
annual interest of 6.5 percent).

Also, the resolutions have been amended at the regular
stockholders' conference last month, to arrange systems to
extend investment by expanding the CB issuing limit of
120 billion won to 740 billion won.  (Korea Times
16-Apr-1998)


HALLA: First-Ever Sales Order During Court Mediation
----------------------------------------------------
Halla Engineering and Construction has become the first
large Korean company ever to receive a sales order while
its application for court mediation is pending, company
officials said. They said the company won an order worth
11.8 billion won in the Kwangyang port development
project in cooperation with another construction firm. It
is the first order that the company has received since
going bankrupt in December. The order brightens Halla's
prospects of being approved under court mediation which
will mean that its current management will be able to run
the firm while its debts are deferred for several years.
(Korea Times 16-Apr-1998)


JINRO BEER: Coors Asked to Buy Out Subsidiary
---------------------------------------------            
South Korea's Jinro Group said Wednesday it has asked Coors
Brewing Co. of the United States to take over its beer-
making subsidiary. In 1992, Coors, based in Golden, Colo.,
invested $22 million for a 33 percent interest in Jinro-
Coors Brewing Co., South Korea's third-largest brewer.  
Struggling amid the country's financial crisis, Jinro now
is asking Coors to buy the rest of the brewery, Jinro
officials said. Jinro-Coors controls 20 percent of South
Korea's $2 billion beer market. In a proposal now under
discussion, Coors will first sell its stake to Jinro, then
buy the whole company. In such a format, Coors can secure a
better negotiating position, Jinro officials said.

Jinro is South Korea's 22nd largest conglomerate, with 16
companies engaged in alcoholic beverages, food,
construction and retail businesses. Several companies
within the group went bankrupt last September.  (AP Wire
15-Apr-1998)


KIA MOTORS: Receivership Process Begins
---------------------------------------
The countdown is imminent for the future of the troubled
Kia Motors Corp. as the Seoul District Court decided to
start receivership proceedings for the nation's third-
largest carmaker. Yoo Chong-yol, the vice chairman of
Hyosung Industries Co., who was appointed by the court as
manager of the motor company, is required to start
receivership proceedings by working out a plan to dispose
of the automaker's debts. The plan should be submitted to
the court, and after approval Yoo is required to implement
it. During the proceedings, the whole picture of Kia's
debts will be revealed, and terms of disposing the debts
will be determined to clear the way either for a selloff to
a third party or self-rescue efforts.

The receivership proceedings will also help to activate  
efforts by potential takeover bidders, including the
Hyundai and Samsung business groups, to acquire the
troubled carmaker. A source at Hyundai Group said the
appointment of only the outside figure as the manager was
construed as an action to back up the intention of the
government and creditors to sell off Kia to a third party.

Various alternatives regarding Kia's future would  
eventually come down to international bidding, the source  
predicted, and Hyundai was expected to step up efforts to  
acquire Kia. Hyundai was also expected to join forces with
Daewoo Group, and possibly with Ford Motor Co., which has
stake in Kia, in a bid to outmaneuvre potential rival
Samsung. A Samsung source said that Ford Motor would be
inclined to team up with Samsung rather than promoting a
tie-up with Kia. Samsung is expected to make a bid to
expand its business alliance with Ford to cover the parts
and financial sectors.

Daewoo, also fearing Hyundai's monopoly, is weighing a plan  
to take independent action to acquire Kia Motors or Kia  
Group's commercial vehicle unit Asia Motors, which is also  
under court receivership procedures.

Meanwhile, Kia's trade union responded to the receiving  
order with a threat to go on a general strike, mainly in
protest against the appointment of just one manager. The
union has insisted on dual managers, including one from  
their own company. Kia's ranking officials also have
submitted their resignations en bloc in protest against the
decision. How the court-appointed manager will deal with a
situation fraught with uncertainty is now drawing keen
attention.  (Asia Pulse 16-Apr-1998)


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

CAPITALCORP: Given Notice by Securities Commission
--------------------------------------------------
Four securities firms operating in Malaysia have been given
two weeks notice by the Securities Commission (SC) to show
cause why their stockbroking licences should not be
suspended or revoked. The firms are Capitalcorp Securities
Sdn Bhd, Kin Khoon & Co Sdn Bhd, Labuan Securities Sdn Bhd
and MBf Northern Securities Sdn Bhd. In a statement, the SC
said the action was taken pursuant to Section 27 of the
Securities Industry Act 1983. It added that the four
companies were put under trading restrictions because they
were not able to fulfil prudential capital standards and
business conduct standards of the securities laws and KLSE
rules. On April 1, the KLSE, upon a directive from the SC,
had informed the four companies that a restructuring
exercise be effected, which may include an agreement in
principle between the company and an acquirer, which must
be reached within a two-week period ending April 14.
However, none of the companies submitted the agreement in  
principle on the expiry date. The SC assured the companies'
clients that it was working closely with the KLSE to ensure
the safety of their assets.  (Asia Pulse 16-Apr-1998)


EKRAN BHD: Ting Pek Cashes Out His Entire Stake
-----------------------------------------------
Timber baron Ting Pek Khiing's long odyssey with the      
controversial Bakun dam project in Sarawak is over
following the announcement of a restructuring of his
flagship Ekran Bhd which will see an as-yet unnamed new
substantial shareholder take over his entire 55.7 per cent
stake in the project developer. Listed Ekran also hinted
that the 15.5 billion Malaysian ringgit (S$6.6 billion)
Bakun project -- temporarily shelved in November as part of
the Malaysian government's efforts to scale back mega
projects amid the economic crisis -- may be revived.

A statement from Ekran said the proposed restructuring is
expected to "address the status and future development" of
Bakun and its project manager, the Bakun Hydroelectric
Company. It did not elaborate.

The revamp will include a review of Mr Ting's earlier
proposal to inject his private stable -- 49 per cent in
listed PWE Industries Bhd and 32 per cent in listed Granite
Industries Bhd -- into Ekran for a total of RM924.45
million. The stakes are worth less than RM150 million based
on their last quoted prices.

The statement to the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange did not
disclose any other details of the revamp, saying only that
the deal is expected to take up to three weeks to be
finalised. The statement was aimed at securing an extension
of the counter's March 31 suspension from trading. It said
the re-quotation of Ekran shares today may cause "undue
speculation".

The company said that without "a clear view" of what the
proposed revamp will be, "it would be detrimental to the
interest of minority shareholders of Ekran to have the
shares re-quoted".

Sources said the new majority owner, who is expected to be
from the private sector, will buy over Mr Ting's entire
holding in Ekran. The sources also said the revived Bakun
dam project would be a scaled down version of the original
plan. Pricing of the Ekran deal is still unknown although
analysts speculated that Mr Ting's stake could be sold at a
slight premium to the market price. The counter was last
quoted at RM1.18, while Mr Ting's cost is believed to be
under RM5.70 a share -- he had mopped up a huge chunk of
unwanted Ekran shares at that price in a poorly-received
rights issue last year.

Analysts were surprised by the latest development which
they said might dampen foreign investor interest if the
deal is seen as a bailout exercise for Mr Ting. A research
director of a Malaysian brokerage said the deal would be
perceived as a bailout for Mr Ting if the purchase price is
substantially higher than the market price.  (Singapore
BusinessTimes 16-Apr-1998)


KIN KHOON & CO: Given Notice by Securities Commission
-----------------------------------------------------
Four securities firms operating in Malaysia have been given
two weeks notice by the Securities Commission (SC) to show
cause why their stockbroking licences should not be
suspended or revoked. The firms are Capitalcorp Securities
Sdn Bhd, Kin Khoon & Co Sdn Bhd, Labuan Securities Sdn Bhd
and MBf Northern Securities Sdn Bhd. In a statement, the SC
said the action was taken pursuant to Section 27 of the
Securities Industry Act 1983. It added that the four
companies were put under trading restrictions because they
were not able to fulfil prudential capital standards and
business conduct standards of the securities laws and KLSE
rules. On April 1, the KLSE, upon a directive from the SC,
had informed the four companies that a restructuring
exercise be effected, which may include an agreement in
principle between the company and an acquirer, which must
be reached within a two-week period ending April 14.
However, none of the companies submitted the agreement in  
principle on the expiry date. The SC assured the companies'
clients that it was working closely with the KLSE to ensure
the safety of their assets.  (Asia Pulse 16-Apr-1998)


LABUAN: Given Notice by Securities Commission
---------------------------------------------
Four securities firms operating in Malaysia have been given
two weeks notice by the Securities Commission (SC) to show
cause why their stockbroking licences should not be
suspended or revoked. The firms are Capitalcorp Securities
Sdn Bhd, Kin Khoon & Co Sdn Bhd, Labuan Securities Sdn Bhd
and MBf Northern Securities Sdn Bhd. In a statement, the SC
said the action was taken pursuant to Section 27 of the
Securities Industry Act 1983. It added that the four
companies were put under trading restrictions because they
were not able to fulfil prudential capital standards and
business conduct standards of the securities laws and KLSE
rules. On April 1, the KLSE, upon a directive from the SC,
had informed the four companies that a restructuring
exercise be effected, which may include an agreement in
principle between the company and an acquirer, which must
be reached within a two-week period ending April 14.
However, none of the companies submitted the agreement in  
principle on the expiry date. The SC assured the companies'
clients that it was working closely with the KLSE to ensure
the safety of their assets.  (Asia Pulse 16-Apr-1998)


MBF CAPITAL BHD: Reports First-Ever Loss
----------------------------------------
MBf Capital Bhd, which owns Malaysia's largest finance
company, yesterday reported a first-ever net loss of $566.4
million (S$242 million) for 1997, reversing a M$299.5
million profit the previous year.

MBf Capital said its losses were due to more money being
set aside for bad and doubtful debts, caused by Malaysia's
stock market slump and the "sudden economic downturn in the
second half of the year". It is the seventh-largest
financial group in the country. Group loss per share
amounted to 72.4 sen, compared to earnings per share of
38.4 sen in 1996, while annual dividend fell to two sen a
share from five sen previously.

Although group revenue rose 33 per cent to M$2.62 billion,
MBf Capital made an operating loss of M$601.21 million,
down 223 per cent from 1996, the group said in a statement
to the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE) after trading
closed yesterday. Finance subsidiary MBf Finance Bhd
reported a group pre-tax loss of M$393.8 million against a
pre-tax profit of M$412.6 million previously. The unit's
bad loans stood at 21 per cent of total loans as at Dec 31
last year while its risk-weighted capital adequacy ratio
was 9 per cent. It had to increase its provisions for bad
and doubtful loans to M$756.2 million from M$103.7 million
in 1996, and also set aside M$157.6 million for stock
purchases that had diminished in value.  (The Straits Times
16-Apr-1998)


MBF NORTHERN: Given Notice by Securities Commission
---------------------------------------------------
Four securities firms operating in Malaysia have been given
two weeks notice by the Securities Commission (SC) to show
cause why their stockbroking licences should not be
suspended or revoked. The firms are Capitalcorp Securities
Sdn Bhd, Kin Khoon & Co Sdn Bhd, Labuan Securities Sdn Bhd
and MBf Northern Securities Sdn Bhd. In a statement, the SC
said the action was taken pursuant to Section 27 of the
Securities Industry Act 1983. It added that the four
companies were put under trading restrictions because they
were not able to fulfil prudential capital standards and
business conduct standards of the securities laws and KLSE
rules. On April 1, the KLSE, upon a directive from the SC,
had informed the four companies that a restructuring
exercise be effected, which may include an agreement in
principle between the company and an acquirer, which must
be reached within a two-week period ending April 14.
However, none of the companies submitted the agreement in  
principle on the expiry date. The SC assured the companies'
clients that it was working closely with the KLSE to ensure
the safety of their assets.  (Asia Pulse 16-Apr-1998)


TIMBERMASTER: Defaults on Bond Payment
--------------------------------------
Pacific Bank Bhd and Malayan Banking Bhd were among three
banks forced to make good on a bank guarantee after second-
board listed TimberMaster Bhd defaulted on a payment of a
75 million Malaysian ringgit (S$32.1 million) bond last
week. The default was revealed by Malaysia's bond rating
agency RAM which said TimberMaster failed to meet its
coupon payment obligations last Friday. In a statement, RAM
said it has received "written confirmation that the bank
guarantors have made their obligations by paying the
guaranteed amount", adding that the RM75 million redeemable
bank guaranteed unsecured bonds "have been fully redeemed".

Pacific Bank Bhd, Malayan Banking Bhd and Bumiputera
Merchant Bankers Bhd had undertaken to guarantee the RM75
million bond. The three banks were forced to step in and
settle the entire bond payment when their client failed to
meet its obligations to its bondholders last week.

Analysts said the settlement of the default turned an off-
balance sheet item into an on-balance sheet liability for
the banks. They said TimberMaster's default could
foreshadow similar developments for other bank guarantees
and off-balance sheet commitments during a time when
receiverships in Malaysia are mounting. The default
highlights how quickly banks' provisioning levels may rise
over the next six months, and the difficulty in assessing
credit risks in volatile market conditions, analysts said.

Pacific Bank had pledged to guarantee RM41.725 million,
Maybank RM26.549 million and Bumiputera Merchant Bankers
RM8.6 million, according to sources familiar with the
trustee deeds. TimberMaster -- which had issued the bond in
1996 -- ran into trouble with its coupon payments in
February, the sources said. It "technically" defaulted on
its bond obligations on Feb 13 when it missed its semi-
annual coupon payments of RM1.875 million to its
bondholders. The company negotiated a one-month extension
with its bondholders until March 13, and a further reprieve
to April 10 to come up with the funds. But on April 9,
after discussions with their client, the three guarantor
banks settled the sums they had guaranteed as well as a
one-time coupon payment of RM1.875 million to
TimberMaster's bondholders, sources said.

The bondholders are: Malaysia's Employees Provident Fund
(RM30 million), BBMB Discount House (RM20 million), Bumi
Kewangan Bhd (RM10 million), Malaysia Discount House (RM5
million), Sime Bank (RM4.5 million), Bank Pertanian (RM3
million) and Affin Discount House (RM2.5 million).

Analysts said TimberMaster raised roughly RM200 million
through the issue of new shares and bonds in 1996. Its 1996
financial records reveal that it had a net debt position of
RM145 million. TimberMaster's senior management declined to
respond to BT queries.  (Singapore BusinessTimes 16-Apr-1998)


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

AYALA LAND: First Quarter Profits Down 43 Percent
-------------------------------------------------
Ayala Land Inc. yesterday reported that its estimated
profits in the first three months of 1998 fell 43 percent
to P800 million from P1.4 billion in the same period last
year as property demand remains subdued. Company officials
do not foresee a quick recovery for the property market and
said they are preparing for a prolonged downturn. "Aside
from the fact that there was a fairly large transaction
last year, the market is relatively weak," Ayala Land
president Francisco Licuanan told reporters in a briefing
after the company's annual stockholders meeting yesterday.

The weaker result can also be traced to the company's
decision, prompted by high interest rate levels, to delay
the launching of new projects this year into the third
quarter, Licuanan said. Ayala Land managed to post a slight
4.87 percent net income growth last year despite the
drastic peso depreciation and surge in interest rates.
(Manila Times 16-Apr-1998)


PHILIPPINE AIRLINES: Retrenchment Plans Put on Hold
---------------------------------------------------
The management of Philippine Airlines (PAL) has momentarily
put its retrenchment program on hold to make way for a
labor-management conference to be sponsored by the
Department of Labor and Employment (DoLE). This was
disclosed by undersecretary for labor relations Rene
Ofreneo who told BusinessWorld both union and management
sides have already agreed "in principle" to the idea of the
conference. Earlier, PAL was reported to have implemented
an extensive retrenchment program which would eventually
cut down its 14,000-strong workforce by 30%. The company
had incurred a net loss of 4.7 billion Philippine pesos
(PhP) during the first nine months of its fiscal year
ending December 1997. Its fiscal year starts in April. To
date, the flag carrier has already laid-off at least 500
workers since the third quarter of 1997.  (BusinessWorld
16-Apr-1998)


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

ABR HOLDINGS: Europa Details Comeback Plan
------------------------------------------
It has only been five months since Europa Holdings   
acquired an ailing ABR Holdings, but already the new   
owners are well into reshaping the Sesdaq-listed food
company. Europa is in the final stages of divesting ABR's
non-core operations, negotiating the Asia-Pacific
distribution of its new locally-produced ice-cream products
as well as planning the expansion of its "new-look"
Swensen's outlets. Newly-appointed ABR chief executive
officer Ricky Goh said: "The company declared a $5.3
million loss last year due in part to one-time write-offs
after we acquired it; we are determined to bring it back
into the black in one year."

The plans include using the proceeds from asset disposal to
reduce its gearing and to fund its growth plans. ABR is
selling its 40 per cent stake in Brewerkz, a microbrewery
and restaurant in Riverside Point, and its 50.1 per cent
share in Fairwood, a Hongkong-style fast-food restaurant
with outlets in Tampines and Hougang. It is also selling PT
ABR, an Indonesian logistics and warehousing company.
(Singapore BusinessTimes 16-Apr-1998)


KEPPEL BANK: S&P Downgrades Credit Rating
-----------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's (S&P) has downgraded the unsolicited
credit ratings of four of Singapore's domestic banks on
concern over the country's economic slowdown and the impact
of the regional financial crisis on the quality of their
assets. S&P yesterday said the public information ratings
of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, United Overseas Bank were
lowered from 'AApi' to 'Api' while those for Keppel Bank
and Tat Lee Bank were marked down from 'Api' to 'BBBpi'. It
affirmed the ratings of DBS Bank at 'AApi' and Overseas
Union Bank at 'Api'.

It added that the lowered ratings reflect its concerns "on
the deteriorating asset quality, weak property sector
outlook, and the current economic slowdown in Singapore.
Also of concern is the tightened liquidity in the Singapore
banking sector". Asset quality is expected to deteriorate
further in 1998 as the local economy suffers from the
lagged impact of the regional slowdown. On the plus side
are the banks' sound underlying profitability, healthy
capitalisation, and the strong regulatory environment.

Meanwhile, the stock market reacted negatively to the S&P's
ratings. The foreign tranches of DBS Bank and OCBC were
among the top 20 largest declines in dollar terms, the
former down 30 cents to $11.20 and the latter, down 35
cents to $8.40. Tat Lee Bank warrants also came in for a
hard knock, falling by 18.8 per cent. UOB local tranche
fell 15 cents to $6.55 while its foreign tranche was 25
cents lower at $7.85. The SES finance index eased 1.8 per
cent.

Reacting to S&P's downgrading, a spokesman for Tat Lee said
the bank has made substantial provisions against regional
risks and its capital adequacy ratio is a high 19 per cent,
higher than the average for Singapore banks. According to
Bank for International Settlements' definition, the ratio
should be 21 per cent.  (Singapore BusinessTimes 16-Apr-1998)


OVERSEA-CHINESE BANKING: S&P Downgrades Credit Rating
-----------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's (S&P) has downgraded the unsolicited
credit ratings of four of Singapore's domestic banks on
concern over the country's economic slowdown and the impact
of the regional financial crisis on the quality of their
assets. S&P yesterday said the public information ratings
of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, United Overseas Bank were
lowered from 'AApi' to 'Api' while those for Keppel Bank
and Tat Lee Bank were marked down from 'Api' to 'BBBpi'. It
affirmed the ratings of DBS Bank at 'AApi' and Overseas
Union Bank at 'Api'.

It added that the lowered ratings reflect its concerns "on
the deteriorating asset quality, weak property sector
outlook, and the current economic slowdown in Singapore.
Also of concern is the tightened liquidity in the Singapore
banking sector". Asset quality is expected to deteriorate
further in 1998 as the local economy suffers from the
lagged impact of the regional slowdown. On the plus side
are the banks' sound underlying profitability, healthy
capitalisation, and the strong regulatory environment.

Meanwhile, the stock market reacted negatively to the S&P's
ratings. The foreign tranches of DBS Bank and OCBC were
among the top 20 largest declines in dollar terms, the
former down 30 cents to $11.20 and the latter, down 35
cents to $8.40. Tat Lee Bank warrants also came in for a
hard knock, falling by 18.8 per cent. UOB local tranche
fell 15 cents to $6.55 while its foreign tranche was 25
cents lower at $7.85. The SES finance index eased 1.8 per
cent.

Reacting to S&P's downgrading, a spokesman for Tat Lee said
the bank has made substantial provisions against regional
risks and its capital adequacy ratio is a high 19 per cent,
higher than the average for Singapore banks. According to
Bank for International Settlements' definition, the ratio
should be 21 per cent.  (Singapore BusinessTimes 16-Apr-1998)


TAT LEE BANK: S&P Downgrades Credit Rating
------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's (S&P) has downgraded the unsolicited
credit ratings of four of Singapore's domestic banks on
concern over the country's economic slowdown and the impact
of the regional financial crisis on the quality of their
assets. S&P yesterday said the public information ratings
of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, United Overseas Bank were
lowered from 'AApi' to 'Api' while those for Keppel Bank
and Tat Lee Bank were marked down from 'Api' to 'BBBpi'. It
affirmed the ratings of DBS Bank at 'AApi' and Overseas
Union Bank at 'Api'.

It added that the lowered ratings reflect its concerns "on
the deteriorating asset quality, weak property sector
outlook, and the current economic slowdown in Singapore.
Also of concern is the tightened liquidity in the Singapore
banking sector". Asset quality is expected to deteriorate
further in 1998 as the local economy suffers from the
lagged impact of the regional slowdown. On the plus side
are the banks' sound underlying profitability, healthy
capitalisation, and the strong regulatory environment.

Meanwhile, the stock market reacted negatively to the S&P's
ratings. The foreign tranches of DBS Bank and OCBC were
among the top 20 largest declines in dollar terms, the
former down 30 cents to $11.20 and the latter, down 35
cents to $8.40. Tat Lee Bank warrants also came in for a
hard knock, falling by 18.8 per cent. UOB local tranche
fell 15 cents to $6.55 while its foreign tranche was 25
cents lower at $7.85. The SES finance index eased 1.8 per
cent.

Reacting to S&P's downgrading, a spokesman for Tat Lee said
the bank has made substantial provisions against regional
risks and its capital adequacy ratio is a high 19 per cent,
higher than the average for Singapore banks. According to
Bank for International Settlements' definition, the ratio
should be 21 per cent.  (Singapore BusinessTimes 16-Apr-1998)


TAT LEE BANK: Warrants to be Replaced by Keppel's
-------------------------------------------------
Tat Lee Bank's warrants due on July 21, 2000 and July      
30, 2002 will be replaced by warrants of the bank's      
merged entity with Keppel Bank -- Keppel TatLee Bank --
with the swap ratio being eight existing TLB warrants for
seven new KTLB warrants. Keppel and Tat Lee yesterday said
this was in line with their share swap ratio of seven new
Keppel Bank shares for eight Tat Lee Bank shares. The
exercise price of the new KTLB warrants expiring in the
year 2000 will be $3.12 (which is based on the current
corresponding TLB warrant's exercise price of $2.73) while
the exercise price of the new KTLB warrants expiring in
2002 will be $2.96 (based on the TLB warrant exercise price
of $2.59.

The two banks said the new prices will result in the amount
payable from the exercises of the warrants remaining the
same, should the warrants be exercised as TLB warrants
before the merger or as Keppel TatLee Bank warrants after
the merger. This means that a holder of 8,000 TLB warrants
due in the year 2000 will receive 7,000 KTLB warrants with
an adjusted exercise price of $3.12 each and the amount
payable from the exercise of either warrants will remain
the same at about $21,840.  (Singapore BusinessTimes
16-Apr-1998)


UNITED OVERSEAS BANK: S&P Downgrades Credit Rating
--------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's (S&P) has downgraded the unsolicited
credit ratings of four of Singapore's domestic banks on
concern over the country's economic slowdown and the impact
of the regional financial crisis on the quality of their
assets. S&P yesterday said the public information ratings
of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, United Overseas Bank were
lowered from 'AApi' to 'Api' while those for Keppel Bank
and Tat Lee Bank were marked down from 'Api' to 'BBBpi'. It
affirmed the ratings of DBS Bank at 'AApi' and Overseas
Union Bank at 'Api'.

It added that the lowered ratings reflect its concerns "on
the deteriorating asset quality, weak property sector
outlook, and the current economic slowdown in Singapore.
Also of concern is the tightened liquidity in the Singapore
banking sector". Asset quality is expected to deteriorate
further in 1998 as the local economy suffers from the
lagged impact of the regional slowdown. On the plus side
are the banks' sound underlying profitability, healthy
capitalisation, and the strong regulatory environment.

Meanwhile, the stock market reacted negatively to the S&P's
ratings. The foreign tranches of DBS Bank and OCBC were
among the top 20 largest declines in dollar terms, the
former down 30 cents to $11.20 and the latter, down 35
cents to $8.40. Tat Lee Bank warrants also came in for a
hard knock, falling by 18.8 per cent. UOB local tranche
fell 15 cents to $6.55 while its foreign tranche was 25
cents lower at $7.85. The SES finance index eased 1.8 per
cent.

Reacting to S&P's downgrading, a spokesman for Tat Lee said
the bank has made substantial provisions against regional
risks and its capital adequacy ratio is a high 19 per cent,
higher than the average for Singapore banks. According to
Bank for International Settlements' definition, the ratio
should be 21 per cent.  (Singapore BusinessTimes 16-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

Troubled Company Reporter -- Asia Pacific is a daily
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