TCRAP_Public/980423.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      

      Thursday, April 23, 1998, Vol. 1, No. 46


C H I N A   &   H O N G   K O N G

JOYCE BOUTIQUE: Rights Issue Almost Fully Subscribed
LEADING SPIRIT: Chairman Wong Takes Risks on Growth

J A P A N  

DAIEI INC: Shares Fall on Restructuring Concerns
MATSUZAKAYA: Department Store Suffers Profit Plunge


KIA MOTORS: Creditor Banks Have Not Made Decision
KIA MOTORS: Personnel Changes at the Top


CATON WOOD: Placed in Receivership
EKRAN BHD: Will Receive Compensation on Dam Project
ESPRIT GROUP: Placed in Receivership
SCK GROUP: Wind Up Petition Filed by Multipurpose Bank
SIME BANK: RHB Deal Appears to be Completed
TIMBERMASTER: Default No Apparent Impact on Banks


SIAM AGRO: Seeks Fresh Funds for Creditor Bank
THAI VENEER: Creditors Demand Liquidation

C H I N A   &   H O N G   K O N G

JOYCE BOUTIQUE: Rights Issue Almost Fully Subscribed
The directors (the `Directors') of Joyce Boutique Holdings  
Limited (the `Company') are pleased to announce that
acceptances have been received for approximately 76.0 per
cent of the total number of Rights Shares provisionally
allotted under the Rights Issue and applications have been
received from excess Rights Shares representing
approximately 60.5 per cent of the number of excess Rights
Shares available. Accordingly, the Rights Issue was  
approximately 90.5 per cent subscribed. Standard Chartered
Asia Limited has subscribed or procured subscribers for the
Rights Shares not taken up or applied for as excess Rights

Following completion of the Rights Issue, the interest of
the Controlling Shareholder (as defined below) in the share
capital of the Company has increased from approximately
52.6 per cent to approximately 59.0 per cent.

Further to the announcement dated 25th February, 1998
relating to the Rights Issue, the Directors are pleased to
announce that 43 valid acceptances of Rights Shares
provisionally allotted under the Rights Issue have been
received for a total of 237,029,805 Rights Shares  
(representing approximately 76.0 per cent of the total
number of Rights Shares provisionally allotted) and 19
valid applications for excess Rights Shares have been
received for a total of 45,355,099 Rights Shares
(representing approximately 60.5 per cent of the number of
excess Rights Shares available). The Rights Shares taken up
and the excess Rights Shares applied for amount to
282,384,904 Rights Shares in aggregate (representing
approximately 90.5 per cent of the total number of Rights
Shares to be issued under the Rights Issue).

J. W. Mark Limited, the controlling shareholder of the
Company (the `Controlling Shareholder'), has taken up its
provisional allotment of 164,000,000 Rights Shares and
applied for 40,000,000 excess Rights Shares in accordance
with the terms of the underwriting agreement dated 25th
February, 1998 (the `Underwriting Agreement') in respect  
of the Rights Issue.

In accordance with the terms of the Underwriting Agreement,
Standard Chartered Asia Limited, the underwriter to the
Rights Issue, has subscribed or procured subscribers for
the Rights Shares not taken up or applied for as excess
Rights Shares, amounting to 29,615,096 Rights Shares which
represent approximately 20.0 per cent of the number of
Rights Shares comprised in Standard Chartered Asia  
Limited's underwriting obligation and approximately 4.7 per
cent of the enlarged issued share capital of the Company.

Prior to the Rights Issue, the Controlling Shareholder was  
interested in 164,000,000 shares in the Company (the
`Shares'), representing approximately 52.6 per cent of the
issued share capital of the Company. Following completion
of the Rights Issue, the Controlling Shareholder is now
interested in 368,000,000 Shares, representing
approximately 59.0 per cent of the enlarged issued share  
capital of the Company.

Share certificates in respect of the Rights Shares will be  
despatched to those entitled thereto at their own risk by
ordinary post on or before Wednesday, 22nd April, 1998.

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

  Hong Kong, 20th April, 1998
(SEHK 21-Apr-1998)

LEADING SPIRIT: Chairman Wong Takes Risks on Growth
Leading Spirit (Holdings) Co. (H.LSP) Chairman Wong Shi-
ling doesn't act like a man whose company owes more than a
billion Hong Kong dollars to banks as he enthusiastically
maps out the appliance maker's future. Wong, who himself
owes several hundred million Hong Kong dollars and at one
point saw his controlling stake evaporate as nervous
creditors sold shares he had pledged against his loans,
appears unfazed by the financial chaos he and his company
have encountered since the fourth quarter of last year.

Leading Spirit owes money to 32 creditors and has dug
itself into a deep financial hole. The company's volatile
share price has drawn the attention of the Securities &
Futures Commission. Losses on stock investments took the
company into the red last year, and even with the most
aggressive expansion and diversification plans, analysts
say Wong will have a hard time turning the company around
and maintaining its recovering share price at high levels.

Wong said a debt repayment agreement with creditor banks is
no more than two months away and that efforts to clear his
name and improve the image of Leading Spirit and its
associate, Leading Spirit Conrowa Electric Co. (H.LDN),
appear to be winning over investors.

Heavy dumping of Leading Spirit's shares caused them to
plummet to a low of 6.50 HK cents on Jan. 15 from a 1997
close of 71.0 HK cents, with investors reacting to rumors
of loan defaults, financial troubles and impending
lawsuits. Trading volume in the company's shares was about
10 times normal levels in the last two trading days before
the shares were suspended Jan. 16.

After trading resumed April 2, Leading Spirit's shares
soared, first on rumors that the group had settled with
banks on rescheduling debts and then on word from the
Jiangmen gathering with reporters that a repayment deal was
close at hand.

In the case of Leading Spirit, when the asset sales weren't
enough, creditors such as Daiwa Securities (Hong Kong) Ltd.
and the liquidators of C.A. Pacific Securities, went after
Wong in court to recover the rest of the money they were

Despite the imminent debt repayment deal, Wong's big
expansion plans and a pledge that the company won't invest
in stock markets anymore, analysts say the damage has been
done and Leading Spirit's outlook is still largely
uncertain. First, they say, Leading Spirit wrote off
HK$400.0 million in stock investments for the six months
ended Dec. 31, leading to a bottom-line loss of HK$287.1
million. Also, the repayment deal isn't yet signed, despite
several months of negotiations. And Wong acknowledged that
his group will have to delay plans to expand into the
computer business until 1999 from a planned entry this

Investors should avoid the highly speculative stock before
the company's prospects become much more clear, analysts
(Dow Jones Newswires  22-Apr-1998)

J A P A N  

DAIEI INC: Shares Fall on Restructuring Concerns
Daiei Inc. (8263 JP ) fell 11 yen to 414 amid concern
earnings of the largest supermarket chain in Japan will
show its restructuring program is flagging. Daiei is
expected to report group net profit of 1 billion yen, or
1.4 yen per share, on sales of 3.17 trillion yen for the
year ended Feb. 28, according to Toyo Keizai Inc., a
financial information company.
(Bloomberg Japan Equity Movers 22-Apr-1998)

MATSUZAKAYA: Department Store Suffers Profit Plunge
Japan's major department store Matsuzakaya Co. Ltd. said
Tuesday its parent pre-tax profit plunged 58.2 percent from
a year earlier to 2.3 billion yen (18 million dollars) for
the year to last February. Revenue for the term fell 3.1
percent to 422 billion yen as it struggled through "severe
business conditions" after the hike in consumption tax in
April last year, the company said.

Matsuzakaya, based in the central Japanese city of Nagoya,
said it suffered a parent net loss of 9.6 billion yen,
reversing a profit of 2.3 billion yen in the previous year.  
The red-ink result was due to losses related to its
insolvent subsidiaries, the company said. For the year to
next February, Matsuzakaya forecast a parent pre-tax profit
of 3.6 billion yen on revenue of 416.5 billion yen with its
net profit seen at 1.9 billion yen.
(Agence France-Presse 21-Apr-1998)


KIA MOTORS: Creditor Banks Have Not Made Decision
Creditor banks have not made any decision to sell troubled
Kia Motors to a third party, Lee Keun-young, new governor
of the Korea Development Bank, said Tuesday.

"What is important at this juncture of time is to build up  
trust in order to normalize management, rather than to be  
embroiled in an exhaustive feud over what has not been
decided upon," Lee told reporters shortly after his
inaugural ceremony.

Lee said he believed that Kia, armed with a time-honored  
tradition and manufacturing expertise, could be born again  
through self-rescue efforts and restructuring. To this end,
he said, creditors would help Kia's court-appointed manager
draw up a plan for Kia's future enabling the carmaker to
perform optimally. Neither the government nor creditor
banks have settled on any plan to sell Kia to a third
party, he said.
(Asia Pulse 22-Apr-1998)

KIA MOTORS: Personnel Changes at the Top
Lee Chong-dae, president of Kia Economic Research
Institute, was yesterday named as president in charge of
planning of Kia Motors Corp. in a reshuffle affecting 10

Kim Jae-bok, consultant at Kia Heavy Industries, was named
president of Kia Motor Sales Co.

Four executives, including Kim Kwang-soon, president of Kia
Motor Sales, were fired.

As a result, the Kia Group will be led by chairman Yoo
Chong-yul, president Song Byung-nam and Lee Chong-dae.
(Korea Times 22-Apr-1998)


CATON WOOD: Placed in Receivership
Malaysia's corporate sector is sinking into a quagmire,
with two more companies joining the queue of receiverships
in the fallout from the regional economic crisis, analysts
said. Private companies Caton Wood Industries and Asia Malt
were placed in receivership yesterday, bringing the number
of receiverships to four this month. Caton is a 55.97 per
cent-owned unit of listed second-board firm Associated
Kaolin Industries. Associated Kaolin said in a statement to
the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange that it was seeking further
information and clarification on the receivership.
(South China Morning Post 22-Apr-1998)

EKRAN BHD: Will Receive Compensation on Dam Project
Malaysia's Ekran Bhd would be paid 200 million Malaysian
ringgit (S$85 million) as compensation for initial work
done on the stalled Bakun hydroelectric dam project, a
report said yesterday. The Star daily cited finance
ministry parliamentary secretary Shafie Salleh as saying
the amount was not yet final as auditor Price Waterhouse
was still confirming the expenditure sought by Ekran.

"The government (made) an initial payment of RM40 million
to Ekran in December last year before actual compensation
payment was determined," Mr Shafie was quoted as saying.
He added that the payment was made as Ekran had used its
capital to carry out work on the project before it was
transferred to Bakun HydroElectric Corp Sdn Bhd (BHC)
formed in 1996. Mr Shafie refuted claims that the
government was attempting to rescue Ekran and said payments
would only be made after they signed an agreement to
protect the government's interests.

According to Price Waterhouse's "due diligence review" on
BHC's accounts, the company's total assets stood at RM770
million as at the end of November, he said. Total
liabilities involved debts to financial institutions
totalling RM436 million, debts to Ekran of RM210 million
and to South Korea's Dong Ah Construction of RM24 million,
he added.
(Singapore BusinessTimes 22-Apr-1998)

ESPRIT GROUP: Placed in Receivership
Listed Esprit Group said it had been granted a restraining
and stay order by the High Court to prevent creditors from
instituting any legal proceedings against its group of
companies. One of its units was in receivership, while
another faced a winding-up petition. One analyst with a
local brokerage voiced surprise at the speed at which some
companies were being put under receivership.

"It actually started faster than we had anticipated . . .
in terms of listed companies, we are expecting a lot more
to go under, but a lot of non-listed firms have gone down
already," she said.

Second-board construction firm Esprit said the court order
had also covered its corporate guarantors and its unit
Esprit Corp, which faced a winding-up petition filed
against it on February 20. All further actions by the
receivers and managers of another unit, Esprit Overseas,
appointed on March 4, would also be restrained under the
order, it said. Esprit planned to restructure the group and
was required to meet creditors to approve a proposed scheme
of arrangement by November 14.

Main-board insurance firm PanGlobal and 12 second-board
companies denied in separate statements to the stock
exchange that they were among 70 companies rumoured to be
going under.
(South China Morning Post 22-Apr-1998)

SCK GROUP: Wind Up Petition Filed by Multipurpose Bank
Meanwhile, Multi-Purpose Bank Berhad has filed a petition  
at the High Court to wind up furniture and renovation
company, SCK Group Berhad, over a debt of more than RM1
million (about $US270,000) owed by three of its
subsidiaries for which SCK Group stood as guarantor. The
petition, filed on April 3 at the High Court here, stated
that the company owed the bank the money by guaranteeing
the debts and liabilities of its subsidiaries, Shanghai
Chong Kee Construction Sdn Bhd, SCK Cerabrics Sdn Bhd and
SCK Furnishing Sdn Bhd.

SCK Group, through its subsidiaries, was mainly involved in  
large scale interior renovation, designing and refurbishing  
for office buildings, shopping complexes and hotels.
Formerly known as Shanghai Chong Kee, the company that is  
listed in the second board of the KL Stock Exchange, is
also engaged in sawmilling, manufacturing of wood-based
furniture and related products and in the supply and
installation of telecommunication works.

On April 11, SCK Group was placed under receivership  
following a High Court order whereby Lim Tian Huat and
Abdul Samad Haji Alias have been appointed receivers and
managers of the company.
(Asia Pulse 22-Apr-1998)

SIME BANK: RHB Deal Appears to be Completed
RHB Bank Bhd is believed to have successfully completed the
financing aspect of its merger deal with Sime Bank Bhd
yesterday, a Malaysian daily reported today. In the report,
The Star quoted industry sources as saying that RHB Bank
hoped to make an announcement possibly by the end of this
week or early next week on the deal.
(Asia Pulse 22-Apr-1998)

TIMBERMASTER: Default No Apparent Impact on Banks
The TimberMaster Bhd bond default had made no impact on
Pacific Bank Bhd's financial position, the bank said
Tuesday. This was because its guarantee on the RM75 million
($US20.3 million) bond was in turn counter-guaranteed by
four other local banks, which had already settled their
obligations in full, it said in a statement. Pacific Bank
together with Malayan Banking Bhd and Bumiputra Merchant
Bankers Bhd were forced to make good on a bank guarantee
after second-board listed TimberMaster defaulted on a
payment of the bond (TCR-AP 17-Apr-1998).

It was reported that TimberMaster had failed to meet its  
coupon obligations to the bondholders, forcing the three
banks to step in and settle the entire bond payment.
Pacific Bank did not mention the amount it had pledged to  
guarantee the bond for, but it was reported to be about
RM41 million ($US11 million).
(Asia Pulse 22-Apr-1998)


SIAM AGRO: Seeks Fresh Funds for Creditor Bank
Siam Agro Industry Pineapple and Others Plc (Saico) is
hunting for foreign partners to attract fresh funds.

New capital is necessary now that major creditor Thai
Farmers Bank (TFB), which lent Bt1 billion to the company,
refuses to accept collateral as repayment and instead wants
cash. Saico is among the firms waiting to be delisted from
the Stock Exchange of Thailand as it has failed to
rehabilitate its financial standing for two years.

Samarn Siriphatra, managing director of Saico, said the
company has attempted to negotiate with TFB, which is its
largest creditor. TFB also owns about 8-9 per cent of

"We tried to negotiate with the bank in every way we could
think of, but we were refused," he noted.

During the negotiations, Saico asked TFB whether it would
like an additional stake in the company via a debt-to-
equity conversion or if it would accept 3,500 rai in
Rayong, in order to help reduce Saico's principal and
interest rate payments of about Bt150 million a year. The
land is valued at Bt250,000 a rai.

"But TFB just wants its loans back in cash only," Samarn

Therefore, Saico has been forced to seek foreign partners
to inject fresh capital into the company. Under the
company's rehabilitation plan, more than Bt120 million is
required to help ease its liquidity crunch and address its
loan repayments. The company plans to issue 13.4 million
shares or 40 per cent of its Bt300 million registered
capital. The company has paid-up capital of Bt166 million.
Saico's accumulated net loss amounted to Bt1.25 billion
while its 1997 net loss amounted to Bt253.86 million,
including foreign exchange losses of Bt44.24 million.

An analyst at a local securities house said Saico fell
victim to its own mismanagement. As exports of canned fruit
grew by about 20 per cent in the past several years, the
company had over-invested in 1993 when its production
capacity was increased to 350,000 tonnes a year and 600 new
staff were recruited. As a result, the company is unable to
manage the increased production capacity while its source
of funds is derived from only one lender. TFB has been the
major creditor of the company since it was established.

Although many export companies have reaped windfalls from
the baht's depreciation against the US dollar, Saico did
not due to extreme liquidity problems, Samarn said.

To find foreign partners in its last-ditch effort to help
the company stay afloat, Samarn said the company appointed
IFCT Finance and Securities Plc as an adviser on its
rehabilitation plan.

"If we can reach an agreement with new partners, we will
hopefully renegotiate with TFB to roll over our debts," he

There have been reports that various foreign investors have
contacted Phatra Thanakit Plc to express their interest in
Saico. Currently, two groups are holding talks with the
company and final negotiations are expected to be completed
soon. If negotiations are successful, analysts say Saico is
expected to grow significantly in the near future as
liquidity is its only problem.
(The Nation 22-Apr-1998)

THAI VENEER: Creditors Demand Liquidation
Thai Veneer Industrial Co is selling its business and
factory along with 2,320 square metres of land for 69.6
million baht, after creditors asked it to speed up payment
of debts. Bunchong Pensuwan, 74, the proprietor, said the
company owed money to the Industrial Financial Corporation
of Thailand and other financial institutions. Mrs Bunchong
said the company had no alternative but to put the 25-year-
old business up for sale. Thai Veneer was set up in 1973 to
produce veneers and plywood for local and foreign markets.
(Bangkok Post 22-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
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
copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or publication
in any form (including e-mail forwarding, electronic re-
mailing and photocopying) is strictly prohibited without
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contained herein is obtained from sources believed to be
reliable, but is not guaranteed.

The TCR -- Asia Pacific subscription rate is $875 per month
delivered via e-mail.  Additional e-mail subscriptions for
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