TCRAP_Public/990329.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, March 29, 1999, Vol. 2, No. 61

                    Headlines


* C H I N A   &   H O N G   K O N G *

CHEUNG KONG: Earnings fall 65%
CHUNG HWA DEVELOPMENT: Chung Hwa fights legal action
GUANGDONG INTERNATIONAL: Paris faces US$50m Gitic payout
HUTCHISON WHAMPOA: Earnings fall 29%
PEREGRINE GROUP: Initial report due in Peregrine case

TAK WING INVESTMENT: Sale bid to stop bank petition


* I N D O N E S I A *

PT ASTRA INTERNATIONAL: Debt buy back cost just $7.5 million   


* J A P A N *

DAIEI INC: No dividend pay-out
DAIWA BANK: Sells headquarters building
FUJITSU MICROELECTRONICS: Fujitsu to incur $3.7b loss
KEIZAI KAKUMEI CLUB: Former deputy head sentenced on fraud
KUMAGAI GUMI: Moody's lowers long-term debt rating

NISSAN MOTOR: Renault to buy Y605bn equity in Nissan
NOMURA FINANCE: Securities company to assist ailing moneylender
SEIYU LTD: Banks agree to debt waiver for retailer Seiyu
SHARP CORP: LCD losses cut Sharp profits
TOKYO GAS: S&P cuts Tokyo Gas ratings


* K O R E A *

BORAM BANK: Boram Bank's capital adequacy ratio drops
HANBO STEEL: May liquidate by mid-May
PEACE BANK: Peace Bank's capital adequacy ratio is negative
SEOUL GUARANTEE INSURANCE: Needs injection from government
SHIN DONG AH: Group head admits money smuggling

SHINTONGBANG GROUP: Four affiliates applied for workout program  


* M A L A Y S I A *

RENONG BHD: RM1.3b in the red after RM1b option provision
UNITED ENGINEERS: UEM earnings fall 36% to RM182m


* P H I L I P P I N E S *

PHILIPPINE AIRLINES: Foster promises financial controls for PAL


* S I N G A P O R E *

HOTEL PROPERTIES: Posts net loss of $11 million
PACIFIC CAN: Pac Can gets six-month reprieve
SINGAPORE PETROLEUM: SPC sinks deep into the red with $18.5m loss
UNITED OVERSEAS BANK: Provisions pummel earnings down 27%


* T H A I L A N D *

KASET THAI: Wansley killer's partner confesses
RAJADAMRI HOTEL: Thai-US consortium to bid for 26% of RHC


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

CHEUNG KONG: Earnings fall 65%
------------------------------
Li Ka-shing's Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Hutchison Whampoa (HWL)
yesterday unveiled sharply lower profits for 1998, dragged down
by heavy provisions for property and securities values.

Cheung Kong, which controls half of HWL, reported a 65 per cent
drop in net profit to HK$6.15 billion (S$1.4 billion) from
HK$17.6 billion while HWL's earnings fell 29 per cent to HK$8.7
billion from HK$12.3 billion.

Cheung Kong made an exceptional loss of HK$3.4 billion mainly due
to provisions for property and investments of HK$2.45 billion and
HK$985 million respectively.

Excluding the exceptional items for the two years, Cheung Kong's
pre-tax profit would have been down only 20 per cent. Cheung
Kong's earnings in the previous year had been boosted by an
exceptional item of HK$5.7 billion resulted from the group's
massive asset reshuffling exercise.

HWL on the other hand would have reported much lower profits if
not for more asset sales last year. The exceptional item of
HK$566 million was arrived at after adding a gain of HK$3.3
billion from sale of the group's shares in Procter & Gamble-
Hutchison and an another profit of HK$684 million from the sale
of shares in Asia Satellite Telecommunications. (Singapore
Business Times 26-Mar-1999)


CHUNG HWA DEVELOPMENT: Chung Hwa fights legal action
----------------------------------------------------
According to the South China Morning Post, Chung Hwa Development
Holdings is in talks to reach an out-of-court settlement on a
winding-up petition filed by its former subsidiary Leading Edge
Packaging. If the talks were unsuccessful, it would deny
liability and seek dismissal of the petition.


GUANGDONG INTERNATIONAL: Paris faces US$50m Gitic payout
--------------------------------------------------------
According to the South China Morning Post, the French government
may stand liable for as much as US$50 million owed to French
banks by bankrupt Gitic.

Sources close to the situation said the monies represent
outstanding payments for the sale of French machinery and other
industrial materials to projects in Guangdong.

Under a government-backed insurance scheme underwritten by the
official export promotion agency Coface, the French government
would shoulder responsibility for the payments if the banks prove
unable to collect the funds from Gitic's liquidation, which is
expected to start next month.

Earlier, US officials admitted the government stands to lose as
much as $30 million due to Gitic's collapse, resulting from
guarantees provided by the Agriculture's Commodity Credit for the
export of agricultural products arranged by Gitic's Hong Kong
subsidiary.

Germany also admitted it stands as a contigent creditor to
Guangzhou International Trust & Investment Corp due to a banking
guarantee provided through its export-credit system for the sale
of a $5 million tyre press.


HUTCHISON WHAMPOA: Earnings fall 29%
------------------------------------
Li Ka-shing's Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Hutchison Whampoa (HWL)
yesterday unveiled sharply lower profits for 1998, dragged down
by heavy provisions for property and securities values.

Cheung Kong, which controls half of HWL, reported a 65 per cent
drop in net profit to HK$6.15 billion (S$1.4 billion) from
HK$17.6 billion while HWL's earnings fell 29 per cent to HK$8.7
billion from HK$12.3 billion.

Cheung Kong made an exceptional loss of HK$3.4 billion mainly due
to provisions for property and investments of HK$2.45 billion and
HK$985 million respectively.

Excluding the exceptional items for the two years, Cheung Kong's
pre-tax profit would have been down only 20 per cent. Cheung
Kong's earnings in the previous year had been boosted by an
exceptional item of HK$5.7 billion resulted from the group's
massive asset reshuffling exercise.

HWL on the other hand would have reported much lower profits if
not for more asset sales last year. The exceptional item of
HK$566 million was arrived at after adding a gain of HK$3.3
billion from sale of the group's shares in Procter & Gamble-
Hutchison and an another profit of HK$684 million from the sale
of shares in Asia Satellite Telecommunications. (Singapore
Business Times 26-Mar-1999)


PEREGRINE GROUP: Initial report due in Peregrine case
-----------------------------------------------------
According to the South China Morning Post, an initial report on
the Peregrine group liquidation is to be mailed to thousands of
creditors this weekend.

Creditors of the three companies involved -- Peregrine Fixed
Income, Peregrine Investments Holdings and Peregrine Derivatives
-- will be given a brief report on what's happened with the
liquidation in the past year or so, where things are seen to be
going, as well as details of when they can expect the first
dividend payment and the amount.

The payout range had initially been in the region of 10 to 40
cents on the dollar for Peregrine Investments Holdings and
between 20 to 52 cents on the dollar for Peregrine Fixed Income.

The size of payouts was expected to be hit by a 50 per cent
increase in debts of the failed group, which by January had
soared to US$4.5 billion.

PricewaterhouseCoopers partner in charge of the liquidation,
David Hague, said yesterday liquidators decided to write the
brief report in the absence of a mechanism for regular meetings
with creditors.

The report has been sent to the Committee of Inspection and the
Official Receiver for their perusal before being sent to the
creditors from tomorrow onwards.


TAK WING INVESTMENT: Sale bid to stop bank petition
---------------------------------------------------
According to the South China Morning Post, Tak Wing Investment
chairman Chung Chun-keung has completed the sale of a 25.4 per
cent interest in the company to Gold Blue Group. A related
convertible bond issue is supposed to help Gold Blue inject funds
into Tak Wing in a bid for court approval to invalidate a bank
winding-up petition.


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

PT ASTRA INTERNATIONAL: Debt buy back cost just $7.5 million   
------------------------------------------------------------
The Asian Wall Street Journal reported PT Astra International, an
Indonesian conglomerate in the automotive and agro-industry
sectors, spent just $7.5 million out of a projected $45 million
on its debt buy back plan.  The offer to buy back its unsecured
debts at 30 cents on the dollar expired March 12.  Earlier
reports stated that the unsecured debt that was up for re-
purchased included convertible bonds due in 2001, 2002, 2003,
and 2006, all non-trade debts owed to creditors that are
documented under bilateral or syndicated facilities, inter-
company loan agreements, and promissory notes.  Astra reported
that those accepting this offer were small retailer bondholders.

Astra had announced last October that its business has fallen so
much that it had stopped paying interest on about $1.4 billion in
loans.  Astra has a total of $2 billion in foreign debt
obligations plus about 2 trillion rupiah in local currency debt.

Astra was once Indonesia's most profitable and well managed
conglomerates and suffered greatly when the rupiah's 1997 plunge
against the dollar made it impossible for it to service its
foreign debt.  Astra's automobile sales, once one of its main
revenue generators, were off 85 percent in 1998, and are expected
to drop further this year.


=========
J A P A N  
=========

DAIEI INC: No dividend pay-out
------------------------------
Huge debts-ridden leading supermarket chain operator Daiei Inc.
announced  Thursday it will forgo an annual dividend payment
because of poor earnings in its 1998 business year, which ended
Feb. 28.

The announcement followed an extraordinary board meeting
Thursday, where Daiei executives also decided on a three-year
restructuring plan that calls for a reduction of 3,000 jobs and
halving the number of directors. (Kyodo News 25-Mar-1999)


DAIWA BANK: Sells headquarters building
---------------------------------------
Daiwa Bank said Friday it has sold its headquarters building and
premises located in the central district of Osaka for 40.5
billion yen to three real estate firms.

The sell-off is part of its restructuring program to regain
financial health, with the 34.01 billion yen profit from the deal
to be used for write-offs of bad loans, the major commercial bank
said.

The building has a total floor space of 59,000 square meters,
while the premises occupies about 6,200 square meters.
(Kyodo News 26-Mar-1999)


FUJITSU MICROELECTRONICS: Fujitsu to incur $3.7b loss
-----------------------------------------------------
According to the South China Morning Post and the Hong Kong
Standard, Fujitsu said yesterday it would incur an extraordinary
loss of 56.5 billion yen from liquidating a British microchip
unit. The loss will be booked in the current financial year to
March 31 since the liquidation procedure for Fujitsu
Microelectronics had already started, the company said.

Fujitsu Microelectronics was established in 1983 and worked on
the development, design, manufacture and sale of semiconductor
products. Fujitsu closed a microchip plant in Durham last
December. According to the South China Morning Post, the firm
said the loss would not affect its earnings forecasts announced
this month.


KEIZAI KAKUMEI CLUB: Former deputy head sentenced on fraud
----------------------------------------------------------
The Tokyo District Court on Friday sentenced a former deputy head
of a bankrupt investment group to four years in prison on charges
of fraud.

Lee Tu Yon, 66, deputy chairwoman of the Keizai Kakumei Club
(KKC), conspired with others, including Ichiro Yamamoto, her
husband and chairman of KKC, to swindle 36 people out of 173
million yen between March and May 1996, the ruling said.
(Kyodo News 25-Mar-1999)


KUMAGAI GUMI: Moody's lowers long-term debt rating
--------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service Inc. said Friday it has lowered the
long-term debt ratings of Kumagai Gumi Co. and Penta-Ocean
Construction Co. due to concerns over the companies' earnings
potential amid the gloomy prospects for Japan's construction
market.

Kumagai's long-term debt rating was lowered from B1 to B3 while
Penta-Ocean's long-term debt rating was dropped from Ba2 to Ba3.
(Kyodo News 26-Mar-1999)


NISSAN MOTOR: Renault to buy Y605bn equity in Nissan
----------------------------------------------------
French automaker Renault SA will buy 605 billion yen worth of
equity in debt-ridden Nissan Motor Co. and its truck-making
affiliate Nissan Diesel Motor Co. under an agreement to be signed
Saturday, company sources said Friday.

The purchase, which will also cover the warrant portion of some
200 billion yen worth of bonds with warrants that Nissan Motor
will issue, will give Renault around 35% of Nissan Motor, the
sources said. (Kyodo News 26-Mar-1999)


NOMURA FINANCE: Securities company to assist ailing moneylender
---------------------------------------------------------------
Nomura Securities Co. said Friday it will provide 348 billion yen
over three years in financial assistance to its affiliated
nonbank moneylender Nomura Finance Co.

The biggest Japanese securities company will register the sum as
an extraordinary loss on its results for fiscal 1998 ending March
31. (Kyodo News 26-Mar-1999)


SEIYU LTD: Banks agree to debt waiver for retailer Seiyu
--------------------------------------------------------
Seventeen commercial banks have reached a basic agreement on
retailer Seiyu Ltd.'s restructuring plan, which includes waivers
of claims on some 210 billion yen in loans to Seiyu's troubled
financial subsidiary, industry sources said Thursday.
Seiyu, a major supermarket chain operator, may announce the
restructuring plan on Friday, the sources said.

The 17 banks will waive an average 45% of their loans to the
subsidiary, Tokyo City Finance Co. (TCF). Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank is
giving up more than 70% of its loans, while the Industrial Bank
of Japan is abandoning around 50%, they said.

TCF, a nonbank financial institution with heavy exposure to
property deals, has some 500 billion yen in outstanding
borrowing, claims on around 210 billion yen of which are expected
to be waived.

The banks agreed to the waiver plan apparently because Seiyu
would otherwise incur a capital deficit on a consolidated basis
because of TCF's huge nonperforming loans, the sources said.
The debt waiver will be the first for a major retailer, the
sources said.

Seiyu has so far poured approximately 140 billion yen into TCF to
aid its restructuring efforts. In the year ended Feb. 28 alone,
Seiyu offered 27 billion yen worth of rescue funds, including
waivers on claims for some loans.

Following the latest waiver agreement, TCF will halve its total
assets to around 250 billion yen and concentrate on leasing and
lending to individuals, according to the sources. Its
restructuring is scheduled to be completed by the end of February
2000.

Seiyu began talks on TCF with the banks late last year. Some
banks were calling on Seiyu to expand TCF's capital or provide
loan repayment guarantees. But they apparently backed down to
reach the basic agreement on the debt waiver. (Kyodo News
25-Mar-1999)


SHARP CORP: LCD losses cut Sharp profits
----------------------------------------
Japan's Sharp Corporation slashed its group net profit forecast
for this fiscal year by more than half to Y4bn because of losses
associated with the restructuring of its liquid crystal display
division. The consumer electronics maker had earlier forecast a
group net profit of Y8.5bn for the fiscal year ending March 31.

Sharp said it was forced to slash its net forecast after an
extraordinary loss of Y9.7bn as it scaled down its production
facilities for large-scale passive matrix LCDs. The company also
cut its forecast for group sales to Y1.730bn, compared with
Y1,770bn earlier projected. (The Financial Times 26-Mar-1999)


TOKYO GAS: S&P cuts Tokyo Gas ratings
-------------------------------------
The Asian Wall Street Journal reported that the Standard & Poor's
Ratings Group (S&P) has cut the corporate rating of Tokyo Gas
Company from AA to AA-.  This downgrade reportedly reflects
pressure on Tokyo Gas to lower its prices, its few prospects for
revenue growth, and competition for sales to large industrial
customers.  


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

BORAM BANK: Boram Bank's capital adequacy ratio drops
-----------------------------------------------------
The Korea Herald reported information on Boram Bank's end of year
capital adequacy ratio as calculated using the standards of the
Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which is based in
Basle, Switzerland.

Boram's end of year capital adequacy ratio stood at 2.67 percent,
a drop of 8.48 percentage points from its June, 1998 value of
11.15 percent.  

Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) has stated plans enforce a
minimum 8 percent BIS capital adequacy ratio for Korean Banks by
June, 2000.

Boram has been ranked as the 655th largest bank in the world by
The Banker (1998 July issue), a British financial magazine.


HANBO STEEL: May liquidate by mid-May
-------------------------------------
The Korea Herald reports that the Hanbo Steel Company may be
liquidated if a suitable buyer cannot be found by the middle of
May.  The article stated that a court liquidation plan may be
required if the creditors cannot find any buyers by then.

The article stated that creditor banks will hold a meeting with
potential buyers this week, but the date is unspecified yet.

Last month, a consortium including U.S. investment firms such as
Third Avenue Fund, Carl Marks & Co., and Nabors Capital were
given extra time by the creditors to complete their appraisals of
the financial and managerial status of the steel making
facilities to be sold.

Additionally, Dongkuk Steel Mill Company was the sole bidder in
the first round of international bidding last year for the steel
maker and had offered 1.72 trillion won to take over Hanbo.  
However, creditors banks reportedly aborted bidding on Hanbo
because Dongkuk's offering price won failed to meet their
expectations.  Dongkuk has criticized the creditor banks saying
that the bidding has been manipulated against them with a view of
getting as much money out of the sale as possible.

Hanbo, once Korea's second largest steel maker, produced 3
million tons of steel products per year, but collapsed on January
23, 1997 under bank debts estimated at 8.35 trillion won.  The
value of the assets at Hanbo has been evaluated at 3.4 trillion
won, although the construction of some facilities is still not
complete.  

Earlier newspaper reports indicated that creditor banks prefer to
sell off Hanbo's two main plants as a package, but they could be
sold off in separate parts contingent on buyer interest.  Hanbo's
main facility is its Tanjin Steelworks which includes a mill
producing 1.8 million tons of crude steel a year for hot coils
and steel rods, as well as a cold-rolled steel plate plant that
suspended operations this last July.  The other part of the
company comprises uncompleted facilities (whose construction
was stopped last year) that were slated to become a 2.1 million
ton hot coil mill and a 2 million ton cold-rolled sheet plate
plant.


PEACE BANK: Peace Bank's capital adequacy ratio is negative
-----------------------------------------------------------
The Korea Herald reported information on Peace Bank's end of year
capital adequacy ratio as calculated using the standards of the
Bank for International Settlements (BIS), which is based in
Basle, Switzerland.

The Peace Bank's end of year capital adequacy ratio stood at a
negative 1.79 percent, a drop of 3.99 percentage points from its
June, 1998 value of positive 2.21 percent.  

In June of last year, the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC)
established an evaluating committee to diagnose 12 commercial
banks which failed to meet the minimum 8 percent BIS capital
adequacy requirements.

It issued closure orders for five banks, and has asked 7 other
banks (including the Peace Bank) to provide drastic self
rehabilitation plans.

These plans included payroll cuts, management layoffs, capital
increases or decreases, and mergers with stronger banks.  The FSC
reportedly plans to keep alive only those banks that are able to
meet the 8 percent BIS capital adequacy ratio by June, 2000 via
these new rehabilitation plans.  


SEOUL GUARANTEE INSURANCE: Needs injection from government
----------------------------------------------------------
The Korea Herald reports that 1.2 trillion won will be injected
into the ailing Seoul Guarantee Insurance Co. (SGIC) by the
state-run Korea Deposit Insurance Corporation.  Additionally, 19
shareholder insurance companies will convert 50 percent of their
insurance claims (totaled 550 billion won) that they due to
receive from SGIC into equity.

Due to the occurrence of a number of mishaps related to the
company's payment guarantees, the SGIC has failed to pay back
insurance claims.

However, the firm will remit the remaining 50 percent of the
claims once its liquidity shortage is resolved with the fresh
capital injection by the government.  With the government action,
the SGIC's paid-in-capital will increase to 1.48 trillion won
from the present 5 billion won.

Among the company's shareholders are Korea Reinsurance Co. with
an equity stake of 14.8 percent, Dongbu Insurance Co. with 10.8
percent, Samsung Life Insurance Co. with 7.6 percent, and the
Financial Supervisory Service with 10.1 percent.  


SHIN DONG AH: Group head admits money smuggling
-----------------------------------------------
The Korea Herald reported that the chairman of Shin Dong Ah
(a.k.a. Shindong-a or Shindongah), Choi Soon-young, has partially
admitted to charges of embezzlement.  Choi is accused of
smuggling $165 million out of Korea between May, 1996 and June
1997 after obtaining loans worth $185 million from four domestic
banks using fabricated export documents.  

Choi admitted that he knew the $165 million was taken to overseas
banks from loans that his company had received.

However, Choi denied forcing Korea Life Insurance Company, part
of the Shin Dong Ah group, to make 100 billion won worth of
unsecured loans to SDA International (a Shin Dong Ah trading
company subsidiary set up by Choi that was formerly known as
Shinahwon) in order to repay debts owed to Korean banks.  

Earlier newspaper reports last month stated that this money was
reportedly used to buy a luxury house in Los Angeles and a
personal jet.


SHINTONGBANG GROUP: Four affiliates applied for workout program  
---------------------------------------------------------------
The Korean language Maeil Kyungje reports that the Shintongbang
Group, a mid-size conglomerate, applied for workout program with
their creditor bank, Hanvit Bank.  This workout program
application is for the group's ailing four affiliates,
Shintongbang Company, Haepyo Company, Haepyo Food Service
Company, and Cocos Company.

The major creditor, Hanvit Bank, informed other creditors of
these companies that there will be a creditor meeting on April
2nd, 1999.  The Bank and the Shintongbang Group have been
discussing the possibility of workout program, however, the group
had been trying to get foreign capital injection of $94,000,000
from GE Capital before deciding to apply for the workout.

The Shintongbang Group has had liquidity problem since their
merger with Midopa Department Company, which is now in court
receivership.


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

RENONG BHD: RM1.3b in the red after RM1b option provision
---------------------------------------------------------
Malaysian conglomerate Renong Bhd posted a shocking net loss of
1.32 billion Malaysian ringgit (S$599 million) for the first
half-year ended Dec 31, but analysts said the results would not
be as startling if a massive provision for losses on a put option
was stripped out.

Loss per share deepened to 59.1 sen from 15.2 sen a year earlier.

Renong said the losses were mainly due to non-recurring items.
These include a RM1.07 billion provision for losses incurred as a
result of a put option agreement made on June 2, 1997 on Time
shares between Renong and Time Investment Cayman Ltd (TICL), and
to diminution in value of Time warrants.

Without the RM1.07 billion provision, Renong's net loss would
have been RM251 million, not a too shocking figure, said a senior
analyst with a local brokerage.

In its statement yesterday, Renong said the group had also
discontinued equity accounting for Time and excluded the results
of its hotel-based Faber Group Bhd. It said this was because
Renong no longer had significant control over the management of
Time and Faber.

Renong has a 60 per cent stake in Faber and a 46.8 per cent
equity in Time, but both companies are under financial stress and
Renong has said previously that it plans to divest its
investments in both companies.

Turnover for the Renong group fell 57 per cent to RM221.7
million. Operating loss before provisions and foreign exchange
losses slumped nearly six fold to RM281.1 million. Renong also
provided RM18.3 million for unrealised forex loss and RM1.07
billion for diminution in value of its investments.


The company also said the group's proposed debt restructuring,
once completed, would allow the refinancing of group debt by zero
coupon bonds. "This will improve the cashflow of the group as the
burden of interest servicing will be deferred until maturity of
the bonds."

In a rescue plan by the Corporate Debt Restructuring Committee,
toll operator Plus is expected to raise cash through an RM8.4
billion bond issue to repay Renong and UEM's debts. Renong said
it was confident that the group would return to profit in the
second half as a result of these measures. (Singapore Business
Times 26-Mar-1999)


UNITED ENGINEERS: UEM earnings fall 36% to RM182m
-------------------------------------------------
United Engineers (Malaysia) yesterday blamed the economic       
recession for a 36 per cent drop in group net earnings to       
181.8 million Malaysian ringgit (S$82.5 million) for the year
ended Dec 31, 1998.

This works out to earnings per share of 23 sen, down from 35.8
sen or a net profit of RM282.3 million in 1997.

Malaysia's biggest construction and toll road operator fell short
of market estimates. A poll of 24 analysts in Barra's The
Estimate Directory yielded a consensus forecast of RM206.8
million or 26.1 sen.

Group turnover fell 26 per cent to RM3.2 billion while pre-tax
profit dropped 34 per cent to RM463.4 million.

Once considered a blue chip, UEM fell out of favour following its
controversial purchase of a 32 per cent stake in its parent,
Renong Bhd, for a whopping RM2.3 billion in November 1997.

Analysts are now even more sceptical over UEM's future because a
rescue plan by government debt panel Corporate Debt Restructuring
Committee (CDRC) calls for UEM's toll unit to sell RM8.4 billion
bonds. The bulk of the bond issue will be used to repay Renong's
debts and the rest, for UEM's own debts.

UEM had said then that its earnings would be affected and that it
would see a dilution in its net tangible assets per share. But
yesterday, UEM directors gave a positive spin on the matter.
"Once completed, it will enable the company to improve its
liquidity, thus allowing it to concentrate on its business
activities," they said. (Singapore Business Times 26-Mar-1999)


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

PHILIPPINE AIRLINES: Foster promises financial controls for PAL
---------------------------------------------------------------
Chief Philippine Airlines (PAL) adviser Peter Foster pledged
Tuesday to keep a tighter rein on the flag carrier to avoid past
mistakes which he said nearly drove the company to extinction.

Foster, whose team of foreign advisers took control of day-to-day
management after the carrier went into receivership last year,
said PAL would now be run like a conventional business to end
its reputation for inefficiency.

"The thing that surprised me was this lack of any formal
financial control," he told reporters.

The airline, which ran up losses of 19.5 billion pesos (506.5
million dollars) over the past 10 years including a string of red
ink in its last six fiscal years, will now have a "proper budget
and control system," he added.

Foster sketched a plan to steer the carrier back to profit, and
expressed confidence PAL would beat a June 4 deadline to raise
200 million dollars in fresh equity.

The amount is the minimum requirement imposed by major creditors
in exchange for agreeing to reschedule payments on PAL debts
which now total 2.25 billion dollars, more than its equity.

The official Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) will
decide by April 15 whether to keep the flag carrier aloft or
order its liquidation.

Foster described the potential buyers as "investors in other
airlines," some funds which specialized in "turnaround
situations," and "large groups, conglomerates" with interests in
service industries.

The fresh capital will translate into a 90 percent share holding,
he said, adding that neither Lucio Tan, the tobacco tycoon which
controls a 70 percent stake, nor state-run financial institutions
which form a minority block, have made a commitment to put in new
capital.

Foster said PAL will move its entire flight operations to a
newly built Manila airport terminal between April and May.
(RP-Business News and Agence France-Presse 23-Mar-1999)


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

HOTEL PROPERTIES: Posts net loss of $11 million
-----------------------------------------------
Hotel and leisure group Hotel Properties Ltd yesterday posted a
net loss of $11 million, and booked an extraordinary loss
amounting to $69.6 million.

The Ong Beng Seng controlled group had posted net profit of $32
million in 1997. The net loss for the group comes as turnover
shrank by a third to $425 million, from $649 million previously,
after the disposal of subsidiaries and lower income from
development properties.

Loss per share based on existing issued share capital came to 2.7
cents, down from earnings per share of 7.85 cents. Last year,
earnings per share on a fully diluted basis was 7 cents.

Net tangible assets backing a share was $2.05, down from $2.38 in
1997. (Singapore Business Times 26-Mar-1999)


PACIFIC CAN: Pac Can gets six-month reprieve
--------------------------------------------
Pacific Can Investment has won a six-month reprieve in its       
struggle to meet the upcoming redemption of a $20.6 million       
loan stock due at the end of next month.

The company yesterday said it had secured a short-term facility
of $20 million from First Commercial Bank for six months to be
used for the redemption of the 2.5 per cent unsecured loan stock
due on April 30. It also announced the resignation of independent
director Chew Kim Huat, who was among the directors some
shareholders want removed.

In its latest annual report, Pac Can's external auditors Deloitte
and Touche had questioned its viability as their cashflow
projections before the agreement of this loan facility, showed it
would not have enough to pay up.

Besides Mr Chew, shareholders Lee Choon Peng, Bank of Singapore
Nominees Pte Ltd and SBS Nominees Pte Ltd also want chief
executive Ko Ching-Shuei, executive director Liu Chun-Fu, David
Wang Xin, Yan Zhiming and Low Hua Kin out of the board. The
shareholders are seeking an extraordinary general meeting on the
issue. Mr Chew has ceased to be chairman and member of the audit
committee and member of the senior executive remuneration
committee. (Singapore Business Times 26-Mar-1999)


SINGAPORE PETROLEUM: SPC sinks deep into the red with $18.5m loss
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Singapore Petroleum Company has fallen heavily into the red with
a hefty $18.5 million loss for the year ended Dec 31. In 1997, it
managed a $15.6 million profit.

Turnover fell 19.5 per cent to $1.4 billion.

Loss per share on a fully diluted basis was 4.4 cents. Net
tangible assets per share was $1.24, down from $1.30 the previous
year.

A tax exempt dividend of 3 per cent was recommended.
(Singapore Business Times 26-Mar-1999)


UNITED OVERSEAS BANK: Provisions pummel earnings down 27%
---------------------------------------------------------
Higher provisions for bad debts pushed net profits 26.7 per cent
down at United Overseas Bank to $368 million for the year ended
Dec 31.

Operating profit grew 9.4 per cent to $1.2 billion while total
provisions soared 95 per cent to $654 million. Non-performing
loans increased to $2.1 billion but Mr Wee said UOB has the
highest cover for NPLs compared to other local banks.

UOB will continue its strategy of being a regional bank and will
seek acquisitions and strategic alliances in the region, Mr Wee
said. He added that it is currently carrying out due diligence on
a bank in the Asean region. (Singapore Business Times
26-Mar-1999)


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

KASET THAI: Wansley killer's partner confesses
----------------------------------------------
Following a confession before the Nakhon Sawan provincial court
yesterday, a verdict will be handed down on an accused in the
Michael Wansley murder case today, just one day after his trial
began.

All six prosecution witnesses' testimonies pointed to the massive
corruption within Namtal Kaset Thai Co Ltd as the motive behind
the March 10 killing of the Australian auditor who was
restructuring the firm's debts.

Somchai Jaihao, the defendant who was accused of riding the
motorcycle for the gunman who shot dead the victim, confessed
immediately after the charge of premeditated murder was read out
before testimony began.

His lawyer did not object throughout the testimony given by six
witnesses, and said he had no witnesses to present to defend
Somchai.

The three judges then ordered the trial, which began at 9 am,
over at 5 pm and said the verdict will be read out today at 1.30
pm.

Detailing the motive for the killing, the witnesses said Wansley
angered some company executives after he ordered a halt to
payments for sugar cane that the firm owed to local farmers, as
well as to illegal transactions of money within subsidiaries of a
conglomerate to which Namtal Kaset Thai is attached. (The Nation
26-Mar-1999)


RAJADAMRI HOTEL: Thai-US consortium to bid for 26% of RHC
---------------------------------------------------------
A consortium consisting of Goldman Sachs, the US's leading
investment bank, and Bangkok Hotel Holdings, a joint venture
between the Charn Issara Group and GS Emerging Market Real Estate
Fund, yesterday said it will make a tender offer for at least 26
percent of Rajadamri Hotel (RHC) for 38 baht per share.

According to the statement of the consortium, it is willing to
purchase up to 100 percent of RHC, which is valued by the group
at 1.7 billion baht.

The tender offer of 38 baht per share represents a 71-percent
premium over the company's market price and is 52-percent higher
than the tender price to shareholder announced by the Royal
Garden group, which already owns 25 percent of RHC.

"The structure of this offer is fundamentally fair to all
shareholders and provides all shareholders an equal opportunity
in the process," said Henry Cornell, managing director of Goldman
Sachs (Asia).

Japan-based EIE Insurance, the largest shareholder in RHC,
earlier said it is offloading its total 32.34 percent stake.

Royal Garden was said as one of the bidders, offering to buy
about a third of the total offer from the Japanese firm at 25
baht per share in a bid to increase its interest in the firm to
35 percent.

RGR described the deal as a "defensive" move to maintain its
control of RHC.

RHC, which operates Regent Hotel in central Bangkok, is Goldman
Sachs (Asia)'s second investment in hotel business. In June 1997,
it bought 30 percent Thailand's leading hotel chain, Dusit Thani
(DTC), at 750 million baht.

"Goldman Sachs sees this as a strategic investment for our hotel
business in Thailand and one that complements, but is distinct
from, our existing ongoing investment in the Dusit Group,"
Cornell said. (Business Day [Thailand] 26-Mar-1999)


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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