TCRAP_Public/990908.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

      Wednesday, September 8, 1999, Vol. 2, No. 174


* C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G *

BUILDER'S HARDWARE MARKETING: Facing winding-up petition
CELESTIAL ASIA SECURITIES: Posts first-half loss
EASYKNIT INT'L HOLDINGS: Reaches standstill arrangement
JOHNSON TELECOMMUNICATION: Facing petition for winding up
LEE & POON CO.: Facing petition for winding up
MUNDOGAS FAR EAST TRADING: Facing petition for winding up
SAMAX HOLDINGS: Facing petition for winding up
STRONG HAPPY DEVELOPMENT: Facing petition for winding up
SWANK INTERNATIONAL: Posts first-half loss
WAI SHUN CONSTRUCTION CO.: Facing petition for winding up

* K O R E A *

DAEWOO GROUP: 10 affiliates to be put under bank mgmt
DAEWOO GROUP: Securities arm taken over by 9 banks
DAEWOO GROUP: Sale of Daewoo Electronics to be delayed
DAEWOO GROUP: Dispute over funding delays workout
DAEWOO GROUP: Vendors calling for earlier funding
DAEWOO GROUP: Export goal to be reduced
DAEWOO GROUP: Vision for Daewoo Motors shared
HAITAI BEVERAGE: Sale talks near consummation
HYUNDAI GROUP: Electronics chairman to be questioned
SEOUL BANK: Gov't to inject second funding

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

BELLE CORP.: Directorship squabble nearing settlement
C&P HOMES: Expects restructuring by end of the year
MONDRAGON LEISURE AND RESORT: Court to adopt settlement
NATIONAL STEEL CORP.: Creditors to foreclose on assets

* S I N G A P O R E *

GREAT EASTERN LIFE: Proposes restructuring

* T H A I L A N D *

KRUNG THAI BANK: 15% of NPLs restructured
NAKORNTHON BANK: Guarantee terms to StanChart not revealed
THAI FARMERS BANK: To close finance unit,transfer bad loans
THAI MELON POLYESTER: Asks 2 creditors for debt rehab deals

C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G

BUILDER'S HARDWARE MARKETING: Facing winding-up petition
The High Court of Hong Kong Sar has scheduled a hearing for
October 27 on the petition of B.S.C. Builders Equipment
Limited for the winding up of Builder's Hardware Marketing
Limited. A notice of legal appearance must be filed on or
before October 26.

CELESTIAL ASIA SECURITIES: Posts first-half loss
Celestial Asia Securities Holdings recorded a net loss of
$32.6M for the first half of this year.  The financial
services company recorded a turnover of $79.9M for the six
months ended June 30, representing a 25.1% fall from the
same period of the last year.  But its operating loss
widened from 22.4M for 1998 first half to $32.6M for the
first half.

EASYKNIT INT'L HOLDINGS: Reaches standstill arrangement
Debt-laden garment exporter Easyknit International Holdings
has obtained consent from its principal creditor banks not
to force debt repayment of about $700 million.

Chairman Matthew Koon Wing-yee said the group entered into
a standstill agreement on Thursday with HSBC and Standard
Chartered Bank on loans of about $580 million and $120
million respectively until the end of the year.

"We are delighted to have received support from our banks.
Despite what some news media reports have said, the value
of our assets are actually greater than that of our debt,"
he said.  "We also hold garment export quotas worth over
$300 million, which could be sold to repay debt if needed."

About 70 per cent of the quotas are currently used by the
company for its export business.  Mr Koon said the group's
properties were worth about $760 million, higher than the
$700 million owed to the two banks.  Since its attempt to
raise $300 million via a rights issue was voted down by
shareholders last year, the group has sold "several hundred
million dollars" worth of properties to reduce debt.  The
disposals resulted in an exceptional loss of about $381.56
million.  (South China Morning Post  04-Sep-1999)

JOHNSON TELECOMMUNICATION: Facing petition for winding up
The High Court of Hong Kong Sar has scheduled a hearing for
November 3 on the petition of Wu Yuen Dong for the winding
up of Johnson Telecommunication Limited. A notice of legal
appearance must be filed on or before November 2.

LEE & POON CO.: Facing petition for winding up
The High Court of Hong Kong Sar has scheduled a hearing for
October 20 on the petition The Hongkong and Shanghai
Banking Corporation Limited for the winding up of Lee &
Poon Company Limited. A notice of legal appearance must be
filed on or before October 19.

MUNDOGAS FAR EAST TRADING: Facing petition for winding up
The High Court of Hong Kong Sar has scheduled a hearing for
November 3 on the petition of H. Clarkson & Co. Limited for
the winding up of Mundogas Far East Trading Limited. A
notice of legal appearance must be filed on or before
November 2.

SAMAX HOLDINGS: Facing petition for winding up
The High Court of Hong Kong Sar has scheduled a hearing for
October 6 on the petition Ng Yin Nam for the winding up of
Samax Holdings Limited. A notice of legal appearance must
be filed on or before October 5.

STRONG HAPPY DEVELOPMENT: Facing petition for winding up
The High Court of Hong Kong Sar has scheduled a hearing for
September 15 on the petition of Newmode Investments Limited
for the winding up of Strong Happy Development Limited. A
notice of legal appearance must be filed on or before
September 14.

SWANK INTERNATIONAL: Posts first-half loss
Debt-ridden eye-glass frame-maker Swank International
Manufacturing said its first half attributable loss shrank
to $2.28M from $46.94M last year after streamlining
operations.  It posted an operating profit of $41.82M
against an operating loss of $5.11M previously.

WAI SHUN CONSTRUCTION CO.: Facing petition for winding up
The High Court of Hong Kong Sar has scheduled a hearing for
November 3 on the petition of Shun Cheong Electrical
Engineering Company Limited for the winding up of Wai Shun
Construction Company Limited. A notice of legal appearance
must be filed on or before November 2.


DAEWOO GROUP: 10 affiliates to be put under bank mgmt
The Financial Supervisory Commission yesterday decided to
put 10 Daewoo affiliates under "bank-management," a policy
by which major creditor banks will take over all financial
affairs of the companies to speed up the recovery process.

The 10 Daewoo firms are Daewoo Electronics, Daewoo Telecom,
Daewoo Heavy Industries, Daewoo Motor Sales, Daewoo
Electronics Component, Ssangyong Motor, Daewoo Capital,
Kyeangnam Enterprise, Orion Electronics, and Diners Club of
Korea.  Daewoo Corporation and Daewoo Motors are excluded
from the decision.

With the final market-responsible recovery option, before
court receivership, in effect immediately, creditor banks
will appoint their staffs to supervise entire finance and
treasury issues of the 10 business units.  If necessary,
the banks will be able to shuffle companies' executive
board members during the bank-management type recovery

Without endorsement from bank-appointed supervisors, Daewoo
officials will not be able to get engaged in any business
issues involving financial terms from now.  Daewoo chairman
Kim Woo-choong will also lose all his managerial rights now
except for those overseeing the remaining two units. During
a meeting with 10 major creditor banks of Daewoo, Lee Hun-
jai, chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission,
instructed the bankers to implement the bank-management
policy for 10 Daewoo units presently under the "corporate
workout" scheme.

Lee added that the FSC will give exemptions to Daewoo's
local creditors from financial regulations to support their
immediate capital injection to troubled business arms of
Korea's second largest conglomerate.

"Daewoo's creditor banks will be exempted from the domestic
financial regulations governing their credit ceilings. They
are now allowed to offer funds to Daewoo affiliates in
excess of their credit ceilings," Lee said at a meeting of
the Korea Federation of Banks yesterday.

The new decision came after Daewoo creditors rejected an
additional provision of rescue funds to seven major
affiliates of the group under the forced restructuring
plan.  A total of 93 local financial institutions last week
turned down the recovery plan for Daewoo's seven major
subsidiaries including Daewoo Corporation, Daewoo Motor and
Daewoo Heavy Industries while endorsing a rescue package
for other five smaller business arms.

As the investment and trust companies strongly voiced
against the indefinite financial support for Daewoo's major
subsidiaries, which are virtually on the verge of
bankruptcy, the government decided to resolve the issue
with banks only under the so-called bank-management

Earlier 102 local creditors reached a decision to put 12
business units of the group under the drastic corporate
workout plan.  The 12 were Daewoo Corp., Daewoo Telecom,
Daewoo Heavy Industries, Daewoo Motor, Daewoo Motor Sales,
Daewoo Electronics, Daewoo Electronics Component, Ssangyong
Motor, Daewoo Capital, Kyeangnam Enterprise, Orion
Electronics, and Diners Club of Korea.

The major local creditor banks agreed, in principle, to
offer additional 2-3 trillion won worth of new rescue funds
to prevent a near collapse of Daewoo's financial system
while freezing the group's debt repayment for another three
months.  However, just over a week into the corporate
workout scheme, problems have plagued Daewoo's major
business arms.

Daewoo Motor has run into serious challenges in the wake of
the group's financial breakdown as its suppliers and
subcontractors now demand to see cash instead of letters of
credit.  Daewoo Electronics has experienced a similar
problem as its rival Samsung Group has halted provision of
parts while local banks refused to honor its previously
issued letters.  Daewoo Heavy Industries is in no better
position with new orders from overseas decreasing.  As of
the end of August it had received $510 million in new
orders, far short of its $2.9 billion monthly target.
(Korea Times  06-Sep-1999)

DAEWOO GROUP: Securities arm taken over by 9 banks
Daewoo Securities said nine banks owed money by Daewoo
Group will spend about 400 billion won (S$559 million) to
double their stake in the brokerage in a bid to hive it off
from its ailing parent and sell it.

Nine commercial lenders that are creditors of Daewoo Group
will buy 22.78 million new shares in the brokerage later
this month, said Mr Lim Sung Woon, a Daewoo Securities
official.  That will boost the combined stake held by all
creditors -- not just the nine lenders -- to 33 per cent,
from the 14.85 per cent taken over from Daewoo companies
this week.

Once the purchase is completed, creditors will ask Daewoo
Group to spin off the brokerage to block the near-insolvent
parent from using it to finance other troubled affiliates.
Creditors plan to sell Daewoo Securities overseas to
retrieve their investment.

"We want to have a comfortable controlling stake before the
sale," said Mr Choi Sung Kyu, a general manager at Korea
Exchange Bank, one of Daewoo's main creditors. "That will
make the sale easier, allowing us to garner a bigger
premium for the management."

The US$333 million rights offer will be allocated to Korea
Exchange Bank, Korea First Bank, SeoulBank, Hanvit Bank,
Cho Hung Bank, Korea Development Bank, Hana Bank, Koram
Bank and Kookmin Bank. Their shares have yet to be worked
out, Mr Lim said. He denied a report that Korea Exchange
Bank, 30.4 per cent-owned by Commerzbank, Germany's fifth-
largest bank, had proposed solely taking over Daewoo

Meanwhile, Daewoo Group affiliates, including its
automotive and electronics units, have been running their
plants at partial capacity this week because of a shortage
of components, according to media reports yesterday.  The
move suggests that the group, struggling with US$57 billion
in debts, is losing business even though its creditors
froze debt payments for 12 of the conglomerate's units,
including the motor and electronics affiliates, for about
three months. (Bloomberg News, Straits Times 04-Sep-1999)

DAEWOO GROUP: Sale of Daewoo Electronics to be delayed
The final contract on the sale of Daewoo Electronics is
likely to be delayed until some time after Sept. 9, the
previously announced date, an official of Hanvit Bank said

The official said the company's creditor banks recently
contacted Walid Aloma, the U.S. investment firm interested
in purchasing part of the electronics maker, giving notice
that creditors cannot approve any contract before assessing
the company's assets and liabilities through due diligence.
With Daewoo Electronics under a workout rehabilitation
program, the company's creditors have the right to manage
its sale. The final signing of a contract with Walid Aloma
is expected to be delayed for a considerable period as it
will take time for creditors to ascertain the company's
exact financial status and prepare for a sell off.

The official said the U.S. firm offered to hand over the
outcome of its assessment, which the creditors accepted.
"But this is just the result of Walid Aloma's evaluation,
not the creditors," he said, making it clear that it has no
intention of approving the U.S. firm's assessment.

He added that Walid Aloma is not an investor but a broker,
implying that creditors are not certain about its
capability to acquire Daewoo Electronics.  He said
creditors will determine the fate of the company Nov. 25
and are expected to negotiate with Walid Aloma on the
acquisition terms and price in the run-up to this date.
(Korea Herald  04-Sep-1999)

DAEWOO GROUP: Dispute over funding delays workout
Plans to institute workout procedures at Daewoo are facing
a major bottleneck due to conflicts between investment
trust firms and creditor banks on the extent of their roles
in providing core business units of the troubled
conglomerate with operating funds.

Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) head Lee Hun-jae
plans to convene a meeting with ten creditor banks Monday
to urge them to expedite the implementation of Daewoo's
restructuring. Officials of Daewoo's creditor's group
confirmed Sunday that they had held a meeting the day
before with various investment trust firms, but that the
two groups had been unable to settle the issue of how much
each would contribute to funding the workout of Daewoo.

With investment trust firms unhappy that the banks had
tried to get them to shoulder more responsibility, the two
parties failed to come up with any solution on how to come
up with operating funds for seven core Daewoo subsidiaries
including Daewoo Corp., Daewoo Motor and Daewoo Heavy

Creditor banks argued their case, saying that the net worth
of Daewoo subsidiaries would go up in the due course of
workout measures and that top priority would be given to
making repayments on such funding. Investment trust firms,
however, refused to bite, insisting on a clear-cut schedule
of interest payments on Daewoo-issued bonds and commercial
papers, citing their responsibility to investors.

With the two groups unable to come up with an agreement on
funding for the core units, the business group's plan to
launch a valuation of subsidiary assets and liabilities
next week has been delayed.  Despite the above impasse, the
two camps were able to come up with a plan on providing
operational funding to various non-core subsidiaries of
Daewoo.  (Digital ChosunIlbo, Korea Times  05-Sep-1999)

DAEWOO GROUP: Vendors calling for earlier funding
Daewoo vendors yesterday called for an earlier supply of
funds, by checking and supervising last outlets of
financial institutions.

Twelve vendors supplying goods to leading Daewoo
subsidiaries made the request at a meeting presided over by
Commerce, Industry and Energy Minister Chung Duck-koo at
the conference hall of the ministry.  They demanded that
the government check and supervise last outlets of
financial institutions so that all the commodity bills
already issued should be discounted and the bills to be
issued from this month should be normally discounted.

They also called for the increase of special financing
guarantee ceiling and a additional allocation from the
management stabilization fund for Daewoo vendors.
Minister Chung said that his ministry will promptly consult
with the financial authorities about the troubles Daewoo
vendors have been suffering, while checking the outlets of
financial institutions on extension of export funds.
Daewoo subsidiaries have been tied with some 10,000 primary
and secondary vendors, of which Daewoo Motor has 4,100,
Daewoo Heavy Industries 1,200 and Daewoo Electronics has

A total of 1,851 primary vendors to Daewoo Motor, Daewoo
Heavy Industries and Daewoo Electronics have a combined
trade volume worth 5 trillion won with the three major
Daewoo companies.  Daewoo Motor, Daewoo Electronics and
Daewoo Corp. have virtually faced reduction of L/Cs as the
ceiling was set at the level of outstanding volume with
many exports awaiting L/Cs as of Aug. 25 when they were put
under workout programs.  They claim that they cannot export
their goods as trade financing has been cut.

Other subsidiaries cannot conduct export activities as
their creditors have failed to agree on the ceiling for
import L/Cs and local L/Cs, Daewoo officials claimed.
On the other hand, Daewoo Motor has been obliged to cut
factory operation from two shifts to one in its Pupyong
plant, from 11 hours to eight at the Kunsan plant and from
24 hours to 16 at its Changwon plant as two major tire
makers of Kumho and Hankuk have demanded cash while
reducing volume.

Daewoo Electronics is now in normal operation except for
monitor lines. If Samsung Display Devices does not supply
Braun tubes for monitors, Daewoo monitor lines will have to
halt in two or three days after the inventories are used
up.  The ministry has said that the shipbuilding arm of
Daewoo Heavy Industries has been in normal operation.
(Korea Times 06-Sep-1999)

DAEWOO GROUP: Export goal to be reduced
Daewoo Corp., a trading arm of the Daewoo Group, is
expected to reduce its export goal for September due to
delayed financial support by its creditor banks.

"We will be obliged to trim the export goal for this month
from $1,850 million to $650 million as we have hardly
opened any local letters of credit (L/Cs) due to a delay in
receiving financial support from creditors," a Daewoo
spokesman said.

He added that Daewoo had expected to open local L/Cs as the
scale of financial support and timing were set at a
creditors meeting last Friday.  Last month, Daewoo also
projected $1,689 million in exports but saw a reduction of
some 15 percent to $1,257 million as it was put under a
"workout" program.

As a result, Daewoo expects it will be difficult to attain
its export goal of $17.6 billion for the whole of the year,
the spokesman said.

"Financial support should be made at the earliest possible
date as the export network is not easily recoverable once
it collapses," the spokesman said.   (Korea Times  06-Sep-

DAEWOO GROUP: Vision for Daewoo Motors shared
Daewoo Group Chairman Kim Woo-choong said that making
Daewoo Motor Co. one of the world's top-10 automakers will
be his last mission before retirement.

In a meeting with company emplyees in Yongin, south of
Seoul, Saturday, Kim said that the group will sell off its
assets and affiliates on a massive scale to divert its
remaining resources to the auto-making subsidiary. After
drastic debt cuts, Daewoo Motor will be reborn into a
healthy company, the chairman said.

"I will do my best to make Daewoo Motor Co. the 10th
largest in the world with annual domestic and overseas
production capacity of 2.5 million units," Kim said.

He then stressed that he will focus on an increase in
domestic sales, improved after-sales service and
development of quality parts.  But Kim admitted that he
failed to take proper measures to handle the domestic
financial market while focusing on overseas markets.

"We now will have to be reborn as a company which puts more
emphasis on cash flow and earning profits than on the size
of sales and assets," he said.  (Korea Herald  06-Sep-1999)

HAITAI BEVERAGE: Sale talks near consummation
Talks to sell off Haitai Beverage Co., which have dragged
on for over a year, may come to a conclusion as early as
today, its main creditor Chohung Bank (CHB) said yesterday.

The bank said that creditors of Haitai Beverage are
expected to sign a formal contract today to sell the Korean
company to Clarion Capital, a Hong Kong-based investment

"Negotiation officials from both companies are currently
making corrections in the wording of a sales contract," a
CHB official said. "Representatives from both sides are
expected to sign a contract as early as Sept. 6."

Bank sources said Clarion Capital proposed the highest
acquisition price of the ten interested buyers who offered
bids before the Aug. 16 deadline. The sources added that
the price offered by Clarion Capital was higher than the
236 billion won offered by the Korean food and beverage
maker, Cheiljedang.

If the contract is signed, sell-offs of other Haitai Group
subsidiaries Haitai Electronics, Haitai Distribution and
Haitai Co. are expected to pick up speed, bank sources
said. Haitai Group, one of Korea's best-known
confectioners, filed for bankruptcy in November of 1997.
After talks broke down with Cheiljedang in early August,
CHB sought foreign buyers and selected Clarion Capital,
which offered the highest amount.  (Korea Herald  06-Sep-

HYUNDAI GROUP: Electronics chairman to be questioned
South Korean prosecutors will summon a key member of the
founding family of the giant Hyundai Group this week to
question him about alleged stock price rigging, news
reports said yesterday.  Chung Mong-Hun, 51, chairman of
Hyundai Electronics, will be summoned for questioning on
September 9, prosecution authorities were quoted as saying
by the Joongang daily.

"It is inevitable to have to investigate chairman Chung to
get to the bottom of this incident," a prosecutor was
quoted as saying.

Prosecutors will reportedly question Chung on whether the
Chung family members ordered the alleged manipulation of
Hyundai units' share prices, which made headlines here and
sent ripples throughout financial markets.  At the centre
of the case is Lee Ik-Chi, head of Hyundai Securities, who
allegedly mobilized some 210 billion won (US$178 million)
from several Hyundai units and rigged the share price of
Hyundai Electronics.

Hyundai Securities raked in some 150 billion won in profits
by selling Hyundai Electronics convertible bonds and stocks
in December last year after manipulating the price,
prosecutors said.  As a result, the securities house posted
a 130 billion won surplus, although it had expected to
suffer a considerable deficit.

But the Hyundai Group denied the allegations, saying
Hyundai Securities bought the shares only for investment
rather than to manipulate their price.  Prosecutors also
grilled Lee Kye-An, president of Hyundai Motor, and Noh
Jung-Ik, head of the group's restructuring team, on whether
they were involved in the suspected manipulation scheme.
Early this week, prosecutors plan to summon the CEOs of
Hyundai Heavy Industry and Hyundai Merchant Marine for
questioning.  (Business Day  06-Sep-1999)

SEOUL BANK: Gov't to inject second funding
South Korea said it would spend another 4.5 trillion won
(US$3.8 billion) by around September 20 to keep SeoulBank
afloat after HSBC Holdings abandoned a six-month takeover

The Korea Stock Exchange suspended trading in the bank's
shares, with the Financial Supervisory Commission declaring
it a non-viable lender today.  The government spent 1.5
trillion won ($1.3 billion) in January 1998 to prop up the
bank, taking a 94 percent stake in return. The Korea Asset
Management, a state agency known as Kamco that was
responsible for cleaning up the banking system, has since
injected 400 billion won in return for taking over bad

"Korea Deposit Insurance will inject 3.4 trillion won into
SeoulBank, while Kamco will provide 1.1 trillion won in the
form of buying bad loans this month," said Nahm Sang Duck,
an FSC director-general.

HSBC, the biggest UK bank, ended its $900 million bid for
SeoulBank on Tuesday, choosing to avoid problem loans
rather than expand in Asia's fourth-largest economy.
The Korean government said it will hire a foreign chief
executive or financial institution to help turn around
SeoulBank, one of Korea's 10 largest lenders, which lost
755 billion won in the six months through June.

The new cash aid to SeoulBank means minority shareholders
will have their shares canceled and the lender will be
wholly owned by the state.  (Bloomberg, Business Day  06-


BELLE CORP.: Directorship squabble nearing settlement
It may have been a shotgun proposal but for feuding
shareholders of property and gaming firm Belle Corp.
(Belle), it was the answer to a nearly three month-long

Sources privy to the talks told BusinessWorld that an
amicable settlement between the two camps have been reached
over the weekend and would be sealed today.  Under the
agreement, the group led by former Trade and Industry
Minister Robert V. Ongpin will buy out stockbroker Wilson
L. Sy and Belle director Hans T. Sy, son of mall tycoon
Henry Sy, Sr. for 4 billion Philippine pesos (US$100.59
million at PhP39.766=US$1).  The 800 million shares, or
nearly 27% of company's outstanding three billion shares,
will be sold to the Ongpin camp at PhP5 ($0.125) apiece.
The Ongpin group reportedly control 20% of Belle.

Mr. Sy, who was scheduled to leave for abroad on Tuesday,
cancelled his trip to be able to sign the agreement with
Mr. Ongpin, sources said.  Mr. Wilson Sy was unavailable
for comment last Friday.  Under the agreement, stockbrokers
Benito Tan Guat and his son Willy G. Ocier will keep their
board seats as they have been longtime associates of Mr.

Among those who will exit with Mr. Sy are incumbent Belle
president Gregorio T.Yu and the corporate lawyers who were
nominated to the board, Edmundo L. Tan of Tan, Acut and
Madrid Law Offices, and Ma. Louisa M. Gonzales and A.
Bayani K. Tan.

"They're leaving not because they need the money. But PhP5
is a good price," a source privy to the talks said.

Last week, Belle closed at PhP3.45 ($0.087), a 6.15%
increase over the previous week's closing price at PhP3.25
($0.081) following reports of the settlement.  Earlier, it
was proposed that either party buy the other out -- under
an "all-or-nothing" term.  The group led by stockbrokers
Willy Ocier and Wilson Sy were earlier willing to sell for
PhP5 apiece their combined 1.5 billion shares equivalent to
a 50% stake, or PhP7.5 billion ($188.6 million).

The Ongpin group, however, was said to be short of funds
with only PhP3.75 billion ($94.2 million) at hand.  The
Ocier-Sy camp was said to be willing to sell out provided
the Ongpin group delivers half of the amount within two
weeks.  Mr. Ongpin is said to be in Hong Kong enlisting the
support of possibly Hong Kong-based investment fund
Templeton Emerging Markets Fund and businessman Li Ka

Should Mr. Ongpin fails in his mission, sources said the
tables will be turned and it will be the Ocier-Sy camp
which will buy out the Ongpin group at PhP4.40 ($0.11) a
share, sources claimed. A source close to the Ongpin camp
said former Belle chairman and AIA Capital managing
director Jaime C. Gonzales is abroad "negotiating for the
deal." Mr. Gonzales is expected to gain back his seat with
Mr. Ongpin in Belle's 15-man board. Shares held by the
Ongpin group were reportedly equivalent to three board

Speculation in the stock market was also rife that
government has put its foot down and said that it wants to
see the issue settled soon.  Sources said this is to pave
the way for a forthcoming court approval of the Philippine
Amusement and Gaming Corp.'s (Pagcor) authority to operate
jai alai games.  Court sources, however, said the Supreme
Court has yet to schedule a hearing on the case.

State gaming regulator Pagcor agreed with Belle Jai-alai
Corp. and Filipinas Gaming and Entertainment Totalizator
Corp. (Filgame) to run jai alai games.  Under the
agreement, Pagcor will manage, operate and control the jai
alai operations while Belle will provide the financing.
Filgame, on the other hand, has agreed to allow the use of
jai alai fronton facilities in Manila.

Rumors surrounding the settlement talks even point to the
Office of the President floating an idea that Belle gives
up its interest in jai alai and concentrate on its property
ventures.  For some industry observers, focusing on its
core business of property development could have been the
possible peace settlement they are waiting for which would
pave the way for feuding shareholders of the company to
accept the peace leaf.  The company remains firm on its
plans to focus on its two core businesses.

"It does not sound correct (the proposal to let go of
gaming) because we have made clear statements with the
company that we are going to focus on property and gaming,"
Eric O. Recto, senior vice-president for finance and chief
financial officer for Belle Corp., earlier told

While both camps have agreed to keep mum on the talks until
the ownership issues are settled, the source said that
there were different proposals floated around to settle the
dispute.  One proposal is to spin off Belle's gaming
interests into a separate company.

"It's been a theory ever since. It's not illogical but
whoever takes over the gaming interest has to take into
account how much Belle has invested and whether the price
could offset the (loss in prospective) profits," the source
earlier said.

Shareholders, however, preferred the shotgun proposal, or
the process of buying out each other since the personal
relationships between the two parties could not be restored
to what it once was.  Meanwhile, at the Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC), the "ousted" board members are
getting ready to drop charges filed against the incumbent
Belle board.

A BusinessWorld source said under the agreement reached
between the Ongpin and Ocier groups, the former will drop
all cases filed with the SEC once the Belle shares are
formally transferred to Mr. Ongpin.  The Ongpin group has
until Sept. 15 to raise the needed funds.  The commission,
however, has not yet received formal word from both the
Ocier and Ongpin groups on the amicable settlement that
would put the Belle case to rest, an SEC hearing officer
said.  (Business World  06-Sep-1999)

C&P HOMES: Expects restructuring by end of the year
Listed property firm C&P Homes, Inc. expects to restructure
three-billion-peso (US$75 million at PhP39.766:US$1) of its
15-billion-peso (US$377 million) debts by the end of the
year, courting creditor banks with either a dacion en pago
(payment in kind) or a longer repayment arrangement.

"Negotiations with the banks are now on their final stages.
We expect to rationalize some of our debts by yearend. An
outright settlement by dacion is one of the proposal we
made wherein we will use our raw lands to pay for our
loans," C&P Homes president Jerry Navarette said in an
interview after the company's stockholders' meeting at BF
Resort Village in Las Pi¤as last Friday.

Mr. Navarette said negotiations are now concentrated on
what properties would be acceptable to all parties.  As
this developed, BusinessWorld sources said the property
firm is now moving to meet the trust deed conditions of its
$150-million debt papers or floating rate notes due in

These include pumping its net worth to more than PhP11
billion (US$277 million) as compared to PhP8.35 billion
(US$210 million) last year. Likewise, the firm has to
improve the ratio of its real estate held for sale and
development against its tangible net worth so as not to
exceed a 1.2:1 ratio.  Earlier, its board of directors
approved an increase in the company's capital stock to
PhP15 billion (US$377 million) from PhP5 billion (US$126

Major shareholders agreed to subscribe to PhP3.8 billion
(US$95 million) of the adjusted capital stock, paying in
full either in cash or shares of stock of other
corporations acceptable to C&P.  C&P has existing credit
lines with several local banks, with Philippine Commercial
International Bank (PCIBank) having the largest exposure.
Most of these loans are set to expire in 2001.

During the first half of the year, C&P Homes reported an
87% drop in its net income, down PhP27 million (US$680,000)
from PhP213 million (US$5.3 million) during the same period
last year. This was attributed to higher interest expense
as well as cancellation of sales. For the full year 1998,
the company also registered a net loss of PhP3.4 billion
(US$85 million).

Meanwhile, sources said it would be better if C&P's major
shareholders will infuse PhP3.8 billion (US$95 million) in
cash rather than properties or stocks in other companies to
prevent any problem on valuation.

"While adding more properties to C&P's landbank might boost
its net asset values, the company will have to prioritize
liquidity to get projects rolling," an industry source

Last week, C&P announced it sold PhP632-million (US$15.9
million) worth of shares to Cameron Global Ltd., a firm
registered in the British Virgin Islands.  The purchase
represents 13% of C&P's outstanding capital.  The shares to
be sold would come from the company's unissued capital
stock.   C&P also plans to sell PhP4.6 billion (US$116
million) in new stocks.  (Business World  06-Sep-1999)

MONDRAGON LEISURE AND RESORT: Court to adopt settlement
The Supreme Court yesterday washed its hands off the
dispute between the Mondragon Leisure and Resorts Corp.
(MLRC) and the Clark Development Corp. (CDC) and instead
told the parties to settle their differences.

In its regular en banc session, the High Tribunal third
division failed to act on CDC's request for the Court to
order the Angeles Regional Trial Court to issue a writ of
execution and allow the government to take over Mimosa's
assets in Clarkfield, Pampanga.  Instead, the Court said it
will soon declare final the compromise settlement it
approved on July 15.  "Let entry of judgment be made in due
course," the Court said in a one-page resolution.

A BusinessWorld source at the Supreme Court said by
ordering the inclusion of the compromise agreement in the
book of judgments, it effectively told the parties to
"stick to the settlement, which is the contract between

The official said it is unlikely the five-member division
will still discuss the case in its next session tomorrow.
The matter is not included in its agenda.  Under legal
rules, a ruling becomes final and executory after the lapse
of 15 days and either party makes no further appeal.  Its
entry in the book of judgments can be delayed by the
service of notices to all parties involved.

In an earlier motion for entry of judgment, CDC said a
final and executory ruling will pave the way for the
Angeles RTC to issue a writ of execution in light of
Mimosa's default in the payment of the first 325-million-
peso (US$8.2 million at PhP39.755:US$1) installment on
August 28.

The compromise reached in July had the Mondragon Group
promising to pay in seven installments PhP325 million by
way of rental arrears. The first payment was not paid in
time two weeks ago.  In addition, MLRC would also have to
pay PhP110 million (US$2.7 million) a year for 44 years
with a 10% increment for the first 10 years and 9.5%
increment for the remaining years. The amount does not
include some PhP125 million (US$3.1 million) in back dues
to the Bureau of Internal Revenue and Philippine Amusement
and Gaming Corp. (Pagcor).

Over the past week, the Supreme Court has consistently
chose to rule in favor of any of the parties.  Aside from
refusal to order the RTC to issue a writ of execution, as
per CDC's request, it also ignored MLRC's motion to extend
the period to pay its debts to CDC.

Despite the High Court's decision, CDC asked the Supreme
Court to rule on its ongoing dispute with MLRC.  This
developed as Mondragon shares jump 35% to PhP1.20 per share
yesterday on talks that a new investor -- allegedly former
Belle director Wilson Sy -- is acquiring a respectable
portion of the distressed firm following the sale of its
stake in the listed gaming company.

However, industry sources said such talks may have been
intentionally disseminated to raise the value of MLRC
shares.  MLRC is said to be negotiating with a foreign
investor who will put in $175 million in fresh equity.
In a motion, CDC asked the Supreme Court to enter into its
"book of entries of judgement" a decision agreed upon by
CDC and MLRC last June.

The compromise agreement, which was imprimatured by the
High Tribunal, calls for MLRC's payment of PhP325 million
in back rental obligations over a six-month period,
beginning August 28. Failure to do would mean MLRC's
voluntary turnover of the Mimosa property.

CDC quoted Section 4 of the 1997 Rules on Civil Procedure,
which states that "if there is no appeal or motion for a
new trial or reconsideration if filed within the time
provided in these rules, the judgment or final resolution
shall forthwith be entered by the clerk in the book of
entries of judgments. The date when the final judgment or
final resolution becomes executory shall be deemed as the
date of its entry."

"Wherefore, it is respectfully prayed that an order be
issued so that the regional trial court of Angeles City can
now commence proceedings," CDC said in its petition.
The state agency as well as creditor banks of MLRC are now
on the lookout for a new investor who will operate the
leisure estate.

Creditor banks such as the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co.
(MBTC), Asian Bank and United Coconut Planters Bank (UCPB)
have denied MLRC's proposal for a payment-in-kind
arrangement. They likewise declined to give further loans
to MLRC.  (Business World  06-Sep-1999)

NATIONAL STEEL CORP.: Creditors to foreclose on assets
Creditor banks have decided to move in on the assets of
cash-strapped National Steel Corp. (NSC) and will initiate
foreclosure proceedings within the week.

It was learned over the weekend that the consortium of 14
creditor banks is ready to proceed with the foreclosure to
safeguard NSC's assets worth an estimated 24 billion
Philippine pesos (US$603.53 million at PhP39.766=US$1).
A source said the group doubts NSC could find an investor
which would put in the required capital to enable the steel
maker to reverse its losing skein and pay off some PhP14
billion ($352.06 million) in loans it owes the members of
the consortium.

The source said foreclosure proceedings will be initiated
through regular courts, in particular, in Iligan City where
NSC has its plant.  Under existing laws, foreclosure
proceedings are filed before regular courts and not the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which oversees
rehabilitation efforts of ailing firms.

But the SEC could still enter the picture if NSC decides to
seek its help by filing for debt relief. And if NSC beats
the creditors to the draw, the case would automatically be
under SEC's jurisdiction.  NSC could easily avail of the
debt suspension protection as its assets are more than
enough to cover its liabilities.

Under SEC rules, as long as companies seeking debt relief
have more assets than liabilities, they can avail of debt
reprieve.  Two months ago, NSC's creditor banks threatened
to foreclose on the firm's mortgaged assets after it failed
to meet maturing obligations. But the banks later agreed to
a 45-day grace period to enable the beleaguered firm find
an investor who could put in new capital.

Last year, NSC was able to iron out a debt restructuring
deal with its creditor banks. About 50% of the steel firm's
obligations was extended a one-year moratorium, plus a
three-year repayment schedule. The other half was given a
two-year moratorium and a three-year grace period.  The
banks agreed to the deal since the company's debts are
fully covered by assets worth at the time of some PhP20
billion ($502.9 million).

But despite the temporary reprieve, NSC could still not
meet its obligations, forcing banks to consider
foreclosure.  There have been reports that NSC had received
offers from a white knight willing to infuse up to $50
million in working capital to the troubled firm. Sources
said NSC received "firm offers" from a consortium of
Filipino investors and Duferco S.A. of Switzerland and from
Ispat International.

Ispat International reportedly offered a $20-million cash
infusion as working capital and another $10 million to $15
million but in the form of raw material. In return, it
wants a 30% equity share, with "no cash out."  (Business
World  06-Sep-1999)


GREAT EASTERN LIFE: Proposes restructuring
Great Eastern Life Assurance (GE Life) will be revamped to
give the group greater flexibility to develop new business
and expand operations in an intensely competitive
environment resulting from the impending liberalisation of
the industry.

Under the proposed restructuring, a new financial holding
company, Great Eastern Holdings (GE Holdings), will be
formed in Singapore.  GE shareholders will get one share in
the holding company for every share they own in GE. Upon
completion of the exercise -- expected before the year ends
-- GE Life will be delisted and GE Holdings will take its
place on the main board of the stock exchange.

With this move, GE Life, Singapore's largest home-grown
life insurer with assets of more than $10 billion, will
become a fully-owned subsidiary of this holding company.
After the restructuring, subject to tax, regulatory and
other issues, certain subsidiaries of GE Life may be
transferred to GE Holdings. During this time, an
intermediate holding company may be formed.

Giving the rationale for the holding company, GE Life said
in a statement yesterday that "the restructuring will place
the company in a better position to operate in an open and
competitive environment.

"It will further enhance the company's financial and
managerial flexibility to raise productivity, improve and
upgrade technical and IT competence, and be more pro-active
and innovative to compete effectively locally and in
foreign markets."

It added that there will be intense competition in the
industry with the impending liberalisation of the insurance
industry in Singapore and the entry of additional foreign
financial groups and insurers.  Currently, GE Life has
eight subsidiaries, four active and the rest dormant. The
active ones are Straits Lion Asset Management from
Singapore, GEL Capital (Malaysia), Great Eastern Life
Assurance (Malaysia),and the Indonesian-incorporated
Assuransi Jiwah Asih Great Eastern. Apart from these
countries, the company also has business in Brunei.

OCBC Bank has been appointed financial adviser in the
restructuring exercise. Currently, OCBC directly owns 42.4
per cent of GE Life, its associate company.  After the
revamp, OCBC will take up a 42.4 per cent stake in GE
Holdings. With the liberalisation of Singapore's insurance
industry, the revamp will beef up the group's operating
strength in an open and competitive environment.

GE Life's chief executive Tan Beng Lee said: "The
restructuring is intended to position Great Eastern
Holdings as not only a choice insurer but as a preferred
financial services provider as well."

On the group's expansion plans, Mr Tan said the group plans
to open offices in other parts of this region, possibly
Vietnam and Thailand.  The group, he stressed, will embark
on strategic alliances and acquisitions involving
companies, both local and foreign, "that will add value" to
the group.

On a possible tie-up with OAC Insurance, another associate
of the OCBC group, Mr Tan said there is a future
possibility. But there are no such plans now.  The
restructuring is subject to the approval and sanction of
the authorities, including the Monetary Authority of
Singapore, the stock exchange, and shareholders. (Straits
Times  04-Sep-1999)


KRUNG THAI BANK: 15% of NPLs restructured
Krung Thai Bank says it has restructured loans totalling
92.7 billion baht in the eight months to the end of August,
covering 6,753 customers.  The total represents nearly 15%
of the 630 billion baht in non-performing loans at Krung
Thai, a figure that includes bad loans transferred from
First Bangkok City Bank.

Dusit Tengniyom, senior executive vice-president, said the
vast majority of cases involved the rescheduling of payment
periods.  Only 2% of cases or 1.84 billion baht involved
write-downs on the principal or interest of outstanding
loans.  Restructured loans are transferred back to the
bank's retail and corporate lending units for management.
Mr Dusit said the results were "quite satisfactory", and
that the bank's asset management division would continue to
restructure and sell distressed assets.

Krung Thai plans to set up a new asset management company
by year-end, owned 51% by the Financial Institutions
Development Fund and 49% by the bank.  Details are still
being discussed with regulators about what types of assets
will be transferred, how profits and losses will be split
and the price of loans to be sold by the bank to the
management company.

Mr Dusit said the government might capitalise the new firm
using some funds injected into Krung Thai.  The central
bank's Financial Institutions Development Fund last month
injected 108 billion baht in capital into Krung Thai, and
now holds an 87% share.  By transferring bad loans to the
management company, Krung Thai can reduce pressure to set
aside loss provisions and capital constraints.  Targets
call for 15% of the bank's bad loans to be restructured
this year, 50% next year and 20% in 2001.  (Bangkok Post

NAKORNTHON BANK: Guarantee terms to StanChart not revealed
Banking authorities have failed to disclose to the public
the terms of the guarantee given to Standard Chartered Bank
for any potential losses arising from its takeover of
Nakornthon Bank's bad debts.

"The key that you need to watch are the terms of the
guarantee that the government is offering to the UK bank,"
said an investment banker, who asked not to be named. "For
only then will you know how attractive the deal is."

On Friday, Kiatchai Sophastienphong, director of the Bank
of Thailand's Financial Institutions Supervision and
Development Department, and Salinee Wangtal, NTB chief
executive, announced that Standard Chartered had won the
bidding for NTB.  The bank's name will be changed to
Standard Chartered Nakornthon Bank.

They did not name the other bidders for the Thai bank, but
said that under the deal the UK bank would pay Bt12.38
billion to the Financial Institutions Development Fund
(FIDF) in return for a 70 per cent stake in NTB. At the
same time, the FIDF will reduce its stake in the bank from
99 per cent to 24.99 per cent.

The deal is expected to be completed by Sept 10, and
Standard Chartered -- which will have five of its people
sitting on the nine-member board -- will start to run the
bank on Sept 13.  On July 12 this year, the authorities
decided to intervene in NTB after its shareholders' equity
had fallen below zero per cent due to the damage from its
non-performing loans (NPLs). Banks are required to maintain
8.5 per cent in equity as a cushion against risk assets at
all times.

The intervention saw a write-down of NTB's capital of more
than Bt2 billion to about Bt2 million as a punishment
against the shareholders. The FIDF then stepped in to
inject Bt7 billion into the bank, to bring its capital-
adequacy ratio into positive territory so that it could
continue to operate legally.

This implies that the initial damage at NTB is about Bt9
billion. The bank is presently saddled with Bt35 billion in
NPLs from its total assets of about Bt58 billion.  The
Bt12.38 billion injected by Standard Chartered will go
directly into the pocket of the FIDF, in return for it
giving the UK bank the right to run the ailing institution
with a controlling stake of 70 per cent.

On the surface, the FIDF makes a quick profit of Bt5
billion from this deal -- the difference between Bt12.38
billion and Bt7 billion.  But this does not take into
account a complicated yield maintenance and loss-and-gain
sharing scheme. Under yield maintenance, the FIDF is
obliged to compensate the UK bank for the loss of interest
revenue as a result of NTB's NPLs. This part is not,
however, disclosed.

Neither are the terms of the loss-and-gain sharing scheme.
It is reported that the FIDF will at most compensate
Standard Chartered for 85 per cent of the damage from the
irrecoverable NPLs over the next five years, but will also
stand to gain 85 per cent from any recovery of the NPLs
over the same period.  In this sense, the FIDF burden from
NTB is difficult to quantify, but Salinee has previously
said that the overall damage from the authorities' side is
likely to be Bt13.8 billion -- slightly higher than under
the old deal.

Under that arrangement, announced in the middle of the year
by the Wanglee management and Standard Chartered, the FIDF
would limit its losses in NTB to Bt13.3 billion in return
for a 20 per cent stake. Standard Chartered would pitch in
Bt6.2 billion for a 68.4 per cent stake, while the old
shareholders, including the Wanglees, would contribute
Bt800 million for a 11 per cent stake.

The FIDF also stood to make other gains from bonus stocks
and warrants, depending on NTB's recovery performance.
However, this deal was shot down by Finance Minister Tarrin
Nimmanahaeminda and the banking authorities as it gave the
impression that the Wanglees were passing the entire NPL
burden to the authorities, while they stood to make a
comeback at the bank.

"Politically, we could not accept the deal because it gave
the impression that the old shareholders were passing all
the burden to the public, while they stood to benefit from
the official bail-out," said a Finance Ministry source.

The authorities, therefore, waited until after June 30,
when NTB's equity fell below zero, and then intervened.
After that, they had to wait for two months to give other
bidders a chance to bid for NTB. Standard Chartered, keen
to enter the Thai retail banking market in a fully-fledged
way, revised its takeover package and won the day in
remarkable circumstances.  (The Nation  06-Sep-1999)

THAI FARMERS BANK: To close finance unit,transfer bad loans
Thai Farmers Bank (TFB) will shutter its insolvent Phatra
Finance unit, helped by 4.5 billion baht ($116 million) of
capital of government subsidies, central bank Governor
Chatu Mongkol Sonakul said.

Thailand's third largest bank, which bought Phatra outright
last year, will put most of the finance company's bad loans
into a new, wholly owned asset management unit. Remaining
assets will be absorbed into Thai Farmers, the governor

The plan is a compromise reached late Friday, several days
after TFB President Banthoon Lamsam asked the government to
nationalize Phatra. Thai Farmers has injected 7 billion
baht of new capital into Phatra since buying it.  Since
then, Phatra's default rate has about doubled to 80 percent
of all loans.  The 4.5 billion baht capital injection is
the amount liabilities exceed combined assets and equity
after provisioning for defaults, the governor said. Phatra
will forfeit its license.

The central bank would provide additional details of the
plan today, he said.  The decision comes just as Thai
Farmers executives leave for abroad to drum up investors
for a 24 billion baht share sale designed to pay for the
bank's own dud loans. About 40 percent of Thai Farmers'
loans are in arrears, compared to the 47.5 percent average
of all lenders nationwide.

There will be no impact on deposits at Phatra, which are
all guaranteed by the central bank, Chatumongkol said.
Phatra had deposits of about 50 billion baht at June 30.
Blanket guarantees on all bank and finance company loans
were pledged in 1997 by the government.

Phatra was always an affiliate of Thai Farmers, but the
bank bought the 92 percent it didn't already own in two
stages in 1997 and 1998, paying about 6 billion baht. After
the 1998 transaction, it then sold half of Phatra's
securities unit to Merrill Lynch & Co. for 2.65 billion
baht. The brokerage is now a completely separate unit.
(Bloomberg, Business Day  06-Sep-1999)

THAI MELON POLYESTER: Asks 2 creditors for debt rehab deals
In the hope of resuming operations, cash-strapped Thai
Melon Polyester Plc is asking its two major creditors --
Bangkok Bank and Siam Commercial Bank -- to agree to a debt
restructuring worth a combined Bt5.87 billion, according to
a statement from the company.

Moreover, Bangkok Bank has sued the company -- which ceased
operations last October -- demanding Bt1.703 billion
principal and accrued interest, while Siam Commercial Bank
has sent a letter urging it to repay all debts plus
interest of Bt4.166 billion.

Thai Melon's board, in the meantime, has resolved to borrow
Bt65 million from National Holding Co Ltd with the aim of
resuming operations, as well as a further US$100 million
from an unnamed agency.  The company has appointed Sanwa
International Finance Ltd of Hong Kong as adviser to
prepare its rehabilitation plan and seek a new strategic

Thai Melon has been threatened with delisting by the Stock
Exchange of Thailand, largely due to its poor financial
position.  In the second quarter, the company reported a
Bt423.466 million net loss, against a Bt779.187 million
loss in the same period last year.

However, it posted a steep net loss of Bt900.75 million in
the first half of the year, compared with a Bt820.15
million net loss in the same period of 1998. The hefty
first-half fall stemmed largely from a Bt811.9 million
interest payment.  (The Nation  06-Sep-1999)

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 1999.  All rights reserved.  ISSN: 1520-9482.

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