TCRAP_Public/990929.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 29, 1999, Vol. 2, No. 189


* C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G *

HUEY TAI INT'L.: Paying down debts
PEARL ORIENTIAL HOLDINGS: Posts first-half loss
YUE XIU ENTERPRISES: Audit done, debt rehab plan to follow

* I N D O N E S I A *

PT DUTA ANGGADA REALTY: Seeking restructure agreement

* J A P A N *

MINEBEA CO.: Posts first-half loss

* K O R E A *

DAEWOO ELECTRONICS: Sale still up in the air
DAEWOO GROUP: No preference to foreign creditors reiterated
DAEWOO GROUP: 4 subsidiaries to resume activities
HAITAI BEVERAGE: To be sold for $255 million
ORACLE KOREA: Fined 110 million won for unfair trading

* M A L A Y S I A *

CHASE PERDANA: Posts first-half loss
PARIT PERAK HOLDINGS: Posts annual loss
PENGKALEN HOLDINGS: Shrinks first-half loss

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

MONDRAGON INT'L PHILIPPINES: Foreclosures beginning
PHILIPPINE LONG DIST.TEL.: Facing 3 billion peso loss

* S I N G A P O R E *

KOBE STEEL: Restructuring organization
LC DEVELOPMENT: Net worth drops 75 percent
MEDIARING: Loss-producing company to be listed
NETWORK FOODS INT'L.: Shrinkgs first-half loss

* T H A I L A N D *

LAND & HOUSES: To sell shares, swap debt for equity
THAI TEL.& TEL.: Y2K woes on top of debt restructuring
WATTACHAK GROUP: To seek restructuring next month

C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G

HUEY TAI INT'L.: Paying down debts                         
Ailing property development and investment company Huey Tai
International has reduced its debts by more than $300
million since the end of March, according to executive
director Stanley Wong Kam-cheong.  The company repaid $300
million of debts by selling its Canadian securities
recently, incurring a slight exchange loss.

Last month, the company raised a further $300 million by
issuing a second batch of convertible redeemable bonds to
majority shareholder Chow Tai Fook Jewellery.  These will
be used to repay holders of the previous batch of the same
amount which are due within the next year.  Mr Wong said
the company's remaining debts were not due within the next
year. It had about $100 million in cash on hand.

At the end of March, Huey Tai owed $1.5 billion to banks
and other creditors. It plunged to a net loss of $677
million last year from a net profit of $20 million
previously.  Mr Wong said Huey Tai received a revised
premium offer from the Government to increase the plot
ratio of its luxury residential development at 35 Island
Road from 0.45 to 0.75.  The company has also entered into
an agreement with New World Development to jointly
redevelop the latter's plot at 33 Island Road.  (South
China Morning Post  28-Sep-1999)

PEARL ORIENTIAL HOLDINGS: Posts first-half loss            
Pearl Oriental Holdings' net loss in the first half of the
year widened to HK$90.71 million from HK$68.98 million in
the previous period, partly due to a provision for the fall
in value of completed properties for sale.

The company said it planned to move away from property to
technology business.  In view of the future direction,
directors have decided to change the company's name to
Pearl Oriental Cyberforce.  Chairman Wong Kwan said
millions would be invested in the move and the funds would
probably be raised in the market.

Mr Wong said the company would apply to the government for
a licence in wireless fixed telecommunications services
before the end of the month.  It would also seek to list
Stockonline, in which Pearl Oriental has a controlling
stake, on Nasdaq in the United States within six months by
issuing new shares, he said. Stockonline might invite
strategic investors to join the company before the Nasdaq

Stockonline's revenues last year were US$4.5 million.  
Pearl Oriental would also focus on broadband networks and
data transmission services.  During the period, Pearl
Oriental suffered from the poor situation in the property
market. The operating loss expanded from last year's
HK$60.84 million to this year's HK$74.77 million while
exceptional losses grew to HK$16.9 million from HK$8.18
million.  Exceptional losses included a HK$14.6 million
provision for diminution in value of completed properties
for sale and a HK$2.3 million provision for fall in value
of long-term investments. Directors said no interim
dividend would be paid.  (South China Morning Post  28-Sep-

YUE XIU ENTERPRISES: Audit done, debt rehab plan to follow
An auditor's report has been completed for mainland-backed
Yue Xiu Enterprises (Holdings) and a debt restructuring
plan should be floated in mid-October, according to banking

The Hong Kong-based conglomerate, backed by the mainland's
Guangzhou municipal government, appointed four major banks
in June to arrange a refinancing to convert all of Yue
Xiu's unsecured debt into one master secured facility.  The
firm commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) to prepare a
due diligence report on existing assets, as well as on
three assets to be injected by the Guangzhou government,
namely Guangzhou City Construction & Development Holdings,
Dong Fang Hotel Group and Mingquanju holiday resort.

Banking sources said they had been invited to collect the
report from PWC's office this week.  Bankers said they did
not exp ect many surprises in the report, which they hoped
would show that Yue Xiu's finances were in a relatively
good state.  Bankers earlier estimated Yue Xiu's debts
stood at about HK$5.5 billion, which was far less than the
US$3.9 billion liabilities at Guangdong Enterprises
(Holdings), another mainland enterprise in restructuring

Yue Xiu ran into debt-servicing difficulties after the
unexpected closure of the Guangdong International Trust and
Investment Corp (Gitic) in October led to a virtually
universal tightening of credit to mainland firms.  The four
arrangers of the refinancing, Bank of China, Bank of East
Asia, HSBC and SG, collectively hold more than 40 per cent
of Yue Xiu's debts.  (South China Morning Post  28-Sep-


PT DUTA ANGGADA REALTY: Seeking restructure agreement
Publicly listed PT Duta Anggada Realty (JSX:DART) is
seeking to secure an agreement from its 70 creditors to
restructure its debt of $ 329.6 million.

The company operating in land acquisition, office building
and housing construction, had offered alternatives to
settle its debts, its finance director Ventje Suandana said
Thursday.  (Asia Pulse  24-Sep-1999)


MINEBEA CO.: Posts first-half loss
Minebea Co. (TSE: 6479) announced Wednesday it calculates 5
billion yen in consolidated net loss for the half-year
through Sept. 30, compared with a profit of 2.5 billion yen
in the same period last year.

The large-scale miniature ball-bearing maker will mark 22
billion yen in loss on the sale of its group credit firms.
Minebea plans to sell its domestic credit firm to Texas-
based Lone Star Fund for 3.5 billion yen. The company also
plans to liquidate its three overseas credit firms within a
year.  On a parent-only basis for the half-year, Minebea
calculates a 42.1 billion yen extraordinary loss and a 22.5
billion yen net loss, compared with a net profit of 3.1
billion yen for fiscal 1998 first-half.

The firm, however, will not alter its plans to pay an
interim dividend of 7 yen.  For the full year through March
2000, consolidated pretax profit is expected to rise 14% to
23 billion yen and consolidated net profit is forecast at 1
billion yen.  (Asia Pulse  24-Sep-1999)


DAEWOO ELECTRONICS: Sale still up in the air
The sale of Daewoo Electronics to a foreign buyer, which
had been expected to be the first of many Daewoo unit sell-
offs to overseas investors, remains up in the air.

Daewoo had announced last month that the firm would be sold
to U.S. investors, including Walid Alomar, for US$3.2
billion and that the main sales contract would be signed
September 9. According to Daewoo Tuesday, however, no
progress has been made in the deal and U.S. investors are
still reviewing documents pertaining to the assets of the
firm. The local creditor group of Daewoo Electronics is
expected to review the sell-off plan as the delay has dealt
a heavy blow to their effort to improve the financial
status of the firm before the end of the year.  (Digital
ChosunIlbo  28-Sep-1999)

DAEWOO GROUP: No preference to foreign creditors reiterated           
Korea's top financial official stressed again that Daewoo
Group's foreign creditors will not be given preferential
treatment in the repayment of the group's $10 billion
overseas debt.

Minister of Finance and Economy Kang Bong-kyun said during
a meeting with reporters Tuesday that there will definitely
be no incentives offered to Daewoo's foreign creditors,
meaning that the government has no intention of extending
guarantees for the group's foreign liabilities.

"I have had a number of discussions with foreign finance
ministers and company heads, and the most frequently asked
questions involve the Daewoo case. In regard to Daewoo's
foreign debt, I have stated my position firmly that there
will be no incentives provided to foreign creditors," said
Kang who is visiting the United States to attend the 54th
annual IMF-World Bank meeting at Marriott Hotel.

The top official added that Daewoo's foreign creditors
should work in close cooperation with local creditor banks.

"Daewoo's overseas creditors must be more actively involved
with the forced restructuring process. The government will
promise equal treatment to foreign creditors," Kang said.

The minister added that he expressed the same view during
his meetings with the chairmen of Chase Manhattan Bank and
Tokyo-Mitsubishi Bank, stressing that a global status does
equate to preferential treatment.  Yet Kang's controversial
statement runs counter to President Kim Dae-jung's
assurances which were issued earlier in the week.

President Kim said during an interview with a foreign press
that he will make sure Daewoo's foreign creditors not incur
any loss from the corporate failure.  He said it is
necessary to protect the interests of Seoul's international
community by keeping the nation's sovereign rating and
reputation unharmed.

Local financial regulators, who lead the forced
restructuring process for Daewoo, and the group's some 240
foreign creditors have been in a serious confrontation for
the last two months. The foreign creditor group has
demanded the government's assurance on the group's overseas
liabilities while the local financial authorities have
argued that they cannot guarantee private sector deals.  On
the issue of Korea's remarkable comeback from the crisis,
Kang said that the government is concerned with sustaining
the growth.

"Korea is no longer focused on increasing the growth level.
We now need to sustain it," he said.

The nation, which thrived on expansion and growth for the
past 30 years, contracted by 5.5 percent in 1998, following
the most severe financial crisis in Korea's history.  But
the economy quickly bounced back this year, with the IMF
forecasting that Korea's economy will grow by 6.5 percent
supported by a low interest rate policy, lack of immediate
inflationary pressure, and stable currency.

Signaling an early graduation from IMF stewardship, Korea's
year-on-year GDP growth posted 9.8 percent in the second
quarter of this year after it had registered a 4.6 percent
increase in the first quarter.  Regarding the recent
proposal from the "Group of Twenty (G-20)" to join others
in helping heavily indebted poor countries (HIPCs), Korea
will soon contribute to the cause.

"Korea will provide a total of $10 million to the G-20 to
help poor parts of the world. The total financial package
created by 20 IMF member nations will be around $27.4
billion," Kang said.

He said it is highly likely that Korea will be a member
country of the G-20 with a recommendation from his Canadian
counterpart Paul Martin who is to assume leadership of the
group.  Ministers of 20 nations agreed to more rapid debt
relief in fostering sustainable development and poverty
reduction among the HIPCs. They will meet in Germany in
December to mark the official inauguration of the group.  
(Korea Times  28-Sep-1999)

DAEWOO GROUP: 4 subsidiaries to resume activities          
Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) spokesperson Kim
Young-jae said Tuesday that out of the 12 Daewoo
subsidiaries that have been place under workout programs,
four will be able to resume issuing company bonds and
commercial papers. Kim said that as a result, Daewoo Heavy
Industries (DHI), Daewoo Electronics, Daewoo Telecom and
Orion Electric are planning to make issues worth an
estimated combined amount of W10 trillion next month.

These four units have been in better financial shape that
other Daewoo subsidiaries and will be allowed to issue new
bonds at 70-80% of the book value of existing bonds and
commercial papers. Various financial institutions have
agreed to guarantee the new bonds.

The spokesperson added that the proceeds from the new
issuance would go towards paying off a W10-trillion portion
the total W28-trillion worth of corporate bonds and
commercial papers previously issued by Daewoo. According to
Kim, the move will help to ease the chill on the local bond
market. According to local financial regulations, the four
subsidiaries have had room in their financial structure to
newly issue W12.8 trillion in bonds as of the end of June.  
(Digital ChosunIlbo  28-Sep-1999)

HAITAI BEVERAGE: To be sold for $255 million
Haitai Beverage Co., a major unit of the insolvent Haitai
Group, will be sold to Clarion Capital of Hong Kong for
308.9 billion won ($255 million), Haitai's main creditor
Cho Hung Bank said yesterday.

Cho Hung said it will sign a formal contract with the Hong
Kong investment company on the sale of Haitai Beverage
today, wrapping up month-long negotiations.  The sale price
is composed of 246.3 billion won for Haitai's assets and
62.6 billion won for the acquisition of some of Haitai's

After designating Clarion as a "priority negotiator" Aug.
18, Cho Hung had been in talks with the Hong Kong firm on
the terms of Haitai's sale.  Haitai Beverage, a prime soft-
drink company, will be handed over to Clarion 60 days after
the contract is signed, Cho Hung said.  Clarion thinks
highly of Haitai Beverage's growth potential and plans to
turn it into one of the best beverage makers in Asia, Cho
Hung said.

The sale of Haitai Beverage is expected to speed up
creditors' handling of the Haitai Group, which went belly-
up in November 1997.  On Sept. 15, creditors of Haitai
Confectionery Co., the flagship of the troubled group,
agreed to convert the firm's debt of 800.82 billion won
into equities.

The debt-equity swap is scheduled to be completed around
the end of November, while creditors will determine what to
do with other Haitai subsidiaries, including Haitai
Electronics at the end of next month, Cho Hung said.  
(Korea Herald  29-Sep-1999, Digital ChosunIlbo  28-Sep-

ORACLE KOREA: Fined 110 million won for unfair trading
The Fair Trade Commission said yesterday that it has
imposed 110 million won in fines on Oracle Korea for unfair

According to the commission, the company engaged in illegal
activity in the process of bidding for a database
management system (DBMS) project at the Seoul National
University Hospital in September last year.  Oracle Korea
produced and used documents that could make the client
erroneously perceive products from its rival firm, Sybase,
as substantially inferior to its own, it said.

The company collected articles from other publications that
depict its rival unfavorably. The documents also portrayed
Sybase's product as liable to problems without offering
detailed explanations, according to the commission.  Oracle
Korea compared the two products on 11 points, offering
distorted data for Sybase's product and crediting the wrong
data to reliable industry watchers, it said.

The commission said the company's activity constitutes an
attempt to lure customers by means which are defined as
illegal in the law on fair trade.  The commission also
ordered the company to publicly announce its violation of
the law.   Oracle Korea is a Korean operation of Oracle
Corp. of the United States, one of the leaders in the
global DBMS market.  (Korea Herald  29-Sep-1999)


The Arab-Malaysian Banking Group is paying off its debts
because the group is now profitable again, according to
Mohd Idris Mohd Isa, executive director of Arab Malaysian
Merchant Bank Bhd.  Idris said the debt payment would not
impair the group's capital adequency ratio.

"We are paying our debts as we think that we do not need
the recapitalisation from the CDRC (corporate debt
restructuring committee), as we are back on the profit
track," he said after signing agreements related to the
listing of Pharmaniaga Sdn Bhd yesterday.  (Star Online  

CHASE PERDANA: Posts first-half loss
Chase Perdana incurred a pre-tax group operating loss of
RM43.43mil for the six months ended June 30, 1999, as
against RM30.13mil loss in the same period last year. Group
turnover improved to RM286.66mil from RM280.49mil.  (Star
Online  28-Sep-1999)

Formosa Prosonic Industries Bhd has proposed a
restructuring scheme which includes proposed increase in
authorised share capital, bonus issue, rights issue,
acquisition of industrial land, special issue, employees'
share option scheme and transfer to the KLSE main board.
The proposals, which were announced on June 30 and Aug 12,
were approved by shareholders at an EGM held on Sept 23.
(Star Online  28-Sep-1999)

PARIT PERAK HOLDINGS: Posts annual loss
Parit Perak Holdings Bhd has incurred a group pre-tax loss
of RM169.9mil for the year ended June 30, 1999, a decline
of 36.4% from a loss of RM267.2mil in 1998.  Turnover fell
62% to RM49.4mil from previously.  (Star Online  28-Sep-

PENGKALEN HOLDINGS: Shrinks first-half loss
Pengkalen Holdings Bhd, whose core business is in
stockbroking, has reduced its group pre-tax loss by 76.9
percent to RM154.5 million ($ US40.65 million) for the half
year ended June 30, 1999 from RM668.9 million ($ US 176
million) in 1998.

In its unaudited results released here Thursday, Pengkalen
Holdings said the reduced losses were mainly due to
substantially lower provision for doubtful debts recovery
and foreign exchange gain.  Pengkalen Holdings said the
provision for doubtful debts made in the period under
review was mainly made by broking houses and in accordance
with the new guidelines on the suspension of interest and
provision for bad and doubtful debts.

As for its turnover, the group turnover declined to RM244.5
million from RM312.2 million in 1998, due mainly to trading
restrictions imposed on the Broking Houses.  Loss per share
for the period under review was 78.2 sen from 279.1 sen
previously.  Pengkalen Holdings did not recommend any
interim dividend for the half year.  (Asia Pulse  24-Sep-


MONDRAGON INT'L PHILIPPINES: Foreclosures beginning
Creditor banks of Mondragon International Philippines, Inc.
(MIPI) have reportedly begun foreclosure proceedings
against MIPI's ousted chairman Jose Antonio Gonzalez for
inability to pay some two-billion-peso (US$50 million at
PhP40.713:US$1) worth of loans incurred for its 235-hectare
Mimosa Leisure Estate in Clarkfield, Pampanga.

"We have foreclosed some of his personal properties such as
some furnitures, equipment and real estate properties,"
AsianBank senior vice-president George S. Chua told
BusinessWorld in a phone interview.

Mr. Gonzalez has mortgaged his shares, or 54% of the
company's total stocks, to AsianBank Corp., Far East Bank &
Trust Co. (FEBTC) and United Coconut Planters' Bank.  Mr.
Chua adds that the banks already "have some investors in
mind," but would rather begin negotiations only after the
book of the company is opened.

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is set to hear
today the petition filed by Mr. Gonzalez to prevent the
newly elected MIPI board from holding office and taking
control of MIPI's Mimosa Leisure Estate in Clarkfield,

"As far as we are concerned, they're out. The temporary
restraining order they're seeking will settle the issue,"
Mr. Chua said.

A special stockholders meeting was held last September 20
at the Mondragon House in Makati City by the creditor
banks. Elected were Eduard S. Go, president and chief
operating officer of AsianBank as chairman of the board
while elected president was Mario B. Palou, first vice-
president of FEBTC. AsianBank senior vice-president George
S. Chua was elected treasurer.

Earlier, sources said Mimosa is being considered by Macau
casino tycoon Stanley Ho who has reportedly teamed up with
businessman Dante Tan, owner of listed gaming firm BW
Resources Corp. (BWRC).  Messrs. Ho, Gonzalez and Tan were
seen at the leisure estate compound two weeks ago.  Aside
from Mimosa, Mr. Ho is also planning to invest into BWRC.
The listed gaming firm yesterday said negotiations are
going on for the entry of Mr. Ho into the company. Mr. Ho
plans to initially acquire a board seat then move on to
become chairman of the company.

"Negotiations for Stanley Ho's possible investment and
chairmanship in BWRC has been held and are ongoing.
However, no definite agreement has been reached on these
matters as of this day," BWRC corporate secretary Jose
Salvador M. Rivera. Jr. informed the Philippine Stock
Exchange (PSE).

Mr. Tan recently bought Armstrong Holdings, Inc. (AHI) from
Tony King given plans to convert the listed firm into the
holding company of his businesses. It is not yet known,
however, whether Mr. Tan would divest from BWRC with the
entry of Mr. Ho.

As this developed, BusinessWorld sources said Mr. Tan has
reportedly obtained a one-billion-peso (US$24 million) loan
from the Philippine National Bank (PNB). Part of the loan
will allegedly be used to support the projected
appreciation of his company's stock.  BWRC has consistently
increased its stock value, having reached PhP42.50 per
share last Friday from as low as Php2.55 per share in
March.  PNB cannot be reached for comment.

An analyst at a local brokerage firm added that should all
the PhP1-billion fund be used to purchase BWRC shares, that
would put additional acquisition between 35 million and 40
million shares.  Earlier, BWRC announced it has increased
its authorized capital stock to PhP15 billion (US$368
million) from PhP450 million (US$11 million) in preparation
for future investments as well as accommodate its share-
for-asset swap deal with real estate developer Megaworld

The gaming firm has been consistently on the lookout for
possible strategic partners to help fund its expansion.
Under the setup, Megaworld will have a minority stake in
BWRC through 1.2 billion shares to be swapped with the
Sheraton Marina Complex being developed by the listed
property firm.  The property will have a nine- to 10-story
entertainment mall to house a gaming area, corporate
offices and a bingo central drawing site. Within the marina
complex, a 320-room deluxe-class hotel which will be
managed by hotelier Sheraton Hotel and Resorts will be put

The 50,000-square meter complex will also be the site for a
casino to be operated by state gaming firm Philippine
Amusement and Gaming Corp.  An additional 15,000 square
meters would also be allocated for Caesar's casino owned by
Starwood Sheraton aimed at foreign high rollers and junket
tours. Another 15,000 square meters of the property will be
used for bingo games once BW's purchase into on-line bingo
operator Best World Gaming and Entertainment Corp. is

The completion of the marina complex by 2001 is seen to
turn in earnings of PhP3.5 billion (US$86 million) on the
first year of operations.  (Business World  28-Sep-1999)

PHILIPPINE LONG DIST.TEL.: Facing 3 billion peso loss
It seems it has been one headache after another for
businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan since he took over as
chief executive and president of dominant carrier
Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. (PLDT) late last
year.  Aside from PLDT's lackluster financial results, he
is also faced with the loss of three billion Philippine
pesos (PhP) (US$74 million at PhP40.713:US$1) yearly due to
illegal toll bypass operations, PLDT's ongoing catfight
with Globe Telecom GMCR, Inc. on text messaging
interconnection, as well as a chancy investment in a
satellite phone service.

Mr. Pangilinan, however, said PLDT is quietly but surely
putting in place reforms to address problems now facing the
company.  On the issue of the toll bypass, he said although
PLDT doesn't want to make waves at this time, if the
situation continues as well as the resulting financial loss
on PLDT's part, the company might just sit up and say
"enough is enough."

Under existing rules, he said anybody using PLDT's system
should compensate the company. "We should respect the law.
Pero ngayon hindi kami binabayaran, hindi naman tama iyon.
(But now, although they are using our system, they are not
paying us as prescribed by laws.)"

He said PLDT has identified firms illegally bypassing PLDT
switches.  He wouldn't give out the names of the illegal
operators but said "more than one" local carrier has been
observed to be bypassing PLDT's toll switches.  Toll bypass
allows international simple resale (ISR) operators using
high-tech gadgets to disguise international long-distance
calls as local calls, resulting in huge losses on the part
of international gateway operators like PLDT. Long-distance
calls are the main profit-generating revenue source of
telecom firms,

Mr. Pangilinan, meanwhile, also invoked the interconnection
law to push for the interconnection of the text messaging
services of Smart Communications, Inc. and Globe Telecom
GMCR, Inc., considered the pioneer of text messaging
services in the country.  At the very least, he said local
phone firms should not be allowed to interpret the
interconnection law according to their own discretion.
And assuming this is allowed, he said nothing could stop
PLDT if it decides not to recognize the numbers of other
phone firms.

Executive Order (EO) 59 issued by former President Fidel
Ramos in February 1993 effectively required PLDT to open up
its facilities for interconnection. This is because only
PLDT has the extensive physical infrastructure -- built up
through more than six decades of virtual monopoly.  The
interconnection fight between PLDT and Globe has now
reached the courts without as yet signs of letting up.

Another business venture which PLDT was forced to review
was its investment in satellite-based communication service
through ACeS International Ltd. This, after global
satellite firm Iridium World Communications LLC failed to
meet its subscriber targets resulting in losses. Recently,
Iridium was even forced to file for bankruptcy.  To be on
the safe side, PLDT decided to reduce its stake in ACeS to
only 20% from some 38% previously.

"We felt more comfortable holding lesser of the satellite
risk. It's just a risk rebalancing decision We feel there's
more money to be made in cellular services than wireless
satellite," Mr. Pangilinan pointed out.

Satellite-based mobile phones failed to fly in the US
because of its higher-cost and remaining inadequacies. To
date, satellite-based mobile phones don't work indoors.
But there's definitely a niche market for satellite phones,
he said.  When asked though if the Philip-pine market is
big enough to justify the needed investment, he only said
"that's something we have to see."

To make up for the technical inadequacy of a satellite-
based phone, the ACeS phone will be bundled together with
Smart, wherein the local GSM network will take over the
system if the phone is used indoors.  Mr. Pangilinan said
the service will be made available by the second quarter of
next year.

As this developed, Mr. Pangilinan said the group of retail
magnate Henry Sy has shown the most interest in entering
the Fort Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.  Mr. Pangilinan's
Metro Pacific Corp. is jointly developing the former
military base with the Bases Conversion Development
Authority and other developers as an alternative business
center to Makati.

Recently, BCDA announced shopping mall developers Mr. Sy's
of the SM chain of malls, Gokongwei family through their
Robinson's malls, and the Rustan's group have expressed
interest on buying properties inside the Global City.
Mr. Pangilinan said though that the proposed partnerships
are in various stages of discussions.  (Business World  28-


KOBE STEEL: Restructuring organization
Kobe Steel Ltd said it will set up two fully-owned units in
Singapore as part of a restructuring, with operations of
the two units to be transferred from its existing wholly-
owned unit in Singapore, Kobe International (S) Co Pte Ltd.

One of the two companies to be set up, Kobelco
International (S) Co Ltd, will market and service
construction equipment, Kobe Steel said.  Another company
to be established, Kobelco Machinery Asia Pte Ltd, will
manufacture, market and service products such as standard
compressors and crushers, it said.  (Star Online  28-Sep-

LC DEVELOPMENT: Net worth drops 75 percent                 
A huge write-down of its assets brought LC Development's
net worth down from $157 million to just $39 million for
the year ended June 30.

As a result of write-downs totalling $124 million, the
group plunged deeper into the red with a whopping $120
million loss for the year ended June 30. The amount
includes a $14 million loss from the sale of 17 Draycott
apartments to property dealer Simon Cheong. For the year
under review, group pre-tax loss worsened from $14 million
to $120 million. Turnover, however, grew 96 per cent to
$33.5 million mainly due to sales revenue from its
residential developments in Singapore.

Loss per share was 91.3 cents compared to a loss per share
of 11.4 cents last year. Net tangible assets per share was
30 cents, a hefty 90 cents less than the previous year. No
dividend was recommended.  Subsequent to the year-end, LC
Development completed its capital reduction exercise to
shore up its balance sheet.

The company cut the par value of its shares to 10 cents
from $1 by cancelling issued and paid-up capital of $93.3
million, representing issued and paid-up capital
permanently lost or unrepresented by available assets.  It
also transferred the aggregate of the difference between
the post-cancellation paid-up capital per share and its par
value of 10 cents a share to a capital reduction reserve.

At the end of August, LC Development completed its $162.7
million purchase of the entire share capital of LC Hotels
from Lum Chang Holdings and Waterbank Properties. The
sellers were paid by LC Development's issue of 562.8
million new shares.  Lum Chang and Waterbank, a subsidiary
of DelGro Corp, held 60 per cent and 40 per cent of LC
Hotels respectively.

Following the acquisition of LC Hotels, LC Developments
will have 1,207 hotel rooms and 119 service apartment units
in Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, China and London in its
portfolio.  Meanwhile, LC Development shares continued
their downward slide. The counter, which hit a year's high
at 87 cents in June, closed 1.5 cents down at 34 cents
yesterday in thin trading.  (Business Times  28-Sep-1999)

MEDIARING: Loss-producing company to be listed               
A local Internet company whose backers include Creative
Technology, United Overseas Bank, Singapore Technologies
and the Economic Development Board, is aiming at becoming
the first loss-making concern to be listed in Singapore.

Sources in Internet circles said the company, MediaRing,
could stage its initial public offering (IPO) by mid or
late November. MediaRing offers cheap International phone
calls over the Internet. The company is said to have raised
between S$80mil and S$40mil in private capital, and aims to
tap the public for another S$50mil.

At its IPO, MediaRing will have a market capitalisation of
nearly S$100mil (calculated by multiplying the number of
all issued shares by the IPO price).  This will qualify it
for a listing under a new rule allowing loss-making
companies with good growth potential to be listed, provided
they have at least S$80mil in market cap.  Previously, main
board aspirants must have at least a five-year profit

The new rule, together with other measures to further
liberalise the local financial markets, was announced by
Deputy Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong last weekend.  
Contacted by the Singapore Business Times, MediaRing chief
executive officer Ng Ede Phang declined to comment.

Ng's reticence appears to be in line with the traditional
practice of IPO aspirants lying respectfully low before a
listing.  They said MediaRing's backers were pushing for a
fast IPO as there were "at least a dozen" Internet
companies gunning for a listing after BG Lee's

Like most Internet concerns, MediaRing has no profit to
speak of. In fact, talk is that it has a "burn rate"
Internet jargon on how much money it is using up of S$8mil
to S$10mil a year.  But this is considered a good even a
necessary trait among Internet companies, since high
expenditure suggests the company is busily building up its
infrastructure for the future.

A listing for MediaRing could be highly lucrative for its
backers.  Observers noted that Nasdaq-listed Internet
telephony provider NetZPhone, which went public three
months ago, has a market capitalisation of about US$3.5bil
(S$6bil).  What MediaRing will offer the investing public
is a slice of the action in the fast growing, but highly
competitive, business of Internet telephony.

Making phone calls through the Net was limited to hardcore
computer geeks a few years back. But fast-advancing
technology has improved voice quality, smoothened pauses
and made connections between parties much easier.  Today,
Internet telephony is posing a real threat to conventional
telephone operators like Singapore Telecom, and could
supersede them in five to 10 years.  (Star Online  28-Se9-

NETWORK FOODS INT'L.: Shrinkgs first-half loss             
Network Foods International trimmed its interim losses
significantly from $14.6 million to $829,000, helped by a
stronger turnover, reduced costs and a foreign exchange
gain. Turnover for the six months ended June 30 rose 9 per
cent to $23.2 million as the group focused on proprietary
brands of chocolate products it manufactures.

"The beginning of the regional economic recovery has
witnessed an improvement in the overall group results," it

Its efforts to generate steady growth from new agency lines
for its three marketing and distribution companies also
lifted sales. Network made a largely unrealised foreign
exchange gain of $1.5 million from the appreciation of the
Indonesian rupiah against the US dollar, compared with a
$9.5 million loss last year. It expects operating results
to keep improving.

It will continue to consolidate proprietary brands, seek
agency lines and control costs.  It said it had secured
"potentially lucrative" agency lines in Singapore, Malaysia
and Hongkong which should "contribute significantly" to
second-half results. Its manufacturing units are expanding
their platforms in Malaysia and India, having embarked on
"attractive" private labels and contract packing
arrangements for additional volume. Loss per share narrowed
to one cent from 24 cents a year earlier. Net tangible
asset backing per share halved to four cents.  (Straits
Times  28-Sep-1999)  

PENTEX-SCHWEIZER CIRCUITS: Posts annual loss               
Printed circuit board (PCB) maker Pentex-Schweizer Circuits
yesterday reported a full-time loss for the year ended June
30 but said that it expected the current year to be
profitable. It suffered a $16.3 million loss, compared with
a $2 million profit a year earlier.

The loss was due mainly to a one-time charge of $19.4
million incurred in its rationalisation exercise in which
production at its Bukit Merah plant was shut down on June
3. Group turnover fell 9.5 per cent to $134 million on
lower production in May and June. Diluted loss per share
was 24.1 cents, against an earnings per share of three
cents a year ago. Net tangible asset backing per share fell
from 92.4 cents to 66 cents. A final dividend of 3 per cent
was declared.

Pentex intends to invest about $20 million in a new
building and equipment to meet demand for high-density
interconnect PCBs. The facility is expected to contribute
to operating results in the next financial year which
begins on July 1 next year. (Straits Times  28-Sep-1999)


LAND & HOUSES: To sell shares, swap debt for equity
Land & Houses, Thailand's largest developer of detached
homes, said it will raise 3.8 billion baht (US$93 million)
by selling shares to shareholders and a Singapore state
company while swapping part of its debt for equity.

The company said it plans to raise 2.49 billion baht by
offering shareholders two new shares for every five they
own at 14 baht each, about half the current share price.
The offer is open to shareholders of record as of October
13 and payment is due in November.  The company will raise
another 1.32 billion baht by selling 94 million shares this
week at 14 baht each to Government of Singapore Investment
(GIC), which manages foreign-exchange reserves for the
Singapore government. GIC, which does not have shares in
Land & Houses now, will own 13 percent of the company.

Creditors, led by Siam Commercial Bank, will also be asked
to convert an unspecified amount of delinquent debt into a
15 percent stake in the company in the form of common
shares and convertible debentures, Land & Houses said. The
company's debt totals 21 billion baht.  Land & Houses will
probably be one of the few Thai companies to sell shares to
foreign investors during the rest of the year as slower-
than-expected economic growth, mounting loan defaults and a
weakening baht erodes investor confidence, analysts said.
Siam Cement, Thailand's largest industrial conglomerate,
said on Friday it indefinitely delayed a share sale because
of poor market conditions.

"Land & Houses doesn't have to delay its share sale because
GIC already agreed to buy the shares a few months ago,"
said Pumipat Sinacharoen, an analyst at ING Baring
International. "They were just waiting to complete details
of the debt restructuring."

The share sales will double Land & Houses' share capital to
746 million shares. Proceeds will be used as working
capital and to fund the purchase of housing projects from
other developers through a property fund.  In a move
designed to aid the real estate industry, Thailand granted
tax privileges to property funds approved between May 1990
and May 1999

"We don't have a specific plan for our property fund yet,"
said Executive Vice President Adisorn Thananun-Narapool."
But we must establish it within a certain period to obtain
the tax privileges." Some foreign institutions have already
set up property funds, though they have not been very
active.  "Existing property funds haven't been buying many
projects because they can't agree on the prices," Adisorn

Land & Houses shares fell 7 percent to 26.75 baht.  At the
same time, GIC has bought an 11 percent stake in the
Charoen Pokphand group's CP 7-Eleven, the Business Times
reported, citing data from the Thai Ministry of Commerce.
Thaivest, a GIC affiliate, bought 20 million shares, or a
10 percent stake, in the privately held CP 7-Eleven, while
GIC bought a further 2 million shares or a 1 percent stake.

CP 7-Eleven, which has 1,000 convenience stores across
Thailand, has plans to seek a listing on the Stock Exchange
of Thailand later this year, the paper reported.  Last
month, GIC, which manages investments of more than $58
billion, said an real annual rate of return on its
investments of between 3 percent and 4 percent is an
acceptable long-term yield.  (Bloomberg, Business Day  28-

THAI TEL.& TEL.: Y2K woes on top of debt restructuring
Executives of Thai Telephone and Telecommunication already
have enough headaches from the challenge of restructuring
32 billion baht in debt. Add Y2K woes as well.

Several analysts have changed their recommendation on TT&T
to "sell" in recent months, citing the slow pace of debt
restructuring, political risks and the company's progress
in addressing the millennium computer bug.  The company's
efforts in solving Y2K problems were among the slowest
among major firms listed on the Stock Exchange of Thailand,
one analyst said.

TT&T, concession holder for 1.5 million fixed telephone
lines in the provinces, said last month that it had spent
about half of its 416-million-baht budget for Y2K
compliance.  A debt restructuring agreement with 43
creditors is expected to be concluded by year-end. Last
month, Shin Corporations scrapped talks to form a strategic
partnership with TT&T.

"TT&T continues to lose money. And while the company's
board has approved a budget for Y2K, it remains uncertain
whether the company will be able to change systems in
time," one analyst said.

But TT&T says its computer and telephone systems are well-
prepared.  Chutichai Napasub, vice-president of networks
and operations, said contingency plans were expected to be
finalised within the third quarter.  Backup systems would
run in parallel while main systems were overhauled.
Computers would also have their clocks turned back four

"Even if there are any problems, customers won't notice
anything. In a worst-case situation, there could be some
impact on the recording of telephone charges," he said.

He said the company had no problems funding its Y2K work,
noting that it had cash reserves of more than two billion
baht with local banks. Creditors have also approved plans
to set aside funds for dealing with Y2K.

"Our suppliers have also signed contracts with us already.
If we do have any problems, they will be in the form of
outside, uncontrollable events more than anything," Mr
Chutichai said.

He acknowledged that debt restructuring had moved
relatively slowly.  Creditors are in disagreement about the
best strategy. And uncertainty remains about how to convert
concession and revenue-sharing agreements with the
government.  Without a formal "standstill" agreement, some
lenders are charging penalty interest charges as high as
40% on defaulted loans.  (Bangkok Post  28-Sep-1999)

WATTACHAK GROUP: To seek restructuring next month
The financially beleaguered media company, Wattachak Group,
will organise a creditors' meeting next month to seek their
agreement on restructuring its 5.9-billion-baht debt.
The group now publishes its daily, Wattachak 2000,
replacing the daily Wattachak.

The Revenue Department seized the company's former
masthead, along with those of its other publications, for
failure to pay 179 million baht in taxes.  Santi
Ruangpaisalbamrung, Wattachak managing director, said the
company now possessed only core assets including land,
office buildings and a printing house. Other assets such as
office equipment had been seized.

The company applied in June to join the Corporate Debt
Restructuring Advisory Committee programme, overseen by the
central bank, for major debtors.  Wattachak's major
creditors are Bangkok Bank, Krung Thai Bank and Arab
Banking Corp.  Mr Santi said he could not predict the
attitude of the company's creditors at the meeting, "but we
will have to see what they would do with us".

He said Wattachak would not propose anything to the
creditors as the company was insolvent.  "We could not even
employ a financial consultant to write a debt restructure
plan for us," Mr Santi said.

Although the company's publication mastheads were
foreclosed, it would not affect the company in publishing
the daily, Mr Santi said.  Before the foreclosure, the
company had transferred its remaining employees to work for
Wattachak Classified Co, a newly established firm which
publishes the daily under the new masthead, Wattachak 2000.
The Revenue Department had an appraisal value, for all six
mastheads, at 56 million baht and is expected to announce
soon auction dates for their sale.

Meanwhile, Sunan Srichantra, a senior editor of Krungthep
Thurakit daily, a Thai-language business daily of The
Nation group, said he did not think the Revenue Department
would be successful in auctioning the Wattachak group's
mastheads.  Before joining Krungthep Thurakit, Mr Sunan
owned several newspapers, which were all closed. Demand for
the mastheads is limited to those who want to invest in
publications.  Moreover, the successful investors would
have to invest a lot more in production and build tangible
assets, he said.  (Bangkok Post  28-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
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Copyright 1999.  All rights reserved.  ISSN: 1520-9482.

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