TCRAP_Public/991208.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, December 8, 1999, Vol. 2, No. 239

                                        Headlines


* C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G *

ASIAN INFORMATION RESOURCES: Losses don't slow investors
GREATER BEIJING FIRST EXPRESS.: Moody's downgrades bonds


* K O R E A *

DAEWOO GROUP: Domestic creditors hashing out foreign offer
DAEWOO GROUP: Foreign creditors want to shun workout plans
DAEWOO GROUP: Foreign creditors questioning steering comm.
DAEWOO MOTOR CO.: Plans closure of some overseas outlets


* M A L A Y S I A *

ASIAN PAC HOLDINGS: To undertake restructuring
MULTI-PURPOSE HOLDINGS: SEC okays restructuring exercise


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

UNIWIDE GROUP: Asks SEC to extend payment moratorium


* S I N G A P O R E *

GARUDA AIRLINES: In talks with SIA over joint venture


* T H A I L A N D *

THAI PETROCHEMICAL INDUS.: Creditors approve rehab plan


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C H I N A  &  H O N G  K O N G
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ASIAN INFORMATION RESOURCES: Losses don't slow investors
--------------------------------------------------------
Internet content provider (ICP) Asian Information Resources
(AIR) has had a strong response from institutional and
professional investors for its initial public offering
(IPO) despite having suffered operating losses of $255
million for the seven months ended 31 July.

AIR managing director Chan Chi-ming said the company was
soon to team up with five others to develop its e-commerce
business. It would acquire less than 50 per cent in each of
the five companies.  AIR's e-commerce business includes
trade in Chinese replicas and antiques and textile.

Although the operation contributes no revenue to the
company at present, Mr Chan said he was confident it would
start earning revenue next year, and become the core income
contributor to the company in the future.  The company's
major business operations are content provision and
technology support, both of which account for 40 per cent
of the company's turnover.

Mr Chan said that in order to reduce reliance on raw-
content providers for the supply of content database and to
increase the profit margin of the company, AIR planned to
expand content-development operations in Guangzhou and
Beijing.  AIR would also set up another operation in
Shanghai during the second half of next year.

The company is raising $150 million by issuing 120 million
new shares at $1.25 each.  Out of the total offering, 108
million shares will be placed with professional and
institutional investors and the remaining 12 million will
be offered to the general public.  The offering will dilute
the stake of Aldgate Agents _ a wholly-owned subsidiary of
New World Cyberbase _ to 13.8 per cent from 19 per cent.
Another shareholder, Hintful Capital, would also see its
holding diluted to 3.6 per cent from 5 per cent.

AIR will become the first ICP to conduct an IPO for the
Growth Enterprise Market (GEM) when dealing begins on 16
December.  (Hong Kong Standard  07-Dec-1999)

GREATER BEIJING FIRST EXPRESS.: Moody's downgrades bonds
--------------------------------------------------------
Greater Beijing First Expressways, a toll road company
based in China, has been downgraded to "Caa3" from "Ba3" by
Moody's Investors Service because it may default on its
international bonds as soon as next week.  

The company is due to make coupon payments on December 15
to investors of US$4.625M for its US$100M bonds carrying a
9.25% interest and a seven-year maturity, and US$8.93M for
its US$188M bonds bearing a 9.5% interest and a 10-year
maturity.  The downgrade is because of concerns about
operating performance, potential difficulty in obtaining
dividends from local joint venture investments and
uncertainty over the availability of dollar reserves
previously held by the company to manage its liquidity
position, Moody's said in a statement.


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

DAEWOO GROUP: Domestic creditors hashing out foreign offer
----------------------------------------------------------
Domestic creditor banks of the ailing Daewoo Group are
ready to take over a maximum $2 billion worth of the $5
billion the conglomerate owes to over 200 foreign banks and
financial institutions.

"We believe about $1.5 billion to $2 billion will be needed
to take over Daewoo's debts held by foreign banks," said
Kim Yong-duk, director general of the Ministry of Finance
and Economy's international finance bureau yesterday.

He added that the figure was determined on the basis of a
recovery ratio of debts by each of Daewoo's affiliates.
"The detailed package of our proposal will be made to the
foreign creditors soon," he said. "But I don't think the
amount will be wrong by a wide margin."

The government has insisted on about 70 percent loss ratio
for the foreign creditors, so far, while they have
maintained a 50 percent level. Kim's remarks mean the loss
rate could be a midway 60 percent.  Kim elaborated that
domestic creditor banks are presumed to have that amount of
funds ready so as to purchase Daewoo's foreign debts next
month, should they continue to reject offers to participate
in the debt workout program of the Korean conglomerate.

Reports have stated that Daewoo Group has a total debt of
$76 billion.  He said that once domestic creditor banks
take over the foreign portion of Daewoo's debts, the Korea
Asset Management Corp. (KAMCO) will buy them out at a
market price, explaining that KAMCO is not empowered to buy
Daewoo debts directly from foreign creditors.

Meanwhile, Kim explained that besides the $2 billion set
aside for purchasing foreign creditors' debts, domestic
banks will put up $1.5 billion in provisions, KAMCO will
buy financial institutions' nonperforming loans (NPLs)
worth $500 million and public enterprises will repay $1
billion in debts, totalling $5 billion in a demand for
foreign currency in December.

Kim said the current pace of the won's strengthening is
worrisome, adding that in December, he expects a balance of
inflow and outflow of dollars, because the $5 billion forex
demand will countermand the inflow of foreign investment in
stock markets.

"The won has strengthened on the back of market
anticipation that is not based on the exact supply and
demand of dollars," he said.

Meanwhile, the won/dollar exchange rate was at 1,150 won to
the dollar during midday trading yesterday, the highest for
the won since Dec. 4, 1997 when the rate was 1,135 won to
the dollar.  (Korea Times  07-Dec-1999)

DAEWOO GROUP: Foreign creditors want to shun workout plans
----------------------------------------------------------
The foreign creditors of Daewoo Corp., the business group's
flagship trading arm, have reportedly provided US$7.5
billion in loans to Daewoo subsidiaries, and do not want to
participate in the workout plans for Daewoo subsidiaries
hammered out by Korean creditors.

This information was said to have been relayed to Financial
Supervisory Commission (FSC) chairman Lee Hun-jai in a
letter sent to the government official by the foreign
creditors.  According to the Asian Wall Street Journal
Tuesday, a report issued by the steering committee of
Daewoo's foreign creditors to all its overseas creditors'
groups contained the same information.

The daily reported that the fund had been channeled into
Daewoo subsidiaries over the past 18 years and claimed that
the loans had been used to make up for Daewoo subsidiaries'
losses and to cover the group's investment and interest
payments. One high-ranking official at the FSC, on Tuesday,
acknowledged receiving the letter but denied that it was
unequivocal about rejecting the work out program. The
letter indicated there could be room for further
negotiation, the official said.  (Digital ChosunIlbo  07-
Dec-1999)

DAEWOO GROUP: Foreign creditors questioning steering comm.
----------------------------------------------------------
Most of Daewoo's 200-plus overseas creditors are now
casting doubts on the role of the "foreign bank steering
committee," saying it is partly responsible for the
deadlock in debt rescheduling.

In particular, large creditor banks of Daewoo who are not
included in the steering committee find it rather
unpleasant that the committee members may have better
access to firsthand information.  They argue that the
special panel, representing the interests of foreign
creditors, has not produced any satisfactory answers in the
last five months.

"Most foreign banks do not know what is happening. Now it
is not only the Korean government but also our own steering
committee team which isolates us from the Daewoo debt
restructuring process," a foreign banker told The Korea
Times yesterday during a phone interview.  "We have so far
only received the same documents from the steering
committee in the last few months. The committee members are
saying there is no further information. Now we are
beginning to wonder if there really is no further
information available."

Citibank's decision to remain a member of the panel proves
that committee members may be enjoying the benefits of
receiving information before other foreign creditors, the
foreign banker added.  Despite its earlier announcement of
withdrawal from the committee, Citibank decided to stay in
order to have easier access to firsthand information, the
foreign banker said.

Besides, within the committee, each member has its own
interests, making it difficult for the panel to agree on a
common strategy.  Others have even called for an immediate
dispersal of the steering committee, saying it is no longer
a negotiating unit.

"We are not happy with the steering committee. The
committee no longer seems to be a negotiating body but only
a liaison unit," said another foreign banker.

He argued there is no reason to have a representing body
for foreign creditor banks as the government's unilateral
decision on the group's restructuring program leaves no
room for the committee's presence.

"There is no point having the committee in operation as now
there is little chance of foreign banks' participation in
the workout process," he said.

After forming a nine member steering body on Aug. 18 _
Chase Manhattan, Citibank, HSBC, ABN AMRO, UBS, Tokyo-
Mitsubishi, Dai-Ichi Kangyo, National Australia and Arab _
foreign banks have demanded that the government hold
discussions with them prior to issuing any debt
restructuring plans for Daewoo.  They also expressed their
view through the committee that the financial authorities
provide a guarantee on their credits in Daewoo should the
group fail to repay their overseas debts.

However, the two sides have reached no accord on any of the
issues raised in the last five months.  The local
authorities conducted a rehabilitation of Daewoo while
excluding the group's foreign creditors.  On the issue of a
government guarantee, Korean authorities flatly ruled out
the possibility, saying the international standard does not
allow the government to offer assurance on private sector
deals.  (Korea Times  07-Dec-1999)

DAEWOO MOTOR CO.: Plans closure of some overseas outlets
--------------------------------------------------------
Daewoo Motor plans to close some of its overseas production
and sale outlets depending on their profitability, Daewoo
officials said yesterday.

The decision was reached during a meeting of presidents of
Daewoo Motor's 60 overseas plants and sales companies
worldwide, held at the company head office in Pupyong, west
of Seoul, to map out production and sales plans for 2000 to
2002. Under the debt workout program, the company would
have to be more profit-oriented, thereby requiring the
closure of some overseas corporations.

"Overseas affiliates have performed better than last year
during the peak of the financial crisis," a Daewoo Motor
spokesman said. "But it would be inevitable that some of
them be closed, considering profitability."

He, however, accented that only such a principle was
decided, adding that no specific affiliates have been
selected for closure.  Reports had it that Daewoo Motor
affiliates in India and Romania have been in trouble but
Daewoo officials said that its Indian operations have been
turned around after its under-1,000cc engine displacement
model, Matiz, hit the market.

During the three-day meeting, Daewoo's headquarters and its
overseas chiefs are expected to come up with a medium and
long-term plan aimed at enhancing their profitability.
Especially, it is anticipated that an emphasis will be put
on the networking of overseas operations, plans to launch
new models and local parts procurement plans during the
meeting.  (Korea Times  07-Dec-1999, Korea Herald  08-Dec-
1999)


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

ASIAN PAC HOLDINGS: To undertake restructuring
----------------------------------------------
Asian Pac Holdings Bhd (Asiapac) is to restructure its
debts amounting to RM417mil, inclusive of interest and
penalty charges.

Amanah Merchant Bank Bhd said in a statement issued on
behalf of Asiapac that the proposed debt restructuring
involved the proposed issuance of RM16,358,950 nominal
value of irredeemable convertible unsecured loan stocks
2000/2005 (Iculs) with 4,907,685 detachable warrants to
secured lenders.

The debt restructuring exercise will also include the
issuance of RM298,252,110 nominal value of redeemable
convertible secured loan stocks 2000/2005 (RCSLS) with
44,737,817 detachable warrants and RM35,790,253 nominal
value of Iculs to secured lenders.  It also proposed the
issuance of RM96,110,105 nominal value of Iculs with
4,290,630 detachable warrants to unsecured lenders.

Asiapac said the proposed debt restructuring had been
negotiated with the group's lenders and would be
facilitated by the Corporate Debt Restructuring Committee,
Bank Negara.  In addition, Asiapac is proposing a rights
issue of 233,333,333 naked warrants to the company's
shareholders on a 2-for-3 basis, on a date to be determined
later at an indicative offer price of 20 sen per warrant.

The company also proposed a placement/offer of sufficient
nominal value of RCSLS and Iculs by certain lenders/other
creditors to interested investors to meet the public spread
requirement for the purpose of listing these debt-equity
and equity-linked instruments on the KLSE.  Asiapac has
proposed an increase in the authorised share capital of the
company, from the existing RM500mil comprising 500 million
shares to RM1.5bil comprising 1.5 billion shares.

The total borrowing of Asiapac amounted to RM429mil as at
March 31 and the accrued interest expense amounted to
RM38mil for the financial year ended March 31, 1999.
The company said it was unable to continuously service
these borrowings and high interest expense.  It said the
proposed debt restructuring would reduce the threat of
potential forced selling of its assets by the group's
lenders in the current unfavourable market condition.
(Star Online  07-Dec-1999)

MULTI-PURPOSE HOLDINGS: SEC okays restructuring exercise
--------------------------------------------------------
Multi-Purpose Holdings Bhd has received the Securities
Commission's (SC) conditional approval for its proposed
restructuring exercise which also involves Kamunting Corp
Bhd and Malaysian Plantations Bhd.

Multi-Purpose said in a statement to the KLSE that the SC
had approved the cash disposal of a 31% stake in Multi-
Purpose to Quantum Aspects Sdn Bhd at an issue price of
RM1.43 per share instead of the proposed price of RM1.30
each.  The company will revise the sale price of a 27%
stake in Malaysian Plantation to Paradigm Capital Sdn Bhd
Plant to RM1.10 per share instead of the proposed price of
RM1 each.

Multi-Purpose's plan to acquire a 62% stake in KL Land
Development Sdn Bhd from Malaysian Plantation for
RM40.92mil was approved as proposed.  "However, the
proposed acquisition of 38% stake in KL Land from Bandar
Raya Developments Bhd cannot be considered by the SC at
this juncture as the SC had been informed that the
transaction is prohibited under Section 132G of the
Companies Act," it added.

The Securities Commission has also approved Multi-Purpose's
proposal to sell its 70% stake in Multi-Purpose Bank Bhd to
Malaysian Plantation for RM480mil instead of the proposed
RM383.700mil.  Malaysian Plantation will assume the loan
stocks and loans of Multi-Purpose Bank totalling RM115.5mil
owing to Multi-Purpose Capital Holdings Sdn Bhd.  (Star
Online  07-Dec-1999)


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

UNIWIDE GROUP: Asks SEC to extend payment moratorium
----------------------------------------------------
Cash-strapped Uniwide Group of Companies has asked anew the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to extend for
another 60 days the moratorium granted on debt payments.
The debt relief is scheduled to end on December 9.

The SEC earlier allowed a moratorium on Uniwide's debt
payments while waiting for the approval of the company's
debt-rehabilitation plan. The latter was submitted by
Uniwide's interim receivership committee to the SEC last
October.  In its motion filed at the SEC on December 3,
retail and real estate firm Uniwide said it is necessary
for the SEC to extend its moratorium on debt payments to
give the corporate overseer more time to study the result
of Uniwide's meeting with its creditors.

The meeting, set on the same day that the company's debt
suspension order will end, aims to iron out differences
between Uniwide's creditors and the company's interim
receivership committee regarding the rehabilitation plan.

"Considering that the last day of the effectivity of the
order of suspension of payments is on December 9, this
Honorable Commission will necessarily need time to act on
whatever matters that will be taken up during the above-
scheduled creditors meeting," Uniwide said in its petition.
"This motion is not intended to delay the proceedings."

In a telephone interview Uniwide's legal counsel Amado
Santiago, Jr. told BusinessWorld the extension of debt
payment suspension will benefit the SEC and the creditors
more.  "This will give the creditors more time to air their
comments on the plan and give the SEC more time to study
and approve it (rehabilitation plan)," he said.

Mr. Santiago also said the 60-day extension can be cut
short if the SEC will approve the rehabilitation plan much
earlier. This is the third time Uniwide has asked the SEC
to extend its debt payment suspension since the corporate
watchdog first allowed the company to freeze payments on
11.1 billion Philippine pesos (US$271.8 million at
PhP40.839:US$1) worth of obligations last June.

BusinessWorld earlier reported that creditors of the Gow-
owned company have expressed their opposition to the debt
rehabilitation plan, claiming that cash-strapped company
overvalued the statement of its assets and understated its
obligations.  The creditors have also asked the SEC to junk
Uniwide's suspension of debt payments saying that they
favor full liquidation over suspension of payments.

The debt-laden Uniwide group suffered financial problems as
a result of the recent economic crisis. The firm's total
debts stood at over PhP11.1 billion as of June this year.
This prompted the company to ask the SEC to grant
suspension of debt payments and seek the approval of its
rehabilitation plan.

Under the plan, the receivership committee said at least
PhP1 billion ($24.5 million) is required to restore
Uniwide's retail operation. The amount will be used to buy
stock for the retail stores, while another PhP500 million
($12.2 million) will be needed for capital expenditures.
(Business World, Manila Times  07-Dec-1999)


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

GARUDA AIRLINES: In talks with SIA over joint venture      
-----------------------------------------------------     
Singapore Airlines (SIA) is in exploratory talks for a
joint venture with Garuda Airlines to help revitalise
Indonesia's flag carrier.

This was revealed by Indonesia's Coordinating Minister of
the Economy, Finance and Industry, Mr Kwik Kian Gie, at a
press conference in Singapore yesterday.  Stressing that
talks were "very elementary and very preliminary right now"
he said there was value in a joint venture with SIA that
would transfer know-how and management skills to the
Indonesian airline. SIA could be invited later to inject
capital into Garuda, he said. "The Singapore side may also
be asked to provide capital for a share of the profits."

This issue is shrouded in some uncertainty as Indonesian
President Abdurrahman Wahid is reportedly in favour of
restructuring Garuda's debt arrangements with its
creditors. He is reported to have asked the head of one of
Garuda's main creditors, US Export-Import Bank president
James Hartman, to consider the proposal at a meeting last
month.  Also as the airline was showing signs of turning
around, a management change may not be needed.

Over the first six months of this year, Garuda recorded an
operating profit of US$5.8 million (S$9.74 million) as
opposed to a US$167 million loss in the same period of last
year.  In response to queries, SIA's vice-president for
Public Affairs, Mr Rick Clements declined to comment.  He
said: "We are in discussions with different airlines all
the time on commercial matters but we never comment on who
we are talking to unless we have something specific to
comment on."  (Straits Times  07-Dec-1999)


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

THAI PETROCHEMICAL INDUS.: Creditors approve rehab plan
-------------------------------------------------------
Thai Petrochemical Industry, one of Thailand's biggest,
most convoluted restructuring cases, has taken a step
forward after creditors approved a five-year repayment
plan.

A vote on Friday showed creditors holding 46.22% of total
debt approving the plan, with another 42.68% indicating
they would approve the proposal.  Voting against the plan
were creditors holding 1.81%, with another 3.36% indicating
opposition to the plan.  Undecided were creditors holding
5.93%, according to a summary of the vote.  A formal
contract signing is expected in February, bank executives
said.

The restructuring plan covers total debt of 3.478 billion,
including debt held by TPI subsidiaries TPI Oil, Thai
Polyurethane Industry, Thai ABS Co, TPI Aromatics and TPI
Polyacrylate Co.  Interest rates for loans will be
calculated on a new standard base rate-Libor (London
Interbank Offered Rate) plus two percentage points for
foreign currency obligations, and minimum lending rates
plus two points for baht loans.

The first tier of loans, covering $2 billion or 64% of
total covered debt, will be repaid by 2003.  Interest rates
will rise gradually from the base rate minus five
percentage points this year, base rate minus three in 2000,
base rate minus one in 2001 and the standard base rate for
2002-2003.  The second tier, covering $1.168 billion, or
36%, will be repaid after the first tier, or after new
capital is raised or assets sold.  Interest is set at the
standard base rate throughout the period. Third tier covers
$1 million in the form of convertible debentures.  The
default rate for the plan is set at the base rate plus
three points.

One banker said the TPI restructuring plan overall was
simpler than the related case for TPI Polene, also approved
by creditors last week.  "Overall, the business prospects
for cement is better than petrochemicals," he said.  "So
there weren't a lot of difficulties from the Leophairatana
family once the TPI plan was presented by creditors."

The key element of the plan is a debt-for-equity swap for a
portion of the outstanding loans, as well as the sale of
non-core assets such as unused properties to reduce
operating costs. New capital will have to be raised by
existing shareholders, although much money will be injected
and the total swapped for debt remains under discussion.
Overall, the plan hopes to reduce TPI's leveraging ratio
from six times to 2:1 or 3:1.

Creditors will also have the option to sell back their
obligations at an unspecified discount.  "The creditors
accept the risks of cutting interest rates and extending
repayment, since industry prospects and global prices have
shown signs of improvement, helping TPI's cashflow
projections," said one bank executive.

One sticking point, however, remains in TPI's management
structure, which creditors say is still widely run along
family lines.  In any case, by taking an equity stake,
creditors will be able to send their own board
representatives to help monitor progress in restructuring
the industrial conglomerate's operations.  (Bangkok Post  
07-Dec-1999)


S U B S C R I P T I O N  I N F O R M A T I O N

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