TCREUR_Public/010424.mbx          T R O U B L E D   C O M P A N Y   R E P O R T E R

                           E U R O P E

              Tuesday, April 24, 2001, Vol. 2, No. 80


                            Headlines

* B E L G I U M *

LERNOUT & HAUSPIE: Advises Shareholders on ESM Registration
SABENA SA: Pilots Seek Independent Audit

* F R A N C E *

BAGAGES SUPERIOR: Delsey Buys Marechal Unit for FFr4.5 Million

* G E R M A N Y *

DAIMLERCHRYSLER AG: To Post 772 Million Euro First Quarter Loss
TELDAFAX AG: Soars After Service Restored
TELDEFAX AG: World Access to Release Tendered Shares

* H U N G A R Y *

MALEV AIRLINES: To Receive No More Than 86 Million Euro Funding

* I R E L A N D *

EIRCOM PLC: Mobile Phone Giants in Conflict

* I T A L Y *

ALITALIA-LINEE: Partners With Air France
FIREMA TRASPORTI: Draws Plan to Restructure

* N E T H E R L A N D S *

UNITED PAN-EUROPE: Disagrees With Moody's Downgrade

* P O L A N D *

ELEKTRIM SA: Vivendi Denies Bid

* R O M A N I A *

BANCA TURCO: BNR Gives Bank Weeks to Recover

* R U S S I A *

NTV: Gusinsky Accuses Putin of NTV Plot
NTV: Lawyers Tell Ruhrgas to Pressure Gazprom
RUSSIAN ALUMINIUM: Faces $2.7 Billion Lawsuit

* S W I T Z E R L A N D *

ISL WORLDWIDE: Vivendi and Bertelsmann to Takeover ISL
SAIRGROUP: Union Chief to Save AOM/Air Liberte

* U N I T E D   K I N G D O M *

BCCI: Shipping Tycoon to Spend Three More Years in Jail
BRITISH TELECOM: Closes Site on Friday
CAMMELL LAIRD: Appoints KPMG to Pursue Claim Against Italian Firm
CORUS GROUP: Loses on Railtrack Order
KNIGHT WILLIAMS: Arthur Andersen to Resign
MARKS & SPENCER: French Workers Show Up for Talks
MARKS & SPENCER: Undecided Over Chief's Bonus


=============
B E L G I U M
=============


LERNOUT & HAUSPIE: Advises Shareholders on ESM Registration
-----------------------------------------------------------

Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products NV, a world leader in speech
and language technology, products and services, wishes to advise
its shareholders that those wishing to attend and vote at the
Extraordinary Shareholders Meeting (ESM) on 27 April must provide
their certificate of ownership and a notification to L&H by no
later than 24 April, an April 20 press release from Nasdaq
Europe said.

A certificate of ownership, furnished by a bank or broker,
verifies the number of shares the owner holds as of 19 April. A
notification is a written confirmation by the shareholder of his
or her intention to attend the ESM. Registered shareholders need
only provide a notification to L&H by the same date.

The certificate of ownership must also contain a proxy statement,
in which the legal owner of the shares (or his authorized
representative) authorizes the beneficial shareholder to vote
with the mentioned shares. This proxy statement is different from
a proxy in which a shareholder authorizes a third person to
attend and vote at the ESM in his place.

Shareholders can either send the documents to L&H themselves or
arrange to have it sent on their behalf by their bank or broker
to Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products NV, Attention: Philip
Depecker, Director Legal Affairs, Flanders Language Valley 50,
8900 Ieper, Belgium.

Shareholders whose notification and certificate of ownership are
not in L&H's possession on 24 April will, in no event, be
entitled to attend the ESM.

Further information on the ESM and the registration procedures,
including the Definitive Proxy Statement can be found at
www.lhsl.com/financial/esm.


SABENA SA: Pilots Seek Independent Audit
----------------------------------------

Three pilots, who owns 21 out of more than 5 billion shares of
troubled air carrier Sabena SA, have asked the Belgian Commercial
Court to mandate an independent audit of the airline's results,
Dow Jones reported on Friday.

A Commercial Court judge will decide on the pilots' request on
Wednesday.

The Belgian Cockpit Association supports the pilots' move, saying
the pilots are seeking a real audit. The audit completed in
January by the International Pilot Services Corporation didn't go
into depth of the accounts and that a real audit takes five
months. The company's regular auditor did the other audit.

According to Sabena spokesman Wilfried Remans, the audit is a
waste of time and resources since two recent audits didn't turn
up any irregularities in the airline's books.


===========
F R A N C E
===========


BAGAGES SUPERIOR: Delsey Buys Marechal Unit for FFr4.5 Million
--------------------------------------------------------------

The Besancon commercial court has approved the acquisition of
Marechal Industries unit Bagages Superior, which has been in
receivership for nearly three months, by Belgian luggage
specialist Delsey for FFr4.5 million, Les Echos in its April 20
edition said.

Initially, Delsey plans to retain 14 of Bagages' 54 staff.


=============
G E R M A N Y
=============


DAIMLERCHRYSLER AG: To Post 772 Million Euro First Quarter Loss
---------------------------------------------------------------

DaimlerChrysler will post a 772 million euros ($696.1 million)
adjusted net loss on Wednesday for the first quarter of 2001,
Reuters on April 20 reported.

Forecasts were obtained from Credit Suisse First Boston, UBS
Warburg, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, Sal. Oppenheim
& Cie, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, WestLB Panmure and BHF Bank.

In the fourth quarter of 2000, Chrysler posted an adjusted
operating loss of about 1.4 billion euros, dragging the whole
group into the red for that period.


TELDAFAX AG: Soars After Service Restored
-----------------------------------------

Shares in telecommunications operator TelDaFax climbs 64% on
Thursday, following a tribunal order for Deutsche Telekom to
restore the group's service, Agence France-Presse in its April 19
edition reported.

The decision came two weeks after TelDaFax filed for bankruptcy
protection.


TELDEFAX AG: World Access to Release Tendered Shares
----------------------------------------------------

World Access, Inc. will release shares of TelDaFax AG tendered in
its December 9, 2000, tender offer, PR Newswire in its April 20
report said.

World Access announced on April 2, 2001, that it had completed
the tender offer and gained an ownership position in TelDaFax of
70.11%. World Access subsequently learned that, although it had
issued its shares to its German exchange agent for distribution
to the TelDaFax shareholders, the exchange agent halted such
distribution because The Executive Office of The Takeover
Commission in Germany asserted its position that the tender offer
did not meet the requirements of The Takeover Code because the
World Access shares had not been listed on the Frankfurt Stock
Exchange.

As a result of The Takeover Commission's decision and the
exchange agent's refusal to distribute the shares, the tender
offer cannot be completed.

World Access is releasing to the TelDaFax shareholders the 12.5
million TelDaFax shares it gained in its tender offer, leaving
World Access with its original ownership stake of 33%.


TELDAFAX AG: World Access Files Lawsuit Against DT
--------------------------------------------------

World Access, Inc., which transports international long distance
voice and data traffic, has filed a lawsuit against Deutsche
Telekom AG in the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Georgia, PR Newswire in its April 20 edition said.

Among other things, the complaint alleges that WAXS has suffered
damages in excess of $600 million resulting from DT's decision
earlier this month to discontinue interconnection services to
German long distance service provider TelDcFax AG in which WAXS
currently holds a 33% interest. The complaint alleges that in
terminating access to its network, DT violated German Antitrust
laws and breached its contractual obligations to TelDaFax. WAXS's
suit further alleges that, prior to and since terminating network
access, DT has engaged in efforts to convert customers of
TelDaFax, as well as customers of WAXS's wholly owned
subsidiaries in Germany, whose long distance service was being
provided by TelDaFax pursuant to reseller agreements.

Since 1999, World Access has implemented a strategy designed to
build a retail long distance business in Europe focused on small
and medium-sized business customers. In June 2000, WAXS announced
that it reached an agreement to acquire TelDaFax expecting that
it would become the cornerstone of its European network and
operations. The lawsuit alleges that DT's termination of
interconnection service to TelDaFax resulted not only in the
destruction of TelDaFax's business operation, but caused
substantial damage to WAXS, severely limiting its ability to
restructure and reorganize its finances and business operations
and to continue to implement its business plan.

WAXS's lawsuit follows three days after a German court issued a
preliminary order requiring DT to restore interconnection service
to TelDaFax. DT restored service to TelDaFax in accordance with
the court order. However, World Access believes that great harm
had already been caused to the commercial prospects of TelDaFax.


=============
H U N G A R Y
=============


MALEV AIRLINES: To Receive No More Than 86 Million Euro Funding
---------------------------------------------------------------

The managers of the APV privatization agency said that state-
owned Malev airline will receive no more than the 86 million
euros promised for its restructuring even though it had demanded
a minimum of 131 million euros to avoid liquidation, according to
AFX in its April 20 report.

Malev president Ferenc Szarvas has earlier warned that without
aid of at least 131 million euros this year, the company would
have to stop its flights. However, associate director of APV
Istvan Jozsef Fueloep said that the funds that Malev is receiving
are sufficient.

He added that the APV supported a restructuring plan for Malev,
which proposed a reduction of services and the loss of 25%, or
4,000 staff.


=============
I R E L A N D
=============


EIRCOM PLC: Mobile Phone Giants in Conflict
-------------------------------------------

Telecommunications millionaire Sean Bolger has accused Eircell of
launching a personal attack on him to undermine his mobile-phone
business Imagine, according to The Sunday Times' report.

Bolger, locked in a battle with the Eircom subsidiary over the
sale of airtime to Imagine for more than a year, leases large
amounts of airtime from Eircell at a discounted rate.

On Thursday, Bolger's parent company Meridian Communications won
a temporary High Court injunction that prevents Eircell from
cutting off supply to its customers. Eircell has claimed Meridian
owes it 14.3 million pounds. Bolger has denied such claim, saying
Meridian subsidiary Cellular 3 discovered inaccurate and double-
billing from Eircell, which amounted to almost 2.5 million
pounds.

An Eircell spokesperson said it had documents to back up its
claim for 14.3 million pounds.


=========
I T A L Y
=========


ALITALIA-LINEE: Partners With Air France
----------------------------------------

The Italian government confirmed that the alliance between Air
France and Alitalia is now completed, according to the April 23
edition of The Times.

The struggling airline which last year made a net loss of 495
billion lira (158 million pounds) has been in search of a partner
since its talks with Dutch airline KLM fell apart a year ago.

Alitalia is likely to join the French airline's Skyteam alliance,
including America's Delta and Korean Air, the Times added.


FIREMA TRASPORTI: Draws Plan to Restructure
-------------------------------------------

Rolling stock maker Firema Trasporti is drawing up plans to
restructure and relaunch, while controlling company Firema
Finanziaria is in liquidation, Corriere della Sera in its April
20 report said.


=====================
N E T H E R L A N D S
=====================


UNITED PAN-EUROPE: Disagrees With Moody's Downgrade
---------------------------------------------------

Cable company United Pan-Europe Communications NV disagreed with
credit ratings agency Moody's Investors Service's decision on
April 19 to lower the company's debt ratings, Dow Jones in its
Friday edition reported.

Moody's lowered its ratings for UPC and its subsidiaries to Caa1,
reflecting the company's very high financial leverage and debt
service costs, and also expressed worries about UPC's liquidity
needs after 2002.

According to UPC Chief Executive Mark Schneider, the new rating
won't impact UPC's interest expense, or the covenants of existing
credit facilities. UPC continues to try to strengthen its balance
sheet further and that the business is well on track, Schneider
added.



===========
P O L A N D
===========


ELEKTRIM SA: Vivendi Denies Bid
-------------------------------

France's Vivendi Universal SA has denied a media report that it
plans to take a controlling stake in telecommunications
conglomerate Elektrim SA, according to Dow Jones Newswires' April
20 edition.

Kacper Krasicki, of the public relations firm Art Media that
works for Vivendi, told media on Friday that the French telecom
had reached an agreement with minority shareholders that bring
Vivendi closer to taking control of Elektrim.

Krasicki wasn't available for comment after the denial of
Vivendi.


=============
R O M A N I A
=============


BANCA TURCO: BNR Gives Bank Weeks to Recover
--------------------------------------------

The board of Romania's central bank (BNR) has agreed to give bank
Banca Turco Romana (BTR) a few weeks grace period to implement a
recovery plan for its liquidity situation, according to Reuters'
April 20 edition.

BNR over the past months has been monitoring the liquidity at
BTR, which was suspended from trading since November of last
year.

BTR officials were not immediately available for comment.


===========
R U S S I A
===========


NTV: Gusinsky Accuses Putin of NTV Plot
---------------------------------------

Media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky has accused President Vladimir
Putin of directing the takeover of his independent television
company NTV, CNN in its April 20 edition said.

In an interview in Spain, Gusinsky said Putin "pulled the plug"
on NTV to prevent the major problems facing his administration
from being highlighted by the station. He added that Putin knows
and is directing all the details of what is going on.

Gazprom took over NTV, prompting fears that NTV's critical
reporting will be silenced.


NTV: Lawyers Tell Ruhrgas to Pressure Gazprom
---------------------------------------------

A group of German lawmakers, representing each of the main
parties, urged gas giant Ruhrgas to pressure Gazprom the
importance of media freedom in a democracy and not to interfere
with Vladimir Gusinsky's NTV television station, the Friday
edition of The Moscow Times said.

According to parliamentary energy spokesman for the ruling Social
Democrats Michael Mueller, Ruhrgas is one of Gazprom's most
important foreign partners and it should use its influence both
directly and indirectly.

Parliament members from the conservative opposition Christian
Democrats and small liberal Free Democratic Party also joined the
appeal.

No one was immediately available for comment at Ruhrgas.


RUSSIAN ALUMINIUM: Faces $2.7 Billion Lawsuit
---------------------------------------------

Russian Aluminium, the world's second largest aluminum producer,
is being sued for $2.7 billion by Base Metal Trading SA, Base
Metal Trading Ltd and Alucoal for fraud, bribery and money
laundering, the Sunday Times reported.

The three rival companies claim to have lost $900 million when
Russian Aluminium subsidiary Novokuznetz Aluminium Zavod, or
NKAV, was declared bankrupt in January 1999.

The case will include a number of Russia's most powerful
businessmen and could involve Barclays Bank (BCS) and other
banking organizations. Europe's biggest banks Credit Agricole
Suisse, Bank Paribas and Westdeutscher Landesbank have already
been served with subpoenas that require them to give up documents
relating to dealings with the Russian company.

The suit also claims Sirbirsky head Oleg Deripaska and his
business partner Mikhail Chernoi extracted millions of dollars
from the collapsed company and eventually forced it to
bankruptcy. Sirbirsky took over NKAV before Russian Aluminium.
Chernoi is also accused of ordering the murder of American
businessman Felix Lvov.


=====================
S W I T Z E R L A N D
=====================


ISL WORLDWIDE: Vivendi and Bertelsmann to Takeover ISL
------------------------------------------------------

French communications group Vivendi Universal and German media
group Bertelsmann AG want to take over ISL Worlwide, following a
Swiss court's decision to allow the sports marketing group to
find a buyer, La Tribune & World Reporter in its April 20 edition
said.

One condition is that ISL's contract with tennis association ATP
be annulled, which involves ISL paying $1.2 billion to the
association over ten years in exchange for rights on ten
tournaments.

US motorsport association CART also claims $100 million from ISL
in damages and interest for a unilaterally broken contract.


SAIRGROUP: Union Chief to Save AOM/Air Liberte
----------------------------------------------

Ernest-Antoine Seilliere, head of the French employers union
Medef and majority shareholder in the troubled AOM/Air Liberte
airlines, is working relentlessly to save the companies from
bankruptcy, AFX in its April 22 report said.

According to Seilliere, although he has no plans to add to the
FFr300 million already invested in AOM/Air Liberte by Taitbout
Antibes, it does not prevent them from having discussions with
SAirgroup. He said he has made numerous contacts in a bid to find
a new investor for the airlines.

Marine-Wendel, holding company of Taitbout Antibes, said at the
beginning of April it would no longer fund operations in AOM and
Air Liberte. SAirGroup also said it would no longer fund the
French airlines.


===========================
U N I T E D   K I N G D O M
===========================


BCCI: Shipping Tycoon to Spend Three More Years in Jail
-------------------------------------------------------

Former head of Gulf shipping group Abbas Gokal, convicted for his
role in the collapse of Bank of Credit and Commerce International
(BCCI), was on Thursday sentenced to a further three years in
jail for refusing to pay bank creditors 3 million pounds, The
Guardian in its April 20 edition said.

Based on the decision of the City of London magistrates' court,
the earliest Gokal can expect to be released is July 2004 or
November 2006 if he is not granted parole.

Gokal was sentenced to 14 years in 1997 for a 731 million-pound
fraud on depositors of the failed BCCI but was backdated to the
period he spent in custody after being arrested in 1994.


BRITISH TELECOM: Closes Site on Friday
--------------------------------------

British Telecom was forced to close its main website www.BT.com
on Friday after reports of a breach of confidential customer
information, BBC News in its April 20 edition reported.

One BT customer said he was not only able to access other
people's billing details when trying to pay his own bill online,
but also able to change their friends and family preferences.

According to BT spokesman David Orr, the error was caused by a
programming problem, which meant people who were accessing a
service called 'View my Calls' saw somebody else's.

He said the shutdown allowed the problem to be resolved.


BRITISH TELECOM: To Sell Concert Stake
--------------------------------------

British Telecom is ready to sell its 50% stake in international
corporate telecom venture Concert to its partner AT&T Corp., BBC
News said, citing BusinessWeek's report on Friday.

According to the report, no agreement is assured but sources
inside and outside the companies as saying serious negotiations
were under way.

Last year, a deal was almost struck but failed due to
disagreements over price and management. Now, BT is under so much
pressure from its shareholders, that it probably has no choice
but to sell Concert. A sale could also help BT cut its 30
billion-pound debt mountain by 10% or more, the news agency
added.

BT dismissed the report as speculation.


CAMMELL LAIRD: Appoints KPMG to Pursue Claim Against Italian Firm
-----------------------------------------------------------------

The creditors of Cammell Laird, primarily its bondholders, have
appointed KPMG to pursue a claim against Costa Crociere, the
Italian company that pulled out of a cruise ship contract, and to
realize assets for the creditors, the Financial Times in its
April 20 edition said.

Cammell chairman Juan Kelly believed the group had a very strong
contractual case against Costa, although he warned any legal
process could take several years. Cammell completed a midsection
for the Costa Classica cruise ship, but received no payment
because Costa said it was unhappy with the work.

Furthermore, Cammell receiver PwC has confirmed on Friday it is
in talks with several potential buyers for the shipyard group.


CORUS GROUP: Loses on Railtrack Order
-------------------------------------

Railtrack has placed orders for about 25,000 tons of new track
worth about 12 million pounds with steel manufacturers Voest-
Alpine of Austria and Italy's Lucchini at the expense of Corus,
according to The Times' April 21 edition.

Dale Campbell-Savours, Labor MP for Workington, is to press
Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott as to why Corus is not
getting more of the work when they could do it.

Furthermore, General secretary Michael Leahy of the ISTC union
wrote to Prescott and Stephen Byers, the Trade and Industry
Secretary, to complain about the decision. His letter blames the
Government for lacking a clear approach to manufacturing and says
that industry is facing problems caused by government policies.

A spokeswoman for Railtrack, however, said that the group would
strive to source from the UK but they need to have a diversity of
supply and there are good operational reasons for using longer
tracks.


KNIGHT WILLIAMS: Arthur Andersen to Resign
------------------------------------------

Arthur Andersen will resign as liquidator of Knight Williams &
Co, which specializes in giving advice on retirement portfolios,
because of a planned lawsuit by the collapsed firm's directors
against the Financial Services Authority (FSA), according to the
April 21 edition of The Times.

Directors Robin Knight Bruce, John Williams and Stephen Prescott
have retained law firm Anthony Speaight, QC, and Lovells to sue
the FSA over its part in the firm's decision to go into voluntary
liquidation in 1995, on the advice of accounting and management
consulting firm Grant Thornton.

Arthur Andersen, also working for the FSA, believes the lawsuit
leaves it with a conflict of interest. A replacement has yet to
be appointed.

On Friday, the FSA said that it had taken legal advice and did
not believe that directors would be successful.


MARKS & SPENCER: French Workers Show Up for Talks
-------------------------------------------------

The representatives of Marks & Spencer's French workers finally
showed up in the meeting called by French management of the
retailer and its legal representatives on Thursday, Namnews in
its April 20 edition reported.

"But there was no discussion of any agenda for talks on the
restructuring plan," a spokesman for the Confederation Generale
du Travail said.

Following M&S' announcement that it plans to pull out of
continental Europe with the closure of 38 stores and the loss of
over 4,000 jobs, a group of unions has sued the company.

The first attempt of the meeting was on April 11 where delegates
from trade unions did not attend the get-together.


MARKS & SPENCER: Undecided Over Chief's Bonus
---------------------------------------------

Marks and Spencer said that a decision has yet to be made over
executive chairman Luc Vandevelde's controversial 810,000-pound
bonus, according to the Financial Times' April 20 report.

The retailer has met opposition from staff and shareholders since
the size of the expected bonus was revealed. M&S is cutting many
of its operations and making thousands redundant. Profits are
declining, too.

M&S said it had told staff of the position regarding the bonus in
a regular weekly electronic newsletter, the Times added.


      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 -- Europe is a daily newsletter co-
published by Bankruptcy Creditors' Service, Inc., Trenton, NJ
USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Washington, DC USA. Kimberly MacAdam,
Salve M. Mordeno and Cristina Pernites, Editors.

Copyright 2001.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2754.

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