TCREUR_Public/040220.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

             Friday, February 20, 2004, Vol. 5, No. 36

                            Headlines

F I N L A N D

METSO CORPORATION: Ratings Downgraded to Ba1; Outlook Negative


F R A N C E

ALSTOM SA: Parries Competitor's 'Cheap Shot'
BSN GLASSPACK: Owens-Illinois Tables EUR1.16 Bln Buyout Offer
FRANCE TELECOM: Rating Raised on Stronger Credit Metrics
IMPRIMERIE NATIONALE: E.U. Commission Allows State Intervention


G E R M A N Y

ADORI AG: Applies for Insolvency Proceedings
ADORI AG: Company Profile
BANKGESELLSCHAFT BERLIN: E.U. Commission OKs Restructuring Aid
COMMERZBANK AG: Ends FY2003 EUR2.3 Billion Below Par
DR. SCHELLER: Reports Unexpected Negative Earnings

GFW GMBH: E.U. Commission Opens Inquiry into State Aid
SIRONA DENTAL: Ratings Cancelled Following Takeover
VOLKSWAGEN AG: 2003 Net Profit Down Nearly 60%
WESTLB AG: Individual Rating Placed on Watch Negative


G R E E C E

ROYAL OLYMPIC: Insurance Underwriters Sever Ties


I R E L A N D

CG SERVICES: Shuts down Business; Liquidation to Begin Soon
DAIRYGOLD CO-OP: Union Protests Restructuring Plan
ELAN CORPORATION: Narrows 2003 Net Loss to US$328.2 Million
ELAN CORPORATION: Seeks Approval for Multiple Sclerosis Drug


N E T H E R L A N D S

HEAD N.V.: Sets Conference Call to Discuss Results February 24
VAN DER: Reaches Settlement Pact with U.S. SEC, NYSE
VENDEX KBB: Reports Moderate Turnover Despite Difficult Quarter


N O R W A Y

HAG ASA: Restructures to Survive Difficult Market
STOLT OFFSHORE: 2003 Full-year Loss Widens by US$264 Million
STOLT OFFSHORE: Wins US$550 Million Contract in Angola


P O L A N D

GDYNIA SHIPYARD: Government to Participate in Capital Hike
POLSKIE HUTY: LNM, Trade Unions Strike Social Package Deal


R U S S I A

KORUND: Court Revises Insolvency Proceedings Timetable
LLC ASPHALT: Under Bankruptcy Supervision Procedure
MELEUZOVSKAYA BIOFABRICA: Bankruptcy Hearing Set March 15
PROTON: To Auction Properties Next Month
SKOPINSKY: Court Appoints Temporary Insolvency Manager
ZUBR: Creditors Ready Bankruptcy Case Against Meat Packer


S P A I N

LYCOS EUROPE: Pares Down Losses; Paves Way for Further Growth


S W E D E N

SONG NETWORKS: Turns in Positive Results for 2003
SPP LIVFORSAKRING: Expects Shareholders' to OK Demutualization


U N I T E D   K I N G D O M

ABERDEEN PREFERRED: Scheme of Arrangement Now in Force
ARCHITECTURAL PANEL: In Administrative Receivership
ATS INVESTMENT: Files for Voluntary Winding up
BAC LIMITED: Vantis Business Recovery Appointed Receiver
BIRMINGHAM MANUFACTURING: Designates RSM Robson Administrator

BOXCLEVER: Fortress Wins Preferred Bidder Status
CAMBRIAN ENGINEERING: Under Administrative Receivership
CANARY WHARF: Cancels Extraordinary Meeting Set for February 23
COLLINS CONSTRUCTION: Creditors Meeting Set March 1
COSMACK MANAGEMENT: Appoints BDO Stoy Administrator

HERON MERE: Names Sanderlings LLP Administrator
INDUSTRIAL BUILDING: Bank of Scotland Calls in Administrators
JORDAN & HOLE: HSBC Bank Hires MAZARS as Administrator
LIFTECH ENGINEERING: Voluntary Winding up Resolution Passed
MG ROVER: Analysts Expect Significant Progress in Proton Talks

OXFORD LOGISTICS: Names BDO STOY Administrative Receiver
PACIFIC MEDIA: MediaXposure to Inject up to US$20 million
PENNANT CLOTHING: To Close Belper Derbyshire Plant
PETROS CAR: Submission of Creditors Claim Until March 8
PRESTIGE GRINDING: Appoints Receivers from Milner Boardman

SR GENT: To Pull out South Yorkshire Operation
TASOU GROUP: Appoints P&A Partnership Administrator
VIS ENTERTAINMENT: BAM! Entertainment Acquires Firm


                            *********


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F I N L A N D
=============


METSO CORPORATION: Ratings Downgraded to Ba1; Outlook Negative
--------------------------------------------------------------
Moody's Investors Service downgraded the long-term senior
unsecured debt and issuer ratings of Metso Corporation due to
the company's continued weak operating performance, high debt,
and lack of substantial progress in implementing its programs.
The ratings are relegated to Ba1 from Baa3.

The securities affected are: the EUR1.0 billion Euro Medium-Term
Note Program, the EUR500 million bonds due 2006 drawn under the
program and a US$200 million bond due 2007.  The outlook on all
ratings is negative.

According to the rating agency Metso's continued weak operating
performance in 2003 resulted to depressed margins and cash flows
in the company's core businesses.  In order for the company to
maintain the Ba1 rating, Moody's said management should
"implement substantially all of its targeted EUR100 million cost
savings during 2004 and to complete asset disposals in order to
reduce net debt to more manageable levels in the context of
current and expected operating cash flows."

Metso, the leading global supplier of machinery and technology
for the fiber and paper industry, reported revenues of EUR4.25
billion for the fiscal year and a EUR258 million net loss.


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


ALSTOM SA: Parries Competitor's 'Cheap Shot'
--------------------------------------------
Reacting to an analyst report, Patrick Kron, Chairman and CEO of
ALSTOM issued this statement:

We are aware of the allegations regarding Alstom's pricing
policy made by a competitor that we obviously deny.  Two
specific contracts have been mentioned in this report:

(a) A Chilean rail contract -- Alstom has had several successes
    in Chile in recent years, based on a technically superior
    offer and in particular, low cost Brazilian manufacturing.
    The offers submitted by this competitor were, we believe,
    based on European manufacturing, which most observers would
    recognize as more costly.  Our net margin on these projects
    is clearly positive and in line with ALSTOM Transport's
    profitability objectives.

(b) The order announced recently for heavy-duty gas turbines in
    Spain -- this was won in the face of intense pressure by
    international competitors and the company has made no secret
    of the fact that it was priced aggressively.  This
    allegation is part of a wide-ranging campaign attempting to
    prevent Alstom from reintroducing its GT26 in the market, as
    illustrated by competitors' predatory pricing on projects
    targeted by Alstom.

Such surprising comments made by a competitor highlight the
current successful commercial recovery of Alstom, due to the
quality of our products and the increasing confidence of our
customers.

CONTACT:  ALSTOM S.A.
          Press relations
          G. Tourvieille
          S. Gagneraud
          Phone: +33 1 47 55 23 15
          Investor relations
          E. Chatelain
          Phone: +33 1 47 55 25 33


BSN GLASSPACK: Owens-Illinois Tables EUR1.16 Bln Buyout Offer
-------------------------------------------------------------
Food and drink container manufacturer, BSN Glasspack S.A., is in
buyout talks with Owens-Illinois Inc., according to Bloomberg
News.

North America's biggest maker of glass containers is willing to
pay EUR1.16 billion (US$1.5 billion) in cash and assumed debt
for the company, which is owned by U.K. buyout firm, CVC Capital
Partners Ltd.  The acquisition could add to Owens-Illinois
US$1.6 billion in annual sales, US$100 million in cash flow and
19 plants in Europe.  Owens-Illinois didn't say how much debt it
will assume, but Standard & Poor's analyst Stewart Scharf said
it is assuming about US$835 million of debt, according to the
report.

BSN, the second biggest container manufacturer in Europe was hit
hard by sales losses in the French wine industry, the report
said citing S&P credit analyst Vanessa Brathwaite's comments in
November.  More than half of BSN's sales last year came from
France, with the rest from Germany, the Netherlands and Spain.


FRANCE TELECOM: Rating Raised on Stronger Credit Metrics
--------------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services raised its long-term
corporate credit ratings on France's dominant telecommunications
service provider France Telecom S.A. (FT) and its mobile
telephony subsidiary, Orange S.A., to 'BBB+' from 'BBB'.  At the
same time, the 'A-2' short-term corporate credit rating on FT
was affirmed.  The outlook on both companies remains positive.

"The upgrade, which follows a review of FT's 2003 operating
performance and deleveraging expectations for 2004 and 2005,
primarily reflects the group's rapid improvement in credit
metrics on the back of markedly stronger, sustainable cash flow
generation, as well as a predictable financial policy through
year-end 2005," said Milan-based Standard & Poor's credit
analyst Guy Deslondes.

Since year-end 2002, FT has reduced its on-balance-sheet net
debt by about EUR23.8 billion, to EUR44.2 billion, thanks to a
EUR15 billion rights issue, about EUR3 billion in asset
disposals, and EUR6.4 billion of discretionary cash flow.  In
particular, the group's achievements in 2003 in terms of
operating cash flow and the reduction of both working capital
and capital expenditures were materially better than Standard &
Poor's initial expectations.  France Telecom's 2003 operating
and working-capital achievements, as well as its historically
low capital expenditures, seem sustainable in 2004 and beyond.

France Telecom's ratings continue to reflect an above-average
business risk profile, primarily stemming from the group's
strong domestic positions in fixed-line and mobile telephony.
Regulatory pressure is the main near-term threat to France
Telecom's operating performance, while technology developments,
coupled with an aggressive competitive environment, could
gradually jeopardize the group's revenue base.  France Telecom
is expected to offset such pressures, however, through steady
improvement in operating efficiency and an adequate product
offer.

The positive outlook reflects Standard & Poor's expectation that
FT's credit quality will continue to improve during the next
year, in line with substantial cash flow generation and now-
solid profitability metrics.

"If the group continues to materially and steadily reduce debt
over 2004, and, at the same time, management continues to pursue
a prudent financial policy -- especially toward its shareholders
and with respect to cash-financed acquisitions -- the rating
could be raised further," added Mr. Deslondes.

Maintenance of solid business positions and operating efficiency
amid challenging technology and regulatory developments will
also be key to justifying a higher rating.

CONTACT: STANDARDS AND POORS RATING
         ANALYST E-MAIL ADDRESSES:
         guy_deslondes@standardandpoors.com
         leandro_detorreszabala@standardandpoors.com
         CorporateFinanceEurope@standardandpoors.com


IMPRIMERIE NATIONALE: E.U. Commission Allows State Intervention
---------------------------------------------------------------
The decline in activity in the printing sector generally since
2001 and the loss of the contract for France Telecom telephone
directory, in particular, have proved disastrous for the cash
flow of Imprimerie Nationale.  The French authorities have thus
given notification of rescue aid for Imprimerie Nationale.

The state aid of EUR65 million is provided in the form of a
shareholder's advance repayable as a loan that will carry
interest at an annual rate of 4.43% and will be reimbursed over
a period of not more than twelve months after disbursement of
the last installment.  Payment of the aid will be staggered over
a period of not more than six months during which a
restructuring plan will be submitted to the European Union
Commission.

The E.U. Commission considers the intervention by the French
authorities as ad hoc aid that has been assessed in the light of
the Community guidelines on state aid for rescuing and
restructuring firms in difficulty.  The rescue aid granted to
Imprimerie Nationale meets the criteria laid down in the
guidelines: (1) The amount of the loan must be strictly
restricted to what is necessary to keep the firm in business for
the period during which the aid is authorized; (2) the aid
consists of liquidity support and will in no way be used to
finance expansion.

In addition, the rescue aid for Imprimerie Nationale seems
warranted on the grounds of serious social difficulties.
Liquidation of the group, which employs a workforce of 1,740,
would have major social consequences, especially as one-third of
the workforce is employed at the plant in Douai, a particularly
hard-hit industrial region eligible for Objective 1 of the
European Structural Funds.

Lastly, the firm has never received rescue aid previously.
In conclusion, the rescue aid for Imprimerie Nationale thus
meets the criteria laid down in the Community guidelines on
state aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty.

Background

Imprimerie Nationale, which was previously covered by the
Finance Ministry budget, became a national enterprise pursuant
to Law No 93-1419 of December 31, 1993.  It is a joint stock
company wholly owned by the State under Article 1 of that Law,
pursuant to which Imprimerie Nationale enjoys a monopoly over
"documents deemed secret or the execution of which has to be
accompanied by special security measures, and in particular
identity papers, passports, visas and other administrative and
civil-status documents containing specific security features
designed to prevent forgery."  As at December 31, 2002 the group
had a turnover of EUR208,751,000 and employed 1,740 people.


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


ADORI AG: Applies for Insolvency Proceedings
--------------------------------------------
In order to preserve the possibility of restructuring the
company, ADORI A.G. has requested the opening of insolvency
proceedings.  On February 17, 2004, the relevant court in
Regensburg ordered the preparation of a report of insolvency.
The proceedings have not yet been opened.


ADORI AG: Company Profile
-------------------------
Straubinger Str. 81
93055 Regensburg

PHONE: +49 0941.7088.0

FAX: +49 0941.7088.499

E-MAIL: info@adori.de

HOME PAGE: http://www.adori.ag/ag/en/home.html

TYPE OF BUSINESS: The Company's principal activities are
developing and operating online shops on the Internet on behalf
of its clients; it also provides other Internet services.  The
Company was founded in 1995 and listed on the Frankfurt stock
exchange in May 2000.  Online shops accounted for 93% of 2001
revenues and other services, 7%.

EXECUTIVES: Management Board
            Martin Kagerer
            Paul Kobler

            Board of Directors
            Ulrich Altvater
            Michael Wolfle
            Wolfgang Scholler

NUMBER OF EMPLOYEES: 71 (as of 2001)

REVENUES: EUR0.765 million (rump business year ending Dec. 31,
2001; based on IAS and HGB German Commercial Code)

LOSS: EUR4.842 Million (year ending Dec. 31, 2001; based on IAS)

CASH AND CASH EQUIVALENTS:
EUR26.953 million (year ending Dec. 31, 2001; based on IAS)


BANKGESELLSCHAFT BERLIN: E.U. Commission OKs Restructuring Aid
--------------------------------------------------------------
In exchange for obtaining the E.U. Commission's approval under
the State aid rules, Germany and the Land Berlin submitted a
variety of divestiture commitments.  This includes the
undertakings to divest Berliner Bank, one of Bankgesellschaft
Berlin's two retail brands, to hive-off the real estate services
subsidiaries which were the main cause for the crisis and,
finally, to sell Bankgesellschaft Berlin (BGB) by the end of
2007.  The restructuring plan also provides for a series of
other measures such as the divestment of Berlin-based Weberbank
and the sale or closure of national and foreign branches and
subsidiaries.  Moreover, it is intended to divest the real
estate financing subsidiary BerlinHyp in the context of the
overall privatization of BGB, either separately or together with
the rest of BGB.  Based on the modified restructuring plan
taking into account the additional commitments made by Germany,
the aid can be authorized.

The economic value of the aid will total about EUR9.7 billion
and will consist of three measures:

(a) A capital injection of EUR1.755 billion by the Land Berlin
    into BGB of August 2001;

(b) A guarantee ("risk shield") with a maximum amount of
    nominally EUR21.6 billion by the Land Berlin to BGB of
    December 2001/April 2002, which has an economic value of
    EUR6.1 billion; and

(c) A repayment agreement between the Land Berlin and BGB of
    December 2002 regarding a potential recovery order following
    a Commission decision on the open procedure C48/2002 (the
    Landesbank Berlin capital transfer probe is still pending).
    This agreement is valued at up to EUR1.8 billion.

The aid measures were assessed against the three main criteria
set forth in the Guidelines for rescuing and restructuring firms
in difficulty:

(1) Restoration of long-term viability.  In line with the
    criteria in the guidelines the Commission concludes that the
    restructuring measures already carried out and those planned
    for the future are reasonable, logical and fundamentally
    appropriate in order to enable BGB to restore its viability.
    The restructuring plan provides for a substantial reduction
    in risky assets and restricts the bank to its core business
    (retail, real estate financing and capital markets) in the
    future.   The Commission's assessment was fundamentally
    based on an expert study commissioned in summer 2003 and
    delivered in autumn 2003, giving the Commission in
    particular reassurance about the sufficiency of BGB's risk
    provisions and risk management.

    The Commission counts on the forth-coming privatization to
    have a positive effect on further improving BGB's
    profitability.

(2) Avoidance of undue distortions of competition.  The
    Commission believes that the sales, closures and reduction
    measures already carried out, planned or promised are
    sufficient to offset the market-distorting effects of the
    aid measures in question.  In particular, Germany has
    committed to reduce BGB's strong position in the Berlin
    retail banking market by the separate divestment of Berliner
    Bank, one of BGB's two regional retail brands (next to
    Berliner Sparkasse), together with the attached business.
    The restructuring plan also provides for a series of other
    divestments, including the real estate services
    subsidiaries, which were the chief root cause for BGB's
    crisis, and Weberbank, a Berlin-based private bank serving
    wealthy clients.  Other divestments, e.g. BGB's foreign
    retail subsidiaries and the national retail subsidiary
    Allbank, have already been accomplished up to date.

(3) Aid limited to the minimum.  The Commission concludes that
    the three aid measures granted the capital injection; the
    risk shield and the Agreement on the treatment of any claims
    to repayment brought against the bank by the Land of Berlin
    are limited to the strict minimum needed to enable BGB's
    restructuring in the light of the existing financial
    resources of the bank and its shareholders.  The Commission
    found in particular that the risk shield does not provide
    funds to BGB's normal banking activities and that it is
    appropriately managed by a specialized Land-owned control
    agency to exclude any payments without legal obligation.
    The bank received no surplus cash or surplus own resources
    that it could have misused for the purposes of an
    unreasonable expansion of its business at the expense of its
    competitors.

As to the third aid measure the repayment agreement with a
maximum economic value of EUR1.8 billion the Commission's
decision makes clear that the authorization of such agreement is
limited to an exceptional case like the one at hand.
Authorization is also granted only to the extent the recovery in
case C48/2002 (see above) would inevitably undermine the
viability of the company.  The agreement constitutes itself
restructuring aid and creates thus the need for additional
compensatory measures to which Germany has finally committed
itself, in particular with the divestment of Berliner Bank.

Background

The case concerns restructuring aid to the German banking group
Bankgesellschaft Berlin AG, which is one of the 12 biggest banks
in Germany, and by far the leading credit institution in the
greater Berlin area.  BGB was founded in 1994 by bringing
together several credit institutions owned by the Land Berlin
including Landesbank Berlin (LBB), Berliner Bank AG and
BerlinHyp A.G.  Currently the Land holds roughly 81% of BGB's
shares. The group is mainly active in the business fields of
retail banking, real estate financing and capital markets.

As a result of high-risk real estate transactions, in particular
imprudent rent and repurchase guarantees given to investors in
real estate funds, BGB went into serious difficulties.  To
prevent measures such a provisional closure by the German
banking supervisory authority, the majority shareholder Land
Berlin injected in August 2001 fresh capital of EUR1.755
billion.

In a second transaction the Land provided, in December 2001,
risk guarantees (the so-called "risk shield") in order to cover
newly discovered risks from the real estate business up to a
theoretical maximum of EUR21.6 billion.  In a worst case
scenario the economic value can be assessed at EUR6.1 billion.
Germany notified these measures as restructuring aid on January
28, 2002.


COMMERZBANK AG: Ends FY2003 EUR2.3 Billion Below Par
----------------------------------------------------
In 2003, the Commerzbank Group improved its operating profit by
more than EUR350 million to EUR559 million in a year-on-year
comparison.  Despite further strong reduction of its risk-
weighted assets (-12% to EUR141 billion), earnings rose, while
in operating expenses (-12.5%) the target set for 2004 was
realized ahead of plan.  At EUR1,084 million, provision for
possible loan losses was exactly on course.  The final quarter,
too, was quite satisfactory, producing an operating profit of
EUR92 million.  Compared with the same quarter of 2002, there
was a strong improvement of 187%.

Due to the extensive revaluation of the investments and
securities portfolio amounting to EUR2,325 million, as of
September 30, and also to the restructuring expenses already
booked in the first quarter of 2003 (EUR104 million), the bank
is posting a net loss of EUR2,320 million for the year as a
whole.  Here, high tax expenses (EUR249 million) also have to be
taken into consideration.  As a result of the clean-up
operation, the revaluation reserve is positive at EUR1,240
million.  Also thanks to the November capital increase, it was
possible to hold the core capital ratio at the solid level of
7.3%.

Consolidated income statement (in million euros):

                                               Q4            Q4
                               2003[a] 2002   2003[a]       2002

Net interest income           2,776   3,133    663           678
Provision for possible
loan losses                 (1,084) (1,321)  (256)         (323)
Net commission income         2,136   2,120    591           490
Trading profit                  737     544    121            91
Net result on investments/
securities portfolio            291     (11)    68           368
Operating expenses            4,511   5,155  1,113         1,220
Operating profit                559     192     92            32
Regular amortization            110     108     21            25
of goodwill
Profit from ordinary
activities                      449      84     71             7
Expenses arising from
special factors and
restructuring                 2,429     456      -           424
Pre-tax profit              (1,980)   (372)    71          (417)
Taxes                          249    (103)   139          (141)
Consolidated loss           (2,320)   (298)   (88)         (243)


Core capital ratio             7.3%    7.3%
(according to BIS)
Operative return on equity      4.9%    1.6%
Operative cost/income ratio    73.3%   77.3%

---------
Footnote:

[a] Without auditor's certificate; minus figures in parentheses.

Detailed tables are available on the Internet at
http://www.commerzbank.com/aktionaere/konzern/index.html

CONTACTS: COMMERZBANK A.G.
          Corporate Communications-Press Relations
          Phone: (069) 136-22830
          Fax:   (069) 136-22008
          E-mail: Pressestelle@commerzbank.com
          Home page: http://www.commerzbank.com


DR. SCHELLER: Reports Unexpected Negative Earnings
--------------------------------------------------
With the close-the-books work nearly finished, Dr.
Scheller Cosmetics AG will probably disclose a net loss before
taxes for the year of approximately EUR2.6 million.  The reason
for the deterioration are findings made by the auditors during
the preparation of the financial statements that customer-
related expenses and valuation allowances on current assets were
not adequately reflected in the forecasts for the result of the
fiscal year 2003.

At the same time, an impairment loss has been recorded on the
investment in the Polish subsidiary due to an amended view of
market developments there and changes in the composition of
shareholders.  The deterioration in earnings as a result only
affects the fiscal year 2003 and has no impact on the current
year.  In view of the earnings situation for 2003, the
management board will not be able to propose a dividend payment
for the year.

The company has announced that the director responsible for
finance, controlling and personnel, Mr. Siegfried Banzhaf, has
asked the supervisory board in connection with this to terminate
his contract with immediate effect.  The supervisory board has
complied with this request and at the same time decided
that the portfolio for which Mr. Banzhaf was responsible to date
will be jointly managed by the other members of the management
board until a suitable successor for the finance, controlling
and personnel portfolio is appointed.

CONTACT: DR. SCHELLER COSMETICS A.G.
         Cornelia Banzhaf
          IR and PR
         Schillerstr. 21-27
         73054 Eislingen
         Phone: 07161 803 208
         Fax:   07161 803 300
         E-mail: Cornelia.Banzhaf@dr-scheller-cosmetics.com


GFW GMBH: E.U. Commission Opens Inquiry into State Aid
------------------------------------------------------
The European Commission decided to initiate a formal
investigation procedure into the support for the German wine
marketing company, GfW.  The full name of the company is
Gesellschaft fur Weinabsatz Pfalz GmbH (Palatinate Wine
Marketing Company).  The Reconstruction Fund for the Rhineland-
Palatinate winegrowing area (WAK) has decided to waive part of
its outstanding claims on the GfW covering an amount of
EUR5,005,442 in the year 2001.  In addition, the WAK did not
claim any interest on the outstanding debts for the year 2001.
Moreover, it has agreed to subordinate certain claims in favor
of other creditors.

The purpose of the support measures was to prevent the impeding
insolvency of the wine marketing company, GfW, and achieve a
maximum repayment rate for loan claims of the WAK
(Wiederaufbaukasse der rheinland-pfalzischen Weinbaugebiete).
The WAK gave out a capital market loan of EUR15,302,696 to the
GfW in the year 1999, which was used by the GfW to purchase 44
million liters of table wine.  The vineyards received a down
payment of 80% of the purchase price from the GfW in the same
year. In the course of the next two years, the wine market
deteriorated so much as a result of the comparatively large
harvest that the GfW's original pricing level was not feasible.
The selling price fell sharply so that large quantities of the
cask wine still in storage had to be sent to distillation. As a
result of these negative market developments, the GfW was facing
insolvency in November 2000.

In the opinion of the German authorities, the measure only
consisted of the grant of a claims waiver.  The German
authorities have pointed out that this was not state aid within
the meaning of Article 87 EC-Treaty but customary economic
activity among commercial partners.

The Commission normally examines such measures on the basis of
the "private creditor test", to assess whether, under the same
market conditions, a private creditor would have acted or has
acted in the same way as the public creditor.  Following an
initial assessment of the currently available information, the
measures mentioned above do not appear to represent normal
behavior by traders.

According to Council Regulation (EC) No 659/1999 [1], which lays
down detailed rules for State aid procedures, the Commission
shall initiate the formal investigation procedure where it finds
that doubts are raised as to the compatibility with the common
market of a state aid measure.  The Commission is requesting
Germany to submit all relevant information for a more detailed
assessment of this measure.  In addition, interested parties can
submit their comments on the aid measure within one month of the
date of publication of the decision.

---------
Footnote:

[1] Published in the OJ L 83 of 27.03.1999


SIRONA DENTAL: Ratings Cancelled Following Takeover
---------------------------------------------------
Standard & Poor's Ratings Services withdrew its 'B+' long-term
corporate credit rating on Germany-based dental equipment
manufacturer and distributor, Sirona Dental Systems SARL
(Sirona) at the company's request.  This follows Sirona's
complete takeover by EQT Northern Europe Private Equity Fonds
and U.S.-based health care products and services provider Henry
Schein Inc.

The 'B-' rating on the EUR86.92 million 9.125% senior unsecured
notes, due July 2008, was also withdrawn, following their full
redemption on February 16.


VOLKSWAGEN AG: 2003 Net Profit Down Nearly 60%
----------------------------------------------
Volkswagen AG released its latest annual report recently.  These
are the highlights:

(a) 2003 worldwide deliveries increased to over 5 million
    vehicles;

(b) Sales revenue increased to EUR87.2 billion in difficult
    economic conditions;

(c) Investing activities in the Automotive Division reduced by
    1% despite new model initiative (Golf, Touran, New Beetle
    Cabrio, Audi A3, Audi A8, new Transporter generation etc.);

(d) Number of employees slightly higher, mainly as a result of
    increase in the number of consolidated Group companies;

(e) Difficult conditions hinder business of Automotive Division;
    positive trend in Financial Services Division continues;

(f) Operating profit before special items down by 47.7% to
    EUR2,491 million;

(g) One-off special items totaling EUR711 million resulting from
    revaluation of upfront expenditures and from restructuring
    measures;

(h) Tax benefits recognized for the first time in respect of
    Group companies based in new E.U. member states have
    positive effect on tax ratio;

(i) The Board of Management proposes to reduce the dividend by
    19.0%, taking the fall in earnings into account, but also
    considering a more positive medium-term earnings expectation

--------------------------  -----------------------------------
January-December                          2003     2002  +/- (%)
--------------------------  -----------------------------------

Volkswagen Group (IFRS basis):

Deliveries to customers   '000 units     5,015    4,984   +  0.6

Production                '000 units     5,021    5,023   -  0.1

Employees                  31.12.      336,843  324,892   +  3.7

Sales revenue            EUR million    87,153   86,948   +  0.2

Operating profit
before special items      EUR million    2,491    4,761   - 47.7

Special items             EUR million      711        -        x

Operating profit
after special items       EUR million    1,780    4,761   - 62.6

Profit before tax         EUR million    1,529    3,986   - 61.6

Income tax expense        EUR million      411    1,389   - 70.3

Profit after tax          EUR million    1,118    2,597   - 57.0

Minority interests        EUR million     - 23     - 13   - 72.0

Net profit attributable to
shareholders of Volkswagen AG
                          EUR million    1,095    2,584   - 57.6

Earnings per share (undiluted)

- Ordinary share         EUR              2.84     6.72   - 57.7

- Preferred share        EUR              2.90     6.78   - 57.2

Automotive Division:

Cash flows from investing activities  '
                        EUR million     9,031    9,121   -  1.0

Cash flows from operating activities

                        EUR million     6,796    8,065   - 15.7
-------------------------  -------------------------------------

Volkswagen AG (German Commercial Code basis):

Profit after tax         EUR million       633    1,036   - 38.9

Proposed dividend:

Dividend distribution    EUR million       409      505   - 19.0

Dividend - per ordinary share
                         EUR               1.05     1.30
         - per preferred share
                         EUR               1.11     1.36

The Annual Press Conference on March 9, 2004 and the
International Investor Conference on March 10, 2004 will take
place in Wolfsburg.

Wolfsburg, February 18, 2004
Volkswagen AG - The Board of Management


WESTLB AG: Individual Rating Placed on Watch Negative
-----------------------------------------------------
Fitch Ratings placed WestLB AG's Individual rating of 'D' on
Rating Watch Negative following the bank's announcement of a
EUR2.3 billion loss at parent bank level.  In Fitch's view, the
bank is likely to require a further capital injection to
implement a new business model and maintain it as a viable
operation in the medium term.  Fitch anticipates a firm
commitment to a capital injection in the next few months. If
this does not transpire, WestLB AG's Individual rating will be
downgraded.

The 'AAA' Long-term, 'F1+' Short-term and Support rating of '1'
are affirmed.  The Outlook for the Long-term ratings remains
Stable.  The Long-term, Short-term and Support ratings are based
on the strength of the support mechanisms provided by its
ultimate owners in the form of Anstaltslast and
Gewaehrtraegerhaftung ("A and G") and Fitch's 'AAA' rating for
North Rhine Westphalia.  These state guarantees cover all
obligations except those entered into between July 19, 2001 and
July 18, 2005 maturing after end-2015.

After taking the EUR2.3 billion hit at parent bank level, which
Fitch expects to be similar on a consolidated basis, and in
spite of a EUR1.7 billion loss for 2002, the bank will still
remain fairly comfortably within regulatory capital
requirements.  Furthermore, the hefty write-downs taken on
investments, securities and loans appear to be relatively
conservative, reflecting attempts by management to wipe the
slate clean ahead of the loss of state guarantees in July 2005,
from when it will have to compete on merit.

However, in Fitch's view, the bank is struggling to make money
at an operating level.  It has seen some success in cutting its
cost base, but this remains high for a bank that relies on
revenue from its wholesale banking business.  The bank has also
damaged its reputation in the international and domestic markets
over the past two years.  Increased funding costs following the
removal of state guarantees in July 2005 will further dent
operating performance.

How exactly WestLB AG plans to steer its way out of the dangers
it faces is unclear.  A lot will depend on the ability of new
senior management to introduce and implement a clearly targeted
strategy in the next few months.  This will have to involve
negotiations with the bank's ultimate owners, particularly
representatives of the savings bank associations, whose public
criticism of the bank has not helped its reputation in its
regional market.  A recent statement by a representative of the
savings bank association, however, suggested that the savings
bank associations would inject further capital into the bank to
support its necessary restructuring.

WestLB AG has been owned by Landesbank Nordrhein-Westfalen
(LBNRW) since August 2002.  However, it remains guaranteed under
"A and G" by its previous owners, now LBNRW's owners, the State
of North Rhine Westphalia (43.2%), two regional associations
(23.4%) and two savings bank associations (33.4%). The regional
associations and savings banks have the option to swap their
stake in LBNRW for a direct stake in WestLB AG, and it seems
likely that this will happen by the end of this year. Until the
ownership is sorted out, it will be difficult for the bank's
management to work out an acceptable strategy.

'D' Individual rating denotes a bank, which has weaknesses of
internal and/or external origin. There are concerns regarding
its profitability and balance sheet integrity, franchise,
management, and operating environment or prospects.  Banks in
emerging markets are necessarily faced with a greater number of
potential deficiencies of external origin.

CONTACT: WESTLAB A.G.
         Bridget Gandy; London
         Phone: +44 (0) 20 7417 4346


===========
G R E E C E
===========


ROYAL OLYMPIC: Insurance Underwriters Sever Ties
------------------------------------------------
Royal Olympic Cruise Lines, Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS:ROCLF) (Nasdaq:
ROCLF) says the Steamship Mutual Underwriting Association, one
of the company's P&I insurance underwriters, has terminated its
coverage with immediate effect.  In addition, brokers informed
Royal Olympic that the West of England P&I Club would also
terminate its P&I insurances as of February 20, 2004.
Mortgages of relevant vessels have been informed accordingly of
the above events.

CONTACT: ROYAL OLYMPIC CRUISE LINES, INC.
         (NASDAQ-NMS:ROCLF)
         James R. Lawrence
         Phone: +1 203 406 0106


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


CG SERVICES: Shuts down Business; Liquidation to Begin Soon
-----------------------------------------------------------
Electrical Contracting company CG Services in Cork City has been
ordered closed; it will be liquidated shortly, according to
BizWorld.  The firm primarily operates in the
electrical/instrumentation system installation business.  Its
clients include Apple Computers, Motorola and Cork University
Hospital.  The company employs 120 people.  Workers'
representatives are hoping the liquidation process can be
conducted swiftly so that the staff can collect the money owed
them.


DAIRYGOLD CO-OP: Union Protests Restructuring Plan
--------------------------------------------------
Dairygold workers affiliated with SIPTU, the union representing
majority of the company's 2,500 staff, held a 24-hour strike
that began at midnight of Tuesday, according to BizWorld.  The
employees are protesting against planned work practice changes
under the company's restructuring program.  The plan also
involves the layoff of 500 workers.

SIPTU is accusing the management of re-allocating the jobs of
redundant workers to the remaining staff without agreement.  It
has accused management of "consistent breaches" of an industrial
relations procedural agreement between the two parties.  The
Cork dairy co-op denies this claim.


ELAN CORPORATION: Narrows 2003 Net Loss to US$328.2 Million
-----------------------------------------------------------
Elan Corporation plc announced its fourth quarter and full-year
2003 financial results, provided an update on the progress of
its product development activities and gave guidance for 2004.

Commenting on the results, Kelly Martin, Elan's President and
Chief Executive Officer, said: "Elan demonstrated significant
progress during the course of 2003 which provides for a strong
foundation upon which to build long term value for our
shareholders.  Our focus on execution and operating discipline
has enabled us to simplify our balance sheet, increase liquidity
and reduce our overall debt and operating costs while achieving
continued revenue growth from retained products and services.
Importantly, we never wavered from our commitment to invest in
and develop our strategic pipeline within our key therapeutic
areas of neurology, autoimmune and severe pain.  The expected
one-year filing for MS, the recent positive Phase III
maintenance results in Antegren for Crohn's disease and the
successful Phase III trial for Prialt confirms the potential for
our world class science to reach those patients who suffer from
these diseases.

"Such execution momentum is the result of focus, dedication and
the extraordinary efforts of the Elan employees around the world
who remain dedicated to positioning us for success and working
towards bringing our scientific innovation to patients."

Financial highlights of the group's performance from continuing
operations are set out below.  The results of the group's
discontinued operations under U.S. GAAP are presented as a
separate component of net loss for the current and prior
periods.

Fourth Quarter 2003 Financial Highlights - Continuing Operations

(a) Total revenue of $157.5 million compared to $196.7 million
    in the fourth quarter of 2002 (excluding exceptional
    provisions for product returns, primarily Zanaflex (TM), of
    $83.0 million), a decrease of 20%.

(b) Revenue from retained products of $107.8 million compared to
    $74.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2002, an increase of
    45%.

(c) Reduction of 43% in selling, general and administrative
    expenses in the fourth quarter of 2003 to $82.5 million from
    $144.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2002.  Reduction of
    38% in research and development expenditure in the fourth
    quarter of 2003 from $101.1 million to $62.9 million.

(d) Negative EBITDA of $34.9 million (before including net
    losses on divestment of businesses and recovery plan related
    charges of $172.2 million) for the fourth quarter of 2003
    compared to $109.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2002.

(e) Net investment related losses of $101.1 million compared to
    net investment losses of $318.3 million in the fourth
    quarter of 2002.

(f) Net loss after discontinued operations of $328.2 million
    ($0.88 loss per diluted share) compared to $688.5 million
    ($1.97 loss per diluted share) in the fourth quarter of
    2002, a reduction of 52%.

(g) Cash and cash equivalents at December 31, 2003, of $807.5
    million compared to $1,013.9 million at December 31, 2002.

Full-Year 2003 Financial Highlights - Continuing Operations

(a) Total revenue of $746.0 million compared to $1,132.5 million
    for full-year 2002, a decrease of 34%.

(b) Revenue from retained products (excluding Zanaflex which
    went generic in June 2002) of $398.4 million compared to
    $283.3 million in the full-year 2002, an increase of 41%.

(c) Reduction of 30% in selling, general and administrative
    expenses in 2003 to $403.8 million from $575.7 million in
    the full-year 2002.  Reduction of 21% in research and
    development expenditure in the full-year 2003 from $368.3
    million to $289.2 million.

(d) Negative EBITDA of $184.6 million (before including net
    losses on divestment of businesses and recovery plan related
    charges of $173.8 million) for the full-year compared to
    $116.7 million in the full-year 2002.

(e) Net investment related losses of $38.8 million compared to
    net investment losses of $1,460.9 million in the full-year
    2002.

(f) Net loss after discontinued operations of $529.4 million
    ($1.49 loss per diluted share) compared to $2,362.3 million
    ($6.75 loss per diluted share) for full-year 2002, a
    decrease of 78%.

R&D Highlights

(a) A Biologics License Application (BLA) for Antegren for MS
    is expected to be submitted mid-year to the U.S. Food and
    Drug Administration (FDA) by Elan and Biogen Idec.

(b) Prialt (TM) (ziconotide) achieved a positive outcome on the
    primary endpoint in its Phase III study for patients with
    severe chronic pain.  Elan expects to file an amendment to
    its New Drug Application (NDA) with the FDA in the
    second quarter of this year.

(c) Positive data was obtained from the Antegren (TM)
    (natalizumab) Phase III trial in Crohn's disease, where
    statistical significance was reached in the primary
    endpoint of maintenance of response following six months'
    treatment. A treatment difference of greater than 30
    percent was seen for patients taking Antegren as compared
    to placebo.

(d) An Investigational New Drug Application (IND) was filed
    for Antegren for the treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA),
    and a Phase II clinical trial will begin in the first half
    of the year.

(e) Reviews of European Marketing Authorization Applications
    (MAA) for Prialt in severe chronic pain and for Zonegran
    as adjunctive treatment of partial seizures in adults with
    epilepsy are ongoing.

Recovery Plan Completion

(a) Announced successful conclusion of the recovery plan with
    the divestment of certain European businesses and locations.

(b) Gross consideration received from asset divestitures of $2.1
    billion, ahead of the target announced in July 2002 of $1.5
    billion, and net proceeds of $0.6 billion from a private
    ordinary share and convertible notes offering, bringing the
    total consideration received to $2.7 billion.

(c) Standard and Poor's raised Elan's corporate and senior
    unsecured debt ratings to "B-" with positive outlook from
    "CCC+".

(d) Total contracted and potential future payments reduced from
    $4.5 billion in 2002 to less than $2.0 billion at December
    31, 2003, of which $1.1 billion fall due in 2008.

(e) All of the 55 active business ventures at July 2002 have
    been terminated, restructured or are now inactive.

(f) Headcount reduced to less than 2,000 as of Wednesday from
    approximately 4,700 in July 2002 and approximately 2,400 in
    November 2003.

(g) Recovery plan related and other significant charges of
    $443.2 million in 2003 compared to $763.6 million in 2002;
    and net gains on the divestment of businesses of $267.8
    million compared to nil in 2002.

Guidance 2004

This guidance does not take into account the additional
investment required to position Antegren for a successful
potential launch in MS in 2005, which investment in research and
development and selling, general and administrative expenses may
be significant given the expected filing was announced.  We will
provide updated guidance to the market at the appropriate time.

(a) Total revenues in the range of $575.0 million to $625.0
    million of which approximately 85% will comprise product
    revenues.

(b) Research and development expenses at the level of
    approximately $300 million reflecting retention of drug
    delivery business and increased investment of $30 million in
    key programs.

(c) Negative EBITDA, after research and development expenses in
    the range of $300 million, in the range of $150.0 million to
    $170.0 million.

To see financial results and the rest of the report:
http://bankrupt.com/misc/Elan_2003.htm


ELAN CORPORATION: Seeks Approval for Multiple Sclerosis Drug
------------------------------------------------------------
Biogen Idec and Elan Corporation plc are expected to submit to
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) an application for
approval of ANTEGREN(R) (natalizumab) as a treatment for
multiple sclerosis (MS). The companies expect to submit the
filing mid-year 2004.

The decision to file a Biologics License Application (BLA) was
made after discussions with the FDA of one-year data from the
two ongoing two-year Phase III trials in MS.  The companies are
committed to completing the two-year trials.  To protect the
integrity of the trials, the companies are not disclosing the
one-year data at this time.

Biogen Idec and Elan are collaborating equally on the
development of natalizumab for MS, Crohn's disease, and
rheumatoid arthritis.

About the ANTEGREN MS Clinical Trials

The AFFIRM (natalizumab safety and efficacy in relapsing-
remitting MS) trial is a two-year, randomized, multi-center,
placebo-controlled, double-blind study of approximately 900
patients, evaluating the ability of natalizumab to slow the
progression of disability in MS and reduce the rate of clinical
relapses.  The SENTINEL (safety and efficacy of natalizumab in
combination with AVONEX(R) (Interferon beta-1a)) trial is a two-
year, randomized, multi-center, placebo-controlled, double-blind
study of approximately 1,200 patients with relapsing-remitting
MS, evaluating the effect of the combination of natalizumab
and AVONEX compared to treatment with AVONEX alone in slowing
the progression of disability and reducing the rate of clinical
relapses.  Both studies have protocols that included a one-year
analysis of the data.  The primary endpoints for both Phase III
two-year trials in MS are based on the Expanded Disability
Status Scale (EDSS) and relapse rates.  The pre-specified
primary endpoint of the one-year analysis was relapse rates.

About ANTEGREN (natalizumab)

Natalizumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody, is the first
alpha-4 antagonist in the new SAM (selective adhesion molecule)
inhibitor class.  The drug was designed to selectively inhibit
immune cells from leaving the bloodstream and to prevent
these cells from migrating into chronically inflamed tissue as
occurs in a variety of inflammatory diseases.  To date,
approximately 2,800 patients have received natalizumab in
clinical studies.  In previous clinical trials, the
following adverse events occurred more commonly with natalizumab
when compared to placebo: headache, nausea, abdominal pain,
infection, urinary tract infection, pharyngitis and rash.
Serious adverse events have included infrequent
hypersensitivity-like reactions.

About Biogen Idec

Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) creates new standards of care in
oncology and immunology.  As a global leader in the development,
manufacturing, and commercialization of novel therapies, Biogen
Idec transforms scientific discoveries into advances in human
healthcare.  For product labeling, press releases and additional
information about the company, please visit
http://www.biogenidec.com.

About Elan

Elan Corporation, plc (NYSE: ELN) is focused on the discovery,
development, manufacturing, selling and marketing of novel
therapeutic products in neurology, severe pain and autoimmune
diseases.  Elan shares trade on the New York, London and Dublin
Stock Exchanges.  For additional information about the company,
please visit http://www.elan.com.

CONTACT: BIOGEN IDEC
         Media Contacts:
         Amy Brockelman
         Phone: 617 914 6524

         Investor Contact:
         Elizabeth Woo
         Phone: 617 679 2812
         ELAN CORPORATION
         Anita Kawatra
         Phone: 212 407 5755
         Emer Reynolds
         Phone: 353 1 709 4000


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


HEAD N.V.: Sets Conference Call to Discuss Results February 24
--------------------------------------------------------------
In relation to the publication of the company's results, Head
N.V. has lined up these activities:

(1) Conference call to discuss the fourth quarter and full year
    results for 2003 will be held on Tuesday, February 24, 2004
    at 15:00 London time.

(2) Chairman and CEO Johan Eliasch will host a conference call
    on Tuesday February 24, 2004 at 3:00 London time  (10:00 New
    York).  He will be joined by Ralf Bernhart, Chief Financial
    Officer.  They will discuss Head's results for the three
    months and full year ending December 31, 2003.

A presentation, which will be discussed during the conference
call, will be available on the Investor Relations section of the
company Web site (http://www.head.com)by 10:00 London time on
February 24, 2004.

You can join the conference call using the following phone
numbers:
U.K.
Europe
Phone: 0800 073 8912
Phone: +44 (0)1452 568 060
U.S.A
Phone: 1866 224 3295

Please note that there will be no audio link on the Web site.  A
transcript of the conference call will be posted to the Investor
Relations section of the Web site.  A Replay Service is also
available until March 5, 2004; the dial in numbers are:

U.K.
Phone: 0800 953 1533
Europe
Phone: +44 (0)1452 550 000
U.S.A
Phone: 1866 276 1167
Phone: 1866 247 4222 (Back up)
Access Code 1027674#

About Head

Head N.V. [rated B+/Stable by Standard & Poor's] is a leading
global manufacturer and marketer of premium sports equipment.
Its ordinary shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange
(HED) and the Vienna Stock Exchange (HEAD).

Its business are organized into four divisions: Winter Sports,
Racquet Sports, Diving and Licensing.  It sells products under
the Head (tennis, squash and racquetball racquets, alpine skis
and ski boots, snowboards, bindings and boots), Penn (tennis and
racquetball balls), Tyrolia (ski bindings), and Mares/Dacor
(diving equipment) brands.

The company holds leading positions in all of its product
markets and its products are endorsed by some of the world's top
athletes including Andre Agassi, Marat Safin, Rainer Schuttler,
Marco Buchel and Francisco "Pipin" Ferreras.

For more information, visit the company's Web site:
http://www.head.com

Analysts, investors, media and others seeking financial and
general information,

CONTACT:  HEAD N.V.
          Amanda Hobman, Investor Relations
          Phone: +44 207 499 7800
          Fax: +44 207 491 7725
          E-mail: htmah@aol.com

          Ralf Bernhart, Chief Financial Officer
          Phone: +43 1 70 179 354
          Fax: +43 1 707 8940


VAN DER: Reaches Settlement Pact with U.S. SEC, NYSE
----------------------------------------------------
In response to widely circulated press reports, VDM Holding N.V.
(NYSE: VDM)(AEX: VDMN.AS) responded that its VDM Specialists USA
unit has reached an agreement in principle with the staff of the
United States Securities and Exchange Commission and the New
York Stock Exchange division of Enforcement, on the outline of a
settlement of the ongoing investigation into specialists'
trading practices, with the exception of the sole issue of the
final amount of potential restitution and fines.

Any final agreement will be subject to the prior review and
approval of the commission.  Van der Moolen has submitted a
petition for consideration by the commission, which leaves the
range of payments under consideration between $51.8 million and
$57.7 million.

While the staff of the commission have expressed skepticism
regarding the petition, the staff nevertheless have agreed to
consider it.  It should be emphasized that if the petition is
rejected, the amount that Van der Moolen will be required to pay
would be at the upper end of the range.

For more information about Van der Moolen, visit
http://www.vandermoolen.com

Van der Moolen trades on the leading US and European equity,
option and fixed income exchanges. The group trades in open
outcry and electronic markets in several time zones. On the
NYSE, Van der Moolen currently has a market share of more than
10% of transaction volume for which it acts as specialist. Van
der Moolen's traders worldwide execute an average of 75,000
trades a day. Turnover and price volatility are the most
important factors influencing its results.

Van der Moolen's shares are listed on Euronext Amsterdam
(VDMN.AS). American Depositary Receipts (ADRs) representing Van
der Moolen shares are listed on the NYSE (VDM).

At A Glance

VAN DER MOOLEN HOLDING NV
Headquarters: Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Web site: http://www.vandermoolen.com
CEO: Fred M.J. Bottcher
Employees: 501
Ticker: VDM (NYSE);  VDMN.AS (EURONEXT)

CONTACT: VAN DER MOOLEN
         Investor Relations/Corporate Communications
         Phone: +31 (0) 20 535 6789


VENDEX KBB: Reports Moderate Turnover Despite Difficult Quarter
---------------------------------------------------------------
Vendex KBB achieved in the difficult fourth quarter (November,
December, January) of the financial year 2003/04 an almost
unchanged turnover of nearly EUR1.2 billion.  Excluding the
effect of acquisitions (the DIY chain Leroy Merlin in Belgium)
turnover in the fourth quarter fell by 2.6%.  Thanks to the
takeover of Leroy Merlin the turnover of the DIY group rose
significantly.  All other business units recorded lower
turnovers.  Nevertheless market share was gained in nearly all
sectors.  Turnover for the financial year rose by 3%.

To see full report: http://bankrupt.com/misc/VendexQ4.pdf


===========
N O R W A Y
===========


HAG ASA: Restructures to Survive Difficult Market
-------------------------------------------------
The year 2003 has been influenced by weak markets, re-
organization and poor profitability.  With declining demand in
all of the main markets, HAG changed its organizational and
operational structure in order to adjust to the company's long-
term challenges.  This gives a more cost efficient operational
structure, improved potential for reducing production costs and
increased sales focus.  The changes were implemented in the
fourth quarter and will gradually come into effect throughout
the first quarter.

The decrease in the European office furniture market has
lessened during the fourth quarter.  In some of the main markets
HAG has experienced positive sales development and increased
demand.  The sales in the fourth quarter were the best in 2003
and almost on the same levels as the corresponding quarter in
2002.

HAG has decided to change its way of operation in the North
American market in order to achieve a larger market share.
Sales and distribution of HAG's products will in the future be
handled with the help of a strategic partner where HAG will
still be strongly involved, but the operational risk will be
reduced.  In this connection an allowance of TUSD 900 (MNOK 6)
in the fourth quarter has been made, which is a write-down of
current and fixed assets.

HAG had an indirectly ownership in Hov+Dokka A/S (office
furniture supplier).  In the third quarterly report notice of
changes in the valuation of HAG's ownership was given.  The
company is now sold, and in this connection a loss of MNOK 8.5
has been booked.

There have been many comprehensive activities connected to HAG's
new chair line, HAG H09, which will be launched in the main
markets during the first half year of 2004.  This has influenced
the cost level in the fourth quarter.

Financial Development

In 2003, the operating revenues were NOK453 millikon.  This is a
decrease of 10% vs. last year.  The operating income in 2003 was
negative with NOK11.5 million. Allowances of NOK6.7 million (in
Q2) in connection with the re-organization of the company and
NOK6 million(in Q4) due to the change of today's way of
operating in the USA are charged the operating income.  After
realization of the abovementioned loss in Hov+Dokka of NOK8.5
million(in Q4), income before taxes is negative with NOK23.2
million. Net income was minus NOK17.2 million.

The operating revenues in the fourth quarter were NOK125.5
million, which is 1% lower than the same period last year.  The
operating income in the fourth quarter was negative with NOK2.4
million.   The write-down of NOK6 million for changes in the
U.S.A is relatively even divided between cost of goods sold,
other operating costs and depreciations.  Net finance costs of
NOK9.6 million are strongly influenced by the loss of the sale
of the ownership in Hov+Dokka.  Income before taxes was minus
NOK12 million.

Total assets at the end of 2003 were NOK245 million.  Net
interest-bearing debt was NOK58 million, a reduction of NOK4
million since the end of third quarter.  The company's equity
ratio is 49%.

The Markets

In 2003, HAG has experienced a sales decrease in all of the main
markets.  The development in the fourth quarter has improved and
all the Scandinavian markets have sales growth compared to the
fourth quarter last year.  The order entry in the quarter has
also increased vs. the same period in 2002.

Besides positive sales development in Scandinavia, HAG's second
largest market, Germany, improved its sales development.  The
greatest sales challenge has HAG experienced in the Netherlands.

In 2003, there were no major changes in the sales split between
office chairs and visitor and conference chairs.

Future Outlook

HAG now experiences that the negative long-term trend in demand
has stagnated and that the trend in some markets has turned in a
positive direction.  HAG expects a gradual improvement in the
market development.

With a more cost efficient organization adjusted to the long-
term challenges of the company, a product range that has been
continuously developed over the past years and an expected
normalization of the demand; HAG is well positioned for
profitable growth.  In 2004 the company's position within the
visitor and conference chair segment will be further
strengthened.  Sales growth in the next years will require no
major investments in fixed assets.

Oslo, 17th February 2004
HAG's Board of Directors


STOLT OFFSHORE: 2003 Full-year Loss Widens by US$264 Million
------------------------------------------------------------
Stolt Offshore S.A. (NasdaqNM: SOSA; Oslo Stock Exchange: STO)
announced unaudited results for the fourth quarter and full year
ended November 30, 2003.

Financial Highlights

In Millions              4th Quarter Ended       Full Year
(except per share data)  Unaudited Unaudited Unaudited Audited
                        Nov.30.03 Nov.30.02 Nov.30.03 Nov.30.02
Net Operating Revenue   $ 297.4   $ 441.1   $1,473.6 $1,437.5
Gross (Loss)/Profit     $ (71.5)   $ (0.5)  $ (114.3)  $ 42.5
Net Operating Loss     $ (285.6) $ (130.8)  $ (379.6) $(123.6)
Net Loss               $ (284.4) $ (139.7) $ (416.4) $ (151.9)

Average Shares in Issue 92.4 84.7 92.6 85.0

Loss per Share $ (3.08) $ (1.65) $ (4.50) $ (1.79)

The $416 million loss is within guidance on earnings published
on November 28, 2003 and is dominated by legacy project losses
of $191 million and fixed asset and joint venture impairments of
$183 million, described further in this press release.

Business Highlights

(a) New CEO and CFO appointed to lead Group commercial and
    financial recovery;

(b) Design and execution of Blueprint business plan:

    (1) Eliminate non-essential businesses;
    (2) Restructure Group cost and asset base;
    (3) Raise new capital and secure new performance bonds.

(c) Commercial focus on three key global market segments:

    (1) SURF (Subsea construction, Umbilicals, Risers,
        Flowlines) in harsh environments;
    (2) Conventional shallow water construction in regions
        adjacent to deepwater;
    (3) Subsea inspection, maintenance and repair.

(d) Corporate reorganization:

    (1) Restructured senior management tier with new
        appointments to 30 out of 40 posts;
    (2) Plan commenced to reduce total workforce by 21% through
        asset disposal program (1,100 posts) and headcount
        reduction (400 posts);
    (3) 2004 target set of 15% ($15 million) reduction in SG&A
        costs.

(e) Asset base "right-sizing" program commenced to:

    (1) Raise net proceeds of $100-150 million cash for Group
        balance sheet;
    (2) Refocus asset base on target markets;
    (3) Fixed asset write-downs.

(f) Financial recovery measures:

    (1) Effective cash flow management to maintain liquidity;
    (2) Halt legacy contract losses;
    (3) Implementation of strict commercial criteria in contract
        tendering, risk assessment and management.

(f) Operational strengths

    (1) Some strong regional performances - ex legacy contracts;
    (2) Majority of legacy projects complete and contract
        disputes settled;
    (3) Significant project wins in early 2004 transform backlog
        - Ormen Lange and Greater Plutonio.

Tom Ehret, Chief Executive, Stolt Offshore, said, "While the
financial performance for the year, as previously announced, is
very poor it should be noted that the progress on the
reconstruction of our business provides a solid platform for
future growth.  Stolt Offshore's market orientation and business
discipline are transformed and the benefits are beginning to
come through. The Company is on the way to completing the
targeted reduction in fixed and operating costs and the
reconfiguration of its asset base.

"We are grateful that our efforts and accomplishments are being
recognized by our shareholders in the form of a capital
injection to a total value of up to $150 million by way of a
private placement and subsequent issue.  We also recognize the
continued long-term support of our largest shareholder, Stolt-
Nielsen S.A., who will be making a $50 million debt for equity
swap. Concurrently, our lenders have provided a new $100 million
bonding facility.  All of these developments, post year-end, are
the real measure of the achievements in 2003.

"I should like to thank my colleagues at Stolt Offshore for
showing great determination to come through these difficult
times, but most importantly, I wish to pay tribute to our
customers whose support throughout the period has been
invaluable in helping place Stolt Offshore on the road to
recovery."

An interview with Tom Ehret and Stuart Jackson in video/audio
format can be viewed on http://www.stoltoffshore.comand
http://www.cantos.com.

To view full report:
http://bankrupt.com/misc/StoltOffshore_2003.pdf

CONTACT: STOLT OFFSHORE S.A.
         Julian Thomson
         Fiona Harris
         Phone:(U.K.) +44 1224 718436
         Phone:(U.S.) +1 887 603 718436
         E-mail: julian.thomson@stoltoffshore.com
         BRUNSWICK GROUP
         Patrick Handley (U.K.)
         Tim Payne (U.S.)

         Phone:(U.K.) +44 207 404 5959
         Phone: (U.S.) +1 212 333 3810
         E-mails: phandley@brunswickgroup.com
                  tpayne@brunswickgroup.com


STOLT OFFSHORE: Wins US$550 Million Contract in Angola
------------------------------------------------------
Stolt Offshore S.A. (NasdaqNM: SOSA; Oslo Stock Exchange: STO)
announced the award of a contract from BP Angola for the
Engineering, Procurement, fabrication, and installation of
umbilicals risers and flowlines on the Block 18, Greater
Plutonio field, offshore Angola.

The contract, worth $730 million in total, has been awarded to a
consortium of Stolt Offshore and Technip, $550 million
representing Stolt Offshore's share of the work.  The contract
calls for Stolt Offshore to lead the consortium in the
installation of over 75kilometer of 12-inch diameter insulated
production, gas injection and service flowlines, 103km of
umbilicals.  In addition, the consortium will install the 12
FPSO mooring lines and 10 production manifolds, to tie-in the
subsea wells and the final hook-up of the FPSO by means of a
single riser tower.  The water depth at Greater Plutonio is
1,350 meters.

Stolt Offshore will fabricate the riser tower, production
manifolds and mooring piles at the Sonamet yard, a 50:50 joint
venture between Stolt Offshore and Sonangol, at Lobito in
Angola. NKT Flexibles, a 49:51 joint venture between Stolt
Offshore and NKT, will provide the dynamic risers that connect
the riser tower to the FPSO.  Engineering will begin with
immediate effect with offshore installation completing in 2007.
Tom Ehret, Chief Executive Officer, said, "This award, the
largest in our history, is an outstanding endorsement of Stolt
Offshore's global leadership in frontier deep water
installation. It reflects our field proven concepts and
installation expertise in projects including Girassol, Bonga and
Erha. It also underscores the value of Stolt Offshore's
commitment to local content which has been a feature of our West
African success."

CONTACT: STOLT OFFSHORE S.A.
         Julian Thomson
         Fiona Harris
         Phone: (U.K.) +44 1224 718436
         Phone: (U.S.) +1 887 603 718436 (toll free)
         E-mail: julian.thomson@stoltoffshore.com
         BRUNSWICK GROUP
         Patrick Handley (U.K.)
         Phone: (U.K.) +44 207 404 5959
         E-mail: phandley@brunswickgroup.com
         Tim Payne (U.S.)
         Phone: (U.S.) +1 212 333 3810
         E-mail: tpayne@brunswickgroup.com


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


GDYNIA SHIPYARD: Government to Participate in Capital Hike
----------------------------------------------------------
Shareholders of Gdynia Shipyard have approved the fund raising
exercise that will see the government own 52% of the company.
According to Warsaw Business Journal the plan involves the State
Treasury buying shares worth PLN120 million.  The purchase will
include a PLN40 million stake taken over by the Industrial
Development Agency as part of debt conversion.  In return, the
State Treasury will be given 52% ownership, and as much as 65%
in voting rights.  Shareholders Kredyt Bank will be left with
12.5%, while PZU and PZU Zycie will have 6%.


POLSKIE HUTY: LNM, Trade Unions Strike Social Package Deal
----------------------------------------------------------
The LNM Group, the world's second largest and most global steel
producer, announces that LNM Holdings N.V. has initialed a
social package agreement with the trade unions of Polskie Huty
Stali S.A. (PHS).

The privatization agreement between LNM Holdings N.V. and the
Polish Ministry of State Treasury for the sale of PHS was signed
on October 27, 2003.  [The] announcement is a major step towards
the completion of the deal.  This follows the approval granted
by the European Commission on February 6.  Completion is now
subject to Polish antimonopoly clearance and approval by the
Ministry of Interior in Poland, which is expected shortly.

Commenting, Mr. Lakshmi Mittal, LNM Group Chairman, said:
"LNM is delighted to have initialed the social package agreement
with the trade unions of PHS.  I would like to thank the unions
for their hard work and support in reaching a positive agreement
for PHS and its employees and we look forward to a healthy and
prosperous partnership."

CONTACT: THE LNM GROUP
         Nicola Davidson
         Paul Weigh
         Corporate Communications
         Phone: +44 20 7543 1162 / 72


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


KORUND: Court Revises Insolvency Proceedings Timetable
------------------------------------------------------
Insolvency proceedings at Korund, manufacturer of prussiates and
synthetic corundum, have been extended to August 14, 2004.  The
Arbitrage of Nizhny Novgorod region commenced insolvency
proceedings for Korund in February 2002.

At the initiation of insolvency proceedings, the group had
accounts payable of RUB479 million, including budget debt equal
to RUB34.5 million, non-budget fund debt equal to RUB311.6
million, and bankruptcy creditors debt of RUB701.6 million.

Korund, one of the largest companies in Nizhny Novgorod, was
founded in 1915.  It used to be the only player in the field of
prussiates, colored corundum and other stones used in gold-
mining and defense industries.  The enterprise consists of 30
workshops, each of which is an autonomic chemical mini-plant.


LLC ASPHALT: Under Bankruptcy Supervision Procedure
---------------------------------------------------
The Arbitration Court in the Republic of Adygeya decided to put
LLC Asphalt concrete plant under bankruptcy supervision
procedure.

C. Vodyakhin, a member of Association of Interregional Self-
regulated organization of bankruptcy managers in Republic of
Adygeya, has been appointed temporary insolvency manager.

The hearing on the bankruptcy case will be on March 10, 2004.
Creditors may file their claims until March 1, 2004.

CONTACT:  LLC ASPHALT CONCRETE PLANT
          385000, Maykop
          Promyshlennaya str.2-a


MELEUZOVSKAYA BIOFABRICA: Bankruptcy Hearing Set March 15
---------------------------------------------------------
The Court of Arbitration in the Republic of Bashkortostan
introduced bankruptcy supervision procedure on SUE Meleuzovkaya
Biofabrica.  Y. Manzurov has been appointed temporary insolvency
manager.  Court has set bankruptcy hearing for March 15, 2004 at
10:00 a.m.

CONTACT:  SUE MELEUZOVSKAYA BIOFABRICA
          453850, Republic of Bashkortostan
          Meleuz, Sakharny savod square


PROTON: To Auction Properties Next Month
----------------------------------------
The bankruptcy manager of Proton will be offering the assets of
the company in an auction on March 22, 2004, 3:00 p.m. at
302010, Russia, Orel, Aviatsionnaya str. 5.

The assets for sale separately are:

(a) Lot no. 1: area: 4,555.4 square meters; starting price is
RUB26.897 million.  Limitation (charge) of certain property:
contracts of tenancy: no. 50 of the 1st of November 2003, no.
196 of the 8th of July 2002 with CJSC Proton-Electrotex and
according to contracts of tenancy no.216 of the 8th of July 2002
with CJSC Proton-Impulse (according to additional request)
(sic).

(b) Lot no. 2: area: 220.3 square meters, starting price is
RUB1.312 million. No limitation (charge).

(c) Lot no. 3: area: 172.1 square meters, starting price is
RUB774,000.  No limitation.

(d) Lot no. 4: area: 3369.3 square meters, starting price is
RUB18.960 million.  No limitation.

The properties and documents related to the sale are available
for examination at 302027, Russia, Orel, Leslova str., 19.
Bids for participation in the auction are accepted during
workdays between February 24, 2004 and March 19, 2004, 9:00 a.m.
to 1:00 p.m., and 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. (local time) at 302010,
Russia, Orel, Aviatsionnaya str. 5.

A deposit representing 25% of the lot's starting price is
required.  The amount may be transferred by the applicant any
time after the signing of an agreement of deposit, which is
until March 19, 2004.

V. Kucherov, bankruptcy manager of OJSC Proton is the auction
organizer.

CONTACT:  V.KUCHEROV
          302010, Russia, Orel
          Aviatsionnaya str. 5.


SKOPINSKY: Court Appoints Temporary Insolvency Manager
------------------------------------------------------
The Arbitration Court in the Ryazan region introduced bankruptcy
supervision procedure against Skopinsky engineering plant.  S.
Staroverov, a member of representation office in Ryazan of
Noncommercial Partnership, a self-regulated organization of
bankruptcy managers in Central federal district, has been
appointed temporary insolvency manager.

The court has set a hearing on June 17, 2004 at 11:00 a.m.
Creditors may file their claims at: 390013, Ryazan, Pervomayskiy
prosp., 27 , of. 212.


ZUBR: Creditors Ready Bankruptcy Case Against Meat Packer
---------------------------------------------------------
Local authorities in Krasnoyarsk region are preparing documents
to support their application for the introduction of bankruptcy
supervision against meat-packing plant, Zubr.  The motion to put
the company under the proceedings is being led by SE KK
Selkhozobjedinenije, with which Zubr owes approximately RUB100
million.  It cites multi-million tax arrears as the reason for
the petition.

Once the decision on the appeal is issued after two weeks, the
documents will be sent to the regional arbitrage, which will
then appoint a temporary insolvency manager for the company.

Zubr's main operation is currently suspended.  Only auxiliary
services that maintain safety exploitation of product premises
and of refrigerators are functioning.  Zubr has RUB180 million
in accounts payable to third parties as of December 30, 2003.
Balance sheet cost of property complex is RUB209 million as of
January 1, 2004.  Akkord-invest based in Novosibirsk owns 70% of
the company.


=========
S P A I N
=========


LYCOS EUROPE: Pares Down Losses; Paves Way for Further Growth
-------------------------------------------------------------
In 2003, LYCOS Europe's EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes,
Depreciation, and Amortization) improved by 25% to -EUR40.5
million compared to -EUR53.9 million in 2002.  Net loss reduced
by 69% from -EUR179.0 million in 2002 to -EUR56.1 million in
2003.  This improvement was due to comprehensive cost cutting
measures in 2003 as well as a goodwill impairment loss of
-EUR100.4 million in 2002.  Adjusted for this impairment loss
net loss reduced by 29%.  LYCOS Europe's cash, cash equivalents
and deposits amounted to EUR175.2 million on December 31, 2003.

LYCOS Europe recorded total revenues of EUR85.0 million in 2003
compared to EUR118.0 million in 2002.  This decline of 28% is
primarily due to the sale of group companies in 2002 and 2003
and the loss of an advertising agreement with a main shareholder
in 2002.  Adjusted for these non-recurring items, LYCOS
Europe's total revenues increased by 8%.  LYCOS Europe's
strategic shift towards an expansion of its premium offers was
mirrored by the positive development of pro forma revenues from
paid services and shopping: adjusted for the sale of group
companies, LYCOS Europe's revenues from paid services and
shopping increased to EUR17.6 million in 2003, an improvement of
64% compared to EUR10.7 million in 2002.

Cost of revenues decreased by 31% from EUR 82.8 million in 2002
to EUR56.8 million in 2003.  Overall cost savings and the sale
of loss making group companies contributed to the improvement of
the gross margin from 30% in 2002 to 33% in 2003.

For the fourth quarter, total revenues declined by 19% from
EUR28.8 million in 2002 to EUR23.3 million in 2003.  Increased
marketing activities for premium services and restructuring
costs were the main reasons for the difference in the EBITDA
result of -EUR11.8 million for the fourth quarter of 2003
compared to EUR1.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2002.
Mainly due to the above mentioned reasons net loss amounted to
-EUR16.3 million for the fourth quarter of 2003 compared to
-EUR1.5 million for the fourth quarter of 2002.

LYCOS Europe's financial statements have been prepared in
accordance with the United States generally accepted accounting
principles ("U.S.-GAAP").


===========
S W E D E N
===========


SONG NETWORKS: Turns in Positive Results for 2003
-------------------------------------------------
Song Networks Holding:

FOURTH QUARTER 2003

(a) Revenues, SEK554 million (SEK595 million the corresponding
    period the previous year)

(b) A strong improvement in gross margin before depreciation,
    51.3%(42.3)

(c) A further improvement of EBITDA, SEK59 million (SEK14)

(d) The company reports for the first time a positive EBIT,
    SEK13 million (-SEK149)

(e) Cash flow, -SEK5 million (-SEK90)

JANUARY - DECEMBER 2003

(a) Revenues were SEK2,261 million (SEK2,325 million the
    corresponding period the previous year)

(b) Gross margin before depreciation improved significantly,
    46.1% (41.3)

(c) EBITDA, improved considerably to SEK133 million (-SEK83)

(d) EBIT, improved to -SEK58 million (-SEK918)

(e) A strong cash flow was recorded, SEK412 million (-SEK232)

(f) Net result for the year was positive, SEK35 million
    (-SEK2,284)

(g) Result per share, SEK0.66 (-SEK1,376.85)

(h) Liquid assets increased substantially during the period,
    SEK672 million (SEK266) at the end of the period, including
    restricted cash.  Financial net cash, SEK531 million
    (SEK194)

CONTACT: SONG NETWORKS
         Tomas Franzen, CEO
         Phone: +46 8 5631 01 11
         Mobile: +46 701 810 111
         E-mail: tomas.franzen@songnetworks.net

         Joachim Jaginder, CFO
         Phone:  +46 8 5631 01 99
         Mobile: +46 701 810 199
         E-mail: joachim.jaginder@songnetworks.net

         Jenny Moquist, Investor Relation Manager
         Phone:  +46 8 5631 0219
         Mobile: +46 701 810 219
         E-mail: jenny.moquist@songnetworks.net


SPP LIVFORSAKRING: Expects Shareholders' to OK Demutualization
--------------------------------------------------------------
The work of demutualizing SPP is now moving into an intensive
phase.

"The deficits are under control.  If the positive trend
continues, Handelsbanken, our owner, is prepared to provide the
new risk capital required for a demutualization," says Goran
Holgerson, chief executive of SPP.

The next step is to ask the policyholders their opinion and a
poll is planned for May-June this year.  Legally, SPP is only
required to inform the policyholders about the demutualization.

"But we think the issue is so important that we feel we must ask

them properly for their approval," says Goran Holgerson.

The policyholders will decide whether they think SPP should
become a demutualized life insurance company.  Goran Holgerson
thinks they will say yes: "The advantages of a demutualized
company are so obvious - the policyholders have increased
security, more freedom and the system is truly fair.
Demutualization solves many of the problems which mutual life
insurance companies have been criticized for in the last few
years."

Goran Holgerson also has a good example: SPP's associated
company, Handelsbanken Liv, which was demutualized two years
ago: "In the first year, the company had to inject a total of
SEK 195 million to cover deficits in the guaranteed capital on
the insurance policies and for running the company.  If the
company had still been mutual, the policyholders would have had
to bear these costs themselves."

In the second year, the policyholder's assets had the best value
development in the market.  The sector average was 1.8 percent -
Handelsbanken Liv's policyholders received 5.67 percent.

This, says Goran Holgerson, proved that the demutualized model
works in both upturns and downturns on the global financial
markets.

However, Handelsbanken, which will add new risk capital if the
company is demutualized, has stipulated that SPP must reduce its
operating deficit to an acceptable level.

"The year-end figures show that we now have the deficit under
control.  We have already reduced our costs by 40% and should be
in balance by the end of 2005.  As the situation looks now, we
should be able to demutualize the company on January 1, 2006,"
says Goran Holgerson.

But a demutualization of SPP also requires approval, both from
the policy holders - and the Swedish Financial Supervision
Authority, Finansinspektionen.  Finansinspektionen must assess
whether "the policy holders' rights will not deteriorate," as
the law puts it.

"There are already discussions in progress with
Finansinspektionen since some time.  These currently focus on
how we present the demutualization to our policyholders - and
that it's done in an appropriate manner," he said.

If the policyholders give their approval, Finansinspektionen's
scrutiny of SPP's model will continue.

"Thus it's the Finansinspektionen which has the final say. We
think that's good it provides additional security for the
policyholders.  We have also brought in other external reviewers
to make sure that counting of votes and other things are done
correctly," he added.

The poll is planned to be carried out in May and finished by the
end of June. When Handelsbanken Liv arranged its poll, over 98
percent voted in favor of a demutualization.

CONTACT:  SPP LIVFORSAKRING
          Goran Holgerson, chief executive SPP
          Phone:  +46 8 556 850 00
          Johan Lagerstrom, head of corporate communications SPP
          Phone:  +46 8 613 22 42
          Mobile: +46 70 265 80 14


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


ABERDEEN PREFERRED: Scheme of Arrangement Now in Force
------------------------------------------------------
Scheme Of Arrangement Under Section 425 Of The Companies Act
1985

Scheme Effective

The board of Aberdeen Preferred Income Trust Plc (in
administrative receivership) announces that, following the
assignment of certain potential causes of action by the Company
into a special purpose vehicle (which was a condition of the
Scheme becoming effective), the relevant Court order was
lodged with the Registrar of Companies on February 17, 2004 and
the Scheme has therefore become effective.

The latest date for the dispatch of cheques to shareholders is
March 2, 2004.

Words and expressions used in this press release shall bear the
same respective meanings as defined in the press release of
December 19, 2003, unless the context otherwise requires.

CONTACT: ABERDEEN PREFERRED INCOME TRUST PLC
         British Linen Advisers
         James Ingall
         Phone: 020 7710 8800


ARCHITECTURAL PANEL: In Administrative Receivership
---------------------------------------------------
Name of Company: Architectural Panel Products Limited

Reg No 04078299

Previous Names of Company:
Brand New Co (1) Limited and Bedford Telecommunications Limited

Nature of Business: Manufacture of Timber Frames and Doors

Trade Classification: 09 Manufacture of Timber and Furniture

Date of Appointment of Administrative Receivers:
February 4, 2004

Name of Person Appointing the Administrative Receivers:
Bank of Scotland

Administrative Receivers: 100 BARBIROLLI SQUARE
                          Manchester M2 3EY
                          Receivers:
                          S. Allport
                          G. Wilson
                          (Office Holder Nos 8763, 9062)


ATS INVESTMENT: Files for Voluntary Winding up
----------------------------------------------
In the High Court of Justice (Chancery Division)
Companies Court.  No 195 of 2004

A Petition to wind up the ATS Investment (U.K.) Limited of
Royston Parkin, 95 Queen Street, Sheffield S1 1WG, presented on
January 13, 2004 by the Commissioners of Inland Revenue of
Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LB, claiming to be
Creditors of the Company, will be heard at the Royal Courts of
Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL, on February 25, 2004, at 10:30
a.m. (or as soon thereafter as the Petition can be heard).
Any persons intending to appear on the hearing of the Petition
(whether to support or oppose it) must give notice of intention
to do so to the Petitioners or to their Solicitor in accordance
with Rule 4.16 by 4:00 p.m. on February 24, 2004.

Petitioners' Solicitor: Philip Ridd
                        Somerset House,
                        Strand, London WC2R 1LB
                        Phone: 020 7438 7731
                        (Ref SLR 1149785/37/W.)


BAC LIMITED: Vantis Business Recovery Appointed Receiver
--------------------------------------------------------
Name of Company: BAC Limited

Nature of Business: Supply and Installation of Glazing, its
products Security claws, and multi-point locking systems.

Date of Appointment: February 3, 2004

Joint Administrative Receivers: VANTIS BUSINESS RECOVERY
                               Torrington House,
                               47 Holywell Hill,
                               St. Albans, Hertfordshire AL1 1HD
                               Receivers:
                               Nigel John Hamilton-Smith
                               Michael William Young
                               (IP Nos 2093, 8077)

Outlets Addresses: Unit 4,
                   St Peter's Road, Furze Platt,
                   Maidenhead, Berkshire SL6 7QU
                   Phone: 0800 666 444

                   Faringdon Avenue,
                   Romford, Essex RM3 8SP
                   Phone: 0800 666 444

                   102 Station Road,
                   Sidcup, Kent DA15 7DE
                   Phone: 0800 666 444

                   382 Malden Road,
                   Worcester Park, Surrey KT4 7NL
                   Phone: 0800 666 444


BIRMINGHAM MANUFACTURING: Designates RSM Robson Administrator
-------------------------------------------------------------
Name of Company: Birmingham Manufacturing Jewellers Limited

Nature of Business: Manufacture of Jewellery

Birmingham Manufacturing Jewellers was formed by the merger of
two of the oldest and most respected manufacturing Jewellers in
the United Kingdom -- Wyatt & Green and Joseph Smith & Sons.
The merger brings together over 100 years of jewellery
manufacturing expertise.

Trade Classification: 36220

Date of Appointment: February 6, 2004

Joint Administrative Receivers: RSM ROBSON RHODES LLP
                                Centre City Tower,
                                7 Hill Street, Birmingham B5 4UU
                                Receivers:
                                Gerald Clifford Smith
                                John Neville Whitfield
                                (IP Nos 6335, 9131)

Company Address: Arthur Frank House
                154-155 Hockley Hill
                Birmingham
                West Midlands
                B18 5AR
                Phone: (44) 121 688 1000
                Fax:   (44) 121 688 1010
                Web site: http://www.bmj.co.uk


BOXCLEVER: Fortress Wins Preferred Bidder Status
------------------------------------------------
New York-based private equity firm, Fortress Investment Group,
emerged as the preferred bidder for troubled British television
rental firm, BoxClever, sources close to the matter say,
according to Reuters.

Fortress was among the companies shortlisted to buy BoxClever
from German bank WestLB in January.  Other bidders included
financial firms Cerberus Capital Management LLP, Terra Firma
Capital Partners Ltd. and television rental company, Martin
Dawes.

WestLB wants to dispose of its principal finance portfolio,
which included BoxClever, Odeon cinemas, Mid-Kent Water and
Whyte and Mackay whisky.  Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is advising
the group on the sale.  A spokesman for the German bank declined
to comment on the situation, the report said.

CONTACT: GOLDMAN SACHS INTERNATIONAL
         Peterborough Court
         133 Fleet Street
         London EC4A 2BB
         England, United Kingdom
         Tel: 44-20-7774-1000
         Web site: www.gs.com


CAMBRIAN ENGINEERING: Under Administrative Receivership
-------------------------------------------------------
Name of Company: Cambrian Engineering (CYMRU) Limited

Nature of Business: Manufacturer of Wind Towers

Trade Classification: 51650

Date of Appointment: February 15, 2004

Joint Administrative Receivers: RSM ROBSON RHODES LLP
                                Colwyn Chambers
                                19 York Street,
                                Manchester M2 3BA
                                Receivers:
                                Matthew Dunham
                                Charles William Anthony Escott
                                (IP Nos 8376, 8913)

Company address: GB-Bangor, LL57 4YH, United Kingdom


CANARY WHARF: Cancels Extraordinary Meeting Set for February 23
---------------------------------------------------------------
On February 9, 2004, Canary Wharf Group plc posted a
supplemental circular to its shareholders in relation to an
increased recommended offer from Silvestor U.K. Properties
Limited ('Silvestor').

Silvestor's offer consists of either 220 pence in cash plus 0.55
of a listed Class B Share in Silvestor's parent company,
Silvestor Holdings plc, or 275 pence in cash.  A mix and match
facility is also available.

On February 12, 2004, CWG Acquisition Limited ('CWGA'), a
company formed by Brascan Corporation ('Brascan'), announced an
offer of 275 pence in cash.  Subject to certain conditions being
met, the offer includes a partial share alternative in respect
of two classes of shares in Thames River Office Properties PLC.
CWGA has not yet posted its offer document to Canary Wharf
shareholders.

CWGA's offer announcement also contained details of an
undertaking from Franklin Mutual Advisors, LLC ('FMA'), a 6.8
per cent. shareholder in the Company, to accept the offer from
CWGA and vote against the Scheme to implement the recommended
offer from Silvestor at the Court Meeting on February 23, 2004.
This undertaking ceases to be binding if Silvestor, or another
third party, announces a firm intention to make an offer that
offers shareholders at least 292 pence in cash.

Accordingly, assuming that the Canary Wharf shares held by
Brascan, RF Holdings Limited (a company connected with Paul
Reichmann) and FMA, which together represent 29.1% of the shares
eligible to vote at the Court Meeting, are voted against the
Scheme, the Scheme would fail.

Silvestor has publicly stated that it is considering its
position in response to the CWGA offer.  Shareholders should
note that there can be no certainty that Silvestor will make any
alternative proposal to its offer of 275 pence.

The Independent Committee has been concerned throughout the
offer process to treat potential bidders even-handedly and, with
the support of our management team, to facilitate any offer for
the Company.  Contrary to some reports, the Independent
Committee has not, at any stage, declined to engage in
discussions with any party who wishes to make an offer for
Canary Wharf.

Adjournment of the Court Meeting and Extraordinary General
Meeting.

Given the uncertainty regarding the position of Silvestor, the
Independent Committee believes that it would be in the interests
of the Company as a whole to adjourn the meetings scheduled for
February 23, 2004.

Accordingly, the Chairman of the Company has received directions
from the Court to adjourn the Court Meeting until further
notice.  The Company also intends to adjourn the Extraordinary
General Meeting on the same basis.  Not less than 14 days notice
will be given of any reconvened meetings.

A further announcement will be made once the position is
clearer.

CONTACT: LAZARD
         Phone: 020 7187 2000
         (Financial adviser to the Independent Committee of
         Canary Wharf)
         William Rucker
         Maxwell James

         CAZENOVE
         Phone: 020 7588 2828
         (Financial adviser to the Independent Committee of
         Canary Wharf and joint broker to Canary Wharf)

         CREDIT SUISSE FIRST BOSTON
         Duncan Hunter
         Richard Cotton
         Phone: 020 7888 8888
         (Joint broker to Canary Wharf)

         BRUNSWICK
         George Maddison
         Richard Crawley
         Phone: 020 7404 5959
         (Public relations adviser to Canary Wharf)
         James Bradley
         Fiona Laffan


COLLINS CONSTRUCTION: Creditors Meeting Set March 1
---------------------------------------------------
A Meeting of Creditors of Collins Construction (Boston) Limited
will be held on March 1, 2004 at the PKF, Regent House, Clinton
Avenue, Nottingham NG5 1AZ at 11:00 a.m.  Edward Terence Kerr
and Brian James Hamblin of PKF are the joint administrators of
the company.

CONTACT:    PKF
            Regent House
            Clinton Avenue, Nottingham NG5 1AZ
            Contact:
            Edward Terence Kerr, Administrator
            Brian James Hamblin, Administrator
            Phone: 0115 9608171
            Fax: 0115 9603665
            Web site: http://www.pkf.co.uk


Company Address: Collins Construction
                 865 155th Ave. SE
                 Kerkhoven, MN 56252
                 Phone: 320-264-8601
                 E-mail: jlcollins@tds.net

Collins Construction has been in the business for more than 30
years.


COSMACK MANAGEMENT: Appoints BDO Stoy Administrator
---------------------------------------------------
Name of Company: Cosmack Management Limited

Nature of Business: Entertainment Related Activities

Cosmack Management was founded in 1991 by Lynn Cosgrave with the
aim of providing the best management representation for DJs.  It
specializes in all aspects of an artist's career including DJ
bookings, remix and production work, TV and radio appearances,
travel and visas, sponsorship and publicity on a worldwide
basis.

Trade Classification: 46

Home Page: http://www.cosmack.co.uk

Date of Appointment: January 29, 2004

Joint Administrative Receivers: BDO STOY HAYWARD LLP
                                8 Baker Street
                                London W1U 3LL
                                Receivers:
                                Anthony Peter Supperstone
                                Malcolm Cohen
                                (IP Nos 2703/01, 6825/01)


HERON MERE: Names Sanderlings LLP Administrator
-----------------------------------------------
Name of Company: Heron Mere Warwick Limited
(t/a The Millwright Arms)

Reg No 04135783

Registered Office:
2 Chapel Court, Holly Walk,
Leamington Spa, Warwickshire CV32 4YS

Nature of Business: Bars

Trade Classification: 5540

Administration Order made: February 9, 2004

CONTACT: SANDERLINGS LLP
         Sanderling House
         Springbrook Lane
         Earlswood, Solihull B94 5SG
         Contact:
         Andrew Fender, Administrator
         (Office Holder No 6898)


INDUSTRIAL BUILDING: Bank of Scotland Calls in Administrators
-------------------------------------------------------------
Name of Company: Industrial Building Components Limited

Reg No 01122162

Previous Names of Company:
W. M. Shearing Limited and Expamet Industrial Products Limited

Nature of Business: Manufacture of Timber Frames and Doors

Trade Classification: 09 Manufacturer of Timber and Furniture

Date of Appointment of Administrative Receivers:
February 4, 2004

Name of Person Appointing the Administrative Receivers:
Bank of Scotland

Administrative Receivers: 100 BARBIROLLI SQUARE
                          Manchester M2 3EY
                          Receivers:
                          S Allport
                          G Wilson
                          (Office Holder Nos 8763 and 9062)


JORDAN & HOLE: HSBC Bank Hires MAZARS as Administrator
------------------------------------------------------
Name of Company: Jordan & Hole Limited

Reg No 00338423

Trading Name: Swan Motors

Nature of Business: Sale of Motor Vehicle Parts, etc.

Trade Classification: 5030

Date of Appointment of Joint Administrative Receivers:
February 5, 2004

Name of Person Appointing the Joint Administrative Receivers:
HSBC Bank plc

Joint Administrative Receivers: MAZARS
                           Lancaster House
                           67 Newhall Street
                           Birmingham B3 1NG
                           Receivers:
                           S. Wood
                           P. M. Lyon
                           (Office Holder Nos 7929, 2108)
                           Phone: 0121 236 7711
                           Fax:   0121 236 2778
                           Web site: http://www.mazars.co.uk
                                  MAZARS
                           Cartwright House
                           Tottle Road, Nottingham NG2 1RT
                           Phone: 0115 943 5363
                           Fax:   0115 943 5300
                           Web site: http://www.mazars.co.uk


LIFTECH ENGINEERING: Voluntary Winding up Resolution Passed
-----------------------------------------------------------
At an Extraordinary General Meeting of the Members of the
Liftech Engineering Limited held on February 5, 2004 at Allen
House, 1 Westmead Road, Sutton, Surrey SM1 4LA, the Special
Resolution to wind up the company was passed.

The Company assigns Martin Charles Armstrong of Turpin Barker
Armstrong, Allen House, 1 Westmead Road, Sutton, Surrey SM1 4LA,
as Liquidator.

CONTACT: TURPIN BARKER ARMSTRONG
         Allen House
         1 Westmead Road
         Sutton, Surrey SM1 4LA
         Contact:
         Martin Charles Armstrong, Liquidator
         Phone:  (020) 8661 7878
         Fax: (020) 8661 0598


MG ROVER: Analysts Expect Significant Progress in Proton Talks
--------------------------------------------------------------
MG Rover revived merger talks with Proton, the Malaysian
carmaker, according to Times Online.  Neither company would
comment on the talks, but the report said analyst thought the
reopening of the negotiations, which was abandoned three years
ago, could result to a full-scale merger or a distribution deal
or cooperation in developing new models.

U.K.'s only independent British car manufacturer is in search
for a partner to help fund the development of new models.  It
held talks with China Brilliance last year, but the discussions
collapsed due to internal problems at the Chinese company.  MG
Rover remained in discussions with other companies despite
signing "a letter of intent" with Proton, sources close to the
company said.


OXFORD LOGISTICS: Names BDO STOY Administrative Receiver
--------------------------------------------------------
Name of Company: Oxford Logistics Limited

Nature of Business: Storage and Freight Transport

Trade Classification:
6024-Freight Transport by Road
6312-Other Storage and Warehousing
6412-Courier other National Post

Date of Appointment: February 9, 2004

Joint Administrative Receivers: BDO STOY HAYWARD LLP
                                Kings Wharf
                                20-30 Kings Road
                                Reading, Berkshire RG1 3EX
                                Receiver:
                                Martha I I Thompson
                                (IP No 8678/01)
                                BDO STOY HAYWARD LLP
                                8 Baker Street, London W1U 3LL
                                Shay Bannon
                                (IP No 5694/01)


PACIFIC MEDIA: MediaXposure to Inject up to US$20 million
---------------------------------------------------------
Further to its press release on December 8, 2003, Pacific Media
Plc is pleased to announce that discussions between MediaXposure
Ltd (MX) and the Company regarding MX's proposed funding of the
Company are continuing to make satisfactory progress and that MX
has agreed to make available an additional $500,000 to the
Company to fund its core business, TV Media Holdings Pte Ltd
(TVMH).  It is anticipated that the additional US$500,000 will
enable the Company to fund TVMH through to March 31, 2004.  The
additional funding will raise the total cash injections made by
MX to TVMH to US$1.5 million.

MX is a specially formed Cayman Island vehicle, which would make
the proposed investment.  Discussions are ongoing and remain
subject to contract and agreeing formal legal documentation.
Subject thereto:

(a) The new Board of Pacific Media will comprise these
gentlemen, amongst others:

Darren Shaw  - Chairman

Andre Koo  - Vice Chairman

Clive Ng  - Vice Chairman

Raymond Chang - Chief Executive Officer

(b) A proposed injection of US$8 million in cash would be by way
of loan notes convertible into new ordinary shares at an
effective issue price of 0.25p per share (as against a
previously announced issue price of 0.35p per share).  This
is in line with the recent market price over past days and on
full conversion would give a shareholding of 52.5% in the
Company to MX (on a fully diluted basis after the exercise of
all outstanding warrants and convertible loan notes).  This US$8
million would be inclusive of any funds provided prior to
signing of any formal agreement including the US$1 million
already provided and the additional US$500,000 referred to
above.

(c) Terms are being discussed in respect of banking facilities
of up to US$12,000,000.

It should be emphasized that the above proposals, which are
conditional on agreeing final documentation, shareholder
approval, and the granting by the Takeover Panel of a waiver of
an obligation to make a general offer under Rule 9 of the City
Code on Takeovers and Mergers are subject to change.  Further
details of the transaction will be published should final
documentation be agreed.

Proposed new directors

Darren Shaw - Chairman

Darren Shaw is the nephew of Sir Run Run Shaw, a key figure
within the Hong Kong film industry and the founder and Chairman
of Television Broadcasting Ltd, one of the largest public
companies in Hong Kong and a leading producer and broadcaster of
Chinese language television programming.

Mr. Shaw has over 16 years of experience in media,
telecommunications and real estate services.  He co-founded TVB
Superchannel Europe in 1992, which has grown to become one of
Europe's leading Chinese language broadcasters.  Mr. Shaw is
also the co-founder of premier global property services company
Cushman & Wakefield Asia, Chairman of Pacific FilmWorks, an
Asian film financing company, and CEO of Shaw Media Corporation,
a privately-owned media investment company.

Andre Koo - Vice Chairman

Chairman of Chailease Group, a leading financial services group
in Taiwan, Mr. Koo is a respected and well known business figure
with a wealth of experience in the financial industry in Greater
China and the U.S. He has also held senior positions with China
Life Insurance, Chinatrust Hotels, Colony Capital and China
Trust Bank (New York).

Raymond Chang - Chief Executive Officer

Co-founder of Nasdaq-listed GigaMedia, Mr. Chang developed the
company into one of the most recognized and leading Internet
companies in Taiwan.  In 2001, he was named by Fortune Magazine
as one of the 25 Next Generation Global Leaders under 40.

Emmanuel Olympitis, Chairman of Pacific Media, commented: "The
present Board is delighted to have been able to identify such a
significant potential investment accompanied by a powerful and
influential new Board and management team based in Asia."

"The Directors consider that these proposals are the only
practicable means of continuing to fund the Group's operations.'

CONTACT: PACIFIC MEDIA PLC
         Emmanuel Olympitis
         Executive Chairman
         Phone: 020 7235 9686
         Caroline Sturdy
        Catherine Lees
        Bell Pottinger Financial
        Phone: 020 7861 3889


PENNANT CLOTHING: To Close Belper Derbyshire Plant
--------------------------------------------------
Pennant Clothing, a former knitwear arm of apparel brand Jaeger,
will close its factory in Belper Derbyshire in the middle of the
year, according to just-style.com.

The knitwear manufacturer announced the decision to 170
employees who will be affected by the move Tuesday.  On Monday a
representative of knitwear and footwear union KFAT met with
Pennant employees at the Belper site.

The company hopes to complete customer orders through to the end
of June before closing the plant.

In a statement, Pennant Clothing Managing Director David
Ackerman said: "Despite the high quality of knitwear produced
and the support of its largest customer Marks & Spencer Plc, the
operation has been unable to attract and/or maintain sufficient
other business to reduce loss."


PETROS CAR: Submission of Creditors Claim Until March 8
-------------------------------------------------------
Notice is hereby given that the Creditors of the Petros Car
Parking Limited, are required, on or before March 8, 2004, to
send in their names and addresses, with particulars of their
debts and claims, to the undersigned, R M Withinshaw, of Royce
Peeling Green, The Copper Room, Deva Centre, Trinity Way,
Manchester M3 7BG, the Liquidator of the said Company.

If so required, by notice in writing from the Liquidator, either
personally or by his Solicitors, to come in and prove their
debts or claims at such time and place as shall be specified in
such notice, and in default thereof they will be excluded from
the benefit of any distribution made before such debts are
proven.

R M Withinshaw, Liquidator


PRESTIGE GRINDING: Appoints Receivers from Milner Boardman
----------------------------------------------------------
Name of Company: Prestige Grinding Limited

Reg No 03977482

Nature of Business: General Mechanical Engineering

Trade Classification: 2852

Date of Appointment of Joint Administrative Receivers:
February 9, 2004

Name of Person Appointing the Joint Administrative Receivers:
Regency Factors Plc

Joint Administrative Receivers: MILNER BOARDMAN & PARTNERS
                                Century House
                                Ashley Road, Hale
                                Cheshire WA15 9TG
                                Receivers:
                                Colin Burke
                                Gary J Corbett
                                (Office Holder Nos 8803, 9018)


SR GENT: To Pull out South Yorkshire Operation
----------------------------------------------
Clothing manufacturer SR Gent will close its Rotherham factory
in South Yorkshire this April, just-style.com reported.  The
factory is one of the last two facilities the company has in the
United Kingdom.  The other is in Barnsley, which employs 750
people.

The closure will result to the loss of 130 jobs.  But a company
spokeswoman said some employees might be transferred to the
Barnsley site, where SR Gent has its headquarters and
distribution operation.

The Marks & Spencer supplier blamed the shutdown to intense
price pressure on the high street and changes in production
processes, according to the report.

A spokeswoman said it will outsource manufacturing of its
products to facilities outside the United Kingdom.

The Rotherham factory is expected to close April 23.
Consultation with the textile section of the GBM union is
currently being held, the spokeswoman said.

SR Gent is a design and marketing led company in the clothing
industry. It specializes in ladies and children's fashion
clothing supplying leading high street retailers.

CONTACT:  S.R.GENT PLC
          Headquarters and Registered Office
          Dodworth Road
          Barnsley
          South Yorkshire
          England, S70 6JE.
          Phone: 01226 241434
          Fax: 01226 291657

          London Design Centre
          8 Harewood Row
          Marleybone
          London
          England, NW1 6SE.
          Phone: 020 7723 4243
          Fax: 020 7616 2269


TASOU GROUP: Appoints P&A Partnership Administrator
---------------------------------------------------
Name of Company: Tasou Group Limited

Nature of Business: Holding Company

Trade Classification: 7415

Date of Appointment: February 4, 2004

Joint Administrative Receivers: THE P&A PARTNERSHIP
                               93 Queen Street, Sheffield S1 1WF
                               Receivers:
                               Philip Andrew Revill
                               Andrew Philip Wood
                               (IP Nos 6421, 9148)


VIS ENTERTAINMENT: BAM! Entertainment Acquires Firm
---------------------------------------------------
BAM! Entertainment(R) (NASDAQ: BFUN), a developer and publisher
of interactive entertainment software, announced that it has
agreed terms to acquire VIS entertainment plc, a Scottish
developer of interactive entertainment software products, and
SOE Development Limited, a company set up to fund the
development of State of Emergency 2, one of VIS' key properties.

The terms of the proposed acquisition, which has been approved
by the companies' respective boards of directors, would create
an expanded business that would embrace the expertise of both
BAM! and VIS worldwide.  Shareholders representing over 90% of
the share capital of VIS have signed irrevocable undertakings to
vote in favor of the transaction.

The combined company will be led by executives from both BAM!
and VIS. Their first joint project is expected to be the
development and publishing of the VIS property, State of
Emergency 2, the sequel to the hit product which topped the U.S.
and U.K. charts simultaneously and which sold in excess of 1
million units worldwide.

Raymond C. Musci, Chief Executive Officer of BAM!, commented:
"This is an exciting combination of two dynamic businesses whose
activities and experience span the globe. We believe this deal
will position our combined businesses strongly in a highly-
competitive market, and achieve significant synergies in our
operations. We are bringing together some of the most talented
and knowledgeable people in our industry. There is little or no
overlap between the businesses and we intend that the new
combined company will operate in an efficient and rigorous
manner, involving both development and publishing of games."

Ken Lewandowski, Chairman of VIS said: "Our agreement with BAM!,
which represents a significant development for VIS, would enable
our company to participate in a new enterprise with the scope to
both develop and publish its own properties."

Chris van der Kuyl, President and Chief Executive Officer of
VIS, commented: "The proposed acquisition provides the
opportunity for both BAM! and VIS to share and develop their
strengths under one roof. We have discussed the potential for
the combined businesses at great length and we are convinced
that this marriage of developer and publisher represents the way
forward for the games and digital entertainment sector."

It is intended that Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns, chief
technology officer of VIS, will join BAM!'s senior management
team, and that Chris van der Kuyl and one non-executive director
of VIS will join the Board of Directors of BAM!.

The proposed acquisition would create a combined business that
would include:

A strong roster of game titles based on licenses such as Carmen
Sandiego, Aardman Animation's Wallace & Gromit, and Cartoon
Network's Powerpuff Girls and Dexter's Laboratory;
Powerful intellectual properties developed in-house, including
State of Emergency 2, the sequel to the chart-topping AAA title
State of Emergency, and other games under development with
existing publisher agreements.

An integrated publishing and development organization with US
distribution, together with international distribution
partnerships.

The proposed acquisition includes VIS entertainment's 50 per
cent interest in VIS iTV, a joint venture with the television
business Telewest, which has developed and owns the rights to
the animated virtual horse-racing game, I-RACE. The game is
licensed and broadcast on the iSports channel on the Sky Digital
direct-to-home TV platform.

Transaction detail:

In aggregate BAM! is issuing 9 million shares for the entire
issued share capitals of VIS and SOED.

The closing of the acquisition is conditioned on a variety of
conditions including approval of shareholders of each of VIS and
SOED, VIS re-registering as a private company, approval of the
issuance of BAM!'s shares by BAM!'s stockholders, a secondary
issue of BAM! securities and BAM! maintaining its NASDAQ small
cap listing and/or satisfying VIS' Board that BAM! meets the
NASDAQ's continued listing standards on a pro-forma basis after
giving effect to the acquisition.

VIS has been advised on this transaction by Lodestar Partners
and BAM! has been advised by Europlay Capital.

About BAM! Entertainment, Inc.
Founded in 1999 and based in San Jose, California, BAM!
Entertainment, Inc. is a developer, publisher and marketer of
interactive entertainment software worldwide. The company
develops, obtains, or licenses properties from a wide variety of
sources, including global entertainment and media companies, and
publishes software for video game systems, wireless devices, and
personal computers. The company's common stock is publicly
traded on NASDAQ under the symbol BFUN. More information about
BAM! and its products can be found at the company's web site
located at http://www.bam4fun.com.

CONTACT:  BAM! ENTERTAINMENT, INC.
          Contact: Stephen Ambler
          Chief Financial Officer
          Phone: (408) 298-7500
          E-mail: sambler@bam4fun.com

          THE VALUE INNOVATORS LTD. (TVI)
          Contact: Maurice Smith
          Phone: 44 (0)771 476 9654
          E-mail: maurice.smith@tvi-ltd.co.uk


                            *********


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-
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Hills, Pennsylvania, USA, and Beard Group, Inc., Frederick,
Maryland USA.  Larri-Nil Veloso, Ma. Cristina Canson, and
Liv Arcipe, Editors.

Copyright 2004.  All rights reserved.  ISSN 1529-2754.

This material is copyrighted and any commercial use, resale or
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Information contained herein is obtained from sources believed
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