PHILIPPINES: Uniwide Says Still In Talks With Creditors
Ailing Philippine retail firm Uniwide Holdings Inc said on Tuesday it was still in talks with Philippine National Bank and Allied Banking Corp on its proposed rehabilitation plan. PNB and Allied Banking are both controlled by tycoon Lucio Tan.Uniwide said the approval of its plan by three other creditors, namely ING Bank, Land Bank of the Philippines, and East Asia Bank, depends on agreement with PNB and Allied Bank.In a disclosure to the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), Uniwide said the approval of PNB and Allied Bank was the most important to fully implement its rehabilitation plan, which includes a takeover by French retail company Casino Guichard Perrachon."The Uniwide Group is still talking with Allied Bank and PNB officials regarding our proposed terms. Only after PNB and Allied sign the memorandum of agreement can Uniwide continue to fully implement the rehabilitation plan," Uniwide said.The company said government-owned Landbank had approved the terms of the rehabilitation plan but would only sign an agreement after all the private banks have signed.East West Bank, another creditor, is waiting for the approval of Allied Bank and PNB.Only eight of the 13 creditor banks have approved the rehabilitation plan of Uniwide. These are United Coconut Planters Bank, East Asia Capital Corp, International Exchange Bank, Global Bank, Bank of the Philippine Islands , Equitable PCI Bank Corp, Rizal Commercial Banking Corp , and Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co.Uniwide owes its creditors about 10bn pesos ($96m), including interest, after its cash flow suffered at the height of the Asian financial crisis. It had suspended payment on its debts since June last year.Casino has committed to invest 3.57 billion pesos ($70m) in Uniwide in exchange for an 87.98 percent stake. Uniwide said the money would be used to pay off debts and acquire some assets.Uniwide closed two centavos lower at 45 centavos on Tuesday.(C) Reuters Limited 2000.
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