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Asia's emerging superleague

Which are Asia's strongest companies? With the region's corporates facing difficult market conditions, declining stock prices and a credit squeeze, the difference between Asia's many underperformers and its increasingly global star players is likely to grow. Asia's leading analysts gave their views of the best companies by sector and region in Euromoney's annual survey. The results contain a few surprises. In the Indian sub-continent - included this year for the first time - Pakistan's companies are rated higher than their counterparts in India. Research by Rebecca Dobson

Euromoney's second survey of the best Asian companies as rated by the region's top analysts comprises an expanded list of countries and industry sectors. Participants gave their opinions on sectors from telecoms to textiles, transport and shipping in north-east Asia, south-east Asia, the Indian sub-continent and Australasia.

Overall, 115 companies were nominated for individual sectors, 22 of which are located in Korea, 17 in Malaysia, 13 in Pakistan, 12 in Hong Kong and 10 in Japan.

Korean companies rank highly in many sectors of our survey: banking & finance (Kookmin Bank in second place), electronics (Samsung Electronics at one; LG Electronics at six), iron and steel (Pohang Iron & Steel at one), oil and gas (Yukong at one), pulp and paper (Hansol Paper at one), and shipping (Hyundai Merchant Marine at one). This reflects recent activity in capital markets: for example, Kookmin Bank issued three $100 million FRNs earlier this year. Both Samsung and LG Electronics brought 10-year convertible bonds to the market in June, for $300 million and $75 million respectively. Hyundai Merchant Marine has been busy with syndicated loans: over $1.3 billion of guaranteed term loans signed in 1997.

It is the gaming sector where Malaysia excels, with Berjaya Sports Toto and Resorts World at the top of the list.