The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2020 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Asian corporate survivors - Life after the crisis: Asia moves on

The Asian crisis delivered a devastating blow to the region's sprawling conglomerates. For years they diversified and grew rapidly, feeding on a rich diet of debt, much of it in foreign currencies. Then suddenly their markets collapsed and their debt service costs soared. But the bad times are ending and after drastic restructuring the best companies are on the move again. Alex Mathias reports.

 
Cigarette prices are up, but Indonesian smokers still prefer Sampoerna's premium brands

This year, Asian financial markets have boomed again as investors grow more confident that recovery in Asia can be as steep and dramatic as was the collapse. Ultimately that confidence may be misplaced, but clearly some Asian companies, after the initial paralyzing shock, have responded energetically and purposefully to the challenge.


Corporate life in Asia is pressing forward again. The theory that some companies and banks were too big to fail has been dismissed and survivors share a new mentality. They are marked by their zealousness in clawing back former expansionist plans and focusing on core business.

Korea's Hanwha Group, for example, has dropped its local newspaper and has focused on the chemical sector. It is on track to cut its number of companies from 32 before the crisis to 10 at the end of the year. It has swapped assets with competitors and disposed of other businesses. Indonesian conglomerate Astra has also disposed of assets.

These and other of the region's surviving companies have proved nimble-footed in the financial markets: renegotiating, and in some cases repurchasing, their debt, issuing shares, convertible bonds and using debt for equity swaps, as well as asset disposals, to recapitalize.


You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.

SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TODAY

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually

FREE 7 DAY TRIAL

Unlimited access to Euromoney.com and Asiamoney.com, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors

LOGIN NOW

Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree