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Samsung postpones plans for new London HQ as financial chaos in Far East hits UK inward investment Lean times beckon as Koreans pull the plug

A £110 MILLION office block in London has become the latest casualty of the financial uproar in Korea.

In a blow to UK contractors banking on the Korean-financed building boom continuing, industrial conglomerate Samsung has announced it has postponed its plan to build a flagship headquarters in Brentford, west London. The company had planned to start construction work early next year.

Samsung had earlier revealed that a £350 million expansion at its Wynyard electronics plant near Hartlepool had also been shelved. Kvaerner built the £100 million first stage, which is now in production.

And another £2 billion-worth of work may be in jeopardy at the Hyundai Semiconductors Europe plant in Fife, Scotland.

Hyundai says it remains committed to the £1 billion first phase of the plant, which Laing is on target to complete by next year.

Sir Robert McAlpine was originally building the first phase but was replaced following a contract wrangle.

A spokeswoman said the planned £2 billion second phase expansion would depend on 'market conditions' in late 1998.

And electronics-to-cars manufacturer Daewoo said it would be reviewing its overseas operations in the light of the turmoil at home. It spends around £15 million a year on expansion in the UK.

But LG Electronics is insisting its huge £7 billion investment in Newport, Gwent, will not be

affected. An LG insider said: 'The investment has already been made and I can't see there being any change in that.'

Meanwhile, Japanese electronics giant Matsushita reconfirmed its commitment to foreign investment when it announced plans to invest £15 million in a European research and development centre in Cardiff, which will create 159 jobs.