Tue, Nov 26, 2002 - Page 11 News List

Business briefs

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

Quake risk to fabs leaked

Insurers won't underwrite more than a third of the nations 12-inch silicon wafer plants because of earthquakes potential, raising the cost of risk for companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manu-facturing Co (TSMC, 台積電) and Powerchip Semiconductor Corp (力晶半導體), a Chinese-language newspaper reported, citing unidentified insurers.

The one-third limit is on par with the underwriting ceiling on less advanced 8-inch wafer plants, the paper said. Factories that can produce 12-inch wafers cost about US$3 billion.

The 921 earthquake, resulted in insurance claims of about NT$10 billion (US$288 million) from the semiconductor industry.

Evergreen stock rises

Evergreen Marine Corp (長榮海運) shares rose after US West Coast port operators and dockworkers reached agreement on a contract that would increase wages and benefits.

Shares of Evergreen, which runs the world's fourth-largest shipping line by capacity, rose as much as 4.3 percent to NT$14.70 as of 9:23am. The US is the second-largest buyer of Taiwan exports.

Display makers pessimistic

Taiwan's flat-panel computer display and television manufacturers are to face tough times ahead, a government research think tank announced at an Industrial Tech-nology Intelligence Services 2002 IT market seminar yesterday.

Flat-panel analyst Chen Mao-cheng (陳茂成) warned manufacturers that new generation products from South Korea and Japan would threaten their markets.

Taiwan needs to make larger panels to compete, especially in the television sector which is expected to quadruple to almost one million units globally by 2004.

Chip tester stock rises

ST Assembly Test Services Ltd shares rose as much as 7 percent on expectations the company will benefit from an increase in demand after its customer TSMC raised its sales forecast.

The shares of ST Assembly Test Services, the world's fourth-biggest chip-tester, rose as much as S$0.10 to S$1.53 and traded at S$1.52 in mid-day trading in Singapore. The shares rose 13.5 percent on Friday and have climbed 24 percent in the last week.

Singapore-based ST Assembly Test Services gets about half its orders from TSMC, which said fourth-quarter shipments would be about equal to the third quarter, exceeding its earlier prediction of a 10 percent decrease.

Privitization progresses

The government plans to sell more than half its stake in state-owned Bank of Taiwan (台銀), the nation's biggest lender by assets, by the end of 2005, bank chairman Chen Mu-tsai (陳木在) said.

The bank also plans to sell its 12 percent stake in First Commercial Bank (第一銀行) and 31 percent stake in Hua Nan Financial Holdings Co (華南金控), subject to the timing and amount dictated by the finance ministry, Chen said.

The government has said it will also offer stakes in Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合作金庫), Land Bank of Taiwan (土地銀行), the Central Trust of China (中央信託局), Taiwan Business Bank (台灣企銀), Chang Hwa Commercial Bank (彰化銀行), CTB Financial Holding Co (交銀金控) and the Farmers Bank of China (農民銀行).

NT dollar falls

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday fell against its US counterpart, losing NT$0.047 to close at NT$34.804 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.

Turnover was US$372 million, compared with last Firday's US$391 million.

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