Sat, Dec 14, 2002 - Page 11 News List

Business briefs

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

ING Antai seeks capital infusion

ING Antai Life Insurance Co (安泰人壽) said it is planning to raise new capital by the end of the year to meet government regulations, the insurer said in a statement yesterday.

The insurer said it is now applying the capital increase to the Ministry of Finance. Once approved, it will increase new capital by NT$120.4 million to NT$8.14 billion, according to the statement.

ING Antai is among 24 local and foreign insurance companies that have been required by the ministry to raise new capital because their investment returns are impacted by the declining interest rates.

The central bank cut the rediscount rate from 1.875 percent to record-low 1.625 percent in early November, the 14th in the past two years.

Aeon targets local market

Aeon Co, Japan's second-biggest retailer, said yesterday that it is planning to open as many as 20 general merchandise stores between next year and 2010, aiming to open its first store in Hsinchu in May of 2003.

Aeon runs 2,794 general merchandise stores, supermarkets, discount stores, convenience stores and department stores in Japan as well as 30 general merchandise stores overseas.

"Aeon is optimistic about the Taiwan market ... After a couple of years of preparation, Aeon will enter the market next year," spokesperson Irene Yeong said.

The company's Taiwan unit, which has capital of NT$350 million (US$10 million), expects sales at its first domestic store to reach NT$3 billion in the first year, it said.

More cellphones than people

Taiwan has 105 mobile phones for every 100 people, leading the world in cellphone density, according to statistics released from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

The nation had 23.8 million mobile phones as of October, outnumbering the population, it said.

Mobile-phone revenue averaged NT$15 billion (US$430 million) a month in the first 10 months, up 4.6 percent from a year earlier, it said.

Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) had the largest share of the mobile market with 7.3 million cellphone customers.

KGI to shut Manila brokerage

KGI Securities Co (中信證券), a unit of Koos Group (和信集團), said it plans to shut its Philippine brokerage and fire as many as 60 workers because of low trading volume.

The Manila brokerage will be shut Jan. 17, said Sherie Chiu, vice president of finance at KGI.

Trading fell to an average of 518.5 million pesos (US$9.7 million) a day in the first 11 months of this year, down from 568.4 million last year and 1.22 billion pesos a day in 2000.

Full output for new unit

Chinese Petroleum Corp (中油) said it may operate its new NT$9 billion refinery unit at Taoyuan at full capacity early next year after completing test runs.

The refinery unit, called a residual fluid catalytic cracker, can process as much as 50,000 barrels a day of crude and fuel oil into higher-priced products such as gasoline, the company said.

Chinese Petroleum started up the unit last month and is still testing its operation. The start-up was delayed from June because water shortages would have hampered operations at the unit, the company said.

NT dollar gains slightly

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday traded higher against its US counterpart, increasing NT$0.003 to close at NT$34.835 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.

Turnover was US$230 million, compared with the previous day's US$319 million.

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