Tue, Feb 25, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business briefs

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

Petroleum goes up in price

Chinese Petroleum Corp (中油) will raise prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) sold to households and motorists, reflecting higher international crude oil and fuel prices, the company said in a statement.

The cost of importing LPG this month rose 13.4 percent compared with last month, it said.

Chinese Petroleum will increase the price of the bottled gas sold to households by NT$1 a kilogram, or 6.4 percent, the company said in a statement. It will raise the price of LPG used to fuel cars by as much as NT$1.10 a kilogram, or 7.4 percent.

The price increases will be effective from midnight last night, the company said.

In related news, Chinese Petroleum said it may restart a fire-damaged refinery unit early next month after completing repairs.

Pacific Sogo gets new chief

Chung Chin (鍾琴), former Cab-inet's spokeswoman, will soon take the chairwoman position at Pacific Sogo Department Stories Co (太平洋崇光百貨), local TVBS reported, citing company chairman Lai Yung-chi (賴永吉).

Pacific Sogo, the country's largest department store chain, is expected to hold a board meeting later this week to finalize the new appointment, Lai said.

Chung, currently a senior researcher at the Chung-hua Institution for Economic Research (中經院), was not available for comments.

Far Eastern Group (遠東集團), the parent of Far Eastern Department Stores Ltd (遠東百貨), spent NT$1 billion on investments in Pacific Sogo in October of last year. The move will make Far Eastern the nation's largest department store operator, said Douglas Hsu (徐旭東), chairman of Far Eastern Group.

Pacific Sogo currently has eight department stores in this country and another eight in China, with an annual profit of NT$3 billion on revenues of NT$40 billion.

Allianz President cuts jobs

Allianz President Life Insurance Co (統一安聯人壽), a venture between Allianz AG and Uni-President Enterprises Co (統一企業), said it fired dozens of workers and is seeking acquisitions.

The company, which has 200 office workers and about 400 sales agents, fired as many as 40 employees in the payment-collection division, a local newspaper said.

Marketing & Communications manager Celia Ling declined to say how many people were fired.

``The payment collection role is becoming unimportant,'' she said. ``We will let agents handle some of the collections to increase their contact with customers and encourage customers to pay through banks for convenience.''

The company, which has about 120,000 customers, may team up with convenience stores for payments, she said.

Allianz President Insurance Taiwan is seeking potential acquisitions on the island this year to expand, said Ling, who declined to elaborate.

Exchange to share with London

The Taiwan Stock Exchange Corp (TSE, 證交所) said yesterday that it is scheduled to sign a memorandum of understanding this week with the London Stock Exchange to share information and seek new business opportunities.

"London is one of the financial centers in the world. The ties are expected to help Taiwanese enterprises enter the European market," a TSE spokesman said.

NT dollar dips

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday traded lower against its US counterpart, dropping NT$0.027 to close at NT$34.778 on the Taiwan foreign exchange market.

Turnover was US$277 million, compared with last Friday's US$319.5 million.

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