Fri, Mar 07, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

DaimlerChrysler presents goals

DaimlerChrysler AG is aiming to sell 5,500 Mercedes-Benz vehicles, 750 Chrysler cars and 700 Smart compacts in Taiwan this year, Volker Harms, president and CEO of DaimlerChrysler Taiwan Ltd, said yesterday at a press gathering. Harms said Mercedes-Benz still maintained a very strong position in the local passenger car market last year, with positive reaction toward its re-modeled E-Class and S-Class luxury sedans. As for Smart cars, the company is scheduled to introduce two new Smart Roadster models -- the simple Roadster and the Roadster-Coupe -- in April to boost sales, Harms said. Retail prices for the two new models were not disclosed yesterday. DaimlerChrysler sold nearly 5,000 Mercedes-Benz vehicles and 700 Chrysler-brand cars in Taiwan last year. It started selling Smart cars here in August and has sold 195 units so far this year. To meet a small but growing appetites for super luxury vehicles, the company is also planning to add Maybach brand vehicles into its product lineup later this year, Harms said.

Formosa Plastics back on track

Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑), the flagship of Taiwan's largest industrial group, posted a fourth-quarter profit of NT$2.6 billion (US$75 million), compared with a loss a year earlier. The company had a net loss of NT$765 million in the fourth quarter of 2001. For the whole of 2002, profit rose 48 percent to NT$9.9 billion from NT$6.7 billion a year earlier, the company said. The company also said it plans to issue 1.55 million new shares, worth NT$68 million at the current market price, to take full ownership of affiliate Yung Chia Chemical Industries Corp (永嘉化工).

AU makes first 5G 26-inch LCD

AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), the nation's largest manufacturer of flat panels, announced yesterday that it successfully produced a 26-inch liquid-crystal display (LCD) TV panel on Feb. 27. The panel was produced using fifth-generation (5G) technology, which allows flat-panel manufacturers to cut bigger screens than was previously possible. In a statement, the company said it would produce its first 30-inch LCD panel in the second quarter and a 46-inch panel by the third quarter. AU's statement did not say when the company would go into mass production of the new 5G panels.

CMC Magnetics records 4Q loss

CMC Magnetics Corp (中環), the world's second-largest maker of recordable compact discs, turned to a net loss of NT$195 million (US$5.6 million) in the fourth quarter from profit of NT$704 million in the year-earlier quarter, as overseas expansion and failed investments eroded profit. For last year, CMC Magnetics turned to a loss of NT$180 million from net income of NT$3.3 billion in 2001, it said in a statement.

SEZ exits wet-bench business

Swiss-based chip-making equipment manufacturer, SEZ Group, announced yesterday that it plans to exit the wet-bench business to refocus its resources on single-wafer wet surface preparation technology. "This move will not affect any current business or future strategy in Taiwan," Fred Kranich, managing director of SEZ Taiwan Co, said yesterday. "Our wet bench division is so far focused on Europe and does not have a base in Taiwan where SEZ's market share in single-wafer technology [wet wafer surface preparation] is over 80 percent," Kranich said. "This move is also in line with a trend to single-wafer processing in mass production as pioneered in Taiwan's high end fabs."

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