Thu, May 01, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

Fund transferred to MOEA

The Cabinet yesterday approved a bill to change the administration over a credit guarantee fund for small and medium enterprises from the Ministry of Finance to the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Cab-inet spokesman Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said yesterday.

The Cabinet also decided to earmark NT$25 billion for the fund that will be used to offer loan guarantees to companies hardest hit by the economic slowdown, Lin said.

Liu Kuo-chun (劉國鈞), a section chief at the Small and Medium Enterprise Administration under the economics ministry, said the ministry will initially provide NT$2 billion out of the NT$25 billion fund to companies affected by the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome.

Via loss bigger than expected

Via Technologies Inc (威盛電子) , the world's second-largest maker of chipsets for personal computers, had a bigger-than-expected loss as sales fell by more than a fifth.

The company had a net loss of NT$646 million ($18 million) in the first quarter, compared with net income of NT$1.1 billion a year ago. Sales, previously announced, dropped to NT$5.7 billion from NT$7.3 billion.

Macronix's loss widens

Macronix International (旺宏電子), the nation's largest maker of memory chips for electronic games, said its first-quarter loss widened and the company expects to post a loss of NT$7.8 billion for this year.

Macronix's net loss widened to NT$3.21 billion (US$92 million) from NT$2.7 billion a year ago.

First-quarter sales, announced previously, rose to NT$3.1 billion from NT$2.8 billion. Sales this year is forecast to rise 8 percent to NT$17 billion, the company said in a statement.

It's the sixth straight quarter of loss for Macronix, which said earlier this year that it doesn't expect to return to profit for as long as two years.

Inventec's Q1 profit drops

Inventec Corp (英業達), the nation's third-largest notebook computer maker, said that first-quarter profit fell 48.6 percent to NT$428.9 million (US$12.3 million) after its biggest customer, Hewlett-Packard Co, cut prices.

Net income was NT$836 million a year earlier. Sales, previously announced, rose by more than 23 percent to NT$19 billion from NT$15.4 billion.

Inventec in December said profit would fall in the first quarter because Hewlett-Packard, its sole customer at the time, cut prices. Profit fell by more than the 10 percent margin that the company predicted at the time.

Compal Electronics (仁寶電腦), the world's No. 2 notebook maker and Inventec's next larger domestic rival, said that first-quarter profit rose 71 percent on sales that gained more than a quarter.

TSMC designates SARS `czar'

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufac-turing Co (TSMC, 台積電) named deputy chief executive Tseng Fan-chen (曾繁城) to lead its response to the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak.

Tseng is the company's ``SARS czar,'' chairman Morris Chang (張忠謀) said at TSMC's first-quarter results announcement yesterday.

The company distributed masks to all attendants and checked their temperatures with a thermal infrared camera before admitting them to the event.

TSMC said it expects little impact from the outbreak. Customers are increasing inventories of chips in the second quarter in response to the virus, Chang said.

NT dollar gains

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday traded higher against its US counterpart, rising NT$0.049 to close at NT$34.849 on the Taipei foreign exchange market. Turnover was US$400 million.

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