Thu, Jul 03, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business briefs 

Lin seeks Airbus contracts

Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Yi-fu (林義夫) has been soliciting contracts for a Taiwanese aviation company for the manufacture of parts and components for France's A321 Airbus, officials said yesterday.

The officials said that Lin met with Airbus official Xavier Tierny during the 16th Taiwan-French economic cooperation conference that opened Tuesday in France, during which Airbus announced the awarding of the contract to the Aerospace Industrial Development Corp (AIDC, 漢翔).

AIDC officials estimated that the company will be responsible for making the parts for between 30 and 40 A321 planes and that the contract will provide about NT$1 billion (US$28.57 million) to the domestic aviation industry.

The officials said that it is estimated the market still needs between 200 and 300 A321 planes.

BenQ sees better China sales

BenQ Corp (明基電腦) chairman Lee Kun-yao (李焜耀), head of the nation's largest mobile-phone maker, said handset sales in China are recovering after excess supplies in the world's biggest market swelled following the SARS outbreak.

BenQ is keeping its target to sell about 15 million handsets this year after shipping more than 6 million in the first half, Lee said.

About a fifth of BenQ's sales come from China.

"We're starting to see some customers coming back to buy handsets from us," Lee told reporters at an event in Taipei.

"Only one customer still has a large inventory," he said.

Inventories started rising prior to the outbreak of the SARS epidemic as Japanese and Taiwanese suppliers in China tried to boost sales.

Oversupply has since fallen from as much as five months of inventory to about one, said Lee, who declined to give details on BenQ's China customers.

Tsai family takes stake

The Tsai family, which controls Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控), bought about 75 million shares in Taiwan Cellular Corp (台灣大哥大), or a 1.7 percent stake, from Verizon Communications Inc after Fubon vice chairman Daniel Tsai (蔡明忠) said he aims to take over the nation's No. 1 provider of mobile services.

"The Tsai family bought the stake," said Christine Kuo, a Fubon vice president, responding to a report in a Chinese-language newspaper.

"The Tsai family's stake in Taiwan Cellular is now about the same as Fubon's," she said.

Fubon owns less than 10 percent of Taiwan Cellular.

Tuesday's purchase from Verizon, the biggest US local-telephone company, was worth NT$1.9 billion (US$55 million), the newspaper reported. The price represents a 2.6 percent discount to Tuesday's closing market price of NT$26.

Fubon has found potential overseas investors to buy a Taiwan Cellular stake owned by affiliate Taiwan Fixed Network (台灣固網), which would help improve the operations of both telecommunications companies, the report said.

NT dollar hits two-week high

The New Taiwan dollar had its biggest gain and highest close in two weeks after overseas investors bought more of the nation's stocks than they sold, generating demand for the currency to pay for the purchases.

Money managers outside Taiwan invested more than a net NT$11 billion (US$319 million) in stocks since June 25. They rounded out their fourth month as net buyers last month, the longest stretch since the four-month period ended January last year.

The local currency yesterday rose NT$0.048 against the greenback to close at NT$34.536 on the Taipei foreign exchange market. Turnover was US$350 million.

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