Fri, Jul 04, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business briefs 

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

FTC OK's karoke merger

The Fair Trade Commission yesterday approved the merger between Holiday Entertainment Co (好樂迪娛樂事業) and Cash Box KTV (錢櫃), the nation's two largest karaoke chains.

Holiday announced a plan to merge with Cash Box back in early April. Holiday has 62 outlets, while Cash Box has 20. The new company, with NT$4.2 billion (US$120 million) in capital, will operate as Holiday Entertainment.

The commission warned the new company not to use its monopoly power to squeeze music distributors or to charge unreasonable prices.

Holiday and Cash Box generated NT$ 3.795 billion and NT$3.615 billion in sales last year, respectively.

China Development rating falls

China Development Financial Holding Corp's (中華開發金控) rating outlook was lowered to "negative" from "stable" by Standard & Poor's, reflecting a potential decline in profit. Its banking unit's outlook was also revised down.

S&P affirmed China Development Financial's BBB+ long-term and A-2 short-term ratings. It also affirmed China Development Industrial Bank's A- long-term and A-1 short-term ratings.

Profit at China Development Industrial Bank (開發工銀), wholly owned by China Development Financial, "is likely to decline and be more unstable over the near to medium term" and its "weaker profitability is likely to change the risk profile" of parent China Development Corp, S&P said in a statement.

"The outlook revisions reflect the difficulty China Development Industrial Bank has had in finding new investments to replace those it made in electronics companies in the late 1980s and early 1990s," it said.

CETRA reschedules shows

With the threat of SARS diminishing, the China External Trade Development Council has decided to hold three trade shows previously canceled due to the SARS outbreaks, a council official said yesterday.

The official said that the 2003 Taipei International Computer Show, one of the world's top three IT trade shows, will be held Sept. 22 to 26. The show will host 2,800 booths displaying the latest innovative products, including computers and computer software and peripherals.

The 2003 Taipei Computer Application Show will be held at the end of this month and the council plans to inform 230,000 dealers and related companies about the show.

The 2003 Taipei International Food Show from Aug. 15 to 17 will feature many foodstuffs and agricultural products from Taiwan, Japan, Canada, Germany and other countries.

First Financial to sell shares

First Financial Holding Co (第一金控), the owner of the nation's No. 4 bank by assets, aims to sell about 1 billion new shares to overseas in-vestors on July 22, a Chinese-language newspaper said, without citing the source of its information.

The company last month said it expected to raise about US$600 million from the sale.

First Financial, assisted by Citigroup Inc and Deutsche Bank AG, expects to proceed with presentations to investors in the US and Europe this month.

A successful sale would dilute the government's two-fifths stake in the lender and pave the way for offerings by state-controlled banks. First Financial's offer comes after its bank unit wrote off more than NT$70 billion (US$2 billion) of bad loans last year.

NT dollar gains

The NT dollar gained NT$0.071 against the US dollar to close at NT$34.465 Thursday on the Taipei Foreign Exchange.

A total of US$792 million changed hands.

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