Sat, Jul 05, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business briefs 

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

Chunghwa shares going to US

The government plans to list Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) shares on the New York Stock Exchange on July 15, making it the first state-controlled company to sell stock overseas. The sale will offer as much as 13.8 percent of the company to foreign investors.

The government is offering 750 million Chunghwa shares in the form of American depositary receipts, with one ADR equal to 10 common shares. About 408 million more shares will be available if the first block is fully subscribed, said Wang Ting-chun (王廷俊), telecommunication section chief at the Ministry of Transportation and Communications.

The government will announce the price of the shares at 11am on July 15 in New York. The range is NT$46.11 to NT$53 a share.

The government will also offer 200 million Chunghwa Telecom shares on the same day, at the same price, to domestic investors.

In its prospectus, Chunghwa Telecom warned investors that its ``autonomy is limited'' because it is under government control and that it couldn't assure investors when privatization will be completed.

``Until we are privatized,'' it said, ``our ability to rapidly respond to changing market conditions and competition will be limited.''

Office rents dropping

Monthly rentals for Grade A office buildings on average fell 1.3 percent to NT$2,123 per ping in Taipei during the second quarter, with vacancy rate at 10.7 percent, according to a latest market report by DTZ Debenham Tie Leung.

Major leasing transactions, including Hewlett-Packard Taiwan's plan to take 3,700-ping office space in Cathay Building and Ta Chong Bank's (大眾銀行) relocation to a 2,600-ping site within Aurora Building, were mainly concentrated in Hsinyi District in the quarter ended last month, the report said.

In terms of sales, major transactions included the NT$850 million deal of Newa Insurance Co (新安產險) Building on Nanking East Road and the NT$860 million deal of Continental Engineering Corp (大陸工程) Building on Tun Hwa South Road, the report said.

With another 56,000 pings of new Grade A supply is expected to be released in all districts of Taipei later this year, the rentals are expect to fall further, said Wendy Hsueh (薛惠珍), director of research at DTZ Debenham Tie Leung.

Foreign currency reserves rise

The nation's foreign currency reserves hit US$176.68 billion by the end of last month, still the world's third-highest after Japan and China, the central bank said in a statement yesterday.

Last month's figure was up US$1.46 billion from May, and up US$15 billion from the end of last year. The central bank attributed the increase in foreign reserves to the accumulation of interests.

According to latest statistics, Japan and China had US$543.08 billion and US$340 billion, respectively, in foreign exchange reserves at the end of May. Hong Kong and Singapore had US$116.1 billion and US$85.79 billion, respectively. South Korea had US$131.66 billion at the end of last month.

NT dollar hits 10-month high

The New Taiwan dollar rounded out its fourth weekly advance in five as the currency closed at its strongest in almost 10 months after overseas investors piled into the nation's stocks.

Money managers abroad invested a net NT$20 billion (US$582 million) in Taiwan's stocks this week, according to the Taiwan Stock Exchange Corp (證交所). De-mand yesterday was the highest since June 18.

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