Sat, Jul 12, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business briefs 

China Airlines to fly to Hanoi

China Airlines Co (華航) will start flying three times a week to Hanoi beginning July 29, the carrier said in a statement.

It will be the first service by a Taiwanese carrier between Taipei and the Vietnamese capital, the airline said, adding that it expects to increase the frequency of flights to seven per week in the near future.

It will operate the route using a Boeing 737-800 plane seating 158 people.

China Airlines has been operating passenger services to Ho Chi Minh City since 1992.

The airline saw its sales dropped by almost a third in April and May, at the height of the SARS epidemic, from a year earlier.

Union blocks buyback meeting

The Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) workers' union blocked access to a board meeting at the company's headquarters held late Thursday to approve a buyback of up to a 10th of the shares of the nation's biggest phone company, worth NT$49.7 billion (US$1.4 billion).

The Chunghwa Telecom Workers' Union opposed the buyback, saying that it will undermine the interests of the shareholders as well as the company's employees.

Chunghwa Telecom chairman Hochen Tan (賀陳旦), who is trying to boost demand for a government sale of as much as 13.8 percent of the company in the US on Tuesday, said the plan to repurchase and cancel shares will make the stock more appealing by lifting earnings per share.

Delta sells convertible bonds

Delta Electronics Inc (台達電子), the nation's biggest maker of computer power systems and chargers, sold US$185 million of bonds convertible into its shares to overseas investors, said an official at arranger Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

The five-year, zero-coupon bonds were sold at face value and can be converted into Delta Electronics' shares at an equivalent of NT$55 apiece, a 25 percent premium to its close yesterday, said Edward Naylor, a spokesman for Goldman in Hong Kong.

The company said earlier the proceeds will help finance overseas purchases of materials and capital requirements, according to a statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

A further US$15 million may be sold depending on demand.

Taiwan eyes WTO Cancun meet

The government sees the WTO meeting in Cancun, Mexico, in September, as allowing it an opportunity to press its case on a series of trade issues, an official with the Board of Foreign Trade said yesterday.

The Cancun meeting will be the nation's first multilateral talks as a WTO member since its admission to the organization last year.

"The entry into the WTO has raised Taiwan's visibility. The Cancun meeting is expected to give Taiwan a good opportunity to interact with other member countries," he said.

The priorities for the government at the meeting include market access issues, liberalization in the services sector, trade safeguards such as anti-dumping measures and agricultural subsidies, the official said.

The government has proposed to China to reach a market access agreement but has gotten no response from Beijing, he said.

Aside from multilateral talks under the WTO framework, Tai-wan hopes to reach agree bilateral free-trade agreements with Panama, Singapore, the US and Japan.

NT dollar weakens

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday turned weak against its US counterpart, falling NT$0.059 to close at NT$34.40 on the Taipei foreign exchange market. Turnover was US$552.5 million.

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