Sat, Jul 26, 2003 - Page 10 News List

Chang Hwa, ING officials deny links

AFP , TAIPEI

Chang Hwa Bank (彰化銀行), one of the major financial institutions in Taiwan, plans to use the proceeds from its first global depository receipt (GDR) sale to cut its non-performing (NPL) ratio to 5 percent by the end of this year, a bank spokesman said yesterday.

The bank will sell GDRs equivalent to 1.4 billion new shares in the second half.

"We want to use the proceeds of the share sale to reduce the bank's non-performing loan ratio to 5 percent by the end of this year," the spokesman said.

At the end of last month, the bank's NPL ratio stood at 6.29 percent or NT$50.4 billion (US$1.47 billion) in bad loans.

The 1.4 billion shares will represent an about 22.6 percent stake in the bank after the GDR deal is completed.

A Chinese-language newspaper reported yesterday that the Dutch-based ING group was considering taking a stake in the bank through the GDR issue.

Both the Chang Hwa Bank spokesman and a ranking official from ING Bank Taiwan declined to comment on the report.

The ING Bank official said it was too early to talk about any plan for such an investment in Chang Hwa Bank.

"ING already has close ties with Chang Hwa Bank. We will continue to further cement the cooperation," the ING Bank official said.

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