Sat, Aug 02, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Chi Mei Optoelectronics sells US$200m in bonds


Chi Mei Optoelectronics Corp (奇美光電), the nation's second-biggest maker of flat-panel displays for personal computers, sold US$200 million of bonds convertible into its shares to fund a new plant.

Chi Mei priced the five-year bonds, which don't pay interest, to yield 0.5 percent, said Simon Aird, head of Asian equity syndication at Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB), one of the sale's arrangers.

The bonds can be converted in to Chi Mei shares at NT$43.52 apiece, a 28 percent premium to the close yesterday of NT$34 a share.

The company's shares are up 33 percent this year. The TAIEX is up 19 percent.

Chi Mei's fundraising adds to signs of improvement in the US$33 billion flat-panel industry, dominated by companies in South Korea and Taiwan.

Construction of factories slowed earlier this year amid the spread of SARS. That helped curb excess supply and supported prices, market researcher DisplaySearch said last month.

The company, which had 9 percent of the global large-size flat panel market last year, raised NT$9.5 billion (US$276 million) on June 30, selling 500 million shares at NT$19 each to local investors to help finance the construction of its third flat-panel plant.

Companies such as Chi Mei, the world's fifth biggest shipper of the panels, are boosting production of screens used in televisions, computers and other electronic products as they replace bulky glass tube-based displays.

J.P. Morgan Chase & Co arranged the sale with CSFB.

The banks can sell a further US$50 million of the bonds depending on demand.

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