Fri, Oct 03, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

Kaohsiung in free-trade port bid

Kaohsiung Port will file its official application for free-trade port status today, said Huang Ching-tern (黃清藤), director of the Kaohsiung Harbor Bureau, yesterday.

"I believe Kaohsiung Port is qualified to be transformed into a free-trade port in terms of its location, equipment and operation system," he said. "If we obtain the approval this time, we can start to invite companies to open operation offices here as early as next year."

Kaohsiung Port is the first of the free-trade port candidates such as CKS International Airport, Keelung Port and Taichung Port to file an application since the legislature passed the Statue Governing the Establishment and Management of Free Trade Ports (自由貿易港區置及管理條例) on July 10.

Chunghwa Picture selling stock

Chunghwa Picture Tubes Ltd (中華映管), the nation's third-largest maker of flat-panel displays, is selling as much as US$230 million of new shares to overseas inves-tors, an ABN Amro Rothschild banker said.

The company is offering 500 million shares in the form of 20 million global depositary receipts (GDRs) for between US$10.93 and US$11.53 each, the banker said.

That represents a discount of between 5 percent and 10 percent to yesterday's NT$16.4 share price.

ABN Amro and Citigroup Inc. are managing the sale.

Chunghwa Picture on Sept. 24 cut its pretax loss forecast for this year by more than four-fifths after demand improved. The company expects to post a loss of NT$648 million (US$19.2 million), down from an earlier forecast of NT$3.8 billion. The company has posted losses for the past two years.

New IC-ATM cards launched

E. Sun Commercial Bank (玉山銀行),Cosmos Bank (萬泰銀行) and 11 other banks yesterday launched new integrated-circuit (IC) automated-teller machine (ATM) cards to ensure transaction security.

At the launch ceremony, Minister of Finance Lin Chuan (林全) said the ministry hopes to complete the IC card plan by the end of next year to solve the problem of illegal copying of banking data.

Normal ATM cards are easy to duplicate by copying the magnetic strips embedded in the cards, while IC cards' multiple encryption systems make them extremely difficult to copy, the ministry said in a written statement.

Trust certificates rated

Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評), the local branch of Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, said yesterday that it had assigned a "twAA" rating to NT$5.8 billion in senior certificates issued by the special purpose trust for securitization of corporate loans originated by Credit Lyon-nais' Taipei branch.

Taiwan Ratings also assigned "twA," "twBBB" and "twBBB-" ratings to three other certificates issued by the trust, it said in a statement. The four certificates, totaling NT$7.2 billion are backed by a portfolio of 17 NT dollar-denominated corporate bank loans, it said.

"The successful placement of the transaction reinforces our belief that the Taiwan securitization market is rapidly becoming a sophisticated issuer and investment market," the company said.

NT dollar gains ground

The New Taiwan dollar rose yesterday against its US counterpart after the TAIEX climbed, fanning trader speculation the abolition of limits on investment from abroad will draw more overseas funds.

The NT dollar rose NT$0.042, or 0.1 percent, to close at NT$33.768 at the Taipei foreign exchange mar-ket. Turnover was US$445 million.

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