Wed, Oct 08, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs


Credit-card laws set for change

The Bureau of Monetary Affairs under the Ministry of Finance yesterday said that it plans to reinforce the management of credit-card issuers, requiring them to install an independent accounting system within a year.

"The accounting system will clearly illuminate banks' performance of credit-card businesses," the bureau's deputy director general Huang Tien-mu (黃天牧) said at a press conference.

Despite banks' interests in credit-card businesses in recent years, most issuers are not making a profit out of the services, Huang said. The nation's top nine credit-card issuers each have over 1 million card holders while half of the nation's 55 issuers have less than 1 percent of the market share, he said

The ministry hopes the new accounting system will help improve banks' performance on credit-card services so as to stress the importance of consumer protection and rights.

LPG firms to lower prices

Both Chinese Petroleum Corp (中油) and Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化) yesterday announced price cuts in their wholesale prices of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to reflect a drop in crude oil costs.

The price cuts will be effective midnight tonight, companies said.

The two oil refiners said they will cut the prices of LPG used by households by NT$0.40 a kilogram and reduce automobile LPG by NT$0.50 a kilogram. Chinese Petroleum and Formosa Petrochemical will also cut prices of the gas for industrial use by NT$0.47 and NT$0.48 a kilogram, respectively, they said.

ING eyes bank stake

ING Groep NV may consider buying a controlling stake in Chang Hwa Commercial Bank (彰化銀行), a Chinese-language newspaper reported citing ING's head of Greater China Patrick Poon (潘燊昌).

The Ministry of Finance, which holds a majority stake at Chang Hwa, has been in contact with ING and would not rule out an offer, the paper reported, citing an unidentified ministry official.

ING may also look at investment companies which have sizeable bonds fund portfolios as a way to expand its asset management business in Taiwan, the paper quoted Poon as saying.

US firm looks to Taiwan

US research institute SRI Inter-national is planning to set up a research and development hub in Taiwan, in the belief that Taiwan is a country with vast global potential and competitiveness in biotechnological industrial development, an industrial leader said yesterday.

Tai Chien (戴謙), administrator of the Tainan Science Park, said SRI International authorities have given great credit to Taiwan's potential to be developed into an international biotech R&D stronghold.

If SRI International -- an independent, non-profit research institute formerly known as Stanford Research Institute -- decides to relocate part of its R&D operations to Taiwan, the Tainan Science Park will be one of the partners in Taiwan for cooperation, Tai said.

HannStar sale takes off

HannStar Display Corp, the nation's fourth-largest maker of flat-panel displays, raised a greater-than-expected US$225 million selling bonds convertible into its stock after investors ordered about 15 times the amount offered.

The bonds don't pay any interest and were sold at face value, said Simon Aird, head of Asia equity syndicate at Credit Suisse First Boston, one of the sale's arrangers.

NT dollar rises

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday traded higher against its US counterpart, rising NT$0.017 to close at NT$33.793 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.

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