Wed, Oct 15, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER WITH AGNEICES

Foreign investment soars

Minister of Economic Affairs Lin Yi-fu (林義夫) announced yesterday that Taiwan has attracted 186 foreign investment projects valued at NT$138.38 billion so far this year, exceeding the government's targeted NT$100 billion.

Companies that consented to invest in Taiwan encompass a wide range of industries including display, semiconductor, biotechnology, precision, telecommunications and others, Lin said.

Lin's remarks relate to a four-day international conference, the 2003 Taiwan Business Alliance Conference, that will kick off Sunday to lure foreign investment.

One prominent investor is NTT DoCoMo Inc of Japan, who plans to improve cooperation with Taiwanese counterparts by having local companies to manufacture its "i-mode" handset, Lin said.

Lin also said 1,781 guests from Taiwan and other countries have already signed up for the upcoming conference.

Taiwan-Panama FTA lauded

Panamanian government leaders in charge of commercial and agricultural affairs were happy about the approval of the Taiwan-Panamanian free trade agreement on Monday by the Panamanian Legislative Assembly.

Speaker Jacobo Salas of the Legislative Assembly said Panamanian farmers, ranchers and animal-feed producers will benefit significantly from the agreement. The agreement will also help promote the economic development in the inner parts of the country, he added.

Minister of Commerce and Industry Joaquin Jacome said the agreement can serve as a springboard for traders of the two countries to develop their foreign markets. The agreement will help Taiwan traders sell their products to Latin America through Panama, and help Panamanian exporters send their products to Asia through Taiwan, he explained.

The agreement, jointly signed by President Chen Shui-bian and his Panamanian counterpart Mireya Moscoso in Taipei on Aug. 21, is expected to come into force on Jan. 1 next year.

SanDisk Corp to appeal case

SanDisk Corp, the world's biggest maker of flash-memory cards used in digital cameras and portable music players, lost a patent-infringement case against Ritek Corp (錸德).

Ritek was accused of producing flash-memory cards that used SanDisk's technology illegally, SanDisk said in a statement. Flash memory stores data whether a device is switched on or off.

A US district court in California misinterpreted the patent's claims, and the ruling will be appealed immediately, Sunnyvale, California-based SanDisk said.

Acer Inc buys own shares

Acer Inc will spend as much as NT$14.8 billion (US$439 million) repurchasing its shares, part of a strategy to boost their price.

Acer will buy, starting from yesterday, for two months as many as 40 million shares for as much as NT$52 each, it said in a statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange Corp. Acer will offer a premium of more than 8 percent for the shares, based on their closing price on Monday.

Acer will probably write off the shares after buying them, reducing its stock outstanding by as much as 1.9 percent and boosting its earnings per share.

"The buyback shows the company's bullish view on its stock," said Rebecca Lin, who helps manages the equivalent of US$4.2 billion in stocks at Prudential Securities Investment Trust Co (保誠投信).

NT dollar trades lower

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday traded lower against its US counterpart, declining NT$0.341 to close at the day's low of NT$34.051 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.

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