Sat, Nov 01, 2003 - Page 11 News List

【 Business Brief 】

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENICES

Union protests privatization

The union of state-run Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp (台灣菸酒公司) is expected to mobilize over 2,000 employees to demonstrate in front of the Ministry of Finance today, expressing their opposition to the company's privatization plan.

The union had said it disagrees with the company's privatization plan, especially a proposal to bring in strategic partners to improve the company's management. The ministry had said previously that it plans to complete the company's privatization plan by the end of next year, through selling more than 50 percent of the company's shares to private investors at about NT$20 per share.

Liquefied gas price drops

Both Chinese Petroleum Corp (中油) and Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化) yesterday announced price cuts in their wholesale prices of liquefied natural gas (LNG) by an average 1.5 percent, because the cost of imported liquefied natural gas fell after the local currency strengthened against the US dollar.

The companies reduced prices to between NT$8.04 per cubic meter and NT$10.43 per cubic meter. The new prices will apply to all customers, including industrial users, power generators and households. The price cuts will be effective midnight tonight.

The two oil refiners also announced they would lower wholesale gasoline and diesel prices today to reflect falling international crude oil prices.

They will cut the price of 98 RON, 95 RON and 92 RON grades of unleaded gasoline by NT$0.50 a liter, and diesel by NT$0.20 a liter, according to statements issued by the companies.

Chinatrust profit rises 45%

Chinatrust Financial Holding Co (中信金控), Taiwan's fourth-biggest financial services provider by market value, said third-quarter net income rose 45 percent from the same period a year earlier on gains from its investments.

Chinatrust's net income for the three months ended Sept. 30 rose to NT$3.9 billion (US$114.9 million), from a consolidated NT$2.69 billion a year ago, according to a statement the company sent to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

Chinatrust's nine-month earnings were boosted by a fourfold increase in interest income and by the tripling of its investment gains, according to the statement.

Chinatrust Financial said in February it expects to earn NT$15 billion profit this year.

First Financial loses billions

First Financial Holding Co (第一金控), Taiwan's seventh-biggest financial services company by market value, lost NT$18.6 billion (US$548 million) in the third quarter as it increased the money it set aside for bad loans at its bank unit.

The company had a loss of NT$14.69 billion in the nine months to the end of September, according to a statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

The company said the main reason for the loss was because it had made a NT$30.28 billion loan loss provision for First Commercial Bank (第一銀行) in the third quarter.

China begins dumping probe

China is investigating whether Taiwan is selling polyamide fibers, woven to make textiles, at below cost, reducing the profit of Chinese producers, the Ministry of Commerce said on its Web site.

China has begun a yearlong probe, subject to extension beyond Oct. 31 next year, into allegations Taiwanese polyamide fiber producers were selling the chemical fiber to China at below cost, the government said.

NT dollar declines

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday turned weak against its US counterpart, declining NT$0.070 to finish at NT$33.980 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.

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