■ Taisugar to shed staff
Taiwan Sugar Corp (Taisugar, 台糖) chairman Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) confirmed yesterday that the state-run company will downsize its personnel by 45 percent, or 2,500 staff, by January next year.
The move, which aims to alleviate the company's financial difficulties, is estimated to save Taisugar NT$3.7 billion annually, Wu said.
"Our high personnel cost, which is higher than that in private companies, has been our largest obstacle," Wu told a press conference yesterday. "The cut in personnel is the only way to maintain the company."
Although Taisugar reported NT$2.19 billion in pretax revenues last year, Wu said land sales made the financial results look good.
■ Ministry to study rumors
The Ministry of Finance is investigating rumors spread to depositors of Kaohsiung Business Bank's (高雄企銀) Linyuan branch that nearly triggered a small-scale bank run on Monday.
"A life insurer's salesperson allegedly spread rumors that the bank is failing to panic depositors so as to entice them into withdrawing their bank money to buy insurance," Huang Tien-mu (黃天牧), deputy director-general of the ministry's bureau of monetary affairs, told a press conference yesterday.
Huang assured the bank's clients that the bank, despite being debt ridden, is fully covered by the nation's deposit insurance system and that no bank clients would suffer any losses.
Citing the Bank Law, Huang said that employees of the life insurer under investigation, if convicted of spreading the rumor, face up to a five-year sentence or a maximum fine of NT$10 million.
■ Chen promotes silk industry
President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) said Monday that the construction of Taiwan's first silk weaving industrial zone will be completed in June next year at Touliou, Yunlin County.
Speaking at the anniversary of the Taiwan Silk and Filament Weaving Industrial Association (台灣區絲織公會), Chen said Taiwan's silk weaving industry is competitive in the world market with exports amounting to NT$102 billion (US$3 billion) a year.
■ Silicon Integrated cuts forecast
Silicon Integrated System Corp (矽統), the world's third-largest maker of chipsets for personal computers, cut this year's pretax profit forecast by 72 percent, blaming competition and a decline in prices.
The company cut its forecast to NT$201 million (US$6 million) from NT$708 million, Silicon Integrated said in a statement, citing unaudited estimates. The company didn't provide a net income forecast.
Silicon Integrated last week said sales last month fell 21.6 percent to NT$1.4 billion from a year earlier. Sales declined from NT$1.6 billion in the previous month.
■ Compal shares hit daily limit
Shares of Compal Communications Inc (華寶通訊) closed up by their daily limit yesterday on their stock exchange debut as the Taipei-based cellphone maker reported record sales of NT$2.16 billion last month, up 267.41 percent from a year ago.
Compal Communications rose NT$7.50, or the 7 percent market limit, to NT$117.50 on the TAIEX.
The company, which supplies handsets to Motorola Inc, Panasonic and Alcatel on a contract basis, expected shipments for next year rise to 7.5 million units, from 3.5 million units this year, company president Henry Lee (李南雄) said last month.
■ NT dollar gains ground
The New Taiwan dollar strengthened against its US counterpart yesterday, advancing NT$0.045 to close at NT$34.015 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.