Sat, Dec 20, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

■ Kinks in cable links to Japan

Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp and KDDI Corp are having problems completing calls between Japan and Taiwan for their customers as transmissions through four ocean cables are being interrupted by shifts of the seabed.

KDDI is connecting customers through other cable systems to bypass the region that is experiencing the problems, company spokesman Haruhiko Maede said.

The company is checking how many customers are affected, Maede said.

NTT Communications Corp has problems with the same cable and is also switching calls to other systems, spokesman Kei Hashida said.

Both carriers have been using Asia Pacific Cable Network, which was built in 1996 and links to 10 countries and region, Maede said.

■ Fubon Financial dangles merger

Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控), the nation's second-largest financial services provider, proposed a merger to rival SinoPac Holdings Co (建華金控), said Victor Kung (龔天行), Fubon's chief financial officer, on news that Fubon sent a letter to SinoPac, inviting discussions about a merger.

"It's kind of a consensus that Taiwan's financial industry has to consolidate," Kung said.

He said Fubon will look for "all opportunities."

SinoPac, 28 percent-owned by foreign investors, said last month that it hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc as a financial adviser to find merger partners.

■ Concern over Taisugar ratings

Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評) on Thursday placed Taiwan Sugar Corp's (Taisugar, 台糖) ratings on CreditWach with negative implications, based on the state-run company's large cash dividend payout and a potential delay in its cost reduction plan.

Taisugar is expected to pay an NT$20.5 billion in cash dividend to its shareholders next July.

"The payment will reduce the company's large net cash position and will harm its financial flexibility," according to Taiwan Ratings, a local subsidiary of Standard and Poor's.

Taiwan Ratings said the announcement of resignation by Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁) from his post as Taisugar's chairman is likely to delay the company's plan to streamline its organizational structure.

■ TSMC foresees chip sales boost

Morris Chang (張忠謀), chairman of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, expects global chip sales next year to rise 20 percent, ending a three-year slump, a Chinese-language newspaper said.

Chip sales in this country will gain 26 percent next year, the report said, citing Chang.

Taiwanese semiconductor makers will increase sales to NT$1 trillion (US$29.4 billion) next year, it said.

■ Brokers to open overseas

The government plans to allow Taiwanese securities companies to set up overseas branches, a Chinese-language newspaper reported, citing an unidentified official at the Securities and Futures Commission.

The overseas branches will be allowed to trade overseas securities and derivative products for hedging risks, according to the report.

As part of its financial reform plans, the government in August began allowing domestic banks to invest as much as NT$200 billion (US$5.9 billion) in the futures market to hedge their securities investment risks.

■ NT dollar loses ground

The New Taiwan dollar continued to lose ground against its US counterpart, declining NT$0.002 to close at NT$34.052 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.

Turnover was US$488 million.

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