Tue, Dec 30, 2003 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

■ Taiwan Salt to name directors

Taiwan Salt Co (Taisalt, 台鹽), Taiwan's largest maker of salt and cosmetic products, said it would comply with stock exchange requirements to appoint two independent directors to its nine-member board, Taisalt's general manager, Chiu Wen-an (邱文安), told reporters Monday at the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

Chiu spoke after the stock exchange warned last week that the company's shares will be suspended if it cannot elect independent directors within three months.

Chiu said the company will work the problem out soon, without elaborating. Taisalt shares plunged NT$2.30, or 6.8 percent, to NT$31.60 on the TAIEX.

Taiwan Salt, which had its stock market debut on Nov. 18, was unable to appoint independent directors last week because its biggest shareholder, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, was barred from voting by a legislative resolution that requires government agencies to vote for government representatives.

Taisalt shareholders therefore elected six representatives from the ministry. The ministry wanted to vote for four government representatives and two independent directors.

■ ATM fees to drop

Transaction fees charged by banks to clients who make cross-bank withdrawals or transfer money via automatic-teller-machines (ATM) will be cut by NT$1, the Ministry of Finance said in a written press release yesterday.

The ministry's Bureau of Monetary Affairs said it has given its approval to the Financial Information Service Co's (財金公司) proposal to reduce the fees charged for banks' ATM services from NT$4.5 to NT$3.5 per transaction. The bureau said that it will soon hold a meeting with the Bankers Association of the ROC (銀行公會) to finalize the plan and its effective date.

■ Charter flights to Subic Bay

Mandarin Airlines (華信航空) will launch charter flights to Subic Bay in the Philippines on Thursday as more and more Taiwanese tourists visit the former US naval base for sightseeing, the airline announced Monday.

Mandarin Airlines will use a 168-seat Boeing 737-800 to operate the twice-weekly charter flight. Taiwanese tourists do not need visas as long as they stay within the Subic Bay area.

In conjunction with Mandarin Airlines, two Taiwanese travel agencies are providing package tours to Subic Bay.

After US forces left in 1992, the Philippines developed Subic Bay into an export processing zone -- the Subic Bay Industrial Park.

Far Eastern Transport Corp (遠東) has been operating twice-weekly regular flights from Kaohsiung to Subic Bay.

■ Stocks up on the week

The stock market's value was at NT$12.76 trillion (US$375.35 billion) at the end of last week, an increase of NT$571.2 billion, or 4.69 percent, over a week earlier, according to the Taiwan Stock Exchange Corp.

Share prices in all 20 categories were up, with plastics posting the largest growth rate -- 38.43 percent. Analysts attributed the market's sharp increase to the listing of Formosa Petrochemical Co (台塑石化) on Friday on the TAIEX, whose total market value is NT$360.6 billion.

Since the beginning of this year, a total of NT$20.333 trillion worth of stocks have changed hands, a daily transaction average of NT$82.65 billion.

■ NT dollar lower

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday continued its weakness against its US counterpart, declining NT$0.009 to close the day at NT$34.061 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.

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