Tue, Jun 29, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

■ China Steel using cheaper fuel

China Steel Corp (中鋼), Taiwan's biggest steelmaker, plans to burn as much as 57 percent more of a cheaper, alternative fuel in its blast furnaces to reduce raw material costs, a company official said.

China Steel, which operates four furnaces, wants to boost the use of pulverized coal injection (PCI) to between 200kg and 220kg per tonne of steel, compared with 140kg last year, said Lin Yideng, a senior official in China Steel's raw materials purchasing department.

China Steel is looking for cheaper fuel after falling coke exports from China, supplier of more than half of the global trade, sent prices rising more than threefold this year. Higher Chinese coke prices have added about US$150 to steelmakers' costs for every tonne of steel produced, industry consultant the McCloskey Group said.

"The higher price of coke has forced us to speed up the use of PCI in our furnaces," Lin said. "Still, upping the use of PCI takes time."

■ Kookmin receives offer

Kookmin Bank, South Korea's largest lender, said it received an offer to buy a stake in a Taiwanese bank which it did not identify.

The Seoul-based bank received the offer through an arranger that is familiar with Kookmin's business strategy in Asia, said Shin Ki Sup, senior vice president at Kookmin, in response to an Edaily report.

"We will study the merits of the offer related to business opportunities that we are looking for," Shin said. "The study doesn't mean Kookmin wants to buy it."

Edaily said Kim told reporters at a seminar in Seoul that there had been an offer to buy a stake in a Taiwanese lender recently.

■ Hewlett-Packard eyes SMEs

Eyeing the sizable printing market of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Taiwan, Hewlett-Packard Taiwan Ltd, the nation's No.1 color-printer vendor, yesterday rolled out new color laser-jet products targeting SMEs.

Taiwan's SMEs numbered more than 1.1 million last year, making up 97.8 percent of the nation's registered companies, according to figures from the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics.

Digital printings created by SMEs accounted for 4 percent of the nation's total printings, said King Chen (陳國欽), market development manager of HP Taiwan's imaging and printing group. "The rest of the 96 percent of the analog printing and in-house printing market is our target."

The company also expected to strengthen its leading status by launching new products aiming at the commercial do-it-yourself market, he added.

■ New venture in Tainan County

A new company funded with joint investment from the Tainan County Government, 22 farmers' associations and private investors was inaugurated yesterday to promote agricultural exports.

The new joint venture, Nan-ying Agriculture Trading Co (南瀛農產國際行銷), will initially focus on tapping Japan's farm produce market, Tainan County Commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智) said at the inauguration ceremony.

Su said the Mitsubishi Group placed an order with Nanying to purchase 1,300 tonnes of mangoes.

Su also said Nanying will also try to sell other seasonal fruits, such as lychees, papayas and melons, to Japan. In the future, Nanying will expand its agricultural export markets to other countries.

■ NT dollar falls

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday turned lower against its US counterpart, declining NT$0.071 to close at NT$33.751 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.

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