Fri, Jul 09, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

AGENCIES

■ Wan Hai buys CAL shares

Wan Hai Lines Ltd (萬海航運), the nation's third- largest shipper by market value, bought 20.4 million shares in China Airlines (華航) for NT$376.4 million (US$11.2 million).

Wan Hai said it bought shares in the country's biggest carrier from the market starting on June 28 until yesterday for an average NT$18.4. The 0.73 percent stake is part of short-term investments made by Wan Hai because of "steady yields," company vice president Jason Lee (李炫宏) said.

Wan Hai and China Airlines "complement each other in operations," said Alex Yang, senior vice president at SinoPac Capital Management Corp (建華投顧).

"Wan Hai would be a suitable candidate" to appeal to when the government prepares to sell its stake in China Airlines, he said.

China Airlines said last month profit this year may exceed its December forecast of NT$3.04 billion on a recovery in passenger and cargo transport demand.

■ Chinese firms get invite

The government will allow Chinese companies worldwide to sell shares here, Kong Jaw-sheng (龔照勝), chairman of the Financial Supervisory Commission, told Chinese-language newspapers Wednesday.

Taiwan should open its stock market to overseas companies before China does because it is more advanced, Kong said.

To list, the companies must provide transparent financial information and use reputable auditors and investment banks to manage the share sales, he added.

■ Chinatrust wants Chung Shing

Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中國信託銀行) plans to bid for the loans, deposits and branch network of failed Chung Shing Bank (中興銀行), a company official said.

"Chung Shing's branch network is the key asset we have our eye on," said Jason Wang (王正新), the bank's executive vice president. "An extensive sales network is essential for us to tap wealthy individuals."

Wang said bidding for Chung Shing may take place in the fourth quarter this year.

Chinatrust Commercial should have at least 180 branches to match the network of state-owned lenders, said Wang. It has 111 now. Hua Nan Commercial Bank (華南銀行) has 181 outlets and Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合作金庫) controls 174 branches, according to the regulator.

Central Deposit Insurance Corp (中央存保), which has supervised Chung Shing since it was placed under government supervision four years ago, said on Monday it will invite bids for the sound assets of the failed lender.

■ Central Leasing probed in fraud

Central Leasing Corp (中央租賃), a company that leases equipment and real estate, is under probe for possible loan fraud totaling NT$3.1 billion (US$92 million), a Chinese-language newspaper said, citing unidentified police and prosecutors.

The unlisted company, based in Taipei, may have borrowed money on behalf of about 130 companies, the paper said, citing police. About 30 banks and financial institutions were affected, the paper reported.

Central Leasing chairman Frank Chen (陳田鈺), president Chen Ying-chieh (陳英傑), a vice president and a former employee and the operator of a financial-advising company were questioned, it said.

Central Leasing spokesman Alex Lou, in a phone interview, confirmed there was an investigation but declined to give further comment.

■ NT dollar falls

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday lost ground against its US counterpart, declining NT$0.034 to close at NT$33.746 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.

Turnover was US$525 million.

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