Thu, Jul 29, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

AGENCIES

NPL ratio falls

Banks held NT$535.6 billion (US$15.7 billion) in overdue loans at the end of last month, with the bad-loan ratio falling to 3.54 percent from 4.33 percent from Dec. 31 last year, the Financial Supervisory Commission said.

The banks had a total of NT$740.5 billion of loans classified as non-performing or under surveillance, about 4.9 percent of total lending, at June 30, the regulator said in a statement on its Web site. That compares with NT$886.6 billion or 6.1 percent of total loans at the end of December.

The non-performing loan ratio reached a record high of 8.09 percent in April 2002 after the nation's economy contracted by 2.18 percent in 2001 -- the worst recession on record.

The government is prodding banks to clean up bad loans so they are able to compete with overseas rivals. The government plans to ask domestic lenders to use international accounting standards when measuring their non-performing loans from July next year.

Taipei 101 gets more money

China Development Financial Holding Corp (中華開發金控) said it will participate in a NT$4.5 billion (US$132 million) fund-raising to complete the world's tallest building.

China Development will invest NT$880 million to buy new shares issued by Taipei Financial Center Corp (台北金融大樓公司) to put finishing touches on the 508-meter Taipei 101 building, the company said in a statement. Some of the floors are still unfinished shells.

Fubon to help Citigroup

Fubon Financial Holding Co (富邦金控) said it will help sell Citigroup Inc's US$649 million stake in the nation's fifth-largest financial services provider to overseas investors.

Fubon Financial hired Citigroup to manage the share sale, the Taipei-based company said in a statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange. Citigroup is selling its stake of 806 million shares in Fubon Financial, the statement said.

E.Sun to sell shares

E.Sun Financial Holdings Co (玉山金控), which took over the failed Kaohsiung Business Bank (高雄企銀) in May, said it hired Morgan Stanley to help sell US$100 million of shares held by its banking arm.

The Taipei-based financial group is planning to sell 170 million of its shares overseas in the form of global depositary receipts, the company said in a statement.

The plan helps dispose of shares E.Sun Commercial Bank (玉山銀行) obtained in a share swap in 2002, when the financial holding company was formed, the statement said.

The group said it hasn't yet decided when the share sale will occur.

Taiwan Cellular sells shares

Taiwan Cellular Corp (台灣大哥大), the nation's second-largest provider of mobile-phone servi-ces, raised about NT$333 million (US$9.7 million) selling shares in rival Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信).

Taiwan Cellular between July 21 and today sold 6.2 million Chunghwa Telecom shares at an average NT$53.41 each, the company said in a statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange Corp. The company still has 262 million shares of Chunghwa Telecom.

In December 2002, Taiwan Cellular paid NT$27.7 billion for 550 million shares of Chunghwa Telecom, the nation's dominant phone operator.

NT dollar falls

The New Taiwan dollar yesterday continued losing ground against its US counterpart, dropping NT$0.064 to close at NT$34.199 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.

Turnover was US$670 million.

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