Wed, Aug 04, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Taishin Financial says earnings up in first half 2004

INVESTOR CONFERENCE The financial holding company blamed the stock market and rising interest rates for a drop in second quarter earnings

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控) reported yesterday that its net income for the first half of the year rose to NT$5.91 billion, with earnings per share (EPS) at NT$1.61.

The first half earnings rose 68 percent from the same period a year ago and represents 59 percent of the company's full-year forecast of NT$10.05 billion.

Taishin Financial, which is owned by the Wu family, offers banking and brokerage services. Its most profitable unit is Taishin International Bank (台新銀行), which posted net income of NT$4.98 billion for the first half of the year.

Last week the bank said it had agreed to pay NT$1.4 billion to acquire small rival Hsinchu Tenth Credit Cooperative (新竹十信), effective Oct. 18.

The acquisition will boost the number of the bank's branches from 89 to 101.

Julius Chen (陳淮舟), president of Taishin Financial, told an investors conference yesterday that the deal will help increase the bank's market share and customer base.

Still, Taishin Financial saw its second quarter after-tax earnings drop to NT$2.68 billion from NT$3.23 billion in the first quarter.

The holding company attributed the decline to the sluggish stock market and rising interest rates, Justin Tsai (蔡榮棟), general manager of Taishin Financial's wholesale banking group, told investors.

"We're positive about the economy this year, but as the outlook is not as good as expected after the presidential election, we now see that both the equity and bond markets are turning conservative," said Lin Keh-hsiao (林克孝), president of Taishin Financial's Wealth Management Group.

Lin said the company has placed more emphasis on protecting its existing capital gains, while waiting for opportunities to enlarge the gain, especially in the last quarter of the year.

At a press conference held before the investor conference, reporters focused on an internal dispute at Taishin Financial over the leadership of subsidiary Taiwan Securities Group (台証證券).

Taishin chairman Thomas Wu (吳東亮) unexpectedly dismissed several board members last week, including group president Lee Hsin-yi (李新一) and executive board director Chan Ping-fa (詹炳發), both associates of his younger brother Eric Wu (吳東昇), who is chairman of the Taiwan Securities Group.

Chen told reporters that the outgoing board members held different opinions about running the company and had hampered the execution of some projects that were initiated prior to their becoming board members and so a reshuffle was necessary.

"The personnel adjustment was done out of professional considerations, rather than a family row as some people have misinterpreted it," Chen said.

Wu Kuang-hsiung (吳光雄), former chairman of Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評), the local arm of Standard & Poor's, was appointed to head Taiwan Securities.

He told the press conference that he and the company's staff will try their best to create more shareholder value.

Meanwhile, Taishin Financial shares advanced NT$0.3 to close at NT$26.2 on the TAIEX yesterday.

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