Wed, Sep 01, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

■ Non-performing loans fall

As of July, Taiwanese banks saw their non-performing loans (NPLs) reach NT$730.9 billion, down from NT$885.8 billion at the end of last year, the Bureau of Monetary Affairs said at a press conference yesterday. The bad loan ratio, including assets under surveillance, fell to 4.82 percent at the end of July from 6.08 percent on Dec. 31 of last year and from a record 8 percent in March 2002. Taiwanese lenders have written off a combined NT$1.29 trillion in bad debts between January 1999 and July 2004, according to the bureau's deputy director general, Jong Huey-jen (鍾慧貞).

■ S&P downgrades CDF

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services yesterday lowered its long-term and short-term credit ratings on China Development Financial Holding Corp (中華開發金控) to BBB and A-3 from BBB+ and A-2 respectively after the company forecast an unprofitable 2004 and changed its first-half profit to a NT$4.7 billion loss. "The rating actions reflect the higher-than-expected risk in the group's direct investment portfolio, which has been vulnerable to asset valuation losses," S&P credit analyst Ryan Tsang said. S&P said the outlook on China Development Financial remains negative, reflecting uncertainties surrounding the group's future strategic focus, corporate culture and risk management, as well as the challenges the group faces in improving its venture capital and direct investment businesses.

■ Post ATMs offer cash-advances

Chunghwa Post Co (中華郵政公司) announced that starting today cash-advances will be offered for credit cardholders by most of its 3,150 ATMs nationwide. As the company owns 18.5 percent of the nation's 17,000 ATMs, this new service is expected to expand the cash-advance market scope by NT$2 billion per month, according to Visa International's estimates. To commemorate the launch of the service, MasterCard International is scheduled to hold a lucky cash draw every week from Oct. 1 to Dec. 4 for MasterCard users borrowing cash from postal ATMs.

■ China handset shipments drop

China's handset sales fell by 5.5 percent to 14.92 million units in the second quarter from 16.45 million three quarters ago mostly due to high inventories, China-based Information and Commun-ication Technology Co (中華資通) said yesterday. "The data shows that China's mobile phone market is entering a new phase with stable growth from the past's high-fly expan-sion," said president Vincent Huang (黃富琮) in a statement released yesterday. Motorola Inc, the world's No.2 handset vendor, grabbed the top position in China by selling 4.07 million phones in the first six months, according to the research house. Finnish Nokia Oyj and South Korean Samsung Electronics Co followed. Taiwanese brand Dbtel Inc (大霸電子) ranked No.7 by selling 1.85 million handsets, outperforming its Taiwanese peers.

■ Asustek Q2 earnings rise

Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦), the world's largest maker of motherboards, had a 30 percent gain in net income in the second quarter. The company's net income in the three months ending June 30 was NT$3 billion (US$88 million), compared with NT$2.3 billion in the year-earlier period. First-half net income rose to NT$7.3 billion, or NT$3.28 a share, from NT$5.7 billion, or NT$2.83, a year earlier.

■ NT dollar closes stronger

The New Taiwan dollar Tuesday turned strong against its US counterpart, rising NT$0.026 to close at NT$34.053 on the Taipei foreign exchange market. Turnover was US$409 million.

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