■ Tsai estate taxes queried
The estate of the late Tsai Wan-lin (蔡萬霖), founder of Lin Yuan Group (霖園集團) and the nation's richest man, may face an inheritance tax of less than NT$1 billion, a Ministry of Finance official said yesterday. The official, who refused to be identified, said that even though Tsai allegedly left behind over NT$160 billion in total assets, the government may not be able to levy the inheritance tax on the total assets since Tsai had made tax arrangements beforehand. The ministry, however, would review assets under his wife's account between 1973 and 1985 when a joint account between couples was implemented, he said.
■ Taiwan Fixed Network scores
Taiwan Fixed Network Co (台灣固網) posted a net income of NT$3 billion, or NT$0.39 per share, on revenue of NT$5.43 billion, or 62 percent of this year's targeted sales, in the first eight months of this year, the company said in a statement yesterday. The company saw a net income of NT$1.9 billion, or merely NT$0.21 per share, last year, it said. The company cut its paid-in capital by 30 percent to NT$64.54 billion, or a net value of NT$10.95 per share, after getting approval from the shareholders meeting earlier this year. Taiwan Fixed Network is scheduled to list on the Emerging Stock Market next Tuesday. It is the first company to trade its shares on the emerging stock market among local private fixed network operators.
■ AU Optronics sees cloudy future
AU Optronics Corp (友達光電), the world's third largest flat-panel maker after Samsung and LG Philips of South Korea, said yesterday that the outlook for the industry in the fourth quarter remained uncertain amid rising oil prices. "While pricing pressure is likely to remain, we expect any price falls to prove limited," AU Optronics president Chen Hsuen-bin (陳炫彬) told reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony marking the joint donation of a building by his company and BenQ Corp (明基電通) to National Taiwan University. "We have seen a substantial inventory reduction in channel outlets [thanks to recent price declines]," he said. Chen said the outlook for thin-film-transistor liquid crystal display (TFT-LCD) makers was clouded by a range of uncertainties weighing on the world economy, not least of which was record oil prices. "Against the expectation of a demand pickup in the run-up to the Christmas holiday season it remains to be seen how this will be impacted by crude oil prices moving up to record levels," he said.
■ Tatung plans NT$5 bln loan
Tatung Co (大同), the parent of the nation's third-biggest maker of flat-panel displays for televisions and computers, said it will borrow NT$5 billion (US$147 million) from a group of seven banks to expand its business and pay debt. The Taipei-based company will take up a NT$2 billion five-year loan and sell NT$3 billion of either commercial paper or convertible bonds guaranteed by the group of Taiwan banks. International Commercial Bank of China (中國商銀) is leading the transaction, Tatung said in a statement.
■ NT dollar declines
The New Taiwan dollar declined for a fourth day on speculation some importers have more demand for the US currency to make payments at the end of the month. The NT dollar fell NT$0.012 to close at NT$34.010 against the greenback on the Taipei foreign exchange market. Turnover was US$571 million. The currency slid 0.3 percent against the US dollar in four days.