Wed, Nov 17, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

Steel exports booming

Steel exports have been growing every year and topped the imports since 1996 to account for 6.5 percent of total outbound shipments last year, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) reported.

DGBAS officials attributed the industry's boom in recent years to strong demand from China and the whole world. It made the third-largest contribution in terms of output value to the manufacturing sector only after those registered by the electronics and the petroleum industries.

Nevertheless, more and more domestic steel makers are considering relocating to the mainland in the face of higher labor costs and tighter restrictions on greenhouse emissions, they said.

SinoPac stake to cost US$2bn

Foreign investors seeking to buy a majority stake in SinoPac Finan-cial Holdings Co (建華金控) will have to pay about US$2 billion, a Chinese-language business daily reported, citing SinoPac president Paul Lo (盧正昕).

Foreign investors will have to pay at least NT$27 to NT$28 per share, or about two times Sino-Pac's net asset value, the paper said, citing Lo. SinoPac is still seeking partners, he added.

Formosa Plastics buys land

Formosa Plastics Group (台塑) has agreed to buy 150 hectares of industrial land in China's Jiangsu Province to set up a textile production zone, a Chinese-language newspaper reported here, citing Nan Ya Plastics Corp (南亞) vice president Wu Chia-chao (吳嘉昭).

The project will have annual production capacity of 181,437 tonnes of artificial fibers, about half the company's domestic capacity, the paper said. The report didn't say how much the group plans to invest in the project.

Chinatrust ratings raised

Standard & Poor's Ratings Ser-vices said yesterday that it has raised its long-term credit rating on Chinatrust Commercial Bank (中國信託銀行) to "BBB+" from "BBB" and its short-term rating to "A-2" from "A-3."

At the same time the long-term rating on Chinatrust Financial Holding Co (中信金控) was raised to "BBB" from "BBB-" while the short-term rating remained unchanged at "A-3," S&P said in a statement.

Outlooks for both Chinatrust bank and its parent holding company remain stable, it added.

"Concerns that asset quality would be negatively impacted by the acquisition of Grand Commercial Bank (萬通銀行) by the bank in 2003 did not materialize to the extend feared," S&P's credit analyst Iris Chan said.

"Conversely, Chinatrust bank's management has been able to significantly write down problem assets while sustaining good operating profitability, as measured before loan loss provisioning," she said.

HannStar raises US$140m

HannStar Display Corp (瀚宇彩晶), a maker of flat-panel displays for personal computers, said yesterday that it raised US$140 million selling five-year bonds convertible into its shares.

The Taoyuan-based company sold the zero-coupon bonds, which can be converted into shares at NT$11.28 a share, at a premium of 15 percent to the stock's closing price of NT$9.80 today, it said in a statement.

The bonds are callable after 20 months.

HannStar Display is selling the bonds to help finance the construction of a new flat-panel plant, it said in July.

NT dollar weakens

The New Taiwan dollar Tuesday turned weak against its US counterpart, declining NT$0.017 to close at NT$32.819 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.

Turnover was US$556 million.

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