Fri, Dec 17, 2004 - Page 10 News List

Stricter screening ahead for listings

STOCK MARKET RULES The government will be more cautious in inspecting firms applying for stock market listings in the wake of several financial scandals this year

By Jessie Ho  /  STAFF REPORTER

Visitors to the GRETAI Securities Market Family Fair get a feel for speed in a stand set up by the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp yesterday. The fair opened yesterday in Exhibition Hall III of the Taipei World Trade Center and will run until Sunday.

PHOTO: GEORGE TSORNG, TAIPEI TIMES

To reduce risks for investors, the government will strengthen the screening process for companies applying to be listed on the stock market, and improve the transparency of listed companies, a government official said yesterday.

"We will be more cautious in inspecting the qualification of companies that apply to raise funds in the market in the future," said Lee Yung-san (李庸三), chairman of the GRETAI Securities Market (櫃檯買賣中心), while attending an exhibition of 124 companies listed on the over-the-counter market and the Emerging Stock Market (興櫃市場).

The exhibition, housing 220 booths, started yesterday at the Taipei World Trade Center Exhibition Hall III. The show is open from 10am to 6pm and runs until Sunday. Admission is free

According to government figures, there are 460 companies listed on the Gretai Securities Market, and 337 on the Emerging Stock Market.

Electronics Downturn

Lee said that, by and large, listed companies' performance this year has not been bad. The downturn in the electronics industry, however, has meant some share prices have tumbled to single-digit values, causing panic among investors.

Another concern for the market has been poor corporate governance among public companies. Several major financial scandals have been uncovered in larger companies listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange this year, such as those involving Procomp Informatics Co (博達科技) and Summit Computer Technology (皇統科技).

Confidence

To regain investor confidence, the regulator will hold more events such as the exhibition and investor conferences for prospective investors to get more company information, Lee said.

To encourage investor interest, the GRETAI Securities Market, the organizer of the exhibition, will hold an investment contest in futures and options from Jan. 2 to Mar. 31. Participants are required to deposit at least NT$100,000 in an account and operate in the real market.

The winner will be those contestants reporting the highest yield in the designated period. The top prize is NT$1 million.

PC Home

One noticeable exhibitor at the show is PC Home Online (網路家庭), the nation's fourth largest Internet portal, which announced its listing plan last week.

The company is scheduled to debut on the over-the-counter market on Jan. 24. It has offered 3.6 million shares through a four-day online auction with a floor price of NT$21.9 per share. The bidding will close today.

Vicky Tseng (曾薰儀), manager of PC Home's sales division, said the company has received bids for 3 million shares from the public as of yesterday.

"The response is not as good as we expected ? I think investors still have doubts about online business, given the [sector's] previous meltdown," Tseng said.

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