Fri, Feb 04, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs


Bank privatization delayed

The planned privatization of Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合作金庫), the nation's second-largest lender by assets, will be delayed by two months until the end of March, said bank president Soo Jin-fong (蘇金豐).

The bank plans to release a 13.8 percent stake owned by the government, or 305 million shares, reducing the state ownership from the current 60 percent to 46.2 percent, Soo said.

As part of the effort to push privatization, Taiwan Cooperative plans to see 600 employees retire on the preferential program by the end of next month, accounting for nearly 10 percent of its workforce. It will recruit another 600 prior to privatization.

The government will also accelerate plans to sell a NT$30.3 billion (US$956 million) stake in Taiwan Tobacco & Liquor Corp (台灣菸酒公司) after the legislature cut the budget for this year, according to the Ministry of Finance. The stake represents about 30 percent of the capitalization of the former government monopoly.

Shipbuilding holdings to be sold

The government may sell as much as two-thirds of its 99 percent holding in China Shipbuilding Corp (中船) to help plug a budget deficit.

The sale this year will target strategic investors such as Yang Ming Marine Transport Corp (陽明), Wan Hai Lines Ltd (萬海) and other shipping-related companies, said Fan Kuang-nan (范光男), acting chairman of the company.

"We hope the company will be privatized this year," Fan said. The government will maintain a one-third stake in the company, which has a net worth of NT$4.6 billion (US$145 million), he said.

The company was losing money until it fired 46 percent of its workers in 2001.

It had pretax profit of NT$710 million last year and NT$530 in 2003, Fan said.

ProMOS signs loan

ProMOS Technology Inc (茂德科技) yesterday signed a five-year, NT$10 billion (US$315 million) syndicate loan with 11 banks, led by Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合作金庫).

ProMOS, which signed an agreement with Hynix Semiconductor Inc last month to jointly make computer memory chips, reported NT$42.96 billion in revenues last year.

Net income reached NT$10.08 billion last year, or NT$2.27 a share, according to company spokesman Albert Lin (林育中).

Foxconn shares fall

Shares of Foxconn International Holdings (富士康), a unit of Hon Hai Precision Industry Co (鴻海精密), fell in Hong Kong trading today as investors balked at buying the shares, priced at the top of the range.

The handset-maker's stock closed 2.7 percent lower at HK$3.775 in Hong Kong from an offered price of HK$3.88. The company raised HK$3.4 billion (US$433 million) in the initial public offering.

The offer price is 15 times this year's profit forecast by Goldman Sachs Group Inc and is higher than its Taiwanese rivals such as Compal Communications Inc (華寶通訊).

Strip bonds allowed

Taiwan regulators are allowing the trading of strip bonds to help develop the debt market and have hired Deutsche Bank AG to manage the nation's first issue, the Asian Wall Street Journal reported, citing Deputy Director at the Financial Supervisory Commission's Securities & Future Bureau Wu Yui-chun (吳裕群).

The change is aimed partly at protecting bond funds as interest rates rise, the newspaper said. The first transaction may be announced as early as today, it said.

Strip bonds are created by stripping coupons from the debt securities and selling the individual pieces separately, it said.

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