Tue, Feb 22, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Taishin's targeting another good year

PROFIT GOALS MET Last year Taishin clocked in with 112 percent growth in profit; another year of growth is expected through mergers and acquisitions to come

By Joyce Huang  /  STAFF REPORTER

After reaping a 112 percent growth in profit last year, Taishin Financial Holding Co (台新金控) yesterday said that it targets another 20 percent year-on-year growth in after-tax revenues this year, part of which will be achieved through mergers and acquisitions (M&As).

"Our merger partners don't necessarily have to be banks," Taishin Financial chairman Thomas Wu (吳東亮) told an investors' conference yesterday. "We're also cooking small- and medium-sized acquisitions."

The company is one of 14 financial holding companies that the government aims to halve the number to seven in two years, in a bid to compete with foreign rivals.

Speculation is rife that Taishin Financial, the nation's seventh-largest financial service provider in terms of total assets, was the deal-breaker behind last week's planned merger between International Bank of Taipei (IBT, 台北商銀) and SinoPac Financial Holdings Co (建華金控).

According to local media reports, Taishin Financial expressed interests to merge with SinoPac Financial, and offered to pay NT$25 a share through a share-swap deal, which caused both SinoPac and IBT to stop discussing the proposed merger deal at their prospective board meetings held on Thursday.

But Wu yesterday kept a very low profile regarding this issue. He also refused to comment on the possibility of merging with SinoPac Financial in any way.

On the local bourse, Taishin Financial rose 0.7 percent to close at NT$29.3, SinoPac Financial was up 1.1 percent at NT$19.0, while IBT dropped 1.3 percent to NT$23.7.

Wu, however, expressed confidence that Taishin Financial would meet its NT$13.5 billion profit goal with a projected NT$3.19 earning per share (EPS) this year after having reported better-than-expected performance to successfully achieve its profit goals in the past three years.

"Our five-year goal is to increase our market value from less than US$1 billion [since the start-up in 2002] to the goal of US$5 billion [next year]," Wu said, adding that Taishin Financial currently has a market value of around US$4 billion.

According to the company's chief financial officer Carol Lai (賴昭吟), Taishin Financial saw its net profit up 55 percent to NT$11.3 billion last year from NT$7.3 billion in 2003 while the EPS growing from NT$2.16 to NT$2.8 during the same period.

Taishin Financial -- awarded last week by AsiaMoney magazine as the best managed company in Taiwan in 2004 -- saw a 31.5 percent loan growth in 2004 with consuming loan increasing by 38.9 percent and corporate loan by 16.7 percent while reaping a year-on-year 58 percent growth in the gross fee income performance, Lai said.

In the mean time, Taishin Financial also lowered its bad-loan ratio from 1.78 percent to 1.18 percent last year, she added.

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