Tue, Jun 28, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER, WITH AGENCIES

Formosa Plastics eyes Texas

Formosa Plastics Corp (台塑), the world's second-largest maker of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), plans to invest US$200 million to build a PVC plant in Texas, aiming to become the world's No. 1 maker of the product, the Commercial Times reported, citing company president Lee Chih-tsuen (李志村).

The company is a unit of Formosa Plastics Group (台塑集團), Taiwan's largest industrial group.

Formosa Plastics has submitted an application to US authorities to build the plant, which would have production capacity of 170,000 tonnes of PVC a year, raising the company's annual production of the product to 2.96 million tonnes, the Taipei-based paper said.

The new plant could start mass production within two years, pending approval, the paper said, citing Lee.

Banks urged to lend more

To boost the sagging economy and cut jobless rate, the government is encouraging banking institutions to provide an extra NT$200 billion of loans within a year to local small and medium sized enterprises, which account for 97.8 percent of all enterprises and hire 77 percent of workers in Taiwan, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday.

Small and medium companies obtained 23.59 percent of their financing from banking institutions in 2001, but the figure has been consecutively declining to 20.67 percent in 2002, 20.02 percent in 2003 and 18.57 percent last year, according to official statistics.

The Cabinet hopes to push the figure to above 20 percent in a year, the statement said.

To do so, the Cabinet has loosened requirements for loan applications by companies, including allowing those that have been set up less than six months to apply for loans on credit provided by the government, it said. The government will further provide various measures to improve financial structure and transparency among small and medium companies, the statement said.

Stock futures lower

Prices on Taipei's stock futures market were lower yesterday as the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TAIEX) Capitalization Weighted Index for July moved down 40 points to close at 6,257, with 25,588 contracts changing hands.

TAIEX Index futures for August moved down 50 points to end at 6,180, with 478 contracts traded, while September futures lost 50 points to finish at 6,158, with 183 contracts traded.

December futures moved down 60 points to close at 6,146, with 34 contracts traded, while March futures moved down 69 points to close at 6,135, with 15 contracts traded.

Taiwan International Mercantile Exchange reference levels for TAIEX Index futures trading were set yesterday at 6,297 for July, 6,230 for August, 6,208 for September, 6,206 for December and 6,204 for March.

Electronics (TE) and financial (TF) futures, which are sub-index futures based on Taiwan Stock Exchange-listed electronics shares and financial stocks, were mostly lower.

July TE futures moved down 2.75 points to close at 254.5, with 3,388 contracts traded, while August TE futures lost 2.4 points to finish at 252.6, with 59 contract transactions. September TE futures moved down 2.05 points to end at 251.95, with four contracts traded.

No transactions were recorded for December and March.

NT dollar declines

The New Taiwan dollar declined against the US dollar on the Taipei Foreign Exchange yesterday, losing NT$0.004 to close at NT$31.365.

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