Sat, Nov 19, 2005 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

■ Shares rise on economic growth

Shares rose yesterday to their highest level in over a month after the government released better-than-expected economic growth data. Electronics and financial shares gained.

The TAIEX gained 1.4 percent at 6,106.74, the highest since Oct. 5, on turnover of NT$117.80 billion (US$3.51 billion).

Risers led decliners 751 to 269, with 179 stocks unchanged.

Stocks got a lift from GDP figures released late Thursday that showed growth of 4.38 percent in the July-September quarter, slightly better than the government's August forecast for a 4.32 percent increase.

The government is forecasting a GDP growth of 5.28 percent for the fourth quarter, 4.48 percent for the first quarter next year, and 4.27 percent for the second quarter.

"The government's positive forecast for Taiwan in the next three to six months increased people's willingness to hold stocks," said Jil Chen, an analyst at Daiwa Securities SMBC-Cathay.

The electronics subindex rose 1.9 percent. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電), the biggest contract chipmaker in the world, gained 2.6 percent to NT$57.1.

■ CAL recruits Swissair pilots

China Airlines (CAL, 華航) has recruited more than 40 pilots from the financially-troubled Swiss International Air Lines (Swissair) to cope with CAL's fleet expansion, the company said yesterday.

"Our recruitment team has recruited more than 40 Swiss pilots. The first batch, 17, will arrive in Taipei soon," CAL spokesperson Johnson Sun (孫鴻文) said.

"After they have passed the physical checkup, they will receive ground and flight training, which can take five months, and then start flying for CAL," he added.

CAL is Taiwan's largest international airline with 68 aircraft, 1,070 pilots and 2,100 flight attendants.

Swissair was once the largest airline in Europe and one of the largest airlines in the world. On March 22, Lufthansa signed an agreement to take over the ailing company for 310 million euros (US$409 million).

■ Taiwan Youni makes acquisition

Taiwan Youni (台灣優力) announced the acquisition of a 50 percent stake in Caltima Corp (加得滿) yesterday, turning it into a large-sized gasoline operator with 120 directly-owned stations across the nation. Including franchised stations, Taiwan Youni now controls 140 stations, the company said in a statement.

Acquisition and mergers have become inevitable as gasoline products nowadays offer limited margin growth to most operators. Taiwan Youni does not rule out the possibility of further mergers in the future, it said.

Taiwan Youni and Caltima Corp currently source their gasoline products from two different suppliers: Chinese Petroleum Corp (中油) and Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化). It remains to be seen whether this acquisition will affect supplies in any way, the statement said.

Taiwan Youni will speed up the restructuring process and announce details soon, it said.

■ NT dollar declines

The New Taiwan dollar had its second weekly drop in three weeks on speculation some insurance companies sold the currency to invest overseas for higher returns, said Augustine Wang, a currency trader at Chinese Bank (中華銀行) in Taipei.

The New Taiwan dollar declined against its US counterpart yesterday, falling NT$0.002 to close at NT$33.631 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.

The New Taiwan dollar has fallen 5.4 percent this year, partly as the advantage for holding the US currency has grown.

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