Local consumption up 3.2%
Taiwan's energy consumption amounted to 162.3 million kiloliters of crude oil equivalent (KLOE) last year, up 3.2 percent over the year-earlier level, according to a report released yesterday by the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics. Energy supplies amounted to 135.5 million KLOE last year, up 1 percent from 2004, the report said. Ninety-eight percent of the energy supplies were imported, more than half of which was in the form of oil and related products. Of the energy consumed, 54.59 million KLOE were in the form of electricity, up 4.7 percent from the previous year, and 41.46 million KLOE were in the form of oil products, up 2.4 percent year-on-year. The two items together accounted for more than 90 percent of all energy consumed, it said. Energy consumption increased 1.7 percent from the previous year in the industrial sector, 7.6 percent in the household sector, and 7 percent in the commercial sector, according to the report.
AUO to expand in Taichung
AU Optronics Corp (友達光電) plans to invest an additional NT$254 billion (US$7.8 billion) for expansion, according to the committee of the Central Taiwan Science Park (中部科學園區) in Taichung. AU Optronics aims to raise production capacity to meet rising demand for liquid-crystal displays, and construction of a so-called 7.5-generation factory will start in May.
Land Bank hires Goldman
Land Bank of Taiwan (土地銀行) hired Goldman Sachs Group Inc to study a plan to merge with rival Bank of Taiwan (台灣銀行). The US investment bank will submit a report on the proposed merger between the two state-owned lenders to the Ministry of Finance and the Cabinet in April. The proposed merger would help create a lender with combined assets of NT$4.78 trillion (US$147.3 billion), ranking among the world's top 80 banks. Both Bank of Taiwan and Land Bank are unlisted.
■ Airline Industry
Union ratifies pension plan
United Airlines' flight attendants have overwhelmingly ratified an agreement for a defined-contribution retirement plan, their union said on Friday in an announcement signaling the end of the union's rancorous battle against the company over pensions. The union said more than 79 percent of flight attendants who cast ballots voted to approve the new pension plan, which replaces defined-benefit pensions terminated by the airline as part of its three-year bankruptcy restructuring. The new plan, which is retroactive to Jan. 1, includes company direct and matching contributions beginning at 5 percent and escalating to 6 percent of a flight attendant's earnings within two years.
Links to aid Microsoft sales
Microsoft Corp may as much as quadruple Internet advertising sales within three years using technology that links ad purchases among online products, including MSN search and Xbox games. Microsoft, which trails rivals Google Inc and Yahoo! Inc in Internet ad sales, is testing software called adCenter that will sell and display promotional links next to MSN search results. The software also will be used to sell ads in computer games and on the Microsoft home page, Joanne Bradford, a Microsoft corporate vice president, said yesterday in an interview.