■ High-tech firms boost TAIEX
Shares rose yesterday, led by gains in the technology sector following a rally in US stocks. The TAIEX added 58.69 points at 6,518.70, on turnover of NT$96.03 billion (US$2.96 billion). Electronics shares outperformed other sectors yesterday, with the subindex rising 1.4 percent, while shares of contract chipmakers were strong on the 2.2 percent rise of the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index overnight. Financials were also buoyed by news that the Cabinet would try to persuade the legislature against adopting a plan to impose a lower ceiling on interest rates charged by banks for credit and cash card debt in the face of rising defaults.
■ BSA starts new campaign
To fight software piracy, the Business Software Alliance (BSA) Taiwan yesterday launched its software legalization campaign for this year. It offers rewards of up to NT$10 million to encourage office workers to report against companies illegally duplicating software or using pirated software. According to a recent IDC study, the annual output value of the nation's information technology will increase sharply by 15 percent to US$7.3 billion if the current piracy rate of 43 percent can be lowered to 33 percent. Considerable job and tax income opportunities would therefore be created, said Hongti Sung (宋紅媞), the co-chair of BSA Taiwan.
During the 45-day campaign lasting through April 30, BSA will provide NT$1 million and up to NT$10 million to informants based on the amount and quality of the information, the severity of the infringement as well as the result of litigation, Sung said.
■ Singapore firm eyes TwinMos
Memory Devices Ltd, a Singapore-based maker of memory storage products, said it plans to acquire Taiwan's TwinMos Technologies Inc (勤茂資通) for US$96.8 million. The acquisition will be funded through the issue of 375.2 million Memory Devices shares at S$0.42 each, Memory Devices said in a statement to the Singapore Exchange yesterday. "TwinMos offers MDL an established brand name and an extensive global retail network," Memory Devices said in the statement. "Future acquisitions are expected to follow." Privately held TwinMos posted sales of US$384 million last year, the statement said. Memory Devices said it expects sales of more than US$500 million this year. William Chen (陳文藝), chairman and president of TwinMos, has given Memory Devices a profit guarantee of at least US$11 million for this year, the statement said.
■ Yangming lifts Vietnam stake
Yangming Marine Transport Corp (陽明海運) plans to invest in the expansion of the Vung Tau Port in southern Vietnam, a newspaper reported yesterday. The Chinese-language China Times quoted Yangming chairman Huang Wang-hsiu (黃望修) as saying that his company has signed a letter of intent to participate in developing the Vung Tau Port, 70km from Ho Chi Minh City. The project includes building terminals and logistics and storage facilities, Huang told the paper. Yangming plans to build three to four terminals for bulk carriers and container vessels and obtain a 60 percent stake in the port's operations, the daily said. As for the logistics and storage facilities, some of them will be finished and ready for use before year's end, it added.
■ NT dollar climbs
The New Taiwan dollar gained ground against its US counterpart on the Taipei foreign exchange market yesterday, rising NT$0.034 to close at NT$32.400. A total of US$826 million changed hands during the day's trading.