■ Shinkong to acquire trust
Shinkong Financial Holding Co (新光金控), the nation's eighth largest financial group by assets, announced yesterday plans to acquire 100 percent of Shinkong Investment Trust Co (新光投信) for NT$1.57 billion (US$49.39 million), or NT$36 per share. The deal is still subject to its shareholders' approval during the general meeting scheduled on June 9 as well as the financial regulator's approval. Shinkong Financial will integrate Shinkong Investment Trust with another subsidiary, New Light Asset Management Co (新昕投信), within six months after the acquisition is approved. This is expected to boost its share of the investment trust market to 3 percent from 0.4 percent and its ranking to 13th from 37th at present, a company statement said. Meanwhile, its flagship firm, Shinkong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽), decided to issue its fourth batch of property securitization products by issuing a real estate assets trust for the three commercial buildings the insurer owns in Taipei, the statement added.
■ CPC withdrawing from Chad
State-run Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC, 中油) has suspended oil exploration in Chad due to the ongoing civil war there, the company said. CPC set up a representative office in Chad in October last year and signed a contract to explore three areas in the African state in January, paying US$170 million to the Chadian government. CPC also donated US$3.79 million to the Chadian government to promote local cultural events and its electrification program. CPC stands to lose more than US$200 million if the current Chadian government is overthrown. CPC has withdrawn its staff in the country, but is willing to send them back to work on the project when the war ends, according to Tsao Ming (曹明), vice president of CPC.
■ Deutsche Bank appoints chief
Deutsche Bank announced yesterday the appointment of James Wu (吳均龐) as its chief country officer for Taiwan, subject to the regulator's approval. Wu will have stewardship of Deutsche Bank's overall strategy and governance in the country, reporting to Colin Grassie, CEO of Deutsche Bank, Asia Pacific, the bank's statement read. "The appointment of James Wu further deepens Deutsche Bank's management team in Taiwan, a strong and important market for us, and one in which we see considerable growth opportunity for our business and the financial services sector overall," Grassie said. Wu joins Deutsche Bank from Citigroup where he held the position of vice chairman of corporate and investment banking in Taiwan. He had also served as president of Taipei Fubon Bank (台北富邦銀行), and chief country officer of Fidelity Investments in Taiwan.
■ Venture capital investment rises
The nation's venture capital market saw new investment amounting to NT$26.6 billion (US$837 million) last year, up 74.2 percent over the previous year, according to tallies released yesterday by the Council for Economic Planning and Development. Council officials said the investment value in the global venture capital market declined from more than US$100 billion in 2001 to around US$30 billion in 2004 owing to a downturn in the US' high-tech industry. According to data provided by the Taiwan Venture Capital Association, the number of venture capital management firms rose from 34 in 1995 to 231 last year. The number of new investment cases in the venture capital market also rose 25.1 percent from the previous year to 1,330 last year, with total value gaining 74.2 percent to NT$26.6 billion, it said.