Fri, May 26, 2006 - Page 12 News List

Shin Kong receives good ratings from analysis companies

By Amber Chung  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評), a local arm of Standard and Poor's Ratings Services, announced yesterday that it assigned its "twAA" long-term and "twA-1" short-term counterparty credit ratings to Shin Kong Financial Holding Co (新光金控), the nation's eighth largest financial group by assets, with a stable outlook.

"The ratings reflect the company's good market position in Taiwan's competitive financial services industry by factoring in its above-average profitability and adequate capitalization," Taiwan Ratings said in a statement released yesterday.

Taiwan Ratings also assigned its "twAA" long-term counterparty and insurer financial strength credit ratings to the flagship unit Shin Kong Life Insurance Co (新光人壽) with a stable outlook.

Meanwhile, Fitch Ratings also revised its outlook ratings of Shin Kong Financial and its subsidiaries to "Positive" on the company's prudent capitalization, strong market presence and relatively stable earnings profile in the last three years.

Looking ahead, the insurer is hoping the recruitment of new blood to help boost its business base this year.

"We plan to recruit 3,000 new salespeople this year on top of our existing total of 15,000 to help beef up sales of new policies," Shin Kong Life's president Pan Po-tseng (潘柏錚) said yesterday.

The first-year premiums are expected to grow by 10 percent year-on-year to about NT$55 billion (US$1.71 billion) this year, he added.

Shin Kong Life will raise its rentals by 5 percent to new tenants this year, Pan said.

It is rumored that Agora Garden (亞太會館), a hotel located in the Xinyi District of Taipei, could be put for sale. Shin Kong Life may think about acquiring more property at reasonable prices, the executive said.

The insurer has been active in buying realty. It spent a total of NT$6.34 billion, or a sky-high offer of NT$2.74 million per ping, on two residential parcels of state-owned land in downtown Taipei in early March, which will be developed into lucrative upscale residences in the near future.

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