■ TPO delays share sale
TPO Displays Corp, the world's second-largest maker of mobile-phone displays, delayed plans for a US$300 million initial share sale aimed at raising funds to expand capacity and develop technologies, its chairman said.
The company, formed this month after Toppoly Optoelectronics Corp's (統寶光電) purchase of Philips Mobile Display Systems, a unit of Royal Philips Electronics NV, is postponing any share sale until the first half of next year from an earlier plan for this year because of the merger, chairman Ray Chen (陳瑞聰) said yesterday.
TPO plans to raise at least US$300 million, Chen said. Chen, who is also president of Compal Electronics Inc (仁寶電腦), is betting the funds will help make TPO the world's largest maker of displays used in mobile phones by 2008. Global cell-phone sales will probably increase 18 percent to 960 million units this year, researcher Gartner Inc said last week.
After the merger, Compal will own 25.1 percent of TPO, Philips 17.5 percent, and Uni-President Enterprises Corp (統一企業) 3.5 percent, Toppoly and Philips said in November.
■ Taiwan plans Thai exhibition
Taiwan will hold its first electronics exhibition in Bangkok next month, using Thailand as a gateway to tap the huge market potential in the Southeast Asian region, officials said yesterday.
At least 200 electronics and information technology companies from Taiwan have registered to exhibit their products at the four-day fare which is slated to open at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Center on July 27, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA, 外貿協會) said.
"We decided upon Thailand since it represents a perfect venue for a Taipei trade show," said Walter Yeh, TAITRA executive vice president.
■ ITRI seeks win-win solution
The state-funded Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI, 工研院) held a forum on "Taiwan's Future in Photovoltaic Technology" yesterday, aiming to find a win-win solution for better development in the photovoltaic industry.
An ITRI spokesman said that last year, worldwide demand for photovoltaic-related products increased dramatically, and therefore ITRI wishes to shape an all-round strategy for local manufacturers by pooling resources in the public and private sector to increase Taiwan's global market share. He added that due to rocketing oil prices, the need for clean and renewable solar energy will grow in the coming years.
■ SMIC receives big loan
China's biggest chipmaker Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯國際), received a US$600 million syndicated loan to fund expansion and refinance debt. The money will be used to expand in Shanghai and repay two outstanding loans of more than US$390 million, acting chief financial officer Morning Wu said.
"This will support SMIC Shanghai's future growth through improved loan pricing, more flexible loan covenants and extended maturity," chief executive officer Richard Chang (張汝京) said in a statement.
Construction of SMIC's more advanced 12-inch foundry in Shanghai will be completed by the fourth quarter, and equipment will be moved in by the end of the year, Chang said. Test production of the new plant will start in the first quarter of next year, with commercial production from the second quarter, he said. The plant will probably have an initial monthly production capacity of between 6,000 and 7,000 12-inch wafers, which may be increased to 25,000 wafers, Chang said.