Wed, Aug 02, 2006 - Page 11 News List

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STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

■ Powerchip ups Macronix stake

Powerchip Semiconductor Corp (力晶半導體), Taiwan's biggest memory-chip maker, raised its stake in Macronix International Co (旺宏電子) to 2.79 percent to become the company's biggest institutional investor.

The chipmaker bought a 1.4 percent stake in Macronix for NT$377 million (US$11.5 million) last month, Powerchip said yesterday in a statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

The move came after Powerchip said in June that it bought a wafer plant from Macronix for NT$5.3 billion and the companies would cooperate in advanced technology, including production of flash memory chips. The factory is located in Hsinchu, where Powerchip and Macronix are based.

The company bought 42.05 million Macronix shares at an average price of NT$8.96 each between July 4 and July 31 for investment purposes, the statement said, without providing details.

■ FSC mulls bank relaxation

Banks affiliated with financial groups may soon be able to acquire rivals or other financial holding companies alone, instead of through parent financial holding firms as current practice requires, the Financial Supervisory Commission said yesterday.

The commission is mulling whether to relax the investment restrictions.

The move may facilitate consolidation of the nation's crowded banking sector.

The planned relaxation aims to equalize the status of banks under the umbrella of financial holding firms to that of stand-alone banks as well as securities houses and insurance company affiliates, commission spokesperson Susan Chang (張秀蓮) said.

Currently, financial groups' bank affiliates are not allowed to invest in other financial institutions while their standalone rivals are free to do so.

The relaxation may enable large bank affiliates of financial groups to acquire smaller-scale financial holding firms. Chang did not deny the possibility, saying only that all investment plans were subject to regulator's review and approval.

■ Bonds rise again

Taiwan's 10-year bonds rose for a second day on speculation a decline in local stocks lured investors to government debt.

"As the economy slows, the mood is for investors to be bullish on bonds," said Liao Yu-ping, a fixed-income trader at Grand Cathay Securities Corp (大華證券) in Taipei, a unit of Taiwan's eighth-largest financial firm. "Money flowed from the market into bonds."

The yield on the benchmark 1.75 percent bond due in March 2016 fell 2.4 basis points, or 0.024 percentage points, to 2.075 percent as of 5pm in Taipei, according to Gretai Securities Market, Taiwan's biggest exchange for bonds. The price rose 0.2071, or NT$207.1 per NT$100,000 face amount, to 97.1747.

■ CEPD helps yacht builders

The Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) decided on Monday to earmark NT$450 million (US$13.74 million) to improve facilities at two docks in Kaohsiung Harbor to help Taiwan's yacht-building industry enhance its competitiveness in the world market.

Taiwan now ranks the fifth in the world in terms of yacht-building -- after Italy, the US, the Netherlands and the UK.

According to the council, Taiwan's yacht-building industry had its heyday in 1985 when it captured 94.1 percent of the market in the US. After that, the number of yachts built each year had dropped from 700 to 228 by 1994.

■ NT loses on greenback

The New Taiwan dollar weakened against the US dollar on the Taipei Foreign Exchange yesterday, declining NT$0.062 to close at NT$32.818.

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