Fri, Aug 11, 2006 - Page 12 News List

New TSE chairman calls for the listing of state-run firms

By Jason Tan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Taiwan Stock Exchange Corp (TSE) hopes to attract more government-run firms to list on the local bourse to increase competitiveness, its new chairman said yesterday.

"[State-run] companies perform well and listing should be an option they consider before privatization," said Gordon Chen (陳樹), who officially assumed the chairmanship of the TSE yesterday from Wu Nai-jen (吳乃仁), a Democratic Progressive Party heavyweight.

Listing would allow state-run firms to incentivize their staff through stock options and permit companies to raise capital when necessary, he said.

The addition of state-run firms would also strengthen the local bourse's competitiveness, he said, adding that likely candidates for listing included Taiwan Tobacco and Liquor Corp (台灣煙酒公司), Bank of Taiwan (台灣銀行) and Land Bank of Taiwan (土地銀行).

There are 687 publicly listed companies on the local stock exchange, with another 12 to be listed by the end of the year, Chen said.

However, the bourse's growth is slow compared to its rival in Hong Kong, which will add 50 companies this year, he said.

Persuading local companies to list in Taiwan rather than Hong Kong is one of the TSE's priorities, new president Samuel Hsu (許仁壽) said.

The TSE will work to offer better service to underwriters, investment banks and securities firms to make a local listing more attractive, Hsu said, noting that the two bourses did not differ much in terms of price-to-earnings ratios and trading volumes.

"Creating a reputation for premium service will be critical as the TSE is limited by the nation's regulations," he said, referring to the absence of a memorandum of understanding between Taiwan and China.

Chen and Hsu vowed to push for a transparent, well-regulated bourse which could compete internationally.

"My goals are to compete with the bourses of other `Asian Dragons,' attract more firms to list and boost investor confidence," Hsu said.

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