Mergers surpass 600 cases
The Company Merger Law (企業併購法) was introduced four years ago and since then 616 merger cases worth more than NT$268.38 billion (US$8.22 billion) have occurred, according to a statement released by the Ministry of Economic Affairs yesterday. The statistics were collated from Feb. 6, 2002, to June this year.
Mergers in small and medium enterprises, or those with capital under NT$500 million, accounted for 61 percent of the deals, while large enterprises with capital over NT$2 billion made up 18 percent of the pool, the statement said.
By industry, electric machinery accounted for 9.6 percent, electronics and food manufacturing took 8.4 percent each, and communications made up for 7.2 percent, according to the statement.
The ministry will continue to look into ways to improve the law to help companies boost competitiveness, it said.
China Steel increases capacity
China Steel Corp (中鋼), the nation's largest steelmaker, and its subsidiary Dragon Steel Corp (中龍) plan to spend a total of NT$200 billion (US$6.1 billion) over the next six years to expand production capacity.
The investment will increase China Steel and its affiliates' total annual output of steel to 20 million tonnes, 48 percent more than the current 13.5 million, Chung Lo-min (鍾樂民), the steelmaker's executive vice president, said yesterday.
The planned investment will include two new blast furnaces as well as facilities for hot and cold-rolled steel and wire rods, he said. China Steel will fund the investment from its earnings, accumulated capital and borrowing, he added.
Dragon Steel, 70 percent owned by China Steel, is planning to invest NT$79.8 billion to build a new blast furnace scheduled to begin operations in 2009 with an annual capacity of 2.5 million tonnes, Chung said.
Dragon Steel also plans another furnace project and investment in hot-rolled steel production, while China Steel will expand its cold-rolled steel and steel bar/wire rod product capacity, he said.
Cathay revises profit
Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控), the nation's biggest financial services company, said it has revised its first-half profit to an audited NT$8.98 billion (US$275 million), up from the unaudited NT$8.94 billion announced on July 10.
The company's board approved the revision, according to a statement filed to the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday. The revised profit fell 15 percent from NT$10.6 billion a year earlier.
Free trade ports attracting firms
The number of companies willing to open up shop in Taiwan's five free trade ports could exceed 100 by the end of this year, as the figure has already hit 73, the Cabinet-level Council for Economic Planning and Development (CEPD) said yesterday.
CEPD Vice Chairman Thomas Yeh (葉明峰) said that the 73 companies have applied to set up shop in the five free trade ports located in Keelung, Taipei, Taichung and Kaohsiung, as well as at the CKS International Airport in Taoyuan.
He predicted that the number will increase further, possibly to as high as 105, by the end of the year.
The CEPD will launch a Web site in October to provide comprehensive information about the free trade ports, where personnel and capital can freely move in and out of the country.
NT dollar lower
The New Taiwan dollar traded lower against its US counterpart, declining NT$0.058 to close at NT$32.644 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.