Sat, Oct 21, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

■ Bank plans share issue

Taiwan Cooperative Bank, the nation's second-largest lender by assets, said it will raise NT$8.59 billion (US$259 million) from the sale of new shares.

The bank will sell 440.3 million new shares to the public at NT$19.5 per share, the bank said in a filing to the Taiwan Stock Exchange yesterday. The base date for buying the shares is Nov. 13, it said.

Taiwan Cooperative said on Sept. 5 it may sell new shares to the public to improve its capital adequacy ratio.

The state-controlled bank earlier said it planned to introduce a foreign strategic investor, although it has repeatedly denied that BNP Paribas is the investor it is seeking.

■ Chunghwa cuts sign-up target

Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), Taiwan's top phone company, cut its Internet-protocol television (IPTV) subscriber target for this year for the second time to half of its original estimate as growth dwindled on lack of sufficient content.

In April, Chunghwa Telecom, cut its IPTV subscriber forecast by 40 percent to 300,000 users for this year -- a break-even point for the service -- from the original estimate of 500,000.

On Thursday, the telecom operator said it was now only aiming for 250,000 IPTV sign-ups for the year in the wake of a lower-than-expected demand.

To break through the impasse, Chunghwa Telecom said it would not rule out the possibility of working with a cable TV operator, or content provider to run the IPTV service.

Chunghwa Telecom has accumulated about 200,000 users so far since it started delivering TV programs on its broadband network.

■ New Bank of Taiwan head picked

The Ministry of Finance yesterday announced that Lee Sheng-yann (李勝彥), acting president of the state-run Bank of Taiwan (台灣銀行), will serve as president of the Export-Import Bank (中國輸出入銀行), to fill the vacancy left by Joseph Tsai (蔡慶年). Tsai has been appointed director general of the ministry's National Treasury Agency.

Lee, 62, holds a PhD in economics from the University of Pittsburgh and served as director-general at the central bank and president of the Bank of Taiwan.

Hsu Teh-nan (許德南), the Bank of Taiwan's chairman, will take up the bank's senior post for the time being.

■ First's credit rating unchanged

First Financial Holding Co's (第一金控) credit ratings and outlook remain unchanged at twA+/Stable/twA-2 following the firm's announcement on Thursday of a plan to jointly establish a life insurance company with the UK-based Aviva Group, Taiwan Ratings Corp (中華信評), a local branch of Standard & Poor's Ratings Services, said yesterday in a company briefing.

First Financial and the Aviva Group are each expected to invest NT$1 billion (US$30 million) in the joint venture, subject to regulatory approval.

The investment is aimed at strengthening and complementing First Financial's bancassurance business and fee income activities.

However, any benefits will be subject to the business model chosen and will take time to materialize Taiwan Ratings said.

Furthermore, representing only 1 percent of First Financial's total capital as of June 30, the anticipated investment of NT$1 billion is not likely to have a significant impact on its financial profile, the firm said.

■ NT dollar remains weak

The New Taiwan dollar remained weak against its US counterpart Friday, declining NT$0.003 to close at NT$33.202 on the Taipei foreign exchange market.

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