Tue, Oct 24, 2006 - Page 11 News List

■ Jobless rate drops below 4%

The unemployment rate last month fell to 3.96 percent from 4.09 percent in August on a decline in the number of temporary and first-time job seekers, the government said yesterday.

Last month's jobless rate was also down from 4.14 percent in September last year, the Directorate General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) said.

On a seasonally adjusted basis, last month's unemployment rate came was 3.84 percent, easing from 3.85 percent a month before and from 3.99 percent a year earlier, it said.

Unemployment for the first nine months of the year averaged 3.92 percent, down 0.27 percentage points from the average 4.19 percent a year earlier, it added.

The DGBAS said 419,000 people were jobless last month, a decline of 15,000 from August.

■ General manager quits Lenovo

The local branch of Lenovo Group Ltd (聯想), the world's third-largest personal computer maker, yesterday confirmed the resignation of its general manager Laurence Hwang (黃維德). The company's public relations official said Hwang had left the company last Monday due to personal reasons.

Industry sources who refused to be named said Hwang's resignation came after the company's weak performance in the market. According to statistics from International Data Corp Taiwan, Lenovo dropped from No. 3 to No.4 in terms of second-quarter notebook sales in Taiwan, after Asustek Computer Inc (華碩電腦), Acer Inc and Hewlett-Packard Co.

Hwang was previously the executive of IBM Taiwan Corp's personal systems group, and took the helm of Lenovo Taiwan after the Chinese company bought IBM's PC unit in May last year.

Hwang's duties will be temporarily overseen by chief financial officer Daphne Chen (陳秀霞), Lenovo Taiwan said.

Its Asia-Pacific headquarters in Singapore will appoint a new general manager soon, it said.

■ Formosa Plastics orders ships

STX Shipbuilding Co, South Korea's seventh-largest shipyard, said it had received an order worth 131.6 billion won (US$137 million) to build three ships to carry chemical products for Formosa Plastics Marine Corp (台塑海運).

The vessels, each weighing 50,400 deadweight tonnes, will be delivered by the second half of 2009, STX Shipbuilding said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. The Taiwanese company has the option to order two more ships of the same size.

Hyundai Heavy Industries Co, Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering Co and other South Korean shipyards are benefiting from increased investments in fuel production and shipment as energy demand grows worldwide. Dockyards in South Korea have a backlog of orders that will keep them busy for more than three years.

With the latest order, STX Shipbuilding has received contracts valued at US$2.9 billion, meeting 81 percent of its annual target of US$3.6 billion.

■ Bayer to buy Ure-Tech

Bayer MaterialScience, Bayer AG's materials unit, agreed to buy Taiwan's Ure-Tech Co (台灣優得), a maker of a type of resins and films.

Bayer expects the deal to close in the first quarter of next year, the company said in a Business Wire statement yesterday. Ure-Tech had sales last year of US$55 million, Bayer said.

The companies agreed not to disclose financial details of the transaction, Bayer said.

■ NT dollar falls again

The New Taiwan dollar weakened against the US dollar on the Taipei Foreign Exchange yesterday, losing NT$0.074 to close at NT$33.276.

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