Thu, Nov 02, 2006 - Page 11 News List

Business Briefs

STAFF WRITER WITH AGENCIES

■ Investors wait on the sidelines

Shares closed little changed yesterday in moderate trade, tracking the lackluster performance of Wall Street overnight, dealers said.

Many investors stayed on the sidelines amid uncertainty surrounding a probe into a top financial regulator over bribery allegations, they said.

The TAIEX closed down 7.33 points or 0.10 percent at the day's low of 7,013.99, on turnover of NT$72.18 billion (US$2.17 billion).

Decliners and risers were almost even at 539 to 538, while 210 stocks were unchanged.

■ CPC raises gasoline prices

Formosa Petrochemical Corp (台塑石化), Taiwan's second-biggest fuel supplier, raised gasoline and diesel prices, matching an increase by larger rival Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC, 中油).

Domestic wholesale gasoline and diesel prices rose by NT$0.3 a liter, effective 10am yesterday, Formosa Petrochemical said in a statement.

State-run CPC earlier yesterday increased prices by the same amount, or as much as 2.2 percent, after oil prices climbed, the company said on Tuesday.

■ SMIC `lagging' by 9-12 months

UBS Securities Pte said it estimated Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp (SMIC, 中芯), China's biggest made-to-order chipmaker, to be nine to 12 months behind its global peers in technology, after the Chinese company reported its third-quarter loss widened.

"The third-quarter results were disappointing and the fourth-quarter guidance uninspiring," William Dong (董成康) at UBS Securities said.

SMIC said on Tuesday its third-quarter net loss had widened to US$35.1 million, or 9.6 cents per American depositary receipt, from US$26.1 million, or 7.2 cents, a year earlier.

Sales rose 19 percent to US$368.9 million, the smallest gain in three quarters. The company forecast fourth-quarter sales will rise 1 percent to 2 percent from the third quarter.

■ Standard's offer accepted

Standard Chartered Plc, a London-based lender that earns two-thirds of its profit in Asia, said its offer to buy Hsinchu International Bank (新竹商銀) has been accepted by 95.4 percent of shareholders.

"It's the intention of Standard Chartered to de-list Hsinchu and to combine its existing Taiwanese operations with Hsinchu by late 2007," the London-based bank said in a statement on Tuesday night after the offer closed.

Standard Chartered on Sept. 29 made a general offer of NT$24.50 for every Hsinchu Bank share, valuing the bank at NT$40.5 billion and marking the first overseas takeover of a Taiwanese lender.

■ Cathay to sell 2/3 of shares

Cathay Financial Holding Co (國泰金控), the nation's biggest financial services company, said it plans to sell 66.7 million shares to overseas investors in the form of global depositary receipts, or GDRs.

The stake, valued at NT$4.3 billion based on the stock's closing price on Tuesday, was bought back in August by Cathay Financial as treasury stocks, the company said in a statement to the Taiwan Stock Exchange.

Taiwan regulator requires companies to write off or sell treasury stocks within three years of purchasing them.

■ NT gains on US dollar

The New Taiwan Dollar gained strength against its US counterpart yesterday on weak US economic data and after the Korean won hit a five-month high, dealers said.

The NT dollar rose NT$0.093 to close at NT$33.167 on the Taipei Forex Inc, on turnover of US$643 million.

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